Monthly Archive for April, 2009

How to get your Ham Radio ticket

Here’s another wiki. This one from Wired magazine is all about how to get your ham radio ticket. Remember that in Canada you’ll need the Study Guide sold by Radio Amateurs of Canada but aside from that most of the other information is right on.

BTW you don’t need to learn Morse code anymore to get your license but lots of hams do because it’s so much fun. Also you can build a CW (continuous wave) QRP (5 watts or less) transceiver that is capable of working the world  for peanuts. There are even clubs devoted to QRP. Most of the really serious contesters prefer CW as it is so much more efficient (and effective during this time of low sunspots) than voice modes like SSB (single sideband).

The nice thing about a wiki is anyone can add information to the site so expect to see many more topics and helpful hints as time goes on.

Cool contest calendar

This from the ARRL Contest Update: Here’s a link to the latest Contest Visualizer spreadsheet (based on WA7BNM’s perpetual contest calendar). This is just the ticket for those of us who have a problem keeping track of what contest is on this weekend.

Contesting Wiki

The sunspots will return someday and when they do contesting will be a lot more fun than it is right now with all the noise and lousy conditions.

In preparation, (and this from the ARRL Contest Update newsletter of April 29, 2009) N4ZR, KM3T, K5TR and N5KO have created a contesting wiki called the Contesting Compendium.

Over time, the Contesting Compendium wiki could grow into an extremely reliable and complete reservoir of all things to do with contesting. If you’re an old hand at contesting or somebody wondering about what all the fuss is about, this is a great resource to support.

The monthly RAC teleconference

Every club and association from the smallest local group right up to national organizations like Radio Amateurs of Canada hold (or should hold) regularly scheduled executive meetings.

My Toastmaster club (First Oakville) for example schedules a 10-minute business session at every regular two-hour meeting. The club executive meets every four to six weeks and that’s how the business of the group gets conducted. It works really well and many Toastmasters take what they learn into their business life.

Last night RAC held its monthly national, cross-country teleconference. I found it thrilling to hear the many RAC volunteers who work for all hams in Canada signing in. Sounds kinda like a well directed net on 80 meters (HI).

While it’s not appropriate to talk about what was said during the meeting let me (Peter-VE3HG) report that the meeting went on for two and half hours which was 30 minutes over the scheduled time. The really exciting thing about these meetings is to hear the congenial tone of all the participants and the obvious desire to find ways to work together for the benefit of all.

There’s lots of hard work going on in the background and I dare say lots of room for anyone who wants to volunteer to take on a job or has a pet project they’d like to see implemented.

National organizations like RAC don’t just happen. They are borne by a desire of a few to see a better day for all. They are feed and nurtured by countless members who, over many years, devote thousands of hours of their time and talents to make a contribution to the hobby we al love so much.

Perhaps you don’t have the time right now to get directly involved? That was what I thought for a long time. I was “too busy” to get involved but I sent in my membership dues and thought that was enough. You know, I was wrong. I had more to give back to ham radio and it’s a funny thing about time….it expands to fit the demand.

There’s lots to do to help make ham radio in Canada better. The anti-cell phone legislation and anti-tower policies of some municipalities are just two issues which we can’t fight as individuals.

Like it or not, we need each other. It’s taken me a long time to come to this realization: I might not like you but I’ll work as hard as I can to preserve your rights to operate your amateur radio station. Why? Because when it comes to ham radio we’re all in the same small boat and I’d rather take a turn at rowing as opposed to just rocking the boat.

If you agree with me,  may I suggest one of the best thing you can do right now to preserve amateur radio in Canada is renew your membership and encourage others in your club or community to do the same?

Ham radio in Canada could use some more rowers.

Canadian Navy celebrates 100 years of service in 2010

This idea for special event amateur radio stations to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Nave in May, 2010  comes from S. G. "Spud" Roscoe VE1BC. (

Anyone interested in setting up a special event station?

Here’s Spud’s email:

The Canadian Navy will be one hundred years old on May 10th, 2010. During World War II the Navy had stations set-up around our coasts known as Port Wave Stations. These stations were CW and transmitted and received on 425 kilohertz in today’s terminology. The following list of these stations is from my years of research. I feel it would be nice to see an amateur radio station set-up at each location with a special amateur radio call sign. A special prefix that is the same across the country and the suffix of the original station in each location for the month of May only. These stations should be set-up and operated by members of the amateur radio club nearest each location.

The Lists of World War II stations provide the following possible Port Wave Stations on 425 kcs:

            CFH    Halifax, Nova Scotia

            CFI      Quebec City, Quebec

            CFL    Gaspe, Quebec

            CFS    St. John’s, Newfoundland – this call sign was changed to CZP in November 1942

            CGH   Rigolet, Labrador (Lake Melville – Goose Bay area)

            CKH   Toronto, Ontario

            CKK   Shelburne, Nova Scotia (The transmitter was probably a PV500L and it probably had a leaky condenser in the power supply. They could tell it was Shelburne simply by the hum on his transmission.)

            CKR   Mulgrave, Nova Scotia (Canso Strait)

            CZC    Saint John, New Brunswick

            CZD    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

            CZE    Sydney, Nova Scotia

            CZI      Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia

            CZJ    Quoddy, Nova Scotia (Eastern Halifax County)

            CZP    St. John’s, Newfoundland

            CZR    Rimouski, Quebec

            CZS    Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

            The ones we know for certain are CFH, CKK and CFL

West Coast:

            CFV    York Island, British Columbia (on the North East Coast of Vancouver Island)

            CKE   Discovery Island, British Columbia (Discovery and Chatham Islands lie just a mile or so west of Victoria in Haro Strait, off Oak Bay).

            CKF    Vancouver, British Columbia

            CKG   Prince Rupert, British Columbia

            CKL    Esquimalt, British Columbia

            CZM   Alliford Bay, British Columbia

            CZN    Bella Bella, British Columbia – The RCAF had a main station in this area

            CZY    Ucluelet, British Columbia

            CZZ    Coal Harbour, British Columbia (Coal Harbour is in Vancouver harbour, right next to Deadman’s Island, the site of HMCS DISCOVERY).

2009 RAC Canada Day Contest

Here’s a link to a PDF document that outlines the rules for this year’s July 1st Canada Day Contest.

This is a great contest to get your feet wet in a friendly but competitive international contest. There are two aspects of Canada Day that I really enjoy. First is the great fun of seeing if you can work all ten provinces and three territories. Second as the Canadian station you’ll be getting calls from DX stations from around the world. How cool is that?

See you on the RAC Canada Day Contest.

…. .- .—. .—. –.– / -… .-. – …. –.. .- -.–

Go to Google this morning and this is what you’ll see:

Samuel Morse's Birthday

That’s Google in Morse code because today is the birthday of Samuel Morse the investor of the Morse Code.

Here’s Morse’s bio on Wikipedia:

Hawaii hams get exemption

Hams in Hawaii have just won an exemption from mobile cellular phone legislation passed by the City and County of Honolulu.

As you can see, the hams in Hawaii launched an all-out coordinated effort to convince politicians to grant amateur radio mobile use the exemption.

Here in Ontario, Bill 118 had its third reading in the Legislature yesterday and now is back in the hands of staff who will be determining if exemptions are warranted here in Ontario.

In addition to amateur radio mobile operation, other large-scale commercial users such as delivery companies, trucking associations, taxi companies and even CBers are all likely to be working with ministry staff to secure exemptions for their mobile operations.

So the situation in Ontario is somewhat different than the one in Hawaii. Right now, representatives of Radio Amateurs of Canada are in direct communications with ministry staff.

We are advised that consultation between ministry staff and representatives of affected groups will not take place for at least a month or more.

If, after consultation, exemptions are excluded from Bill 118 then RAC may recommend more direct action. However at this time such action is both not recommended but is likely to prove counterproductive.

Here’s the Hawaii story which comes from the Ham Radio Hawaii list for Ham events in Hawaii. Here is their website:

Bill 4, the mobile cellular phone legislation for the City and County of
Honolulu passed Third Reading today, and has passed out of the Council.
What was key for hams is the exemption of amateur radio from the effects of this Bill. Per Major Nitta, the representative from the Honolulu Police Department, the Mayor will sign this bill into law. The effective date will be July 1.
This bill is significant, because it addresses the issue of traffic
safety, but does not diminish amateur radio in the course of this
legislation. To my knowledge, it sets precedence in Hawaii that a piece
of legislation supports amateur radio.
There are many amateur radio operators that contributed to the success of this effort. You can see many of their letters of testimony on the City Council Web Site.
And, we need to thank each member of the Council for their support of
amateur radio. A letter or email would be appreciated. The sole Council member that opposed the Bill did not do so to oppose
amateur radio, but rather to oppose the nature of the infraction being
"holding an electronic device". We should still thank Council Chair Apo
for his effort and his support of amateur radio.
Among the amateurs vital to this effort were:
* Bart WH6AA and Ann KH6W for teaching us about the legislative
process, and how to write effective testimonial letters.
* Wayne KH6MEI for securing contact with Transportation/Planning
Committee Chairperson Gary Okino, and arranging a very productive meeting.
* Kimo KH7U for contributing to that productive meeting.
* Gordon KH6GL Bev AH6NF, Kevin AH6QO, Zeph N7WAP, and Bob NH6XO for providing continuity in attendance and coverage of the discussion at the public meetings.
* Clem KH7HO, Harold KH6HB, Ray AH6LT for additional insights and
The Hawaii County Council is currently working with a draft equivalent
to Bill 4, CD1 which is one version behind Bill 4, CD2 FD1 and therefore
lacks the exemption for amateur radio. The next few weeks will be
important for the Big Island for testimony and education of their
Council members. Updates will be posted on this web page.
Ron Hashiro, AH6RH

Bill 118 Update

Ontario’s Bill 118 to ban cell phone use in vehicles in motion has had its third reading in the Ontario Legislature and as expected only emergency responders have received an exemption.

This was expected.

The Bill now returns to staff to work out who else should be exempted and why. Radio Amateurs of Canada, speaking on behalf of all licensed amateur radio operators in Ontario, will be invited to consult with ministry officials on the creation of supporting regulations.

Voting on the completed Bill is not expected until the fall of this year.

Speaking on behalf of RAC I (Peter – VE3HG) can say that ministry contacts have always said that it was never the intent that the Bill should impact two-way radio transceiver type communications such as takes place in  amateur radio, CB, taxi or delivery vehicles.

Now that intent maybe limited to wired in radio systems that have microphones attached to the equipment. This may, and I emphasis MAY, have an impact on the use of handi-talkies as it would be almost impossible for a police officer to be able to distinguish between a handi-talkie and a cell phone. On the positive side, many emergency responders use handi-talkies and we may well have a strong argument that can be made in our on behalf. Time will tell.

Having said all that, there are no guarantees, however, now is not the time to approach members of the Legislature or the minister as they will not have seen the changes which are likely to be written in to the Bill in the next few months.

If exemptions are not forthcoming, then there may well be a need for direct communications but that time has not arrived.

Again I’d invite interested members of Ontario’s amateur radio community to keep in touch with Radio Amateurs of Canada and I’d be pleased to receive any emails directly to

World Radio Online

The most recent edition of World Radio Online is available from the folks at CQ Magazine here: