Friday, November 2, 2018

Sunday Session(s)

This coming Sunday, November 4th at 12 Noon the crew will meet for another Session. 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth Meadow View Phase 4 Community Room where the club meetings are held. Possible plan on getting a shopping list to together for the End Fed antenna Morgan mentioned at the EAWA meeting recently! Bring your stuff your working on anyway and coffee of course!!

Foundations of Amateur Radio


Get on air and make some noise ...

Get on air and make some noise is a phrase I use often to encourage amateurs to be active on-air and use the bands that are available to us.
One thing that's often glossed over is how to actually make that noise. It can be scary to make that first contact.
If you've got your radio installed, your antenna erected, your operating position set-up just right and you're ready to actually key your microphone, how do you do that and how do you get the attention of those around you?
First things first.
You need to establish if your radio is actually working as expected. If you're using a UHF or VHF radio, often the simplest way is to find a local repeater, key-up your radio and give your callsign. The result should be at least a carrier, a beep or a callsign in Morse-code. Some repeaters even have a voice ident, so you can hear that your action of keying the push-to-talk had an effect. If that isn't working, then there are lots of things you can troubleshoot, but that's for another day.
If you want to do the same on HF, unless you happen to be in a position that there is a repeater within propagation distance, generally only on the 6m and 10m bands, then you're essentially out of luck. There isn't a beep, or a carrier, or a voice-ident to be found. This means we have to solve the problem in a different way.
First of all, if you cannot hear any stations, the chances of someone hearing you are slim. So, the first thing to do is to check that the squelch on your radio is set to allow all signals to arrive at your speaker. Then find a band where it's noisy. When I say noisy, find one where there is lots of hiss. Generally speaking an open band, one where propagation is getting a signal to you, makes noise, lots of noise. There are exceptions to this, but for now, find the noise.
Depending on how you have your antenna set-up, you need to make sure that you're using the right antenna for the band you're using. Some antennas work on multiple bands, others only on one, it depends entirely on what you have got hanging off the end of your radio.
Once you've found the noisiest band, go hunting for beeps, as-in Morse-code beeps, or voices, or digital sounds. Find a signal, find evidence of activity. If you have multiple noisy bands, check them all.
You might recall that this is all dependent on the ionosphere, so depending on what's going on with the sun, things will change, sometimes within a minute, an hour, or weeks. Generally there is a difference between day and night and sunrise and sunset, so experiment.
Once you've found some activity, you need to find someone to talk to. If the voice you hear is weak, look for a strong one. The stronger the better. While this isn't universally true, it's a good starting experience. Every radio and antenna combination has a sweet spot on where you know that they can hear you, but you don't know yet what that sweet spot is, so trial and error is the way to go.
HF is not like the local repeater. The people on HF can be anywhere on the planet. They might be there for the first time, or for the third time that day having been on air for sixty years, it's hard to tell.
A good analogy is to think of a sport stadium with a hundred thousand people in it. There are people all around you and you're trying to make contact with one of them. You can pick their frequency, but they're likely to be talking to someone else. You might be interrupting a daily chat, a regular net, or happen upon a contest or a special event station. You don't know which one it is and sometimes you can't hear both sides of the conversation. So, before you key your microphone and make some noise, listen to what is going on.
Once you've figured out that the station you're hearing might be amenable to talking, wait for a break in the conversation, key your microphone and just say your callsign phonetically, once. If there's no break, that's a good indication that the other station doesn't want to talk to you, unless there is an endless stream of stations, in which case the going might be tough and you might be there for a while.
If the other station acknowledges your call, great, you just made contact. Confirm that you have their callsign and that they have yours, write it down with the time and frequency, then start with exchanging information, start with a signal report. In the beginning, less is more. Your first name and city is often more than enough.
All we're doing is establishing that we can talk to someone and that they can talk to us. Don't overdo it, get a feeling for what's going on.
Then do it again.
And again.
Before long you'll have some experience on how to get on air and make some noise and you can start learning about improving your skills, becoming familiar with your radio and being an active amateur.
Hopefully that wasn't so scary, and remember, every amateur had to make their first contact one day, even those who have been on-air for longer than you've been alive.

Friday, October 19, 2018

DMR....Here and Now!

Related image

Digital Mobile (Amateur) Radio…DMR…. is here! Check out the Maine DMR page in the links to the right and see what’s going on in the state. Locally we have a new repeater in Gouldsboro with the following info:

Gouldsboro, ME     KC1FRJ DMR Repeater,   145.210 -0.600 ,   CC-12  

Possibly great things are on the horizon folks, stay informed! 

“Rules of Radio”
Dan Hubert, VE9DAN

(Originally published sometime in 1996 or 1997)


1) There shall be no talking by the family during a QSO.
2) The XYL shall assist with antenna construction when and only when required.
3) The shack budget will take precedence over all other incidental items such as mortgages, food, echoes, etc.
4) Christmas stocking stuffers for the OM must include at least two items for the shack (total value of not less than $300).
5) Flea markets, hamfests, and field days over-rule family holidays.
6) Furry pets are not allowed near the rig (except for testing purposes).
7) TVI never occurs within the home, or if it does, is negligible and does not count.
8) All trees around QTH shall be considered antenna supports, and not "greenery", "landscaping", or other such nonsense. Corollary: Any tree may be cut down, pruned, poisoned, dug up, or otherwise removed should it be in the way of wire.
9) The last postage stamp and envelope in the home shall be reserved for direct QSL mailings, and not for personal letters, bills, or mail orders (unless orders are for shack).
10) Any number of holes may be drilled in the family car to accommodate mobile whips. Corollary: Coax may droop across the steering column occasionally.
11) Never herewith shall insurance coverage of shack items be less than triple the replacement value, notwithstanding acts of God.
12) Burger King must never allow the holy whopper oven to cool.
13) Newly licensed hams must honor, praise, look up to, ask easy questions of, and purchase coffee for, old guys.
14) The XYL shall anticipate good band propagation conditions at all times, and whenever rare DX flows in, she shall without fail;
a) keep log when requested;
b) hold all phone calls - except those from other hams;
c) call the OM's work QTH the next morning and cover his absence with a good excuse;
d) appear very excited;
e) change all her plans to suit;
f) provide steaming coffee at 45 minute intervals;
g) cancel all household chores, and in particular, cancel vacuuming.
15) All materials owned by the work QTH can and will be used for ham projects.
16) These rules may be modified at any time, without notice, to continuously be in the OM's best interest.
17) The most recent licensee must beareth the brunt of our collective teasing until the next new licensee fills his humiliated shoes.
18) All members of all radio clubs must support, in unsurpassed vigor and cooperation, whatever the resident "contest man" suggests-ith.
19) Whence OM bears unrelentless fright of tower height, others must climbeth said structure unfailingly upon request.
20) Refer longstanding rule #15. Verily, if you cannot convince work QTH to donateth items for thine shack, thou shalt quit said despicable workplace without notice. Simply QRT-eth hastily-eth.

21) New rule added by Rich, WB2MBM, August 11/97 via pactor: I'd like to add a rule to the list... "Coax cables may be routed to achieve the lowest loss, regardless of whether they cause doors, windows, etc., to be blocked or otherwise not to function. And if the house appears to be trapped in a sort of rubber "spider's web," that's a plus rather than a minus." 

"Sunday Session"

Ham radio projects: the FEP enclosure.

This coming Sunday, October 21, we are starting up regular scheduled "Sunday Session" once again at Meadow View Phase 4 Community Room located at 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth. Firing up around 12 noon and ending who knows when. Possibly we could have a discussion on projects we might want to tackle as a group!? Who knows. Anywho, bring your projects, latest toys and tall tales and a cup of coffee of course and see whats up.

 Anyone interested in what Amateur Radio is all about is welcome to drop on by and pick our guarantees on how fresh the fruit is though. 73!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Saturday 4.21.18 QRP Down By The Union River

 Message From Jeff KA1DBE organizer of the event:

Greetings all,

Looks like we are going to have a good day and plenty of different
rigs/antenna/hardware.  Most of all, we will have plenty of operators.
I am planning on being on site about 9:30ish but you can show up when
you can.  Here are some last minute notes:

Need to log every contact.  Please use UTC or let me know if you use
EDT so I can convert it.  If computer logging, send me the ADI file so
I can merge it into the final log.

We will be using W1TU for the callsign.

The exchange will be RST ME Union R.  Not all contacts will be 599.

Please familiarize yourself with the rules.  SSB and CW only.  Was
hoping to do some digital but maybe we can do some demos.  Here is a
link to the rules:

Would like to capture the event in photos so forward them to me if you
have some good ones.

Most of all, have fun.  I am looking forward to it and remember that
we are in the public so be ready to answer questions without too much

Any last minute questions?

Jeff, KA1DBE

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sunday Session!

A recent Sunday Session provided Jeff KA1DBE with a couple of photo ops. Top is a nice looking go-kit based in a Harbor Freight case by Chris AB1PZ. Bottom photo Chuck AC1BS replaces the battery in his Kenwood TS-50. Thanks Jeff for the photos!

QRP Down By The Union River!

The following is from Jeff KA1DBE:
 “QRP to the Field.  Saturday, April 21st.  This year's
event will have the same theme as last year.  The band conditions were
so bad last year that they felt they needed a do over.  So with that
in mind, Dick, W1QRP has made arrangements to use the Gazebo at the
Ellsworth Harbor park. Like last year, I was thinking 1200-1700 EDT
for an operating time.   What I would like to see is a 2 or maybe 3
station effort this year.  At least 1 CW and 1 SSB.  Any volunteers?
The QRPTTF website is:

This was done last year and was a lot of fun even though it was cold and wet. Join on in on the 21st even if you just stop by for a visit!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

E.A.W.A. Monthly Meeting 3/8/18

Dont forget, a week from tomorrow, Thursday March 8th, is the monthly meeting of the EAWA, Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association, face to face meeting. 7PM, Phase 4 Community Room 25 Tweedie Lane here in Ellsworth. There will be a presentation on Radio Fox Hunting done by Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE which will be very interesting. Spring is right around the corner, something to think about as a club activity! As always the meetings are open to anyone interested in Ham Radio and possibly getting their license. Remember, when all else fails for communications, there is always Ham Radio!


Save this coming Sunday, March 4th for some ham radio activity. Yes, Sunday Session time has once again rolled around. 12 noon anyone interested in sharing their vast knowledge of amateur radio please plan on attending, and for those of us always wanting (and needing) to expand our knowledge base…plan on attending. Bring projects, gear, questions, comments (civil please) and of course…coffee. See you at 12 noon this coming Sunday, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth at the Meadow View Phase IV Community room. And of course if you are interested in probably one of the most vast hobbies there is available and getting your license, which is EASY, drop on by!! We will head you in the right direction….honest, we will.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Keeping Things Stirred Up!

Phil Duggan N1EP has been in the Ham Radio community for, well, let’s leave it as a long time. Phil has held a number of titles in the radio community and I think all that’s left is Jedi. He has been instrumental in organizing and resurrecting ham activities for years. His recent undertakings are covered in the below links and hope you get a chance to check them out and participate when you get a chance in the activities! Local Amateur Radio news and activities Educational projects that have the potential to pique children's interest in ham radio and technology and science. Phil's home Ham page!


Sunday Sessions Continue!

Andrew N1WMR hooking up his new QRP rig for a demo!

Rob W8HAP, Chuck AC1BS and Jeff KA1DBE discuss the finer points of wrangling coax.
Sunday Sessions continue at Meadow View Apartments here in Ellsworth, held on, wait for it...Sundays. Go figure! Great place to work on a project, study and ask questions of long time radio-active folks. And drink coffee whilst spinning tall tales of elusive DX captures! 12 noon to ?
Next scheduled Sessions are :

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

APRS And Tactical EMCOMM

Good read and wanted to share! W1KRP
A presentation of APRS as a tactical EmComm solution,
from an article submitted to the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club, by N8DEU.
(appeared originally in the HARC-VOX newsletter for July 2008 pages 5,6 &7)
- this article was prompted by Doug's ARES District 6 article
in the HARC-VOX newsletter for April 2008.
-Doug Hilton < WD0UG > was discussing the value of effective NCS protocols.
- Tim has graciously allowed SomeNet to re-publish this article.
I read Doug Hilton’s comments from the “ARES District 6” article in the VOX from April with great interest. It was clear to me that the APRS Tactical Communication system can easily fix just about all the problems on the Emergency Net. Having to repeat callsigns 5 or 6 times to check into any net is unacceptable. Not being able to get HAM’s to use the proper international phonetics is just another confirmation that we are all human and suggests we need better methods. Have I failed to communicate effectively over the years that we already have an effective communication tool in our Amateur Radio tool box? APRS can solve these issues and provide an effective tool that has been addressing those needs for many years.

Now that I have cleared my lungs, lets take a look at the ways APRS addresses each of the points that were made in the ARES District 6 article in April’s VOX:
  • 1. NCS making 5 or 6 attempts to get the correct callsign from check-ins.
  • 2. Operators using unconventional phonetics.
  • 3. Priority messages wait for 10 or 20 stations to check-in.
  • 4. Taking check-ins is a time consuming process to get name, location, and callsign correct.
  • 5. Delay time between check-ins.
  • 6. Inefficient transfer of information.
The APRS tactical communication system addresses each of these points and many more. How does it address these points?
  • 1. Getting the correct callsign is a thing of the past unless the sending operator mistypes it. The APRS network will quickly sort out multiple check-ins as the same time. 10 or 20 stations could be logged into the network in a fraction of the time it takes to do it by voice. The bottom line is there is 10-100 times more bandwidth available for the important information from multiple stations. Emergency traffic can actually be passed while stations are checking into the net very easily.
  • 2. There is no need for phonetics in the APRS world. What you see on the screen is what you get. In addition, there is no need to write anything on paper at the NCS station when using APRS, because it can be logged automatically in a file for archival or sent to a printer for automatic documenting.
  • 3. Priority messages suffer due to the way a voice network and human interaction work. This is the most limiting factor of any voice network. It is only as good as the operators and the protocol allow it, but it is a time consuming process. Priority traffic on APRS is built into the core operation of the system. New traffic takes precedence over older traffic. Some may argue that APRS uses an un-connected protocol. This is true and it is the main reason that it is so efficient. New messages take priority and traffic is re-transmitted by an decaying rate while new messages are re-transmitted more often taking priority. Personal messages are acknowledged by sending a message back to the sender to stop sending it. Bulletin messages are the beauty of APRS as they are sent in the same decaying rebroadcast format and everybody receives it virtually at the same time with the broadcast protocol. Thus, newer bulletins take priority in any time critical event.
  • These messages DO NOT wait for check-ins or anybody else. They are multiplexed in between check-ins in case of a REAL emergency situation. I can remember on the old connected packet BBS network when weather bulletins took forever. When the weather was bad the number of bulletins brought the network to a crawl. It would take all night to get all the weather traffic using that old protocol. Today, we utilize that same equipment employing the APRS unconnected packet protocol and that problem is gone. Weather bulletins are sent in real time from the NWS and broadcast to every APRS packet station for all to receive immediately. With some weather bulletins you will be informed exactly how far and in what direction you are from the maximum area of concern. This is immediate information and it waits for no operator to send the message or announce it over a voice repeater. How many times have we experienced storms in our area and the voice net woke up after the threat had passed through the area. This simply does not happen with APRS because APRS users are informed immediately as those NWS messages are broadcast. In fact, with all the weather nodes available on APRS you can set trigger points for wind speed, temperature, and barometric pressure to sound an alarm on your APRS station remotely.
  • 4. With APRS you can reduce the check-in time to a fraction of what you experience today. If those 10-20 check-in stations used the APRS network, the check-in time could be less than 2 minutes, nobody would have to repeat their information (unless they typed it wrong), your location information would be automatic and your APRS symbol would be placed on the map. I know I have refrained from checking into the voice net many times because of the lengthy process. Any station can send priority traffic at any point, even during the check-in process. It is easy, effortless, and better utilizes the bandwidth for increased traffic when needed. Voice nets will never compete with the speed of traffic passing on the APRS digital network!
  • 5. The delay between check-ins is a waste of bandwidth. There will be dupes on a voice network and there will be dupes on an APRS network. The advantage is the APRS network automatically takes care of those dupes rather quickly by the design of the protocol and no human intervention is required. Any delay is wasted bandwidth that can be used more efficiently to transfer information.
  • 6. Inefficient transfer of information on a voice network can be a thing of the past with the APRS network. Information is sent as the sender intended. No repeats are necessary that the protocol does not already address.

After digesting this material, I read Rolf’s article titled “Madison County ARES / RACES Update” in the April VOX concerning weather spotter training. Here is another example of where APRS is a practical tool for the services of the Amateur Radio Community. APRS is already weather oriented. No other tool in the Amateur Radio Community contains the weather reporting capabilities of APRS. NWS weather bulletins are broadcasted in real time on the APRS network. Those who utilize APRS maps will see counties highlighted in red or yellow indicating areas with watches or warnings posted in addition to the bulletin itself. You always know how far you are located from the maximum area of concern. All this information is available on the APRS radio network as well as the Internet APRS network since they are seamlessly integrated. Weather is unpredictable at times and the APRS tactical communication system fits the mold on VHF or UHF to contain traffic to a specific area or event. The Internet is nice but it is not required in a tactical communication system where digipeaters can be easily installed to make any necessary connections with conventional radio equipment. APRS knows where you are located, which takes away any guesswork by simply looking on a map and physically seeing your location relative to any activity that may be of concern. In the end, APRS is really an informational awareness system and it performs its function very well.

What better tools do we have for a tactical communication system? The APRS infrastructure has grown and continues to grow in popularity with new digipeaters being added to this tactical communication system. We have solutions to serve the public interest not just a bunch of toys. Although, APRS is a pretty cool toy.

Am I picking on the HAM radio population?
You bet! The status quo or old fashion methods may be a little dated for our nets to run efficiently. Does this make you mad? It should! It should make you so mad that your blood starts pumping uncontrollably to the point you get on you feet and think about the problems and the solutions. If we do not have the solution, then what service will replace us along with our valuable radio spectrum? How do you spell the value of Amateur Radio?

Happy APRS Packeting
73’s de Tim - N8DEU


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

EAWA Minutes January 11, 2018


The January 11th meeting of the EAWA was called to order at 7:04 PM by President Chris Stanley N1CJS . Evie KA1BRA made a motion to accept the December Minutes as e-mailed. Rob W8HAP seconded the motion. The motion passed. Dick W1KRP made a motion to accept the Treasurer's Report that was seconded by Chuck AC1BS.  The motion carried.


         EMCOMM  NETS                                                               EAWA  NETS

Tuesdays at 7:00PM on Simplex 146.565                   Wednesdays at 7:00PM on the 147.030 Repeater

January 16  Chris WeaverAB1PZ                              January 17 Chris WeaverAB1PZ        

January 23  Evie Sargent KA1BRA                           January 24  Evie Sargent KA1BRA              

January 30 Chuck Liebow AC1BS                             January 31 Chuck Liebow AC1BS

February 6 Dick Small W1KRP                                 February 7 Dick Small W1KRP        

(Evie KA1BRA wanted those interested in doing nets to know that he/she does NOT have to do both Tuesday and Wednesday nets. Feel free to volunteer for either or both.)  


Phil N1EP presented a power point presentation and talk on Kidz Radio Active. This is a program designed by Phil et al to get our youth interested in science and ham radio. For more information, please go to

                                                            Old Business

Slate of Officers to be voted upon:

The Nominating Committee (Evie KA1BRA, Chris AB1PZ, Chuck AC1BS) presented the following slate to be voted upon:

                                                President Chris Stanley N1CJS

                                                Vice-President Dick Small W1KRP

Additions from the floor:       Co-Secretary/Treasurer Joan Hildreth W1DLC & Evie Sargent KA1BRA

                                                Board Member Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE

All in favor; none opposed.

                                                            New Business

Field Day Committee – Dick W1KRP suggested that a Field Day Committee be appointed before we get much further into 2018. Those “volunteering” to be on that committee are Chuck AC1BS, Dick W1KRP, and Chris N1CJS. John KQ1P added that depending on the location Mary and Margaret KB1TPE would be willing to help Evie KA1BRA with the cooking—great cooks and lovely ladies!

Thanks, John, for volunteering them!

Winter Field Day – Winter Field Day will take place on Saturday, January 27th from 1:00-5:00PM. We will use the club station. Please bring snacks/whatever to share.

Donated Equipment: Burt Lowry K7HUN made the motion to give radio equipment that was donated to the EAWA by Barb Murnane WB1EHS and can be used by the Kidz Radio Active program to N1EP.

I missed who seconded the motion, but it passed.

Club Station W1TU- Dick W1KRP reported that the club station has been cleaned up and is operating. The new battery needs to be charged and stored. The station does need a power strip.

W1TU License Renewal- The W1TU FCC License is up for renewal by May. As club Trustee, Rob has done the renewal for us and it is in his name. He wanted to know if the EAWA wanted him to remain Trustee for the club call with the FCC. Chris N1CJS made a motion for Rob W8HAP to continue as Trustee and to please do the FCC license renewal. The motion was seconded by Burt K7HUN. The motion passed. Thank you, Rob!

 Winter Fest In Augusta -Phil N1EP mentioned that Winter Fest would be held Saturday,February 24th

For more information:

 Symposium and VE Session  - Phil N1EP will host a VE session and Symposium on Saturday,

May 19th. The symposium will be held at Meadow View Apartments  IV Community Room,

25 Tweedie Lane, Ellsworth. Mega Builder Robots will be present. The symposium will consist of digital communication, robotics, etc.

 Rob W8HAP made a motion to adjourn that was seconded by Burt K7HUN, Jeff KA1DBE, Galen KB1NJC, and several others. So done at 8:08PM.

 Respectfully submitted ,

Evie Sargent KA1BRA