2021 Maine QSO Party is September 25-26!

Mark your calendars!

THE 2021 MAINE QSO PARTY IS SEPTEMBER 25-26!

Contest Period: 1200 UTC Saturday September 2, 2020 to 1200 UTC Sunday September 2, 2021.

Bands and Modes: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10, CW, and phone (SSB, FM, AM).

Exchange: Stations in Maine send signal report and county. 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.”

Click here for more details and complete rules.

Annual Business Meeting is This Thursday!

Please join us this Thursday, September 9th, from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM, at Wassamki Springs Campground, for our Annual 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!

First on the agenda is Officer Elections. Among the current officers, Brad Brown (Vice President), Tim Watson (President), and Josh Brown (Treasurer) are termed out. Having served only one year so far, Jason Andrews (secretary), may run again if he chooses.

The Maine QSO Party HF Contest takes place the last full weekend of September (September 25-26). We need club members to get on the air and represent Maine! The 2020 MEQP had a record number of entries, from 7 different countries, 41 U.S. States, and 2 Canadian Provinces.

The 2021 SET is scheduled to take place Saturday, October 9th (usually from 8:00 – noon).

Guest Speaker: Fred Kemmerer, who is running for ARRL New England director, will join us via Free Conference call to tell us his ideas.

If you’d like to join us remotely, here’s the dial-in instructions:
(Last month we found that cell coverage at the campground is 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

2020 Maine QSO Party Results

2020 MEQP Award Certificate

Congratulations to 2020 MEQP Overall winner, Axel Bruderer, KI6RRN, of La Mesa, CA! Axel scored a total of 417,679 points, making 1920 QSO’s!

2020 was a record year for entries. We received 197 logs from 7 different countries, 41 U.S. States, 2 Canadian Provinces, and 7 Maine Counties. Thanks to everyone who participated!

The most popular categories were the Single Operator Low Power (SOLP) class, with 125 entries, followed by Single Operator High Power (SOHP), with 55 entries.

Michael Snook W7LG, from Lewiston, PA, captured the Single Operator QRP (SOQRP) category with 2,508 points. 2019 Overall Winner, Stefania Watson K1GJY won the Single Operator Low Power (SOLP) category with 60,241 points. This year’s overall winner, Axel Bruderer KI6RRN, won the Single Operator High Power (SOHP) category with 417.679 points, and in Multi Op, Richard (W4THI) and Debra (KN4NZH) Lucas, of Jupiter, FL won in Multi Operator Low Power (MOLP), while Ethan (N1SOH) and Jacob (W1FM) Handwerker, of Lexington, MA, continued their winning ways in Multi Operator High Power (MOHP), picking up their fourth win in the category.

In the club competition, the Southern California Contest Club took the top spot, with 3 log entries totaling 439,558 points. Congratulations!

For complete results, including State, Province, National, and Maine County winners, click here.

The 2021 Maine QSO Party will take place the last full weekend of September, (9/25 – 9/26). Click here for complete rules and details.

WSSM-ECT Net Report for 8/26/2021

Date: 08/26/2021
Time Started: 7:00 PM
Time Secured: 7:20 PM
Frequency: 147.090 (+ / 100 Hz) W1QUI repeater, on Blackstrap Mt., Falmouth, ME.
Net Control: Waylon KC1HJN

Check-ins (7):

KC1HBL Ben Buxton, ME Commercial
KC1JMH Brad Waterboro, ME Battery
KC1OLX Tom Gorham, ME Commercial
W1QUI George Auburn, ME Commercial
AB1NS Tom Westbrook, ME Commercial
KB1HNZ Tim Windham Battery
KA1VPU Tim Windham Battery
Traffic Exchanged: 2

Simplex Net
Date:
08/26/2021
Time Started: 7:21 PM
Time Secured: 7:39 PM
Frequency: 146.580 FM Simplex
Net Control: Tim KA1VPU (op. as WS1EC)

Check-ins (5):

KC1HBL Ben Buxton, ME Commercial
KC1JMH Brad Waterboro, ME Battery
KC1CPA Tom Chelsea, ME Commercial
KB1HNZ Tim Windham, ME Battery
KC1HJN Waylon Windham, ME Battery

Training Script:

This evening we’re transmitting from the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency, in Windham, for the first time since the SET back in October of 2020. I’d like to thank Chris and Jim and everyone here at CCEMA for hosting us this evening. Its good to be back.

I have one announcement. The Simulated Emergency Test (SET), which is scheduled for Saturday, October 9th, is going to be a radiogram relay and Winlink exercise this year. The details are currently in development, but it likes like it’s going to have a fun contest kind of element to it. So, the training that we’ll be doing between now and then will be focused on developing those skills.

Tonight, I’m going to ask net participants to craft answers to and send a radiogram reply to one of two MARS Interoperability Exercise messages. We’ll do that portion here on the repeater and then we’ll move over to 146.580 FM Simplex for the fun part of the exercise and see who can copy who.

Traffic Handled:

26 R K2WG 45 EAST CHATHAM NY 1250Z AUG 16
TIMOTHY WATSON PRES WIRELESS SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
11 LYMAN AVE
SACO ME 04072
NO PHONE KB1HNZ ATSIGN YAHOO DOT COM
MARS RRI DASH NTS INTEROP 2021081240Z
BT
THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN
THIS TRAINING EXERCISE X WHAT
IS THE DISTANCE AND BEARING
TO THE AIRPORT CLOSEST TO
YOUR LOCATION QUERY PLEASE EMAIL
YOUR REPLY TO ME AND
TO THE ARMY MARS REGION
TWO OPERATIONS OFFICER AT RON
ATSIGN RONTOMO DOT ORG O
BT
WAYNE F GEARING K2WG ARMY MARS REGION 2 MEMBER AAR2SE
WAYNEG1231 ATSIGN FAIRPOINT DOT NET OR 518 610 1929

Sent to: Brad KC1JHM, from Tim KB1HNZ

37 R HXC K2XU 35 MOORESTOWN NJ 2145Z AUG 9
TIMOTHY W WATSON KB1HNZ/PRES WIRELESS SOCIETY OF SOUTHE
11 LYMAN AVENUE
SACO ME 04072
NO PHONE KB1HNZ ATSIGN YAHOO DOT COM
THIS IS A TRAINING EXERCISE BETWEEN REGION TWO ARMY MAR 08092147Z BT PLEASE IDENTIFY CLOSEST HOSPITAL WITH THE DISTANCE AND BEARING FROM YOUR LOCATION X EMAIL YOUR REPLY TO ME AND THE REGION TWO OPERATIONS OFFICER X HIS EMAIL IS RON ATSIGN RONTOMO DOT ORG THANK YOU BT JOHN HOOVER K2XU AAR2KX ARMY MARS REGION 2 MOORESTOWN NJ JHHOOVER ATSIGN COMCAST DOT NET 856 DASH 231 DASH 0754 K2XU 08092147Z KB1HNZ 08092147Z AR

Sent to Ben KC1HBL, from Tim KB1HNZ

After the net, Tim KB1HNZ and Waylon KC1HJN spent some time swapping the Kenwood D710A out for the original Kenwood D710G (which had been sent out for repair) and sorting the computer and software. In our absence, the PC at the ham station had been upgraded to Windows 10 and all the previous software and settings were no longer present.

Waylon and Tim successfully installed Winlink Express, but were having trouble when the Kenwood radio would display “TNC, STA CON, then packet12” when commanded to transmit. Since they ran out of time, this couldn’t be resolved last evening. A further work detail will have to take place to install multiple other software and test radio connections to prepare for the upcoming SET drill.

Cumberland County ECT Training Net Tonight at 7:00 PM

Please join us TONIGHT at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly Emergency Communications Training. This will be our first hybrid in-person and on-air drill, in which we’ll be testing out radios and equipment at the CCEMA Bunker, so your participation from home will be important.

We’ll first meet on the repeater, where we can exchange traffic and share announcements, and once everyone’s checked-in, we’ll move over to 146.580 simplex for a roll call. On simplex, we’ll exchange signal reports with each other and note how well everyone can copy each other, and the station at the bunker.

The training portion will include sending radiogram replies to messages as part of an ongoing Amateur Radio / MARS Interoperability exercise.

Over the next two months, we’ll be making use of other modes and bands, focusing on developing skills, such as familiarity with message forms, traffic handling, using modes like FM Simplex, Winlink, Packet, and the FLDigi suite, to prepare for the upcoming Simulated Emergency Test (SET), which takes place in October.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

ILLW 2021 from Doubling Point Lighthouse

Steve AA1HF operates 20m SSB

On Saturday, August 21st, the WSSM team activated Doubling Point Lighthouse, in Arrowsic, Maine, for 2021 International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Since the lighthouse is accessed by a single lane dirt road, and can only accommodate about 4 vehicles, the Arrowsic Town Hall was chosen as a meeting place, where participants could park and carpool to the lighthouse. Everyone arrived by 10:00 AM, and soon after, Tim Watson KB1HNZ led the group to the nearby lighthouse, where setup of the stations and antennas began.

Jason W1SFS operates 40m SSB

Club members, including Jason Andrews W1SFS, Dylan Bauer KC1PSD, Steve McGrath AA1HF, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, and Stefania Watson K1GJY, took turns operating HF, on 40m, 17m, and 20m throughout the day using Tim’s Yaesu FT857d, Jason’s Yaesu FT-450, and Steve’s Icom IC-705, along with a variety of antennas, including a BuddiPole rotatable dipole, DX Commander vertical, and a portable loop. All stations ran on battery power.

Stefania K1GJY operates 20m SSB

For 2021, the WSSM team used special event call sign, W1D, for ILLW, and it certainly got some attention on the air!

The band conditions were excellent and the contacts came quick and often. Stefania K1GJY maintained a presence on 20 meters for most of the day, while Jason W1SFS, Steve AA1HF, and Dylan KC1PDS, operated 40 meters with equal success. Later in the afternoon, Dylan and Stefania tried different bands with the Icom IC-705 and loop antenna, and Stefania had a QSO with fellow WSSM member Frank KR5N, in Plano, TX, on 17 meters! Jason worked Rick K1OT, who was mobile, on 40 meters SSB, and Stefania also made several DX contacts on 20 meters SSB, the most notable being a lighthouse in the Azores. The team made over 100 contacts by the time the stations were broken down at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Dylan KC1PDS works 17m SSB

Afterwards, Dylan and his dad, Steve and his wife, Marilyn, and Tim, Stefania, and son, Elliot, all met at the Kennebec Tavern, in nearby Bath, for a nice dinner, before heading back to Southern Maine.

Click here to see pictures of this year’s and previous lighthouse activations.

2021 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge Winners Announced

Point-to-point study of K1HC’s QSOs during the 2021 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge

This year’s overall winner of the Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge is: Dick Bean K1HC, from Westwood, Massachusetts, who made a total of 95 QSOs, in 41 different towns, for a total of 3,895 points. Congratulations on a job well done! K1HC operated as Fixed Medium from his vacation home in Haprswell, Maine, using an Icom IC-9700 into a Diamond X50 at 295′ above sea level, during the contest.

The continuing pandemic meant that served agencies, such as the National Weather Service, County EMAs, and Red Cross facilities were closed to the public, so we didn’t have any activations from those places like in years past. There was also a continuation of the trend from the previous year, which saw more participants operate from their own homes.

John Horton KC1LSO, and Dakota Dumont KB1YYC, operated as QRP mobiles, while Stefania Watson K1GJY, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, Eric Emery N1RXR, and Jason Andrews W1SFS operated in the Medium Mobile category. Dakota, John, and Eric were heard mostly in the towns around Portland and west (Falmouth, Yarmouth, Cumberland, Westbrook, Windham, etc.), while Jason travelled south from the Scarborough area. Tim and Stefania covered the most ground, ranging from Camp Ellis to Waldoboro.

Similar to years past, the most popular categories were the medium-powered classes, and they were also the most competitive, with K1GJY and KB1HNZ being separated by only 1 QSOs in Medium Mobile, and Medium Fixed tied a record for the number of entries. K1HC and WD1F led the pack, but K1JJS and KB1FGF were separated by just 10 QSOs and even on multipliers.

Some stations that appeared in many logs, include W1DYJ, KC1MSQ, N1TTT, KA1KJR, KC1HJN, and WZ1J.

The Merrymeeting Amateur Radio Association (MARA) captured the club competition for the first time, earning 7,782 points from 4 logs. Congratulations on a job well done!

Click here for complete details, and to see all the category winners.

The next Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Meeting On the Air Tonight at 7:00 PM on 147.090

Join us this evening, August 19th, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll be talking about our upcoming activation of Doubling Point Lighthouse for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW), which takes place this Saturday, August 21st.

As always, if you have HF capabilities, you’re welcome to join us on 28.455 USB for the After Net, immediately following our net on the repeater.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

WSSM Team Activates Mt. Blue State Park (K-2397) for POTA

Jason W1SFS operates 20m SSB

On Sunday, August 1st, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine (WSSM) activated Mt. Blue State Park, in Weld, Maine, for Parks on the Air (POTA). The team met at a Dunkin Donuts on the corner of Routes 2 and 142, in Dixfield, at about 10:00 AM, to refuel on coffee before venturing to a scenic overlook just a few miles down the road.

View from the overlook

Located in the western foothills, Mt. Blue State Park is Maine’s largest, encompassing almost 8,000 acres. The area is named for the spruce that inhabit the granite slopes of Mt. Blue. The overlook opens to an expansive view of Webb Lake, and Web River, surrounded by hills that are dominated by the 3,187 ft. tall Mt. Blue. It’s a beautiful area to visit, and the weather was nearly perfect, with only small puffy clouds making an appearance now and then throughout the day.

Tim KA1VPU and Brad KC1JMH

The WSSM team, consisting of Jason Andrews W1SFS, Brad Brown Jr. KC1JMH, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, Stefania Watson K1GJY, Rory McEwen KB1PLY, and Tim Welch KA1VPU, made use of picnic tables to setup their stations, which included a Yaesu FT857d connected to a Buddipole configured for 20 meters, and an Icom IC-7000 connected to a 40 meter vertical. Both stations ran on battery power.

Jason W1SFS acquired a special event callsign, W1B, for the activity, and it was popular on the bands! 40 meters was busy throughout the day, and 20 meters came on strong in the afternoon.

“Being the first time using KA1VPU’s Buddipole, we experimented with using the included balun, which requires it to be configured more like a traditional dipole, and then by eliminating the balun, which sees it configured like an off-center fed dipole, with one radiating element longer than the other,” explained Brad Brown KC1JMH. “We found that it worked much better without the balun.”
Stefania K1GJY had quite a run going on 40 meters, and Brad KC1JMH and Jason W1SFS racked up many contacts on 20 meters.

“We had a great time!” says Stefania Watson K1GJY, “and finished the day with over 80 QSOs!”

Stefania works 40m SSB

During the event, operators were mostly calling CQ, but did some searching and pouncing, giving out the POTA designator K-2397, which is assigned to Mt. Blue State Park. They also made a few park-to-park contacts.

Afterwards, the team followed Jason W1SFS, to his parents’ house on Rt. 142, on the Webb River, for an afternoon cookout, before driving back to southern Maine.

This was the second time the WSSM team operated from the state park, the first being a Summits on the Air (SOTA) activation, from the summit of Mt. Blue, in 2014.

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.