Saturday, 3 October 2015

Antenna issues....

We have had a heck of a gale blowing here in Kingston for the past 24 hours and it is expected to continue into tomorrow.  Winds are gusting to 50 kph and are expected to die down over-night.

Well, after three years up 50' in a maple tree my centre support line for my 80m OCF Dipole finally broke.  The antenna is still up the tree, either the balun or the coax has found a branch to hang on to, but I could pull it all the way down using the coax.

Oh well, I can't complain after having to do little to no maintenance to it over the past 3 years.  I'll have to get one of the guys to shoot a new line over the same tree with their compressed air cannon and I'll be back in action in no time.

The plan is to replace the current rope with UV resistant and to also use a piece of aircraft cable attached to the balun for extra strength.

The fun of amateur radio!!

Island Activating

Most of my readers know I like to take part in island activations, and many time I have wondered how this part of the hobby started.  Well, today Jose, VA3PCJ, sent me a picture from the very first, the original island now we all know the truth.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Hurricane Watch for Joaquin

The Hurricane Watch HF Net was activated at 1500 UTC yesterday (September 30) on 14.325 MHz during the day and 7.268 during the night for Hurricane Joaquin.   Please keep these frequencies clear for Hurricane Traffic.  

There is already a lot of active traffic being passed on this net, especially from Bermuda, and the Bahamas.  Stations on the US Eastern Seaboard who are now getting prepared and are checking in.  

For your information the current track of this Hurricane is scheduled to come ashore near Atlantic City and is now shown heading straight for Kingston, and according to the current track it should hit us starting sometime early Tuesday, although it may hit on late Monday.  

We may just get the tail end of it, but lets be ready.  This would be a good time to secure any loose items laying around outside of the house to minimize damage from flying objects. 

Dave - VE3DZE, our Canwarn Controller, will be bringing up a weather watch net well before it hits us.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Saturday on the Bands

What a great day on the bands today.  This had to be the best day in about six weeks for working DX.   Today 20m and 17m were the main bands, but I did hear weak signals on 15m as well, although I did not manage to work any of them.

The SFI today was: SFI=100, SN=66, A Index=5, and K Index=2.  Not the best of numbers, but better than I've seen in a while!

First up today was HV0A, Francesco operating from the Vatican.   This was my first ever contact with a HV0 station, and I'm pleased to finally get it in my log.

After that it was:

TF2MSN, Odinn in Iceland
OZ90IARU, Benny in Denmark
FG5DH in Chris in Guadeloupe
EI4HDB, Mark in Ireland
M0KEB, Kevin in England
EU7A, Andy in Belarus
R2015SM, Club station in Russia
HK3C, John in Colombia

Not too shabby for 5w and a wire antenna, I'm hoping Sunday's propagation holds up and I get a repeat of today!!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Soggycon 2015

A soggy day at Chillicon 2015
Well, Chillycon, or as we're calling it this year "Soggycon", is now over.

From 1400 local Friday to 11:00 local Sunday, we had 72mm (3 inches) of rain fall on us at the camp.  Needless to say attendance was way down, but not only did we have the weather to contend with we also had the Carp Flea Market on the Saturday as well.

The Big Bobster, VA3QV, was there.  Soaked to the skin at times, we had to come up with a new nickname for him.  He's now known as "SpongeBob".  I have a shocking story to report on Bob this year.  I have to tell you all that the first antenna he got in the air was his TV antenna on the RV, ham radio antennas came second!!  I couldn't believe it when he told us that, totally shocked we all were!

There was a lot of the regular attendees there, Ying VA3YH, Eric VA3AMX, Chris VE3CBK, Don VE3MNE, Bob VA3QV, and Richard VA3VDP.  We also had Matt VA3OZI attend this year as well. Both Tim VA3TIC and Derek VE3HRW dropped in on the their way home to Kingston from the ham flea market in Carp.  We also had a group of five hams from VE2-Land, but I must apologize as I did not manage to write down the callsigns.   They had attended the Carp Flea Market and brought the items they had bought to the Park to try them out. They stayed for the traditional Pizza Supper and we all had a great chat with them.
VE3MNE's operating spot

The bands sort of cooperated.  The ARRL VHF Contest, and the North America SOTA Day were also taking place as were a number of State QSO Parties, so the bands were busy but not in the best of shape.

The winner of this years Annual Chillycon DX Contest, and the winner of the Upper Canada Cup for DX Excellence, was Eric, VA3AMX, with a contact to Argentina.

Despite the very heavy downpour, we all managed to stay mostly dry for the two nights we were there - thanks to good tents and large tarps.  However, with all the tarps and tent parts hanging and drying in my garage, it's starting to look like a refugee camp out there.  I'll have to spend a few hours tomorrow cleaning all the cooking equipment and other gear.

Hopefully next year will see it a bit warmer and a lot dryer.  Once again Chillycon was a great, and a good time was had by all.