Meeting On The Air – Tonight at 7PM

Join us this evening, April 15th, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll review minutes from the most recent Monthly Meeting, in which we talked about Membership Outreach, describe a new feature on the website called Helping Hams, where club members can coordinate helping each other out with ham radio projects, and make announcements about upcoming items of interest. For tonight’s topic, we’ll be asking you to reflect on your first Amateur Radio QSO.

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

11th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge is Saturday, April 3rd!

Please join us Saturday, April 3rd, from 12PM-4PM for the 11th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge.

The Maine 2 meter FM Simplex Challenge is a ham radio sprint-style contest designed to give 2 meter operators a chance to compete on an even basis, and have fun doing it.

Contacts are limited to FM Simplex on the 2 meter band.

Participants may be entered as either fixed or mobile, (but not as both).

Exchange – Exchange items include your call sign, the name of the city, village, town, or township you are operating from, and your power level. Rovers and mobiles must be within the city limits of whatever city they claim to be operating from.

City or Town – This is simply the name of the city or town you are operating from. If you do not live within the city limits, use the name of the town or municipality to which mail or a package would be addressed.

For mobile entries, use the name of the city or town you are in, or the closest city or town.

Power levels are defined as follows:
• QRP – 5 watts or less
• Medium Power – greater than 5 watts, but less than 100
• High Power – 100 watts or more

Entry Categories – There are two entry categories: Fixed and Mobile. You may enter only one category for the contest. If a station gives out more than one multiplier during the contest, that station will automatically be entered into the mobile category.

Click here for complete rules – and don’t forget there’s a club competition as well!

Catch you on the air!

Meeting On-the-Air – Tonight at 7PM!

Join us this evening, March 18th, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air!

On the agenda, we’ll discuss the minutes from our most recent meeting, and talk about the upcoming Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge, which takes place Saturday, April 3rd.

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 Meeting on the Air Net Report 02/18/21

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the WSSM Meeting on the Air! We had 15 check-ins, a few of which were first time participants. The net started on time, at 7:00PM. Tim KB1HNZ served as moderator.

Among the items discussed were the minutes from last Thursday’s monthly business meeting, which included a reminder for Winter Field Day participants to get their logs in by the deadline of February 28th. Brad KC1JMH gave us an update on the Maine Packet Radio network, and also introduced a new website that he’s designed for it, which can be found here.

Tim KB1HNZ talked about creating a place where club members can coordinate helping each other out with ham radio projects, such as antenna installs, and that is live now. It’s called Helping Hams.

There was also an announcement about the annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge, which takes place Saturday, April 3rd, from 12PM-4PM.

Earlier in the day, Chris Wheeler at Cumberland County EMA contacted us and said they are looking for volunteers to assist with the vaccination efforts at Scarborough Downs. The job roles will be more along the lines of helping with traffic flow and observation than communications, but that may evolve. If anyone is interested in helping out, please contact Chris at: wheeler@cumberlandcounty.org. It’s a big job and they could use our help.

The topic for the evening was to “describe your antenna installations. If you have a wire antenna, how did you put it up?”

The informals began with Russ WA1JFX, who checked-in from Waldoboro. Russ described his 10-element beam and inverted V antennas. Next up was Roger K1DFA, who joined us from Bartlett, NH. Brad KC1JMH described some the misadventures of his first wire antenna install, which included getting a pole saw stuck in a tree! Jason W1SFS told us about the Spaulding tower and Hexbeam that he setup over the summer, and Eric N1RXR described using a fishing pole and weight to “cast” the line for his wire antenna. Ron KC1AOT described his setup, which includes a Butternut vertical for HF, while Jim KB1SDK talked about his Comet antenna on a painters pole and the fact that his dipole “slipped down onto the roof shingles.”

Next up was Frank, in Plano, Texas, who joined us via Echolink. Frank announced that he got a new call sign, KR5N. He described his G-Whip end-fed antenna and the E-Z Hang launcher that he used to put it up. Norris KC1OER, who checked-in from Portland, described his Arrow dual-band J-Pole, which was currently inside near a window. Ben KC1HBL, talked about his Diamond X300 antenna, and Pete KC1HBM also mentioned having the same antenna. Next up was Dave KB1FGF, who described his antenna setup, which includes a Diamond CP6A vertical in the backyard and a VHF antenna attached to his chimney.

We had a few late check-ins. Steve WZ1J (with club call W1GR), described his impressive operating conditions, which included a Yaesu FT1000D and FT847 among others for transceivers, and a pair of towers – one that’s 200′ tall and another that’s 90′. Waylon KC1HJN described his progression over the years from using a discone to his current Ringo for VHF, and a Cushcraft vertical for 20-6 meters and a 40/15m dipole for HF. Our final check-in was Jonathan KC1MXB, from Springvale, and Matt AC1KO let us know he was listening from Windham.

Two pieces of traffic were handled during the net:

2 R HXC KC1JMH 17 WATERBORO ME 1405Z FEB 19
STEVE HANSEN KB1TCE
PO BOX 456
OWLS HEAD ME 04854
NO PHONE
BT
FINE JOB ON THE ARTICLES
ABOUT MESSAGE HANDLING IN MAINE
TELEGRAPH X THANK YOU FOR
YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS
BT
BRAD BROWN KC1JMH
OP NOTE RECEIVED VIA WSSM MEETING ON THE AIR
AR

8929 P N1RXR 16 NEW GLOUCESTER ME 1408Z FEB 19
TIM WATSON KB1HNZ
11 LYMAN AVENUE
SACO ME 04072
NO PHONE
KB1HNZ ATSIGN YAHOO DOT COM
BT
WEATHER CHANGES ARE COMING FOR
WARMER TEMPS X 40 IN
NEW ENGLAND AND TEXAS 60
DEGREES
BT
ERIC EMERY N1RXR
OP NOTE RECEIVED VIA WSSM MEETING ON THE AIR
AR

Net started: 7:00 PM

Check-ins:

  • KC1JMH Brad, Waterboro, ME
  • W1SFS Jason, Scarborough, ME
  • N1RXR Eric, New Gloucester, ME
  • KC1AOT Ron, Denmark, ME
  • KB1SDK Jim, South Portland, ME
  • KR5N Frank, Plano, TX
  • KC1OER Norris, Portland, ME
  • KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME
  • K1DFA Roger, Bartlett, NH
  • WA1JFX Russ, Waldoboro, ME
  • KC1HJN Waylon Windham, ME
  • KC1HBM Peter, Scarborough, ME
  • KB1FGF Dave, Scarborough, ME
  • WZ1J (W1GR) Steve, Brunswick, ME
  • KC1MXB Jonathan, Springvale, ME
  • AC1KO Matt, Windham, ME (Listening)

Net secured at 8:01 PM

After the close of the net on the repeater, the After Net immediately followed on 28.455 USB. Conditions were quite noisy. Tim KB1HNZ barely copied Eric N1RXR, and Jason W1SFS, but with much weaker signals than usual.

February Monthly Meeting via Free Conference Call

This will be an online / call-in meeting only.

Please join us Thursday, February 11th, at 7:00 PM, as we’ll be reviewing 2021 Winter Field Day and previewing the annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge, which will take place Saturday, April 3rd.

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 Membership Renewal Reminder

Dear WSSM Member,

It’s that time of year again to renew your membership with the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. On behalf of the society and its members, I’d like to THANK YOU for your support and continuing participation.

Your membership has enabled us to accomplish a lot in 2020! The year started out with Winter Field Day, where we operated in the Outdoor category from the Cumberland County EMA Communications Trailer. In March, members took part in the annual 2 Meter FM Simplex Contest, which turned out to be one of the most competitive in recent memory, and several were also involved with the Maine 200 Bicentennial Special Event, which was a huge effort and a lot of fun to be a part of!

We were all geared up to have a display at the Maine ARRL Convention in late March and at NEARFest a few weeks later, but both events were cancelled due to the emerging pandemic. During this period, we also weren’t able to meet in-person, but we made the best of it, gathering on-air for “Self-Quarantine Simplex Drills” on Thursday nights. These drills began as simple meetups on 146.580 FM simplex, and evolved into more complex drills that saw participants check-in from various shelter locations, and explore new modes like Winlink, and the FLDigi suite.

As the summer neared, it was time to think about Field Day, which came together quite late as COVID restrictions were eased just in time to allow small gatherings, and the Hillock family of Wassamki Springs Campground allowed us to setup in their field to operate for the 10th consecutive year. We entered in the 2A category with two HF stations and one 6 meter station, with a small team of operators who took turns getting on the air. In the meantime, the rules allowed for other club members to participate from their own homes and contribute to the club score, and several of them did.

In July, a few club members ventured up to the summit of Mt. Washington to activate it for Summits on the Air, and in late August, the WS1SM team visited Owls Head Lighthouse for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Throughout the year, club members actively support Cumberland County EMA, participating in exercises, including the Simulated Emergency Test (SET), in October, which focused on a hurricane scenario, and tested the capabilities of the Maine Packet Network and voice communications on VHF simplex and HF. We learned a lot from the event, which will enable us to improve our capabilities in the months ahead.

The WSSM encourages participation in various on-air activities with a focus on improving operating and technical skills. We would like to recognize and thank our members who have participated in public service events and those who are involved with SKYWARN© and the Emergency Communications Team. Your diverse contributions not only reflect well on the club and its founding principles, but also present the hobby as a vital and necessary service to the community.

I am looking forward to welcoming you as a returning member. Together, we can continue to improve and advance the amateur radio hobby amongst the public and ourselves. When renewing, please let us know of any changes in your contact information. Memberships can be paid at any club meeting, or online via PayPal.

Click here to get started.

Sincerely,

Tim Watson, KB1HNZ
President, Wireless Society of Southern Maine

A Culture of Connection

“Grandpa Listening in on the Wireless,” by Norman Rockwell

Although most of what we read about in ham radio literature is heavily weighted toward the technical side of things, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Amateur radio, at its core, is a social activity. And unlike some hobbies, like woodworking or painting, ham radio actually requires others to participate – to not only make it interesting, but to make it possible.

For over a hundred years, hams have utilized technology and harnessed natural phenomena, such as the ionosphere, to communicate with one another over long distances, and one of the first things a ham realizes is that the world isn’t quite as large as he or she once thought it was.

The Russian novelist, Mihail Sholokhov once said that “Vast sections of the world’s population are inspired by the same desires and live for common interests that bind them together far more than they separate them.”

What becomes apparent after only a few radio contacts, is that often that distance between two sides of a QSO becomes nil. No matter who you connect with on the airwaves, hams have at least one thing in common, and that’s the hobby itself. It’s the starting point, and from there, conversations often shift to other areas of interest, such as sports, other hobbies, current projects, family, occupations, and more.

After reading about all the people suffering the ill effects of staying away from each other and foregoing social activities over the past several months, due to the lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions that we’ve had to endure, I started thinking about how lucky hams are to always have someone to talk to, despite the fact that we also couldn’t do some of the activities that we normally do.

A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, called “A Close-knit culture, with separation at its core,” summed it up pretty well, saying “as a pandemic hobby, it’s perfect. Socially distanced, it hails human connection with the push of a button. If the going gets tough, you can always heave a lifeline across the airwaves.”

ARRL Vice President Mike Raisbeck K1TWF, (who visited our Field Day site a couple years ago), commented in the same article when asked about the state of amateur radio during the pandemic, saying that “people are looking to touch the rest of humanity.”

It’s a beautiful statement if you think about it.

Amateur radio is truly a culture of connection, allowing hams to interact with each other every day, no matter the distance, and for that, especially this year, I’m grateful.

Works Cited:
“A Close-Knit Culture With Separation at its Core.” Christian Science Monitor. 16 December 2020. Website: https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/2020/0521/A-close-knit-culture-with-separation-at-its-core-video

Meeting On-the-Air Reminder 05/21/2020

Meeting_Reminder

Join us this Thursday, May 21st, from 7:00PM – 8:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly business meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if members have tried out anything new in the hobby in recent weeks, talk about the recent Self-Quarantine Simplex Drills, and discuss options for Field Day 2020.

See you there!

73′

Tim