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Category: Node News

March Storm Outages

AI generated image of ice accretion on an antenna array

Update: All primary nodes in Southern Maine are back and fully online; WS1EC, KC1JMH, and K1DQ. AA1LO is back on RF, but not available by IP.

Good morning packeteers! We hope you are safe and warm after this unusual snow and ice storm. We understand that many are without power, and some without Internet. At this time, several of our packet radio nodes aren’t checking in to our Internet monitoring service, a few of which appear to be entirely offline.

At this time, from Southern Maine, only WS1EC in Windham appears to be responding, and the site is without Internet. This means mail may be left, and will forward as forwarding partners come online, but Internet based lookup services like WX, SPACE, BANDS, QRZ, and the like, and the Winlink RMS Gateway are not available at this time.

K1DQ in Shapleigh and KC1JMH in Westbrook are unresponsive. We have not yet heard from friends in Southern York County or the Midcoast as of yet.

Franklin County’s W1FCA node appears to be fully online.

K1DQ-15 Shapleigh [Back Online]

We have been notified by the Shapleigh node’s sysop Dan, K1DQ, that the node will be down today, Saturday, February 11th, 2023, for an exercise which requires him to temporarily repurpose some of the equipment. The node should be back online this evening. We ask our operators to utilize our maps to locate the next closest node if it is required to pass traffic during this time. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

W1YCA-15 Node Move

Image from

The W1YCA-15 node will be taken down soon for maintenance and to be moved to its new home at the Wells Town Office. We will update this post when it returns to service.

Hardware issues at N1ZRL-15 (Updated 12/7)

We received an update from sysop Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL on December 7th:

N1ZRL Node situation. Need to drop the antenna and mast for gutter installation. Temporary re-installation to follow until, a final solution is found.

Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL

On October 5th, Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL, reported to us via our Facebook page that:

N1ZRL node not receiving well at all. Thought I found an issue with the 16 pin interconnect between Motorola Radius Gm300 and the TNC-PI. Well, it was a problem…replaced it basically rewired it all. Received well for awhile, not now. Maybe should rebuild setup, starting with antenna, mast and coax.

Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL

We wish him luck with his repair efforts, and will keep everyone appraised of any updates as they are received.

WS1EC Frequency Change

Photo borrowed from W6OAK

The 2 meter frequency for the WS1EC-15 node has changed to 145.050 MHz to remove internode communications from the operator access frequency. Internode operations will continue on the 70 centimeter statewide backbone frequency.

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.

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

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

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.

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!

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.