Monday, 31 January 2011

Winter Field Day - - - - - - The Aftermath

Well it was a great weekend for Winter Field Day. VE3FRG operated as a multi indoor station. On Saturday we had light snow and -5C and on Sunday we had heavy snow and -18C, and luckily there was very little wind.

The narrow road into the cottage was interesting as it was not properly ploughed out, and the “slide all over the road” factor was high, but we all made it safely, including Bill-VA3WOW, who arrived from Belleville.

Once we unloaded the small mountain of gear into the cottage and got the wood stove going it was back outside to string up the antennas. It took us a little over two hours to get two dipoles in the air and run the coax for them. Dave-VA3ORP erected his vertical and radial system on the lake ice and that took him over an hour to do. 

It really is amazing just how much longer it takes to do simple things in the cold weather, and with heavy gloves on.

It took a good five hours for the cottage to warm up to a comfortable level, but after seeing the photo’s of Bob VA3RCS standing out in the cold operating I shall not complain…….because I know Bob would never let me forget it :-)

Don-VE3MNE made his normal field day supper...."Gilroy's Gourmet Road Kill Chilli", and as usual it was superb, Bill-VA3WOW contributed a very nice bottle of cabernet merlot, called "Cape One", it's a blend of Canadian and South African red wines and was outstanding. 

Operating wise we made 70+ contacts, 35 on SSB, 1 on PSK31, and the remainder on CW. For the most part the daytime propagation on the bands went from “bad” to outright “bloody miserable”. But on Saturday evening 160m was just hopping with CW signals, but no SSB was to be heard. George VE3SIQ operated 20m to good success, and Don VE3MNE and I operated 80m and 40m SSB and PSK.

We made a number of good DX contacts on Sunday morning including, EC2DX, Imanol in San Sabastian, Spain, YT1A, Vladan in Kraljevo, Serbia, PI4DX a club station in Walsoordeu, Netherlands, and IK6CWQ, Lou in Torrebecchia, Italy. We also completed a QRP CW contact to Paris, France, but I do not have the CW log to note the callsign.

VE3MNE & VE3SIQ working the bands
Sunday morning I checked into the Pothole Net and had three short QSO's with ED-VE3GX, Glenn-VE3XRA, and Ernest-VE3EJJ.  I was hoping to have a short contact with Bob-VA3RCS or Martin-VA3SIE, but they where nowhere to be found.

The antennas all worked as advertised, so Bob-VA3RCS can share the glory :-)

View over Leggat Lake
VA3ORP setting up the "Blue Pill" vertical
Photo by VA3WOW

VE3CLQ and VE3MNE checking out the digital station
Photo by VA3WOW

View over the lake and the 80m OCF dipole
Photo by VA3WOW
Another view of the digital station
Photo by VA3WOW
VA3ORP's car and operating position

Sunday, 23 January 2011

W3EDP Antenna

Next weekend is Winter Field Day and the group which is taking part from the Frontenac Radio Group decided today which antennas we will be using.  So, the choices are: a 80m OCF Dipole, a 20m Delta Loop, a W3EDP, and a 20m Buddipole Vertical.

(See updated article HERE)

(See another W3EDP article HERE)

We had everything but the W3EDP...but that got built tonight.  Many thanks to Bob, VA3QV, for his comments and thoughts on this antenna............and I'm sure you'll agree that it's also nice to have somebody else to blame if it doesn't work :-)

Everyone I have spoken to who has used this antenna speaks highly of it.  We'll give it a try and see how it works out.

We are already planning several Lighhouse activations next summer and this type of antenna will be very useful on those trips....when it's -30C it's always nice to dream of next summer's fun when it will be +30C !!

For all of you going out next weekend to take part in the Winter Field Day, be careful, dress warm, stay safe, and please remember that it takes four times as long to do tasks in the cold as it does in the warm weather, so take your time.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

NA QSO Party is over!

This years NA QSO Parties, both CW and SSB are now over.  Lots of fun, but the propagation just wasn't there.  The SFI was down to 80 with the A and K indexes not very good either for the SSB party.

There did not seem to be the participation we have seen in the past for the SSB weekend.  It seemed to start slow and never really picked up.  I did manage to work stations on 80m, 40m, 20m, and 15m, but I never heard a soul on 10m everytime I had a look around there.

One item that did work out well for me was using my second call sign - VE3FCT.  Unlike when I use VE3CLQ, VE3FCT seems to punch through phonetically.  Normally I'm asked to repeat "Charlie Lima Quebec" several times before the other operator gets it, but this did not happen using "Fox Charlie Tango".  Not once was I asked to repeat my call this time.......I may have a winner!

My Log
Time(Z) Band  Call        RST      Name    QTH
1812      40m    KJ4ADN   56/56    Bill        Axton, VA
1832      40m    K4HTA     59/59    Pat        Vienna, VA
1834      40m    W4PV      57/56    Pat        Knoxville, TN
1837      40m    NA2M      59/59    Bill        Mohegan Lake, NY
1840      40m    WA2TPU  59/59    Don       Afton, NY
1845      40m    KW3A     59/59    Steve     Springfield, PA
1913      40m    K4VV      58/58    Jack       Paeonian Springs, VA
1916      40m    KB2AMY  59/59    Evan      Westbury, NY
1919      40m    KC2SNV  58/58    Ken        Black Wood, NJ
1922      40m    KG2GL    59/59    Tony      Nutley, NJ
1925      40m    KC9CDW 59/59    Gary      Kiel, WI
1931      20m    K4AB      59/59    Tom      Hazel Green, AL
1933      20m    VE3CX    59/59    Matti      Kaministiquia, ON
1942      20m    KT4ZB    55/56    Mark      Savannah, GA
1947      20m    AG5Z     59/58    Larry      Purvis, MS
1955      15m    WA7NB  56/55    Art         Tuscon, AZ
2002      15m    WR7Q    55/55    Bob        Murray, UT
0108      40m    K9JF      59/59    Jim        Vancouver, WA
0120      40m    N1SNB   59/59    Jeff        Haverhill, MA
0135      40m    W5WMU 59/59    Pat         Lafayette, LA
0145      80m    W4YCC   59/59   Bob        Rock Hill, SC
0146      80m    VA2OP    59/59   Jay         St. Colomban, QC
0150      80m    K9CT      59/59   Al           Trivoli, IL
0152      80m    W1SJ     59/59   Mitch       Essex, VT
0155      80m    WA7NB  58/57   Art           Tucson, AZ
0201      80m    KW8N    58/59   Bob          N. Ridgeville, OH
0209      80m    K0RH     56/57   Jim          Valley Center, KS

All in all an enjoyable day.  Lets hope that the SFI starts to improve in a hurry!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

NA QSO Party

Don't forget, this weekend is the NA SSB QSO Party!  You can find the rules here.

This will be my first contest under my new call - VE3FCT, which I'll be using for contesting as the phonetics are easier to get across than least that's the theory!

I'll be working all bands on low power, and hopefullt the SFI will improve a wee bit for the weekend.

Hope to work you on the air this weekend!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Fifth Annual SPAR Winter Field Day!

I'm looking forward to the 2011 Winter Field day, which is being held over the weekend of 29th/30th January.  This will be the fourth year I have taken part in this event.

Now I'm not a fan of winter, and I hate the cold with a passion....but I do believe that SPAR has it right, emergencies and disasters do not always happen in the "good months".  And it is because of this that ARES members must train and operate in less than ideal conditions.

This year six of us will be deploying to Leggat Lake, about 7 kms north of Parham (40 kms north of Kingston).  We have the use of by brother-in-laws uninsulated summer cottage, that thankfully does have an operating woodstove, and you'll find me very close to it.....if not sitting on top of it for most of the weekend. 

The rules for the SPAR Winter Field Day can be found HERE.  We plan of having three HF stations on the air - 2cw and 1 ssb. We have a 80m OCF dipole, a 20m loop, and a Buddipole system ready to go. 

Hope to work you guys on the air that weekend.