2019 Maine QSO Party is September 28-29

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The 7th annual Maine QSO Party will take place the weekend of September 28-29, from 1200 UTC on the 28th, through 1200 UTC on the 29th. Last year’s overall winner was Joe Blinick K1JB, of Portland.

The contest is designed to encourage Maine stations to expand their knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, and improve their operating skills, and station capability by participating a competition in which W/VE, and DX stations have the incentive to work Maine.

The contest takes place on the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands, and allows for phone and CW for modes.

For an exchange, stations in Maine send signal report and county, while stations outside of Maine, but within either the United States or Canada, send signal report and state/province. DX stations send signal report and “DX.”

For scoring, contacts with stations in Maine are worth 2 points. Contacts with stations outside Maine are worth 1 point. Multipliers are the same for all participants: Use Maine counties (16), States (50), Canadian Provinces (14), and DXCC entities as multipliers. You may work any station once on each of the two modes, on each of the six contest bands.

The Maine QSO Party is a fun contest that offers categories for operators of all skill levels and station capability. Also similar to DX contests like the Canada Day contest or YODX, its open to all contacts as long as the proper information is exchanged. Stations outside of Maine are not required to work only Maine stations for credit, as is the case with most QSO parties. This being said, its important that as many Maine stations as possible are active, and it would be really nice to have participation from all 16 counties. So far, the competition has seen most Maine participation from the more populated southern counties. Help get the word out and share this on contest blogs and social sites!

For more information, including complete rules, click here.

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2019 ILLW at Rockland Breakwater Light

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Eric Emery KC1HJK attaches a mast to a railing to mount the 40m SOTA Beams dipole

On Saturday, August 17th, the WS1SM team activated Rockland Breakwater Light, in Rockland Harbor, ME, for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW). Club members operated from 10am-5pm, using call sign WS1SM.

2019 marked the ninth year that WSSM has participated in ILLW, which sees over 500 light houses and lightships activated in over 40 countries. The international event helps promote the preservation of lighthouses and lightships, and at the same time gives the community an opportunity to experience Amateur Radio first hand.

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Tim KB1HNZ, Pete KC1DFO, and Brad KC1JMH about to take on the breakwater

The morning started out with breakfast at Moody’s Diner, in Waldoboro, before the team met up at the parking lot for the lighthouse. Ahead of them was task of carrying the radio equipment across the 7/8-mile long breakwater. This wasn’t easy, as one of the heavisest items, a marine battery, had to be brought out in a cart that wasn’t well suited to the rough surface of the rocks that made up the breakwater. It required two to three people at any given time to help it along. Once at the lighthouse, however, the setting was a beautiful place to spend the day on the radio.

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L-R: CJ W1CJC, Tim KB1HNZ, and Pete KC1DFO setting up antennas

The WS1SM team operated 2 stations full time from the front porch of the lighthouse, which overlooks the breakwater, including a Yaesu FT-857d with a 40m dipole, and an Icom IC-706 MKIIG connected to a BuddiPole (for 6-20m) antenna. Both stations operated on battery power, with solar assistance. 40 meter conditions were excellent and contacts were plenty there. Band conditions were a little more difficult on 20 meters, but it improved later in the day to even include a few DX contacts.

Particpants included Eric Emery KC1HJK, CJ Carlsson W1CJC, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, Brad Brown, Jr. KC1JMH, and Peter Warren KC1DFO.

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Tim KB1HNZ operates 40 meters

“This year’s ILLW has been a lot of fun,” said Tim Watson KB1HNZ. “It was fun working all the other lighthouses on the bands and also demonstrating ham radio to the public. We even met some other hams in person, who stopped by to say hi.”

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Lifting the cart over the cracks in the breakwater on the way back

Brad Brown KC1JMH said afterwards, “We’d really like to thank the folks from Massachusetts who helped us carry the cart back,” referring to a gentleman and his two grandsons who saw Brad, Tim, CJ, and Pete struggling with it and helped carry it to the mainland. “The extra help meant a lot at the end of a long day.” Earlier, Eric KC1HJK, brought the battery back on his kayak, so it was a little easier than it could’ve been.

Click here to see more photos from this and previous lighthouse events.

2019 Field Day at Wassamki Springs Campground

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SCARBOROUGH, ME – On the weekend of June 22-23, the WS1SM team participated in their 9th ARRL Field Day from Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough. With over 30 participants and guests, including visitors from Cumberland County EMA, public service representatives, and Scarborough State Representatives Shawn Babine and Chris Cuazzo, the activities were many.

On the air, we operated as 3A (which is a club station, on battery power, using 3 transmitters), maintaining a continuous presence on the bands on CW, SSB, and digital. We also had a Get on the Air (GOTA) station operating as N5QYQ during most of the event, allowing beginners and new hams to operate HF as well.

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Anne KC1KWH, Ara AA1FB, Ben KC1HBL, Sean W1MSA, Gregg KM4PKE, and Pete KC1DFO work on installing a 40m rotatable dipole.

Setup began late Friday morning when a number of club members helped setup Rick Fickett’s (K1OT) CW operating trailer. The trailer is an all-in-one ham shack, which includes a 40-foot tower with 40m monobander and support for wire antennas. The radio used is an Elecraft K3 with built in tuner, and is complete with digital logging. Later Friday afternoon, the SSB station was setup, which includes a Spiderbeam tribander (for 10, 15, and 20m), and a rotatable dipole for 40m. The radios, and Icom IC-7300 and Yaesu FT-950, were setup in the Cumberland County EMA’s utility trailer. On Saturday morning, Charlie Shepard’s (W1CPS) 6 meter station was setup, which includes a 5 element yagi atop a 40-foot mast and an Icom IC-7000, and we were ready to get on the air!

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Rick Fickett K1OT, in the office

Although cloudy on Saturday, the weather was pleasant and remained that way until late in the day when a storm blew through. The winds were severe enough to shake the tower on the CW trailer and there were some crashes of thunder that caused us to shut down operations, but it only lasted for a few minutes. 40 meters was steady throughout most of Field Day, and 20m opened up nicely late Saturday afternoon and early Sunday. Rick K1OT, Joe K1JB, Greg K1ME, and others had some good runs going on CW on both 40m and 20m throughout the event, and Brad KC1JMH, Eric KC1HJK, Greg KM4PKE, Pete KC1DFO, Sean W1MSA, and Ben KC1HBL all had good runs on 40m SSB at various times. Stefania K1GJY and Waylon KC1HJN did the same on 20m SSB.

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Charlie Shepard W1CPS operates 6m SSB

Eric KC1HJK served as the safety officer for 2019, and he did a great job posting informational signs for the public and making everyone aware of the whereabouts of safety equipment such as the fire extinguisher and first aid items.

Frank KR1ZAN helped us copy the W1AW Field Day message from his home QTH, which was super helpful because many of us were setting up antennas during the broadcast.

Tim KB1HNZ sent radiograms to the Section Manager and various others by way of the Digital Traffic Network via our Packet station on VHF. Late Sunday, he and Eric were also successful at making a satellite QSO via AO92.

Mike Fandell N5QYQ and Steve McGrath AA1HF ran the Get on the Air (GOTA) station, which was located at the Wassamki Ham Shack. Many guests stopped by throughout Field Day, and lots of new folks had a chance to get on the air and experience HF. Thanks to Mike and Steve for making it so much fun for everyone!

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From L-R: Rep. Shawn Babine, Rep. Chris Cuazzo, Mike Fandell N5QYQ, Peter Hatem KC1HBM, and Ann McBride KC1KWH

Josh Brown KC1KTX got on the air at both the SSB and the GOTA stations, having QSOs at both, and was also the grill master during the cookout Saturday night!

Anne McBride KC1KWH got on the air and made lots of HF contacts at the GOTA station, as did Delia Brown, Daniel Fransiscus KC1DUN, Waylon McDonald KC1HJN, and Dave Wood KB1FGF.

Pete Donovan K1SK did a great job with the media publicity. Portions of our press release were published in the Portland Press Herald in the days leading up to Field Day.

Peter Hatem KC1HBM invited Scarborough State Representatives Shawn Babine and Chris Cuazzo to attend the event, and not only did they both make an appearance, but they stayed a while as Peter showed them around the various stations, including the GOTA station.

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Josh Brown KC1KTX operates 40m SSB

Special thanks also to Dave Feeney WN1F, and everyone at Cumberland County EMA for their support, and to the Hillock Family for allowing us to operate from Wassamki Springs Campground for the 9th consecutive year!

We finished up with nearly 1,700 QSOs and maximum bonus points! It was a massive effort. Thanks to eveyone for helping to make our 2019 Field Day such a success!

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The 20/15/10 meter Spiderbeam and CCEMA trailer

Click here to view photos of this year’s and previous Field Days.

WS1SM Team Activates Mt. Agamenticus for Summits on the Air (SOTA)

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by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

YORK, ME – The WS1SM team ventured to the summit of Mt. Agamenticus on May 19th, meeting for breakfast at Maine Diner, in Wells, before making their way up the mountain. Among those who participated were Greg Dean K1ME, CJ Carlsson W1CJC, Brad Brown KC1JMH, Eric Emery KC1HJK, and myself. It was my second activation from the summit, having been part of the 2013 team, but for the others, it was their first SOTA activation from Mt. Agamenticus (W1/AM-381).

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Greg Dean K1ME (left) operates 20m CW, while Eric Emery KC1HJK (foreground), makes his first HF contact, on 20m SSB

Being a former ski area “The Big A,” Mt. Aggie is more developed than most of the mountains we hike to. There is a summit house, that was once a ski lodge, well groomed hiking trails, a parking area, and remnants of an old T-bar chair lift, among other relics. We set up our stations on a picnic table on the northern side of the clearing at the top.

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CJ Carlsson W1CJC, operates 40m SSB

Among the equipment used were my Yaesu Ft-857d and BuddiPole rotatable dipole, which I used on 14 and 21 MHz, CJ’s Icom IC706, which was paired with a 40m dipole strung in the trees, and various VHF radios. Greg brought a yagi for 144, which made for some interesting contacts, and we also used a TYT TH-9000D and J Pole for 220 MHz. Brad KC1JMH also took the opportunity to try his partially finished QRP kit on the air for the first time.

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A friend stops by

The weather was cloudy and windy at times, but otherwise pretty nice compared to the several days of rain that preceded the expedition. The only rain we experienced was a little bit on the drive toward the mountain, and some during setup, but it didn’t last. Conditions on the HF bands were much worse, however, and contacts were slow going with only a handful on SSB and CW. We made the majority of our QSOs on VHF, making one summit-to-summit contact, and one as far away as Boxboro, MA on 2 meter FM Simplex.

Photos courtesy of Eric Emery (copyright mark), and Brad Brown

For more information about WSSM SOTA expeditions, click here.

WSSM Meeting on the Air – Jan 4, 2018

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Net Report for 01/04/2018

WSSM Meeting on the Air

Net commenced at 7:00PM (0000 UTC)

Moderator: Tim KB1HNZ, Saco, ME

11 Check-ins, including:

  • WX1GYX  Eric,  New Gloucester, ME
  • KB1PLY  Rory,  Saco, ME
  • W1AMX  Dave,  Harrison, ME
  • KC1HBM  Peter,  Scarborough, ME
  • KC1DFO  Pete,  Dayton, ME
  • KC1HJN  Waylon,  Windham, ME
  • KC1AOT  Ron,  Denmark, ME
  • KA1VPU  Tim,  Gorham, ME
  • W2VAN  Mike,  Portland, ME
  • W1CJC  CJ,  Portland, ME
  • KC1DSP  Patrick,  Biddeford, ME

Net closed at 7:45PM (0045 UTC)


The After Net (28.455 USB)

Net commenced at 7:47PM (0047 UTC)

Moderator: Rory KB1PLY

2 Check-ins, including:

  • KC1DFO  Pete,  Dayton, ME
  • KB1HNZ  Tim,  Saco, ME

Net closed at 8:15PM (0115 UTC)


Net Announcements:    

SKYWARN was activated throughout the day for the winter storm, beginning at 10AM, collecting reports from multiple sources, including 2m FM, DMR, and HF.

WSSM will take part in Winter Field Day on January 27-28, 2018. A planning session will take place at the January 11th formal meeting at the CCEMA Bunker, 22 High Street, Windham, ME

WSSM Meeting on the Air – Dec 28, 2017

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Net Report for 12/28/2017

WSSM Meeting on the Air

Net commenced at 7:10PM (0010 UTC)

Moderator: Tim KB1HNZ, Saco, ME

17 Check-ins, including:

  • W1AMX  Dave,  Harrison, ME
  • KC1HBM  Peter,  Scarborough, ME
  • KC1FHU  Stephen,  Standish, ME
  • KC1HJN  Waylon,  Windham, ME
  • KB1YYC  Dakota,  Westbrook, ME
  • W1MSA  Sean,  Naples, ME
  • KC1HJK  Eric,  New Gloucester, ME
  • K1GJY  Stefania,  Saco, ME
  • KC1AMQ  Annette,  Greene, ME
  • WZ1J  Steve,  Brunswick, ME
  • NW1B  Troy,  Scarborough, ME
  • KB1ZLV  Bert,  Greene, ME
  • KR1MAC  Mac,  Saco, ME
  • N3AWM  Adam,  Buxton, ME
  • KC1HBL  Ben,  mobile in Buxton, ME
  • KB1PLY  Rory,  Saco, ME
  • KC1CWC  Tony,  Nobleboro, ME

Net closed at 7:45PM (0045 UTC)


The After Net (28.455 USB)

Net commenced at 7:47PM (0047 UTC)

Moderator: Tim KB1HNZ

2 Check-ins, including:

  • KB1PLY  Rory,  Saco, ME
  • N3AWM  Adam,  Buxton, ME

Net closed at 8:15PM (0115 UTC)


Net Announcements:    

WSSM will take part in Winter Field Day on January 27-28, 2018. A planning session will take place at the January 11th formal meeting at the CCEMA Bunker, 22 High Street, Windham, ME

Net control thanked Eric Emery KC1HJK for his support of SKYWARN during the most recent storms over the holiday weekend and on Christmas Day.

Stephen KC1FHU announced that he has a 6m J-Pole available. Call: (207) 831-3964 for more information.