Wednesday, 21 January 2015

An Ontario Radio Society?

I have just discovered the following article on the blog site of Rod Hardman, VE3RHF, and it was written last November.......and what a marvellous idea that article is !!  

Now Rod, as you may know, was up to a few months ago, the RAC Director for Ontario South, that is before he resigned after about eight months into his term....you'll have to ask Rod why he resigned.  Before he was elected as the Ontario South Director Rod actually contacted me looking for my thoughts on what I thought was wrong with RAC, and I sent him a long email in return.....which turned into quite the exchange of emails. 

To be honest I had high hopes that finally, somebody with high ethical standards, actual proven leadership skills, and somebody who actually gave a crap about what happened to hams in Canada was going to be on the RAC Executive.  I don't blame Rod for packing it in, I think we can all understand the level of intense frustration he must have been going through.

Anyway, let's have a look at his Blog article:                 

I'm hearing rumbling from Ontario Hams about a desire to form (reform) an Ontario Amateur Radio Society.

Imagine a unified annual membership, initiated at the club level, that would fund the Club, The Ontario Society and RAC.

Each level is funded for services it provides, with clear division of responsibility. Members choose to belong to a Club and elect an executive, Clubs belong to a Provincial Society and elect an executive, and the Provincial Society chooses to belong to RAC and appoint Provincial Directors. It's a bottom up structure and the financial flow ensures a Servant-Leader approach. If RAC fails to serve the provinces they may not get funded!

It is an interesting "inversion" of President Bawden's recent TCA message regarding ARES, pushing responsibility for ARES leadership down to the regions, effectively "outsourcing" the problems associated with lack of national leadership in Field Services.  Instead of outsourcing a problem down, the Clubs and Provinces would hold RAC accountable, or we will find a more responsive National Society to spend out dollars with. 

Imagine that, People that pay the fees being treated as customers instead of a tax base!

I think there may be some sound thinking behind this - at a minimum it is worth looking into. The numbers certainly tell a supporting story. Ontario has a significant percentage of Canada's Amateurs and is underrepresented on the RAC board. 
This might just be the method to shake up the status quo at RAC and force the Executive to be responsive to the needs of Ontario Amateurs. 

I think it's worth a look. 

I agree, it most certainly is worth looking at, especially if it is going to hold RAC totally accountable for it's actions.....................where do I send my membership fee???

Monday, 19 January 2015

Winter Field Day

Well, it's that time of year again.....winter field day, you know, the one were the mosquitoes don't bother you!!  As the SPAR website states: "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." 

Winter field day is designed to test our abilities to respond to a disaster or emergency under winter conditions, and living in a part of Canada that has five good months of winter, it's probably a good thing we practice these skills.  It's a hell of a lot different setting up at -20C than it is at +30C.  In fact it takes about four times as long to set up in the cold as it does in the summer.

This years rules can be found HERE.  Read them, they've changed this year.

I will not be able to take part until the late afternoon as I must attend the first planning meeting of the communications coordinators for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour.  So, listen for VE3 Frozen Canadian Toes transmitting from Fort Henry Hill.

Monday, 12 January 2015

NA QSO Party - SSB

Coming up next weekend is the NA QSO Party - SSB.  The contest runs from 1800 UTC on January 17th to 0600 UTC on January 18th.

Rules can be found HERE.

Looking forward to this one as it's the first one of the year.  Time to shake off the winter blahs and get the radio humming again.    The XYL is away that weekend so I'll have no distractions or Honey Do List to impede the score this year.....I hope she doesn't read this !!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Island Activation

Just worked what I believe to be the very first island activation of 2015 here in Ontario....and probably Canada.

John, VE3ISE, from Grimsby was activating Henley Island, ON-007, near St. Catherines this morning.  He was using an FT-897D and a Hustler Mobile antenna mounted on his car, but he was a lovely S9+20 here in Kingston on 40m, but he was having issues with a S9 background noise at his location.

John was also having some issues with the weather, he had snow with freezing rain on the way.  He sounded happy to be on the air non-the-less.

For those of you interested in activating islands, or just chasing them from home.  Check out this WEBSITE, it has all the information you will need to get started.


Friday, 2 January 2015

SkyWhip Portable Telescopic Antenna

Ground mount for the SkyWhip antenna
(Photo belongs to Durham Radio)
Just picked up a new toy.  I picked up a SkyWhip Portable Telescopic Antenna from Durham Radio.

Interesting piece of kit, it's 16' 8" whip that can be used as a vertical, or two of them can make a portable dipole.  You can adjust them for 20, 17, 15, 12, 10, and 6 metres, and of course if you adjust it properly you won't need a tuner.

The best thing about it for me is that with the adapter I bought with it, it will fit my Buddipole set as well.  This will give me even better options for island and lighthouse activations now as I will have the ability to put up multiple antennas, both vertical and dipoles.

I'm off to read Ground Systems for HF Verticals by Rudy Severns, N6LF, to get the best idea of what the best radial system will be for it.

Once I've had it on the air I'll post a full report on it.