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Author: Brad Brown

W1YCA Back Online

From Young Frankenstein (1974)
20th Century Fox

We have received word that the York County EMA node W1YCA has returned online on a new VHF frequency of 147.550 MHz, and it now supports the UHF statewide backbone! The application SSIDs have been renumbered to the standard scheme started by the Midcoast Maine Packet Network.

Roger N1XP, who reported the news to us, shares the following information, which will be included on our node map:

W1YCA-15 York Co. EMA Emergency Packet Network Node Returns on 147.550 MHz !
W1YCA-15 is part of the Maine Emergency Packet network reaching from New Hampshire into the Canadian Maritimes.
https://www.mainepacketradio.org/

W1YCA-15 Node, alias YCAEMA
W1YCA-2 BBS/Mail, alias YCABBS
W1YCA-10 Winlink RMS, alias YCARMS
A CHAT room will be activated later this month
W1YCA-5 CHAT, alias YCACHT

Please contact Jimmy, KC1ETT [kc1ett@arrl(dot)net] if you wish to have a mailbox on a packet node in York County or Brad, KC1JMH [kc1jmh@arrl(dot)net] for Cumberland County.

If you are new to packet and interested in Emergency Packet communications a “How To” will soon be available on the above mentioned web site or contact one of the SysOps above.

Roger Pience, N1XP

Field Day is coming, use Winlink!

Did you know that you can leverage Winlink to earn up to 200 points? As long as the connection starts over radio, it counts! You can leverage one of the nearby packet radio nodes with your free VHF 2m station while your friends are raking in the contacts on HF. See our Node Map to find a node near you.

Relevant Field Day Rules

7.3.5. Message Origination to Section Manager: 100 bonus points for origination of a formal message to the ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator by your group from its site. You should include the club name, number of participants, Field Day location, and number of ARES operators involved with your station. The message must be transmitted during the Field Day period and a copy of it must be included in your submission in standard ARRL radiogram or no credit will be given. The message must leave or enter the Field Day operation via amateur radio RF.

The Section Manager message is separate from the messages handled in Rule 7.3.6. and may not be claimed for bonus points under that rule. Available to all Classes.

          7.3.6. Message Handling: 10 points for each formal message originated, relayed or received and delivered during the Field Day period, up to a maximum of 100 points (ten messages). Copies of each message must be included with the Field Day report. The message to the ARRL SM or SEC under Rule 7.3.5. does not count towards the total of 10 for this bonus. Available to all Classes. All messages claimed for bonus points must leave or enter the Field Day operation via amateur radio RF.

Looking for contacts?

There’s a Google spreadsheet going around with a list of stations that you can contact during Field Day, and a form that you can use to add your group or station to the list.

W1YCA Temporarily down

Unknown / multi-source

The W1YCA-4 (soon to be -15) node in Alfred at the York County EMA has been taken offline as of June 18th due to VHF radio issues. Work was already scheduled for next week to add a UHF radio for connection to the Maine Packet Network backbone, to add a UPS battery backup (to augment the generator), and to renumber the node SSIDs to our statewide network standard. Repairing the VHF radio will be added to the work detail.

Operators are encouraged to leverage the K1DQ-15 node in Northern York County or KC1ETT-4 node in Southern York County at 145.730 MHz, or the KC1JMH-15 node at 144.930 MHz in Cumberland County, in the meantime.

A New Ham

Dylan, KC1PDS Connects to KC1JMH-15

This is Dylan, KC1PDS, a recently licensed amateur radio operator. Dylan made his first connection with the packet radio network after his club meeting with the Wireless Society of Southern Maine.

Dylan is interested in setting up his own gear for use with packet radio. He has a Yaesu 7800r, just like the club uses for the WS1EC-15 node in Windham.

Brad, KC1JMH and Vice President of the club, discussed the equipment he would need, provided him a quick rundown of the software used, how to connect, hot to move around from node to node, and how to send and receive BBS and Winlink RMS mail.

We look forward to seeing Dylan’s call sign on the nodes again in the future!

Knox County 2Q21 Quarterly Exercise

The Maine Telegraph Newsletter – June ’21

With the recent work done to the Southern Maine Packet Group network to enable and connect to the Midcoast Maine UHF Backbone, the Knox County quarterly exercise was able to expand and share their simulated emergency test to Cumberland and York County.

The packet network was used to send messages between Knox, Waldo, Lincoln, Cumberland and York Counties around May 22nd, to and from representatives of each of the county’s Emergency Management Agency offices.

A full write-up is available on pages 6 through 12 of the Maine Telegraph Newsletter, June 2021 edition.

https://www.mainearrl.org/newsletter

New Maps and Node List in Progress

With the construction of new nodes and the addition of UHF to several others, we are working on updating our maps.

Roger N1XP is working on an updated printable PDF, which will be located in the Files section.

Brad KC1JMH has replaced the card style Nodes list with an interactive map that can be filtered and sorted. Looking at the list below the map, nodes will appear in order of distance from your location if you allow your location to be shared in your web browser (a pop-up should present itself to ask you).

As noted on our pages, this is a work in progress, as time allows between work and personal lives. If you spot anything wrong or missing with our data, please reach out to one of us. Our email addresses are good on QRZ, or you can use the Contact form in the menu to the left.

We want to share accurate and timely information from across the state, and we need your help!

New node in Shapleigh: K1DQ-15

Some of the nodes reachable from K1DQ

We have received word that K1DQ-15 in Shapleigh is now on the air, sharing tower space with an amazing DMR repeater. The packet radio node SSID’s are -2 BBS and -15 Node, Winlink RMS is pending and will likely be -10.

This is a dual-band site, providing York County and points well beyond due to its altitude with access to the statewide network.

Node information including frequency and available applications will be posted to the Nodes page as the site continues to develop.

WS1EC Node at Cumberland County EMA Adds UHF

WS1EC-15 Node at CCEMA

As of Saturday, May 15th, The WS1EC UHF backbone connection is now online, and with it the Midcoast is reachable again from Cumberland County! The node is able to reach the new KC1JMH-15 node in Westbrook and on occasion the N1QFY-15 node in Gardiner, on UHF.

Of note, the node’s SSID’s have been updated: It is primarily accessible at WS1EC-15, BBS is now -2, CHAT is now -5, Winlink RMS remains -10.

The existing station consisted of a 2-meter Kenwood TK-760H that was donated by Brad Brown KC1JMH, connected to Raspberry Pi running linbpq node software with TNC-X hat via a custom TNC cable, all built and assembled by Roger Pience N1XP.

On May 15th, Brad met with James Fraser KB1SDK, a member of the Cumberland County EMA. An unused repeater was disconnected and a jumper run from the hardline to a Yaesu 7800r which was donated to the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. The radio was then connected to the Pi using a DINAH USB radio interface, which Brad had displayed at a club meeting in March, and curious to see how well it worked, had donated to the cause. On one end is an 8-PIN DIN or data interface port, the other is USB, inside is a CM108 soundcard that supports push-to-talk.

Direwolf was installed to be a KISS TNC sound modem. It took some tinkering with Direwolf to make it play nice with the DINAH USB radio interface; it turned out that the version of Direwolf in the Raspbian repository (1.3) is too old to support PTT over the CM108 chip in the DINAH. Once Direwolf was installed fresh from the git repository (1.7), there were no further problems.

Future planned updates include swapping out the higher-altitude 2-meter antenna with a dual-band antenna and connecting both radios via a duplexer. James plans on setting up a radio rack for the repeater, which will eventually see a higher-altitude UHF antenna, and a tray included to help consolidate the packet station into a neater but still air-gapped package.

Thank you James KB1SDK for making yourself available for this work detail, and Roger N1XP for the phone support for the software changes.

New node in Westbrook: KC1JMH-15

Packet Network Display

As some of our astute hams have noticed, KC1JMH-15 has appeared on the BPQ nodes maps. Located in Westbrook, ME, and having both VHF and UHF radios, this node is our key to connecting Southern Maine with Midcoast Maine, allowing traffic to flow from New Hampshire to Canada along the i95 corridor.

Information on this node will be made available on our Nodes page and our printable maps as it continues to be developed and implemented.

A special thanks goes out to Richard Bates WD1O for his hard work and coordination to get this done. This could not have happened without him!

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting the Maine Packet Network website. Our mission is to build and maintain a packet radio backbone to interconnect several community-level networks and their respective emergency communications teams across Maine and beyond its borders.

Further, our goal is to pull together all the bits of information about packet radio operations scattered across the web, and to give operators of all skill levels one place to go to learn about packet radio and get connected with the network.

For more information about our group, please visit the About Us page. If you would like to contribute, please reach out to Brad Brown, KC1JMH.

Solar Storm Expected To Impact Communications

April 25 Solar Storm

From: Dr. Tamitha Skov, @TamithaSkov1:55 PM ยท Apr 22, 2021

Direct Hit: An Earth-directed #solarstorm is coming! NASA prediction model shows impact early April 25. Coronagraph shows a full-halo (teal line) ring around the Sun confirming the storm is Earth directed. Expect amateur #radio & #GPS reception issues & #aurora to mid-latitudes!

https://twitter.com/TamithaSkov/status/1385291202937847809?s=20

WSSM Packet Training Exercise

WSSM ECT nets occur monthly on the 4th Thursday

Thursday, March 25th, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine held a training net to coordinate a training exercise utilizing the Southern Maine Packet Group’s Cumberland and York County EMA nodes. We passed Winlink and BBS mail traffic, and communicated via packet Chat. Two members worked from new setups, and this allowed them to work out the kinks.

Read the full report on the WSSM ECT Blog!

WSSM Meeting Presentation

Packet Radio BBS and Winlink

Brad here, KC1JMH. I did a presentation this evening after the Wireless Society of Southern Maine business meeting, about what packet radio is, what it’s used for, and demonstrated how one connects to a node to send and receive BBS and Winlink mail.

The club runs the WS1EC node for the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency, Maine.

Our discussions lead to stories about the marine stations we have contacted with Winlink as a training exercise from our region’s traffic coordinator, Steve KB1TCE. They have made for some fascinating contacts, a view into another lifestyle!

There was a lot of information to absorb, but this was meant to be an introduction. We’ll certainly have some practical hands-on training in the coming weeks. 73!

Stack of modems, a TNC, and a radio with data port

New Node: KC1LII

Sam KC1LII, a former Police Officer, lives in Ogunquit, ME and is establishing a new node with the help of Jim KC1ETT of Wells Beach. Sam’s node with be a spoke to Jim’s hub network, and may be able to provide a good path into NH for emcomm and hospital traffic.

Southern Maine Packet Group: CHAT

The Southern Maine Packet Group nodes have been linked for chat, with KC1ETT in Wells being the hub, and WS1EC connecting to that hub via W1YCA and N1XP.

When connecting, it may take a minute or two for the other nodes to automatically connect. Once can enter the /p command to show what nodes are linked.

Southern Maine QSY

Yaesu FT-991a on 145.730 MHz digital FM

The Southern Maine Packet Group and associated EMA nodes WS1EC and W1YCA have QSY’ed to 145.730 MHz to avoid some local QRM or RF interference, and we’re already seeing paths that were weaker working much more efficiently!

We are also working on an uplink to the Midcoast Maine Packet Network due to the path loss to KS1R, and another potential link into New Hampshire.

Stay tuned!

W1YCA: SD-Card Failure

The York County EMA node W1YCA was down this morning due to an SD card failure. Roger N1XP acted quickly to investigate and replace the SD card with a USB drive. He supplied instructions on how to make the Raspberry Pi boot from a USB mass storage device, which can be found in the Files section.

W1YCA is Back!

After a hiatus of the Southern Maine Packet Group’s W1YCA node at the York County EMA in Alfred, its return delayed in part due to COVID-19 restricting access to the EMA building, it has returned as of January 10th, 2021. Some further adjustments are being made to stabilize its connectivity and applications.