Sunday, 18 August 2019

Portable Antenna...

Over the past two months Don, VE3MNE, and myself have been looking for, and working on, a portable antenna for our island and lighthouse activations.

When we started we had a few "must haves", such as it must be small, light in weight, and portable, it had to cover 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m, and 10m as a minimum, and it had to be easy to deploy.  After today's outing it looks like we have successfully met all those targets.  In fact it even tuned up on 17m and 30m.

Here's a diagram of the antenna:

Click to Expand Diagram

The propagation numbers for today at 1400 UTC were:  SFI=66, SN=0, A Index=4 and the K Index=1. We also had some very deep QSB, especially on 40m.

Even with those numbers we were getting a true solid 59 into the southern states and New Brunswick.

Next weekend we will have it on the air again for the W / VE Island QSO Party.  Hopefully the propagation numbers will be better than today, and we will have a better idea of what this antenna can really do.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Squirrels........

A few years ago I put up a 148 foot long wire antenna.  It was a great antenna, it worked very well and was my "go-to" antenna for Europe on 20m.   Recently I started to have some issues with it and then it stopped working altogether.   I finally decided yesterday to investigate what was wrong.

I was using RG8X coax for the antenna and had it running under my back deck, so I disconnected the coax and pulled it out into the open. You can see why I was having issues by looking at the pictures below ☺  


We're going squirrel hunting tomorrow.






Sunday, 4 August 2019

W / VE Island QSO Party

Coming up on August 24 & 25 is this year's W/VE Island QSO Party.  This event is designed to showcase the U.S. (USI) and Canadian (CIA) islands programs.

The Canadian website is HERE, and the US website with the rules is HERE.


This is NOT the IOTA program run by the RSGB, these are separate national island programs that include both fresh and saltwater islands.

Contacts are allowed on 160m to 6m, excluding the WARC bands and 60m.  No repeater, Internet-sourced, MCW, VHF/UHF simplex or cross mode contacts allowed.

I'm planning on activating Wolfe Island, ON-009 under the Island Expedition Class, for as long as my batteries last.  

Start planning for it, we need more Canadian stations active for this event.  

Thursday, 25 July 2019

ILLW 2019

Coming up next month.....

The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is an annual event held on the third full weekend of August each year. The event was the brainchild of John Forsyth and Mike Dalrymple who were both members of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group in Scotland. 
The event, which started in 1998, has now developed into an international gathering of amateur radio operators from an estimated 95 countries.
The event runs from 00.01 UTC 17th August to 2400 UTC 18th August 2019 (48 hours)
The ILLW website can be found HERE.
As of today's date, July 25th, we only have 11 Canadian Lighthouses scheduled to be on the air.  There is not a single west coast lighthouse on the list, not one VE7.  Surely we can do better than 11 lighthouses on the air that weekend......we have three coastlines that have many lighthouses that can be put on the air, as well as the great lakes.  Come on BC, start planning a few activations.
I will be on the air this year as VE3UCC, operating from Nine Mile Point Lighthouse on Simcoe Island at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The light is 40' high and was built between 1830 and 1860 and is still an active light.


IOTA 2019

The 'Islands On The Air' award, started by Geoff Watts and now run by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), is a popular award for Amateur Radio operators, where the objective is to contact Ham Radio operators transmitting from offshore islands throughout the world. 

Coming up this weekend, July 27 - 28, is this year's event.  It starts at 1200 UTC on the 27th and ends at 1200 UTC on the 28th.   

The IOTA Rules can be found HERE.

There are still a few days left to pick an island and get out and operate.

Get out there and join the fun.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

An Interesting Day...

We have been hit with a pretty good heatwave here in Eastern Ontario for the past week, and when we decided to do the Big Island Activation we had no idea it would be this hot.  So, having sent out notices to half the world's ham population about it, it was a go.

It was an early breakfast and VE3FI, VE3ORY, and VE3MNE were on the road by 0830.  Big Island is about 75 minutes west of Kingston, and we had scheds to make by 1100.  The drive there was very uneventful, traffic was really lite, and the banter on 2m simplex helped the drive go quickly.  We did hear K9NQ break into our QSO, but it was very difficult to work him.  We manage a brief exchange of callsigns and that was about it.

We were heading for the boat launch site on the west end of the island.  It has a large field and a couple of large trees to hang antennas from.

You can imagine our surprise when we arrived there and found the site 74 cms underwater.  This was a problem as there is nowhere else on the island where you can operate from, there are no public areas other than this one.

After talking it over we decided to set up along the side of the road, next to the boat launch, and do the best we could.  We manage 14 QSO's on CW, SSB, and JS8 Call.  Not as many as we would have liked, but given the circumstance it wasn't too bad.  All contacts were on 20m, 30m, and 40m.  While we could hear traffic on 2m and 6m SSB, we were unable to make any contacts on those bands.

Propagation today was:  SFI=66, SN=0, A Index=3, and K Index=1.  The outside temperature was 33C...luckliy with a gentle breeze blowing in off the lake.

Here are the photos.......

The operating location

The sign that ruined our day.......

It was a good swim to use the toilet!!!

The entrance to the site.

VE3MNE adjusting his whip.

The VE3FI operating position

What's left of the picnic field


I'm not sure what VE3ORY was doing here !!




Sunday, 14 July 2019

Big Island, ON-090.

Coming up next Sunday - 21 July, Big Island, ON090, in the beautiful Bay of Quinte will be on the air.  

Don VE3MNE and I will be on the air from 1500 UTC to 1900 UTC.  We will start on 14.270 +/- QRM and then QSY later in the afternoon to 7.270 +/- QRM.  You may hear either VE3FI or VE3MNE calling CQ.


Big Island has not been activated in over 20 years from the records we can find, so it's a rare one.


My radio will be the FT-897D and the antenna will be a long wire with a 9:1 Unun.  We will also listen on 144.200 SSB  and 50.125 as it is the CQ WW VHF Contest that weekend.  


UPDATE:  We have added a CW Station to the activation. You will find VE3ORY on 14.040 and 7.040 +/- QRM.


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

2m Video. Watch !!

Came across this today.  Great video......needs to be watched and shared !!!


Monday, 1 July 2019

Update on "2m Under Attack"

I received the following note from a UK ham this morning:

Can I suggest an amendment to your blog post? 
If you look at the actual meeting report (search for “CEPT Project Team A Prague” and start digging), you will see that there is NO suggestion of re-allocating 2M to aeronautical mobile. The item asks for a study into assigning primary access to AM for no-safety data communications whilst ensuring no interference to other band users (i.e. us).


Now, I did just that, searched and found nothing to support this gentlemans theory.  What I did find supports the fact that we should be concerned at what's going on concerning 2m.

I'm sure that the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has got it right.  The International Amateur Radio Union is an international confederation of national amateur radio organisations that allows a forum for common matters of concern and collectively represents matters to the International Telecommunication Union, and it's their job to look into and investigate this matter.

As you will read below, the representative of the IARU stated that, "the IARU views with grave concern the element of the WRC-23 agenda item proposal 1.6 in the AI10 ECP, on studies towards a possible new allocation to the aeronautical mobile service in the band 144-146 MHz".  
I have to go with what the IARU says in its statement, and that is 2m is under attack, and we need to fight back.

Who is CEPT?  CEPT is the acronym for Conférence européenne des administrations des postes et des télécommunications, translated as the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations......in other words a department of the European Union.


144 and 1240 MHz bands - CEPT meeting minutes:

CEPT Project Team A, responsible for some aspects of the CEPT position for WRC-19, met in Prague from June 17-21. The meeting minutes are available for download

Regarding 1240-1300 MHz band the minutes say:

The representative of the European Commission (EC) stated that, RNSS systems are global by nature, and that the radio amateur service is allocated in all regions. Once RNSS receivers (including Galileo E6 receivers) are deployed ubiquitously, the number of interference cases coming from radio amateur emissions will increase significantly and represent an important burden to Administrations, unless clear guidelines are available in order to drive the amateur community towards an appropriate usage of their allocation.

For these reasons, the EC believes that the French proposal of a WRC-23 agenda item is essential in order to complement the work being started within CEPT, and to find a sustainable solution for all parties. Also, the EC considers that WRC-23 is the right time for a decision enabling the better regulation of the RNSS-amateur coexistence at international level, as Galileo will start providing freely available high accuracy services in the 1260-1300 MHz band on a global basis from 2020.

The EC noted that some of the 7 Administrations which objected to the French contribution are open to consider a revised version of the proposal, and therefore believes that relevant support may be achievable at CPG level, following further discussions until end August.


Regarding the 144 MHz band the minutes say: 
The representative of the IARU stated that, the IARU views with grave concern the element of the WRC-23 agenda item proposal 1.6 in the AI10 ECP, on studies towards a possible new allocation to the aeronautical mobile service in the band 144-146 MHz. This band is an important and the only globally harmonised primary allocation to the amateur and amateur satellite services in the VHF range. Examination of the RR below and above the 144-146 MHz range suggests that alternative proposals could be developed that could provide further spectrum for the aeronautical applications without impacting on this amateur service spectrum. The proposal provides no justification for addressing this band and the IARU believes that sharing with airborne systems is likely to be difficult and will lead to constraints on the development of the amateur and amateur satellite services in this band.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Lighthouses and Island Activations

If you're looking for a few lighthouses and islands to activate in the next thirty days, have a look at this PAGE.  Looks like Chris, VE3CBK, will be a busy boy for a while and I'm looking forward to working him on Grand Manan Island.

I am planning on activating Big Island, ON-090, on Monday, July 29th. Big Island is in the Bay of Quinte and has not been activated for many years, so I'm looking forward to that activation, it should be a busy one.  I'm hoping to have two HF stations up and running for this event if I can talk another local ham to come along.





Tuesday, 25 June 2019

More 2m Under Attack News....

Really?  Only Germany objected to this proposal??

Here's the latest......

A World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) agenda item proposing to study a range of frequencies, including potentially reassigning 144 – 146 MHz as a primary Aeronautical Mobile Service allocation, drew little opposition at a meeting of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) Project Team A. The team is responsible for some aspects of CEPT WRC positions, and the meeting was held June 17 – 21 in Prague, Czech Republic. Introduced by France, the proposal targeting 144 – 146 MHz would be part of a broader consideration of spectrum allocated to the Aeronautical Mobile Service. Another issue addressed during the meeting concerned the sharing of the Amateur Radio 1240 – 1300 MHz band with Europe’s Galileo GPS system.
We hear only one administration (Germany) opposed the 144 MHz proposal — no one else,” the UK Microwave Group tweeted following the meeting. Otherwise, it has been carried forward to the higher-level CEPT Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) meeting in August.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which was represented at the Prague meeting, expressed “grave concern” to any proposal that would include 144 – 146 MHz in the proposed Aeronautical Mobile Services agenda item. That comprises the entire available 2-meter band in ITU Region 1. IARU has pledged to make every effort to fully protect Amateur Radio interests and seek the support of regulators for their view.
IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, said prior to the meeting that the IARU would “energetically” promote its opposition in Regional Telecommunications Organizations (RTOs) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) “to obtain assurances that the spectrum will remain a primary allocation for the amateur services.”
The 144 – 146 MHz band is allocated globally to the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services on a primary basis and is the only globally harmonized Amateur Radio VHF band. A widely used segment of the Amateur Radio spectrum, 2 meters supports a broad base of terrestrial users, repeater systems, and satellite stations, including the International Space Station.
According to the meeting minutes, the proposal provides no justification for targeting 144 – 146 MHz, and the IARU believes that sharing with airborne systems likely would be difficult and lead to constraints on the development of the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services there. IARU suggested that alternative proposals might be developed that could provide further spectrum for the aeronautical applications without impacting this Amateur Service spectrum.
IARU is expected to brief member-societies, requesting that they discuss the French proposal with their governments in advance of the August CEPT-CPG meeting. France could seek to introduce the same proposal to study 144 – 146 MHz for aeronautical use into other RTOs.
Meanwhile, further discussion on the 23-centimeter band study proposal is anticipated prior to the Conference Preparatory Group meeting in August. The proposal was raised in the wake of reports of interference to the Galileo navigation system, but IARU has said it’s aware of only “a handful of cases” of reported interference to the Galileo E6 signal on 1278.750 MHz. Work on this issue will continue in other specialized CEPT forums in the interim.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Island Activation

Just heard that Chris VE3CBK, will be activating Morris Island, ON-124, on Wednesday morning, June 19th.  He's planning to be on the air from 1400 UTC to 1600 UTC.  He will be operating QRP.

His plans are to start on 14.270 +/- QRM and then QSY to 7.270 +/- QRM, spending about 20 minutes on each band.  After that, he will choose whatever band is working for him.

Big bonus for us lighthouse guys....... he is also able to activate Morris Island Lighthouse, ARLHS CAN-1077, and Arnprior Island Light ARLHS CAN-1044.

Morris Island

Thursday, 13 June 2019

2m Under Attack....

For a long time a good friend of mine has said that if we don't use it, we'll lose it.  Well, have a read of this news out of France today.



France proposes 144-146 MHz for Aeronautical Mobile Service

The next meeting of the CEPT WRC-19 Conference Preparatory Group takes place June 17-21 in Prague 

France has submitted a paper with the subject Agenda Item 10 revised proposal for an agenda item for new non-safety aeronautical mobile applications. 

The paper says: 

"The list of bands that are proposed for study of possible new allocations to the aeronautical mobile service on a primary basis is revised by adding the band 144-146 MHz, the bands 5000-5010 MHz and 15.4-15.7 GHz being maintained."

"The decisions of previous conferences have introduced some restrictions to the use and have imposed constraints on the development of aeronautical mobile applications within some existing mobile allocations traditionally used by the aeronautical mobile applications. 

At the same time, the number of manned and unmanned aircraft equipped with sensors has grown significantly in the past 20 years together with the need of bidirectional low to high data rate communications.

Aeronautical applications like fire surveillance, border surveillance, air quality and environment monitoring, traffic monitoring, disaster monitoring, terrain modelling, imagery (visible, infrared, radar, meteo), video monitoring require non-safety communications between various types of aeronautical platforms. 

Consequently the need of non-safety data communications between various types of aeronautical platforms increases and so the need for new frequency bands."


Download PTA(19)090 France_Proposal on non-safety aeronautical mobile applications at CPG PTA # 7 - 17-21 June - Prague under Meeting Docs 
https://cept.org/ecc/groups/ecc/cpg/cpg-pt-a/client/meeting-documents/?flid=5624

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Good Weekend...

VE3MNE & VE3FI
This past weekend was the 48th year of the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, and the 13th year the Frontenac Radio Group has provided the communications through our county.

The event has cyclists ride from Ottawa to Kingston on Saturday, and ride back to Ottawa on Sunday.

We had 1800 riders on the road over four different routes, and three ham clubs manning over 30 communication points.  It's a pretty big operation and takes a while to set up.

Thankfully, the weather was fantastic both days and that really helped with the smooth running this year.  Not one single major issue popped up in our sector this year.

The new VE3FRG C4FM repeater worked exactly as advertised, and we had zero issues with that as well.  Usually, we have an issue with the Lavant 2m repeater which we use for an inter-sector liaison station.  This year we had no issue getting into the Lavant repeater due to the 40' mast that VE3ORY brought along, so that was great.

As we are an Emcomm Club, this cycle tour is an excellent way of practicing deployed operating and operating under a directed net for up to eight hours a day for the whole weekend.

Hopefully, next year will go as smoothly as this year.

Here are some photos of the event, thanks to Rick, VE3ORY.

Last year we only had one of these cycles........they seem to be getting popular.


Don VE3MNE running the Net.

The 40' mast and J-Pole.

Susanne, our Cycle Tour Event Coordinator.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour 2019

Next weekend, June 8th & 9th, is the 48th running of the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, and I believe the 13th year the Frontenac Radio Group has provided communications for the event.

This year the weather isn't looking too good, but hopefully, that will change as this week progresses.  The last thing we want is rain for the weekend.

There are 1800 riders registered this year, so it will be a busy event, and a safe one we hope.

For those hams who regularly use the VE3FRG repeater here in Kingston, it will be out of service next weekend and reserved for the Bike Tour traffic only.  If you need a repeater please use the VE3KBR repeater on 146.940- with a 151.4 tone.


Saturday, 18 May 2019

New Portable Antenna....

There's a new antenna in the radio "weapons locker" these days.   I have just received the PackTenna Mini Random Wire Antenna.  One thing I must say right up front is how outstanding the service was from George, the guy behind Packtenna, he went way above and beyond to get this to me.

This antenna combines a 9:1 UNUN, winder and antenna wire in a compact unit that is quick and really easy to set up and take down.

I can't wait to get out and use this at the local park....of course, I also have to wait for some decent propagation and weather to arrive.  

I'll let you know how it performs when I get it up in a tree.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Monk Apollo

Sad news received tonight.  Monk Apollo, SV2ASP, has become Silent Key.  He was 64 when he died on May 5th. 

Monk Apollo was the lone DX voice from Mount Athos, in fact, I believe he was the only radio amateur there. He operated from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Docheiariou.

Mount Athos is the 20th most-wanted DXCC entity.  

Αναπαύσου εν ειρήνη

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Smiths Falls Flea Market

Coming up this weekend is the annual Smiths Falls Flea-Market........always a great time, both for picking up bits and bobs for the shack and for the social scene that swirls around the place.

There should be a good group going up from Kingston, as usual, this year, it's an early start so we'll be looking for hot coffee on the way to help with the hour and a half drive.

I'm not looking for much this year, perhaps another RF Choke - but that's about it.

Lots of people going there looking for coax I hear - sounds like some shack re-building going on.

As usual, it's being held at the Curling Club in Smiths Falls.  The address is: 13 Old Sly's Road, and here's a map.......


Thursday, 25 April 2019

A Visitor....

We had a visitor in Kingston last weekend.......


Nice to see Russ and Pat, and to have coffee with them on their way home to New Brunswick.  See you guys in October !!

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Activating Canadian Islands

It's that time of year when the ice is coming off the rivers and lakes, and when certain hams start to plan their island activations for the summer and fall.

Last year I activated Wolfe and Simcoe islands, ON-009 and ON-022 respectively.  Given the current location we are in the solar cycle I did pretty well on both activations.  The problem was that both of these islands have been activated multiple times over the last few years, and not everyone needs them in the log.


This year I've been hunting through the records for islands that have not been activated in a long time, and have come up with Big Island, ON-090, and Amherst Island, ON-021.  

There is no available record for Big Island anywhere I can find, and nobody around this area can ever remember it being on the air.  

Amherst Island hasn't been activated for 6 years, and we only made ten contacts that day due to really lousy propagation.  Hopefully, we'll do better this summer.

If you're looking for more information on activating Canadian Islands, have a look HERE.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Sunday Portable

Spent three hours last Sunday, April 7th, out at the local park with Jim VE3ULC, and Rick VE3ORY, operating portable QRP.  This was our first "Portable Sunday" of the year.

The weather, while dry and no snow, was pretty cold and damp, which didn't sit too well with Rick as he hasn't been back from wintering in sunny tropical Florida all that long.

I spent some time playing around with APRS, which is all new to me, as is the rig.  Slowly we're figuring out things, and more to the point I actually have the radio sending out beacons now.  By the way, if you get an FT2D - get rid of the stock antenna and get an after-market one.  The stock whip is not good at all.

The other thing I got to do was 2m CW.  I suppose as are most areas, 2m is pretty quiet these days, so I wanted to see what I could do.  In this location, I've never heard of anyone doing either CW or SSB on 2m..........so I had to try.

It took about 10 minutes of calling CQ, but I did get a response from Ron VE3GO, who was a very long 3 km from my location.......However, I'm sure that CW contact was actually long path !! 😆

The bad thing of the day was the fact that I had forgotten my 22-foot painter pole and only had an 8-foot version with me.  I used my short Buddipole whips to make a 2m dipole and made the contact on that. Worked great !!

I was so excited at finally getting back out to the park that I forgot to write down the SFI of the day.........I do know that it wasn't very good.

Looking forward to many more of these events in the local parks and on the local islands.  It's a great way to spend a Sunday.

The operating location - the back of the van.


Thursday, 4 April 2019

2018 CQ WW DX Contest - SSB

Results are in........looks like we did OK 😎


Wednesday, 6 March 2019

New Radios...

It's been a busy four weeks here in the VE3FI shack, three new radios have appeared and when I'm not on HF I've been playing around on C4FM digital VHF and UHF.  We don't have a digital repeater here in Kingston, but in my travels, I come across them on a regular basis.

FT2D
First to appear was a new FT2D.  It's a great little handheld, and it really showed me the benefits of operating digital voice modes.  In simplex, using digital narrow, my signal goes about half as far again as it does in FM.   It's very easy to use and the programming software is pretty intuitive to use.  It also has GPS and APRS built into it.

Second up was an FTM-100DR mobile rig, this is now about to be installed in my vehicle.  It is a dual band with built-in GPS and APRS capability.  The learning curve to use it was steep, especially as I had no experience with digital radios before.  Once you get used to it it's a nice radio, and I suggest that you get the programming software as it just makes life so much easier.
FTM-100DR

The last radio (my wife will be very happy to read that...) is an FTM-7250D mobile rig that will live on the bench in the shack.  This radio was up and running within ten minutes of arriving at the house.  I bought the programming software with it, as I did with the other two, and it certainly makes things easier.  The RX audio is fantastic. This rig does not have GPS or APRS, which is why I will use it in the shack.

FTM-7250D
Overall I have been really happy with the audio reports I have had using these three rigs.  All of them have great built-in speakers, you do not need an external speaker to hear things clearly.  Using them locally in simplex I have been really impressed with their range, it's far better than plain FM.

Many people have asked me why I chose to go with C4FM instead of DMR or DStar.  That's an easy answer.  I like Yaesu, and having read all about the hacking and jamming of the DStar and DMR repeaters in Toronto by one individual, and the fact that the one individual managed to have all the DMR & DStar repeaters shut down because of his constant malicious interference, I simply chose to stay away from those modes.  Another great feature is that I can use these rigs on analog repeaters as well.

I also looked at the list of C4FM repeaters in Ontario listed on RepeaterBook, and was pleased to see that the current list of C4FM repeaters is twice as large as the other two modes combined.

It was a big learning curve, but I'm looking forward to moving forward with C4FM.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Lousy Propagation...

As expected the propagation for this years ARRL International DX Contest was pretty bad.  At 2020 UTC on March 2nd the propagation numbers were SFI = 70, SN = 0, A-Index = 24, and the K-index = 2.

The surprise of the day on Saturday was the fact that 15m was open.  I managed to work a pile of South American stations, but none from the EU.  It seemed to be strictly north-south propagation only.....however, 20m was open in the EU, but not into South America.

There were lots of stations calling CQ, and most of them had big pile-ups answering them.  Nevertheless, most of the stations calling CQ seemed to be using far too much power and their antennas couldn't hear those answering.

In fact, I received an on-air lecture from a KP4 station who after breaking in to ask what I was running, proceded to tell me that I was wasting peoples time by only running 100w into a wire antenna, and I should just go away and leave the contesting to the "real hams".  According to this master of amateur radio, a person needs at least a three element beam and 1000w to contest properly.  The poor guy had a major heart attack when I signed QRP.... I wasn't - but it was fun listening to the idiot fly into an even deeper rage for another five minutes about the evils of QRP, and the great damage it does to the hobby.  Maybe I should mention that the KP4 had been a ham for a total of two years ..........

Sunday wasn't much different from Saturday, lousy propagation and guys who couldn't hear too well. A number of hams mentioned that this year their scores were way down from last year, in fact, most were down by more than half.  I guess that's what happened at the bottom of the cycle.

The CQ World-Wide DX Contest is coming up at the end of the month, so I better get working on a new antenna system, so I too can become a "real ham" and compete with the big boys 😎

Monday, 25 February 2019

ARRL International DX Contest

Coming up next weekend is the ARRL International DX Contest.  It starts at 0000 UTC on March 2nd and runs till 2359 UTC March 3rd.

I was starting to sweat last night as a huge windstorm swept across southern and Eastern Ontario with winds 90 kph gusting to 110 kph.  With the snow in my backyard, it would have been very difficult to get a new HF antenna in the air in time for this weekend.

Fortunately for me, the antennas manage to survive and it looks like I have no damage even after twelve hours of very high winds.

Always a great contest, with a huge amount of DX stations calling, it's now one of the few contests I will take part in on a competitive basis.  We will have to see how propagation works out for the weekend, but one can hope it will be good.

Rules for the contest are HERE.

Hope to work you in the contest!

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

What will the rest of the year bring…

Here we are half way through February and I haven’t really put any solid plans for the rest of the year together yet, and “She Who Must Be Obeyed” has been asking what I’m going to do with all the equipment I have put together……that's never a good sign.

There are a few fixed annual events in my calendar, such as the Rideau Lakes Cycle Bike Tour, and the ARRL Field Day, both held in June. The IARU HF World Championship and the IOTA Contest both in July, and the Lighthouse weekend and Island QSO Party both in August. I also have plans for another trip to New Brunswick in October for the CQ WW DX Contest at the VE9FI contest station.

In between these fixed events will be a couple of islands, and lighthouse activations which I hope this year to do as “micro-DXpeditions”. There are several islands and lights that have never been activated around this area, so perhaps this is the year to get them done. 

Then, as the association manager for VE3SOTA, there will be a couple of SOTA activations to help put VE3 on the SOTA map.

There may be a chance to operate as VE3FI/VE7 in September as I have to be out there for a wedding and you can never waste a trip by taking no radios.

This year I’m hoping to do most of these activations throughout the week to give me a bit more flexibility.

Of course, I’m sitting here planning all this while there’s 70 cm of snow on the ground, and it’s -12C outside without the wind chill factored in.  Perhaps I should re-think this micro-DXpedition idea and just head for Tahiti now and operate there from the beach as FO/VE3FI.







Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Winter Field Day - The Result.

Absolutely fantastic band conditions for the 12th Annual Winter Field Day, held last weekend.

Operating SSB QRP with 10w I used the VE3UCC club call of the Upper Canada QRP Club.   The FT-897D was dialed back to the allowed 10w, and I used both my 148' Inverted L long wire antenna and my 80m OCF dipole.

The propagation numbers never changed the whole contest.  They stayed at SFI=76, SN=27, A index = 13, and the K index was 2.

There was quite a bit of deep QSB on Saturday, but it didn't really give me that much of a problem.

Washington - East & West, LAX, Orange, and San Francisco were all worked on the grey line late on Saturday.   BC and Alberta were worked early Sunday morning.  I had no issues getting my signal heard with only 10w on wire antennas.

There were lots of new hams on the air, some did very well....including Adonis, a 10-year-old "ham in training" who made 103 contacts by himself (ok, Dad was there) !!!!!  Well Done !!!!!

There is one ham though who deserves to be singled out.  That is Joseph, AC1DD.  He was working on 7.180 and was subjected to the most despicable and deliberate interference everytime he transmitted.    The foul language thrown at him had to be heard to be believed.  The two individuals doing the abuse never gave a callsign, but they did state that one was from GA and the other from AL.   Throughout this Joseph continued to call CQ and never let the abuse affect his work.

Every time I went past this frequency I gave a listen, and it went on over a four hour period.   Of all the abuse I heard, the only, and cleanest piece of it I could write is "No Sumbitch contests on my frequency."  Almost sounds like a challenge to me 😎

Looking forward to next years WFD.


My Contact Map.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Winter Field Day

Yep, it's that time of year again !!!!   Like to play out in the cold?  The 12th Annual Winter Field Day(TM) is upon us again next weekend, January 26 & 27.

The Rules can be found HERE.

Started in 2007 Winter Field Day(TM) has quickly become a firm favorite within the ham radio community.  Think of it as the ARRL Field Day in June, only without the bugs.

If you're looking for more information or help, have a look at the WFD Facebook Page HERE.  There's nearly always an Admin around to answer questions.

Stay warm....and have fun !!

Monday, 14 January 2019

NA QSO Party 2019

Coming up next weekend is the North American QSO Party.

Rules can be found HERE.

Dates and Timings are 1800 UTC January 19 to 0600 UTC January 20, 2019 (third full weekend in January).

We're looking at snow here next weekend so this contest may be a good reason to stay indoors and stay warm.

Not much else going on in the VE3FI shack at the moment.  Too cold to do much outdoor operating, so spring had better hurry up and get here!

Don't forget that Winter Field Day is coming up on January 26th & 27th.  Details HERE.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019