Monday, 20 December 2010

The Worked All Neighbours Award

The other weekend Don, VE3MNE, and I built an 80m OCF dipole to replace my current 80m-40m-20m fan dipole. We had built several of the OCF dipoles over the past 12 months, and had used two of them, an 80m and a 160m, at Don’s cottage for field day and the IARU World Championships last summer….all with no problem. In fact this year we had the best field day score we have had in years. The plans came from the Bux Comm website.

So, on a cold Sunday (why do it in the warm weather…right?) we hauled down the fan dipole, which had given me sterling service for nearly five years, and put up the new 80m OCF dipole. It took us a while to tune it, this antenna works on 80m-40m-20m-10m and 6m, and when tuned properly can give you a 1.5:1 SWR across the bands. We could not quite get 1.5:1, but we did get close to that.

From the Bux Comm website
I fired up the rig and found that the ATU wasn’t required, and proceeded to call CQ. Well, it wasn’t too long before the XYL was in the shack complaining that I was playing hell with the TV. So, looking around to see what I had missed I found the low pass filter which I had neglected to reinstall. On went the low pass filter and off I went again calling CQ.

Within minutes I had a neighbour knocking at the front door and the XYL back in the shack, both complaining of interference with their respective TV’s. Off went the rig for the night and I sat and contemplated what the hell could be wrong.

The rig sat idle for about a week, and during that time I replaced every bit of coax in the shack with brand new pieces. On went the rig, called CQ, more complaints came from the neighbours, and off went the rig.

What to do and more to the point, what the hell is going on. We know these antennas work, and all my neighbours are on cable. Could it be the 4:1 Balun? Nope, checked that out and it works fine, and it was back to contemplating this issue for a few more days.

I had to do something fast as the RAC Winter Contest was coming up, and I needed a working antenna that wasn’t going to get me strung up by my neighbours. So, I did what any good ham would do…the damn thing came down, the old one went back up, and we’re back on the air with no complaints!

And that’s how I earned the “Worked All Neighbours Award”.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Winter Field Day

For the past 4 years the Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio (SPAR) has sponsored an annual Winter Field Day, always held the last full weekend of January. 

Not only during 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 summer, during Winter Field Day, frigid winds, icy limbs and bitter cold replace the thunderstorms and blistering heat of summer. In 2007 SPAR established a Winter Field Day event and invited all Amateur Radio operators to participate. The event was repeated in 2008 and was considered a success, so it was then designated an annual event to be held the last full weekend each January. In 2007 - 2010 the event was enjoyed by many, but it is time to issue the invitation for the Fifth Annual SPAR Winter Field Day!

The 2011 Winter Field Day will be held from 1700 UCT (12:00 noon EST) Saturday January 29, 2011 through 1700 UCT (12:00 noon EST) Sunday January 30, 2011.

The object of the event is familiar to most Amateur Radio operators: set up emergency-style communications and make as many contacts as possible during the 24 hour period. The rules encourage as many contacts on as many bands and modes as possible, because during a real emergency, the most important factor is the ability to communicate, regardless of band, mode or distance.

Mark it on your calendars, it's too much fun to miss!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Understanding Propagatation

Alan Melia-G3NYK and Steve Nichols-G0KYA wrote a series of feature articles for the RSGB magazine, RADCOM, these articles have now been put together into an ebook, which is available as a free download at:

The ebook explains to the reader the propagation modes behind each band and explaining some of the technicalities of ionospheric propagation It looks at the at the D, E and F layers, Sporadic E, the MUF/LUF, using solar data, propagation programs, NVIS and much more.

These two amateurs have managed to persuade the RSGB to allow me to put them together into a single document, which is now freely available for amateurs worldwide to download.

This is an excellent resource for hams, of all experience levels.  Well done to these two guys for making this happen!

North America SOTA Day

From J.P Couture, VA2SG.......

The North American SOTA Associations (Canada and the USA) will have an operating event on Nov 13, 2010 from 1200utc to 2400 utc on Nov 14th, 2010. The goal is to encourage NA SOTA summit activations and expand the awareness of this unique operating program in North America. More information about SOTA can be found at http:/

Summit activation teams will use all the licensed bands from VHF FM/SSB to the HF frequencies for CW and SSB. Typical operating frequencies are 146.52, 144.200, 7.040, 10.116, 14.060, 14.282, and 14.342.5.
Currently there are established SOTA Associations for VE1, VE2, VE7, W1, W2, W3, W5, W6, W7, and W0 with more on the way!

The British SOTA Program encourages both summit Activators and and home-QTH Chasers through an extensive Awards program. Patterned after the IOTA program, SOTA is very popular in Europe and is quickly catching on in the North America as well as other countries. This will become an annual event for the NA SOTA Associations. Please visit the Yahoo Group site for more information and/or questions:

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

What I remember - Part 2

Alfred John Saunders, 1892 – 1981, was my great uncle and to me he was my “Uncle Alf’. He was known as something of a character within the family - a label he wore with some pride. He was forever in trouble with my mother for his repeated sneaking forays up to my bedroom when I was very young, to slip me cookies.

Uncle Alf was just a very ordinary man.  He worked hard all his life and looked after his family to the very best of his ability. But Uncle Alf was also a very brave man, and although he rarely ever spoke of it, he had gone through several nightmares during WW1.

Liverpool Scottish cap badge
 At the outbreak of WW1 Uncle Alf joined the 1st Bn The Liverpool Scottish, and was quickly trained and shipped off to the western front. We know he fought at the Battle of Hooge on 16th June 1915, and at the first Battle of the Somme in 1916.

At some point after that he and his platoon were tasked to dig a mine under the German trenches, and dig they did. However, the Germans heard them digging and dug a counter mine under them. The race was on to see who could blow up their mine first. The Germans won and Uncle Alf, and those of his platoon who survived, spent seven days buried underground before they were dug out and rescued. At this point he was discharged from the army as unfit for further service.

Now any normal man would have said enough was enough, and that he had certainly done his fair share of duty. Not Uncle Alf!

You see when he was 14 he ran away to sea, and spent eight years sailing between Australia and Liverpool. This was not on steamships, but on real sailing ships. His stories of going around the Horn in winter were enough to make me turn my back on the sea for life. I have no desire to spend up to four months tacking back and forth off the Horn, freezing cold, always soaking wet, and climbing 100 feet aloft to change sails. Eventually through a lot of hard work he gained his Master Mariners Certificate and walked the quarterdeck.

So there he was back home in Liverpool, discharged from the Army as unfit to serve in the trenches, and looking for, as he put it, “something to do”. Well, off he went and joined the Royal Navy. With his Master Mariners Certificate in hand he was given command of HM Trawler Everton, sweeping mines in the River Mersey and the Irish Sea. One day while sweeping the Everton hit a mine and quickly sank. Uncle Alf spent several hours in the cold water before being rescued, and ended up with lungs full of bunker oil.

Uncle Alf and his crew
After a few months at home recovering, he was discharged from the Royal Navy as being unfit for further service. Shortly after, guess who went to the Army recruiting center and tried to join the army again? Lucky for us he didn’t pass the medical that time, or who knows where he would have ended up.

I last saw Uncle Alf in January 1981 at his flat in Prestatyn, North Wales, where he still lived alone. I was on leave from the Royal Air Force and we spent an hour talking about all things military, drinking tea and eating his famous biscuits, he was blind as a bat, but still a very sharp minded individual and still very much full of life.

I have his WW1 medals now and have had them properly mounted, polished, and cleaned.  He never wore them.  When I received them they were green with mold and had only tatters of the ribbons left on them.  They'll be proudly out on display this November 11th, right next to my Dads. 

Uncle Alf past away at his home in February 1981, a month after I visited him, aged 89.  They don’t make heroes like him anymore.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

What I remember

Dad with N0.19 Radio Set
With Remembrance Day just around the corner I thought it important to mark this occasion with a non-ham radio blog entry.

My Dad was a very special guy to me, and I can’t, even now, begin to describe how I felt on the 23rd May, 1993, when he passed away. Not a day has gone by since then when I have not taken a moment each day to think about him.

He enlisted in 1942, at the age of 16, in the Royal Air Force Regiment, and after his basic training and then trade training as a signaller, he was posted to 2816 Squadron, RAF Regiment where he spent the entire war training and then fighting through North West Europe with them. Dad saw action at the D-Day Landings, Rouen, St Pol, Moerkerke, the Leopold Canal (December 1944), Damme, Grimbergenand and Woerndrecht/Deurne, where the Squadron was based during Operation 'Bodenplatte' (the Luftwaffe attack on Allied airfields on 1 January 1945). Further moves east took it to Antwerp, Ahlhorn, Hustedt and Celle, where it disbanded in June 1946. After the Squadron was disbanded he was posted to 2742 Squadron at RAF Station Ramat David in Palestine, from where he was eventually discharged in 1948. 

As far back as I can remember he regaled us all with stories about his war experiences. I suppose looking back on it now it was his way of getting therapy from some of the stuff he witnessed while overseas.

Every two years my Dad faithfully returned to the UK to attend 2816 Squadron's reunion, always held in a large pub in Glasshouse Street in London, and always well attended by its Veterans. Those of you with a military background will appreciate the humour of holding a military reunion in "Glasshouse" street! He always came home with new stories, as somebody always jogged his memory about a long forgotten event.

My Dad was not a special person, just one of a couple of million who felt it was their duty to step forward, and do something for their country at a time of great need.  Duty, was a powerful word in those days, and todays generation would do well to remember that citizenship, is not a free ride.

Of course there has to be a ham radio connection to this story....after my family immigrated to Canada in 1966 my dad became a ham, a natural thing for him to do considering his war time service as a signaller. He loved operating CW, and many an evening I remember sitting with him at the kitchen table, his SB-101 blaring 50 wpm CW at us, and him sitting there reading his library book, drinking tea, and copying the CW…all at the same time.

He was licensed in 1970 as VE7CVQ, a callsign that I now very proudly hold in his memory. That callsign only gets used three times a year these days, his birthday, the day we lost him, and Remembrance Day.

Lest we forget.

In Memory of the Officers and Men
of 2816 Squadron, RAF Regiment, 1942 - 1946
Lest We Forget

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Buddies in the Caribbean

The “Buddies in the Caribbean” DXpedition group, specializing in 100 watt or less low power radios and the Buddipole portable antenna systems, will be in St Lucia (J6) on 5-13 December, 2010.

There will be 3 villa stations in operation plus daily battery-only QRP portable operations operating on 160m thru 6m, propagation permitting.

QSL via the J6/homecall of the operator (SASE), eQSL, or LOTW. For current announcements, see our website at or our daily blogsite at The website has an on-line chat feature for realtime dialog with the dxpedition team.

It's amazing how good the Buddipole system actually is.  I'm really looking forward to working Budd W7FF, and the rest of the guys, on this Dxpedition. Hopefully from somewhere were I, too, can use my Buddipole!

Monday, 18 October 2010

RAC Bulletin 2010-019E

I have just read the bulletin issued by the RAC President, Geoff Bawden VE4BAW, from the IARU Region 2 conference in El Salvador.

Amongst the pearls of wisdom Geoff wrote about was this one: "Canadians will also be interested in HF band planning in 40m (now that short wave commercial stations have left the band)......"

Er.....excuse me Mr. President...have you actually been up on 40m lately? I hate to tell you this Geoff, but 40m above 7.200 is full of Chinese, North Korean, and Spanish commercial shortwave stations operating there on a nightly basis! There is also a Chinese station that broadcasts nightly in the middle of the old CW novice portion of 40m making that part of the band almost unusable as well. These stations have not “left the band” as you put it; they have simply moved up the band a few Kcs and have continued on as before!

Looks like somebody didn’t do their homework…..or has been spending far too much time on 2m!

JOTA 2010

Friday afternoon saw Dave-VE3DZE, George-VE3SIQ, and myself head north on Hwy 15 to the Whispering Pines Scout Camp, on Otty Lake, to set up their Jamboree on the Air stations.
It was pouring rain with winds 30 kph gusting to 60 kph when we arrived, and that situation didn't change until well after midnight.  It was, as they write...."A dark and stormy night..."

This was the first time we had done the JOTA from the Whispering Pines Scout Camp, so it was all new terrain for us.  The camp is a beautiful spot, all wilderness, and no buildings allowed there at all.  In fact once you are there you would not guess for a moment that you are actually only 6 Km south of the Town of Perth.  The camp has many large trees....all waiting to be strung with dipole antennas, and it is also very well looked after by their Camp Warden - Stan.

The JOTA Campsite
Friday evening saw us simply set up our camp and the screen tents we were to operate from.  It's a good job we brought as many large tarps as we did, because we used them all to keep everything dry.

After we finished setting up we drove into Perth and had supper at Michael's restaurant.  The food there was excellent.  It was also a great opportunity for us to take our time and dry out.

We used wire dipoles for 80m and 20m, and the Buddipole for 40m and 6m dipole.  All the antennas worked exceptionally well, and even though they were not that high off the ground, we did get a fair bit of DX from them.

Saturday morning came and the rain had given way to a beautiful blue sky, and the winds dropped to nothing around noon.  One of the Scout leaders lent us his 5000Kw generator, which was a stroke of good luck as I doubt our batteries would have lasted as long as we ended up needing them.

Dave-VE3DZE hard at work
Dave-VE3DZE and I shared one screen tent to operate from.  It wasn't that bad as we used our field day coax notch filter set, and that took out any interference we would have had being so close.  Dave made some good contacts on 20m during the day, but while we had hoped to work some European stations doing JOTA, we never heard any at all, and none responded to our CQ's.

For most of the day we stayed put on 7.169 and worked N2Y, who was working the JOTA from a scout camp near Constantia, NY.  It was interesting to listen to the American scouts describe their scouting system to our Canadian scouts.  Of course it was the fact that Canada has Coed scout troops, with real live girls, these days that really peaked the American scout's attention!

George VE3SIQ.....surrounded
George-VE3SIQ worked the 80m band for most of the day.  There were only a few signals on 80m, so a few of the net controllers for the ONTARS net on 3.755 helped us out by talking to the scouts. Thanks for doing that guys, you really brought big smiles to the faces of dozens of kids!

I managed to work a good number of stations on 40m, but it wasn't until late in the afternoon that I discovered that the power had been turned down to 10w all day!  Of course, before I discovered that I was operating QRP, I worked DR1A and DR1L, both in Germany.  Not too bad for QRP into a Buddipole dipole at 18 feet off the ground.

JOTA is an excellent method of introducing young people to our hobby.  We had several of the scouts hang around the radios all day.  In fact one young lad, Alex, was so interested in ham radio I sat him down and allowed him to work a few contest stations, under his own steam (and my supervision), during the NY QSO Party that was also going on that day.  The kid is a natural!  Larry Palmer-VE3LFP, who is a scout leader in that area is going to try and find the young fella a local Elmer so he can continue with the hobby.

JOTA and ARES are a natural fit.  It provides a good scenario that allows ARES to deploy to the field and set up and operate under realistic conditions.  It also gives excellent exposure of our great hobby to the youth of this country, which we all know we sorely need given the age of most of us "Olde Farts". 

So, given this natural fit of JOTA and ARES, one must ask why the RAC Field Service decided to hold the Canadian National ARES SET on the same weekend?  And while we're on this subject, why was there not a RAC Bulletin issued to advise hams of the fact that JOTA was taking place.  At least then we could have possibly had more hams on the air for the youth to talk to.

Once again, RAC proves to us all that they are not paying attention on how to attract younger hams....or do they really care about attracting youth members?  JOTA happens every year guys....on the same weekend in October....and has done for 53 years. 

The hams from Kingston provided operators for two JOTA scout camps, for about 300 youth combined between the two, and Bill-VE3CRU, operating from Mossport Raceway, had 300 scouts at that location go through his portable shack alone last weekend! 

How many more youth across the country could have had good exposure to the hobby if our ARES groups were not tied up with an ineffectual exercise?  RAC wasted a wonderful opportunity last weekend to showcase our ham radio hobby to the youth of this country.  ARES exercises can be held any weekend of the year, but there's only one JOTA per year. 

So please RAC executive and directors, don't cry to us about the lack of youth in our hobby.  We're trying our best to get them interested, but once again you greatly let us down!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

High altitude balloon flight to carry 6 meter beacon

The launch of ARBONET-4 will take place on Saturday October 9th, 2010 from the Paris, Texas Hamfest.

The ARBONET-4 launch is planned for 9:00 AM from the parking area of the fairgrounds.

ARBONET-4, the fourth in the ARBONET series of High Altitude Balloon flights, will be a demonstration and training flight utilizing beacons on three different amateur bands: 6 meters, 2 meters and 70 centimeters.

The ARBONET-4 payloads are:
Voice Beacon: K5ARB – 435.025 MHz (FM)
CW Homing Beacon (5 WPM): K5ARB - 147.475 MHz
APRS: K5ARB-11 - 144.390 MHz
Hellschreiber / CW Beacon: W5BL - 50.500 MHz

Give a listen and see if you can hear the balloon!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Parrotts Bay Portable Ops

Sunday morning was pretty gloomy with clouds and rain in the forecast, but it wasn't that cold.  Eight of us met at the Parrotts Bay Picnic area on Hwy 33, just west of Amherstview, and set up our rigs and operated portable HF for 3.5 hours.

The Parrotts Bay picnic site is a very nice spot to operate. It's clean, has portable washrooms, and lots of space for parking. The bay is filling up with ducks as they get ready to move south for the winter, and while the water must be cooling down by now, there were some kayakers out on the bay taking in the start of the fall colours.

Don, VE3MNE, and I tried 20m at first, but it was full of RTTY traffic taking part in the CQ RTTY Worldwide Contest.  They were all over the band, so we quickly moved up to 40m were things were a little slower.

The Texas QSO Party was also on, but all our attempts to make contact with stations in Texas fell on deaf ears.  I guess our 50 watts just was not making it down there to that part of North America. 

Martin VA3AKY, Carl VE3DNR, and Dave VA3ORP worked on getting Martin's 20m dipole working.  It had been cut incorrectly and needed a major operation to get it tuned up and on the air.

Dave, who's into the No. 19 Radio Sets, got out his slide rule to figure the measurements out.....I haven't seen one of those things in....dare I say it....40 years!  Anyway, it did the job and Martin was soon up and running, making contacts.

Dave made a few 80m contacts with his "Blue Pill" vertical antenna, including checking into Ontars with a stunning 5 watts on his FT-817.  QRP Rules! 

Bill, VA3WOW, our DEC for Loyalist ARES District also drove from Belleville to join us for the morning.  He also helped in the antenna reconstruction, and we had a good chat about "all things ARES".

As I normally use my Buddipole in the vertical mode, I recently bought three extra kite winders from Buddipole in California to use for my radials.  That brings my "collection" of them to five, so I've decided that I am going to cut some radials - 2 per band - and have a single kite winder for each length ready to go in my go-box.  I think this will cut down on the messing around measuring out the radials using my current system.....we'll see how it goes anyway.

All in all, it was a very pleasant fall day to be outside in the fresh air playing radio.

Friday, 24 September 2010

2m Commercial Activity

I hope that most of you who read this Blog now know of that Industry Canada authorized commercial interests the use of a 2m simplex frequency over the September 10-12 weekend.  This was for an international cycling event being held in both Quebec City and Montreal.

The bulletin issued by RAC is below:

RAC Bulletin 2010-09-14E


Industry Canada advised both RAC and RAQI on Friday, Sept 10, 2010 that their Montreal office had authorized a number of 430 to 450 MHz frequencies and a single VHF frequency on 145.555 mHz. According to IC, frequencies were chosen to avoid known amateur repeater channels. These frequencies in the 70 cm and 2m amateur bands were temporarily authorized to support communications for many European entrants of a cycling event to be held on Quebec City and Montreal on Sept 10 and Sept 12 respectively. This type of authorized intrusion by Industry Canada of non-amateur communications in amateur spectrum is highly unusual and is a matter of great concern to Radio Amateurs of Canada. RAC will be taking the matter up with Industry Canada officials. RAC will be interested in knowing if actual interference has been caused to amateur communications; please report any observations to

Norm Rashleigh, VE3LC
Vice President, Industrial Liaison

Industry Canada authorized this commercial activity on 2m in direct violation of Canada's international agreements.   
What has RAC done about this?  So far the silence from them has been deafening!  Canadian hams have a right to know what is being done to ensure this type of activity never happens again!  If RAC has not filed a complaint then Industry Canada will take it for granted that they can do this again and again.
Tonight I sent an email to Norm Rashleigh, the RAC VP for Industrial Liaison, asking him what action RAC had taken.  That email is below:

Has RAC filed a formal complaint with the ITU over Industry Canada allowing commercial activity on the 2m band?

Has RAC formally asked IC why they permitted this intrusion, in violation of our international agreements? I would like to remind you that this intrusion, so very close to the border, will also have affected our American ham friends. It will be interesting to see what response comes from the ARRL.

I most sincerely hope that RAC has done something over this issue!!
For those of you who wish to ask Norm questions on this intrusion, he can be reached at
I'll post any response I receive from Norm, here on the blog.

UPDATE   As of September 28th there has been no response to my email to Norm Rashleigh, the RAC VP for Industrial Liaison, regarding RAC's response to this commercial intrusion on our 2m band.  

This lack of response to inquiries, and lack of transparency in its operating is quickly becoming the trademark of RAC.

UPDATE   As of September 30th.  Bob-VE3MPG and Peter-VE3HG have both updated their Blogs on this subject.  Bob has received material from Industry Canada and has posted it.  Their blogs can be found at:  Bob – VE3MPG  Peter – VE3HG

I recommend that all hams read these blogs.  They are very interesting reading.

Monday, 20 September 2010


Man, what a weekend!!  The Ottawa Valley QRP Club held their annual Chilicon over the weekend of 17-19 September at Rideau River Provincial Park, and a good time was had by all that attended.  It was also QRP Afield weekend as well.

Rideau River Provincial Park is a very clean park, and the camping sites are very well kept.  There was a good number of people in the campground but it wasn't full, nor was it noisy.

Only four of us camped there for the weekend, Mike VE3WMB, Martin VA3SIE, Jim VE3XJ and myself.  It would have been nice to have more camp with us, but we did have a good number of visitors come out on Saturday to do some operating with us.

This was the first time I had camped using the new truck.  It was pretty comfortable, and I'm sure if it had rained I would have stayed dry.  As I had not been camping for a year or two, it was an interesting time trying to find all my gear.

The bands were in good condition, and I made several good DX contacts on 20m SSB running only 10 watts. First up was Gerry F6IGS in Bordeaux, France. Then it was Al YV2BYT in South-West Venezuala, and finally Nikola 9A9AA in Zagreb, Croatia. As usual I used my FT-857D and a vertical Buddipole. I also had QSO's with a dozen or so amateurs across North America. The campsite was a great place to operate from.

It was a real pleasure to meet, and talk, to the guys from Ottawa, especially the two Bob's, VE3MPG and VA3RCS.  I really learned a lot from them all. Mike VE3WMB decided to take part in the Feldhellschreiber Sprint on Saturday lunch time.  This was the first time I had seen that mode in action, and many thanks to Mike for taking the time to explain it all to me.

Hopefully Chilicon will become an annual affair for the QRPer's in Eastern Ontario, I'm already planning to be there in 2011!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Future Events.......

Here's a couple of things I'm getting ready for:

The first event is the ARRL VHF QSO Party on September 11th and 12th.  This event runs from 1400 - 2300 hrs local time, and I plan to operate from Fort Henry Hill....which is just about the highest point in Kingston.

The second event is QRP Afield, which is sponsored by the New England QRP Club.  This event is always the third Saturday in September.

This year I will be camping at Rideau River Provincial Park with members of the Ottawa Valley QRP Society and taking part in this event.  I'm looking forward to discussing QRP activities with some of the experts on the subject over the weekend, as well as getting some relaxing camping in at the same time.

Another reason to attend QRP Afield is to meet up with Martin, VA3SIE, to discuss the start-up of the new VE3 SOTA Association.  Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for everyone - this is not just for mountaineers! There are awards for activators (those who ascend to the summits) and chasers (who either operate from home, a local hilltop or are even Activators on other summits).

SOTA is now fully operational in many countries across the world. Each country has its own Association which defines the recognised SOTA summits within that Association. Each summit earns the activators and chasers a score which is related to the height of the summit. Certificates are available for various scores, leading to the prestigious "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloth" trophies. An Honour Roll for Activators and Chasers is maintained at the SOTA online database.

Stay tuned for more news on the new VE3 SOTA Association!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Point Petre Portable Ops

Sunday dawned cold, wet, and really miserable.  Ever since I left the Canadian Forces I had forgotten that 0430 hrs existed, and trust me it's no time to roll out of a warm bed to launch yourself down Hwy 401!

After a quick stop for breakfast I arrived at Point Petre at 0930 hrs and began to set-up in the light wind and rain, after I had checked in with Marie-VA3ECB.  I used my Yaesu FT-857D, YT-100 automatic tuner, and two deep cycle batteries.  My antenna was my usual buddipole being used in the vertical mode.  I was hoping that John-Henry-VE3CAK could hear me so he could spot me on a DX cluster, but that was not to be.  J-H could not copy me at all, and I could not even hear him.  So it was back to the old fashion method, calling CQ.

The first station in the log was John - KB4CRT from Micanopy, Florida, with a nice 58 signal.  The next four stations where also all from Florida, and then the band switched and Oregon and California started to roll on in.  Two Canadian contacts were made, Boris - VE4BG from Winnipeg and Rick - VO1SA from St. John's, Newfoundland.  The only real DX contact for the day went to Javier - VP9/NM6E holidaying in Bermuda.

I had a good QSO with Jim - WB2LHP, who was operating from the Old Mission Point Lighthouse in Travis City, Michigan.  With 50w going each way I felt pleased with my 54 report from Jim.  Next up was Leo - K1KJC, from Vinalhaven Island in Maine, IOTA NA055.  Again with 50w I received a 55 from Leo as my signal report.

The operating site was right across the road from the Trenton Air Force Base HF antenna farm.  It was nice to dream while gazing at nine 300 foot towers, and two huge log periodic antennas. 

I was half expecting some interference from them, but thankfully it was a Sunday, and that means the good air force guys who operate them where still in bed........

Propagation today was a SFI of 75, and the K and A indexes where both at 1, and no sun spots to be seen for the first time in 55 days. 

By mid-afternoon the wind and rain had started to gain some strength. and I thought it wise to pack up and head back to Kingston.  Overall it was a good day.  Thirty-two contacts were made, including a few on each coast.  Not too bad for a lousy SFI day. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lids.....what gives?????

Has anyone noticed that the number of "Lids" we hear on the air is increasing? Has anyone noticed that the standard of operating is falling to a level lower than it was at the height of the 1970's CB craze? Why is this?

Why do we have people (I won't call them Hams) sitting on 7.181 using language, and talking about subjects that would make a Toronto hooker blush? I won't even start on K1MAN and his "ownership" of 14.275, nor will I get into that disgusting piece of work from Saanich, BC, who's language and filthy racist comments on the air have to be heard to be believed, neither of whom are fit to be members of our great hobby.

Why is their behavour allowed, and why hasn't Industry Canada or the FCC stepped in and put a stop to this garbage? It just boggles the mind that they haven't yet done so. We know that hundreds of complaints, and recordings of them, have been sent in to the authorities. What's the holdup?

Then we have the idiots who make a habit of chasing DX when they have no clue how to do so.  The other day, as an example, a station from the Ivory Coast called CQ on 20 meters, and was quickly pounced upon by about 30 people, all screaming their callsigns at the top of the lungs (as if this makes a big difference getting through). Several of these clowns continued to scream their callsigns over and over and over and over again....even when the DX station was in a QSO. Do these people really think that this is the way to work DX? Do they really think that the DX station is even going to work them after their unprofessional behaviour? I don't think so!  Is this behaviour the reason I hear more and more of the DX stations saying "yep, I worked you, but you're not in the log"?

A wise old Elmer from California once told me that "anyone can become an Amateur Radio Operator, but it takes great skill, knowledge and good manners to become a HAM." Therefore it stands to reason that some of the people we hear on the air today will NEVER become Hams!

Monday, 9 August 2010

International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend - August 21/22

I will be taking part in this event with the Frontenac Radio Group, activating the Point Petre Lighthouse in Prince Edward County. It's newly issued lighthouse number is CA0026.

Antennas will be two Buddipoles, and the radio will be a Yaesu FT-857D with a YT-100 auto tuner. 

The event starts at 0001Z on Saturday the 21st August and finishes at 2359Z on Sunday the 22nd August.

Get on the air and talk to Lighthouses in Canada, the UK, Australia, and around the world.


Welcome to my Blog Spot. This is where I will record my adventures in Ham Radio, as well as my occasional rants on various subjects.

My main Ham Radio interests are QRP and portable operations, as well as Island and Lighthouse activations. I am also involved with the new VE3 SOTA Association.

I am a member of the Frontenac Radio Group and the Frontenac County ARES.  I'm also member No. 162 of the Polar Bear QRP Club.