Saturday, 18 October 2014

New Toys.....

The new look at the Shack
It was a great trip into Toronto yesterday, Don VE3MNE, Mark VE3EOG, and myself drove to Radioworld and Durham Radio for our annual candy feast...It was a successful trip.

Two bits of Yaesu gear jumped into my basket, a new desk mic, the MD-100A8X, and the matching speaker for the FT-950, the SP-2000.  Both of these items work as advertised and do great job.  I'm really enjoying the desk mic, and I'm getting some very good reports on it.

The speaker has built in audio filters that really do clear up the hash behind the voices.  Normally I use my Heil Pro-6 headset, but there are times that I like to use a speaker, and this one will do very nicely.

We also made a side trip to the Bass Pro Shop in Vaughan, a couple of Km north of Radioworld.

If you're an outdoorsman it's heaven!!  I cannot imagine even one piece of outdoor gear that you could not buy there.  They even have an indoor archery range right in the store, the place is HUGE!!  ......and yes, I did buy a couple of non-radio related items there.....

I have a suspicion that this place will be one of the regular places we stop at in the future.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

W/VE Island QSO Party - 2014

This coming weekend, October 18th & 19th, is the W / VE Island QSO Party.  Held each year this is the perfect opportunity to get out and do some portable operating from
one of your local islands.

If you can't get out....operate and work them from home.

This years Rules are HERE. And, don't forget to submit your logs!

This year from the Kingston area you'll hear VE3FCT operating from Simcoe Island, ON-22, and Dave, VE3DZE, operating from Wolfe Island, ON-009.  It looks like it will be a cool day, with temps around 9C, but at least there's no rain in the forecast.


Late addition, Tim, VA3TIC, and Derek, VE3HRW, will be activating Washburn Island, ON-289 on Sunday. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

RAC membership and the Great Leader

Deciding whether or not to renew my RAC membership was an easy decision this year…..I didn’t, and let me explain why.

Last year I chose to get the electronic version of the TCA as it was a few bucks cheaper than the standard paper version.  Over the course of the past 12 months I have managed to download and read the grand total of one copy of the electronic version of the TCA, the rest wouldn’t even download, or they stopped half way through the download process and crashed.  I should point out at this time that I do have a new computer, not an old clunker that might have some issue downloading. 

Several times during the year I have contacted the RAC office and complained about not being able to download and read my electronic version of the TCA.  And of course in true RAC fashion, nothing was done about it, and no help was given at all….ever!!  I have heard from many other hams that they too have had issues downloading the electronic TCA, so it's not like this was just my issue.  I know RAC likes to keep their members in the dark, but this is ridiculous!!

Over the past four weeks I have received four emails from the RAC office, all of them informing me that my valued membership is about to expire and they hope I will continue to support them…..REALLY ?????   What about their support to ME ????    

At the same time I have been receiving these emails I have also received three renewal letters from the Great Leader, Comrade Bawden, the current appointed Grand Pooh-Bah of the RAC organization.  Each of these letters has cost RAC 75 Cents to mail out……why do I need three of them ??  I guess Comrade Bawden really does need my $$ to help pay for his junkets around the country shaking hands and kissing babies.

So the question is, just what tangible product did I receive last year for my $54.25 RAC annual membership fee??  Because from my point of view, and regardless of the bullshit propaganda in Comrade Bawden’s letters to me, my answer would have to be a loud and hearty SWEET FUCK ALL!!!

John Quincy Adams is quoted as saying "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader".    Comrade Bawden has inspired me to take a out a two year membership with the ARRL.   Thank you Great Leader for showing me the way.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Section Manager Resigns!

It came as a bit of a shock on the morning of October 1st to read that George Duffield, VE3WKJ, had resigned his RAC appointed position as the Section Manager of the GTA. 

It’s no secret amongst those who closely follow the ARES goings on that George Duffield was the only one of the three current Ontario Section Managers who seemed to have his head screwed on properly, and he certainly wasn’t full of some are.

I’ve spoken with George many times on the phone, and he always struck me as intelligent, full of knowledge and common sense, and an absolute gentleman.  He is exactly the type of ham we need as one of our Section Managers.

George was proactive in his leadership style, and certainly didn’t seem to have any issues with getting people to do the jobs he needed doing….I would have worked for him in a heartbeat if I lived in the GTA and had been asked to help.

This is yet another abject failure of the RAC senior leadership team to step in and get things sorted out before it reached this result, and they wonder why RAC is imploding.

Thank you very much for your dedicated service George, you'll be greatly missed.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


What a fantastic QRP weekend!!  Most of the usual crowd assembled for this years Chillycon at the beautiful Rideau River Provincial Park, a 30 minute drive south of Ottawa.  This was the last weekend the park is open this year, so it was very quiet there, not too many people there at all.

The weather Friday night was cold, it went down to about 4C.  Saturday night it rained a bit and the temperature hovered around 17C.  However, Michael VE3WMB, and Ying VA3YH, both arrived on Thursday and told us that Thursday night was terribly cold, and that we had the warm nights!

VA3QV's mobile Shack
The highlight of course was that Bob VA3QV did in fact arrive safely in his new "Mobile Love Palace".   Not much room in it, but it's fine for what he want's to do with it......and it will give him another project to work on.  Bob had an exciting weekend, he spent a few moments trying to teach his FT-817 to fly.......but perhaps we could entice him to post a blog entry on his own Blog to describe what happened with the airborne 817!!  It was really good seeing him and Liz there.

The radio in use this weekend, keeping with the QRP theme, was my Icom 703.  I used a 31' wire erected in an inverted 'L' as my antenna.  The antenna went up only 20' and then 11' over to a tree.  Not the best of antennas, but I had some success with the DX over the weekend using it.

The 10 screaming watts of the IC-703 netted me HK3C, John in Bogota, Columbia; 9A9RR, Petar on Pucisca Island (EU-016), Croatia; SV3AQR, John in Patra, Greece; HA3NU, Laszlo in Szekszard, Hungary; and OP2A, Ivo in Boortmeerbeek, Belgium.  These stations as well as a dozen North American stations made it a successful weekend.

VA3ORP's portable bar
As usual Dave VA3ORP, and his valet Chris VE3CBK, erected their bell tent, complete with Persian carpet, cots, and all sorts of other creature comforts....including a portable bar!  You just never know what these QRP guys will get up to next!

Saturday was a great day weather wise.  Very comfortable temperature, the only downside was the fact that the mosquitoes were all in full force, which made things just a little itchy.

The annual DX completion started as soon as Eric VA3AMX arrived on Friday, at 1911 local that evening we thought Eric had won the contest with an early CW contact with a Mongolian station, a tie ensued an hour later when Michael VE3WMB also had a CW contact with the same Mongolian station.  BUT, in a surprising development, on Saturday evening, Chris VE3CBK, has a SSB QSO using his FT-817, with a VK3 station.  Five watts to Australia on a 70 year old Radio Set No. 19 antenna ain't too shabby any day!!  Congratulations to Chris on winning this years honour.

The Chillycon Survival Kit:  Analyzer, spare parts box,
and a mug for the Scotch!
Details of VA3VDP's radial plate.
We held our traditional Pizza supper on Saturday evening, and managed to get it over before the rain started.  Numerous bottle of single malt were in attendance, and all of it was mighty fine stuff.

Sunday morning nine of us trooped off to the New Rideau Restaurant, just down the road from the Provincial park for a great breakfast.  It's under new management since we were there last year (It was called "Charlie's Place" then).  The food was excellent and a decent price. 

So it's all over for another year.  It was a great shame that more of the local QRPers didn't get out this year, even the number of Saturday afternoon visitors was down.  I saw only Bob VE3MPG and Chris VE3CME.  I say it every year, Chillycon is a great educational weekend, and this year was no different.

It was really great to see everyone again, and as usual the sense of fraternity was outstanding.  Hopefully next year we will see a lot more of the QRP fraternity out at this event.