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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.