WSSM Team Activates Squirrel Point Lighthouse for 2022 ILLW

On Sunday, August 21st, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine activated Squirrel Point Lighthouse, in Arrowsick, Maine, for 2022 International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW). This was the twelfth different lighthouse activated by the team during an ILLW weekend, and the fourteenth altogether.

Squirrel Point Lighthouse is located at the end of a 1.4 mile out-and-back trail, which is an easy hike, but the mosquitoes were particularly vicious, probably due to the time of day being morning and its location along the Kennebec River. Once out of the wooded area, though, and in the clear of the lighthouse property, the bugs subsided.

The team, consisting of Stefania (K1GJY) and Tim (KB1HNZ) Watson, along with their son Elliot, and Brad Brown Jr., (KC1JMH) and his son Jordan, setup two HF radios – a Yaesu FT-991A, connected to a Buddipole tuned to 20 meters, and a Yaesu FT-817, connected to an end-fed tuned to 40 meters. Being a Sunday, we also checked into the Dirigo Net on DMR. All radios used battery power.

The lighthouse is very secluded, and the hike out and back made it one of the more interesting ones we’ve visited.

“The property had a home and a barn to the right side, as one approaches,” Brad Brown said, describing the scene. “The lighthouse sat across from the trail on the water, and a utility shed down by the water far to the left that appears to be fed by a solar panel array. Everything was interconnected by boardwalk.”

Throughout the day, other hikers arrived and asked about what we were doing, and we were also visited by a drone that flew over from across the river. There was steady boat traffic as well, so there was always something to see.

At the end of the day, the team made nearly 40 QSOs, including with other lighthouses up and down the East Coast, and on the Great Lakes. Our location, being a small lighthouse along the Kennebec river, was unique, and it drew a lot of attention on the air.

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.

Local Ham Group Participates in Statewide Exercise

On Saturday, October 22nd, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine Emergency Communications Team (WSSM-ECT), which meets monthly in Scarborough, will participate in a statewide drill to test their communications capabilities between various different sites throughout Cumberland County and the state. The drill, known as the Simulated Emergency Test, or SET, is an annual exercise, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, which encourages amateur radio operators from across the country to test their communications skills during a mock disaster.

During the SET, hams are required to quickly establish communications between various Emergency Operations Centers and exchange formal messages and traffic, which contain requests for supplies, medical information, or weather reports, or other information that may be of importance during a disaster. They do this via voice, Morse code, and digital two-way radio, on bands ranging from HF to UHF, as required.

“Similar to previous years, there’s has been statewide coordination for the SET, and Maine ARES and others have developed a plan that involves testing both amateur radio and EMA communications,” says Tim Watson, of Saco. Watson is a founder of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, which provides communications support for Cumberland County EMA, as well as the National Weather Service. “The SET tests how we respond during large- scale disasters, where commercial infrastructure has failed. In these events, hams are often the only source of communications.”

“The hams in our club are a dedicated group,” adds club President, Brad Brown, of Waterboro. “Amateur radio has a long history of volunteerism. Sure, it’s a hobby and there’s some fun things that we do like lighthouse expeditions or competitive events like contesting, but so many like to stay sharp by providing support for community events, and drills like this, so they’ll be ready to offer their time and expertise when disaster strikes.”

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine’s Emergency Communications Team is participating in their eighth SET. After the event, the participants will do an assessment to determine how well they performed and look for areas to improve upon. “There’s always new things to learn and ways to improve,” says Watson. “This year we’ll be testing some updates that have been made to the statewide digital packet network, which we use for sending messages. We hope to learn more about its capabilities and how to improve it for the future.”

For more information about amateur radio, or the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, please visit their website at: http://www.mainehamradio.com

VE Exam in Windham, ME

On Thursday, October 20th, WSSM hosted a VE Exam at Windham Fire Department’s South Station.

We’d like to congratulate John Black and Sullivan Falk for earning their Technician Class licenses, and Brian Dyer N1DSE, Rhodes Haskell KC1PDQ, and Terry Quinn KC1RUZ for upgrading to General!

Special thanks to Roger Pience N1XP, Eric Emery N1RXR, BJ Badyk WX1D, and Jason Andrews W1SFS for serving as VE’s, and to Jason W1SFS for helping secure a location for the exam.

2022 ARRL Field Day Review

SCARBOROUGH, ME – On the weekend of June 25-26, the WS1SM team participated in their 12th ARRL Field Day from Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough.

Activities began Friday morning when club members helped to setup a utility trailer, tower, and antenna, that would make up the CW operating station. The station, which is the design of Rick Fickett K1OT, goes together smoothly. After assembling the antennas which consist of a 40 meter yagi and a 10/15/20m tri-bander, and tower components, the tower is pulled up by a winch, so it only needs to be guided on the way up, and when the tower is almost upright, a custom made bracket which holds the yagis, allows them to move into position and lock in place. After this was complete, the guys were tightened and the area was roped off for safety.

Rick Fickett K1OT, gets the station ready

The station consists of an Elecraft K3 that runs on a pair of deep cycle batteries. It was operated throughout Field Day by Rick K1OT, Greg W1GF, and Joe K1JB.

Unlike previous years, the SSB stations were setup on Saturday morning. One was setup in a large tent, and the other was setup in the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) communications trailer. Antennas included a 160m end fed and a Buddipole, and 40m rotatable dipole (that mounts to the trailer). The two SSB stations consisted of a Yaesu FT-857d (in the tent) and Icom IC-7300 (in the trailer), which ran on battery power throughout the event.

Waylon KC1HJN operating SSB

After final checks and updates to the logging software, we were ready to get on the air by 2:00PM!

The weather was pleasant for the entire Field Day, including setup and break down, and the band conditions seemed very good as well. 40 meters was steady throughout most of the weekend, and 20m opened up nicely late Saturday afternoon and lasted well into the evening, similar to last year, and there was also activity on 10 and 15 meters, especially on Sunday.

Waylon KC1HJN, Tim KB1HNZ, Stefania K1GJY, Eric N1RXR, Peter KC1HBM, Jim KB1SDK, Brad KC1JMH, and others, each took turns operating the SSB stations. Eric N1RXR had a really good run on 15 meters Sunday morning, and Stefania K1GJY made lots of QSOs on 40 meters throughout the event.

Eric N1RXR getting ready for a satellite pass

Our Safety Officer for 2022 ARRL Field Day was Mike N5QYQ. Mike reported that he made sure any trip hazards were marked, that fire suppression was handy, first aid was accessible, and that stations were properly grounded. We also made sure to have RF exposure reports on hand for each operating station and antenna combination.

Fellow club members, Frank KR1ZAN in Plano, TX, and Ryan Michaelson KB1YTR, in Duluth, MN, helped us copy the W1AW Field Day message, which was super helpful because many of us were setting up station equipment during the broadcast.

Tim KB1HNZ prepared radiograms for the Section Manager and several others, and Brad KC1JMH sent them via the Digital Traffic Network using VHF Packet and HF Winlink.

Eric N1RXR attempted to make a satellite contact using his IC-9700, but despite hearing a few passes really well, we weren’t unable to make a verifiable contact.

Mike N5QYQ and Steve AA1HF reprised their roles as GOTA station coaches, setting up a nice station in the Wassamki Springs Ham Shack. There were both modern and classic radios to try out. They welcomed unlicensed operators, who took turns getting on the air throughout the weekend, as well as a few newer hams.

Jim KB1SDK operates SSB from the tent

Besides the lessons learned at the GOTA station, we also offered a formal educational activity about radio direction finding. Tim KB1HNZ hid a small purpose-built transmitter and explained some of the various methods that can be used to track it down, including using doppler finder technology, attenuators, body shielding, and a directional antenna. Tim’s son, Elliot, had a fun time trying to find a hidden transmitter and eventually did!

Rick K1OT, Greg W1GF, and Joe K1JB all took turns operating the CW station from Rick’s trailer. They made nearly 1200 QSO’s, of which 502 were on 40 meters alone!

Operating as 3A (three fulltime HF stations on emergency power), and call sign W1M, 2022 ARRL Field Day was not only a fun time, but a huge success! We logged 1900 QSOs for a total of 6,210 QSO points, and nearly maxed out on all the bonus points.

Elliot makes a QSO on HF!

Be sure to check the December issue of QST for the 2022 ARRL Field Day Line Scores!

Special thanks to Chris Wheeler, and everyone at Cumberland County EMA for their support and allowing us to use the CCEMA communications trailer, and to the Hillock Family for their continued hospitality, allowing us to operate from Wassamki Springs Campground for the 12th consecutive year! We’d also like to thank Steve’s wife Marilyn, who provided us with a fantastic cookout Saturday evening and breakfast sandwiches Sunday morning!

The 2022 Maine QSO Party is September 24-25th!

Maine’s Premier International HF Contest.

Mark your calendars!

Contest Period: 1200 UTC Saturday September 24, 2020 to 1200 UTC Sunday September 25, 2022.

Bands and Modes: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10, CW, and phone (SSB, FM, AM).

Exchange: Stations in Maine send signal report and county. 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.”

Click here for more details and complete rules.

2022 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge Winners Announced

Point to point study of K1GJY’s QSOs during the 2022 MEQP

For the second time in Simplex Challenge history, we had a tie for the overall win. Stefania Watson K1GJY and Tim Watson KB1HNZ, who operated as Mobile Medium, each made 164 QSOs, in 17 different towns, for a total of 2,788 points. Congratulations on a job well done!

Although most pandemic-related restrictions had been lifted by late March, served agencies, such as the National Weather Service, County EMAs, and Red Cross facilities were still closed to the public, which prevented activations from those facilities.

John Horton KC1LSO, and Dakota Dumont KB1YYC, operated as QRP mobiles, while Stefania Watson K1GJY and Tim Watson KB1HNZ, operated in the Medium Mobile category. Dakota and John were heard mostly in the towns around Portland and west (Falmouth, Yarmouth, Cumberland, Westbrook, Windham, etc.), while Tim and Stefania covered the most ground, ranging from Camp Ellis to Waldoboro, and west along Rt. 196 to Androscoggin County.

Similar to years past, the most popular categories were the medium-powered classes, and they were also the most competitive, with K1GJY and KB1HNZ being even on QSOs and multipliers in Medium Mobile, and Medium Fixed continued to show a strong number of entries. K1HC and WD1F led the pack, but K1JJS and AC1FB were close behind.

Some stations that appeared in many logs, include KC1HBL, KC1MPV, K1CYJ, and WZ1J, but of those only KC1MPV and K1CYJ submitted logs.

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine captured the club competition, earning 7,533 points from 8 logs. Congratulations on a job well done!

Click here for complete details, and to see all the category winners.

Mark your calendars! The next Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place Saturday, March 25, 2023.

2022 Maine QSO Party is September 24-25!

Mark your calendars!

THE 2022 MAINE QSO PARTY IS SEPTEMBER 24-25!

Contest Period: 1200 UTC Saturday September 24, 2020 to 1200 UTC Sunday September 25, 2021.

Bands and Modes: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10, CW, and phone (SSB, FM, AM).

Exchange: Stations in Maine send signal report and county. 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.”

Click here for more details and complete rules.

2021 Maine QSO Party Results

Congratulations to 2021 MEQP overall winner, Joe Blinick K1JB, of Portland, Maine! Joe scored a total of 217,905 points, making 990 QSO’s! For 2021, we received 207 logs from 6 different countries, 27 U.S. States, 2 Canadian Provinces, and 7 Maine Counties. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Michael Snook W7LG, from Lewiston, PA, captured the Single Operator QRP (SOQRP) category with 3,915 points. Robert Coakley KX1E, from Portland, ME, won the Single Operator Low Power (SOLP) category with 15,300 points. This year’s overall winner, Joe Blinick K1JB, won the Single Operator High Power (SOHP) category with 217,905 points. In Multi Op, Stefania (K1GJY) and Tim (KB1HNZ) Watson, who operated as YO/KB1HNZ from Baicoi, Romania, won the Multi-Operator High Power (MOHP) category with 127,428 points, and also placed second overall.

In the club competition, the Yankee Clipper Contest Club took the top spot, with 3 log entries totaling 220,333 points. Congratulations!

For complete results, including State, Province, National, and Maine County winners, click here.

The 2022 Maine QSO Party will take place the last full weekend of September, (9/24 – 9/25). Click here for complete rules and details.

Pre Field Day EMA Work Detail

There will be no ECT Training Net this evening. Take the time to get your gear ready and rest up for Field Day, which takes place this weekend, June 25-26 at Wassamki Springs Campground, (56 Saco Street, in Scarborough, ME).

We will be having a work detail at the Cumberland County EMA (CCEMA) bunker, located at 22 High Street, Windham, starting at 6:00PM this evening. The focus will be to clean out and load the communications trailer for Field Day. If you’d like to help out, feel free to stop by.

The next ECT Training Net will take place Thursday, July 28th at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ