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):


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 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:


Our CW Frequencies will be:


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

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.