Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Marathon Island Activation - July 11th

Victoria Island, Ottawa.

The following email was received from Gilles, VE2MAM........
I will be activating four or five islands Saturday the 11th of July.

The order will be the following:

Victoria isl. ON-123    Green isl. ON-122   Porter ON-121 and North Petri ON-119.

Bates isl. ON-283 will be activated the last if all goes well with the others.  Since I go on Bates isl. a few time each week it will be easy to make a sked if I skip Bates because of time constraint.

I will be on Victoria isl. at 9 AM (1300Z) and transmit on 7.250 (plus or minus) until there is no more takers. Then to 14.250 (plus or minus) again until no more takers. I will then move on to the next island.

It will be the same for every islands, 40M then 20M. The exchange will probably be contest style.

Victoria, Green and Porter are close to each other so it won't be too long between each of them.  North Petri is a bit farther, maximum one hour to get there.

One QSL card from you will be OK to confirm one or all the islands. I will send back one card that will confirm one or all the islands. QSL info is on

The order of the run could change or be cancel because of weather or for reasons that are unknown at this time.

It should be a lot of fun !!!   Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Monday, 29 June 2015

Field Day 2015 - - - - - We Survived !!

The portable beam goes up.
Field Day was an interesting experience this year.  From lousy weather and bad propagation, we had it all.  Field Day actually started for me on the Wednesday before when Don, VE3MNE, and I went out to Hay Bay to the property Don owns out there.  Wednesday and Thursday were great, the weather was warm, hardly any bugs.

This year, as we normally do, we operated as a 5A station, made up of four SSB and one Digital positions.  We did change up the antenna list this year.  The line-up was an 80m OCF dipole, a 160m OCF dipole, a 20m beam,  two 31' verticals, a 10m/15m fan dipole, a four element 6m Yagi, and a ten element 2m beam.  Friday and Saturday morning was spent getting these antennas in the air.  

During the lead up to Field Day we had three CME hits, which of course threw the good propagation out the window.  The numbers at 1320 UTC on June 27th didn't look good at all: SFI=100, SN=28, A Index=10, and K Index=2.  Those numbers, while changing a little, stayed almost constant throughout the weekend.

We also spent Saturday morning tarping the tents after seeing the projected weather forecast, two of the SSB stations and the Digi station where located in tents, and there is not much shelter out at Hay Bay from the elements.
The 6m and 2m "tower" made from a 32' ladder.

At 2000 UTC on Saturday the driving rain and strong winds hit, and it rained and blew heavily for the rest of the weekend.  But, nobody got wet, the tarps did their jobs, and all the radio's survived!   Things were so wet and windy out there we actually left everything setup out there when we left Sunday afternoon, and we will go out Monday morning and take everything down in the beautiful weather we have that Field Day is over !!

Even with the poor propagation we still managed to better our score from last year.  The 20m band was our top scorer with over 500 contacts, the 40m and Digi stations did pretty well too.  Unfortunately the 15m and 80m stations didn't have much activity on them, both of those stations made a respectable amount of contacts - but nowhere near normal, and we only managed to make a single contact on 6m.  

The second Field Day site our club operated was near Odessa at the QTH of George, VE3SIQ.  They also did very well over the weekend, especially as Geoge only moved in to this QTH a few weeks ago.  This year due to the number of ops who wanted to take part we had to do two sites, and we hope this trend continues.

Overall it was a successful weekend at Hay Bay, finishing with a total of 1385 contacts.  I think we may have kept our standing from last year, but we will wait and see what the final scores are when they are published later in the year by the ARRL.

Tarped up and waiting for the rain at the Digi station.

2015 Field Day Map.....only Newfoundland is not filled in!!

Remember........364 days to go till next Field Day !!!!!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Solar Flux.....

As 30,000 hams all patiently wait for Field Day to arrive it looks like the Propagation God is playing a dirty joke on us all.   If you haven't seen the SFI numbers today you're in for a shock!

Currently at 1811 UTC, the SFI is at 127, the SN is at 77, the K Index is at a whopping 54, and the A Index at an unbelievable 6.

And, it could get worse, as the forecast speaks of another possible earthbound CME due to hit sometime on June 25th, following a M6.5 flare on Monday.

Hopefully things will have settled down enough by the 27th to let Field Day be a good one with lots of contacts.  I'll be out at beautiful Hay Bay running the 40m station, and using the clubs VE3FRG callsign.

For those of you heading out to Field Day, have a great and safe one, and for those of you who are not going out to Field don't know what you're missing !!

Have fun everyone!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Island Activating

How many of you get out in the spring, summer, or fall and activate islands.....or even lighthouses?   It seems over the past few years that this aspect of our hobby has fallen to record new lows.

Some of us who do activate Canadian islands on a regular basis blame the last administration of the Canadian Islands Award (CIsA), which disappeared about 2 years ago, after they failed to administer the program in an efficient manner.  In fact the truth of the matter is that the webmaster just failed - period!

CIsA was quickly replaced by Canadian Island Activators (CIA) to make sure the database of Canadian Islands was not lost, and the CIA website can be found HERE.  Or, If you're on Facebook you can read about forthcoming activations HERE.

A lot of work by a lot of amateurs was very nearly lost when the CIsA website was suddenly taken down with no warning by its webmaster.  Pages of reference material and island numbers were saved by using the Google "wayback" machine.

We need to get this aspect of the hobby built up again.  At the moment it seems there are very few who do go out and spend a few relaxing hours activating the odd island, and very few of the activations are past on to be advertised on the CIA sites.  As a result of that, people don't know what's out there to work, and the activators get fed up with getting no traffic and eventually give up doing it.

CIA has a "sister" club in the USA with whom they work very closely.  Down there they have US Islands, (USI) and they too have both a website and a Facebook page.  The website can be reached HERE, and the Facebook page HERE.

When activating an island we find it gets more attention if the notice goes on all four sites, and you will be amazed at just how many people read them looking for new and unusual islands to work.

Rules for the CIA can be found HERE.  Give it a go, you might enjoy it!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Sad News Today

Those of us in Kingston received some very sad news first thing this morning.  Mike Lambert, VE3SIW, became a Silent Key last night, he was 61 years old.

Mike has been a good friend of mine since I moved to Kingston 10 years ago.  He was a 32 year veteran of the Frontenac County Ambulance Service.   Mike retired early due to issues with PTSD.

Mike was a gentle giant who would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.  He was an extremely compassionate and caring person, and this was true right till the very end.

A long time ham, and a long time member of the Frontenac Emcomm Group, Mike's presence will be greatly missed by the ham community, especially at our Saturday coffee gatherings and our Sunday breakfasts, where he always was telling stories and joking around.  Mike was also a net controller on several US nets, including Sully's International Rooster Roster which is held daily on the Watertown repeater.

Mike, you're going to be missed buddy !!!