HomeMeeting TopicsJoin TodayProjects
           Summer 2015                                                                                                                               Volume 5, Issue 2          
<< back

2015 Field Day at Wassamki Springs
Scarborough, ME

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

SCARBOROUGH, ME -  During the weekend of June 27-28th, the WSSM team fought off the rain and wind to participate in their 5th annual Field Day at Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough.

fd1   fd2

Setup began on Friday, with a number of members helping out, first with the trailer, which included a 40' tower and 40 meter mono-bander. Rick K1OT did a lot of work over the winter months to streamline the tower raising process, and his engineering of a hinged bracket mechanism made it so no one needed to climb the tower to get the yagi in place.

fd3   fd4

By Saturday afternoon, when we first got on the air, the weather was absolutely perfect, and the bands came to life with the anticipated excitement of Field Day operators from all over North America. After working out some bugs with the logging software, we started out operating on 20, 15, and 40 meters, and also had a  "free station" setup on 50 MHz.

fd5   fd6

Throughout the afternoon, we were joined by several visitors, including a police officer from Gorham, Richard Hillock, of Wassamki Springs Campground, who we presented with a thank you plaque (pictured above), and several prospective and first-time amateur radio operators. Thanks to Frank K5HS and Steve N1EOE, we had a dedicated GOTA team, who spent a lot of time with the newcomers, making sure everyone who wanted to had a chance to get on the air and experience Field Day for themselves. .

fd7   fd8

Charlie W1CPS, maintained a constant WS1SM presence on 6 meters, making more Field Day QSOs than we've ever had on that band. He also attracted some big crowds, as many stopped by to take a closer look at his antenna and station setup.

fd8   fd10

Sometime after midnight the skies opened up, and the rain came in relentless waves. Our operations were mostly unaffected though, since we were already setup in a trailer and tent. The only thing extra that we had to do was drape a few tarps over the top to keep water away from the sides.

By morning there was standing water everywhere, especially around the trailer, but miraculously the equipment stayed dry overnight. Annette, Cindy, and Bert all helped to make breakfast possible while the rest of us manhandled a tarp in the gusty winds to keep the fire on the griddle from blowing out. Most of us were soaked and cold, but we were warmed up by the food, and soon we were back at our stations for the final few hours.

Field Day tent   "Our lake"

Despite the challenging conditions, we persevered to achieve our most successful Field Day results to date! Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible.

W1V 5th Anniversary Special Event

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Between July 13-27th, WSSM members  took turns activating the special event call sign, W1V, in celebration of the club's 5th anniversary. The goals, which were set out during our June meeting, were to activate Maine on as many different bands and modes as possible, and to help spread word about the Society. A special certificate was created that would aknowledge contacts with the special call sign, and it would be offered with three endorsements - the Gold endorsement being for QSOs on 10 or more different band slots.

We created and shared a Google Docs spreadsheet with bands and modes down the left column, and hours (in two-hour time blocks) across the top. There was a separate page for each day of the operation. This allowed operators to easily reserve a time, band, and mode, and it was real-time, so if band conditions weren't cooperating, you could look for an empty slot and claim it, by entering your call sign.

W1V Certificate  Rory, KB1PLY, operates as W1V from Wassamki Springs Campground

The most active participants included Rick Fickett K1OT, Charlie Shepard W1CPS, Brian Chaloux AA1QW, and Jason Andrews W1SFS. We were also pleased to have two DX participants, with Stefania Chiruta YO9GJY, operating as YO/W1V, from Baicoi, Romania, and Michael Briggs KL3UX, operating as KL/W1V, from Wasilla, Alaska.

There were a number of chasers who worked us on many different bands, and several qualified for the gold endorsement. Rick commented on his surprise about how many Europeans were excited about the event, and this has proven to trueso far, as hundreds of QSL and certificate requests have been received, with many more likely on the way.

During our informal meetings at the campground for the two weeks that the special event was going on, we setup a portable station, which allowed many members who didn't yet or couldn't get on a radio, take a turn on the air as W1V.

W1V ops from Wassamki Springs  Rory KB1PLY, takes a turn at the mic

After 14 days of operating, we logged over 3800 QSOs, working 94 DXCC entities, and every state in the U.S. Thanks to everyone who called us on the air and took part operating as W1V. It was a fun time for all. Awesome job!

WSSM Team Operates CQWW VHF from Mt. Washington
Gorham, NH

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

For the 4th consecutive year, WSSM members ventured to the summit of Mt. Washington, in New Hampshire, to take part in the CQWW VHF contest - this year using special event call sign W1V.

mw4   mw2

The W1V Contest team included Thom Watson W1WMG, Charlie Shepard W1CPS, and myself. Upon arrival, the weather at the summit was cool and overcast, but shortly after setup, we were bombarded with  rain and wind that  caused us to quickly break down the station and run for cover!

"I never knew a BuddiPole could come apart so fast," said Thom, shortly after getting back on the air - this time from the warm confines of a Volvo XC70 in the parking area. "Since the wind was relentless, (reaching speeds of 60+ mph), the only way we could get the 6 meter station back on the air was to wedge the legs of the Buddipole tripod in the rocks, and then stack a few more around the edges to keep it from blowing over."

"It wasn't an ideal setup," said Charlie, who began to work 6 meter SSB from the back seat, while Thom started a long run on 2 meter FM. The pile of rocks, which were keeping the 6 meter antenna from blowing off the mountain was also blocking signals from the northeast, but as Charlie pointed out, "There wasn't much we could do about it. We were just happy to be on the air."

  mw3   mw1  

Later in the afternoon, when the rain finally subsided a little, we ventured out to use the restrooms and get something to eat at the visitor's center. We were amazed at the amount of water that was around, and watched as people stepped off the Cog Railway only to make a dash for the nearest structure, just to get out of the elements. To us, who'd been there since morning, the conditions were drastically improved, but the wind was still blowing pretty hard, and it was raining steadily - just nothing like the wall of water that came at us earlier.

We were thoroughly soaked and frozen, so we ceased operation sometime around 3pm, despite the fact that we were still working a steady flow of stations on 2 meters. Even with 1 less station running (we never got setup on 144 SSB), and a rock pile blocking half of our 6 meter horizon, at the end of the day we tallied almost 50 more QSOs than our previous record! Not a bad for a rainy day.

WS1SM Team to operate ILLW from Nubble Lighthouse
August 16, 2015

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

YORK, ME - The WS1SM Team will operate during this year's International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) from Cape Neddick Lighthouse in York, ME. Last year, the annual event saw more than 450 lighthouses activated worldwide.

The Nubble
The ILLW, now in its 18th year, was started in Scotland by members of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group.

It evolved from the Scottish Northern Lighthouses Award Weekend into a popular international event, which now sees participation from over 85 countries.

'Nubble' Light, which was built in 1879, is one of only eight lighthouses in Maine to still have its original fresnel lens. Its one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country, and an image of it was even sent to space aboard the Voyager Spacecraft.

The event will take place Sunday, August 16th, from 8am-4pm.

The Enigma Award

August 14-30th
by Thom Watson, W1WMG

In our efforts to highlight new and interesting on-air activities, we'll take a closer look at the Enigma Award.

Organized by Krzystof Joachimiak SQ2JK and Daniel Danecki SQ2KLU, the purpose of the special event is to honor Marian Rejewski, whose success in cracking the Enigma cipher changed the course of events during WWII.

The event will take place between August 14-30, using the special call signs SN0CIPHER, SN1ENIGMA, SN2ENIGMA, SN3ENIGMA, and SN0LEAK.

Enigma Award

For QSOs with SN0CIPHER, an operator will receive a cryptogram, which he/she has to decode. This station will give a new cryptogram for each QSO on a new band or new mode. For QSOs with the SN1ENIGMA, SN2ENIGMA, and SN3ENIGMA stations, the operator will receive the decryption data necessary to decode the cryptogram. In order to decode one cryptogram, it is necessary to make contact with all three stations with the ENIGMA suffix.

The special station SN0LEAK will work only 3 days during the event without providing exact times. The station will call CQ as long as it will not be added to a DX cluster. At the moment of showing up on the cluster, the station will announce QRT for 30 minutes, after which it will begin calling CQ on a different band and mode. For QSOs with the Sn0LEAK station, the operator will receive all necessary data to decode the cryptogram.

For more information about the Enigma special event, please click here.

Building the "Two Tinned Tunas ]["

by Tim Watson

Based on the classic kit designed by Doug Demaw W1FB, the Two Tinned Tunas ][, sold by, is easy to build and excellent for beginners. A step-by-step builders guide is available on the website, and all the parts you need to complete the project are included. The result is a 40 meter CW QRP transmitter.

kit1   kit2

The first step is to visit the website and print out a copy of the assembly instructions, which are available as a PDF. You could also save this document to your tablet and flip through the pages as you progress through the various steps.

Next, its a good idea to organize your parts (as shown above). This helps you pick out the components you need when you're building it, but its also a good way to make sure you have all the parts as described before you begin assembly. Mine was actually missing one of the stubby resistors, so I needed to source one before begginning the project.

kit3   kit4

The Two Tinned Tunas ][ is a modern rendition of a classic kit, which includes some great features that make building it quite simple. It comes complete, with components, a tuna can for a chassis, a cool QRPME label for the outside, and this version utilyzes the EZ Build Board, which is pre printed with component indicators and numbers.

I was able to assemble my Two Tinned Tunas kit in about 1 hour. All that is needed is a good electronics soldering iron, a well ventilated area, and a little patience, and you'll be on the air in no time! To make it even better, these kits are designed and built right here in Maine, by Rex Harper W1REX. Click here to learn more.

Getting Started with DMR
The DMR-MARC Worldwide network
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Now with repeaters in Southern Maine and throughout New Hampshire, hams in this area have access to one of the fastest growing digital voice networks in the world.

DMR, or Digital Mobile Radio, is an Open Standard defined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and used in commercial and amateur products. Designed to operate within the existing 12.5 kHz channel spacing used in licensed land mobile frequency bands globally AND to meet future regulatory requirements for 6.25 kHz channel equivalence.

DMR-MARC Network Repeaters

The primary  goal of the DMR standard is to specify a digital system with low complexity, low cost, and interoperability across brands, so radio communications end users are not locked into a proprietary solution (such as the case with D-STAR). This being said, there are brands which have not adhered to this open standard and have introduced proprietary features that make their products incompatible with some networks.

DMR is similar to P25 Phase II, as both use two-slot TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) in a 12.5 kHz channel, while NXDN uses discreet 6.25 kHz channels with frequency division.

DMR and Ham Radio

DMR-MARC is the primary amateur radio network, offering an all-digital network of over 400 repeaters in 37 countries. There are more than 10,000 registered users, and the number is growing daily. The repeaters are connected all the time, and DMR offers excellent voice quality compared with other digital voice modes.

As mentioned above, DMR uses a Two-Slot TDMA protocol, which means that it occupies a 12.5 kHz bandwidth with two channels sharing, using Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA). This results in spectrum efficiency of 6.25 kHz per channel.

DMR diagram

Comparing to a wideband FM modulated signal, DMR only uses 25% of the bandwidth per talk channel, making it extremely efficient and battery friendly. Each channel can carry either voice or data, depending on the system design. The two time slots are sometimes called Time Slot 1 (TS1) and Time Slot 2 (TS2).

For the amateur, this means one repeater allows two separate channels at the same time. Currently, most amateur DMR repeater systems utilyze both channels for voice and some limited text messaging. Typically one channel (time slot) is used for wide-area and the second is for local and regional talk groups.

DMR is a fun mode to use, offering scalable communications, from worldwide to local. It has also proven to be a reliable and effective tool for retrieving SKYWARN reports in recent months, as it connects us to places that typical VHF and UHF repeaters cannot reach.

If you'd like to learn more about DMR, please visit the DMR-MARC website. You can also find out more from the New England Digital Emergency Communications Network, which is working to expand and maintain the network here in New England.

To see if there's a repeater near you, click here.

Click here to download our Intro to DMR presentation from the March meeting.

DX News
March 5 - July 4
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

With the summer DXpedition season coming to a close, we look forward to some exciting activations, including an Italian expedition to Sazan Island, Albania, in early September, with the call sign ZA0I, a Bulgarian expedition to Comoros week later, with call sign D67GIA, and the much anticipated TX3X DXpedition to Chesterfield Island, in early October.

Check out the list below for more information about upcoming announced DXpeditions, and click here for the latest 425 DX News, by Mauro Pregliasco I1JQJ.

07/05 - 08/21
07/15 - 09/15
08/15 - 08/23
08/23 - 09/04
08/26 - 08/31
08/28 - 09/03
08/29 - 09/15
09/02 - 09/09
09/03 - 09/07
09/04 - 09/07
09/04 - 09/28
09/04 - 09/19
09/12 - 09/16
09/13 - 10/18
09/14 - 09/23
09/15 - 09/30
09/18 - 09/30
09/23 - 09/28
09/24 - 10/14
09/27 - 10/29
10/02 - 10/12
10/03 - 10/18
10/13 - 10/28

Fernando de Noronja
Wake Island
North Cook Island
Chesterfield Island
Marshall Is
By UR4LRQ and others; HF; CW, SSB
By KD8CAO, from Jacmel (FK38rf); mainly satellite, but some QRP HF
By W2JHP, from Turneffe Atoll (NA-123); HF; SSB; limited operation
By PP1CZ as PT0F/PP1CZ; 80-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By EA5RM; from Bolivian jungle; spare time operation
By IK7JWX and team from Sazan Is.; HF + 6m; CW, SSB, PSK31, RTTY
By JA0JHQ, from Port Vila; 80-6m; CW, SSB, QSL via JA0JHQ
By JA1NEJ, from Chich-jima Is (AS-031); 80-10m; CW, SSB & digital
By NK8O, from Zinga; 20-6m; 100w; QSL also OK via EA7FTR
By AG6IP; 80-6m; SSB & digital; QSL via AG6IP
By JP1RIW, from Koror Is (OC-009); 80-6m; SSB; QSL via buro or direct
By IK2GZU; HF; QSL direct via IK2GZU, buro, or eQSL
By LA7GIA; 40-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By G3BJ and others, from (OC-040); HF; CW, SSB, RTTY; QSL via buro
By OK1FCJ and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB & digital; QSL via OK6DJ
By JA1NLX, from Yangeta Is (OC-156); 40-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By LZ1GC and OM5ZW, from Funafuti; 160-6m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By N7QT, from Manihiki Is (OC-014); 80-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By HA5AO and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY; QSL via OQRS
By SP6EQZ and others, from Mahe Is (AF-024); 160-6m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By DL7VEE and others, from Majuro; 160-6m; CW, SSB, RTTY

QSL Corner

Continuing with our lighthouse theme, here's some other interesting QSLs from lighthouse operations around the world, sent to us by Stefania Chiruta YO9GJY.

If you received an interesting QSL lately that you'd like to show off, please send a digital image to [email protected], and we'll highlight it in an upcoming issue!

JA1BPA - 18 MHz SSB QSO with YO9GJY on 07 June 2014, at 1522 UTC. QSL features the Iioka lighthouse (ARLHS: JPN-156), near Asahi City, Japan.


- 18 MHz SSB QSO with YO9GJY on 16 August 2014, at 1643 UTC. QSL features a lighthouse in Pesaro, Italy, which was on the air during last summer's ILLW weekend.


- 14 MHz SSB QSO with YO9GJY, on 16 August 2014, at 1419 UTC. QSL is for a portable lighthouse operation during last  year's ILLW weekend.

For Sale
FOR SALE - Free to a good home: Motor Generator Set: 1.5 hp 115v single phase motor, dc generator, panel meters indicate 150 vdc and 50 amp,  rheostat voltage control, Heavy - about 100 lbs.  Call Ron Vaughn at (207) 452-2190.

If you have any items for sale, contact one of our members to have it listed here, or send an email to:
[email protected] with a brief description and contact information.

Windsor Hamfest - September 12, 2015. Location: Windsor Fairgrounds, Windsor, ME. Type: ARRL Hamfest. Sponsor: Augusta Amateur Radio Association. Talk-in on the 146.700 repeater.For more info, visit:
St. Croix Valley ARC Hamfest - September 19, 2015. Location: Alexander, ME. Type: ARRL Hamfest. For more info, click here,  or call Roger Holst W1LH at: (207) 454-2174

New England Division Convention -
August 21, 2015. Location: Holiday Inn, Boxboro, MA. Type: ARRL Convention. Sponsor: FEMARA. Talk-in on 147.270 (PL 146.2) repeater, & 449.925 (PL 88.5). Visit: for more info.

- August 16, 2015. Location: Cambridge, MA. Type: Non-ARRL Hamfest. Sponsored by: MIT Radio Society & the MIT Electronics Research Society. Click here for more details.

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