Thursday, 14 December 2017

Winter Field Day - 2018

Coming up quickly is the 2018 Winter Field Day!

Not only during summer field day in June, do the bands come alive with improvised signals proving the ability to respond to emergencies.  Since emergencies and natural disasters don't always happen in the good weather, during Winter Field Day, frigid winds, icy limbs, and bitter cold replace thunderstorms, mosquitoes, and the blistering heat of summer.

Rules for the event can be found HERE.

Remember to give yourself and your team a lot longer to complete the site setup, it can take up to four times longer than in the warm weather.

Make sure you watch out for each other for signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia.  Stay safe out there!!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

December QRP in the Park...

VE3ULC operating and dressed for the
weather today.
Great day on the bands today !!!   Jim, VE3ULC, and I went to Lake Ontario Park and operated QRP portable for a few hours, probably for the last time this year as the snow is due to start coming down next week.

The propagation numbers today, at 1730 UTC were:  SFI = 70, SN = 0, A Index = 4, and K Index = 0.    The bands were very quiet and luckily we had an absolute S0 noise floor in the park.  Just about every signal we heard was just booming in to us.

One of our goals was to work Rick, VE3ORY/W4 in Florida, as he's emigrated down there for the winter.  Jim managed to work him on 40m with Olivia 8-500, and again on 20m using PSK-31, and we both worked him again on 20m SSB.

Best contact of the day for me was with GI0AIJ in Northern Ireland who was a solid S9++ to me and he kindly gave me a 56 in return...not too bad for 5w into an MFJ 17' collapsible whip antenna.

I also managed to get KC0ZNI in the log.  Phil is in Paola, Kansas, and was activating one of the state parks today.  Booming signal from him, and I received a 57 from him....again, not too bad for a QRP signal.

All in all a great day outside playing radio.

VE3FI operating today at Lake Ontario Park....dressed for the Ontario Winter.

VE3ORY/W4 operating today in Florida....dressed for the heat wave down there !!!!!

Monday, 13 November 2017

2017 ARRL Sweepstakes

Starting this Saturday afternoon, at 2100 UTC, this years ARRL Sweepstakes starts !!   Since winning the 2013 Canadian Division trophy for QRP I haven’t really tried hard at this contest….but this year I might give it a good push and see what I can do, but I want to have a good look at the upcoming propagation first.

The link to this years Rules are HERE.

Propagation wise we could be in for an interesting time.  One of the sites I frequent has this to say about the next few days:

"No G1 (Minor) or greater geomagnetic storms are expected.  No significant transient or recurrent solar wind features are forecast".

Hopefully everything will go smoothly......but you just never know.....

Good Luck to everyone!

Monday, 6 November 2017

In Remembrance......

In Loving Memory

of the 

Officers, NCO's, and Men


2816 Squadron, RAF Regiment

December 1941 - June 1946

Per Ardua

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Coming Soon........

Over the past few months a renewed push has been taking place to try to get Summits on the Air (SOTA) finally operating here in VE3 land.   This quest was started over seven years ago by Martin, VA3SIE, but was sidelined due to technicalities.   Martin is now a regional manager in the VE2 SOTA association.

This past September the SOTA management team in the UK was contacted again and they have now decided that VE3 land no longer has the technical difficulties that we had back in 2010.

For those who do not know what SOTA is, it is a ham radio operating award program that was launched in the UK in 2002, and has now grown world-wide.

The aim of SOTA is to encourage licensed ham radio operators to operate temporarily from the summits of hills and other words get out of the shack, operate, and get some good and healthy exercise.

Now Ontario does not have a lot of true mountains, it is true that we have some high summits up in the north, but they are rather scarce in the southern part of the province.  To this end we have been told that we will be allowed to operate as a 100m prominence association, instead of the normal 150m prominence that they ask for.

Ontario will be split into four regions, corresponding to the current RAC Sections.  Thankfully we have already had volunteers step forward to manage the Greater Toronto and Ontario South regions.

More news will be posted as it happens.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

CQ WW SSB Contest

The towers at VE9FI
What a great week!!!   Don, VE3MNE, and I left last Wednesday morning for the 2 day trek to Hampton, New Brunswick, where we took part in this years CQ WW SSB Contest using the station of Russ, VE9FI.

The drive down can be summed up in one word....RAIN.  It absolutely poured down for the great majority of the trip, stopping just before we arrived in Hampton on Thursday afternoon.  I have to admit the highways in New Brunswick are fantastically well maintained.  It was a real treat to drive on them.

Thursday afternoon and Friday were spent settling in and learning how to operate the equipment in the shack.   Russ has two 75' towers, one with an 8 element log periodic and the other with a 6 element 20m beam.  We also had a 1/4 wave vertical for 80m and 40m, a full sized folded dipole for 80m and 40m, and a full sized long wire for 160m.

I was using the resident Flex-6700, and Don used his own FT-950, so I had a bit of a learning curve to learn to operate the Flex....never having done so before, and I have to tell you that after spending 36 hours operating one I much prefer my FT-950.....but perhaps if I used it more I might change my mind.

The operating position for the Flex-6700.
The contest itself was a lot of hard work....but fun.  It was very different being on the receiving end of the pileup instead of one of those stations calling in.  Nothing like being hit by a wall of sound...all calling you to cause a bit of "pucker" factor......   We had lots of good comments about our signal, including to places I never work from home in Kingston, most of the time the received report was "booming".

The other thing we quickly realized was that the propagation is different from here at home.  Stations we can not get from Kingston, no matter how many times we call, all answered us on the first call from Hampton.  We also had to take into consideration that the signal bounce was landing in a different location from home and that caused a bit of worry until we realized what was happening.

At the end of the contest we ended up with a total of 997 contacts and a submitted score of 808,707, and now we await the judges comments.......

The trip home had even more rain than the trip down, and this time we also had 50 km winds gusting to 90 km for most of the trip as well....not very comfortable being buffeted around like that.   We managed to make a grand total of two 2m contacts, both on the way home.  Thanks to Ted, WW1TED from Hamlin, Maine, and Stephan, VE9SAP from St. Basile, for their company on the Grand Falls, NB, repeater.

All in all it was a fantastic trip.....I could have done without the 1270 km drive each way, but what the hell, it's a great way to see the country.

Don and I can't thank Russ and Pat enough for their unbelievable hospitality....and Pat's cooking has to be eaten to be believed.....what a cook !!   Thanks guys for everything !!

And now, a few pictures........

The 20m beam down ready for the high winds.

Another shot of the Log Periodic.

The best sea food in St. Martins.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Off on an adventure.....

This coming weekend is the CQ World-wide SSB DX Contest and I'm off on a mini-DXpedition to Hampton, NB, to take part in the contest.

VE3FI and VE3MNE will be operating as VE9FI for the contest.  Both Don and myself are really looking forward to operating from the VE9FI station as Russ has put in a lot of work into it since he moved down there.

We reckon it will take 2 days driving to get there, so allowing some time to get to know the systems, we plan on leaving home on Wednesday morning and will spend the first night in Edmunston, NB, before moving on to Hampton on Thursday.

Looking forward to a great contest using some great antennas.   Lots more to report once I get home next week.

The VE9FI towers.....ready to go!!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Lunch Hour QRP

Looking for something to do at lunch time?  Following my last entry to this Blog, I can across the following this morning, and waited for permission to repost this information.  Mike, K9ODX, has a great idea and here it is:

Lunch Hour QRP

Ivin and I have discussed doing a "lunch hour" contest in an effort to encourage each other to get out and operate, even if it's just during a lunch break throughout the week. I then thought, if we were going to do this why not invite others to join us?

I have proposed the following to our local "QRP group" here in Central Indiana and I would like to share it with our blog readers as well. The event would last for one month and would be limited to one hour per day, your lunch hour. Please review the idea below and let us know what you think.

Purpose: To practice and encourage the use of portable/mobile amateur radio and operating at QRP power levels. Participants will drive to a remote location during their regular lunch hour, away from their home or work, and complete as many QSOs as possible using a portable/mobile station with a mobile antenna attached to their vehicle.

Dates: One Month (Monday - Friday)

Time: One Hour per day during your lunch hour
Modes: CW or SSB
Exchange: Call, RST, State (or Country if DX)

Special Rules: QRP power levels - 5w CW & 10w SSB

Points: 2 points for each CW QSO & 1 point for each SSB QSO

Multipliers: x2 points if other station is mobile & x2 points if other station is QRP

Do you know how we might make this more fun and interesting? Would you be interested in joining us? Please comment below and share your thoughts.

72 de Mike W9ODX