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Winter / Spring 2018                                                                                                                                    Volume 8, Issue 1

WSSM Meetings on the Air
Saco, ME

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Net Banner

Since late December, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine has hosted three Meetings on the Air, on the K1AAM repeater system, followed each time by a 10 meter net. The nets have been well attended, and comments afterwards have been positive.

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An Educational Toy for Young and Old
Educational Products
by Frank Krizan, KR1ZAN

Snap Circuits

For Christmas, my 12 year-old granddaughter asked for and received a "toy" which she had played with at her cousins' house this past summer. Specifically, it's called "Snap Circuits Pro 500 Experiments."

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QSL Corner

Radio Prague QSL

In this issue, we'll take a look at some recent QSL's from shortwave broadcast stations, including Radio Prague, Radio Slovakia International, and Radio Romania International.

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2018 Winter Field Day

Windham, ME
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ


WINDHAM, ME - On the weekend of January 27-28, the WSSM team participated in their first Winter Field Day, setting up on Saturday morning and operating for 24 hours, from the front yard of the Cumberland County EMA, in Windham, ME.

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DX News - 4S7NGK, Sri Lanka
CCEMA Bunker, Windham, ME
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ


Nikolay, LZ1NK will be active from Weligama, Sri Lanka, as 4S7NKG,  during March 1-5, 2018. We'll take a look at this DXPedition, and others, in DX News.

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Tips for Taking Accurate Snowfall Measurements
for reporting to SKYWARN
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Snow Measurement

Measuring snow seems simple at first. All you need to do is push a measuring stick into the snow, then read the number on the stick and write it down, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple...

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Upcoming Meetings

March 8th from 7PM-9PM at the CCEMA Bunker, 22 High Street, Windham, ME.

April 12th from 7PM-9PM at the CCEMA Bunker, 22 High Street, Windham, ME.

May 10th - from 7PM-9PM at the CCEMA Bunker, 22 High Street,   Windham, ME

Classified Ads

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

From the Editor's Desk

For more news and articles, between newsletters, click here to visit our blog.
Is DMR the Mass Adoption Phase Winner in Digital Voice?

There is no question that DMR technology for hams has moved past the early-adopter phase and is now well into the mass adoption phase. The combination of an open source protocol and the availability of inexpensive, mass-produced Chinese DMR radios (in some cases for as low as $109 with a color display and free programming software), has made this possible. In addition to inexpensive new radios, there are a number of used, first generation Motorola and Hytera DMR radios for sale in flea markets. These radios perform just as well as the current models, but have less memory.

D-STAR, Fusion, and to a lesser extent NXDN, are all established digital voice modes, and are not going away anytime soon, but in many areas they are not experiencing any meaningful growth when compared to DMR. This is especially true for the Northeast. In New England alone, there are close to 80 active DMR repeaters, and this number is growing every day.

Because of Yaesu offering repeaters for $500 for a period of time, there were a few installed in the area (in most cases replacing existing FM repeaters), but from my experience, it’s been extremely rare to find anyone using C4FM, and in some cases these repeaters are operating in just FM mode, so the digital part isn’t even an option. It’s hard to say exactly why Fusion or D-STAR hasn’t taken off, (last time I checked there were only 3 D-STAR repeaters in Maine), but it probably has a lot to do with price. D-STAR and Fusion radios aren’t cheap, and without some assurance that there will be a repeater within range to use them on, it’s hard to justify the cost.

Unlike the other modes, there is also something unforced and organic about DMR. Its cutting edge, and yet, it still feels like ham radio. A lot of members of our club were early adopters, and have also explored uses for DMR in both the EmComm environment, and for SKYWARN. For SKYWARN, especially, the DMR-MARC network has been an extremely useful tool to gather weather reports from areas that are outside the range of typical FM repeaters.

For more information about DMR, click here to check out our DMR Intro web page.

Best wishes,


Tim Watson