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Winter / Spring 2018                                                                                                                                    Volume 8, Issue 1
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2018 Winter Field Day
Windham, ME
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

WFD 1     WFD 2
Top left: Setting up one of the HF antennas Saturday morning. Top right: Paul KJ6JBH supports one of the guy lines as the mast was raised into place. 

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.

WFD 3     WFD 4
Top left: Ben KC1HBL, Waylon KC1HJN, and Paul KJ6JBH work on installing the second HF antenna. Top right: Mac KR1MAC climbs into a tree to save a cat?.. Actually, he was retrieving a rope to pull an end of the dipole in place.  

Team members began setting up Saturday
morning, with the earliest arriving at around 8:00AM. There was plenty of work to do to get ready, including organizing equipment in the communications trailer, installing software on the logging computers, and setting up various antennas, including an end-fed long wire, a yagi for 6 meters, and more.

Once setup, there was a quick lunch break before getting on the air at 2:00PM, which was the official start time for the contest. Operations commenced with Waylon KC1HJN on 20 meters SSB, Sean W1MSA on 40 meters SSB, and not long after, Charlie W1CPS, began working 6 meters. 20 meters was hopping with activity, and Waylon made over 40 QSOs in the first 30 minutes!

WFD 5     WFD 6
Top left: Ben KC1HBL helps log while Waylon KC1HJN operates 20 meters. Top right: The 6 meter yagi is ready for action. 

Operations continued throughout the afternoon and evening, when one of the radios broke down. The FT840 that we were using at the time on 40 meters, experienced a tuning knob malfunction. After it was determined that the repair would take longer than expected, the radio was replaced, and the station was back on the air a while later.

WFD 7     WFD8
Top left: Waylon KC1HJN operates 20 meters SSB. Top right: Dave W1AMX, Rory KB1PLY, and Charlie W1CPS, take turns operating.

Many of us were thankful that the weather wasn't as bad as we were anticipating. During setup and breakdown, the temps were in the upper 30s, only dropping into the 20s during the overnight period. We operated outdoor, on 100% battery power for the entire 24 hours, which counts for a few bonus points toward our score.

In total, we had over 300 QSOs, which was a fine effort for our first Winter Field Day.

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.

So far we have only held the Meetings on the K1AAM system, with the intent to test out the repeater network and also see how many club members are able to check-in. To make the Meeting on the Air accessible to club members outside the coverage area of this network, we plan on hosting the net on some different repeaters in the future.

The number of check-ins on our 10 meter "After Net," which meets on 28.455 kHz immediately following the 2 meter net, has been increasing steadily since the first night. This past week, we had 5 stations join the roundtable. As more club members are upgrading their licenses and getting setup on HF, we expect this number to increse even more.

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

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.

Here’s how the vendor describes the product: “Contains over 75 parts including voice recording IC; FM radio module, analog meter, transformer, relay, and 7-segment LED display. Build over 500 projects. Hours of educational fun; a great gift too!”

Snap Circuit

This is not just a “toy”, but, an educational workshop.  Users, regardless of age (the box top says for Ages 8-108), can follow the simple circuit pictorials and set up each experiment.  The packed user’s guides show what parts to use, where to place them, the sequence of placement (if necessary) and describe what to expect from the circuit.

Some experiments use light, others use sound.   There’s a small motor that launches a plastic fan blade into the air, an FM radio module, sound recorder, sound generator, and all sorts of parts, which we are acquainted with through questions in our ham license exams.

The user’s guides start the ‘experimenter’ out simply with things like a lamp, switch and battery, and, advance to more complicated circuits that use light sensors, sound effects, relays and more.

I’ve often heard hams say they never understood the questions and answers on their exams, which had to do with electronic circuits.  What’s a resistor?  What’s a capacitor?  How do the different components interact with each other?

The Snap CircuitsŪ experiment workshops may be just what the doctor ordered to have fun and learn about electronics.  After watching my granddaughter work her way through the experiments, and, then, try variations of the circuits on her own, I came to realize that this “toy” was really cool.  Learning while having fun.

Snap CircuitsŪ is manufactured by Elenco (  They make a number of experimenter’s workshops, ranging from small, single experiments to the Model SC500.  Elenco offers expansion kits, computer interfaces (which include a simple software based oscilloscope), and adapters to interface the “Snap” domain with external breadboards.

Elenco offers teachers and student’s guides for more advanced learning with many of the experiments in the workshops.  These guides provide more discussion of electronic theory at a middle school level and supplement the user guides in the main workshop.

Snap Circuit 3

The Elenco products are available directly from the manufacturer (at list price), through many hobby stores, ham stores and, of course, Amazon.  I will tell you this – the best prices I found were through Amazon.

I’d also like to comment on the quality and customer service of Elenco.  Everything is very robust, allowing for young hands to roughly handle the circuit blocks.  A couple of items were damaged in shipment.  We filled out an online damage report and within 3 days, free of charge, the replacement parts arrived in the mail.  I was impressed, especially since all of this happened during the Christmas holidays.

Elenco has developed a comprehensive ‘add on’ plan with their workshops.  If you’re not sure if you’ll like the concept, you can start out with a basic kit, the Snap CircuitŪ 100.  Then, you can purchase upgrade kits to expand to 300 experiments or 500.  There’s even an upgrade to 750 experiments.

I highly recommend these kits/workshops for youngsters who enjoy putting things together and watching them work.  And, this applies to older folks, as well.  As the box top says “Ages 8 – 108”.  I’m thinking of putting this item on my wish list for my birthday or in my letter to Santa.

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

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.

Three properties of snow are responsible for most of the challenges in making accurate and consistent snowfall measurements:
  1. The first is that snow often melts as it makes contact with the ground, both from warm soil below, or from warm air or sunshine above. As a result, the observer may wonder: “It snowed for two hours, but there’s nothing on the ground. Do I report a trace, or nothing at all?”
  2. Another property of snow is that it settles as it lies on the ground. This can have profound effects on observations. Observers who measure more than once a day may often report much more snowfall than ones who report only once a day.
  3. Snow is easily blown and redistributed. It tends not land or lie uniformly on the ground, but instead forms deep drifts in some areas while exposed areas may be blown completely clear.
Consistent and comparable snow data is only possible if standard procedures are established and followed. The use of snow-boards and snow-posts, for example, is an important first step towards standardizing snowfall measurements.

Basic Snowfall Measurements

There are two basic measurements that NWS Gray will use to evaluate snowfall:

  • New Snowfall - The amount of snow that has accumulated since the last measurement was taken.
  • Snow Depth – The total amount of snow that has accumulated on the ground.

Both of these measurements will be reported as tenths of inches (i.e. 1.2").

Measuring Equipment

  • Snow-Board - A snow-board is a flat board that can be used to collect new snowfall. A snow-board should be placed horizontally in a location that will be most representative of the average snowfall - not under trees, obstructions, or on the north side of structures in the shadows. For example, a good placement would be near the middle of your lawn away from any nearby trees. A good general size for a snow-board is 24" x 16", and any type of wood should work fine. A few coats of latex paint or perhaps deck sealant would be a good idea, to seal out the moisture and prevent the board from warping. Be sure to mark the location of the board with a flag or other marker, so that you can find the board after a new snowfall.
  • Snow-Post - A snow-post is a vertical post with height markings used to measure the total depth of snow that has accumulated on the ground. For our purposes the markings may be as rough as halves of inches or as fine as tenths of inches.

Snow Measurement     snow measurement 2

Best Practices

New Snowfall:
  • After a new snowfall, take a ruler out to your snow-board.
  • Holding the ruler vertically, sink your ruler down through the accumulated snow until the end hits the snow-board.
  • Record the level that the snow reaches on the ruler, accurate to the tenth of an inch if possible.
  • Remove your ruler from the snow.
  • Remove your snow-board from underneath the accumulated snow.
  • Place the snow-board onto the top of the snow adjacent to its previous location.
  • Press the snow-board down until the top surface of the snow-board is even with the level of the snow.
  • Mark the new position with a flag or other marker.
  • Report this measurement to NWS Gray SKYWARN.
  • Upon the next snowfall, repeat this procedure.

Snow Depth
  • After a new snowfall, approach your snow-post.
  • Observe the level that the snow reaches on the snow-post, and record this level accurate to the half-inch if possible.
  • Report this measurement to NWS Gray SKYWARN.
  • Upon the next snowfall, repeat this procedure.
  • Alternatively, if you don’t have a snow board, or if you’re at work, or away from home, its acceptable to take a measurement in 3 different areas, and take the average. Report this as a “measured average.”

DX News
February 13 - April 29
by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

The Winter DX season is almost over, but so far its provided some exciting DXPeditions, including the 3C1L (Equitorial Guinea), and 9U4M (Burundi), in early November, the V34AO activation of Belize, in late November, the American XW4ZW DXpedition to Laos, in December, and more.

In other news, the 3Y0I DXPedition to Bouvet Island, which was originally scheduled for late 2017, was cancelled, but there may be a possibility of it happening afterall. Details are scarce, but there was recently an appeal made to the 3Y0Z DXPpedition team to join forces and participate in a "common project." So far no dates have been announced.

Since the last issue, a new DXCC entity has been recognized. The Republic of Kosovo will have the prefix Z6, and there's already been activity on the bands from Z60A, Z68M, Z62FB, and Z61DX.

For more information about upcoming announced DXpeditions, click here for the latest 425 DX News, by Mauro Pregliasco I1JQJ.

Upcoming DXpeditions

02/13 - 02/27
02/15 - 03/01
02/20 - 03/02
02/20 - 03/03
02/22 - 03/06
02/23 - 03/16
02/25 - 03/02
03/01 - 03/05
03/02 - 03/15
03/02 - 03/19
03/02 - 03/11
03/07 - 03/18
03/09 - 03/19
03/10 - 03/17
03/10 - 03/20
03/13 - 03/22
03/20 - 04/29
03/21 - 04/03
03/27 - 04/11
04/01 - 04/08
04/05 - 04/17

Cape Verde
Sri Lanka
Easter I
French Polynesia
Spratly Is
St. Lucia
Agalega &
St. Brandon
By VA3ZC, from Jolly Harbour, IOTA (NA-100); 40-20m; FT8, JT65, SSB
By KE5GD, 20m; SSB; 100w; around 1200-1400z
By F5RXL and others; all bands; CW, SSB & digital; QSL via F5RXL
By TF3EO; from Praia, Santiago Is (AF-005); HF; CW, FT8
By Z32ZM; 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY, FT8, JT65
By 3D2AG and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB, and digital
By KG7LBY, during ascent to Killmanjaro; 40-20m; FT8, SSB; 5w
By LZ1NK, from Weligama, IOTA (AS-003); 40-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY, FT8
By DH8WR and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY, FT8
By G7VJR, from Epule, Efate I, IOTA (OC-035); HF; multiple modes
By LA7THA and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB; Hexbeam & dipoles
By F1ULQ and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY, PSJ, FT8
By EA1SA and others; 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY
By W0ZRJ, from Tahiti, IOTA (OC-046); mainly CW, some SSB and JT9
By YT1AD and others; 160-6m; CW, SSB, and digital
By WF2S; from Gros Inlet; FT8
By G3RWL; 80-10m; CW, RTTY; 100w; G5RV; QSL via G3RWL
By 14 EI DX ops; 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY; QSL via M0OXO
By DL6UAA, from IOTA (AF-049); 40-10m; CW & digital
By 3D2AG, from Finafuti Atoll; IOTA (OC-015); HF-2m; CW, SSB, RTTY, JT65
By F5UFX and others; from St. Brandon Is, IOTA (AF-015); 160-6m; CW, SSB, RTTY; QSL via F5CWU

Brags, Tall-Tales, and Awesome Feats

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine would like to congratulate Keith Thompson AC1EG on earning his Extra on February 12th! Way to go, Keith!

We'd also like to welcome the following new members: Keith Thompson AC1EG, Randy Hunt N1NAD, Richard Marshall KC1RHM, and Tim Welch KA1VPU

2017 Maine QSO Party Winners Announced

MEQP Banner

Congratulations to the 2017 Overall winner of the Maine QSO Party, Joe Blinick K1JB, who scored a total of 32,436 points, and made 305 QSOs! Joe won the contest for a record fourth time.

The categories were won by Andrew Falkenstern N9NBC (Single Operator QRP), Rober Shroeder K5KPE (Single Operator Low Power), Joe Blinick K1JB (Single Operator High Power), and Ethan Handwerker N1SOH (Multi Operator Low Power).

For complete results, including state and national winners, click here.

QSL Corner

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

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

Radio Prague
Radio Prague
for a report by Tim Watson:

December 8, 2017  2340 UTC

5850 kHz (via WRMI relay)

SINPO: 54444

QSL features: Cruise steamboats on Vitava in central Prague. "Means of Public Transport."

Radio Slovakia International
Radio Slovakia International
for a report by Tim Watson:

December 9, 2017  0033 UTC

11580 kHz

SINPO: 55444

QSL features: Items of traditional women's folkwear from Hrochof, a village in Central Slovakia.

Radio Romania International Radio Romania International
for a report by Tim Watson:

November 25, 2017  0126 UTC

7325 kHz

SINPO: 55444

QSL features: Cetatea Deva, Deva Stronghold.

Items for Sale
FOR SALEYaesu VX8GR multiband handheld transceiver. Includes 2 batteries. $275. Contact: Kevin Martel, at:

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

Hamfests & Events
ARRL VE Exam - March 1, 2018, 7PM. Location: CCEMA, 22 High Street, Windham, ME. Sponsor: Wireless Society of Southern Maine. Contact: Tim Watson KB1HNZ at: (207) 831-8132. 
Hamfests & Events
Maine State ARRL Convention - March 30, 2018. Location: Lewiston, ME. Type: ARRL Convention. Sponsor: Androscoggin Amateur Radio Club. Click here to learn more.

CVRC Hamfest - March 18, 2018. Location: Henniker, NH. Type: ARRL Hamfest. Sponsor: Contoocook Valley Radio Club. Click here to learn more.

New England Amateur Radio Festival (NEAR-Fest) - May 4 & 5, 2018. Location: Deerfield Fairgrounds, NH. Click here to learn more.
Items for Trade
If you have any items for trade, contact one of our members to have it listed here, or send an email to: 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, 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, or bring it to an upcoming meeting of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. All ads will be printed one time, unless renewed.

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