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November / December  2013                                                                                                                         Volume 3, Issue 6

WS1SM Activates Pemaquid Point Lighthouse for ILLW
Bristol, ME

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

 WS1SM Pemaquid

BRISTOL, ME -  On August 18th the WS1SM team activated Pemaquid Point Lighthouse for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. This year's ILLW saw over 500 light stations and light ships participating, so the bands were quite busy. Our setup included 4 HF stations, operating 40-10 meters, and we logged over 200 qso's.

Full Story

WSSM Members To Teach Course for Wells / Ogunquit Adult Education

Intro to Ham Radio
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

 adult ed 

On Tuesday, May 6th, WSSM members will teach a 2 hour course introducing Amateur Radio to students of Wells / Ogunquit Adult Education. The course, which requires preregistration, is designed to launch students on the path toward earning their first ham radio license. More information will become available as soon as the Spring catalog is published. 

QSL Corner

Here's a QSL card received recently by WS1SM for a 40m SSB QSO at 1453 UTC on August 18th during this year's ILLW.

See more QS:'s

Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge is February 16th

Gorham, ME
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge

GORHAM, ME -  The 4th annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place Sunday, February 16th, (beginning at noon). Three items are exchanged during the contest, including call sign, power level, and the town you're operating from (either mobile or fixed). Classes for QRP, medium, and high power give operators a chance to compete on an even basis. Click here for more details.

Full Story

First Annual Maine QSO Party Results
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Maine QSO Party Certificate

SCARBOROUGH, ME - Congratulations to Joseph Blinick, K1JB, of Portland, for being this year's overall winner! Joeseph scored a total of 176742 points and captured 162 multipliers on his way to taking the top spot. The contest saw entries from 8 countries and 9 different states, and hundreds of more participants from stateside and abroad. For our first year, this was way more than we expected. Thanks to everyone who helped design the competition, write updates to add the MEQP to logging programs, cross-check logs, and most importantly to all those who participated in this year's event.

Full Story

Special Event Stations Educate, Entertain
Ann Arbor, MI

by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

One of the reasons I enjoy operating special event stations is that it's educational. For example, on November 17th, I worked W4D in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. They were commemorating the 520th anniversary of the discoveryby Europeans of the island of Puerto Rico. As a result, I learned that on November 19, 1493 Christopher Columbus landed on the island, naming it San Juan Bautista in honor of Saint John the Baptist - a name that was later changed to Puerto Rico (Rich Port).

Full Story

Upcoming Meetings

January 9th - from 7PM-9PM at the Gorham Recreation Department

February 13th - from 7PM-9PM at the Gorham Recreation Department


Welcome New Members

Check out the ads on page 2 to view items for sale, upcoming hamfests, announcements, and wanted items.

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine would like to welcome the following new members:  Richard Lesnick KJ6PTX, of San Francisco, CA, and Merle Weber KB1RJD, of Madison, NH!

Christmas Village
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.

In 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. 

Later 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.

Mt. Agamenticus Mt. Wash

This 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.

Mid July 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. 

at the YO9KAG Club station Douglas Mt.

In 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 time.

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 help from Dave KB1FGF, while calling CQ on 2 meters. Thankfully, we assembled a small search party and helped him find his way.

Emergency Fair w1wmg

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 counties.

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.

The 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!


Tim Watson