2021 ARRL Field Day from Wassamki Springs – a Huge Success!

SCARBOROUGH, ME – On the weekend of June 26-27, the WS1SM team participated in their 11th ARRL Field Day from Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough.

Information table near the main entrance at Wassamki Springs Campground

Activities began Friday morning when a handful of club members helped to setup a utility trailer, tower, and antenna, that would make up the CW station. The station, which is the design of Rick Fickett K1OT, goes together smoothly, as it’s nothing short of an engineering masterpiece. After assembling the antennas which consist of a 40 meter yagi and a 10/15/20m tribander, and tower components, the tower is pulled up by a winch, so it only needs to be guided on the way up, and when the tower is almost upright, a custom made bracket which holds the yagis, allows them to move into position and lock in place. After this was complete, the guys were tightened and the area was roped off for safety. The station consisted of an Elecraft K3 that runs on a pair of deep cycle batteries. The station was operated throughout Field Day by Rick K1OT and Greg W1GF.

Overnight CW ops

Later in the afternoon, another team helped setup a tent that would make up one of the SSB stations, and more antennas, including a DX Commander vertical and a Buddipole (in an NVIS configuration). The team also setup radios in the CCEMA communications trailer, and installed a 40m rotatable dipole atop the trailer. The two SSB stations consisted of a Yaesu FT-857d (in the tent) and Icom IC-7300 (in the trailer), which would run on battery power throughout the event.

Waylon KC1HJN operating 20m SSB

With the stations already setup, all that was needed Saturday morning was to check SWR, update the logging software, and help folks who were camping overnight setup their tents. By 2:00 PM we were ready to get on the air!

The weather was pleasant for the entire Field Day, including setup and break down, although temperatures were approaching 90 by Sunday afternoon. The band conditions seemed very good as well. 40 meters was steady throughout most of the weekend, and 20m opened up nicely late Saturday afternoon and lasted well into the evening. One of the highlights was making contacts with Australia, Hawaii, and New Zealand at around 11:30 Saturday night – on 20 meters! We also made lots of contacts on 10 and 15 meters.

Overnight SSB ops

Jason W1SFS, Waylon KC1HJN, Tim KB1HNZ, CJ W1CJC, and Dylan KC1PDS (who just earned his ham radio license), each took turns operating the SSB stations. Eric N1RXR had a really good run on 15 meters Sunday morning, and Stefania K1GJY made lots of QSOs on 40 meters Sunday morning and early afternoon. Brad KC1JMH and Josh KC1KTX, took turns operating the 40m station and also exchanged lots of messages on Packet and Winlink.

Our Safety Officers for 2021 ARRL Field Day were Mike N5QYQ and Eric N1RXR. Eric reported that he made sure any trip hazards were marked, that fire suppression was handy, and first aid was accessible. We also made sure to have RF exposure reports on hand for each operating station and antenna combination.

The kids watching cartoons Saturday night

Fellow club members, Frank KR1ZAN in Plano, TX, Ryan Michaelson KB1YTR, in Duluth, MN, and Brad Bown Jr., KC1JMH, helped us copy the W1AW Field Day message, which was super helpful because many of us were setting up antennas during the broadcast.

Tim KB1HNZ sent radiograms to the Section Manager and several others by way of the Digital Traffic Network via our Packet station on VHF.

A few times throughout the weekend, Eric N1RXR attempted to make a satellite contact, but although hearing a few passes really well, was unable to make a contact.

Stefania operates 20m SSB Saturday

Mike N5QYQ and Steve AA1HF reprised their roles as GOTA station coaches, setting up a nice station in the Wassamki Springs Ham Shack. There were both modern and classic radios to try out. They welcomed three operators Nick KC1MSR, Waylon KC1HJN, and Dylan KC1PDS, who took turns getting on the air throughout the weekend, and Dylan and Nick operated at both the GOTA station and the 40m SSB station in the main field.

Steve AA1HF with the “modern” GOTA setup

The GOTA station was a good opportunity to learn about different aspects of the hobby, and Mike and Steve were great teachers. Mike N1QYQ explained the operation and function of the Kenwood TS-520S transceiver and related components and compared this older technology with the newest technology (ICOM IC-7300). Mike also explained basic HF propagation and its relation to the sunspot cycle. Mike helped Dillon troubleshoot and solve an issue with his straight key and his TS-850S. Mike also explained the basic operation of the Hy-Gain 18AVQ trap vertical antenna. He used the Kenwood SM-220 monitor scope to show transmitted waveforms and how the scope was used to monitor output of the transceiver to ensure the transmitted audio signal was not clipping and that the RF emissions from the transceiver were “clean.”

The “classic” GOTA station setup in the ham shack

Steve AA1HF explained the tracking of weather balloons using one he “caught” and its features and process for tracking and reporting the unit to the sender. Steve also explained the features and operation of his (Steve’s) ICOM IC-7300 and ICOM 9700 software defined multiband radios and the basics of calling and answering “CQ Field Day” and how to log the contacts.

Besides the lessons learned at the GOTA station, we also offered a formal educational activity about radio direction finding. Tim KB1HNZ hid a small purpose-built transmitter and explained some of the various methods that can be used to track it down, including using doppler finder technology, attenuators, body shielding, and a directional antenna. Brad’s son, Jordan, had a fun time trying to find the transmitter and eventually did!

The Yaesu FT857d setup in the tent

Operating as 3A (three fulltime HF stations on emergency power), 2021 ARRL Field Day was not only a fun time, but a huge success! We logged 1776 QSOs for a total of 2,958 QSO points, and nearly maxed out on all the bonus points.

Operating overnight in the CW trailer

Special thanks to Chris Wheeler, and everyone at Cumberland County EMA for their support and allowing us to use the CCEMA communications trailer, and to the Hillock Family for their continued hospitality, allowing us to operate from Wassamki Springs Campground for the 11th consecutive year! We’d also like to thank Steve’s wife Marilyn, who provided us with a fantastic cookout Saturday evening and breakfast sandwiches Sunday morning!

Click here to see more pictures from 2021 ARRL Field Day.

MEETING REMINDER – Tonight at 7:00 PM

Please join us this Thursday, July 8th, from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM, at Wassamki Springs Campground, for our monthly business meeting. If the weather is nice, we’ll be meeting outside near the former camp store. Please bring a lawn chair as there may not be a picnic table available near the site.

For those who haven’t been there before, the camp store is located near the back of the camping area. Turn right after checking in at the office, follow the road past the lake, and take the next left. Follow that road almost to the end, where you’ll see a small white building with a porch. Its important to DRIVE SLOW and follow all campground rules when present on the property. We are guests!

On the agenda, we’ll be reviewing ARRL Field Day, which took place the weekend of June 26-27 this year, and we’ll finalize plans for our Parks on the Air (POTA) outing to Mt. Blue State Park.

If you’d like to join us remotely, here’s the dial-in instructions:
(Last month we found that cell coverage at the campground was spotty, so we’ll do the best we can).

Dial-in number (US): (425) 436-6366
Access code: 2618168#
International dial-in numbers: https://fccdl.in/i/kb1hnz
Online meeting ID: kb1hnz
Join the online meeting: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/kb1hnz

For additional assistance connecting to the meeting, text ‘Call Me’ to the Dial-in number above and you will be called into the conference. Message and data rates may apply.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

2021 ARRL Field Day at Wassamki Springs June26-27

Please join us this weekend, June 26-27, at Wassamki Springs Campground, (located at 56 Saco Street, Scarborough, ME) for ARRL Field Day!

We will be operating in the 3A category (club station with 3 full time HF transmitters), plus we’ll also be active on 6 meters, VHF, and satellite throughout the event.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY – 10:00 AM – Setup for the CW tower/trailer.

FRIDAY – 6:00 PM – Setup for the other HF stations, including tents and antennas.

SATURDAY – 11:00 AM – Final prep and small items such as the table display, will be setup.

SATURDAY – 2:00 PM – On-air activities begin.

SUNDAY – 2:00 PM – On-air activities end, followed by breakdown of equipment and site cleanup.

GOTA STATION

The public is encouraged to attend, and there will also be a Get on the Air (GOTA) station available for anyone who’d like to try out ham radio! Here’s the preliminary schedule for the GOTA station:

Setup: SATURDAY 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Operating hours: SATURDAY: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Operating hours: SUNDAY: 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM & 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

TEMPORARY RULE WAVER

Similar to last year’s Field Day, a temporary rule waiver allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results. This means that if you’d prefer to operate from home, using your own call sign, and would like to contribute to our club aggregate score, you may do so. Please include the full club name: Wireless Society of Southern Maine with your entry.

Click here to review the complete 2021 Field Day rules.

FIELD DAY BULLETIN

Since quite a few of us will be setting up on Friday evening, we could use some help copying the Field Day bulletin. Click here to view the 2021 ARRL Field Day Bulletin schedule, including times, frequencies, and modes.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Wassamki Springs Campground is located at: 56 Saco Street, Scarborough, ME 04074.

Talk-in on 146.580 FM Simplex.

Meeting Reminder – Thursday from 7PM-9PM at Wassamki Springs Campground

Please join us this Thursday, June 10th, from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM, at Wassamki Springs Campground, for our monthly business meeting. If the weather is nice, as expected, we’ll be meeting outside near the former camp store. Please bring a lawn chair as there may not be a picnic table available near the site.

For those who haven’t been there before, the camp store is located near the back of the camping area. Turn right after checking in at the office, follow the road past the lake, and take the next left. Follow that road almost to the end, where you’ll see a small white building with a porch. Its important to DRIVE SLOW and follow all campground rules when present on the property. We are guests!

On the agenda, we’ll be talking about ARRL Field Day, which takes place the weekend of June 26-27 this year! If we have a chance, we may take a walk down and scope out the area where we’ll be setting up.

If you’d like to join us remotely, here’s the dial-in instructions:

Dial-in number (US): (425) 436-6366
Access code: 2618168#
International dial-in numbers: https://fccdl.in/i/kb1hnz
Online meeting ID: kb1hnz
Join the online meeting: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/kb1hnz

For additional assistance connecting to the meeting, text ‘Call Me’ to the Dial-in number above and you will be called into the conference. Message and data rates may apply.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Field Day is This Weekend!

Field_Day_campfire (1)

The WS1SM team will take part in their 10th annual ARRL Field Day on the weekend of June 27-28, at Wassamki Springs Campground, located at 56 Saco Street, in Scarborough, ME.

Setup will begin Friday afternoon at 5:00PM.

The plan is to operate 2 full-time HF stations – one will focus on SSB while the other will be a multi-mode station, focusing on CW and digital. An operator signup sheet can be found here.

The purpose of the signup sheet is to help limit the amount of people present at the same time. We will also be enforcing social distancing protocol as recommended by the CDC, and request that participants wear face coverings when around others, especially when interacting with the public.

It is also recommended that operators supply their own headphones, if they choose to use them.

Looking at the sheet, we still need help with some of the bonus categories. Copying the W1AW Field Day message, Site visitation by elected officials/ served agency reps, natural power QSO’s, Safety Officer, and GOTA station are just a few. Any help with these would be greatly appreciated.

Because of the pandemic we will not be hosting some of the larger social gatherings such as the Saturday night cookout or Sunday morning breakfast. All participants are encouraged to bring their own snacks and supplies.

See you there!

73′

Tim

KB1HNZ

 


 

We know that some of our members will operate from home this year, and if you’re one of those, we encourage you to log all of your contacts because they count towards the club score! See below:

ARRL Modifies Field Day Rules

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the ARRL has modified the rules for this year’s Field Day to allow QSO submissions from multiple individual hams to be aggregated as a Club Score – even though they “worked alone together” from their base QTH. The modifications are:

  • For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.
  • For 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions). Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day.

If you will be working field day from you home QTH, please consider identifying the Wireless Society of Southern Maine as your home club if you will be uploading your log.

Wireless Society to Return to Wassamki Springs for Ham Radio Field Day

Members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine are set to participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise on June 27-28 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.

Because of the pandemic, as recent as a month ago, club leadership was unsure if Field Day would even take place this year. They were finding it difficult to find a venue, but with the easing of restrictions on lodging facilities and public places, at the beginning of the month, the possibility to return to Wassamki Springs Campground became more promising. “When we reached out to the Hillock Family, who own the campground, they were glad to have us back, and that’s pretty special because this will be our tenth year doing Field Day at the campground,” said Tim Watson, WSSM President.

This year’s event will be of a much smaller scale than in years past. “We’ll be operating one less full-time station, and use a strict operator schedule to reduce the number of people present at the same time. Similarly, some of the social events, such as our Saturday night cookout and Sunday morning breakfast, won’t take place, and our educational activity will be done via live stream, instead of in-person” Watson explained.
“Field Day is part emergency communications exercise, and part competition, where we accumulate points and test our operating skills against other clubs and individuals around the U.S. and Canada,” added Vice President, Brad Brown, Jr., of North Waterboro, ME.

During the event, participants will try to earn points by meeting specific goals as outlined by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Some of these include handling and delivering messages, hosting educational activities, and making contacts with other amateurs through various methods, such as voice, telegraphy, satellites, and digital technology.

“This is a fun event that gives us an opportunity to share our passion with the community and to improve our operating skills, all while getting everyone out there and on the air,” says Brown.

Field Day, which has taken place annually since 1933, is designed to test radio operators’ ability to quickly setup and operate portable stations in emergency conditions.

“The entire operation will exclusively use emergency power sources like batteries, or solar energy, in order to simulate how things would be during a catastrophic event,” added Watson. “The public should be aware that in the event of an emergency, we’re ready to assist in any way that we can. While people may have the impression that cell phones and other technologies are good enough, we stand by as a trained pool of experienced radio operators to provide the vital communication services others may not. Hams have provided emergency communications during hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, blackouts, and other disasters, where more complex and fragile communications systems, such as cell networks, have failed or become overloaded.”

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine’s Emergency Communications Team provides communications support to the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency and members also support the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN operations in Gray, ME.

“Since 2014, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, using call sign WS1SM, has recorded the highest Field Day score in Maine and hopes to do well again this year, despite the limited operation,” says Watson. “The public is welcome to attend the event and if anyone is interested in learning more about the hobby, we’ll be glad to help.”

There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States and anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is ready to help newcomers get involved and licensed right here in Scarborough. For more information about Field Day, and amateur radio in general, please visit:

http://www.mainehamradio.com

WS1SM Team to Participate in 9th Field Day from Wassamki Springs

Field_Day_1

by Pete Donovan, K1SK

Members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine are set to participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise June 22-23 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.

The public is encouraged to attend on Saturday, June 22, from 2p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more than 100 years, amateur radio – sometimes called ham radio – has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day last year.

“Field Day is part emergency communications exercise, and part competition, where we accumulate points and test our operating skills against other clubs and individuals around the U.S. and Canada,” says club Vice President, CJ Carlsson, of Portland, ME.
During the event, participants will try to earn points by meeting specific goals as outlined by the American Radio Relay League. Some of these include handling and delivering messages, hosting educational activities, and making contacts with other amateurs through various methods, such as voice, telegraphy, satellites, and digital technology.

“This is a fun event that gives us an opportunity to share our passion with the community and to improve our operating skills, all while getting everyone out there and on the air,” says Carlsson.

Field Day, which has taken place annually since 1933, is designed to test radio operators’ ability to quickly setup and operate portable stations in emergency conditions.

“The entire operation will exclusively use emergency power sources like batteries, or solar energy, in order to simulate how things would be during a catastrophic event,” says club member, Tim Watson, of Saco. “The public should be aware that in the event of an emergency, we’re ready to assist in any way that we can. While people may have the impression that cell phones and other technologies are good enough, we stand by as a trained pool of experienced radio operators to provide the vital communication services others may not. Hams have provided emergency communications during hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, blackouts, and other disasters, where more complex and fragile communications systems, such as cell networks, have failed or become overloaded.”

Field_Day_2

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine’s Emergency Communications Team provides communications support to the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency and members also support the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN operations in Gray, ME.

“Since 2014, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, using call sign WS1SM, has recorded the highest Field Day score in Maine and hopes to finish on top again in 2019,” says Carlsson. “The public is welcome to attend the event and if anyone is interested in learning more about the hobby, we’ll be glad to help.”

Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is ready to help anyone get involved and licensed right here in Scarborough. For more information about Field Day, and amateur radio in general, please visit: http://www.mainehamradio.com

2018 Field Day at Wassamki Springs

IMG_2010
The Spiderbeam with WS1SM banner on a guy wire

2018 Field Day was a tremendous success, and a lot of fun! Special thanks to the Hillock family of Wassamki Springs Campground for hosting us for the 8th consecutive year!

UPDATE: The 2018 ARRL Field Day results are in, and WS1SM captured 1st place in Maine for the fifth consecutive year. In addition, we finished 14th overall in the 3A category, cracking the top 20 for the 2nd time in 2 years. Congratulations to everyone on our team for a job well done! Click here to read the QST article.

Operating twice around the clock, in the 3A category, we captured 1,730 Bonus Points, and 6,968 QSO points, which is a new record for WS1SM. The biggest areas of improvement this year were in SSB QSOs (+500), and in the bonus points (+200) over last year.

Setup began Friday morning, as Rick K1OT and helpers met to raise his 40′ tower and antennas. Later in the evening Tim KB1HNZ and Eric KC1HJK setup the Spiderbeam tribander.

IMG_2021
Rick K1OT (L) and Joe K1JB (R) in the CW Trailer

On-air activities began at 2PM on Saturday, and continued through 2PM Sunday. All the radios ran on 100% battery power, with the exception of a handful of QSO that Charlie W1CPS made on solar power.

Frank KR1ZAN and Steve AA1HF served as coaches for a Get on the Air (GOTA) station, which operated concurrently in the Wassamki Springs Ham Shack, which is located in the former camp store. There were 6 participants who made QSOs!

IMG_2027
Waylon KC1HJN and Steve AA1HF hunt for hidden transmitters

The educational activity for this year was Radio Direction Finding, using various methods, including a tape measure yagi, rotatable loop, and attenuator.

Peter KC1HBM, invited Scarborough Town Councilor, Jean-Marie Caterina, who spent some time talking to participants and got a tour of the Field Day and GOTA operations.

Town_Councillor
Scarborough Town Councilor, Jean-Marie Caterina visits the WS1SM Field Day site and also checks out the GOTA station (seen above).

Special thanks to everyone who brought food to the pot luck supper on Saturday evening, especially to Sheila Martin, W1DXX, who brought lots of pizza, and Mike Mooney, who brought ribs and pulled pork!

Tim KB1HNZ composed or replied to 23 messages, which were transmitted via Winlink on HF. He also operated some digital modes over night on Saturday.

IMG_2034
Frank KR1ZAN successfully makes a satellite QSO

The CW operators equaled last year’s total, and Charlie W1CPS came just 2 QSOs short of his previous best on 6 meters.

We also copied the Field Day bulletin, thanks to the efforts of Frank KR1ZAN and Ryan KB1YTR.

Frank, with the help of Waylon KC1HJN, also helped us get a satellite QSO during the last SO50 pass of the day.

Field Day was a massive team effort, and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s help. Great job everyone!