Friday, 31 July 2015

August is going to be a busy month !!

It's hard to believe that August arrives tomorrow.  I don't seem to be able to wrap my mind around that yet.  Before we know it we'll be carrying out the usual annual preventative maintenance on our antenna systems before winter hits!!

August is always a busy month for we hams, trying to fit in the many portable operating opportunities and juggle our family summer obligations.......and this August is going to be no different from years past, despite the crap propagation we seem to have been getting over the past month.  Surely it's got to end and get better sometime!

I've already posted the information about the upcoming Colorado 14er Event this Sunday, August 2nd, but the rest of the month has a number of excellent opportunities for portable operating and catching good DX.

The weekend of August 15th & 16th is a busy one with both the North America QSO Part (NAQP) and the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) taking place.  The rules for the NAQP can be found HERE, and the rules for the ILLW can be found HERE. My plan for this weekend is to operate from Nine Mile Lighthouse on Saturday, and Point Petre Lighthouse on Sunday, and take part in the NAQP at the same time.

The last weekend of the month, the 29th & 30th is the new date for the W / VE Island QSO Party.  This event has been taking place for quite a few years, but over the past seven or so the Canadian participation has slipped away to almost nothing.  Many of us believe that this is because the management team of the now defunct Canadian Islands Award Program never really advertised this event and many hams didn't know anything about it.

The new organization, Canadian Island Activators is pushing hard to advertise this event and build it up so it will be viable event.  The event used to be run near the end of October, and the US Island Award Program, the guys who actually sponsor this event moved it forward to the end of August so that we Canadian's wouldn't have to operate outdoors in the cold weather we normally get around the end of October.

Last year it sure wasn't any fun at all sitting out on Simcoe island with the winds 25 gusting 45 kph, and the temperature, before the wind chill factored in, sitting at 7C.  So go and select an island and get involved!   Late August is a beautiful time of year to be operating portable from a local island and as a bonus, the bugs should be gone by then!

I'm off to get the "Honey Do" list finished so I will have time to take part in everything this month!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Colorado 14er Event

This Sunday, August 2nd, is this years Colorado 14er event.  This is were the hams in Colorado climb the states many 14,000' peaks and spend three hours operating their rigs.  Since 2012 this has also been a SOTA event, and allows the chasers the chance to grab a few good peaks and points.

Last year the propagation was not the best, and I have an idea that it may be the same this year, but I'll give it a try anyway.  I figure if those guys can carry their gear and batteries up a 14,000' mountain, the least I can do is drive to our Field Day site, set up, and hunt for them.  Keep your eye on SOTA Watch for these guys, this is their version of "DX Summit".

The event only runs for three hours, from 1500 UTC till 1800 UTC.  This allows the climbers to be off the mountains by early afternoon in case of thunder storms and lightning, which frequently happen at this time of year.

The suggested HF frequencies for the event are:

CW Frequencies -


SSB Frequencies -


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Upcoming Events......

This weekend seems to be shaping up to be a busy on.  Saturday and Sunday see the RSGB Islands on the Air Contest, which is always good for picking up DX.  The Rules are to be found HERE.

Also on Saturday, Dan, VA3MA, and John, VE3JQX, will be activating Pelee Island, ON-002  from approximately 1300 to 1900 EDT.   Dan and John will be on the usual 20m and 40m island calling frequencies.
They might also have time to activate the islands lighthouse during this activation.  This Lighthouse is known as Can-370.

There will be a special certificate or QSL card available for all QSO's. Contact details via QRZ.

Peel Island Lighthouse

Friday, 17 July 2015

Portable for the evening....

Last night it was off to Lemoine Point Conservation Area for our local clubs "Summer Meet Up".  We do this every year, instead of holding our meeting indoors we meet outdoors to operate and talk radio.

It was a beautiful evening, not too hot, and the Mozzies were not too bad if you had bug spray on!

I got to the site a couple of hours early, only to find Don, VE3MNE, already there eating his supper.  I quickly set up my IC-718 and Buddipole for 17m, I "guesstimated" the radial length, and it tuned up great.  So I starting spinning the VFO, the band was actually pretty quiet and I only managed to make two contacts.

The contacts were:

EA2KR, Oscar in Navarra, Spain.
EA5BYP, Elmo in Alicante, Spain.

Both gave me a 55 and they were both a very solid 59 into Kingston.  I did hear John, HK3C, on 20m who's signal was the usual S9+40, but I could not break the pile up he was running.   By the time these contacts were made the rest of the guys had shown up, and the meeting began.

All in all, it was a good night.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend

I can't believe that this is my 300th Post on my Blog.......where the heck has the time gone!!

It's that time of year again when we need to start thinking about Lighthouses.  This premier annual fun event began in 1995 when the Ayr Radio Group had the Scottish Northern Lighthouse Weekend. The concept proved so popular that it was renamed and opened up to the world. 

Always held on the third weekend of August, it has steadily grown to now attract more than 500 lighthouses and lightship from about 50 countries. 

The main reason for its popularity is that the weekend is a fun event, held under simple guidelines, and in the spirit of international goodwill. 

With four weeks to go 350 registrations have been received. In 2014 there were 544, making it an average 20 a year increase over the last eight years.  In the lead so far is Germany on 64, followed by Australia 58, USA 45 and England 33. Canada is currently sitting at 11 entries.

If you want to register a marine navigation beacon for August 15-16, then please see the guidelines and online registration on the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend website HERE.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Youth DXpedition

There was an interesting article on the RSGB Newsfeed this morning that caught my attention.   The RSGB’s Youth Committee is running a Kenwood-sponsored Youth DXpedition, DX-15, and will be active as MC0RYC from the Brecon Beacons in South Wales from 23-30 July.
They’ll be on all HF bands and VHF including satellite operations and will have six stations on the air. Throughout the week they'll be taking part in a range of activities including, activating and operating from SOTA summits.
You can support them by working the Youth DXpedition, or listening for the call sign MC0RYC during the IOTA Contest over the weekend of 25 and 26 July.
Please work the young team if you can, so they can experience the full flow of a big contest.
Congratulations to the RSGB, what an outstanding idea to get youth involved in our hobby.

Monday, 13 July 2015

IARU HF World Championships 2015

Saturday was spent taking part in the IARU World Championships.  The bands were not too bad, we've seen much better for this contest but as it's out of our control we just have to grin and take what we get.   At 1324Z on Saturday the SFI was 134, SN=131, A=25, and K=1 and it never moved from those numbers just about all weekend.

No new countries were worked, only the usual suspects managed to get into the log, in fact for a good part of the day pickings were pretty slim.  20m was the active band and I made 80% of my contacts there, a few were made on 15m and a couple on 40m as well.  I never did hear a signal on 10m or 80m for the whole contest.

The only contacts that were made on 15m were all in South America, its strange how the bands act at times.....but, considering that the only antenna I have up for 15m is a ham stick with two 11' radials sitting up at 12' on a painter pole I'm pleased with that result.

Many stations were heard calling and calling, but they were not hearing the ops calling them back.  One station from Kuwait had a huge pileup every time he paused from calling CQ......and then carried on calling CQ because he couldn't hear any of the stations coming back to him.  This happened time and time again with quite a number of stations, especially from the USA, guys transmitting further than they can possibly hear.  I guess if you have poor antennas you have to compensate by running more least that seems to be their theory!!

I did not do as well as I have in the past few years on this contest, but neither did the other guys in Kingston who took part.  Is it a sign that Solar Cycle 24 is cooling down?  I know the deep QSB that we had didn't help us at all.

I'm off now to get ready for the IOTA Contest at the end of the month......there's a few islands I'm looking for!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The 2015 W / VE Island QSO Party

Storm over Simcoe Island - ON022
Each year in the Fall the US Islands Award Program sponsors the W/VE Island QSO Party. That means pick an island from anywhere in Canada from the list (HERE) and go and activate it !!

This year the date has been brought forward to allow us to have some decent operating weather, as last year we all froze to death doing it.  The date chosen for this year is August 29th 1200 UTC to August 30th 0300 UTC.  Mark your calendars and plan on attending !!

Participation by Canadian stations has been pretty dismal over the past few years and the disappearance of the Canadian Island Award (CIsA) website did not help.  However, in case you don't know, out of the ashes has grown another group of guys who have formed Canadian Island Activators with the intent to carry on from where CIsA left off from.

The one item the organizers do ask is that you submit your days log.  Last year only three Canadian stations did so.  That list is HERE.

I've participated on this event for the past four years and have had a blast and I'm sure you will too if you take time to take part.

Start getting ready !!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Well, another rig appeared in the shack yesterday, an IC-v8000.....not that I needed it, but a spare 2m rig is always useful.

This rig is from the estate of Mike, VE3SIW, and it's always nice to have a bit of kit in the shack to remember an old friend by.  The loss of Mike was a pretty large shock to our small ham community here.

It works very well, and the reports on its signal and audio have been very good.  It does pump out a solid 75w at its top setting, but it does tend to get quite hot.  I have this one set at a more "cool" 25w, and while it gets warm, I can't make coffee on it.....

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Marathon Island Activation - July 11th

Victoria Island, Ottawa.

The following email was received from Gilles, VE2MAM........
I will be activating four or five islands Saturday the 11th of July.

The order will be the following:

Victoria isl. ON-123    Green isl. ON-122   Porter ON-121 and North Petri ON-119.

Bates isl. ON-283 will be activated the last if all goes well with the others.  Since I go on Bates isl. a few time each week it will be easy to make a sked if I skip Bates because of time constraint.

I will be on Victoria isl. at 9 AM (1300Z) and transmit on 7.250 (plus or minus) until there is no more takers. Then to 14.250 (plus or minus) again until no more takers. I will then move on to the next island.

It will be the same for every islands, 40M then 20M. The exchange will probably be contest style.

Victoria, Green and Porter are close to each other so it won't be too long between each of them.  North Petri is a bit farther, maximum one hour to get there.

One QSL card from you will be OK to confirm one or all the islands. I will send back one card that will confirm one or all the islands. QSL info is on

The order of the run could change or be cancel because of weather or for reasons that are unknown at this time.

It should be a lot of fun !!!   Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.