WSSM-ECT Training Net – Tonight at 7PM

Please join us this evening at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly On-Air Drill!

The topic for this evening is to review the components of the ARRL Radiogram and to compose and sent test messages that will be similar to those we’ll be sending during ARRL Field Day. We’ll start out on the repeater and move over to 146.580 FM simplex for a roll call. On simplex, we’ll exchange signal reports with each other, note who we can copy, and send traffic.

The purpose of this net is to focus on developing skills, such as familiarity with message forms, traffic handling, using modes like FM Simplex, Winlink, Packet, and the FLDigi suite, while fostering an interest in and recruiting newcomers to emergency communications.

Catch you on the air!

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

2021 Winter Field Day is Next Weekend!

Contest Period: 1900 UTC Saturday January 30th to 1900 UTC Sunday Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Bands: All Amateur bands, HF, VHF, & UHF except 12, 17, 30 and 60 meters.

Modes: Any mode that can faithfully transmit the exchange intact without a conversion table… CW, SSB, AM, FM, DStar, C4FM, DMR, Packet, PSK, SSTV, RTTY, Olivia, Satellite, etc… (note FT8 & FT4 cannot).

Suggested Frequencies: (to make it easier to find each other)
HF CW – 1810-1820, 3.530-3.550, 7.030-7.050, 14.035-14.055, 21.030-21.050, 28.030-28.040
HF SSB – lowest 30 kHz of the US General Class Phone bands (160m-15m), 28.400-28.425MHz (10m)
6m/VHF/UHF – adjacent to, but not on, nationally recognized simplex calling channels.

Exchange: Your WFD exchange will be a combination of your “class” and “category” and your ARRL/RAC section.

Click here for more details and complete rules.

Here’s how you can participate:

For 2021, we will not be operating as a group from a single location, due to COVID-19 cpncerns. Instead, we will take advantage of scoring changes for 2021 that allow members to participate individually, using their own call signs, and contribute to a club aggregate score.

To participate, please familiarize yourself with the WFD Rules to determine your entry category, log your contacts electronically, and enter: Wireless Society of Southern Maine as your club. Submit your logs according to WFD rules.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can setup outdoors and operate portable for either all or part of the event, or you can test out your home station and operate from inside. Whichever you choose, please share photos of your activation via email with: mainehamradio@gmail.com and on social media using hashtag: #wssmwfd21

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Meeting on the Air – Tonight at 7PM!

Join us this evening, January 21st, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 (+ / 100.0 Hz) W1QUI repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if participants have upgraded their ham stations recently or acquired any new gear since our last on-air meeting. We’ll also talk about Winter Field Day and how participants can operate from home and contribute to the club score.

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.

2020 Maine Simulated Emergency Test

Begins at 8:00am Saturday, October 24th

Thanks to everyone who joined us last night on the WSSM-ECT Training Net! We successfully tested communications on multiple bands and modes, including VHF repeater, 2m FM Simplex, 40 and 80 meters SSB, and Winlink.

If you’re interested in participating, please click here to familiarize yourself with the “Final” SET plan for tomorrow’s statewide test.

To begin with, we’ll meet first thing on the Cumberland County primary repeater, 147.090. We’ll use this throughout the first half of the exercise and I encourage everyone to monitor it on a second radio or sub band, if possible. This is where we can trouble shoot problems amongst ourselves and also share county-wide traffic for the first couple of hours (until the repeaters go down). If you generate any traffic yourselves, I would recommend a SKYWARN-style weather report. The scenario is a hurricane, after all. Also, remember to preface your traffic with a disclaimer such as “This is an exercise message.”

Please help out with as many tasks as you’re able to:

The first task will be #6 on the SET Plan – To Perform radio checks with other counties on Amateur VHF repeaters. We’ll take this opportunity to try different repeaters and contact other ARES / EmComm groups and individuals. Keep a log of your contacts and which county EMA they are associated with, if any. Also be prepared to receive or relay radiogram traffic, as some may have traffic already prepared. See the explanation in the SET plan for more info.

Task #7 is to exchange traffic via FlDigi / FlMsg. If you are equipped to do so, please attempt to exchange traffic via FlDigi over a repeater.

Steps #8 and #9 are related. If anyone has the ability to connect to the Maine Packet Network, please send a Check-in form to Steve KC1TCE at KB1TCE@winlink.org prior to the start of the exercise to let him know you will be able to accept traffic. Go to: Select Template -> Standard Templates -> General Forms -> Winlink Check In.txt to select the form. This way the other counties will know you are participating. These tasks require that we connect to the Maine Packet Network on VHF and also to exchange traffic via the Winlink RMS system using this method.

Tasks 6-9 take place while the Hurricane Effects are being felt in Maine. Phones and Internet are out, but repeaters are still in operation. For all other tasks (after 10:00 am), it is presumed that the repeaters will be offline as well, and therefore ham ops on VHF switch to Simplex.The next up is Task #10, which is to relay radiogram traffic via FM Simplex. See the SET Plan for more details. Although the task is intended to relay traffic between County EMAs, we may need inter-county relay stations in place to assist, and also to help coordinate making contact between counties.

It is also during this time period that we can make HF voice radio checks between counties. See Task #11 in the SET Plan. Although it comes up in the exercise after 10am, there is usually plenty of activity on the Maine ARES HF frequency earlier than that.

Task #12 on the SET Plan calls for performing radio checks with nearby counties via FM Simplex. In the log sheet, this is called “contest style,” so have fun with it and make as many contacts as you can. If you get to exchange any traffic during this part of the exercise, its a bonus!

The final task is to perform voice radio checks with hospitals and shelters within our county. This portion of the exercise is very much like what we did during our 2015-2018 SET exercises. We’ll do some further coordination during the SET to determine which shelters we can cover.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Pre-SET Training Drill – Tonight at 7PM!

Continuing our preparation for the upcoming SET, which takes place this Saturday, from 8AM – 12PM, we will be using this opportunity to practice the communications methods that we’ll encounter during the SET.

To start with, we’ll meet on the 147.090 (+ / 100 Hz) repeater at 7PM this evening, for coordination. From there, depending on the capabilities of those who check in, we’ll attempt the following:

VHF (146.580 FM Simplex):

Voice contact via VHF FM Simplex
Exchange NBEMS traffic via VHF Simplex
Exchange Winlink traffic via the Maine Packet Network

HF (28.455 USB for voice):

Voice contact via HF SSB
Exchange Winlink traffic via HF (Ardop, VARA, etc.)

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

New England ARES Academy Online

The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30 PM EDT, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 AM EDT.

A big benefit of the online schedule is the opportunity to take every single class and workshop instead of having to pick and choose.

Weeknight class participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the instructor via chat. The two-hour Saturday workshops are designed to be even more interactive. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.

The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based on ARRL ARES training standards.

For more information and to register, visit:

https://hamxposition.org/2020/ne-ares-academy

Pre-SET HF Drill this Thursday from 7PM-8PM

Continuing our preparation for the upcoming SET, this week we’ll be meeting on HF, on 3.940 MHz (+ / – any noise or QRM).

As this will be our first drill exclusively on HF, the purpose will be to find out who can contact each other directly, and to learn more about the characteristics of the band.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Pre-SET Simplex Drill

Pre-SET_Simplex_Drill

To get ready for this year’s Simulated Emergency Test (SET), which takes place Saturday, October 24th, we will be doing some on-air drills to focus on different communications skills.

These include passing radiogram messages and other forms of traffic via FM Simplex, FLDigi, and Winlink.

This week we’ll focus on passing radiograms via FM Simplex, similar to what we did on a few occasions during our Self-Quarantine Simplex Drills in the spring, but with a key difference. I’ll dispatch a few messages to participants during the net, instruct them to be relayed to others that I don’t have direct communications with, and afterwards we’ll check for accuracy.

The drill begins at 7PM Thursday evening on 146.580 FM Simplex.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ