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Amateur Radio News

Today is Thursday. Here is the latest ham radio news Downeast Maine:

Winter Field Day A Blast!

N1EP made 207 contacts during this year's Winter Field Day. From the amount of WFD stations on the different bands, it seems the event is just about as popular as the more commonly known summertime ARRL Field Day!

A few members of the Maine Ham Radio Society operated from the woods shack of Brian Carlton KC1FXF in Jonesboro. Even during this pandemic era, fun can be had with amateur radio!

W1KMG TEN METER QUCKIE!

Tune your rig to 28.410 MHZ plus or minus on Saturday, Feb 20 at 1600 (4pm) and let's see how far the ground wave moves! Who knows? Maybe there will be a 10 meter opening and the contacts could be far from the ground wave! W1KMG is the callsign of the Poverty Hill Amateur Radio Group and once belonged to our elmer, the late Bob Begley. Let's have some 10 meter fun!

Maine Virtual Hamfest!!!

Cory KU1U and others are organizing an amazing virtual hamfest for March 6 from 9am until 4pm. Special guests include sound and radio engineer Dr. Bob Heil, K9EID, and the former "enforcer" Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH and more! There will be other topics and venues to buy and sell ham gear. BUT, you must register first, so do it now here: Maine Virtual Hamfest Register

FCC Changes To Ham Radio Applications

The FCC has decided to mandate a couple changes that affect amateur radio operators.

  • Applicants' valid email addresses will be required on all new apllications.This new requirement goes into effect in June 2021.
  • Application Fees: The FCC has decided to impose a $35 application fee on all new licences and upgrades. This is in addition to the VEC fee. So, it looks like a new applicant coming to an examination session will have to pay $50 to take the test. This includes the FCC fee and the current ARRL VEC fee. The FCC has not indicated when this chnage will be implemented.
  • Our Friend, George Kidder III, W3HBM, Silent Key

    By Phil Duggan, N1EP
    George Kidder W3HBM

    One of Maine’s more prolific amateur radio operators has passed away. George Kidder III, W3HBM, became a silent key on January 22 after being hospitalized because of a fall.

    George was born in NYC in 1934 and first became licensed in 1954 as WN1BKI while a sophomore in college. He also held the call W1BKI before receiving W3HBM callsign when he lived in Baltimore, MD. He had a career in plant and animal physiology and worked for many years at MDI Biological lab here in Maine where he enjoyed experimenting, including combining his ham radio hobby with his scientific endeavors. He used APRS with GPS to track eel grass seeds as they floated with the current. He also discovered previously unknown currents in Eastern Bay and other parts of Frenchmen’s Bay with the help of ham radio technology.

    George loved playing with many ham radio modes, with CW being his obvious favorite, but he could be found around the bands on voice and digital as well, and for many years the W3HBM and MDI packet radio node has been on the air Downeast. For many years he loved participating in Field Day with the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Society.

    Oftentimes, I would be chatting with other hams on 2-meter simplex 146.595 MHz about “QSYing” to other bands or modes, and when we did, there was W3HBM waiting for us. George kept many “mobile” hams company as they commuted, chatting with them on the Hulls Cove or Hancock County EMCOMM repeaters. His favorite rig was his Elecraft K3 he purchased a few years ago. At that time, he told me that he wanted a really good rig for once.

    George was a key member of many nets and other ham radio groups. He not only served as net control for the Pine Tree Net (a CW Traffic Net), he checked into the net nearly 2,800 times. PTN Net Manager Bill Mann, W1KX wrote to PTN members:

    “We certainly miss George and share our grief with the Maine Public Service, where he was Manager and NCS for many years, and with the Quarter Century Wireless Association, where George was a member and usual NCS for the Pine Cone Net. George was a very active Ham and a friend to many. We are all saddened at his passing.”

    George was a constant presence on frequencies shared by Maine hams. I will particularly miss chatting with him on two meters simplex 146.595 mhz where we chatted almost daily.

    At Beth’s request, I have collected George’s equipment, and sold much of it as fundraisers benefitting ham radio operators. This includes $500 donated to the Middlesex Amateur Radio Society in Connecticut, $500 to Kidz Radioactive, and $650 to the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association. Additionally, some gear has been donated.

    If you would like to send a card to George’s wife, Beth, the address is: Elizabeth Kidder, 509 Norway Drive, Bar Harbor, ME 04609