Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sunday QRP'ing

Jim VE3ULC in todays operating tent.
It was a beautiful day here in Eastern Ontario, in fact it was warm enough to go on out to our Field Day site.....which is now no longer under water, but still real soggy in some spots.....and play some portable QRP radio.

The bands were not in too bad a condition.  The propagation numbers as of 1757 UTC, 13 August were:   SFI=70, SN=11, A Index=11, and the K Index=2.

The was the usual stuff going on, tuning up over QSO's and LIDS a plenty.  Lots of European stations were on 20m, I tried to work 9A3ON in Croatia, and SV9NNK in Crete.  Both stations copied VE3Fox......but couldn't get the "Italy" at the end of the callsign no matter what phonetic I they're not in the log.

I did manage to have solid QSO's with EI8BLB in Ireland, and EG8HKT in the Canary Islands, both of which made my day.   Not too shabby for 5 watts into an MFJ 17' collapsible whip antenna with one 17' elevated counterpoise.

Next weekend we're off to activate the Pig Point Lighthouse on Amherst Island for the ILLW weekend.  We'll be QRO for that event with the FT-897D.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

It was a WSPRing type day.....

Not much going on at the homestead yesterday so I did a bit of WSPRing after cutting the grass.  I haven't been on WSPR for a few weeks as my computer developed a disliking to that program.......

Propagation as of 2242 UTC, 11 August, was:  SFI=69.  SN=11.  A Index=8 and the K Index=3.

Here's my 20m map:

Not too shabby, signals getting out to either end of the earth, from Eureka, Nunavut, to Australia, and New Zealand.   Very pleased with this.   Antenna is a 148 foot inverted L long wire up at 50' and my FT-817ND at 500mw.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

An interesting Go-Box

Jim - VE3ULC brought his recently built go-box over to my QTH yesterday so he could check it and a newly built OCF dipole out.

The finished box
Interesting piece of kit, he's built it into a small Pelican Case and it has a FT-817, speaker, a Raspberry Pi, a small hi-def screen, and enough battery power to last a week.

He's built a lightweight 40m OCF dipole to go with this kit, and we put it up 25 feet into one of my tall trees to test it out.   Putting the analyzer on it first we found it was very good on all bands.....including 2m...... but it will not tune at all on 15m.

We ran it through several bands on various digital modes and it works just great on all of them.   Next Friday we plan on getting out to one of the local parks and doing some portable work with our gear, and hopefully Jim's gear will pass and exceed our expectations.

Jim VE3ULC on the miniature key pad.
Don - VE3MNE supervising our testing

Friday, 28 July 2017

Rumour Control.........

Hmmm.......rumour has it that the VE3FI Van will be heading to the west coast again next year in May.

I wonder how many 2m repeaters I won't get a response from in 2018???  It was pretty dismal in 2014 when I drove across, and I imagine with the growth of the digital repeaters it has become even more dismal....but we shall see.

Not sure of the route yet......but it won't be via the Trans-Canada, but I have decided to do the northern route through Ontario.  I've driven the Lake Superior route three times now so it's time for a change.

I'll post more details as I solidify my plans.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

W / VE Island QSO Party 2017

VE3DZE on Simcoe Island
Coming up is this years W / VE Island QSO Party, sponsored by the US Islands Award.

The event runs 15 hours from 1200 UTC, 26 August to 0300 UTC, 27 August, and the Rules for the event can be found HERE on the US Islands page.

Participation by Canadian amateurs has been pretty dismal over the past few years and the disappearance of the Canadian Island Award (CIsA) website did not help.  However, in case you don't know, out of the ashes has grown another group of guys who have formed Canadian Island Activators with the intent to carry on from where CIsA left off from.

The one item the organizers do ask is that you submit your event log.  Last year only three Canadian stations did so.  
I've participated on this event for the past six years and have had a blast and I'm sure you will too if you take time to take part.  This year I will be operating from Simcoe Island, ON-022, and hope to work a pile of you on the air.

Islands on the Air

One of the main purposes of the Islands on the Air (IOTA) program is to promote activity on the bands, not just on HF but on VHF and UHF.  It’s also for clubs and individual operators.  

IOTA is an outstanding program for the activator, chaser, and contester as well.

Coming up this weekend is the 2017 version of the RSGB IOTA Contest.  The contest starts at 1200 UTC on July 29th, and ends at 1200 UTC on July 30th.

This years rules can be found HERE.

Let's all hope that the propagation Gods are in a good mood and allow the bands to open and play nice for us all over the weekend.  It's about time we had some cooperation from them.

Monday, 24 July 2017

A Beautiful Day.....

Rick, VE3ORY, and his portable set up
What was supposed to be a rainy day turned into an alright one, yeah it was a bit cloudy and the wind was blowing about 30 kph, but it was warm and no bugs......and no rain!

The day started off on a good footing when we showed up for the ferry, only to be waved right aboard, and it sailed within minutes of turning our engines off.  I don't think there were more than 20 cars on board.

We ended up going to a small park just down the road from the Winter Ferry Dock, it's called  "Canal Dock Park", and it's pretty small.  It does have lots of trees as well as some benches and picnic tables though....which all came in handy.

Rick, VE3ORY set up a digital and CW station using his 20m & 40m dipole and was soon on the air. I set up using my MFJ 17' telescopic antenna with a 17' counterpoise for 20m using some Buddipole parts and started to call CQ.

We spent 6 hours on the island, operated 17m, 20m, and 40m, and only made 20 contacts between SSB, CW, and Digital modes, but we had a lot of fun doing it.  Paul, VE3IKY, came over from his house on the island and paid us a visit, and Greg, VE3PJ, arrived and spent the day with us as well.

The bands were in terrible shape with some minor (G1 level) geomagnetic storming going on, and I guess we were actually lucky to make the contacts we did.

The setup of VE3FI on the island.
Remember, any day out playing radio is better than mowing the lawn at home !!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Island Activation

Wolfe Island Ferry
This coming Sunday, July 23rd, the Frontenac Amateur Radio Club will be activating Wolfe Island, ON-009. Wolfe hasn't been activated since very early 2016.

The last time we activated Wolfe we made a remarkable two HF contacts, hopefully we can do better this time if the propagation Gods are all aligned correctly.

We will be on from 1500 UTC till 1900 UTC, or until the contacts stop coming our way.

Callsign will be VE3FRG, and the SSB frequencies will be:
14.250 - 14.260
Digital Frequencies will be:

Wolfe Island location