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.

Monday, 17 September 2018

What a Weekend.....

Chillycon 2018 is over.  The annual gathering of Eastern Ontario QRP'ers.

This year it should have been called "Heatcon".   The weather was fantastic, but far too hot and humid for comfort, most days it was 28C but felt like 39C with the humidity.........I know, next year we'll probably be complaining about how cold it is.  We had lots of bugs out as well making things a bit itchy at times.

The propagation was nothing to write home about, SFI = 68, SN = 0, A Index = 6, and the K Index = 2 at 1430 UTC on 15 September.  DX was a rare commodity.

I brought my new toy with me, a Palm Paddle straight key, what a lovely action it has now that I have it set up to my liking.  I'm going to enjoy this.

My FT-817ND performed very well, but I have been told I need to turn down the SSB audio level as it's a bit too high right now.  I forgot to turn it down after I started to use the DYC-8x7 external Dynamic Speech Compressor.   The chosen antenna for the weekend was one that Steve, WG0AT, put me on to.  It's a 41' radiator, a 17' counterpoise, and a 9:1 Unun.  It works great.   The parts for this antenna came from a SOTABeams Bandspringer Midi that I had purchased and regardless of what I did to it would not work very well.  I used the parts and built Steve's version and get great results now.

The good weather brought out many familiar faces and many new ones.  This year was the all-time biggest attendance for a Chillycon to date.  Twenty-Six people sat down for a pizza supper on Saturday, and for the first time in many years we had no fire as it was simply far too hot to have one.   Normally the park is fairly empty on the last open weekend, but this year was different, it was full and we had hams scattered all over the park as there just was not enough spots available on our loop to hold them all.

Michael, VE3WMB, won the Upper Canada Trophy for DX Excellence this year with a 30m CW contact into southern Australia, and was the first recipient of the brand new trophy.   Many thanks to Rick, VE3ORY, for building it for us.

Eric, VE3AMX, was in second place with CW contacts to Finland and another in Denmark, and in Third place was Rick, VE3ORY, with several CW contacts into Denmark.

It was a great weekend, and I really am looking forward to next years Chillycon.


Below are some photos of the event.....

Eric, VA3AMX, trying to win the DX contest.


Guess who actually showed up this year......YES...the elusive  Bob, VA3QV.


Speeches after our pizza supper.


My FT-817ND and new straight key.


VE3UNA, VE3ORY, and VE3ULC chatting in their site.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Chillycon is coming !!!

The 2018 version of the Ottawa Valley QRP Societies Fall Camping Weekend, known as Chillycon, is just about upon us.  

This year it's on September 15th& 16th, starting Friday afternoon - the 14th (and for some......Thursday afternoon), QRP fanatics from all over Eastern Ontario descend upon Rideau River Provincial Park for this annual gathering.  The park is just across the Rideau River from Kemptville.  We’re glad this year to be back at our usual park, as last year we had to go to Murphy’s Point due to heavy flooding at Rideau River Provincial Park.

Chillycon is always a great time, this will be my ninth year attending this event.  Not once have I ever returned home without learning something about radios or antennas.  It's educational, and the company is fantastic.  It really is a fixed event on our club calendar these days.

A lot of the participants come for the whole weekend, others just come for Saturday afternoon as well as the single malt whiskey and traditional pizza supper we hold.  If you're planning on bringing any whiskey to the event.....please.....no blended stuff !!

Seven of us from Kingston, VE3MNE, VA3ORP, VE3ORY, VE3ULC, VE3UNA and myself, will be attending this year…….oh yeah, the seventh guy……well that would be the world famous VA3QV who now lives in Kingston.

There will also be a VE2 contingent again from the West Island Amateur Radio Club in Montreal.  I’m looking forward to seeing Marc-Andre and the others again this year.

Hopefully the weather and propagation will behave themselves.  I'm going full out this year to beat Eric, my arch rival, for the "Upper Canada Cup for QRP DX Excellence at Chillycon.

Stay tuned for the post-event wrap-up.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

W/VE Island QSO Party, 2018

Simcoe Island Ferry
Coming up this weekend, to promote the U.S. (USI) and Canadian (CIA) islands programs to amateurs worldwide, and to promote verifiable amateur radio contacts with stations located on islands in the U.S. and Canada.

Always a relaxing time and a lot of fun, looking forward to being on Simcoe Island, ON-022, and I will also be able to hand out the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse number, as I will be set up right there.  The Lighthouse is CAN-578.

Hopefully the weather forecast for Kingston this weekend is either wrong, or it changes from what it is supposed to be, and let's hope the propagation gets a little bit better.

Rule for the event can be found HERE.

Nine Mile Point Lighthouse, CAN-578.



Sunday, 12 August 2018

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend

Get ready......this years edition of the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend is coming up on August 18th & 19th !!

Details of the event are HERE.

The objectives of the ILLW weekend are to promote public awareness of Lighthouses and Lightships and bring to the attention of the public the need to preserve and restore them for future generations.  In doing so we also promote amateur radio.

I'm still not sure where I'll be heading off to....choices, choices, choices!!  There is a page listing all Lake Ontario Lighthouses ( HERE ).  I'll have to spend an hour on the site and pick one before next weekend.

Let's hope the propagation improves before next Saturday otherwise it will just be another good day of suntanning !!

Monday, 6 August 2018

Saturday at the Bay...

The view from the portable shack.
While we had great weather, hot and sticky is a good description for last Saturday out at Hay Bay.   Don VE3MNE, and I, went out to his property, the one we use for Field Day, and tried to work the guys in Colorado up on the Colorado 14er's and those taking part in the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous.

At 1406 UTC the propagation numbers were, SFI = 69; SN = 0; A Index = 6; and the K Index = 2.   We also suffered most of the day with very deep QSB on all bands.

20m seemed to be the band of choice, very little heard on 40m and 15m, but 6m was pretty active.

Not only did we work the Colorado SOTA operators, I also worked a couple of other interesting stations.

N1S, a special event station in Massachusetts at the Derby Wharf Lighthouse, US-224.

WA5DTK, operating aboard the battleship, USS Texas, located at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in Texas.

W6PNG, operating from SOTA summit W6/WH-008, located at the north end of Death Valley in Southern California.

Radio used that day was my FT-897D, and the antenna was a 80m OCF Dipole up at 90'.  

Monday, 30 July 2018

Rocky Mountain Rendezvous 2018

Coming up this weekend....August 4 & 5 is this years Rocky Mountain Rendezvous which operates alongside the Colorado 14er Event.

From their website:

"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 during the 27th annual event and see how many of the mountaintop stations you can contact. This year the event is expanded to include the entire weekend. However, many mountaintop activators will hit the trail early with the goal of being off the summits by noon due to lightning safety concerns."

I'm hoping to get out to Hay Bay and work a few using the clubs Field Day antennas.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Hay Bay

Hay Bay
Great day today out at the property at Hay Bay doing "Radio Stuff" with Rick, VE3ORY.

A few months ago I purchased a "Band Springer" portable antenna from SOTABeams in the UK......regardless of the "amazing reviews" on the SOTABeams website, I have never been able to get this antenna to work - AT ALL - so, I ended up with this wire antenna that just wouldn't tune on any band whatsoever.

A week ago I had an exchange of messages with Steve - WG0AT, about the wire antenna he uses on his SOTA activations.  It turns out that there was enough wire in the Band Springer antenna to remake it into a copy of Steve's antenna.

Rick and I got out the large tape measure and the Band Springer, and started to measure and cut it to Steve's antenna measurements.  Once it was cut and reassembled we hooked it up to analyzer and gave it a good checking over.  It works from 40m and up, and has a 3.1:1 SWR on every band, not good - but usable with a tuner.

My FT-879D was hooked up to it and we made three contacts in quick succession, K7V in Helena, MT; N4GNO in Alabaster, AL; and W9W in Oshkosh, WI.  All three gave me good signal reports after I asked for "true" reports instead of the standard "59", so I'm happy with this antenna.

For those interested in the details of the antenna, it was recut to a radiator of 41', a counterpoise of 17', and it uses a 9:1 unun.  In fact we cut two 17' counterpoises and used them both.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Not a bad day...

This years IARU HF Championship is over.  I didn't work at it too hard as I really wasn't feeling too well yesterday, but I had fun.

The day started with some pretty quiet bands, there seemed to be very few stations calling CQ, and I worked those fairly quickly putting all of the North American and Caribbean zones in the log.  Propagation was not good, just ok.  At 1300 UTC on the 14th July the SFI = 73, SN = 0, A Index = 6, and the K Index = 2.  Those figures stayed pretty much stable for most of the next 24 hours.

There was some deep QSB on the bands on Saturday, which of course always struck at the wrong time.  Stations being received at S9+ would just disappear in an instant.  And then there was my all time favourites causing issues....the tuner uppers !!!  Why these jerks haven't learned to move slightly off frequency to tune up is beyond me....and why do they take 5 minutes to tune ???

It was about 1500 UTC when the first European stations started to be heard on 20m, and only the guys running "too much power" could work them at first...which is a good thing because they were then out of the way for we low power mortals to get in there and work them.   This opening to the EU lasted about an hour and a half, and I managed to work a good number of EU stations with no trouble using my 80m OCF Dipole. The good news is that the EU stations came back with a vengeance starting at around 2300 UTC and lasted until I shut down around 0300 UTC.

Although I managed to work less stations than last year, I still managed to put 42 countries in my log, and I'm quite happy with that.  My antennas worked as expected and as advertised.  I mainly used the 80m OCF Dipole, but did use the vertical every now and then.  Stations were worked on 40m, 20m, and 15m.  I didn't hear a soul on 10m or 80m all contest.

Surprisingly this year I heard no African stations.  Normally Morocco and Cape Verde are in there with a number of stations, but I didn't hear them at all.

My only real complaint..besides the tuner uppers....is for operators to slow down.  You need to leave some space in your endless CQ calls.  If you don't leave a space we can't get in there to answer you....and then we both miss a contact....oh yeah, and please us standard phonetics.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

2018 IARU HF Championship

Coming up this weekend, what should be one of the best DX contests of the year, the IARU HF Championships.  Hopefully the propagation will be decent and the bands will work as they should.  

The idea of the contest is to contact as many other amateurs, especially IARU member society HQ stations, around the world as possible using the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter bands......I doubt 10m will have much action this weekend, but you never know, stranger things have happened.

Dates for the event are from 1200 UTC 14th July to 1200 UTC on 15th July.

Rules for the event can be found HERE.

Plans here at the QTH are underway to get my 31' vertical up in the air, and my ground radials laid by Friday at the latest.  This will give me a 80m OCF dipole up at 40', a 148' inverted L longwire up at 50', and a multi band (40m through 10m) 31' vertical for the contest.  

Good luck to everyone taking part!!





Friday, 29 June 2018

Canada Day Contest

It's that time of year again.....the Canada Day Contest is just about upon us.   This year the timings are: 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC July 1, 2018.

This year I plan to operate from home, and I'm thinking of entering as QRP, but I'm not sure the bands will support that power level right now........I guess it will be a last minute decision depending on the propagation.......which hopefully will be half decent.

Rules for this years event can be found HERE.

Hope to work you all on the bands !!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Field Day 2018

As usual I made the trek out to VE3MNE's property on Hay Bay, about 48 kms west of Collins Bay for the annual ARRL Field Day event, and once again I was not disappointed.

The weather forecast was not looking too good.......we were expecting rain and wind all weekend.  In fact we had very little rain and the wind was just enough that we had far fewer mosquitoes than usual...in fact we hardly saw any.....it was great.   The rain didn't hit until after all the tents and tarps were taken down and stored away on Sunday afternoon. For most of the weekend the temperatures hovered about 16C.

For antennas we had the usual 80m and 160m OCF dipoles, both up at 80 feet.  We use a No. 19 set radio mast, made in 1942, for 40m and 15m and we laid down ten 16 foot ground radials for that antenna.  Our digital station used an 80m EFHW in a "sort of" inverted L configuration.  We also had to erect a 40 foot tower with a two element tri-bander, which worked fantastically.

Our wire antennas were all rebuilt over the spring and pre-tested before we strung them up.  Everyone of them had excellent swr, and a tuner seemed to be optional.

We did have some bleeding over on various bands, especially with our cw station, but we worked around it and it ended up not really being a problem for the site.

The bleeding over was an issue for me personally.  I have known for a while, thanks to my air force service and flying Chinooks, that my hearing is going.  This year it must have got much worse.  It was particularly hard for me to pick out calls through the hash and other interference you get during a large contest like event.   It's at the point I will probably go to field day as "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer", and hand the 40m station over to a younger ham.......the joys of getting older !!

Speaking of noise.....has anyone else noticed that most of the stations using the onboard voice recorders are S9 +20 when the recorder is calling CQ....but when you answer and the person at the other end responds to you they are -3db under the noise floor ??   What gives with that ??

So another field day ends and we start planning for next year.....

The 20m station with Mike, VE3MJD.
The 80m and 160m station of Don, VE3MNE.
Across the road from the property the wheat is starting to grow.
Last year Rick VE3ORY got flooded out.....this year he's fully prepared !!!!!

Jim VE3ULC working in the workshop.
Working on the beam.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

2018 Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour

This years edition of the Ottawa Bicycle Club's Rideau lakes Cycle Tour, the 47th year, was a great success.  We had no major incidents at all this year, which makes a pleasant change from some of the previous years.

The scene at Perth Road Village
This year the Ottawa Bike Club had 1800 riders registered for the tour, a bit down from past years.  The riders this year had absolutely perfect weather, we had blue skies and warm temperatures.  It was good to see many old friends providing support in the SAG and Repair vehicles, many we have known for 13 years now.

We had 10 communications posts in the Frontenac Region this weekend looking after two separate routes, and our initial call for volunteers was almost immediately over subscribed by our members.  

Plans are already being made for next years tour.

One of the many "Bikes" that stopped at Perth Road Village.

Friday, 8 June 2018

East Bound - Day 6

We're back to blue skies this morning and a 9C temperature.

This is the last day on the road, it's been a long trip.   I made a single 2m contact today with Bob, VE3YX, on the Point Alexander repeater.  We had a long QSO on my way down the valley, in fact all the way to Pembroke.

I had light traffic all day through the Ottawa, Madawaska, and Bonnechere Valleys.  In fact it was the most relaxing drive of the whole trip.

Over all it was a great trip.  I made many more 2m contacts than I did on the last trip 4 years ago.  My number of HF contacts was also higher, and I only had my FT-817ND with me.....so you just never know what is going to happen.

The final mileage for the completed trop was 10,202 km.

Next time I'm taking the train......no, I'm being serious !!

East Bound - Day 5

The day started with rain and a temperature of 6C.......feels like -6C !!

Driving between Ignace and Upsala this morning a huge moose, the biggest one I've ever seen, calmly walked across the highway as everyone came to a screeching halt.

In my five trips across the country I have never seen so many deer, elk and moose on the highways as I did this trip.  They where everywhere.

The Thunder Bay 2m repeater was the only one on my route today, and no contacts were made on it.

Todays drive was through miles and miles of trees covering rolling hills, between the curves in the road and the animals you had to stay alert.

Heading for Sault Ste. Marie tonight.

Hwy 17 through North-West Ontario

Thursday, 7 June 2018

East Bound - Day 4

A different start to the day today, it was 17C but the sky was an angry black colour threatening rain....which it did for most of the day.

The drive saw me leave the prairies and enter the huge forests of north-western Ontario, which along with the massive rock formations made it a very interesting and scenic drive.

Only made one 2m contact today, that was with Gerry, VE4GCV, on the VE4WPG repeater in Winnipeg.  All the other repeaters were very quiet and I didn't hear a thing on them, in fact I'm sure a number of them are actually no longer on the air, but the repeater book still shows them as being active.

Today's final destination was Ignace, Ontario.  There's not much free camping around Ignace so hopefully I'll get there while there is still some light left so I can find a good spot to sleep.

Tomorrow I'm off to Salt Ste. Marie........getting closer to home!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

East Bound - Day 3

Today started at 13C and once again under beautiful clear blue skies.

So last night I won a piglet.......yeah, a real, live. piglet at a 4H Club raffle.  What does one do with a live piglet when you live in a city almost 4000 kms away?   Well, you donate it back to the club so somebody who can't afford one can finally have one to raise and look after.....which is, after all, one of the roles of the 4H Clubs.

I did ask that the piglet be named "Derek", in memory of Derek, VE3HRW, a member of our radio club who died of cancer shortly before I started on my trip.  Derek would have had a good laugh over that, and at the same time would be thrilled that in his memory we were helping a youngster out learning how to raise and take care of the piglet.

No 2m contacts were made today, but I only had repeaters in Arcola, Assiniboia, and Weyburn to give calls on.   There are not very many repeaters in southern Saskatchewan.

The final destination today was Brandon, Manitoba, where I will spend the night in a hotel...on a real bed....and visit with an old air force buddy.

Tomorrow it's off to Ignace, Ontario.

East Bound - Day 2

The day started at 5C under a nice blue sky......kinda cool this morning, but we are in the mountains.  There were very few people in Yahk Provincial Park last night, it's a fantastic little place, no showers and only pit toilets, but for $18 a night it isn't too bad....at least it was quiet.  It's a beautiful little spot, right on the Movie River.

Moyie River a bit after sunrise.
The scenery was absolutely fantastic during the drive today, I seem to be buried in the mountains and have to look high up to see the peaks of the mountains around me.  Once again there are lots of deer on the highway, and you really need to keep a good lookout for them.

I made no 2m FM contacts in BC on the way home - the same as the last time I made this trip, but today I did make a contact on the Lethbridge repeater with Bruce, VE6ATY, and another with Kelly, VE6KRK in Medicine Hat.  Kelly and I had a QSO on the way to the coast, so it was nice to touch base with him again on the way home.

The destination tonight is Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, where I plan on staying at their municipal campsite.  I've been there before, it's a great site, clean hot showers and free wifi.  Oh yeah, it costs $15 a night....you can't beat that!

Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

East Bound - Day 1

It's time to leave and head home.......always a difficult thing to do after a week with family.  It was 22C today under brilliant blue skies.

Elk on Highway 3
Final stop for today is Yahk Provincial Park, a little gem along the Moyie River.   There was very heavy traffic along Hwy 3 today with lots of Deer and Elk on the highway....in fact, more than I ever remember seeing before.  You needed 4 sets of eyes looking out today.

Highlight of the day was seeing 12 feet of snow at the top of the Salmo Summit at Kootenay Pass.  At  5,823 feet it was still pretty cool up there.

Calls were put out on the Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Oliver, and Creston repeaters along the way, but no contacts were made at all.

Tomorrow it's off to Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Island Activation....

I managed a single island activation during my time on the west coast, Barnston Island - BC055, was the lucky destination.

Barnston sits in the middle of the Fraser River between Pitt Meadows and Surrey.  Accessible only via a short, free, five minute ferry ride, it's a beautiful spot to spend a day.  I was there over six hours and never saw another person.

The final destination was Robert Point, a small park area at the western tip of the island.  Parking is almost non-existent, in fact I don't think there is supposed to be any parking at all, but I managed to find a small spot that I could squeeze in the van.

The radio of the day was my FT-817ND and I used my 17' collapsible MFJ whip antenna with two elevated counterpoises set for 20m.  It worked exactly as I practiced with in Kingston before I left, definitely a keeper.

The ferry stops around 2300 hrs local so I was able to work late into the evening and put over 30 contacts in my log, mainly communist China and Japan with the odd Canadian and US station.  Not too shabby for a QRP operation.

Overall it was a very relaxing day and I really enjoyed myself.  I'll definitely be back there on my next trip out west.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Day Eight......

The day starts out at 9C under a very cloudy sky.......rain on the way!!

Had to do a route change on the fly today as the flooding in south-central BC is quite bad.  I left Revelstoke and headed to Vernon and points south, eventually arriving at Highway 3 at the small town of Keremeos.

Flooding in Keremeos.
Lots of flooding of communities on the way down the Okanagan Valley.  The roads were good and mostly dry, but lots of municipal vehicles on the roads checking various flooding sites....and the army was out in force.

Gas was an expensive $1.55.9 per litre.

Made three 2m FM contacts today... Walter VE7BJB, and an old friend from Kingston, Tom VE7XTA surprised me on the Chilliwack repeater.  I was not expecting to hear Tom, but he was mobile and heading out of town for the long weekend.  I also made a contact with Bruce VE7TV in Abbotsford.

And so with 5005 km on the clock, we shut down the main engine for a week.

Day Seven....

The Three Sisters in Canmore
It was 15C under brilliant blue skies this morning.

Worked two stations on 2m FM today, Kelly VE6KRK who was driving around Medicine Hat in his work truck, and Rob VE6CCL in Calgary.  The repeaters in Canmore and Banff where both silent, as was the Lake Louise repeater.

There were spectacular views through the Canmore - Banff corridor, the Yoho Valley, and the Rogers and Kicking Horse passes.  Just a fantastic day.....just what I needed, mountain therapy.

Drove through lots of road construction today with lots of stopping for blasting as they widen the highway.

On to Day Six...

Today was not a good day.  It started out out OK, but things went a bit wonky.....

One 2m FM contact was made with Mike KM4OOC in Lignite, North Dakota, 129 km away.  Mike was monitoring the Arcola, SK, repeater.

About an hour into the trip I noticed that the van was pulling very hard to the right, and it was getting hard on the hands to keep it on the road.  I pulled over and checked the tires for a flat to see if that was the issue......it wasn't.

Eventually I had to make the decision to head to Moose Jaw and have the front end looked at.  After a quick phone call to a former Commanding Officer of mine, who lives in Moose Jaw, arranged an appointment with Kal Tire there, and off I went.   Thanks Lyle !!

It turns out that my directional tires had been installed, two weeks earlier, backwards!!!!!  So, with 3300 km on them that mistake was discovered.  I also needed to get a front alignment done.  Needless to say I am still not a happy camper....but we're back on the road.