Sunday, 26 September 2010

Parrotts Bay Portable Ops

Sunday morning was pretty gloomy with clouds and rain in the forecast, but it wasn't that cold.  Eight of us met at the Parrotts Bay Picnic area on Hwy 33, just west of Amherstview, and set up our rigs and operated portable HF for 3.5 hours.

The Parrotts Bay picnic site is a very nice spot to operate. It's clean, has portable washrooms, and lots of space for parking. The bay is filling up with ducks as they get ready to move south for the winter, and while the water must be cooling down by now, there were some kayakers out on the bay taking in the start of the fall colours.

Don, VE3MNE, and I tried 20m at first, but it was full of RTTY traffic taking part in the CQ RTTY Worldwide Contest.  They were all over the band, so we quickly moved up to 40m were things were a little slower.

The Texas QSO Party was also on, but all our attempts to make contact with stations in Texas fell on deaf ears.  I guess our 50 watts just was not making it down there to that part of North America. 

Martin VA3AKY, Carl VE3DNR, and Dave VA3ORP worked on getting Martin's 20m dipole working.  It had been cut incorrectly and needed a major operation to get it tuned up and on the air.

Dave, who's into the No. 19 Radio Sets, got out his slide rule to figure the measurements out.....I haven't seen one of those things in....dare I say it....40 years!  Anyway, it did the job and Martin was soon up and running, making contacts.

Dave made a few 80m contacts with his "Blue Pill" vertical antenna, including checking into Ontars with a stunning 5 watts on his FT-817.  QRP Rules! 

Bill, VA3WOW, our DEC for Loyalist ARES District also drove from Belleville to join us for the morning.  He also helped in the antenna reconstruction, and we had a good chat about "all things ARES".

As I normally use my Buddipole in the vertical mode, I recently bought three extra kite winders from Buddipole in California to use for my radials.  That brings my "collection" of them to five, so I've decided that I am going to cut some radials - 2 per band - and have a single kite winder for each length ready to go in my go-box.  I think this will cut down on the messing around measuring out the radials using my current system.....we'll see how it goes anyway.

All in all, it was a very pleasant fall day to be outside in the fresh air playing radio.

Friday, 24 September 2010

2m Commercial Activity

I hope that most of you who read this Blog now know of that Industry Canada authorized commercial interests the use of a 2m simplex frequency over the September 10-12 weekend.  This was for an international cycling event being held in both Quebec City and Montreal.

The bulletin issued by RAC is below:

RAC Bulletin 2010-09-14E


Industry Canada advised both RAC and RAQI on Friday, Sept 10, 2010 that their Montreal office had authorized a number of 430 to 450 MHz frequencies and a single VHF frequency on 145.555 mHz. According to IC, frequencies were chosen to avoid known amateur repeater channels. These frequencies in the 70 cm and 2m amateur bands were temporarily authorized to support communications for many European entrants of a cycling event to be held on Quebec City and Montreal on Sept 10 and Sept 12 respectively. This type of authorized intrusion by Industry Canada of non-amateur communications in amateur spectrum is highly unusual and is a matter of great concern to Radio Amateurs of Canada. RAC will be taking the matter up with Industry Canada officials. RAC will be interested in knowing if actual interference has been caused to amateur communications; please report any observations to

Norm Rashleigh, VE3LC
Vice President, Industrial Liaison

Industry Canada authorized this commercial activity on 2m in direct violation of Canada's international agreements.   
What has RAC done about this?  So far the silence from them has been deafening!  Canadian hams have a right to know what is being done to ensure this type of activity never happens again!  If RAC has not filed a complaint then Industry Canada will take it for granted that they can do this again and again.
Tonight I sent an email to Norm Rashleigh, the RAC VP for Industrial Liaison, asking him what action RAC had taken.  That email is below:

Has RAC filed a formal complaint with the ITU over Industry Canada allowing commercial activity on the 2m band?

Has RAC formally asked IC why they permitted this intrusion, in violation of our international agreements? I would like to remind you that this intrusion, so very close to the border, will also have affected our American ham friends. It will be interesting to see what response comes from the ARRL.

I most sincerely hope that RAC has done something over this issue!!
For those of you who wish to ask Norm questions on this intrusion, he can be reached at
I'll post any response I receive from Norm, here on the blog.

UPDATE   As of September 28th there has been no response to my email to Norm Rashleigh, the RAC VP for Industrial Liaison, regarding RAC's response to this commercial intrusion on our 2m band.  

This lack of response to inquiries, and lack of transparency in its operating is quickly becoming the trademark of RAC.

UPDATE   As of September 30th.  Bob-VE3MPG and Peter-VE3HG have both updated their Blogs on this subject.  Bob has received material from Industry Canada and has posted it.  Their blogs can be found at:  Bob – VE3MPG  Peter – VE3HG

I recommend that all hams read these blogs.  They are very interesting reading.

Monday, 20 September 2010


Man, what a weekend!!  The Ottawa Valley QRP Club held their annual Chilicon over the weekend of 17-19 September at Rideau River Provincial Park, and a good time was had by all that attended.  It was also QRP Afield weekend as well.

Rideau River Provincial Park is a very clean park, and the camping sites are very well kept.  There was a good number of people in the campground but it wasn't full, nor was it noisy.

Only four of us camped there for the weekend, Mike VE3WMB, Martin VA3SIE, Jim VE3XJ and myself.  It would have been nice to have more camp with us, but we did have a good number of visitors come out on Saturday to do some operating with us.

This was the first time I had camped using the new truck.  It was pretty comfortable, and I'm sure if it had rained I would have stayed dry.  As I had not been camping for a year or two, it was an interesting time trying to find all my gear.

The bands were in good condition, and I made several good DX contacts on 20m SSB running only 10 watts. First up was Gerry F6IGS in Bordeaux, France. Then it was Al YV2BYT in South-West Venezuala, and finally Nikola 9A9AA in Zagreb, Croatia. As usual I used my FT-857D and a vertical Buddipole. I also had QSO's with a dozen or so amateurs across North America. The campsite was a great place to operate from.

It was a real pleasure to meet, and talk, to the guys from Ottawa, especially the two Bob's, VE3MPG and VA3RCS.  I really learned a lot from them all. Mike VE3WMB decided to take part in the Feldhellschreiber Sprint on Saturday lunch time.  This was the first time I had seen that mode in action, and many thanks to Mike for taking the time to explain it all to me.

Hopefully Chilicon will become an annual affair for the QRPer's in Eastern Ontario, I'm already planning to be there in 2011!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Future Events.......

Here's a couple of things I'm getting ready for:

The first event is the ARRL VHF QSO Party on September 11th and 12th.  This event runs from 1400 - 2300 hrs local time, and I plan to operate from Fort Henry Hill....which is just about the highest point in Kingston.

The second event is QRP Afield, which is sponsored by the New England QRP Club.  This event is always the third Saturday in September.

This year I will be camping at Rideau River Provincial Park with members of the Ottawa Valley QRP Society and taking part in this event.  I'm looking forward to discussing QRP activities with some of the experts on the subject over the weekend, as well as getting some relaxing camping in at the same time.

Another reason to attend QRP Afield is to meet up with Martin, VA3SIE, to discuss the start-up of the new VE3 SOTA Association.  Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for everyone - this is not just for mountaineers! There are awards for activators (those who ascend to the summits) and chasers (who either operate from home, a local hilltop or are even Activators on other summits).

SOTA is now fully operational in many countries across the world. Each country has its own Association which defines the recognised SOTA summits within that Association. Each summit earns the activators and chasers a score which is related to the height of the summit. Certificates are available for various scores, leading to the prestigious "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloth" trophies. An Honour Roll for Activators and Chasers is maintained at the SOTA online database.

Stay tuned for more news on the new VE3 SOTA Association!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Point Petre Portable Ops

Sunday dawned cold, wet, and really miserable.  Ever since I left the Canadian Forces I had forgotten that 0430 hrs existed, and trust me it's no time to roll out of a warm bed to launch yourself down Hwy 401!

After a quick stop for breakfast I arrived at Point Petre at 0930 hrs and began to set-up in the light wind and rain, after I had checked in with Marie-VA3ECB.  I used my Yaesu FT-857D, YT-100 automatic tuner, and two deep cycle batteries.  My antenna was my usual buddipole being used in the vertical mode.  I was hoping that John-Henry-VE3CAK could hear me so he could spot me on a DX cluster, but that was not to be.  J-H could not copy me at all, and I could not even hear him.  So it was back to the old fashion method, calling CQ.

The first station in the log was John - KB4CRT from Micanopy, Florida, with a nice 58 signal.  The next four stations where also all from Florida, and then the band switched and Oregon and California started to roll on in.  Two Canadian contacts were made, Boris - VE4BG from Winnipeg and Rick - VO1SA from St. John's, Newfoundland.  The only real DX contact for the day went to Javier - VP9/NM6E holidaying in Bermuda.

I had a good QSO with Jim - WB2LHP, who was operating from the Old Mission Point Lighthouse in Travis City, Michigan.  With 50w going each way I felt pleased with my 54 report from Jim.  Next up was Leo - K1KJC, from Vinalhaven Island in Maine, IOTA NA055.  Again with 50w I received a 55 from Leo as my signal report.

The operating site was right across the road from the Trenton Air Force Base HF antenna farm.  It was nice to dream while gazing at nine 300 foot towers, and two huge log periodic antennas. 

I was half expecting some interference from them, but thankfully it was a Sunday, and that means the good air force guys who operate them where still in bed........

Propagation today was a SFI of 75, and the K and A indexes where both at 1, and no sun spots to be seen for the first time in 55 days. 

By mid-afternoon the wind and rain had started to gain some strength. and I thought it wise to pack up and head back to Kingston.  Overall it was a good day.  Thirty-two contacts were made, including a few on each coast.  Not too bad for a lousy SFI day. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lids.....what gives?????

Has anyone noticed that the number of "Lids" we hear on the air is increasing? Has anyone noticed that the standard of operating is falling to a level lower than it was at the height of the 1970's CB craze? Why is this?

Why do we have people (I won't call them Hams) sitting on 7.181 using language, and talking about subjects that would make a Toronto hooker blush? I won't even start on K1MAN and his "ownership" of 14.275, nor will I get into that disgusting piece of work from Saanich, BC, who's language and filthy racist comments on the air have to be heard to be believed, neither of whom are fit to be members of our great hobby.

Why is their behavour allowed, and why hasn't Industry Canada or the FCC stepped in and put a stop to this garbage? It just boggles the mind that they haven't yet done so. We know that hundreds of complaints, and recordings of them, have been sent in to the authorities. What's the holdup?

Then we have the idiots who make a habit of chasing DX when they have no clue how to do so.  The other day, as an example, a station from the Ivory Coast called CQ on 20 meters, and was quickly pounced upon by about 30 people, all screaming their callsigns at the top of the lungs (as if this makes a big difference getting through). Several of these clowns continued to scream their callsigns over and over and over and over again....even when the DX station was in a QSO. Do these people really think that this is the way to work DX? Do they really think that the DX station is even going to work them after their unprofessional behaviour? I don't think so!  Is this behaviour the reason I hear more and more of the DX stations saying "yep, I worked you, but you're not in the log"?

A wise old Elmer from California once told me that "anyone can become an Amateur Radio Operator, but it takes great skill, knowledge and good manners to become a HAM." Therefore it stands to reason that some of the people we hear on the air today will NEVER become Hams!

Monday, 9 August 2010

International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend - August 21/22

I will be taking part in this event with the Frontenac Radio Group, activating the Point Petre Lighthouse in Prince Edward County. It's newly issued lighthouse number is CA0026.

Antennas will be two Buddipoles, and the radio will be a Yaesu FT-857D with a YT-100 auto tuner. 

The event starts at 0001Z on Saturday the 21st August and finishes at 2359Z on Sunday the 22nd August.

Get on the air and talk to Lighthouses in Canada, the UK, Australia, and around the world.


Welcome to my Blog Spot. This is where I will record my adventures in Ham Radio, as well as my occasional rants on various subjects.

My main Ham Radio interests are QRP and portable operations, as well as Island and Lighthouse activations. I am also involved with the new VE3 SOTA Association.

I am a member of the Frontenac Radio Group and the Frontenac County ARES.  I'm also member No. 162 of the Polar Bear QRP Club.