Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Basic Ham Course

I can not begin to tell you all how many "doom & gloom" articles I have read over the past 10 years on the subject that Amateur Radio is a dying hobby.  I've read it's for "old farts" only, that you must have one foot in the grave before you will be accepted into the name it, I've read it.....all of it was total BS.

Here's an idea for all the doomsayers out about approaching your local community college about hosting a basic course?  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Here in Kingston, the Frontenac Amateur Radio Club approached St. Lawrence College about hosting a ham radio course and they couldn't do enough for us!  

Starting on the evening of January 18th, we will be running a course at St. Lawrence College, and it's full, all 28 seats in the electronics lab we have the use of have been filled........and the average age of the students is 23.  So much for being an "old farts" hobby!!

Many Thanks go out to St. Lawrence College for their great support and help in getting this course off the ground!


As the propagation slips away on its downward slide to the solar minimum I plan on keeping a record of my daily WSPR'ing so we can see the effect.

Power output today was 5w on all bands.   Here's todays 20m picture:

As you can see, as of 1717 UTC we had lots of activity across North America, not so much across the Atlantic.   As of 2116 UTC the propagation numbers were: SFI-74, SN-0, A Index-10, and K Index-2.

I also spent some time having a look at what 40m was producing, the following picture is of 40m as of 1817 UTC today:

No hits outside of the eastern side of the continent, and nothing trans-Atlantic at all.

If you're interested in taking part in the WSPR beacon project, their website can be found HERE.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


Spent another good afternoon on the WSPR frequencies.  It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with a lowly half watt, a wire antenna, and crappy propagation.

Here's todays 20m map:

Not sure how that Norwegian station was hearing me, he must have one hell of an antenna farm!!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Happy New Year

Well, it's that time of year again, time to make New Year Resolutions.  I'm not going to bother this year, I made a resolution four years ago and so far I haven't broken it, so why ruin things.....

As Albert Einstein said: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow."

I hope you all have a great New Years, and a great 2017.  Stay safe out there!

Oh yeah, the resolution I haven't broken?  Not to drink cheap Whiskey on Wednesday nights.......

Monday, 26 December 2016

Back on the Air with Digi

While Santa didn't bring a new radio or antenna to the VE3FI Shack, I did get my small laptop fixed so I'm finally back on the air with FLDigi, mainly using PSK31.  Thanks to Jim, VE3ULC, for doing that for me.

Due to poor band conditions most digi contacts have been fairly local, but I did manage a good "DX" contact all the way from Saskatchewan........ Given the crappy SFI numbers I'll take anything west of Thunder Bay !!

I hope everyone had a good day yesterday, our house was filled with family, and I can't believe the amount of food we went through.

Now to build up strength to get through the New Years celebrations !!!

Monday, 19 December 2016


I did some 40m WSPR tonight, the first time in a few months.   Below is the map from 0130 UTC.  The lonely Brazilian station must have a good set of ears !!

Christmas 2016

The snow is on the ground, and the last contest of the year is done and logged.  I have no idea where the past 12 months went, it seems like only last week I was writing Christmas wishes for 2015.  Hopefully 2017 will take a bit longer to get through!

Christmas is the perfect season to be reaching out to others when laughter and good tidings are in the air.  Here's hoping that your Christmas will find you amongst friends and family, sharing the spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

ARRL 10m Contest

This weekend we have more fun and games on the bands with this years edition of the ARRL's 10m contest.

Not sure how the contest will pan out this year, 10m has not been in good shape for a good couple of months now and the propagation numbers certainly don't give me any hope to celebrate.

My antennas seem to be in good shape, so we will forge ahead and see what we can do.

Rules and other information can be found HERE.

Not much has been going on in the VE3FI shack for the past few weeks.  The Ford Ranger that I have travelled about in for the past 9 years has been sold, and a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan has been bought to replace it.

So far so good, the ride is comfortable and the gas mileage seems to be far better than the old Ranger.   The only issue seems to be interference from the on board computers with my Icom 2m rig I have had installed.  The only way I can comfortably operate is with the squelch turned full on, otherwise the constant noise drives me insane.