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  January / February  2014                                                                                                                         Volume 4, Issue 1
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WSSM Members Teach Intro to Ham Radio Class
Peleton Labs, Portland, ME

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

PORTLAND, ME -  On February 19th, WSSM members Thom Watson W1WMG and Tim Watson KB1HNZ taught an Intro to Ham Radio course at Peleton Labs in Portland.

The course was hosted by Stuart Thomas KB1HQS, of Preparedness Associates, and covered a variety of concepts, including an introduction to the radio spectrum, HF propagation, operating techniques, and how to pursue earning a Technician class license.

Although Portland was blanketed in snow on the evening of the 19th, everyone who was expected made the trip, and all of them seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards, many stuck around to take a closer look at a station that was setup for demonstration.

Demo Station
Demonstration station setup at Peleton Labs, in Portland.

"Students had varying reasons for wanting to earn their license," said Thom Watson W1WMG, "and all of them appreciated the capabilities and versatilty that ham radio offered. One group was interested in amateur radio to improve their ability to communicate over greater distances during Off-Road events."

Thanks to Stuart for hosting the class and to everyone who ventured out on a snowy night to take part.

Product Review: GWhip End-Fed Zepp

Portland, ME
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

GORHAM, ME -  During most of last year's activities we deployed a pair of end-fed zepp antennas manufactured by GWhip Antenna Products, in England. These zepps are tough, utilyzing a 1/2 wave kevlar reinforced transmission line with a metal eyelet on one end, and a unique matching circuit that eliminates the need for a traditional counterpoise, on the other.

Of our two Gwhips - one cut for 20 meters, and the other for 15 - the 20 meter mono bander saw the most use throughout 2013. We set it up for the first time at Wassamki Springs during an informal meeting, when Steve K1EOE, brought in a completely portable station, and we needed something we could put up in a hurry. The antenna was easily deployed as a sloper, and tuned up nicely on the SSB portion of the band. It performed impressively, despite its location being relatively close to the building, and our 3rd contact that night was with an A41.

Wassamki1    Wassamki2

The GWhip End-Fed antenna, according to their website, is an end fed "but with a difference!" They incorporate approximately 1/2 wave length wire radiator and also a GWhip resonant circuit contained in a waterproof resin box, fitted with a low loss Teflon/PTFE UHF connector for coax-feed. They are ready to go with no required adjustment as each unit is hand built and tested individually.

Both of our GWhips were deployed during our ILLW expedition to Pemaquid Point Light in August, where the need for only one leg to be raised was ideal because of a lack of trees in the area we were setup in. Both antennas worked very well, and setup and take-down was simple and fast.


During our SOTA expedition to Douglas Mountain, portability became their chief asset as we hiked a long and steep trail to the summit, and then set the two GWhips up as slopers, using the stone summit tower as a support.

We purchased our GWhips from Ian Ross M0CZV of RossComm Radio Communications, in Fareham, and he showed much interest in our activities and how we made use of the antennas. GWhip antennas are manufactured in England and have a rich history. The company was founded in 1967 by Frank GW3DZ, who designed a resonant center-fed mobile antenna system that required no tuner.

For more information on the product, and to learn more about the wide variety fo GWhip antennas available, please click here. You can also visit RossComm Communications

A Closer Look at HamAntCalc
Developed by  J Garber

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Developed by Joseph Garber, HamAntCalc is an ideal tool to help you decide the starting length of an antenna, whether you're in the field, or building one for the backyard. HamAntCalc is intuitive, simple to use, and offers a variety of antenna types, including Dipoles, Inverted Vee's, Verticals, and it has a page for calculating 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 5/8, and 'full wave' length, using the formula (468/ freq. in MHz) = 1/2 wave in feet and inches. HamAntCalc is also capable of calculating in metric lengths as well.


Although no antenna calculator can promise exact results in every case, due to variables such as gage and type of wire used, height above ground, the geology of the ground itself, and nearby objects, the app does eliminate the need for a scratch pad, and allows you to arrive near the correct length very quickly. Keep in mind its always good practice to leave a little extra wire so you can fine tune to the desired SWR by trimming.

HamAntCalc techically has the ability to calculate from 30-500MH, but it performs best at frequencies below 54 MHz.
 hamantcalc2      hamantcalc3 

The app couldn't be more intuitive. Select the type of antenna you'd like to build by pressing one of the buttons across the bottom bar. Then, choose a frequency, and press 'calculate.'

A complete set of instructions, as well as useful tips are available by pressing the 'Instructions' button (also in the bottom bar).

The app works independednt of cellular or WiFi service, which is especially helpful if you plan on venturing to a mountaintop or island. Its available on iTunes by clicking here, or searching the App Store on any iOS device.

DX News
February 26 - April 14
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

The close of 2013 and first months of the new year have seen lots of DX activity, including the 9L1A activation of Sierra Leone and expeditions to the Seychelles (S79ACR), Laos (XW0YJY), South Cook Island (E51CDW), and Montserrat (VP2M). The most publicized DXPedition was certainly the FT5ZM activation of Amsterdam Island by an international team in early February, and several of my friends in Maine and around the world were able to work them on a number of bands. As we glance at the months ahead, there's plenty to look forward to, including 3C0BYP from Annoban Island, an expedition to Mellish Reef (VK9MT) in late March, and a pair of expeditions to Palau.

Have fun searching the bands and until next time, good DX!

02/26 - 03/08
02/28 - 03/17
03/01 - 03/11
03/01 - 03/28
03/03 - 03/10
03/03 - 03/12
03/10 - 03/18
03/14 - 04/11
03/20 - 04/01
03/21 - 04/04
03/23 - 03/31
03/28 - 04/09
04/02 - 04/14
04/04 - 04/18
04/08 - 04/17
04/09 - 04/17
04/11 - 04/14
04/29 - 05/07
Annoban Is
Christmas Island
Austral Is
Mellish Reef
San Andres
By EA5BYP from AF-039; HF; cw, ssb, RTTY; QSL via EA5BYP
By Italian DXpedition Team; HF; cw, ssb, digital; QSL via I2YSB
By K7CO; 80-10m, cw, ssb, psk31; QSL via K7CO
By ON4AVT; HF; mostly psk; QSL via ON4AVT
By G3PJT; QRV for RSGB Commonwealth Contest (March 8-9); HF
By G3RWF, from Kigali; HF; cw, ssb; 100w with an inverted V
By KC1SQ; sailboat mobile out of Placencia
By IK2GZU from Llembula; HF; QSL via Buro or Direct
By G3BJ and others; from OC-114; HF; cw, ssb, RTTY; QSL via G3TXF
By DL7BC; 20-10m; mostly cw; QSL via DARC Buro or direct
By K0UU from Beqa I (OC-016); 80-10m; cw; QSL Direct via K0UU
By M0URX and others; HF
By N7QT and others; 80-10m; cw, ssb; QSL via N7QT Direct or Buro
By DJ2VO and others; 160-10m; cw, ssb, RTTY
By DF8DX; 40-10m; cw, ssb; QSL Direct via DF8DX
By JA2NQG; cw; QRV for JIDX CW; QSL Direct via JA2NQG
By ZL3TE from OC-016; QRV for JIDX CW; cw, some digital
By JR3STX; 80-6m; cw, ssb, RTTY; QSL Direct via JR3STX

QSL Corner

On page 1, we show a card received by WS1SM for a 20m QSO with W9IMS during the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race last August. In 2013, WS1SM was able to work all 3 special events, which celebrate the premier races at the speedway. You'll find images of these below, along with a QSL for a 20m QSO with YO/KB1HNZ from MM3STM while operating portable in Ploiesti, Romania.

If you received an interesting QSL yourself that you'd like to show off, please send a digital image to [email protected] and we'll be sure to publish it in an upcoming issue.

w9ims indy
W9IMS - 14 MHz QSO with WS1SM on 22 May 2013 at 0129 UTC - QSL for special event operation celebrating the 97th Indianapolis 500.
w9ims brickyard
W9IMS - 14 MHz QSO with WS1SM on 23 July 2013 at 2345 UTC - QSL for special event operation celebrating the 20th Brickyard 400.
w9ims motogp
W9IMS - 14 MHz QSO with WS1SM on 12 August 2013 at 2311 UTC - QSL for special event operation celebrating the 2014 Red Bull Moto GP.
MM3STM - 14 MHz QSO with YO/KB1HNZ on 4 August 2013 at 0728 UTC - QSL features the St. Mirren Football Club, which plays in the Scottish Premier League.

For Sale
If you have any items for sale, contact one of our members to have it listed here, or send an email to: [email protected] with a brief description and contact information.

Maine State Convention - Lewsiton, ME - March 28, 2014. (8am-12pm) Location: Ramada Inn, 490 Pleasant Street, Lewiston, ME. For more info:

PAWA Hamfest - April 19, 2014. Location: Stewart Morrill American Legion Post #35, 413 Broadway, South Portland, ME. For more info, contact: [email protected]

WMARC Hamfest - March 15, 2014. Location: North Conway Community Center, 2628 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH. For more info, visit:
Test Session - MIT Radio Exam Team. Starting at 7:30pm. Location: MIT Campus, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 1-150 MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139. Call: (617) 253-3776 for more info.

WRTC 2014
items for trade
If you have any items for trade, contact one of our members to have it listed here. Send an email to: [email protected] with a brief description and contact information. 
If you offer any ham radio related services, for example, if you repair meters or radios, build your own transmitters, make QSL cards to order, or rebuild microphones, you may list these services here.

Looking for a small crank-up tower for Field Day (in Maine only). Please contact K1OT at [email protected]

If there are any items you may be looking for, use this space to get the word out. Just send an email to [email protected], or mention it at an upcoming meeting.
All advertisements are listed for FREE. Advertising shall pertain to products and services which are related to amateur radio. No advertisement may use more than 40 words. Please send a description of items for sale, wants, or services to Thom Watson at [email protected], or bring it to an upcoming meeting of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. All ads will be printed one time, unless renewed.

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