Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (Copied from eHam)

NOTE: This is a article making good natured fun at a great service. It is not intended to offend and if some one is offended, sorry. W1KRP
from Rick McCallum, KC7MF on October 30, 2017

When all else fails, there is Amateur Radio. We all stand ready to provide communications in times of emergency. We can actually do quite well at this and I do not mean to make light of it. Well maybe a little. That said.
As a new ham you may want to get your feet wet in what we call ECOM, or ECOMM, or EMCOMM...whatever. Let’s go with ECOM for brevity sake. As a newly licensed Technician-Class ‘Amateur Radio Station Operator/Licensee’ (ARSOL) uh, I mean Licensed Amateur Radio Station Operator(LARSO) you will start with the basics. You will learn emergency communications from the ground up.

The Basics:
First you will need equipment. You will need a name tag with your call sign on it. It should also have your name on it because there will not be one living soul with whom you will work who will be able to remember your name for over 30 seconds and you will get really tired of being called Mike Foxtrot. Then you will need a hat with your call sign on it. The best hat is a green hard hat indicating that you belong to a CERT team. (More about CERT in part II.) It will afford you protection when you are working “in ECOM” as we say. I recommend putting your name on the back of your hard hat. This way people who hiding behind…that is to say following your lead, will not forget your name. It will be easy for them to communicate with you at the disaster site, shouting official ECOM stuff like, “Rick. Slow down. It is really scary here. Do you smell smoke?”…And other such essential emergency communications. You will need camouflage fatigues and combat boots. You will need a Sam Brown belt to carry your bundle of keys, your aluminum 36,000 lumen flashlight, spare batteries, your canteen, your flare gun, your knife, your first-aid kit, your multi-tool and your portable field Morse code key (snicker).
You will crown your new outfit with an orange reflective vest with ECOM on the back of it. (You may be asking yourself, “won’t the orange vest counteract the effect of the camouflage fatigues? The answer is yes but just drop it. OK? There is no call to be pedantic.) Now let’s move on. There are Ham radio Badges. They look just like Police badges. Do not get one. You will look like an id…well let’s just say the police do not like any badges with references to “ham” on them. OK? A little sensitivity…

Of course you will need an “HT”. This is short for “Handy Talkie”. Your HT will cost anywhere from, at the high end, about $600.00 down to, at the low end, about $6.00 used. Perhaps one of your new ECOM friends (or should I say platoon mates) will help you. “Oh? Bill is looking for an HT? He can have this worthless piece of…oh there you are Bill. Let me give you this rig to get you started”. Wouldn’t that be a lucky stroke? He/or she may just be your new Elmer. Please note. There is no difference between a $500 and a free HT. They all work equally, ah, one might almost say, well.

Thus outfitted you are ready for ECOM training. This is a series of evening classes taught by a guy named Frank (known affectionately in the ECOM community as Methuselah.) You will be able to spot him right away at the radio club meetings as he is the one with the green hard hat, orange vest, HT with remote mic and ham radio badge. (NOTE: Before you ask, yes we have all noticed that he looks like an 80 year old school crossing guard and it is not necessary to mention it.) These classes will be exciting. You will learn ECOM procedures, first aid, outdoor survival, equipment preparation, which vegetation is edible, jeep riding, and why you should keep all of your radio equipment in a Faraday Cage right next to your three year supply of food and 846 guns, and always vote libertarian and...but then I digress… (Do not worry for the moment what a Faraday Cage is. You will not really need to know until you go for your extra class ticket unless, God Forfend, events lead you to really need one but in that case the subject is sort of academic.)
Trained to the hilt you will participate in events designed to hone your emergency communications skills. Most of these are bike races. Your leadership will have pled... that is to say, kindly volunteered your group’s services to monitor the race route in case something awful might happen. There you will be; dressed in your entire combat-first-responder ensemble, HT at the ready, stuffed full of surplus trail mix and ready for any emergency. And then it happens. Something awful! You get on your HT and shout, “Operation Chainguard Flash Eagle Leader Alpha Charlie One whatever this is Flash Thunder Falcon three four, Kilo Echo Seven Uniform Xray Echo, we have a code 6. A bicycle just crashed into three people who were not paying attention because they were on their cell phones and wandered into the race route. Get on your cell phone and call the paramedics.” And there you have it. ECOM at its most basic. Most gritty. Most…
Now if that does not whet your appetite there is more! You could become a weather observer!

Ham Radio Weather Observers

This is a highly technical program to…well…tell people it is raining or windy. I know. Even a no-code Extra can tell when it is raining and/or windy but I guess some people can’t. On edit: I was just informed that I am off-base here. It is not to tell people it is raining and/or windy. It is to tell people who are not where it is raining and/or windy that it is raining and/or windy somewhere else. That makes more sense, even to me. Oh no really?
Okay. The person who told me about the rain just told me that these “observers” go out and try to find tornadoes and then tell people that there are tornadoes somewhere else. You could do that! How cool. You could don all of your ECOM equipment, jump into your emergency SUV, and head toward really nasty looking weather, where you could jump out and look for funnel clouds. Here is where you must make a strategic decision. “Do I carry all of my emergency equipment or travel “light”. The decision will be based upon your skill set. If you are not, shall we say, fleet of foot, the extra weight of the equipment might come in very handy. Your training will be important here. At times like these it is sometimes easy to forget proper radio procedure. But you will stay calm. Seeing a funnel cloud roughly the size of Cleveland headed your way you will take cover behind that… oh what is there... fence post... key your HT and say..."Holy, I mean Hotel Sierra there is Bravo Foxtrot funnel cloud, about the size of Cleveland that just ate my camouflage SUV and is headed right for me. Where is it? I’ll check my map. I have it in my back pocket... I’ll let you know in a minute. Something has uh gotten on my map."

Doesn’t that sound like fun? And it’s important too. It allows the folks at headquarters to tell others not to go near you (or where they believe you were) and give thanks that they are not there with you. Don’t worry. I have never actually heard of someone getting his clothes blown off and you can always get another CERT hat and map. My suspicion is that when this article is published there will be a great many of them available. All the better for an aspiring storm watcher.
This is enough for the first installment. Next time we will cover CERT and ARES. There is much to cover. But at this point it is important to add that what ham radio can and does do in emergencies is a very real thing. I have answered a real Mayday call myself and it is quite the experience. Sometimes though it is instructive to take an alternate look at some of our “foibles.” That is what we just did.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Local Ham Radio Happenings!!

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Seems to be quite a bit going on in the Down East Maine area in the Ham Radio community! Below I have listed the highlights. Please stay tuned to the local frequencies for updates and the local nets!
**The “Sunday Sessions” will be starting back up on Sunday November 12th at noon time! If you have a project you are working on and want to share or just work on bring it along! Questions on operations and/or equipment…hopefully they can be answered! The session on the 12th will be an open discussion as well on VHF digital ops with emphasis on getting reacquainted with packet radio and APRS! Bring your setups if you wish to get going or troubleshoot! ALL are welcome to attend, even those new to the hobby and want to see what it’s all about!
**Last week (10/10/2017) Phil acted as net ctrl on a 10M net and it was interesting! Contacts from the Ellsworth area were pretty good, Phil had a hard time copying but with relays all seemed to make their presence known! Tonight 10/17 there will be a 6M FM net at 1830 hours on 52.525…now THAT should be fun!
**On Saturday, November 18th at 1300 hours there will be a VE Test session at Meadow View Apartments Phase 4 Community Room, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth. For those wanting further information contact Phil Duggan N1EP at . (No N1CJS, I am not ready to test to Extra!)
**Theres some new kids in town…well sorta. The group once known as the Narraguagus Bay Amateur Radio Club, has resurrected as the Maine Ham Radio Society holding its first meeting on October 14th in Milbridge. It’s great to see the group active again and offering more for the Hams further Down East! Look for info on further meetings!

 **Next meeting of the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) will be held on Thursday November 9th . The business meeting which is held at 1900 hours will be preceded by training provided by the National Weather Service starting at 1800 hours centered on winter weather observation/reporting. The following is the NWS release:

2017 Winter Spotter Training Ellsworth

Help your National Weather Service by becoming a Winter Weather Storm Spotter!  Storm spotters report snowfall, ice accumulation, high winds, high surf, freezing spray and coastal flood erosion during Maine’s long harsh winters.  Spotter training will teach you about winter storms, in addition to teaching you how to accurately measure and report significant winter weather phenomenon! 
Where: Meadowview Apartments (Phase IV Community Room), 25 Tweedie Lane, Ellsworth, ME

 When: Thursday, November 9th at 6 PM

 Cost: Free to all those interested in Weather!!!

**Next Ham Radio breakfast will be Saturday, November 4th at 0900 hrs at Denny’s in Ellsworth. Confirm with Phil N1EP at who and how many will be attending!

**Look for upcoming information about a Special Events Station during next fall’s Autumn Gold Festival here in Ellsworth!


EAWA October 2017 Meeting Minutes

EAWA Minutes October 12, 2017

The October 12th meeting of the EAWA was called to order at 7:05 PM by President Chris Stanley N1CJS. Evie KA1BRA made a motion to accept the September Minutes as e-mailed. Rob W8HAP seconded the motion. The motion passed. Dick W1KRP made a motion to accept the Treasurer's Report ( Petty Cash $313.57, Savings account $1050.50,  VE Account $18.82, and Repeater Fund $92.39) that was seconded by Chuck AC1BS.  The motion carried.


                        EMCOMM                 NETS                                      EAWA

Tuesdays at 7:00PM on 146.910 Repeater     Wednesdays at 7:00PM on the 147.030 Repeater

October 17  Evie Sargent KA1BRA              October 18 KB1ONQ Scott Grindle

October 24  Chris Weaver AB1PZ                 October 25 Chris Weaver AB1PZ     

October 31 Phil Duggan N1EP                      November 1 Bradley Nuding KC1HVP                   

November 7 Chuck Liebow AC1BS              November 8 Chuck Liebow AC1BS 


                                                            Old Business

October Breakfast – Greg N1IRH reported that the October breakfast held at Denny's in Ellsworth  Saturday, October 7 at 9:00AM was attended only by three.

                                                            New Business

November  Breakfast – TheNovember breakfast at Denny's in Ellsworth will be Saturday, November 4th at 9:00AM. Please let Phil N1EP ( know if you plan to attend so he can give them a head count.

6 Meter Net – Phil N1EP stated that there is a possibility of having a weekly 6 m (52.525 MHz) net on Tuesdays at 6:30PM

Echo Link Down – Chris N1CJS reported that his Echo Link is down. Possibly it can be moved to another location where it will decide to start working again.

November Test Session – Since there is interest in a VE test session, Phil may try to get one scheduled for November.

Program for November – Chris N1CJS announced that the EMA will be hosting a SKYWARN program at Meadow View Apartment IV Common Room 25 Tweedie Lane, Ellsworth at 6:00PM on Thursday, November 9th.  The SKYWARN program will be presented by a meteorologist from Caribou.This program is different than the one presented earlier this year so please try to attend. The EAWA business meeting will immediately follow the SKYWARN program.

Sunday Sessions -  Sunday Sessions will start November 12th noon to whenever . Bring a project or just drop by to see what's happening or to operate the club station. Meadow View Apartments 25 Tweedie Lane

Junk Requested – John KQ1P would like to have your junk radio stuff for a high school class project.

He may offer a radio class to the students in the spring. Joe WA4OVO is willing to help teach  from afar.

Sweep Stakes – Phil N1EP is hosting at his home on Sunday, November 19th the Sweepstakes on phone.  Show up anytime and operate or check out the action . Light refreshments will be served.

 Rob W8HAP made a motion to adjourn. John KQ1P seconded. So done at 7:28 PM

 Program-Finalizing communication plans for the MDI Marathon on Sunday, October 15, 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Evie Sargent/KA1BRA


Maine Ham Radio Society

Maine Ham Radio Society

(formerly Narraguagus Bay Amateur Radio Club)

MINUTES (Tentative)

October 14, 2017

0900 at The Milbridge House Restaurant

Present: Phil Duggan N1EP, Rick Miller N1XRW, Kevin Keane AB1OX, David Prue KC1GVG, Brian Carlton KC1FXF, Richard Clark KC1BUX

*All present agreed that we should bring the club out of suspended animation. All present paid $10 membership fees. It was decided for now the dues would be $10. Depending on possible liabilty insurance and other costs, the members could choose to increase fees at a later date.

 *Officer Elections were held resulting in:

Phil N1EP President/Secretary

David KC1GVG Vice President

Brian KC1FXF Treasurer

* Members voted to change the name of the club to Maine Ham Radio Society.

*It was noted that Kevin Shissler K1FQ was going to renew the club’s call sign KB1CEJ and transfer Trusteeship to Brenda Duggan N1ZPV. N1EP will also ask Kevin if he can update the name of the club with the FCC at the same time, if that is even an option.

*N1EP noted that he was hosting a group November Sweepstakes operation and social event at his QTH on Sunday November 19. All are invited. It was also announced that the next Ellsworth club breakfast would be Saturday, Nov 4 at 0900 at Denny’s. Please RSVP N1EP if you plan on attending so enough tables can be reserved.

*Additionally, the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association will be resuming their Sunday project sessions starting November 12 at the Meadow View Apartments Phase IV Dining Hall 25 Tweedie Lane. They usually start at noon. All are welcome. A VE session will be scheduled for sometime in November at that same location.

Adjourned about 1020

Submitted by Phil Duggan N1EP

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sunday Sessions 2017-18

 Keep posted for further information reference “Sunday Sessions” held throughout the winter at Meadow View, where the EAWA meets. With the radios present and antenna topside what better chance to hang around and work on projects or do some operating. It has been suggested that we schedule possibly operating some of the contests. As always if you have a project to work on or troubles with said projects bring them along and hopefully someone can help. And as always, have a new piece of equipment or a new setup to show off…come on down! Questions, comments, nastygrams…give me a shout at

Friday, September 8, 2017

Meeting Notice

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Remember that the EAWA, Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association, will be holding it's monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept 14th at 7 PM in the Community Room of Meadow View Apartments, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth. Anyone licensed or interested in Amateur Radio is urged to attend. After the business meeting Phil Duggan will give a brief program. Phil, N1EP is going to give a very brief description of the ARRL National Traffic System, and will also describe the radiogram and how it is used. He will also quickly go over a couple ICS message forms. Anyone needing information can contact me or . Club info can be found at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Are We Prepared?

If we have never experienced it, do we REALLY comprehend the |results of a major
disaster? Amateur Radio licensees and those active in Emergency Response or
Communications Units may have |their equipment prepared, but what about the family and the family home?

We may think we have prepared, but it's a real shock when there is no water, no
electricity, no heat, no transportation and no way to get them. Consider just the loss of
Do we realize:

a. that public and private wells may not pump water?

b. that service stations have no means to deliver gasoline?

c. that grocery stores close because computer connected cash registers and bar-code readers cannot function?

d. that refrigerators and freezers won't keep food

e. that traffic and street lights don't work?

f. that sewerage disposal system pumps may not function

Can we internalize the effect such events will have on us and our |family? Few can, so we
ignore the travail, the trauma and tragedy. Yet, any moderate disaster can cause significant
destruction, |injury and death, whether earthquake, hurricane, severe winter |storm or extended flooding. Partial or entire systems - roads, |water, electricity, gas - can be disrupted or destroyed.
There may be days, weeks, months or years without public services. Disasters are not selective and occur anywhere, anytime-no matter how lulled to sleep we may be in communities that have not suffered such events. We read about these events and watch them on TV, yet how do we interpret that to our own lives?
More often that not we don't.

It's just too much to think about contaminated water sources, or wells that won't work,
about no electricity or no gasoline, no heating oil, gas or propane; of life being totally changed. We shrug it off and go about our daily lives, particularly if we live in an area that was NOT affected.

Yet, questions do arise. Some officials who were saying, "prepare for at least 3 days" (i.e., loss of public services) are now saying "prepare for a month.” One official recommended
storing 200 small garbage bags for human waste disposal, intending they be put over 5 gallon buckets, then closed and disposed of by digging a hole in the ground.
This is likely a reaction to massive disasters around the world causing the realization that nature is in control, not mankind; that massive events WILL leave some communities without services for extended periods.

So, let's sit down and review our situation.
 How will we heat the family in the dead cold of winter, or store food in the stifling heat of summer? How can we have water for a self-sustaining family for, say, thirty days? Maybe 50-gallon storage drums? One source predicts a 55-gallon drum will supply a family of 4 for 2 weeks, just squeaking by.) Think solutions and implement.

Once we solve that, then let's help a friend or neighbor do likewise. Yes, it may never happen, but who knows, tomorrow the preparation that we do may help in ways we least expect!


Source: Kentucky Amateur Radio Web Site –

Monday, July 31, 2017

August EAWA Meeting!

The next scheduled meeting of the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) will be held on Thursday August 10th at 7 PM in the Meadow View Apartments Phase 4 Community room, 25 Tweedie Lane here in Ellsworth. The meeting is opened to all, and individuals interested in getting started in Ham radio are welcome to attend. After the business meeting  Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE will give a presentation which will be of interest to all hams BUT especially of interest to newer hams and those interested in getting involved….”The Frugal Ham”… an active ham without breaking your budget! Hope to see everyone there! 73 de W1KRP

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Field Day 2017...One For The Books!

Well, Field Day 2017 is behind us. It was a great weekend and it seems as though everyone enjoyed themselves. Friends, radio and of course food. Who could ask for much more!? As per SOP, the setup started in inclement weather Saturday morning. We either start or end in rain…right? Its Field Day! Well, Saturday at about 1345 hrs EST the skys parted and from that point on it was great weather down on Schoodic Point at the SERC facility. For the remainder of the FD the CW station was active as was the Phone station. Add in a active GOTA station and a successful Satellite station…good times was had by all. Many thanks go out to Andy, Cheri, Evie, Chris S., Chris W., Mark, Bob, Galen, Lynn, Joe, Jeff, John and I probably have forgotten others and I apologize! Already looking forward to next year and hopefully many more local Ham Radio activities between now and then!  73 !!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"FirstNet"....Defining EMCOMM'S Future!?

Drawn from ARRL

Buildout of Nationwide First Responder Broadband Network Could Drive ARES Changes

06/01/2017The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) — a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders — could change the complexion of how the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) functions to support communication for responders during disasters and emergencies. As an independent authority within the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), FirstNet’s mission is to build out, deploy, and operate an interoperable nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. Ralph Haller, N4RH, the chairman of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), told ARRL that the advent of FirstNet “will likely be as significant as when public safety first began using radio.”

“The nationwide network will be hardened, so that it will be more likely that many of today’s public safety systems remain operational in emergencies,” Haller said, pointing out that Amateur Radio should not expect to have access to FirstNet. He cautioned, “The endurance of Amateur Radio systems in disasters has been a big selling point in the past for incorporating amateur operators in emergency plans, but perhaps not so much in the future.”
NPSTC is a federation of organizations that work toward improving public safety communication and interoperability, and ARRL has a seat on NPSTC’s Governing Board. Haller predicted that Amateur Radio’s role in emergencies will not disappear. “There is no substitute for eyes and ears on the ground in an emergency,” he said, adding that radio amateurs “can and should continue to play an important part” in supporting emergency communication.
“Amateur operators can continue to provide valuable information to emergency operations centers in the recovery phase of disasters,” he said. “Whether that intelligence gathering is reporting on storm clouds, power outages, or road closures, amateurs can help provide critical, real-time information about conditions over a vast area. While first responders are treating the injured or protecting life and property, the amateur community can concentrate on assessing the overall picture.”
On March 30, FirstNet and the Commerce Department announced a 25-year partnership with AT&T as the primary contractor to make FirstNet a reality. “The ability to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions is critical for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) when securing large events or responding to emergencies and disasters,” a Commerce Department news release said. “In those instances, networks can become overloaded and inaccessible, limiting responders’ use of vital communication technologies, such as smartphones and applications dedicated to public safety services.”
Public safety agencies already use commercial wireless networks, such as AT&T and Verizon, to supplement their own radio systems and networks, although such communication is not point to point. FirstNet is initially targeted primarily to provide video and data, with mission-critical voice communication at least a decade away. EMS is likely to become a heavy user of the network, which will employ voice command functions a la Siri or Alexa.

“Be sure the public safety organizations never forget how valuable the amateurs are!” — NPSTC Chairman Ralph Haller, N4RH

Inevitably there will be coverage gaps, and the development of “deployables” is critical. These devices can expand the network to areas it doesn’t cover but where it may be needed for a specific incident. Deployables could include satellites — Inmarsat is a member of the AT&T team. Network security and encryption is a high priority. The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) now uses encryption on its data nets.
While images in the form of digital Amateur Radio television (DATV) and a plethora of digital modes are available to ARES, FirstNet could nudge ARES to more quickly adopt a similar approach. A new generation of radio amateurs steeped in data, image, and video technology is likely to drive ARES to think beyond analog.
Haller advised that the Amateur Radio community should continue to work closely with public safety organizations at all levels to assure that they remain a part of emergency plans.
“The hype about broadband should not result in amateurs inadvertently being swept under the rug,” Haller stressed. “Be sure the public safety organizations never forget how valuable the amateurs are!”
FirstNet will use spectrum at 700 MHz — no immediate threat to Amateur Radio allocations, although there is no guarantee that this won’t change as the network approaches the shift to 5th generation (5G) technology. Amateur Radio has access to significant spectrum above 700 MHz.
The expectation is that within a couple of years, a nationwide “core” network will be ready to roll out, and the first public safety users will be on board. Some regional networks have been set up for proof-of-concept purposes and to work out wrinkles. — Thanks to Mike Corey, KI1U, and Ralph Haller, N4RH

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EAWA Website Comes Alive!

The Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association has dug its website out of mothballs with the help of Charles AC1BS and is being updated on a regular basis with input from local hams. For information in reference to the W1TU club please check out  Thanks Chuck!!

Time Passes...Things change!

  When I got my License years ago it was to participate in a hobby that got my interest piqued due to my Dad’s decade’s long passion in electronics leading him to having his FCC Commercial license even with Radar endorsements. I picked up some info from him when he was alive but as a kid, Dad being immersed in it constantly, I did not take advantage of his wealth of information available. So, me being one who is quite often slow on the uptake AKA: after Dad passed, I decided to learn electronics (some!) and at the same time get my Ham ticket! (Disclaimer: Bruce N1VLQ is to blame..another story!) Why the ramblings, well I have been a blogger for years and decided after a few years of big life changing events to get back to my RF roots…just Ham radio. Yes, I will continue to report on EMCOMM items which I will still support, but this blog from this point forward will be a sounding board for Ham Radio FUN…with my sometimes contorted viewpoint thrown in for the hell of it. Yes, the URL will remain the same but the title of the page and primary purpose has changed. Please feel free to check in, I will post blog update status on FB and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them below the posts or email me at   Thanks and 73!!

W1TU FIELD DAY...It's Almost Here Folks!

11 Days folks, just 11 short 24 hour time cycles away from Field Day 2017! Set up will start Friday June 23rd after 12 noon. Operations start at 1400 hours Saturday June 24th and end at 1400 hours Sunday the 25th. Of course help will be needed after it ends! There will be a pot-luck supper Saturday night so bring some good stuff to share and plan on having a great time! For those that are GPS savvy the numbers are as follows: 59 Jacobson Dr, Winter Harbor, ME 04693, USA…….Latitude: 44.338 | Longitude: -68.060131 further info go to the EAWA website at and contact one of the officers listed at the top of the page!

Monday, May 15, 2017


Field Day is coming soon!
Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. EAWA will be once again operating a 2A station from the SERC facility on Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor. Plans are being tuned up and anyone interested should contact the club via Facebook at the EAWA page….or better yet attend the next EAWA meeting which will be on Thursday June 8th. Also, anyone interested but not familiar with the location go to the ARRL web page ( ) and go to the Field Day page and check out the FD Locator function for the Maine area. We are listed and it works! Within two hours after posting I received an email from a Ham from Florida who will be camping on MDI that weekend and would like to join us for the operations! 73!

Antenna Raising Meeting

This coming Sunday, May 21st, there will be an antenna raising meeting at Meadow View Apartments, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth at 12 noon to install the new HF antenna that will be able to be used for both EAWA and EMCOMM functions. If you are able to give a hand we would love to see you then!
Further info email me at

"Touch A Truck"

On Saturday, May 13th, EAWA and Hancock County EMA/EMCOMM participated in a Touch A Truck event at Mount Desert Island High School. We had the EMCOMM Comms Trailer, the portable tower and of course Hams! We had a good time and talked to quite a few people about the hobby and its use in emergency situations under the guidance of Hancock County EC Chris Weaver, AB1PZ and HCEMA Director Andy Sankey, KB1TGL. And Jeff Hanscom, KA1DBE even made a contact with a Russian station using a Yaesu FT-817, 5W QRP. This was a memorable contact seeing Jeff was outside his "CW comfort zone" Hi Hi. The event was a fundraiser for the Harbor House in Southwest Harbor and we were please we were asked to join in! 
(Photos courtesy of Jeff KA1DBE)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

QRP In Downeast Maine!

naqcc_logo (10K)
Jeff, KA1DBE recently had some good news for those interested in QRP Ops here in Downeast Maine:

 Greeting all,
As I stated in the EAWA meeting, this will be an informal group of QRP operators sharing what they are doing with the rest of North America.
The NAQCC has a monthly news letter and I would like to have something to spotlight each month.  Could be new gear, antenna project, contest, etc.  Let me know what you have been up to.
 Not sure how many of you are contesters but the NAQCC has a monthly 2 hour sprint. 
 I like sprints because they do not take a whole lot of time and it is a good way to get your feet wet in contesting if you have never done it before.
I will try to set up a FB page or group and maybe a Twitter account.
Lastly, this Saturday, I will be operating the QRP to the field (QRPTTF) contest.  I will be set up at the Ellsworth waterfront park an Marina.  Plan to get there around 8 am to set up and be on the air by 10.  Stop by and say hi if you have some time.
Thanks again for your support and let's show them how we do things Downeast!
Jeff, KA1DBE

Further NAQCC Info:


Electrical Tape Tips by KØFF


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Did you ever notice that electrical tape, like a hammer, comes with no instructions? Perhaps the makers figure that everyone automatically knows all the "tricks of the trade". Read on, you may pick up a new wrinkle.

Vinyl electrical tape has been around since 1945, but for a long time after it was introduced, black cotton friction tape was still used for most applications, partly because of the cost difference, partly because of tradition. I remember tearing long strips of half-inch friction tape into quarter-inch wide strips as a cost savings. A unique feature of the adhesive on the friction tape is that it gives off an eerie blue light when the tape is peeled from the roll. It is bright enough to be easily seen in a darkened room. Aside from that trivial fact today's friction tape is used for special applications only as a topcoat for delicate rubber tape as used on high voltage cable spices. Modern materials are superior in every respect. The first vinyl tape I ever saw on the job was gray in color, not black, I suppose it was a telephone company spec.
Today I recommend using only Scotch 33+ tape for all ham radio uses, except as noted at the end, as it has predictable characteristics and is good for every indoor/outdoor application. The temperature range is zero F to 220 F.

Make sure to get the type with the + sign, as there is also a plain type 33.

3M also makes product called Temflex, but again type 33+ is suitable for every application, especially outdoors.
When taping over coax connectors, or coax splice kits, it is helpful to first wrap the connector with a self-amalgamating Silicone Tape product. The 3M version is Type 70, and Radio Shack also sells it in small rolls under the part number 64-2336.
This is NOT the same product as the coax-seal, or Radio Shack #278-1645 "sealant for RF connectors". I do not care for that sticky material, dum-dum, or any other putty type material that is hard to remove later. The silicone-tape peels off cleanly and easily, so easily in fact that it needs to be covered with a topcoat of Type 33+ to protect it. This two layer approach, when applied as explained below will give a waterproof seal that is weather resistant, and stays flexible for years, but can easily be removed if changes need to be done to the system.

Any time you wrap tape on a threaded component, make sure you wrap it in the direction that tends to tighten the screw threads, not the other way. That means if you are taping a splice, for example two PL-259's screwed into a double barrel female (PL-258/83-1J) you must tape each connector from the cable end to the barrel center.
Always run the tape "uphill" that is from the smaller diameter to the larger diameter.
Start at the smallest end, make several tight turns of one-quarter lap for a good seal, then run the tape in one-half laps to the center, with moderate stretch so the diameter of the 33+ is reduced to about five-eighths of it's original width. On the last few turns reduce the stretch tension until it is zero at the last turn, to prevent flagging. Use a scissors to cut the tape end square, as a knife or ripping will add stretch to the last lap and cause it to come loose. Repeat the same strategy from the other side, and meet in the center (if it is a splice kit), overlap the left hand side tape with the right hand side tape. If the connection is to be removed at a relatively short timeframe, fold the last hat does not stick. If the tape job is permanent, simply lay the last lap down flush. Now for the best-kept secret, spray the entire assembly with clear coat enamel or other dielectric spray. I use Krylon Crystal Clear. The over-spray absolutely seals the joint and keeps the ends flat.
Non-electrical uses for electrical tape.
For taping cables to tower legs and other such jobs, consider using the Temflex or straight Type 33 as they both are less expensive and have a slightly higher breaking strength. The superior conformal qualities of the 33+ are not needed in these applications.
One of the most common non electrical uses of vinyl tape is to secure rolls of wire, bundles of tubing, cables to rungs, and many other odd jobs that use the material for other than it's weatherproof or electrical qualities. To tie up a roll of cable, the cheapest grade of black vinyl tape is adequate, except that it leaves a gooey mess behind when removed. The secret here is to make the first full two turns with the sticky side OUT. Then simply twist the tape around on itself and continue making a few more turns with the sticky side IN. This same trick can be used with cellophane tape to secure hardware store bundles of conduit, pipe etc, so that it removes cleanly. Wish I had a nickel for every minute wasted trying to get that sticky mess off copper water pipe before soldering!
Another slick idea Scotch came up with is the color-coded vinyl tape. I've tried many schemes over the years of using red, blue, green white and other color tapes to identify certain cables, for example coax cables in a bundle run up the tower. After toughly confusing myself, I decided to simply use the white tape, and mark the ID on it with a Sharpie permanent marker. Foolproof, and lasts for years.

April EAWA Meeting!

EAWA held its monthly meeting on April 7th.
 After the business meeting Rob, W8HAP, gave a presentation on antennas.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sunday Session and EMCOMM = Interesting

 As scheduled, there will be a “Sunday Session” this coming Sunday, March 26th at 12 noon. Anyone interested in ham radio is invited to attend and participating hams are encouraged to bring their latest projects, problems, comments and questions and of course….coffee.  See you there. Any questions on the Sunday Sessions? Drop me an email at

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

KA1DBE's Satellite Comms Demo

On Thursday March 9th the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) held it’s monthly meeting. After the business meeting, member Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE, gave a great presentation on Amateur Radio Satellite Communications. A lot of info was passed on and a lot of interest was shown. Look for lots of radio reports coming from Grid FN54!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Field Day 2017...It's Sneaking Up!

The following is a classic article from eHam on Field Day operations and planning. FD 2017 is approaching fast, time to start thinking about it EAWA members!

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How to Come Back After Field Day by KA7EKW)  
Well, it's that time again. Those little flakes of "global warming" have stopped falling, the snow shovel is hanging in the garage, and a ham's thoughts turn to Field Day.
However, you will be facing risks this year that you never have faced before. It doesn't matter how many contacts you make, if you are the highest-ranking Silent Key in the list!
The risks break down into three areas: Technology, Environment, and Medical.
Let's deal with Technology first.
Oh, sure, you've done this every year, so long that you still have a couple of Motorola plugs in your tool kit, but unless you are running a solo effort, there is a good chance that someone you've never met is bringing out equipment that you've never seen. Look from a distance, until you know the ways that it might bite you.
If you're in a club, it's a good idea to appoint a safety officer -- an experienced ham who likes to build things -- to check all installations during and after setup. His or her ONLY job is to look for things that don't look right. No power is applied until cleared with Safety.
Are the power leads properly insulated, the antenna properly grounded, the generator safely away from hazards -- and not aimed to fill your tent with carbon monoxide while you sleep?
Antennas deserve special attention -- they tend to be sharp at one end, hard to see at night, and can zap you anywhere along the length. Are you running an NVIS (aka "Radiating Neck-Wire") . . ? It's a good idea to drape something like barrier tape at invervals, so that it's obvious there's something there. A tower? Imagine the worst-case scenario, and it falls over -- where will it go? Onto a power line, or someone's sleeping bag?
Everything needs to be labeled, unless nobody other than the builder will operate it. ALL power leads must be marked, in case you need to cut off the juice in a hurry.
Field Day is supposed to be a disaster DRILL, let's not make it REAL.
Second, we have Environmental.
Some of this might be related to Technology, like the guys I watched raising a tower during a lull between thunderstorm cells passing overhead, or the guy who drove his ground rod through the school sprinkler system.
However, the environment is other things. Do you have a security issue, where equipment is likely to disappear if left unattended? Or maybe most of your planned area has recently been sprayed with bug killer. Or a new power line has been run . . .there are a lot of factors.
Don't be afraid to find somewhere else to operate -- that's a big part of working a field expedient site, learning where not to put them. Even just picking the opposite corner of the park may make all the difference between a safe weekend and a real problem.
Lastly, we have Medical.
Sorry, OM, but you ARE an OM! That tower trailer that you eagerly cranked a couple of years ago (well, let's be honest, TWENTY years ago) is ready to be your first heart attack. If you're the only one around to crank it, take it easy, take your time on the crank.
Unless you are Jack LaLanne (I think that guy is allergic to Kryptonite!), as you get older, you are no long able to jump into the same level of effort that you used to. If nothing else, this is your incentive for recruiting some teenagers into ham radio!
You also need to think things through. Make sure that you know what you are doing, and that you're at that step in the process (especially important if working as a team). If in doubt, start over rather than miss an important step.
Setup isn't the only worry. Make sure you get enough water (plain old water, or club soda). By the time you notice that you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so maybe a big club should assign someone to keeping the flow of water going to every operator. And, if you're there in the tent, if anyone takes a drink, EVERYONE take a drink. Don't skip meals, and don't load up on snacks and junk.
If you are out in the sun, WEAR YOUR HAT. Use sunscreen. Wear loose-fitting long sleeves.
Don't forget your flashlight and batteries. Wandering around at night is a really good way to learn WHY we call NVIS antenna "Radiating Neck Wires," or be reminded exactly where the counterpoise was staked.
Now, since it seems that most clubs go hide out on mountaintops for FD, you also need to make sure that you bring extra water, food, fuel and meds -- be prepared to be stuck out there for 5 days.
Lastly, be prepared to evacuate the site. Make a checklist of the most important stuff to load first -- you may have less than 5 minutes' warning if a fire starts. Nothing that you own is worth dying for, and if you're given an evacuation order, GO. The best plan is to leave everything in your car unless you are using it.
Practicing this part can be fun. I've seen a couple of clubs that made it a contest to be ready to roll after FD is over.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, just do your best to be back home Sunday night, and back for next year's Field Day.