Friday, 30 December 2016

Happy New Year

Well, it's that time of year again, time to make New Year Resolutions.  I'm not going to bother this year, I made a resolution four years ago and so far I haven't broken it, so why ruin things.....

As Albert Einstein said: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow."

I hope you all have a great New Years, and a great 2017.  Stay safe out there!

Oh yeah, the resolution I haven't broken?  Not to drink cheap Whiskey on Wednesday nights.......

Monday, 26 December 2016

Back on the Air with Digi

While Santa didn't bring a new radio or antenna to the VE3FI Shack, I did get my small laptop fixed so I'm finally back on the air with FLDigi, mainly using PSK31.  Thanks to Jim, VE3ULC, for doing that for me.

Due to poor band conditions most digi contacts have been fairly local, but I did manage a good "DX" contact all the way from Saskatchewan........ Given the crappy SFI numbers I'll take anything west of Thunder Bay !!

I hope everyone had a good day yesterday, our house was filled with family, and I can't believe the amount of food we went through.

Now to build up strength to get through the New Years celebrations !!!

Monday, 19 December 2016

WSPR

I did some 40m WSPR tonight, the first time in a few months.   Below is the map from 0130 UTC.  The lonely Brazilian station must have a good set of ears !!



Christmas 2016

The snow is on the ground, and the last contest of the year is done and logged.  I have no idea where the past 12 months went, it seems like only last week I was writing Christmas wishes for 2015.  Hopefully 2017 will take a bit longer to get through!

Christmas is the perfect season to be reaching out to others when laughter and good tidings are in the air.  Here's hoping that your Christmas will find you amongst friends and family, sharing the spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

ARRL 10m Contest

This weekend we have more fun and games on the bands with this years edition of the ARRL's 10m contest.

Not sure how the contest will pan out this year, 10m has not been in good shape for a good couple of months now and the propagation numbers certainly don't give me any hope to celebrate.

My antennas seem to be in good shape, so we will forge ahead and see what we can do.

Rules and other information can be found HERE.

Not much has been going on in the VE3FI shack for the past few weeks.  The Ford Ranger that I have travelled about in for the past 9 years has been sold, and a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan has been bought to replace it.

So far so good, the ride is comfortable and the gas mileage seems to be far better than the old Ranger.   The only issue seems to be interference from the on board computers with my Icom 2m rig I have had installed.  The only way I can comfortably operate is with the squelch turned full on, otherwise the constant noise drives me insane.

Friday, 18 November 2016

November Sweepstakes

Time to get those antennas tuned up and ready.

Coming up this weekend is the 2016 edition of the November Sweepstakes.  US and Canadian stations, working on 160m through 10m, try to work as many callsigns as possible.

Always a good contest, this year is shaping up to be a good one as well.

Let's hope the propagation improves somewhat.  At the moment (Friday) solar levels seem to be stuck at some pretty low levels.  The large coronal hole that caused the major issues in September and October is now rotating back into view on the face of the Sun.  Hopefully we'll get through the weekend first.....

Rules can be found HERE.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Robert (Bob) Goyetche, VE2PDT - SK

Just received the very sad news this morning that Bob, VE2PDT, became a Silent Key on November 10th.

Bob was part of the VE2 contingent that attended ChillyCon.   He will be missed.  My thoughts are with his family and friends, his sudden passing is a great shock.


Robert (Bob) Goyetche, VE2PDT
1969 - 2016

The memory of a good person is a blessing
Proverbs 10:7

Monday, 7 November 2016

Remembrance Day 2016




In Loving Memory of the
Officers, NCO's, and Men
of
2816 Squadron RAF Regiment
1941 - 1946

"PER ARDUA"




In Memory of

LCol David "Doc" Purich
Maj Colin "Turk" Fisher
MWO Ben Lemarbre
Cpl JC Smith


Gone, but never forgotten.

Monday, 31 October 2016

CQ WW Contest

It was an interesting weekend on the bands.  The propagation was not the best to say the least, and that led to some issues.  The LIDS were out in force, bitching and swearing at the contesters....you know it's very important that people use 1500w to talk on 20m across town discussing their most recent hemorrhoid medication.

I would really like to meet the American clown who was jamming me on 7.191 on Saturday afternoon because I was on "his" frequency....and he had a net to do on it in 2.5 hours!!!!!!!  The audacity of me to use that frequency.....I could tell he was foaming at the mouth about it and I thought he was going to declare war.   Who knows, maybe the FCC are now selling "personal" frequencies to help raise money........

Saturday morning saw the numbers at SFI=78, SN=16, A Index=26, and the K Index=3.  The bands were very noisy, and had some deep QSB issues.

One of the big issues was that there was very little east-west propagation, it was nearly all north-south.  It was relatively easy to work South America and the Caribbean, Europe was another matter all together!

Things were a little better on Sunday and I did manage to get Spain, Wales, Slovenia, Portugal, Finland, and Iceland in the log.  Best catch of the day was 6W1RY in Dakar, Senegal, on 15m mid-afternoon on Sunday.  I had been calling him on and off many times over the contest and finally broke the pileup.   New Zealand also got in the log as well as a couple of other unusual places.

Even with the idiots causing issues, I managed to put 82 countries in the log with 234 contacts....BUT..... I can tell you that I had to work for every one of them.

Next up is the ARRL Sweepstakes on November 19/20, and I have to get a better 15m antenna up ready for that contest.




Monday, 10 October 2016

NVIS Operating

Coming up next Sunday, October 16th, is the NVIS Event sponsored by the Peel ARC.  This event has had a lot of interest raised about it in Eastern and Southern Ontario.

Details on the event can be found HERE.

Timing for the event is 1300 to 1600 Local.

Frequencies are:  3.700 to 3.750.  7.060 to 7.070, and 5.357.

Stations taking part should call "CQ NVIS Ontario".

Hope to see you on the bands!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Hurricane Matthew Emergency Nets

Active for the past 2 days in response to the threat posed by Hurricane Matthew, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) now has ramped up to its Alert Level 5 — “Catastrophic Response Mode.” As the dangerous category 4 storm has begun battering Haiti and threatens eastern Cuba, states along the US Eastern Seaboard now are taking serious notice. 

Emergency operations centers in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia are at full or partial activation, and the governors of Georgia and North Carolina have declared states of emergency. 

Matthew made landfall near Les Anglais in western Haiti at 1100 UTC. 

The following Frequencies are now in full time use and should be kept clear for emergency traffic:

Hurricane Watch Net: 14.325 & 7.268
Salvation Army SATERN Net: 14.265
Cuban Net: 7.110, 7.120, 7.045, 7.080, 3.740, and 3.720
Dominican Republic Net: 7.065

Be advised that Jamaica and Haiti also have nets running full time, but no frequencies have been made public yet.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

New rig in the shack.....

There's a new rig in the VE3FI shack these days, an "almost" new FT-897D.  There's not a scratch on it!

This rig will replace my FT-857D as my main portable rig as it's getting a bit old, in fact it was the very first rig I ever bought when I was very first licensed.

It's really the same radio as the FT-857D, with some very slight differences.   I've made a good number of solid contacts today into both Europe and to the west coast with no issues using a 148' long wire.   So far I'm using a manual tuner with it, but a new LDG tuner is in the works for it.

Looking forward to operating portable with it.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Chillycon.......the tale

VE3ORY & VE3MNE
Chillycon is over for another year and much fun and merriment was had by one and all.  The weather wasn't too bad, Friday and most of Saturday were fine with lots of blue sky and sunshine.  But....and there's always a "but".....about 2100 local on Saturday night it started to rain, but it did stop about 0100 Sunday morning......but man did it rain, Indian Monsoon type rain.   Luckily no tent was flooded out and everyone remained dry and survived.

We had eight campsites in use with 17 members of three clubs in attendance this year...The Ottawa Valley QRP Society, The West Island ARC from Montreal, and Frontenac Radio Group from Kingston.

The annual Chillycon DX Championship took place with many attendees vying for ownership of the "Upper Canada Cup for Chillycon DX Excellence".  I'm please to announce that this years winner was Don VE3MNE, with a contact into Moscow on a 20m Hamstick mounted on his truck.

Saturday night supper was the usual Pizza dinner around the campfire with the single malt scotch flowing.   Sunday morning saw many of us troop over to the local restaurant we always go to and had a great brunch, and lots more conversation before we returned to the camp to take down all the dripping tarps and tents.

Lots of time was spent working and building portable antennas over the weekend.  I spent some time building a W3EDP Jr, the idea came from the Blog of VA3PCJ 

The W3EDP Jr.
The antenna worked exactly as advertised on the Blog with many stations being worked in Europe and the USA.  The propagation really wasn't that good so the DX results I did get, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and Anguilla, impressed me.  The antenna was up in a tree about 25 feet and certainly didn't go up in a straight line.

Overall it was a great time and time was spent with many friends and many new friends were made.

Already looking forward to next year....hopefully it will not rain !!





Rick VE3ORY fixing his "secret weapon" antenna

Breakfast for the Chipmunks !!!



Saturday, 10 September 2016

Coming Up Soon - Chillycon 2016

Coming up next weekend is the Ottawa Valley QRP Society's annual Chillycon Event at the Rideau River Provincial Park, near Kemptville, Ontario.

So far the long-range weather forecast is predicting sunny times for the weekend......a welcome change after two years of rain at this event.  Hopefully we will see a few more people out this year if the good weather shows up.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, it's always a highlight on my annual calendar......even if VA3QV is not going to put in an appearance this year and I won't have a chance to bug the hell out of him in person.

The gear is cleaned and ready to pack next Friday morning.  I'm planning on taking my FT-857D and two heavy duty 12v batteries.  The antenna for the weekend will be my 20m Buddipole vertical, with several added elevated radials, as well as a home-brewed W3EDP Jr antenna.  Jose, VA3PCJ, built this antenna.  Details of it are HERE on his Blog.  I'm very interested in comparing these two antennas and seeing which one performs best.  The winner will be my go-to portable antennas for future portable activities........well, until something better arrives!!

Place your bets on who will win this years DX Challenge......I'm sure a few of the previous winners are secretly plotting to win the prize this year.


Friday, 2 September 2016

Get Ready For.........

As the trustee for this callsign I want to let people know that coming up next year, XM3CARF will be on the air from 03 June 2017 to 03 July 2017 to help us celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of The Canadian Amateur Radio Federation.   

CARF was Canada's first successful national amateur radio society and existed between 1967 and 1993, when it was amalgamated with the Canadian Radio Relay League to form the Radio Amateurs of Canada.

CARF was founded here in Kingston, Ontario, by Art Blick VE3AHU, Doug Burrill VE3CDC, and Ken Rollison VE3CRL.  These three fine gentlemen are all now Silent Keys.  

XM3CARF is sponsored by the Frontenac Radio Group and plan on having the call on the air everyday we have it, including Field Day and the Canada Day Contest.


Thursday, 1 September 2016

A Change in the Shack......

Some of you may have noticed that "The Adventures of VE3CLQ" title above has been changed to "The Adventures of VE3FI".  This is because I recently managed to get this two letter callsign......thanks to Russ, the original VE3FI - who is now VE9FI.

Many thanks need to go to the Amateur Radio Service Centre in Sault St. Marie, who's help and patience were fantastic......they couldn't have helped more if I had asked them to.

Russ had some great luck using this call, so let's hope it rubs off here in this shack as this years Contest Season prepares to kick off.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Great Saturday on the Bands

On the way to activate Wolfe Island, ON-009, we had beautiful clear blue skies, warm temperatures, and humidity through the roof!   It was definitely cooler than last weekends Lighthouse activation though.

We had a number of stations on the local Thousand Islands, all manned by guys from the Frontenac Radio Group.

Propagation wise the bands had been in rough shape for most of the week, but Saturday rolled around and the numbers weren't too bad:  SFI=82, SN=44, A Index=6, and K Index=1, and the "go-to" bands were 20m and 40m.  I also made a couple of contacts on 6m.

I operated from the Winter Ferry Dock on Wolfe Island, a nice quiet spot RF wise with lots of good shade.  In fact I only spent the last half hour of the day in full sun, so it's a great spot.

Antenna for the day was a Buddipole Vertical, which performed fantastically, if I could hear them - I could work them.  However, I am going to cut some extra elevated radials, as the one supplied with the Buddipole kit needs more.  It works fine with just one, but I would think it will do even better with several.

By noon the bands were full of stations operating in the Ohio and Kansas State QSO Parties, several Venezuelan stations contesting as well as many Polish stations all calling in their contest.   In fact it became quite difficult to find stations in the Island QSO Party due to the high number of stations all calling CQ.  

All in all it was a great day, 45 contacts in the log including 7 islands.





Tuesday, 23 August 2016

W/VE Island QSO Party 2016

Coming up this weekend is the W/VE Island QSO Party.  Held each year hams on both sides of the border are asked to activate an island for the day, or weekend, to help promote the island programs.

I've decided to keep things simple this year and I'm going to activate Wolfe Island, ON-009.  Last time I was there we activated the island from the winter ferry dock and found it an excellent location to operate from.  That's where I plan on being again this Saturday.

Rules can be found HERE.

Frequencies for the day will be (+/- QRM):

7.250
14.250-14.260
50.125
144.200

Hopefully the propagation Gods will smile!!


Sunday, 21 August 2016

A Pretty Good Day......

Greg-VA3GGF operating on 20m
Yesterday was a pretty good day at Nine Mile Lighthouse on Simcoe Island.  The weather was great, in fact it was probably just a little too hot judging by the suntans I saw this morning at the clubs breakfast.

We had two HF Stations up and running.  The HF bands worked were 40m and 20m and we made a total of 35 contacts, including five 2m SSB contacts.

Radios were both FT-857D's and the antennas were a 31' Chillycon Special, and a Buddipole 1/4 wave vertical on 20m, along with a 10 element 2m Yagi for some pre-arranged SSB work.

Best DX of the day was with GB2LBN at Barnes Ness Lighthouse, 30 miles east of Edinburgh.  Didn't think I was going to get him, and I managed it on the second call.

Today we were going to go to Point Petre in South-West Prince Edward County, but....the weather is atrocious here with very high winds and monsoon style rain.....so that expedition was cancelled.  Point Petre is very exposed to the weather and is wide open to the Lake.  In fact the next thing you would see looking west is the City of Hamilton!!  In this wind I doubt we could have got an antenna up, and have it stay up.

This year saw 471 lighthouses registered for this event, it's a great shame the propagation wasn't better, but it's that time in the solar cycle!

10 element 2m yagi

Rick-VE3ORY on 40m




Sunday, 14 August 2016

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend

Plans are underway here in the shack to take part in next weekends International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.   2016 is the 18th consecutive year this event has been run, it's sponsored by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group from Scotland.

So far, as of today, Saturday August 14th, there are 423 entries from around the world, including 14 Canadian entries.   The Canadian entries are located in VE3, VE4, VE9, VO1, and VY2.  It's interesting that there are no VE2 or VE7's entered this year, but a lighthouse on Lake Winnipeg is.

 Guidelines for the event are available HERE.

Saturday will see me at Nine Mile Lighthouse on Simcoe Island, CAN-0031, operating as VE3FRG and on Sunday, weather permitting, I'll be at Point Petre Lighthouse in Prince Edward County, CAN-026, operating as VE3UDO.   Other members of the Frontenac Radio Group will there as well, we hope to have three HF stations running each day, including a PSK31 station.

Radio for the weekend will be a FT-857D into a 33' Chillicon Vertical antenna.

While there are no "official" SSB frequencies for this event, we will be on:

7.270
14.270
18.145
28.370
50.135

Our CW Frequencies will be:

7.030
14.030
18.070
28.030
50.030

Hope to work so of you guys on the air next weekend!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Carribean Tropical Storm Earl - Emergency activities

Tropical Storm Earl is currently heading across Central America affecting the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico

IARU Region 2 has requested that attention is drawn to the following frequencies used by nets in North and Central America to track and deal with the consequences of these severe weather events.

Radio Amateurs in Region 2 play their part in gathering and distributing information for the weather and emergency services as they do every year.

Radio Amateurs are reminded it is possible to cause unintentional QRM to these nets so please listen carefully if operating near these frequencies, which have alerted due to Tropical Storm Earl:

Mexico: 7.060 & 3.690 MHz
Guatemala: 7.075 MHz
Belize: 7.177MHz
USA Hurricane Watch Net: 14.325 MHz

For the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, Radio Amateurs are reminded of the following frequencies which have been notified from previous seasons:

Caribbean Emergency & Weather Nets: 7.162 & 3.815 MHz
Eastern Caribbean Narrow Band Emergency System Net: 7.036 MHz USB (Olivia & MT63)
Caribbean Emergency: 14.185 MHz
Republica Dominicana: 7.065 & 3.780 MHz
Cuba: 7.045, 7.080, 7.110, and 3.740 MHz
Central America: 7.090 & 3.750 MHz
Nicaragua: 7.098 MHz
Panama: 7.085 MHz

USA:
Maritime Mobile Service Net: 14.300 MHz
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN): 14.265 MHz

Other local emergency communications groups may also activate if a hurricane approaches their area and those frequencies would be announced at the time.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

W / VE Island QSO Party

Lots of advanced notice being given here.........

This event is for US and Canadian island activators.  Over the past few years Canadian involvement has been getting less and less.  In fact in 2015, only Jose, VA3PCJ, bothered to submit a log sheet.

This country has so many islands I doubt we could ever count them, and with the constant complaints we hear about RF noise being too high to operate at home, this is the perfect opportunity to get out and do some great operating with a zero noise floor.

So, this event takes place from 1200 UTC August 27th till 0300 UTC August 28th.

The rules for this event are HERE.

Let's give this event a kickstart and breath some new life into it.  Pick an island and get out there and get it on the air.  You'll have a pileup in no time.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Colorado 14er Weekend

Each year I try to take part in the event, some years I have been successful, others not so much.  Hopefully this year I'll have more luck than last year when I got skunked !!

Amateur Radio operators from around Colorado will be climbing many of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains and Summits On The Air (SOTA) peaks to set up amateur radio stations in an effort to communicate with other radio amateurs across the state and around the world.

Join in on the fun this year during the 25th annual event and see how many of the mountaintop stations you can contact. This year the event is expanded to include the entire weekend, August 6 & 7. However, many mountaintop activators will hit the trail early with the goal of being off the summits by noon due to lightning safety concerns.

Activity can occur on any amateur band including HF and VHF.  Some of the frequencies that will be in use are:

For CW:

7.032
14.060
18.092

For SSB:

50.125
7.185
14.345
18.158

You can check the SOTA Watch spotting site HERE for updated frequencies and active callsigns.

Here's a couple of shots of the event from recent years........





Friday, 22 July 2016

Incredible !!

Wow......just saw the stats for my Blog.  As of today I'm at 100,026 views!!   Thanks to everyone who reads my rantings, I really appreciate it.

Hopefully over the past few years somebody may have learned something useful from reading this site.

Well, let's crack on with getting the second 100,000 views !!


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Comings and goings.....

Not much going on in the VE3FCT shack at the moment.....summer seems to be getting in the way!!

However, this coming Sunday the Frontenac Radio Group will be activating Amherst Island, ON-021.  Amherst hasn't been activated in a good number of years so we;'re hoping it will attract a bit of attention.

We will be on from 1500 UTC till 1900 UTC, unless propagation is in the toilet again and then we'll call it quits early.

Callsign will be VE3FRG, and the frequencies will be:

14.250 - 14.260
21.350
50.125
144.200

I have been doing a bit of WSPR with not much success.  Here's the map from last night at 2230 UTC showing the slim pickings on 20m.




Monday, 4 July 2016

Canada Day Contest

Not a very exciting contest for me.  I had to use my IC-718 due to my FT-950 being put out of action in my post Field Day "accident".

The IC-718 is definitely not a contest radio, in fact it was horrible as the DSP was next to useless, and the front end of the radio gets overloaded very easily.  The unfortunate thing is the radio is very well laid out and is super easy to use, and you do not have to go digging through layers of menu settings to make changes on the fly.

I guess if I'm going to keep this rig, I'm going to have to add the INRAD 2.1 Kz SSB filter, which I hear makes all the difference to the radio.

I have submitted my log to RAC for scoring, but I don't think my 50 QRP contacts will win this year.

It's off to Radioworld in Toronto on Tuesday so the "radio doctor" can look at the FT-950 and give me a diagnoses.  Hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, it isn't something too bad that needs fixing.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Field Day.......the aftermath

VE3MNE hard at work on 80m SSB.
(All pictures by Rick-VE3ORY)
What a great weekend......or in my case what a week!!

Most of the week was spent playing radio or repairing and building the off-centre-fed (OCF) dipoles we used on the weekend.  Our original 160m OCF and the 80m OCF were both damaged in the winter and spring storms we had, and more radials had to be made for the 40m vertical to improve its performance.

Most of the guys arrived Friday morning and we were soon busy putting up sleeping and operating tents, as well as shooting lines over the very tall trees on the property to get the antennas high up in the air.   Eventually we had the 160m OCF up at 90' and two 80m OCF's up at 80'.  Tim VA3TIC arrived with his trailer mounted tri-band beam and that was also soon put together and ready to go. By the time this was all done it was time for a shower and we were all off to the Picton Golf Course for a fantastic dinner.......and a couple of cold ones.

Saturday was spent making sure all the gear worked and doing radio checks to make sure our sets of notch filters were doing the job as designed.  This year we had very little interference between stations, so our rebuild of the notch filter system earlier in the spring did the job for us.

Field Day kicked off for us with some ridiculously deep QSB.  One moment the station was 59+ and then it was completely gone.....never to be heard from again.  All I could hear on 40m was a wall of muffled sound, all calling CQ, and I couldn't pick out any individual calls. Eventually things started to settle down and I started to make contacts, but it was very hard going on 40m, in fact the whole weekend I only managed a total of 100 contacts.

Our starting propagation numbers were:  SFI=76.  SN=0.  A Index=12, and the K Index=1.

A dead 160m OCF
About two hours into the event we had a total 160m OCF failure, and we had to down our pics and bring down the 160 for a rebuild.  The balun failed under the stress of hauling it up the tree, so it was fixed, the 160 was hauled back up 80' and we were back in action.

Our setup this year was a bit different than in years past.  We had three SSB stations on 80m, 40m, and 20m, as well as an all band Digi station and an all band CW station.  This setup worked very well for us and we will continue with this setup next year as well.

We also had a 31' multi band vertical for the digi station as well an another 80m OCF dipole, and a portable, trailer mounted, three element beam for 20m SSB. The 40m SSB station used a WW2 No 19 Radio Set mast.....it's 73 years old this year and works extremely well on both 40m and 15m.

Apart for some much needed stops to fuel up on food it was go-go-go for us. While I haven't seen our final score yet, I do know we beat last years QSO total so I'm expecting good news on that front.

Of course sometimes there has to be a down side to a story......and there is.  Once I had returned home I was putting my FT-950 back on the bench when it suddenly left the Pelican case and hit the floor....after dropping four feet.  So, it's off to Toronto and Radioworld to see what they can do to get it working again properly.......sick to my stomach?  You betcha!

VE3MNE & VA3VDP fixing the 160m OCF

Shooting lines up into the trees

VA3TIC hard at work on 20m SSB

Breakfast - VA3VDP, VE3MNE, & VE3GO

VE3HRW - doing what he does best :-)

The final results on the map......not very many empty locations








Friday, 17 June 2016

Field Day

Field Day, or in my case "Field Week", is coming up starting next Tuesday.  I'll be kissing the wife goodbye for six days as I head out to Hay Bay, our field day site for a week of radio fun!  This is fast becoming an annual event for Don, VE3MNE, and myself.

This year we will be back out at Hay Bay operating for Field Day 2016 as a 5A station, three SSB, 1 CW, and 1 Digital stations.  This should get us the maximum amount of points we can earn, and perhaps we can beat last years score.

There is an array of antennas up on the property, right now there is a 160m OCF Dipole, a 80m OCF Dipole, and a 40m/15m 1/2 wave vertical.  Next Saturday morning the rest of the antennas go up.  There will be another 80m OCF Dipole, a portable 25' tower with a 3-element beam, and two 31' multi-band verticals.  This gives our operators some good options in case the bands are not the best.

Most of our week will be spent relaxing and experimenting with antennas and radios to see what we can get them to do.  There might also be some fishing and a bit of reading going on as well.

So far the long-range forecast looks like there may be a bit of rain on Saturday, but it looks pretty good to me.

Have a listen for VE3FRG, 5A, ONE, and have a great FD weekend.

Richard, VA3VDP, at the digital station during FD 2015.





Sunday, 12 June 2016

Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour

Don, VE3MNE
It's been a very busy weekend here in Kingston as the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour took place and the Frontenac Amateur Radio Club provided communications for it.  Including setup and tear down time we were on the job twelve hours on Saturday and seven on Sunday, and 0445 came real early Sunday morning.....

The weather was not the warmest over the weekend and we saw very little of the blue skies we looked forward to.  In fact we spent most of the weekend in sweatshirts and jackets to stay warm.   Instead of good weather we got high winds and a bit of rain.

Thanks to the rain our setup at Perth Road Village was a bit muddy for Don and I, and the winds did not help getting the 24' mast up into the air.

We had two stations on the air at Perth Road Village.  One was a liaison station on the VHF Lanark Net and the other was our own net control on the UHF Frontenac repeater.  We had a 5/8 ground plain 2m antenna on a 24' mast and a 7 element yogi for 440 on a 16' painter pole.  Both worked as designed.

There were 2023 cyclists on the road at any one time this year.  The tour goes from Algonquin College in Ottawa to Queen's University in Kingston on the Saturday, and on Sunday it goes back to Ottawa over the same routes.

Over the weekend the communications teams only had to do two 911 calls for hurt riders, but due to the rain and cold temperatures on Sunday we had a lot of requests from the cyclists for pickups and rides as they dropped out as they were not dressed for the cold.

We have some changes to do for next year, they have moved our usual site at Queen's to a new location at the other end of the campus. Unfortunately the new location is in a very bad location for radio work.  So it looks like we have lots of testing to do.

It was great to see our old friends from Ottawa, who provide the mobile communications in the support vehicles on the route.

The RLCT 2016 is over.......and now we get ready for Field Day !!

Mike in "Repair 2" in action at Perth Road Village
The "Command Post"


Riders at Perth Road Village


Leo, VE3BLR at Inverary