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.
Please join us this Thursday, May 13th, from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, at 200 U.S. Route 1, Suite 210, Scarborough, ME, for virtual SKYWARN Spotter Training, followed by our monthly business meeting.
From 6:00 to 7:15, we’ll log into NWS Gray’s virtual SKYWARN Spotter Training, which will focus on spring and summer storms, including thunderstorm development. The direct link to the SKYWARN training, if you’d like to join from home can be found here (click on the Training tab):
Once the SKYWARN training is complete, we’ll begin our monthly business meeting. On the agenda, we’ll be previewing 2021 ARRL Field Day, which takes place June 26-27. We’ll also talk about new membership outreach and development processes that were voted on last session, and an upcoming EmComm drill that will take place this Saturday.
If you’d like to join us remotely, here’s the dial-in instructions:
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the WSSM-ECT Training Net for Thursday, April 22nd! We had 12 check-ins on the repeater and 2 on DMR. The net started on time, at 7:00PM. Tim KB1HNZ served as moderator.
One announcement was made by Dave KB1FGF, who mentioned having a 4-way coax switch available for free to anyone who needed one, and he was also looking to sell his Connect Systems CS801 DMR radio.
The topic for the evening was SKYWARN, which focused on some of the things that a new Net Control station should be aware of, including where to find information about approaching hazardous weather, when and how to activate a net, on which frequency to operate, what to ask for, and how to log reports.
Tim KB1HNZ talked about the new SKYWARN Official Supporter program that was rolled out on Tuesday, which is designed to encourage more participation in SKYWARN from the ham radio club and EmComm group level.
Eric N1RXR talked about some of his experiences operating as Net Control for SKYWARN, and stressed the importance of good listening and asking for a specific location when taking reports.
Following the net on the repeater, we took call-ups for weather reports on the DMR SKYWARN Talk Group (759) to help familiarize participants with the SKYWARN talk group.
KB1FGF Dave, Scarborough, ME (FM)
KB1IIR Luke, Madison, NH (FM)
K5RN Frank, Planto, TX (Echolink)
KC1OLX Tom, Gorham, ME (FM)
KC1JMH Brad, Waterboro, ME (FM & DMR)
KC1OER Norris, Portland, ME (FM)
N1RXR Eric, New Gloucester, ME (FM)
KC1NZD Rick, Peaks Island, ME (FM)
KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME (FM)
WX1D B.J., Kennebunk, ME (FM & DMR)
KU1U, Corey, Sabattus, ME (Echolink)
W1QUI, George, Auburn, ME (FM)
This was a fun training. SKYWARN is an important topic that we’ll be revisiting again in the future, and we’ll also work on getting more involvement on the DMR side of things, by helping to update code plugs and programming radios if needed.
Please join us this evening, at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly ECT Training!
We’ll first meet on the repeater, where we’ll exchange traffic and share announcements, and introduce our topic for the evening, which will be SKYWARN. We’ll talk about the SKYWARN activation process, how a typical net occurs, and answer any questions that come up.
After that, we’ll move over the the DMR SKYWARN Talk Group (759), where we’ll take do a call up for weather reports (which may be real or simulated).
Join us this evening, April 15th, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.
On the agenda, we’ll review minutes from the most recent Monthly Meeting, in which we talked about Membership Outreach, describe a new feature on the website called Helping Hams, where club members can coordinate helping each other out with ham radio projects, and make announcements about upcoming items of interest. For tonight’s topic, we’ll be asking you to reflect on your first Amateur Radio QSO.
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.
The Maine 2 meter FM Simplex Challenge is this Saturday!
Contest Period: Saturday, April 3rd, 2021 from 12PM-4PM.
Contacts are limited to FM Simplex on the 2 meter band.
Participants may be entered as either fixed or mobile, (but not as both).
Exchange – Exchange items include your call sign, the name of the city, village, town, or township you are operating from, and your power level. Rovers and mobiles must be within the city limits of whatever city they claim to be operating from.
City or Town – This is simply the name of the city or town you are operating from. If you do not live within the city limits, use the name of the town or municipality to which mail or a package would be addressed.
For mobile entries, use the name of the city or town you are in, or the closest city or town.
Power levels are defined as follows: • QRP – 5 watts or less • Medium Power – greater than 5 watts, but less than 100 • High Power – 100 watts or more
Entry Categories – There are two entry categories: Fixed and Mobile. You may enter only one category for the contest. If a station gives out more than one multiplier during the contest, that station will automatically be entered into the mobile category.
Click here for complete rules – and don’t forget there’s a club competition as well!
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the WSSM-ECT Training Net! We had 7 check-ins, a few of which only participated via Packet. The net started on time, at 7:00PM. Tim KB1HNZ served as moderator.
Among the items discussed were the Maine Packet Network and Packet Radio in general. Even while the repeater portion of the net was taking place, we had an active chat session going on Packet, and several had already sent their first messages via BBS and Winlink. Thanks to Brad KC1JMH for helping participants out with problem solving (including myself), and answering questions.
KC1JMH Brad, Waterboro, ME (Phone, CHAT, BBS, Winlink)
KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME (Phone)
KB1FGF Dave, Scarborough, ME (Phone)
KC1HBM Peter, Scarborough, ME (Winlink)
N1XP Roger, Waterboro, ME (BBS, Winlink)
KC1ETT Jimmy, Wells, ME (CHAT, BBS, Winlink)
KB1TCE Steve, Owls Head, ME (BBS, Winlink)
KB1HNZ Tim, Saco, ME – Net Control (Phone, CHAT, BBS, Winlink)
At one point, some time after 8:00, the W1YCA node, in Alfred, started acting up. Myself and a few others were able to maintain a good connection to it for almost an hour prior. Brad KC1JMH was able to telnet in and restart it, but it still didn’t seem right after that. This morning, however, I connected right up to the BBS, CHAT, and via Winlink, and everything seemed okay.
Nevertheless, we had a fun CHAT session going and Brad, who was multitasking, helping Peter KC1HBM get connected, also helped me troubleshoot why my call sign wasn’t displaying correctly. As it turns out, I just needed to treat my Kenwood D710 like a hardware TNC and enter “MY KB1HNZ” prior to connecting to a node, and that solved the problem.
This was a fun training and we’ll keep working over the next few months to get some more hams active on Packet.
Please join us this evening, March 25th, at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly On-Air Drill!
Last month we talked about the ARRL Radiogram and ICS-213 message forms and we practiced sending those over the air. We had lots of positive feedback about that and we will continue to practice message handling in the coming weeks.
Tonight, we’re going to build on a discussion that we started a couple of weeks ago during our monthly business meeting, and that’s Packet Radio and the Maine Packet Network. Brad KC1JMH gave a nice presentation on the topic, and he introduced a very informative website: www.mainepacketradio.org – Click this link if you’d like to follow along during the net.
For tonight’s on-air training, we’re asking that anyone who is equipped for Packet Radio to connect to your nearest node, check your messages, and send a message to either myself or Brad KC1JMH. If you have Winlink Express installed, you can connect via that same node (if it includes that feature), and send a message that way as well.
SCARBOROUGH, ME – During our March 11th monthly meeting, Brad Brown KC1JMH, gave a presentation on the Maine Packet Network and demonstrated how to connect to a node, check and send messages, and some of the terminal commands needed to navigate it. He also showed off a new website he created, which is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in Packet Radio.
During the presentation, Brad remotely operated his PC at home, which was connected to his FT991 radio and set to the frequency of the W1YCA node, located in Alfred, ME. Brad briefly talked about using software such as the UZ7HO sound modem and AGW Packet Engine to enable your radio to communicate via Packet. Once connected, he showed how to access features such as CHAT, and BBS on the node. He connected to the WS1EC node via W1YCA, and was able to check stored messages, and demonstrated how to send a reply.
Brad made it look easy! He next demonstrated how to use Winlink Express to connect to the Winlink Radio Messaging System (RMS), where he was able to check his inbox, and demonstrated sending a message from there as well. Packet is just one of the modes that can be used to connect to Winlink, and the only mode used on VHF and UHF.
The Maine Packet Network is described on the website as a “consortium of individual amateur radio packet nodes and their licensed system operators or sysops,” which are affiliated with county-level Emergency Management Agencies throughout the State of Maine. The stated mission is to interconnect these agencies to facilitate the flow of accurate and concise information between county EMAs, MEMA, hospitals and recognized groups operating in an emergency capacity such as the American Red Cross.
The network is currently comprised of eight nodes, three of which are local-coverage community nodes, and three digipeaters, and this list keeps growing.
“The 2019 statewide Simulated Emergency Test was the first big test of the network, at least in Southern Maine,” Brown explained. “At that point the network was in its infancy and it was overwhelmed pretty quickly with the amount of connections being attempted, but the improvements made over the past year have helped out tremendously, and it continues to get better.”
At this point you’re probably wondering “what’s this for?” Brad explains on the website that, just like amateur radio, packet radio is there when all else fails. “With a radio, a modem, and a computer, a licensed amateur operator can still send emails, text messages, chat, and so forth when the infrastructure that we rely on has become unreliable.”
For more information about the Maine Packet Network and how to get started in Packet Radio, please click here.
Click here to read Brad’s article, on the Maine Packet Radio website, about his presentation for WSSM.