MAINE SECTION - Amateur Radio Relay League

Maine-Wide POTA Day!

Parks On The Air

  Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE, president of the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association and Assistant Section Manager, is organizing a state-wide POTA activation for Maine. The selected date is Saturday, May 18, 2024.

   Clubs and individual hams are asked to activate a state or federal park on that date. This will be widely promoted to give POTA fans far and wide a heads up to work Maine parks on that day. What a fun event this can be for yourself and club members. ARES teams and other groups are also encouraged to join in the fun. There are 32 state parks, 4 national parks, and a multitude of national wildlife areas and other entities in Maine that can be activated. Check out for rules, a map and other details of sites near you. Direct any questions to Jeff - email [email protected] j.hanscom at gmail dot com

The Maine Slow Speed Net

Are you just jumping into the world of CW fun? Or are you an experienced Morse code operator but want to start learning about or contributing to your section’s CW traffic nets? Then the Maine Slow Speed Net is the perfect choice.

   The MSSN meets Monday through Friday at 6:00pm (2200z) on 3585 kHz and welcomes all. The net control stations normally send at 10-12 wpm but will slow down to whatever speed in which you check into the net.

   MSSN is affiliated with the National Traffic System (NTS) and participants can relay radiograms destined for Maine stations or elsewhere. The most common traffic on the MSSN are net reports. It is not a “rag chew” net, so once any traffic is handled, you are dismissed from the net. The net usually lasts about 10 minutes or so.

   “Check in at the speed you are comfortable copying and we will match it,” advises Net Control Station Dave Herrick WA1BXM. “Learn basic net Q signals (QNI, QND, QNZ, QNX, QTC, QRU, etc).”

   Steve Sozanski, WA1HHK, is the MSSN Net Manager, and he and Bill Mann W1KX, and Dave Herrick WA1BXM presently serve as net control stations throughout the week.

   MSSN has been around for several decades, although some of its history is unknown due to a lack of records.  Bill W1KX has some records dating back to 1959. There were some periods between then and now that the net appeared to be inactive, but it has run continuously since 1990.

   Many dedicated hams have supported the MSSN through the years as net control stations and participants. Past net managers include K1GVQ, K1MZB (WA1QHU), WA1UOY (W2UOY), WA1MUX, WA2ERT, WB1AOD, N1BJW, K1UNQ, N1NGM, W1QU, and W1JX.

   The net had a monthly newsletter called the MSSN Report started by WM1C in 1991 and continued by WA1WPR and KA1UEH until 1997.

   At its peak, MSSN reported 361 check-ins with 38 messages back in May 1997. Nowadays, it is significantly less. But you can help change that by participating in the net! Thank you W1KX for the MSSN historical information.

Example Check-in Procedures for CW traffic nets are viewable at under III. QNI - General Check-ins, which is very similar to the MSSN procedure. Note that when the NCS asks for check-ins (QNI) you respond by sending a single letter, usually the last letter of your suffix unless it is an E, T, or K.  Then when NCS repeats that letter, you check in with your complete call sign. For example, N1EP usually checks in with a P.

EXAMPLE Net control [W1KX] calls up the net in the below fashion and N1EP is first to check-in as follows:


[N1EP]  P

[W1KX] P





[W1KX] D



GE means good evening

AS means standby

VOTA 2023

The ARRL is recognizing all the volunteers that help make ham radio the fun and rewarding hobby and service that it is today with a year-long operating event called Volunteers-on-the-Air. Volunteers and other participants can upload their logs to Logbook of the World (LOTW) throughout the year. Different ARRL staff and volunteers (such as net managers, official emergency stations, section traffic managers, etc) are worth different points when you make contact with them. LOTW does all the work, as it knows who is worth how many points via the ARRL database. Furthermore, each state will activate W1AW from within their sections twice during the year, for week-long portable W1AW contacts, similar to the 2014 ARRL centennial event. Participants can earn awards. State activation schedules, VOTA point systems, and other details are available on the VOTA dashboard:

Take It To The Field

by Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE, Assistant Section Manager, Maine

Greetings all. I am Jeff, KA1DBE, and these are some of my experiences with HF portable operation. I am no expert and do not pretend to be but hopefully some of you may learn from my mistakes.

Like many other hams, I tend to mix ham radio into all my other hobbies. From camping to hiking to a day at the beach, I usually have a radio within arms reach. It wasn’t until I read an article on the SOTA (Summits on the air) and the NPOTA (National Parks on the air) that I really started to venture out and planned hiking trips specifically for NPOTA and SOTA.

My First SOTA adventure was on the top of Beech Mountain on Mount Desert Island. My gear list was very minimal and I was really surprised that I made enough contacts to qualify for an Activation. It wasn’t without obstacles. My First obstacle was getting my end fed antenna up into the minimal trees. I eventually tied a rock to the line on the end and heaved it up. Problem one solved. When I unpack the rest of my gear, my paddles had gotten broken on the way up. With no other paddles or keys, I took both paddles off and used it without. Not comfortable but workable. Problem 2 solved. Carefully pick a spot to sit. I just happened to sit on top of a black ant nest. I was mid QSO when I realized that I had ants crawling all over me. I managed to finish but it was not easy! A lot of lessons learned on this outing! My future outings were a lot less painful.

Inventory your gear before you head out. I was going to work some portable satellite operations from Luray Caverns and I was kept off the air by a PL-259 to BNC adapter! Now I always set everything up and that put it in my pack. Be mindful of where you are going and what you are taking. It is nice to have all the wingdings and wiffer dills but everything has weight! I learned this lesson hiking up St. Sauveur Mountain with 35 pounds of gear on my back. I have pared down a lot of the equipment that I carry.

You are in the log! For logging I just use simple pen and paper. I transfer everything when I get back to the home QTH. I have tried laptops, tablets, and cell phones. I find it very cumbersome. Especially when you have a good run going.

Pick your mode. I personally use CW for just about every adventure. Most of the time I have a QRP radio and CW works well at that power level. I have watched a friend of mine operate FT8 in the field with a tablet and an IC-705. It looks viable and auto logs.

Another advantage of CW is that you can eat your lunch while working the QSO!

I hope my mistakes were helpful and Look forward to seeing you down the log!

73 de KA1DBE