Monday, 12 November 2018

ARRL Sweepstakes

Coming up this weekend, November 17-19, for stations in the United States and Canada (including territories and possessions) is this years November Sweepstakes.  

The object is to exchange QSO information with as many other US and Canadian stations as possible on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter bands.

Rules can be found HERE.

I'll be entering as a QRP station again, perhaps this year I can equal my 2013 score when I won the plaque for the top Canadian QRP station.

Hope to work you guys on the bands.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Remembrance Day 2018

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

December 1941 -  June 1946


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

CQ Contest - VE9FI

Don, VE3MNE, grounding coax.
Well, its nice to be home after 7 days away operating with the Hampton Amateur Radio Club.   The first few days where spent getting set up and acquainted with the shack equipment.   We also discovered that we had to ground the coax for the six element yagi to bring the noise floor down...but that was an easy fix.

We had a few issues - fortunately not very many - with the antennas, but quickly got them sorted out.  Mainly it was to to people operating on antennas that where too close together, or with similar polarities.

Friday night, for the second year in a row, we could not get a run on 80m or 40m, the stations just where not there.  One or two would pop up to work us..with difficulty..and then disappear.  It was very frustrating.  However, 20m was open into the Europe until very late, so we did well there.  We also managed a few contacts on 160m, all of them into the USA.

The propagation numbers for Friday night where:  SFI-69, SN-0, 'A' Index 6, and 'K' Index-3....not the best of conditions either.
Waterfall on the Flex, Saturday afternoon

On Saturday morning 20m didn't open up until 1200 UTC.  Before then we managed to work the odd strong station, most of whom I am certain were operating with more than legal power levels to reach out and work us.  After it opened it just went crazy, it was wall-to-wall signals right across the band, I've never seen it so crowded.

Our second station had a good day working 15m where a lot of contacts where made during the day.  It also made a few 10m contacts as well during the afternoon which was a surprise.  In the evening and overnight it was on 40m and 80m where business was slow.

On Sunday the bands opened up pretty much the same time as Saturday, and the day went pretty much the same with 20m being the crazy band again.  The 'A' Index had dropped to 4 and the 'K' Index dropped to 1, so that helped a bit with improving what little propagation we had.

Some of the more exotic stations we worked where in Malawi, Oman, UAE, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, and Senegal.  I even managed to work Malc, 2W0SEU, and surprised him by speaking a little Welsh to him.....not something he expected from a VE9 station!!!

Our total score was about 75 QSO's down from last year, but given where we are in the solar cycle we are very pleased with our performance.  Now we wait to see the posted results, and hope we did as well as last year.

Many, many thanks go out to Russ, VE9FI and his XYL Pat, VE9DZ for their great hospitality during our time at their QTH.  They take us feel so at home.

Here's a few more pictures.....

Operating station No. 1

Operating Station No. 2

Russ VE9FI in his shack

The lovely view of the snow on the way home at Riviere du Loup.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Trip to Hampton, New Brunswick

The trip started off under blue skies and continued just like that through Quebec.   Traffic was very light, flowed well, and construction was only in a few places and it didn't impede traffic at all.   The night stop was in Saint Basile, just south of Edmundston...and again the weather was great.

Then came the trip from Saint Basile to Hampton.   As the song goes "What a difference a day makes" !!

About 25 km south the roads took on a strange white appearance, and there was this strange white stuff flying around in the air as well.   The temperature went down to 0C, and it went downhill from there.

Trans-Canada Highway, Oct 24, 2018
By the time we got to Fredericton the road was covered in about 6 inches of fresh wet and sloppy snow, and the roads were truly awful.  South of Oromocto the snow turned to rain and by the time we arrived in Hampton the roads were clear.

Not much 2m activity on the 1200 km trip.  Worked the trans-Canada IRLP Net on the Fredericton repeater, and after the net I worked VE9MTB on the same repeater.

The last two days we have been testing antennas and the amps and so far everything is working as advertised.   It's a big learning curve switching from my FT-950 to the Flex 6700 that's at my operating position.

Hopefully on Monday the snow will have melted and temperatures will be more around normal for this time of year........and the trip home will be fine.

Near Woodstock, NB.  Oct 23, 2018

Friday, 19 October 2018

JOTA 2018

Hey!!!  This weekend is the Boy Scouts annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). JOTA is a worldwide event, and Scouting stations in Europe will be looking for contacts as well. 

In North America keep an ear on the following frequencies:

3.690 and 3.940
7.090 to 7.190

Get on the air and work the kids !!!!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Trouble Commenting

Several people have told me that they are unable to post comments on my blog these days.   I am also having issues answering those who can post comments.  I have no idea why things have changed as I have not done anything to the page settings in over a year.

Emails have been sent off to Blogspot outlining the issue so I will just have to wait and see what they can do.

In the meantime, if you cannot post a comment I apologize.....but it's out of my control at the moment, hopefully things will change in a day or two.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Coming up......

October.  That means fall colours and.......CQ WW DX SSB Contest, as well as a road trip to Hampton, New Brunswick to the big contest station of VE9FI.

Since last years contest VE9FI has added several new antennas, we now have quarter wave verticals on 80m and 40m, and another big amplifier for the second operating position.   So we should be in excellent shape for this year.....hopefully we will get a bit of good propagation to help us along.

The Rules for this years event can be found HERE.

I'll do a complete write up after the event on the trip down and back as well as the contest itself.  Hopefully it will be as good a time as we had last year there.

Not far from Hampton is the village of St. Martins.  We go there for great clam chowder and fish and chips.....but they also have a lighthouse. So if we get time we might spend an afternoon at the light activating it....stay tuned.

St Martins Lighthouse.  CAN-944

Sunday, 30 September 2018

CW.....the adventure begins again

In 1971 my Dad passed his exam and became VE7BUX.   From that moment the house was filled daily with the sound of CW as soon as he was home from work.   He did have a mic, but I rarely ever saw him use it.

In 1974, due to a mistake by the then Department of Communications, Dad was issued a new call, VE7CVQ....which I now hold.  Apparently the DOC had already issued Dad's first call and for two years both he and a station in Northern BC (Smithers, I believe) both operated as VE7BUX.

Every day at 1630 local, Pacific time, he and his cronies: Steve VE7OF, Rusty VE7OM, Bill VE7ATR, and another ham in Kelowna who's name is now lost to the mists of time, fired up their rigs and spent the next hour holding court on CW.    Supper would arrive at the table, the rig would be turned off, we would eat, and then after supper on went the rig and he and I searched the bands for rare and strange CW signals.  It was quite the treat for me to be in charge of the VFO in those days.

Slowly my CW skills started to improve.....even though I didn't have a license....I started to be able to read the signals that arrived at our antenna.   In 1973 and 1974 I went to night school both winters to try and learn enough to get my ticket, but it never happened.  It was way over my head at the time.  In fact it wan't until a good number of years after Dad passed away that I finally got serious, got my ticket and became the proud owner of his old callsign - even managing to get the CW qualification.  However, I didn't use CW and it's always bugged me as I know how much it would have meant to him if I had been into CW.

Six weeks I ago I gave myself a big kick in the ass and decided it was time to knuckle down and get into CW.  So I bought a portable straight key from Palm Paddle with the thought that after spending that much money I better get to work on it......and I've been practicing since it arrived.

I found a great free CW trainer on line, it's called "Seiuchy", and you can get it HERE.  For one hour every evening I sit down in the shack with a happy ghost and copy code - slowly building up my speed - and waiting until I think I'm good enough to actually go on the air.  Hopefully that won't be too far in the distance.  SK.