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.

Meeting Reminder – This Thursday, 7PM at Wassamki Springs Campground

Please join us this Thursday, August 12th, 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 discussing our upcoming activation of Doubling Point Light for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW), which takes place Saturday, August 21st. We’ll also begin the officer nomination process, and welcome Fred Kemmerer AB1OC, who will stop by to talk about his candidacy for ARRL New England Director.

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

ILLW Activation of Doubling Point Lighthouse, August 21st!

Please join us Saturday, August 21st, as we venture to Doubling Point Lighthouse, in Arrowsic, ME, to activate it for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Similar to our recent POTA activation, we’ll setup portable battery-powered HF radios, using free-standing antennas. Since this will be the first ILLW activation from Doubling Point, it does not yet have an ILLW designator assigned, but it will very soon.

Doubling Point Light was built in 1898 on Arrowsic Island on the Kennebec River in Maine. It was one of four lighthouses built that year to provide navigational aid for ships on their way to Bath, “the City of Ships.”

ILLW began in 1998 as the Scottish Northern Lights Award, organized by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group. Usually taking place on the 3rd full weekend in August each year, ILLW attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries. It is one of the most popular international amateur radio events each year.

Doubling Point only has parking for 4 vehicles, so car-pooling is necessary!

For more information about Doubling Point Lighthouse, and for directions, please click here to visit their website.

A donation to the Friends of Doubling Point Lighthouse is recommended.

ILLW SCHEDULE:

10:00 AM – We’ll meet up at the Arrowsic Town Hall, located at 340 Arrowsic Rd., Arrowsic, ME, where some of us can leave their vehicles, and then drive to the lighthouse.

10:30 – 11:00 AM – Setup HF stations and antennas. We’ll be using special event call sign W1D for the event.

11:10 AM – 3:30 PM – On-air activities.

3:45 PM – Breakdown stations.

Talk-in on 146.580 FM Simplex.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

POTA Activation from Mt. Blue State Park, Sunday, August 1st

Please join us Sunday, August 1st as we venture to Mt. Blue State Park in Weld, ME, to activate it for Parks on the Air (POTA).

We will be setting up a couple of portable, battery-powered HF stations, using free-standing antennas. Mt. Blue State Park has the POTA designator, K-2397.

POTA SCHEDULE:

10:00 AM – We’ll meet up at the Dunkin Donuts at the corner of Rt. 2 and Rt. 142, in Dixfield, ME (36 Main Street, Dixfield, ME 04224), and then drive to a scenic overlook located within Mt. Blue State Park, where we’ll setup our stations.

10:30 – 11:00 AM – Setup HF stations and antennas.

11:10 AM – 3:00 PM – On-air activities.

3:15 PM – Begin breakdown of stations.

3:30 PM – We’ll follow Jason W1SFS to his parents’ house on Rt. 142, on the Webb River, for an afternoon cookout.

Talk-in on 146.580 FM Simplex.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

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 June 26-27 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.

The public is encouraged to attend on Saturday, June 26, from 2p.m. to 8 p.m.

“After the pandemic limited us to a much smaller operation last year, with very little public participation, it will be great to have a more traditional Field Day,” said WSSM President, Tim Watson, of Saco. “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.”

During the event, participants 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 Watson.

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,” Watson explained. “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 club Field Day score in Maine and hopes to finish on top again in 2021,” says Watson. “The public is welcome to attend the event and if anyone is interested in learning more about amateur radio, 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

“We’d like to thank the Hillock family, owners of Wassamki Springs Campground, for being such great hosts and providing us with an exceptional facility to setup for Field Day at for meetings throughout the summer.” Please visit: https://wassamkisprings.com/ to find out more about this wonderful campground, located in Scarborough, ME.

Meeting Reminder – This Thursday! 08/13/20

Meeting_Reminder

Please join us this Thursday, August 13th, from 7:00-9:00pm at Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough, for our monthly business meeting.

We’ll be meeting outside, near the Ham Shack (which is the former camp store), so please bring a lawn chair and practice social distancing where possible. Everyone who enters the facility must check-in at the gate with their name and phone number. Also, out of respect of the owners and their customers, we ask that everyone wear a face covering, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained.

The Ham Shack will be open, but because of its small size, only two people will be allowed inside at a time. Attendees are invited to bring their own radio to try out on the air, after the meeting adjourns. There are antennas already installed for HF and VHF.

Our topics for the evening include an overview of the recent W1V 10th Anniversary Special Event, which took place in July, the upcoming International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW), which takes place the weekend of August 22-23, a discussion about indoor meeting locations for the Fall and Winter, and Officer Nominations, among others.

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.