September / October 2011                                                                                                                          Volume 1, Issue 1 
<< back
WS1SM Operates JOTA from Camp Bomazeen
by Tim Watson

On October 15th, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine visited the Boy Scouts at Camp Bomazeen to operate a Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) station. The JOTA station was set up as one of several activities during their annual camporee weekend. During the day, over 60 Boys Scouts and Cub Scouts were able to get on the air, and many of them were able to contact scouts participating in their own JOTA events in other parts of the world. One in particular, WA9BSA, of Plano, Illinois, spent a lot of time talking with our scouts. There were several others too, who took the time to talk with the scouts at Camp Bomazeen, many who were former scouts themselves.

Camp Bomazeen
Talking radio
Tim explains single sideband
Tim, KB1HNZ, explains single sideband to a couple of scouts

JOTA , which is celebrating its 54th year, is an international event designed to introduce scouts to amateur radio. Judging from the amount of activity we heard on the air, as well as the many scouts we spoke to, I'd say it was a success.

Special thanks to Brandon Wilkins of the Downeast District and Boy Scout Troop 648, for inviting us. We had a great time!

Mountain Topping from Bradbury
by Tim Watson 

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine ventured to the top of Bradbury Mountain on November 6th to operate some ham radio and enjoy the fall weather. As it turns out, this is a very popular hiking destination, as a steady flow of visitors stopped by throughout the day. According to the park ranger, more than a thousand hiked to the top!

The popularity of this spot gave us a great opportunity to talk about ham radio and meet a lot of people. The band conditions were excellent, especially with 10 and 15 meters opening up, and Rory's fan dipole helped us make a lot of radio contacts. The highlight of the afternoon was when Cub Scout Pack 97 stopped by. We gave them a demonstration of amateur radio, and we were lucky enough to get a few of the kids on the air, thanks to a ham near Nashville, TN,  who took the time to talk with them.

The band conditions really were exceptional. For a little while, we had a pipeline into South Africa on 15 meters! We couldn't have picked a better day, either, as far as weather goes, especially considering it was only a week after a snow storm. The autumn colors were still visible in the trees and it was so clear you could see as far as the ocean to the east, and all the islands off shore. Everyone had a good time, and I think it served as a good warmup for a SOTA event in the near future.

View from above
The view from atop Bradbury, and the KB1PLY 10m/15m fan dipole
The WS1SM team
Frank, WA1PLD, Steve, K1MV, Tim, KB1HNZ, Rory, KB1PLY, Thom, W1WMG, Dave, KB1FGF, and Charlie, W1CPS

Joined by Cub Scout Pack
Tim talks to a group of Cub Scouts that stopped by
Photos by Frank Allen, WA1PLD - Click here to view more images from the event
Steve, K1MV, and Thom, W1WMG
Steve, K1MV, and Thom, W1WMG, working DX on 15 meters

Carving Out Time for Ham Radio
by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

On a recent episode of This Week in Tech (, Leo Laporte, W6TWT, mentions ham radio, and a guest asks him how much time he is spending on the air. Leo, who just recently got his Tech license says “Zero!” and laughs.

This is not uncommon. Lots of people seem to get a ham radio license and then do very little with it. I think one reason for this is that they don’t take into account how much time the hobby really can eat up. They get their ticket because it seems like a cool thing to do, but then they have to carve out some time to actually be a ham radio operator. Even if you don’t make any of your own gear, setting up a station takes time, and then there is the operating time, of course. Carving time out of busy schedules—and I would guess that Laporte has a pretty busy schedule being the owner of TWiT—is a challenge.

I see things like this all the time. At one ham radio club meeting that I attended, the club vice president asked, “OK, here’s the question of the month. How many of you actually got on the air in the past month.” Less than half of those in attendance raised their hands. Geez, I thought to myself, why do they even bother to come to meetings if they don’t get on the air?

Making time for ham radio

So, if you’re a busy person, how do you make time for ham radio? Well, being the Internet geek that I am, I Googled, “making time for things you love.” I got a lot of links to sites that talked about work-life balance and some new-age blogs, but none of them offered much in the way of concrete advice.

Then, I Googled “make time for hobbies” and right off the bat, I found two good articles—7 Creative Ways to Make Time For Your Creative Hobby! ( and 5 Ways to Make Time for Your Hobby ( Both articles offered very similar advice. Here are four points that both made:

1. Schedule it. Set aside a specific time during which you’re going to do ham radio. Don’t let that time get pre-empted.

2. Designate a place in your home for ham radio. Having to set up your radios or dig out your tools every time you want to operate or build something is not much fun and wastes a lot of time. Having a “shack” and a workspace designated for your projects will let you spend more time on the fun stuff.

3. Partner up. Arranging to work with another ham will make it harder to blow off ham radio for some other activity. Besides, it’s a lot of fun to do things with other hams. If you’re a newly licensed ham, find an Elmer. There really are plenty around who would be willing to help you.

4. Create a project plan. Setting up an amateur radio station is no small feat. Breaking it down into smaller chunks will make it seem more doable, and you’ll get a feeling of accomplishment when you meet your in-between goals.

There’s so much to learn and do in amateur radio that it can seem quite overwhelming. I think that’s one reason why so many Techs never really get into the hobby and why some experienced hams drift away. I think if you follow the advice above, though, you’ll not only find the time to pursue amateur radio, but get a lot more out of it.

When he's not down in his shack, working with a friend on yet another amateur radio project, Dan writes amateur radio study guides.  You can find them on his website at Make some time to e-mail him at [email protected].

For Sale
Many items for sale, including Mosley Classic 36b Tri band yagi, Ten Tec Model 544 transceiver, Astatic Model D104, Bencher paddle, and more. All in great working condition. Call for details and pricing: Ernie Bourgon, KI1B at 207  563-2398.

WinterFest 2012 - February 4, 2010 - Location: Augusta, ME. Type: ARRL Hamfest. Sponsor: Augusta Amateur Radio Association. Contact: Bill Crowley, K1NIT, 207-623-9075 or [email protected] or click here for more info.

Vermont State Convention - February 25, 2012 - Location: South Burlington, VT. Type ARRL Convention. Sponsor: Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont. Click here for more info.

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.

Don't forget ARRL Straight Key Night, Jan 1st, 2012. For more info:
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