WSSM Team Activates Mt. Agamenticus for POTA & SOTA

On Saturday, July 23rd, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine and New England Radio Discussion Society, participated in a joint Parks on the Air (POTA) and Summits on the Air (SOTA) activation from Mt. Agamenticus, in York, ME.

Mt. Agamenticus has the designation W1/AM-381 for SOTA and the Mt. Agamenticus Wildlife Management Area, which includes the summit, is designated K-8448 for POTA.

The WSSM team, consisting of Stefania (K1GJY) and Tim (KB1HNZ) Watson, along with their son Elliot, and Brad Brown Jr., (KC1JMH), setup two HF radios and one for the 1.25 meter band. The first they did upon arrival was to locate some shaded areas, because it was expected to be a very hot day. Temperatures were already in the low 90’s by 10:00 AM!

Tim and Stefania setup a Buddipole and a Yaesu FT-857D on 20 meters, and also a TYT TH-900D and J-Pole for 220 MHz.

Brad KC1JMH and Rob Sylvester AA1BS took turns making contacts on 40 meters, using Brad’s Yaesu FT-991A and an end fed that was tossed in a tree. They were later joined by Jim Oliver KC1NIC and Paul Klebauer W1BIU from the New England Radio Discussion Society. Thanks to Susan Bloomfield WB2UQP for sharing our notice with their newsgroup!

Conditions were very good, allowing for several Park-to-Park and DX contacts, and even some long-distance simplex QSOs on 220 MHz!

At various times, Tim, Stefania, and Brad took breaks from the radios to explore the summit trails and take in the views, which are quite expansive in spots. At the summit, there’s an educational center, located in the old “Big A” ski lodge, an observation deck, and several of the trails have scenic overlooks. Some of them cross former ski trails and contain relics of an old T-bar lift.

Typically 2 meters is hampered by intermod on Mt. Aggie, so it wasn’t attempted until much later in the afternoon, but right before packing up, Tim and Brad made several contacts on 146.520 FM Simplex, including one with a maritime mobile station in Portsmouth Harbor.

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


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).

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.

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.

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.