Eastern Branch of the Penobscot River in Katahdin Woods and Waters NM
Ever since we built our Mobile HF Station, we’ve talked about taking it to Acadia National Park in Maine and operating from the top of Cadillac Mountain. The 2016 ARRL NPOTA event gave us the motivation to plan the trip for the week before Labor Day. The week before our trip, we saw an article in the ARRL Letter encouraging operation from the newly declared National Monument, Katadhin Woods and Waters in Maine, which had just been designated as NPOTA MN84. Visiting the NPS website, we learned that the park is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Bar Harbor, where we are staying. We decided to accept the challenge to be the first to activate the new park.
Our F150 Mobile Station at the entrance to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Tuesday, August 30 was our first full day of vacation, we left our hotel room and parked by the Acadia visitor center and called “CQ National Parks”. We ended up with 76 contacts in the log from NP01.
After that we got on the road and headed toward Katadhin Woods and Waters, activating counties along the way including the county line between Penobscot and Aroostook Counties.
NPS Map of the Park
As a newly designated National Monument, Katadhin Woods and Waters does not yet have a visitors center or any signs showing you when you enter and exit the park. We just had the map (above) to determine where the park boundaries were. All of the roads in black on the map are gravel roads that are also used for logging trucks.
Entrance to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
We entered the park from Swift Brook Road off Rt 11 in the lower right corner of the map. We drove through the lower section by the entrance and then headed north along the Eastern Branch of the Penobscot River and operated near the Loos camping area. The sign above confirmed that we were within the park’s boundaries.
Scenic View of Katahdin Woods and Waters NM
The scenery along the river was beautiful with views of the mountains in the distance.
Operating at MN84
We started operating on 20m and the pileups were huge! Everyone was excited to get this new NPOTA into the log. Fred, AB1OC/M ended up going split on 20m due to the size of the pileups. After a while, he moved to 40m to give the close-in folks a chance at MN84. We went back and further between 20m and 40m until the pileups thinned out. We also made 18 QSOs with the club callsign N1FD to also give the club credit for the activation. We really enjoyed activating the park and the people we talked to were great! We made a total of 350 QSOs from MN84.
One of Anita’s (AB1QB) favorite contests in the JARTS RTTY Contest. We decided to use the new N1MM+ Logger for the first time in this contest. There are many new features and improvements in N1MM+. A summary of N1MM+’s enhancements can be found here. We opted to do a completely clean installation of N1MM+ (rather than upgrading our existing N1MM Classic installation) to avoid any issues related to an upgrade scenario and to clean up any lingering issues with the software that we use with N1MM. We did save our N1MM Classic databases from previous contests and we imported those into N1MM+ after the upgrade. This process went very smoothly and we are finding N1MM+ much less difficult to configure and use. We also did clean installations of the MMTTY and 2Tone RTTY programs that we use along with N1MM+.
N1MM+ Setup On Dual Monitors (click to enlarge)
Having plenty of screen space really helps with our computer assisted style of operating. Each of our two operating positions has a PC with dual monitors and we made good use of the display space to organize all of the information that N1MM+ provides. The picture above shows the N1MM+ screen layout that Anita used for the contest (the following screen shots were taken after the contest so as not to interfere with Anita’s operations in 2014 JARTS RTTY).
The picture above shows N1MM+’s Main Entry Window in detail. If you are familiar with N1MM Classic, you will immediately notice that most of the capabilities that are most commonly used to operate in a contest have been consolidated in this window. You can now change bands and see overall status of available contacts from this window. The fonts (including size), colors and skins are all customizable in all N1MM+ windows including this one.
Digital Interface Window (MMTTY)
The Digital Interface Window provides a new mode (wrap-round) which does not scroll the text up when the window is full. This is a big help to avoid “moving target” issues when one is trying to click on a decoded callsign or exchange information to get it into the logger. You can also hover over a callsign in this window with the mouse and it will be automatically entered in the N1MM+ Main Entry Window and checked.
Callsign Check Window
The Callsign Check Window provides multiple options for determining if a callsign is valid or making corrections. The decoding algorithms have been improved and possible alternative characters for unmatched letters are highlighted in color. You can also now select multiple sources for information to base callsign lookups upon – your current log, the SuperCheck Partial file, Telnet spots received over the last 48 hours, and your current Call History database.
N1MM+ Setup – Right Monitor (click to enlarge)
The picture above shows the N1MM+ Windows on Anita’s Right Monitor. On the left is the Bandmap Window which shows callsigns that have been spotted or worked on the current band. Clicking on a callsign or your CQ frequency indicator in this window will tune your radio to that place on the band and load the appropriate callsign into N1MM+’s Main Entry Window. In the upper right is the Telnet Cluster Window which shows and filters spots as they are received from your favorite Spotting Cluster server.
The picture above shows a closeup of the Log Window. This window’s layout is much cleaner and easier to read in N1MM+. it’s also possible to make corrections in log entries by just clicking on the desired field in a log entry and typing in a correct value. This is a real time saver when trying to make real-time corrections during a contest.
There are a number of different Multiplier Window formats and each is useful depending up the multiplier structure of a given contest. The example above shows DXCC entities by band which is the most useful format for the JARTS RTTY Contest. N1MM+ allows one to include a color coded mix of multipliers that have been worked, spotted but not yet worked, or those that you expect to be on the air based upon your logs from the same contest during previous years (or perhaps an “announced operations” list that you have received prior to the contest). This new format provides a much more useful view of the operator’s progress on multipliers during a contest.
Grey Line Map
N1MM+ also provides a useful Grey Line Map Window which shows the current Grey Line location as well as recent spots. You can determine the callsign for a given spot “dot” by hovering over it with your mouse. A nice enhancement here would be to support click on this map to turn your rotatable antennas to that direction to enable working a group of spotted stations. It would also be nice if a line showing the current antenna direction could be displayed on this map.
There are also some nice enhancements in the Contest Statics reporting capabilities including a color coded graphical format. The format of the graph can be customized using a set of drop down boxes.
Score Summary Window
All of the enhancements in N1MM+ add up to a big improvement in usability of this popular contest logger. Shown above is Anita’s final claimed score for the 2014 JARTS RTTY Contest. Her score this year was about 200% higher than last year and no doubt the improved N1MM+ logger (along with Anita’s increasing experience as a contest operator) get some of the credit. Anita is using N1MM+ as part of the 2014 CQ WW SSB DX Contest this weekend. Look for an article here in the near future on Anita’s experiences with N1MM+ in that contest.
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