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 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.