Monthly Archive for June, 2010

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It’s Hurricane Season

Region 2 International Amateur Radio Union has issued a notice that in cooperation with the American National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida and WX4NHC they are requesting amateur radio operators in affected areas to assist in the gathering of information. More details can be found at www.wx4nhc.org .

The Hurricane Watch Net, active on 14.325 also has a website at www.hwn.org.

20 dead in Arkansas Flood

According to a report published on the ARRL website news, amateurs provided support to local authorities following flooding that claimed 20 lives in the rugged Quachita Mountain area of Arkansas. The Pike County Sherriff requested the assistance of Amateur Radio operators following rain which in the early hours of June 11 catching as many as 300 campers in the area unawares.

Here’s the link to the story. (The photo is from an msnbc story.)

Another Field Day Idea

Here’s another great idea for Field Day coming from Michel, VE2WMG

A great opportunity to demonstrate what is APRS, as the balloon is well equipped and could be followed during his flight. The main payload will consist in a VHF-UHF crossband repeater available to the amateur community while airborne. The repeater input frequency is 145.560 Mhz with a tone of 103.5 Hz and the output frequency is 445.525 Mhz. The power output of the repeater should be around 1.5 watts.

This will be a  bilingual (French and English) directed net and net control with be  Gerry VE2AW. Check-ins are invited to use the phonetic alphabet and then will be required to provide their nickname and location (QTH).  A commemorative QSL card will be issued to all stations which are confirmed by the net control station.

Here’s a link to the web page:
<http://raqi.ca/braq/live.htmhttp://raqi.ca/braq/live.htm

Field Day QRP Challenge

Jean, VE9ZD posted a comment on the blog about the upcoming Field Day operation from Mount Carlton Provincial Park. Here’s his comment reposted here:

A group of Eastern Canadian Hams will be operating Field Day 2010 from atop Mount Carlton Provincial Park located in the Province of New Brunswick Canada. The summit is the highest point in the Maritime Provinces

Here are some of the coordinates:

Callsign – VE9BNB
Altitude – 820m / 2690ft,
CQ Zone – 5,
Grid Locator – FN67NK
Lat. 47.22.41N / Lon. 66.52.37W
ITU Zone – 9
Bands – 2m/6/10/15/20/40/80/160

Note: this station is listed as 3A QRP (5 watts)

Special QSL Card and Certificate will be given for contact or heard.

So there’s a challenge for all of you. Listen out for VE9NB and get yourself a special QSL card.

Anybody else doing anything special for Field Day? (Let me know: ve3hg@rac.ca)

RAC’s Extra Special Membership Campaign

I’m working on the final draft of a membership drive kit with materials and instruction (just like Heathkit for you oldtimers) for use at Field Day coming the end of June.

Stay tuned!! Likely see the campaign here by Friday.

One really neat guy

That’s the way the HK3OZ blog from Bogota sums up an excellent article about Jim Langille, VE1JBL. Among many other accomplishments, Jim was appointed Maritime Section Manager for RadioAmateurs of Canada in 2008.

This is the power of blogging about amateur radio. Here’s an article about a Canadian ham in an online site out of Columbia. Does it get anymore international than that? And, that’s just a little bit of what amateur radio is all about.

Protocols and plans and policies

Don’t care what you call it but local municipalities are creating documents that limit the height of amateur radio towers right across Canada.Unfortunately, the protocols, plans or policies – different names for the same restrictions – are not consistent varying from town to town.

For example, here in Oakville, following a very unfortunate situation a few years back where a new ham (don’t think he was a RAC member) installed a 48-foot tower on a townhouse-sized lot (my guess is the backyard was about 20 foot square) upsetting neighbours and politicians who swore they’d get the structure taken down and failed, all amateur radio towers are limited by “town policy” to 16.6 meters (54 feet). And trust me, nobody is going to issue a building permit allowing an exemption to go higher in this town. (However that means if the tower is less than 16.6 meters the Town of Oakville has no interest or concerns and won’t listen to complains from neighbours so this cuts both ways.)

Now comes word that the City of Winnipeg’s Council has approved (as of April 28, 2010) an Antenna Protocol which essentially limits antenna height to 69 feet and recommends towers aren’t installed on front lawns. Not bad. Wish we had similar height restrictions here on the north shore of Lake Ontario.

The Winnipeg protocol might prove useful if your community is looking to restrict your tower height.

And BTW before anyone starts pontificating about how local municipalities can’t create legislation that overrides federal legislation, they get around this by passing these protocols, plans and policies. It’s the same when it comes to distracted driving. Nobody is taking away your ability (and BTW it’s not a right) to operate your federally licensed radio while driving a car. What provinces can do is legislate that you drive hands-free whether you like it or not.

So if you want to change or fight any of these restrictive policies then renew your RAC membership (and do it for three years) and signup everybody in your ham radio club, contesting association or ARES group. You deserve a strong national voice at the federal and local level. RAC is the way to do it.

Six Meter Contest

Here’s an opportunity to experience a unique contest in the ham radio contesting world. The ARRL’s VHF contest is on this coming weekend. With lots of HF rigs including the six meter band, this is your opportunity to try your hand on the “magic band”. If you’ve got a horizontally polarized six meter antenna ( a homemade dipole will do) up 30 feet or more, you’ve got a great chance to experience the wonder for yourself.

Propagation on six is just plain weird. The band opens in the hot weather with May and June offering opportunities to work stations across North America and into the Caribbean. Power (while always useful) isn’t necessarily the determining factor as conditions can propagate weak signals as well as QRO stations.

If you’re a newcomer may I recommend not trying to work the DX with a vertical antenna. Polarization issues on VHF/UHF are much more exacting than on HF where signals get bounced around and shifted by the ionosphere. This weekend, if conditions are good, expect to see sporadic-E propagation which can take an absolutely dead band to wide open in a matter of minutes. It’s…well magic.

If you’ve got two meter or higher capabilities, then you can participate on those bands as well.

VE7TUB – Bathtub QSO

The Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association, VE7NA,( www.ve7na.ca ) will host a 24 hour special events station VE7TUB beginning on July 24, 2010 to commemorate the annual running of the World Championship Bathtub Race to be held on 25 July 2010 in Nanaimo, British Columbia. For more information on the World Championship Bathtub Race visit www.bathtubbing.com.

For more information on special event station VE7TUB visit www.ve7tub.ca.

Thanks to Jean-Michel Hanssens, VA7CIP, Media and Community Relations, Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association for this information.