Monday, 31 October 2011

CQ WW SSB Contest 2011

Wow!!  What a weekend!!  The conditions for this years CQ WW SSB Contest were outstanding as most of us will know.  This had to have been the best weekend we have had for DX chasing in many, many, years!  The bands were packed - wall to wall with strong signals.

It seemed everybody was having a great time, and what was most surprising was the behaviour on the bands...I didn't hear one piece of rude or obnoxious behaviour like we have heard in previous contests.  Also missing this weekend were the "Band Police", and given the size of some of the huge pileups I heard, that's just amazing.

This contest was the first big test for my new 40m OCF Dipole and boy did it pass with flying colours!  However, as expected it will not tune on 15m, but I certainly feel it way out performs my old 80-40-20 fan dipole by a long shot.  This antenna tunes on 40 - 20 - 17 - 12 - 10.

While I did work stations on 40m and 20m, the vast majority - 90% - of my contacts for the weekend were made on 10m.  It's been a long time since I have heard 10m open like that.  In fact I think my Dad was still alive and operating VE7CVQ when we last had similiar openings.

I worked 58 countries this weekend, a new record for me, and on top of that I managed to put seven new countries in the log book.  Some of the 10m highlights were:  8R1EA in Guyana; C5A in The Gambia; and ZM4T in New Zealand.  However....VA3QV eluded me all weekend!!

Just a phenomenal time on the bands!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Nicholson's Point Light

There's another local light now ready to be activated!  The Frontenac ARES Group recently "found" a local light that not many people actually knew about, and the light was not listed in the World List of off they wrote to the Amateur Radio Light House Society to see if it could be listed.

The location of the light will be a challenge to activate as it is a small area that is very well used by the locals.  The actual site is about two regular house lots in size, covered with some good sized trees.  I have a feeling that this site will have to be activated either early in the season, or very late in the season in order to escape the crowds that seem to hang out there on the limestone beach.

The good news is of course that Nicholson's Point Light is now also known as "Can-1425", its official World List of Lights number.

We're looking forward to next year when we can activate it.  Stay tuned for news on that.  I'm sure that on its first activation it will be well sought after by the hams who collect lighthouse numbers. We'll arrange to have it put on the DX cluster which is sure to cause a good pile up.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

JOTA - 2011

It's that time of year, the annual Jamboree on the Air, sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement.  This is the 54th year that JOTA has been held, always on the third weekend of October.

This weekend I'm off with Frontenac County ARES Group to Whispering Pines Scout Camp in support of the Valley Highlands District JOTA Camp.  This is the second year we have done this, and while the weather forecast is for rain, it will still be a fun weekend.

Last year I blogged about this event and complained about the fact that RAC did not seem to support this event.  In fact the Ontario ARES organization actually scheduled their annual SET on that date, which stopped ARES groups from giving a helping hand to local Scout groups.

Why would you miss out on an opportunity to showcase our hobby to thousands of Canadian youth? 

So, here we are twelve months later, and guess what?  Ontario ARES has once again scheduled their annual SET for this weekend - Saturday, the 15th to be precise.  Once again I complained to the Ontario Section Manager, the senior ARES member in Ontario, Allan Boyd, and once again was given a pile of "waffle"......including the beaut of a line that the choice of the date is not up to him............jeez Allan, you're the boss, you're the guy in charge, how 'bout making a command decision for once and change the SET date!! 

You would think that after 54 years of an event being held on the same weekend, RAC just might have been able to get its collective head out of its ass and get its crap together on it......but apparently not.  RAC has not even issued a bulletin on the event, that's how high youth involvement in our hobby is to this current executive. 

The World Scout Bureau reported that the 2010 JOTA had just over 700,000 Scout participants from nearly 6000 amateur radio stations.   

Oh, and did I mention that the theme of this years JOTA is "Peace, Environment and Natural Disasters", and did I also mention that this years JOTA actually has an emergency communications exercise built into it?  Kind of ironic isn't it?

Here's what IARU Region 1 secretary, Denis ZS4BS has to say about this years JOTA: 

"Within this year's JOTA, an emergency communications exercise will take place on Saturday, 15 October, 2011 in the afternoon (European time zone). This simulated emergency test will include the Headquarters station, HB9S, of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), which will be operated by hams from 5 different countries. WOSM has now published the details for the event on its web site with numerous links to related documents of IARU and other sources.

This year's JOTA theme offers an excellent opportunity to raise the awareness for the role of the Amateur Radio Service in disaster situations."

So just where is the RAC Field Service in all this? Where are the individuals who run the RAC Youth Education Program?  Why, nowhere to be found it seems.  There's nothing on the RAC website about this event, not a whisper. 

So once again I ask why would you miss out on an opportunity to showcase our hobby to thousands of Canadian youth?

Am I surprised?  Nope, not at all.  This is typical of the RAC.  They have bleated on for a number of years about falling membership, and the lack of youth involvement, but what are they doing about it?  Apparently nothing!

Will the last RAC member please turn out the light!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Another "New" Rig

I bit the bullet today and purchased a used, but well looked after, IC-703.  I'm very impressed with it so far, but I plan on spending the weekend testing the hell out of it.
The receiver is great and well out performed my Kenwood 570D this afternoon.  There was lots of DX rolling in on 10m and 15m, and the IC-703 was crystal clear.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to take it on Sunday to our family Thanksgiving gathering at my brother-in-law's cottage on Lower Beverley Lake, and operate portable for a few peaceful hours.  There's no time like a family gathering to get the young nephews excited about CW !!

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!