From the Editor's Desk
Walking to the sound of my favorite tune
As we near the end of 2013, I'd like to reflect back on all our activities
and say thanks to those who helped make our expeditions, contests,
Field Day, and educational programs such a success. Our society has
also grown tremendously over the last year, and we'd also like to
welcome all the new hams and new members to our radio family.
Our first big decision of 2013 was deciding whether or not to postpone the 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge back in February, as it came less than a day after a snowstorm blanketed the Northeast with 3-4' of snow. We
decided to go ahead as scheduled, and the contest went off perfectly,
attracting a healthy mix of newly licensed hams, seasoned contesters,
and some very resilient mobile operators, who tackled the snow-covered roads.
April, we invited back the National Weather Service to teach a SKYWARN
training session, where several members earned their SKYWARN Spotter
numbers. Our guest instructor was a meteorologist from the midwest, and
had vast experience with recognizing and predicting supercell
thunderstorms that are likely to produce tornados.
that month, as a kind of "ice breaker" event, we made our first SOTA
expedition to Mt. Agamenticus, in York. We really lucked out with the
weather, and setup 4 stations (3 HF and 1 VHF). Mt. "Aggie" saw
the first time we deployed aluminum J-Pole antennas for VHF, that can
be broken down for transport and setup in a few minutes. On the HF side
we used a BuddiPole for 10, 15, and 20 meters, a 40 meter dipole, and a
fan dipole for 17 meters. The most memorable contacts of the day were
Dakota's 220 MHz QSO's with mobile stations near Newport, Rhode Island!
In early May, members taught an Introduction to Amateur Radio course for Old Orchard Beach Adult Education. The
3-hour class was designed to introduce various aspects of the hobby,
such as basic radio theory, the radio spectrum, typical equipment
needed, and how students can persue earning their first Amateur Radio
License on their own. This class was so successful that we were
contacted by Wells-Ogunquit Adult Education, shortly after, and asked to teach the same course during their Fall sememster.
year's Field Day was our best ever. We operated as 2A for the first
time, with two full-time transmitters as well as stations for VHF and
GOTA. Antennas included a 40 meter dipole and Spiderbeam (10/15/20) for
HF, a 5-element yagi for 6 meters, and a J-Pole and 11-element yagi for
2 meters. Everyone who participated put in a tremendous effort, but a
few performances stand out including that of Rick (K1OT) and Dana
(K1RQ), who had runs going for several hours on 20 meter CW, and Sean
(W1GFD), Ryan (KB1YTR), and Charlie (W1CPS), who together made over 300
QSO's on 40 meters alone.
saw the WS1SM team participating in the CQWW VHF contest from the
summit of Mt. Washington. Besides taking part in the contest, we made
QSO's on 220 MHz, and activated the "Rock Pile" for Summits on the Air.
early August I got a chance to operate HF during my travels in Europe,
from the YO9KAG club station in Ploiesti, Romania. Though
propagation didn't support any contacts with WSSM members, I made
nearly 100 QSO's in just a couple hours of operating and had an awesome
A few days after I got back, it was time for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend,
which for 2013 brought us to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, in Bristol.
When we arrived, we were given an awesome location on the edge of the
sea to setup our antennas. We used 4 HF stations, including Steve,
N1EOE's "radio in a box," which is a fully contained unit complete with
FT-897, tuner, and power source.
September was a busy month for the WSSM. It started with a table display and radio demonstration at the Saco Emergency Preparedness Fair, and the next day we made a Summits on the Air
expedition to Douglas Mountain. The Douglas expedition almost didn't
happen, since severe storms passed through all night and the morning
looked to be a washout. We decided to delay our meeting at the base by
a couple of hours in hopes that it would improve, and to our surprise,
by the time we arrived, the skies were completely clear.We setup two HF
stations and one for VHF, using the stone tower on the summit to mount
antennas. The only excitement that took place was hearing a call for
Dave KB1FGF, while calling CQ on 2 meters. Thankfully, we assembled a
small search party and helped him find his way.
During the last weekend of the month, we hosted the first annual Maine QSO Party!
We received entries from as far away as Australia, and hundreds
participated from across the U.S. and Maine. The contest was especially
popular with those who needed Maine for WAS or collected Maine
Just last month we taught our second Intro to Ham Radio course - this time for Wells-Ogunquit Adult
Education. Our students ranged in age and background, but all seemed
genuinely interested in learning about radio. One young lady had
already earned her license just a few days before.
WSSM this year was like walking to the sound of my favorite tune. I
don't know why its good, or what makes it work, or even if it can be
reproduced, but when I hear it, all the pieces come together and
everything seems just right.
Merry Christmas & Happy 2014!