Meeting on-the-Air Tonight at 7PM on 147.090

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
7:00 – 8:00pm on the 147.090 (+ / 100.0 Hz) W1QUI repeater

Join us this evening, September 17th, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air .

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if participants have ever tried to communicate via an amateur radio satellite or with astronauts on an orbiting space craft. We also plan on cutting the meeting short, at around 7:25pm, to allow participants to attempt to contact each other, or other, via the cross-band repeater on the International Space Station (ISS), as it will be passing over Maine during that time.

Here’s the details of the ISS pass and repeater frequencies, so you can program your radios and join us:

The ISS will pass from SSW to ENE between 7:25 and 7:32pm, reaching a maximum altitude of 21 degrees, at around 7:29pm.

ISS cross-band repeater frequencies:

Uplink: 145.990 (PL: 67.0 Hz)
Downlink: 437.800 (+/- Doppler)

Click here for more information about contacting the ISS.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ


2020 Maine QSO Party is September 26-27th!

Mark your calendars!

The 8th annual Maine QSO Party will take place the weekend of September 26-27, from 1200 UTC on the 26th, through 1200 UTC on the 27th. Last year’s overall winner was Stefania Watson K1GJY, of Saco, Maine.

The contest is designed to encourage Maine stations to expand their knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, and improve their operating skills, and station capability by participating a competition in which W/VE, and DX stations have the incentive to work Maine.

The contest takes place on the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands, and allows for phone and CW for modes.

For an exchange, stations in Maine send signal report and county, while 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.”

For scoring, contacts with stations in Maine are worth 2 points. Contacts with stations outside Maine are worth 1 point. Multipliers are the same for all participants: Use Maine counties (16), States (50), Canadian Provinces (14), and DXCC entities as multipliers. You may work any station once on each of the two modes, on each of the six contest bands.

The Maine QSO Party is a fun contest that offers categories for operators of all skill levels and station capability. Also similar to DX contests like the Canada Day contest or YODX, its open to all contacts as long as the proper information is exchanged. Stations outside of Maine are not required to work only Maine stations for credit, as is the case with most QSO parties. This being said, its important that as many Maine stations as possible are active, and it would be really nice to have participation from all 16 counties. So far, the competition has seen most Maine participation from the more populated southern counties. Help get the word out and share this on contest blogs and social sites!

For more information, including complete rules, click here.

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Meeting On-the-Air – This Thursday!

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Meeting On-the-Air Reminder:

7:00 – 8:00pm on the 147.090 (+ / 100.0 Hz) W1QUI repeater

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

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if net participants have ever operated HF portable, and if so, what was their most memorable experience, and why.

We’ll also discuss plans to activate Owls Head Lighthouse this Sunday for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Meeting Announcement – This Thursday!

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MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
7:00 – 9:00pm at Wassamki Springs Campground
56 Saco Street, Scarborough, ME

Please join us this Thursday at 7:00 PM at Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough, for an informal in-person meeting!

We will be meeting outside near the Ham Shack (which is located at the former camp store). Please bring a lawn chair, and follow social distancing protocol. Out of respect of the owners and their customers, we also ask that everyone wear a face covering.

The Ham Shack will be open, but because of its small space, there will only be two people allowed inside at a time. We plan on setting up an HF radio, so meeting attendees can take turns operating with the Special Event call sign, W1V!

Since we are meeting outside, and the weather forecast is calling for showers Thursday evening, if anyone has an EZ-up that they bring along, that would be appreciated!

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Meeting On-the-Air 06/18/20

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Join us this Thursday, June 18th, from 7:00PM – 8:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll be talking about ARRL Field Day, which will take place at Wassamki Springs Campground on the weekend of June 27-28. If you haven’t already, please click here to sign up to operate or to take on a bonus category task. We’ll also be discussing the possibility of restarting in-person meetings in July.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self Quarantine Simplex Drill – 04/30/2020 Net Report

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Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a total of 6 check-ins and handled 5 messages. This was the first time we’ve done a net on the 70 cm band, operating on 446.500, and we learned quite a bit about signal coverage, characteristics of the band, and the capability of our own stations. For many who checked in this was their first simplex contact on 440 MHz. One notable difference between 440 and 2 meters, was the amount of fading (QSB) in the signals.

The net started on time, at 7:00 PM. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco, assisted by Peter KC1HBM, in Scarborough.

We had 6 check-ins:

KC1HBM Peter, in Scarborough (2231 UTC)
Contacted 5 stations: KB1HNZ, KC1HBL, KC1JMH, N1RXR, KB1IAW, and W1SFS. Traffic handled: 2

KC1HBL Ben, in Buxton (2304 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1JMH, and KC1HBM

KC1JMH Brad, mobile in Waterboro (2310 UTC)
Contacted 3 stations: KC1HBM, KC1HBL, and KB1IAW

N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester (2318 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBM, and KB1IAW. Traffic handled: 2

KB1IAW Paul, in North Yarmouth (2328 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: N1RXR, KC1HBL, KC1HBM, and KC1JMH

W1SFS Jason, in Scarborough (2330 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KB1IAW, KC1HBM, KC1HBL, and KC1JMH
73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self-Quarantine SKYWARN Drill 042320 – Net Report

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Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a great turnout on both simplex and DMR, with 22 check-ins! The purpose of the drill was to expose participants to the SKYWARN simplex frequency and the Severe Weather Report form, test our simplex coverage, and also test out the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group.

The simplex portion of the net started on time, at 7:00 PM (2300 UTC), on 146.595. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 10 check-ins and handled 13 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1DFO Pete, in Dayton, ME (2301 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBL, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME (2303 UTC)
Contacted 7 stations: KB1PLY, KC1HBM, W1SFS, N1BIM, KB1HNZ, KC1JMH, AB1BX Traffic handled: 5

KB1PLY Rory, in Saco, ME (2305 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: N1BIM, KC1HBM, KB1HNZ, W1SFS, AB1BX, KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 1

W1SFS Jason, in Scarborough, ME (2307 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KC1HBL, KB1PLY, KC1HBM, N1BIM, K1MGR, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

N1BIM Joe, in Old Orchard Beach, ME (2310 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1PLY, W1SFS, KC1HBL, K1MGR, KC1HBM, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

WX1GYX op. N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester, ME (2315 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 13

N1CKM Wayne, in Barnstead, NH (2316 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 1

K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (2317 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KC1HBL, KB1HNZ, W1SFS, KC1HBM, Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBM Peter, in Scarborough, ME (2318 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1PLY, KB1HNZ, N1BIM, KC1HBL, W1SFS, K1MGR, Traffic handled: 1

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro, ME (2321 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 2

The Simplex Net was secured at 7:59 PM (2359 UTC), after a round of informals.

The DMR net started at 8:01PM on the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group 759. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 12 check-ins and handled 9 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro, ME (0001 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
KC1HBM Pete, in Scarborough, ME (0001 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W1EAV Chris, in Marion, MA (0002 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W2VAN Mike, in Portland, ME (0005 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
NE1B Bill, in Hudson, MA (0007 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1KMX Scott, in Weymouth, MA (0009 UTC) No traffic
N1JGB Bruce, in Essex Junction, VT (0010 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (0011 UTC) No traffic
W1HAI Joe, in Natick, MA (0012 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1BIM Joe, in Old Orchard Beach, ME (0014 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W1SHS Stu, in Franklin, MA (0016 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1XRX Dennis, in Weymouth, MA (0029 UTC) No traffic

The DMR net was secured at 8:29 PM (0029 UTC).

All the weather traffic was relayed either directly or by Winlink, to SKYWARN liaison N1RXR, who checked in as WX1GYX.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Meeting On-the-Air 04/16/2020 Net Report

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Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a great turnout, with 17 check-ins!

The net started on time, at 7:00 PM, on the W1QUI 147.090 repeater. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 17 check-ins:

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro
W1QUI George, in Auburn
KC1KWH Anne, in Waterboro
KC1AOT Ron, in Denmark
KC1MSR Nick, in Gorham
W1SFS Jason, in Scarborough
KC1MSQ Cole, in Gorham
KC1HBL Ben, in Buxton
K1MGR Greg, in South Portland
KC1SQ Todd, in Standish
KC1HJN Waylon, in Windham
NB9D Neil, in Paris
N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester
KC1MSO James, in Portland
N1BJX BJ, in Kennebunk
W1TGG Tim, in Sanford

In Old Business, March’s meeting topic was the Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge, which took place on Saturday, March 28th. Quite a few of the check-ins mentioned that they participated in the contest, and a few did for the first time. Net Control mentioned there being a lot of new activity in the midcoast. Also, in Old Business was mention of the Winter Field Day Follow-up, and the fact that news came in about the cancellation of the Maine ARRL Convention during the March meeting.

In New Business, we discussed the recent Self-Quarantine Simplex Drills, of which there have been two so far, and also the Winlink Drill that took place the previous Thursday. Brad KC1JMH mentioned possible interference as preventing him and others from being able to connect to the local Packet nodes. Turnout for the drills has been excellent, and there have also been a lot of positive comments about them.

The topic for the evening was a discussion about 2020 Field Day, and the fact that we will very likely have to do it differently this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some options that were brought up included encouraging members to operate portable from their own homes, in the B category, or to find a way to setup as a club and schedule operations so only one or two people are present at a time.

Ron KC1AOT suggested we operate from our homes, while Todd KC1SQ, and a few others, suggested we keep an eye on the response from the ARRL, in case they announce any rule changes that might allow club members to operate from within a wider radius and still contribute to a combined club score. Regardless of how Field Day comes together, there will likely be less public visibility or interaction with visitors, so this presents an opportunity to try something different, like live streaming, to reach new folks. WSSM leadership will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation, and pay close attention to the guidelines offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local authorities.

The Net was secured at 7:39 PM, after a round of informals.

This was followed by the After Net, on 28.455 MHz USB. Participants included: KB1HNZ, W1SFS, and N1BJX.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

2019 ILLW at Rockland Breakwater Light

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Eric Emery KC1HJK attaches a mast to a railing to mount the 40m SOTA Beams dipole

On Saturday, August 17th, the WS1SM team activated Rockland Breakwater Light, in Rockland Harbor, ME, for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW). Club members operated from 10am-5pm, using call sign WS1SM.

2019 marked the ninth year that WSSM has participated in ILLW, which sees over 500 light houses and lightships activated in over 40 countries. The international event helps promote the preservation of lighthouses and lightships, and at the same time gives the community an opportunity to experience Amateur Radio first hand.

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Tim KB1HNZ, Pete KC1DFO, and Brad KC1JMH about to take on the breakwater

The morning started out with breakfast at Moody’s Diner, in Waldoboro, before the team met up at the parking lot for the lighthouse. Ahead of them was task of carrying the radio equipment across the 7/8-mile long breakwater. This wasn’t easy, as one of the heavisest items, a marine battery, had to be brought out in a cart that wasn’t well suited to the rough surface of the rocks that made up the breakwater. It required two to three people at any given time to help it along. Once at the lighthouse, however, the setting was a beautiful place to spend the day on the radio.

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L-R: CJ W1CJC, Tim KB1HNZ, and Pete KC1DFO setting up antennas

The WS1SM team operated 2 stations full time from the front porch of the lighthouse, which overlooks the breakwater, including a Yaesu FT-857d with a 40m dipole, and an Icom IC-706 MKIIG connected to a BuddiPole (for 6-20m) antenna. Both stations operated on battery power, with solar assistance. 40 meter conditions were excellent and contacts were plenty there. Band conditions were a little more difficult on 20 meters, but it improved later in the day to even include a few DX contacts.

Particpants included Eric Emery KC1HJK, CJ Carlsson W1CJC, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, Brad Brown, Jr. KC1JMH, and Peter Warren KC1DFO.

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Tim KB1HNZ operates 40 meters

“This year’s ILLW has been a lot of fun,” said Tim Watson KB1HNZ. “It was fun working all the other lighthouses on the bands and also demonstrating ham radio to the public. We even met some other hams in person, who stopped by to say hi.”

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Lifting the cart over the cracks in the breakwater on the way back

Brad Brown KC1JMH said afterwards, “We’d really like to thank the folks from Massachusetts who helped us carry the cart back,” referring to a gentleman and his two grandsons who saw Brad, Tim, CJ, and Pete struggling with it and helped carry it to the mainland. “The extra help meant a lot at the end of a long day.” Earlier, Eric KC1HJK, brought the battery back on his kayak, so it was a little easier than it could’ve been.

Click here to see more photos from this and previous lighthouse events.

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.