Saturday, 28 December 2013

RAC Winter Contest - The Results!

Well, Bob, VA3QV is no longer that elusive!!  He was my 10th contact of the night, caught him hanging around on 80m SSB.  It was a very hard contact to complete, he was truly about a 41 and he was way down in the mud, but we managed to complete the QSO.  Made my day !!

Friday night was a pretty hard struggle, lots of noise on the band, and of course the antennas were still coated with thick ice making tuning "interesting".  However, over night the temperature rose to a balmy +2C by 0300, and by 0700 it was sitting at +3C.  The end result was the ice melted, the trees sprung back, and my dipole ended up about 15' higher by morning than I started with.....all good news.

Saturday morning with the dipole back up at 50', the contacts started to come on a regular basis with 20m being the band of choice to start.  The morning and afternoon was spent switching back and forth between 10m, 15m, and 20m depending on conditions and the very deep QSB that was going on. 

About 1700 local the bands started to change and I switched to 40m, bouncing every now and then to 80m.  I even managed a couple of 160m contacts, not bad for QRP on an 80m OCF dipole!

I managed to work just about all the multipliers, but saw no sign of the VO2's or VY0's.  So obviously that lone ham in Nunavut is back in Florida for the winter!

Summary sheet:

2m SSB – 1 contact VE3

6m SSB – 2 contacts VE3

10m SSB- 11 contacts VE5, VE6, VE7, VE8

15m SSB- 8 contacts VE4, VE5, VE6, VE7, VE8

20m SSB- 25 contacts VE1, VE3, VE4, VE5, VE6, VE7, VE9, VY1, VY2

40 SSB- 17 contacts VE2, VE3, VE4, VE6, VE7, VE9

80m SSB- 21 contacts VE1, VE2, VE3, VE6, VE9, VO1, VY2

160m SSB- 2 contacts VE3

All in all it was a great time, and I bettered my score from last year.  Next on the calendar is the NA QSO Party on the 18/19 January.

Friday, 27 December 2013

RAC Winter Contest

The 2013 RAC winter contest kicks off on the 28th of December, 0000Z and runs until 2400Z.  Most years I do not contest this one very seriously, but I'm going to give it a good try this year.  Hopefully I'll get the ever elusive VA3QV in the log this year !

I tested the ice covered antennas last night and managed a good QSO with Mark, SQ2GXO in Gdansk, Poland.  They seem to be working and tuning well on all bands.  Hopefully with the +1C heat wave we had today, even more ice will have been lost.

Hope to work you all on the bands tonight.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

May peace, happiness and goodwill be with you and your family not only on Christmas,
but throughout the year and beyond.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year for 2014.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Ice Storm of, 2013

It's been an interesting couple of days here in Kingston.  Since Friday night we have about 1.5" of accumulated ice from the freezing rain, and about 4" of accumulated ice pellets on the ground. 

We still have light freezing rain falling Sunday afternoon, and the weather Guru's are telling us this will continue until midnight Sunday.

While this is not as bad as the 1998 Ice Storm, we still have large area power outages and trees down all over the place.....including in my backyard.  The roads in the city, have for the most part, been quite drivable, but some of the more rural areas they were not drivable. 

Ron, VE3GO, ran a weather net on our repeater for most of the weekend, providing weather updates and driving information to the local hams.  Most of the local hams checked in so we knew who was available in case we had a full repeat of the 1998 storm.

This morning (Sunday) was supposed to be our Club's Christmas Breakfast.  Four of us braved the roads to attend.....and thanks to Don, VE3MNE, for picking me up as my driveway was a total mess.

It looks like both of my verticals have survived, and my 80m OCF Dipole is looking pretty sad with the ice load on it, but at least it hasn't  come down, and I just might be able to get on the air with it for the RAC Winter Contest.

Nothing to do now except pack away the go-kits and get ready for Santa's arrival :-)

And in other news.....A huge WELL DONE to the SAR Crew from 424 Squadron, CFB Trenton. 
An amazing rescue showing the shear professionalism of these guys!!

Monday, 16 December 2013

ARRL 10m Contest.....Day Two

Here in Kingston we woke up Sunday morning to a pretty intense snow storm that left us about 10" of snow on the ground.  So, foolishly, I jumped into my truck and drove downtown to have breakfast at 7:00 am with the other Frontenac Radio Group members at the Star Diner

The roads were disgusting and I don't think the City of Kingston plowed at all overnight.   I really should have just turned around and went home.  Most Sunday's we get 11 or 12 out, this Sunday we had three :-) 

Safely back home by 9:00 I had a quick look at the antennas to make sure all was well with them...and it was.  So off to the shack it was to check the SFI on and the numbers were not too bad considering the minor geomagnetic storm we had going on.  SFI was at 164; SN was 163;  'A' Index was 16 and the 'K' Index sitting at 1.

First contact of the day was with TM1A in Provins, France, and for the next 2.5 hours it was a feast of non-stop European stations.  Most of these signals arrived here at about a true S5 or S7, and during that time I never heard a single US or Canadian station.  One would have thought it was a European 10m Contest :-)

At 1130 I went and made a cup of tea, and when I arrived back in the shack 5 minutes later, the Europeans had all disappeared and the band was now full of US and a few Canadian stations.  It was amazing just how fast the band shift happened, but it was that way all day, shifting East-West and then North-South and back again in a matter of a very short time.  As an example, within a 7 minute period I worked OG2A in Finland, KH6LC in Hawaii, and then PY5DC in Brazil. 

We had lots of good openings into the West Coast and I racked up dozens of contacts into California, Oregon, Washington, and BC.  I even worked three Alaskan stations - one after the other!  Best catch of the day for Sunday was either V55V in Namibia or VY1EI in Whitehorse, I can't decide which.

Most of the strong signals on the band, especially those coming in S9+, all seemed to  have great trouble hearing the stations calling them back.  Perhaps this is a result of too much power being used, and transmitting far beyond what they could actually hear?  It sure sounded that way, and many of the local Kingston hams all thought the same thing.  Most of these powerful stations called all day to little effect.

The radio used this weekend was the FT-950 with the Heil Pro-6 headset.  The main antenna in use was the 80m OCF Dipole.  100w into a piece of wire and 12 hours of glorious fun.  Ya just can't beat it!

I'm now getting ready for the RAC winter contest on the 27th and I'm hoping that the lone ham in Nunavut is not on vacation in Florida like he was the last few years :-)  I'm also looking forward to trying to make that ever elusive contact on 40m with Bob VA3QV.  We will see if we can do it this year!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

ARRL 10m Contest

Great day on 10m today for the contest!  The band was wide open into Europe this morning with many call signs all calling "CQ NA".  I must have worked over 70 European stations and really enjoyed myself.

In the afternoon 10m swung to work North-South and we started to hear the Caribbean and South American stations.  I managed to work V55V in Namibia, and got him on the first call.....which was totally unexpected given the pileup he was working at the time. 

About 1600 local the band changed again.  This time it was working well in all directions and I managed to work KH6LC in Hawaii.  Not too bad for a SFI of 164.  A SN of 141.  The 'A' Index at 16 and the 'K' Index at 4, and the band noise was going from bad to worse. 

It looks like we are in for some minor geomagnetic activity over the next 24 hours, and at 1920 local the Solar Wind is at 400+ Km/s.

There are still some of the big guns calling CQ on the band but it's almost impossible to work them now.  I doubt we will have the fun we had today in the morning, but we can hope!!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

RCAF Moose Milk

Drinking "fortified" Moose Milk at Christmas has been a time honoured tradition in the Royal Canadian Air Force for many, many years. 

For those that don't know what it is, Moose Milk is a magic elixir that makes fighter pilots look much more handsome, Aurora crews much smarter, and the Chinook crews much more rugged..............but it seems it doesn't do much for the Hercules or the CC-150 Polaris crews!

Most non-Canadians will not know the first thing about how to go about catching a wild Moose so you can milk it, and I must confess it can be a very dangerous sport if you are not extremely careful.  This is one of the few jobs we leave to the Flight Engineers as they tend to be much more responsible than the pilots, and the Loadmasters just get in the way and drink the stuff.

So to make it easier for my friends from overseas the following recipe is as close as you can get to drinking real Moose Milk.....

Recipe credit:
Flight Sergeant Jack Moore, is credited with concocting the original mixture on the instructions of the RCAF Station Borden CO, in about 1943, for guests to "have a good time."  A couple of 40-pounders (Dark Rum and Canadian Rye) providing the kick makes it a rather enjoyable drink.  Some substitutions include a brick of ice cream in place of the whipping cream.

Please remember to drink and drive responsibly!!! 
If you're caught the Police will never believe you drank Moose Milk!!