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.
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.
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!”
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.