May / June 2012                                                                                                                          Volume 2, Issue 3
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SOTA From Ossipee Hill
WS1SM activates W1/AM-253
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

With the sun shining (and the wind blowing) on the last Sunday in April, the WS1SM team ventured to the top of Ossipee Hill, in Waterboro, Maine, to activate W1/AM-253 for Summits on the Air (SOTA).

What is SOTA?

Summits on the Air is an awards scheme designed for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners to encourage portable operating on mountains. There are different awards for activators (those who ascend the mountains and operate), and also for chasers (those who contact these stations). SOTA is popular around the world. Each country has its own Association which defines the recognized summits within that Association. More information can be found at

The day was to start off with a hearty breakfast at the Station House Restaurant, in Hollis. However, after Dave KB1FGF gave the waitress a hard time (for what we don't know) we were lucky to get served at all! We must've been very convincing when we pretended not to know him, and we all got what we ordered eventually. Dave (guiltily) left a large tip, and we were soon on our way. We began the grueling trek to the summit with our trail-rated vehicles. But, in true SOTA spirit, we stopped about a third of the way up, and hiked the last mile or so to the top (at least it felt like a mile). But this was just a stroll in the park for us rugged mountaineers. Along the way we had to put up with Dave's crooning and discovered odd markings in the granite, which Frank KA1QW explained were put there by ancient GPS surveyers, sort of like the geoglyphs of Nazca (or something along those lines).

Now feeling as though we were part of something bigger than ourselves, we continued on towards our objective. We thought we were getting close, too, when someone exclaimed, "Are those towers the top?" It became obvious... we still had a ways to go.

Finally we made it... batteries, transceiver, antennas, chairs, table, and Dave in tow. Thom W1WMG, Frank, and Rory KB1PLY quickly got to work stringing dipoles for 20 and 40 meters, and Tim began setting up the BuddiPole for VHF. Sam and Thom were on the air in no time, making the first several contacts on 40 meters. Then it happened. What had to be an 85 mph gust of wind picked up the entire and all, and sent it flying through the air! Thankfully, due to the Icom's mil-spec character, (and the fact that it landed in a soft pile of sand), tragedy was averted and we didn't have to send Sam down the mountain to find a back up radio.

Ossipee 1 Ossipee 2

This episode prompted Rory to suggest that the location of the table and radio was lousy, and so we moved everything to a more sheltered location, against a building. Transmitting resumed, but now on 20 meters. Meanwhile, Frank  and myself were operating VHF with HT's and an assortment of antennas, including the BuddiPole and a ladder line J-Pole. We even made summit-to-summit contacts with Doug W1DMH (on Mt. Passaconaway, W1/HA-105 and Whiteface Mountain, W1/HA-172), and Bill NG1P (on Pleasant Mountain, W1/AM-038).

This was about the time when the wind started to pick up (it actually got worse, believe it or not), and Frank suggested we all take turns climbing up to the top of the "historic" firetower to check out the great view. After we got down, Frank asked "did you feel it moving?" (are you kidding?) Even though I was convinced the thing was going over a couple of times, the view was probably worth it. You could see as far as York to the south, Waterboro and its neighboring towns, of course, and the numerous mountain ranges to the north and west. Mt. Washington looked like you could reach out and touch it, and was still capped with snow. And then there was the interesting domed house that Frank pointed out, explaining to us that it was once owned by a fellow ham.

While on the summit, we were visited by Keith N1FTE, who was kind enough to show off his repeater setup, and Gerry KB1SDB, of Waterboro, and numerous others whose names we never learned. All in all, we had a wonderful time. In only a few hours of operating, we made 26 contacts on HF and 2 meter simplex, and logged our first points for SOTA.

Ossipee 3 Ossipee 4

WSSM at the 2012 Gorham Founders' Festival
 May 25-26th
 by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

After a succesful 4-day special event at last year's 275th anniversary edition of the Gorham Founders' Festival, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine will return to take part in this year's festival, which will be held Friday, May 25th - Satuday, May 26th.


There'll be lots going on at this year's Founder's Festival, including live entertainment, amusement rides, live auctions, a pancake breakfast, and fireworks. Doesn't leave much time for radio, does it? But we'll be there sharing our hobby with the public, and hopefully making some contacts as well.

For more information on the Gorham Founders' Festival, including times, where to park, etc., please click here.

For Sale
X7 Cushcraft "Big Thunder" antenna for 20-15-10 meters. Call Gilbert Bineua K1LMJ for pricing and details, at 207-839-4783, or contact him by email at: [email protected] 

25th Annual Hermon Hamfest - Date: Saturday, June 2nd. Located in Hermon, ME. ARRL Hamfest, sponsored by the Pine State ARC. Visit: for more details.

Flea at MIT - Sunday, June 17th, in Cambridge, MA. Sponsored by the MIT Radio Society, Harvard Wireless Club, MIT Electronics Research Society & MIT UHF Repeater Assn. For more information visit:
WRTC 2014
You Can Help
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.

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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