July / August 2012                                                                                                                          Volume 2, Issue 4
<< back
ARRL Field Day at Wassamki Springs
WS1SM Team Participates in 2nd Annual Field Day  
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine participated in their second annual Field Day on the weekend of  June 23rd - 24th at the Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough. Even with a few minor setbacks, which included a broken antenna, and a two hour delay due to a severe thunderstorm, the WS1SM team beat last year's points total and equaled the number of QSO's!

"This year we maximized on bonus points," says Thom Watson W1WMG. "We were able to handle several pieces of traffic, had site visitations from an elected official and a served agency (the Gorham Police Department), and also had a great public location. A special thanks goes out to the Hillock Family of Wassamki Springs Campground."

fd charlie
Charlie W1CPS, works the station Sunday morning

One of the highlights of set up was Steve K1MV's pneumatic canon, which was used to launch the ends of the dipoles about as high up in the trees as they could possibly go. Things would have gone perfectly, except the center connector of the 40m dipole broke. But, this was remedied rather quickly.

By the second hour, the skies were darkening and it became obvious that weather was on its way. Just as soon as the antennas were lowered, the wind, rain and lightning came barreling in. Coaxes were unplugged and operations were shut down for nearly two hours. Just when things were improving, one funny moment came when Rory asked, "Did somebody just take a picture?" The flash obviously didn't come from a camera, as just a moment later there was a tremendous crack of thunder! The break from the storm did give us an opportunity to grill up some burgers and hot dogs and have some dinner. Roger brought homemade baked beans, as well as homemade salsa, and Dave passed around some of Anita's whoopie pies, which are always a big hit. Meanwhile, Frank expertly tended the grill.

Operating began again at around dusk, and 20 meters seemed to be the only band open at the time. A second station, setup for 6 and 2 meters, didn't see much activity throughout the night, or the next day for that matter, as neither band seemed to have the usual Field Day activity. Overnight, 40 meters and 80 meters were quite active, even despite the static crashes from nearby lightning storms. With Rory's IC-7000, equipped with an LDG autotuner, we were able to tune up the dipole on 80 meters and it worked awesome. Thom W1WMG, Charlie W1CPS, and myself operated throughout the evening, and by morning had made up a lot of lost ground.

WSSM members, Rory KB1PLY, and Tim KB1HNZ, with Sgt. Daniel Young, of the Gorham Police Department

At daybreak, Rory operated some before cooking thick bacon slices on a campstove, (igniting a few in the process). Breakfast was great. We were all tired, and soon Dave KB1FGF and Roger N1XP came with provisions, including coffee. 40 meters was hopping early on, but by late morning we were on 15 and 20. At around this time, we made use of Charlie's home brew copper pipe J-Pole to pass traffic to the Section Manager on 144, and handle several other pieces of traffic, including one for overseas. Later, we were able to pass traffic on HF to Frank KR1ZAN, in Texas. Now, being several weeks removed, I can report that all of these found their way to their intended recipients.

Since we chose to set up at exactly two o'clock on Saturday, we were able to operate for an additional three hours on Sunday afternoon. These became important QSO's, since it was in the last hour that we closed the gap and made a run at last year's mark.  This, combined with additional bonuses, gave us more total points than we had last year! Good job team!!!

WS1SM Climbs to the Top
SOTA from Mt. Washington W1/HA-001
 by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

On July 8th, WSSM members, Thom Watson W1WMG, and myself made the trip to the highest point in New England to activate W1/HA-001 for Summits on the Air. Using the club call, we made many contacts on VHF while braving hurricane force wind gusts and 35 degree temps.

When we arrived on the summit, the immediate change was in the temperature, but also in the last 1/2 mile of the trek, we became completely immersed in clouds. Winds gusted anywhere from 60-80 mph at times, forcing us to anchor our antenna (and other equipment) to a heavy steel picnic table just outside of the Tip Top House. At some points during the morning, ice pellets came down horizontally, but thankfully this didn't last, as they stung pretty bad! All the while it felt like winter. Your hands would freeze up after just a few minutes of holding the microphone, and drops of moisture on the VHF antenna were in fact frozen when we went to take it down!

mtw thom

By late afternoon, breaks began to open in the clouds, finally allowing views of far off mountains and tiny specs of villages that are scattered across the valleys in all directions. HF operating suffered from us not being able to extend the antenna in the winds, but VHF was downright awesome. On 146.520 simplex alone, we logged dozens of QSO's in just the first couple hours - some of these just using an HT! With the log periodic, range was extended considerably... as far away as Southern Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and all parts of Maine and New Hampshire. Most of these were folks driving around, who just happened to be monitoring .52 and heard us calling CQ!

wind antenna

Antenna Raising Party at KB1FGF's
Diamond CP6AD Trap Vertical
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

In early June, several club members helped Dave KB1FGF, install his new HF vertical antenna. Dave's antenna was mounted on an eight foot galvanized steel pipe, that was driven about four feet into the ground. Also installed was a remote antenna switch.

Thom    rooftop

Unlike most recent outdoor activities, the weather was almost perfect for setting up Dave's Diamond CP6AD vertical. The antenna was a breeze to put together, with the most difficult part being pounding the support mast in the ground. Thankfully, not too long into this, Roger N1XP, came by with a tool that made this much easier.

Trenches were dug for a single length of direct-burial coax, and also a 5 position, remote coax switch was installed, that minimizes the number of coaxes coming into the house. The project took most of the day, but by late afternoon, Dave was already making contacts using the new antenna!

Charlie    antenna

QSL Corner

Below you'll find some recent QSL's. If you received an interesting one 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. Over the next couple weeks, watch for special Olympic prefixes, (most notably 2O, GO, and MO), as these are sure to produce some collectible QSL cards.




5R8PR - An interesting card from Nosy Be Island, Madagascar, contact with KB1HNZ on 15m ssb.

9N7MD - DXPedition to Nepal, contact with KB1HNZ on 20m ssb.

N1EOE - From our friend Steve McGrath, for a contact with WS1SM while mobile on 146.520 simplex during our Ossipee Mountain SOTA expedition.

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] 

New England Division Convention - August 24-26, in Boxborough, MA. Located at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center, 242 Adams Place, Boxborough. Contact Mike Raisbeck K1TWG, for more info: (978) 250-1235 or visit: http://

NoBarc Hamfest 2012 - The Northern Berkshire Amateur ARC hosts an ARRL hamfest on August 12th in Adams, Mass. For more info, please 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.
Page 2