Thursday, 18 September 2014


VA3QV & VA3ORP arrive at Chillycon 2014
Yet another Ottawa Valley QRP Society Fall Camping Weekend, known as Chillycon, is upon us. 

This coming weekend, starting Friday afternoon, QRP fanatics from all over Eastern Ontario descend upon Rideau River Provincial Park for this annual gathering.  The park is just across the Rideau River from Kemptville.

Always a great time, this will be my sixth year attending this event.  Not once have I ever returned home without learning something about radios or antennas.  It's a really great time, educational, and the company is fantastic.  It really is a fixed event on our calendar these days.

A lot of the participants come for the whole weekend, others just come for Saturday afternoon as well as the single malt whiskey and traditional pizza supper we hold.  If you're planning on bringing any whiskey to the blended stuff !!

Four of us from Kingston, VE3MNE, VA3ORP, VA3VDP and myself, will be attending this year. 

As usual Bob, VA3QV will be there.  This year Bob will be bringing, on it's inaugural trip, his new (to him) RV......we've christened it "Bob's Mobile Love Palace"'s will follow!!

Hopefully the weather and propagation will behave themselves.  I'm going full out this year to beat Eric, my arch rival, for the "Upper Canada Cup for QRP DX Excellence at Chillycon" if we could just afford to buy the trophy things would be really great!!

Stay tuned for the post-event wrap-up.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

September ARRL VHF Contest & SOTA Weekend....

The September ARRL VHF Contest is coming up this weekend, September 13 - 15. 

I'm going to try and take part in it, not sure for how long, but we will give it a try.  The Rules can be found HERE.

The problem we have here in Kingston is that we have very few clear high points that we can operate from, and for a VHF contest, you need some height.
Also this weekend is the annual North American SOTA Weekend.   This event is a casual event involving portable battery-powered radios on mountain summits. It is not a contest but is intended to introduce “Summits on the Air” to newcomers with home stations who try to work summit operators during one or two days. There are no rules regarding power levels, modes or number of bands worked, but please be courteous when more than one station is trying to talk to a SOTA operator on a summit.

The SOTA operators can be found on the usual QRP frequencies.

Hopefully the weather and propagation will be on our side for these events.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Eastbound - Day Seven

The Bonnechere Valley
I was on the road by 0730 this morning under....wait for it......brilliant blue skies!!!  Well, it would be a nice day, it's my last one on the road for this trip!!

Highway 17 was a real pain today, lots of construction and widening of the highway.  It was stop and go for quite a while.  Eventually the construction disappeared and the road became a scenic ride.

First stop today was CFB Petawawa to visit a number of friends.  First up was a group of women that I used to work with in Kingston that have all been posted to "downtown" Petawawa.  It was great getting to catch up with them.  Then it was off too see my old Sergeant Major to drop off a package to him.  Had a great visit with everyone, and a new project handed to me.....all is good.

From Petawawa I drove down Highway 17 to Highway 41, turned south, and enjoyed the drive down through the Bonnechere Valley.  What a great drive, over 150 km of freshly paved road that was as smooth as a babies bum!  This had to be the best day's drive of the trip.

Just south of Kaladar I finally switched to the VE3FRG repeater and gave a call.  Lots of the guys in there calling me, Richard VA3VDP, Tim VA3TIC, Mark VE3EOG, and a few others.  It was nice to be back on the home repeater, at least here you know somebody will answer you on it.

Grand total of km's driven was 12,653 - I haven't tallied up how much I spent on gas....I'm almost afraid to!  2m repeater contacts were made in every province, and the portable HF gear worked as expected.

All in all, a great to start planning that trip to the east coast.......

Eastbound - Day Six.....

Hey, it's raining....are you surprised???   It was a very long day today, 11 hours driving, Terrace Bay to North Bay - 913 Km.  There was lots of construction on the road today, I think every bridge is being rebuilt or improved.

Stopped for coffee and breakfast in White River this morning and met a very interesting gentleman.  Jack was an airline pilot for over 40 years and has retired to White River.  He recognized my ham plates and wanted to know how he can get his license.  A big package will be mailed off to Jack with study material soon.

Of course White River is a pretty famous town in Canadian history.  It was here that in 1914 Captain Harry Colebourn stepped off his troop train as it stopped for coal, and purchased an orphaned bear cub........and that bear came to be known as Winnie the Pooh. 

The drive today was through miles and miles of rolling hills covered with forest. 

White River
Not sure what was going on around Massey and Espanola but there were no campsites or motel rooms available.  So, I kept driving towards Sudbury, and eventually pulled into North Bay around 2030 hrs.  A really long day on the road.

There are very few 2m repeaters on the north shore of Lake Superior and as usual no contacts were made today on the radio. 

Tomorrow I'm heading to Petawawa to meet up with some people, should be an interesting day.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Eastbound - Day Five.....

Lake Superior at Terrace Bay
Another rain free driving day, looks like I've left the wet stuff far behind.

This morning I left Aaron Provincial Park after a pretty wet night.  The tent is soaked, but all the other gear is fine.  The rain stopped around 0400.

The goal for tonight is Terrace Bay, about 540 Km away.  I drove through miles of forest today, and the road was in excellent condition.

Just outside of Ignace a small car passed me, and as it went by I noticed it had ham plates on.  I put out a call on the Ignace repeater but had no luck.  Then about five minutes later Glenn-VE3CJG called me on 146.52 simplex.  He was driving home from a visit to BC with his wife, Sandra-VE3HON.  The funny thing is Glenn and Sandra live in Belleville, about 80 Km from me.

We all stopped for coffee together in Upsala, where the price of gas today was an eye opening $1.69.9 !!

Terrace Bay has its very own Lighthouse in the middle of the town, needless to say it was on the air tonight even though it's a fake one and has no number.

Terrace Bay Lighthouse
Tomorrow I'm off to Massey, Ontario, for the night.  Hopefully the rain will continue to go else where.