Sunday, 18 August 2013

ILLW - Great Weekend !!

Don hard at work
What great weather, and what even better propagation we had for this years International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.  This year the group I belong to activated two lighthouses as mentioned in the previous posting below. 

Today, Sunday, Don VE3MNE and I activated the Point Petre Lighthouse, CA-026, and we had a fantastic time.  It was blue skies, a light wind, and 25C all day, we couldn't have asked for better weather.....and the Granville Island beer we had with our lunch went down really well.

We arrived on site about 0830 and began to set up our usual array of antennas.  Don set up his 31' vertical and got to work looking for other lighthouses on 20m and 40m.  I took a different route this year.....................
15m Vertical

Some of you will know that I have been working on getting my home QTH fixed up for 15m, as none of my current antennas seem to want to work on that band.  So before I did anything else today I built a 15m quarter-wave vertical and three ground radials.

The radiating element was taped to a 20' crappy pole, the three radials were simply laid out on the grass, and I used an LDG 1:1 balun.  The antenna was then simply leaned against the chain-link fence around the Coast Guard compound.

I should also mention that the wire used was a 25' roll of 14 gauge speaker wire that cost me $2.00 at Princess Auto here in Kingston.

It took several attempts to get the SWR down to an acceptable level, but in the end I did not really need the tuner as it matched right across the SSB portion of the band. 

Well, they always say the proof it works speaks volumes, so I'm really pleased to tell you all that it worked great on 15m.  Over the course of the day I used it to work:

EA3/DL1EHV, Albert in Barcelona, Spain.
UT7UV, Sasha in Kiev, Ukraine.
Z320T, Al in Shtip, Macedonia.
YT5CT, Zex in Novi Sad, Serbia.
RU3UR, Mike in Ivanovo, Russia.
ES5QD, Vello in Tallinn, Estonia.
S59N, Dan in Naklo, Slovenia.

Needless to say I'm pretty pleased with its performance, and it will be set up at the home QTH sometime this week.  I like working DX on 15m, and I've really missed this band over the past 10 months we have been at this new QTH, and I'm really looking forward to getting on there on a regular basis now.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend

Coming up next weekend, August 17 & 18, is the BIG international lighthouse weekend, sponsored by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group

Here in Kingston the Frontenac Group will be activating two lighthouses, one at Nine Mile Point on Simcoe Island - CA0031, and Point Petre - CA0026. 

The Simcoe Island light will only be on the air only for the Saturday, but Point Petre will be on from 1000 local Saturday, until 1400 local on Sunday.......or as long as the batteries hold out.

There's not much in the way of a camping spot there, as we have to stay outside the Coast Guard compound, but hopefully the OPP will leave us alone once they see us just operating and not causing any trouble.

With over 400 lights signed up for the event we're hoping to work a pile of them, and hopefully, this time, the propagation Gods will favour us this weekend !!

Give a listen for VE3FRG and VE3FPN and give us a call if you hear us.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Disappointing Day

It was a pretty disappointing day yesterday on Amherst Island, the propagation Gods decided to have the day off !!

The weather was perfect, lots of sun, a nice breeze and the occasional cloud drifting by.  Ron, VE3GO, had arranged with friends of his to use their waterfront property to operate from, and what a beautiful spot to operate from it was.

My antenna of the day was a 31' homebrewed vertical into a 4:1 balun, and four 16' and two 31' radials.  Ron used an Outbacker mounted on a mag-mount on the back of his SUV.

The bands seemed to be working very short, and while we could hear a lot of European stations on 15m, we worked only two of them on CW: IK3VUT, Luca in Oderzo, Italy, and HB9TNW, Celso in St. Gallen, Switzerland.  Our third CW contact was with HI3IFE in the Dominican Republic, but I'm not sure if that is the correct callsign, copy was difficult.

The SSB side of the activation was not very good at all.....two contacts were made, both in Ontario.  First up was Russ, VE3FI, in Haliburton, who was testing out a new 80m vertical, and next up on 20m was Don, VE3MNE, at his cottage on Hay Bay. Both of course had booming signals.

No signals were heard from the Colorado 14er event at all, despite spending quite a bit of time listening for them.

While not the most successful activation we have ever done, it was a fantastic day really.  We wouldn't have asked for better hosts, the location was perfect, and we got to ignore the "Honey Do List" for another day.

I'm not one to make political statements, but having seen the mess these things left Wolfe Island in, I don't want to see this happen on Amherst Island.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Amherst Island ON-21

Short notice.........but a group of us will be activating Amherst Island ON-21 tomorrow, August 4th, from 1500Z to 2000Z.

Ron - VE3GO, and Bill - VA3WOW will be joining me for a fun filled day of DX.  We will have 2 or 3 HF radios on the air, and we will be mainly on 20m, 15m, and 10m, hanging out on the usual island activation frequencies. 

Hopefully the propagation Gods will be smiling on us.  The weather is suppose to be very good, with a high of 21C expected.

Tomorrow is also the 2013 Colorado 14er event, so we are hoping to make a pile of contacts with the guys on the top of the really big hills......the 14,000 foot "hills".