Monthly Archive for August, 2010

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Transforming RAC – Parts 8 and 9

John, VE1OZ/HK3OZ has sent us Parts 8 and 9 of his Transforming RAC series of documents.

These documents, from one to nine can be found as PDFs with all artwork, photos and graphics on this blog at the page entitled Transforming Radio Amateurs of Canada - Introduction (and without graphics in the right hand column).

As always, we welcome your comments and emails about this opportunity to involve everyone in RAC’s future vision.

Radioworld Gets Louder – A Lot Louder

I hesitate in blowing any commercial interest’s horn but when I read an email from Jack Summers of Radioworld about a new deal with RF Concepts to handle Alpha Amplifiers and other products as an avid contester I just had to give them a shoutout.

I don’t think there’s much debate in the Amateur Radio world that Alpha amps are the big dogs when it comes to power. These guys are built like battleships. They are expensive – I mean seriously expensive but when you’re going to buy one amp to last the rest of your life and the life of the guy who buys it from your estate sale (that’s pretty grim isn’t it?) then it’s an Alpha you want to have sitting on your desktop. All 76 pounds of it.

Go search on the Internet for the guys running the Alphas and they are always listed at the top of the contest results.

Here’s a link to the Alpha amps on Notice the average rating is 4.9 out of 5.

I got start saving my pennies.  Woo Hoo

Stranger than Fiction

Sometimes when I’m reading an article in one of the ham radio magazines it’s so weird that I have to check I’m not reading the April issue and the article is an April Fool’s joke.

I was getting caught up on my reading when I sat that the June 2010 issue of QST had a brief article by editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY on page 98 called Quantum Transistors?

In the article Steve reports on news that for the first time, “physicists have demonstrated that physically separated particles in solid-state devices can be quantum-mechanically entangled.” Okay so what the heck does that mean? Entangled photons split apart continue to act as one. What happens to one happens to the other regardless of distance and when we say distance we don’t mean just across a circuit board but distance measured in lightyears! The report on this phenomena was reported in Physical Review Letters.

So what? Well this could mean we could have transistors that have unlimited on/off switching speeds and a change to one electron could happen in another electron somewhere else. Talk about zero delay in using your remote station transmitter.

Canadians in 15th World ARDF Championship

A five-man representing Canada, four from B.C. and one from Quebec are travelling to Croatia to compete in the Amateur Radio Direction Finding World Championships taking place from Sept. 13 to 18 in Opatia, near Rijeka.

Here’s the team:

G. D. (Joe) Young – VE7BFK – Member of  Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada

Joe’s been ARDF coordinator for Radio Amateurs of Canada since 2002. He’s been a driving and supporting force in radio sport – ARDF development in Canada and BC. He’s been regarded as an important and valuable member of Radio Amateurs of Canada ARDF. He has also been active in the Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada and Worldwide.

Les Tocko – VA7OM – Member of Maple Ridge Radio Amateur Club and BCRadioSport

Les was a Czechoslovakian and European champion in multiple categories, as an individual and in team competitions. For more details see Appendix A. He is also an active promoter and teacher of Radio Direction Finding skills in Maple Ridge BC area. His excellent technical building skills have produced high quality equipment for radio direction finding.

Amel Krdzalic – VA7KBA – Member of Burnaby Amateur Radio Club and BCRadioSport

Amel was a national champion of  ex.Yugoslavia and Bosnia in multiple categories, as an individual and in team competitions. He is also a reigning champion from the last International Friendship Amateur Radio Games 2008 in ARDF, in category “men below 45years” (for more details see Appendix A). He is also an active promoter and teacher of Radio Direction Finding skills in Vancouver BC area. He’s been recognized by many radio amateur clubs for development of Radio Direction Finding movement (BCRadioSport) in Vancouver BC region.

John MacConnachie – VE7GED – Member of  Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada

John is a member of the Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada and has participated in ARDF competitions hosted by that organization since 1993. He has also been involved in hosting regular practice/demo ARDF sessions in Victoria since that time to the present. Valeri Geuorguiev Valeri has been active in the Montreal Amateur Radio club. He has increased their ARDF activities recently by contributing a design for a 2m ARDF receiver that was then constructed as a club project so that there are now a couple dozen equipped to participate in ARDF. He competed on the European and Region II ARDF levels and had great results.

For more information here’s a link to the BCRadioSport – ARDF Canada blog.

Web sites for further information on Amateur Radio Direction Finding:

Event official web site

Region II ARDF web site

Radio Amateurs of Canada ARDF web site

BC area ARDF announcements

Joe Moell’s (U. S. ARDF Coordinator) web site

Visions or Memories

When it comes to the transformational process are you living in vision or memory?

Critics who say let’s kill RAC and start again are living in memory. They remember every slight – every failure – every criticism that was inflicted upon them in the last week – the last year – the last decade. Sadly these critics (both men and women) live in the same place as the characters in the Coen brothers movie No Country for Old Men. I know. When I saw that movie especially the scene where Tommy Lee Jones goes back home to visit his father, an old man now no longer vital, I saw myself sitting on the porch of the broken down cabin watching the desert winds blow up the dust. This was not a good moment for me.

And so it goes with the debate about RAC’s future.

What we take from the past, which has been shared by some so eloquently and forcefully, are the lessons of wisdom and age. I say most of us OMs and XYLs have expressed the desire to see a stronger, more open and democratically run national organization. These commentators (and they’re not all old like me) are serving Amateur Radio in Canada and should be lauded for their contributions.

And when it comes to their vision and my vision and your vision let us make happen.

It is not up to President Geoff. It can’t be left in the hands of a few. It must come from all of us who want a strong national organization.

Is RAC perfect? Ah! Far from it. But it is the RAC we deserve! And, if we want a better RAC, then I invite you – no I implore you – to get involved. If this means a change in personnel – then so be it. If it means changing the governance structure – we can do that in a heartbeat. If it means working harder – I know there are amateurs out there who will work hard for the hobby they love.

But to those who insist on living in the past, I fall back on a quote from the other John (not Bartlett) but John Lennon:

We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

Keep those emails and comments coming in. You are creating the RAC you deserve :) and bless you for it.


Just a point of clarification:

The discussion was not initiated by John Bartlett. He was invited by the Board to facilitate a process and John is part of the process of renewal. The material is posted on the RAC Blog for reading by hams everywhere. The board and executive are confident that the on-going public debate will help inform the board and executive and contribute to the creation of an effective go-forward strategy for RAC. In my view the long standing accusations that RAC is an “Old boys club” or a “secret society” have been put to bed by this process.

The new RAC welcomes debate.

Geoff ve4baw

President and Chair

The Membership Campaign

Remember our membership campaign?

Well the weekly numbers are in and we’re hanging in there just under 4800.

Dave, VE3UZ said in comment posted on this blog the following:

“In the USA, I hear the total number of Hams is about 700,000, and that ARRL membership is around 170,000. These are ball park numbers I hear. If that’s so, the ARRL has about 24% participation rate. Now for RAC, the callsign database shows about 55,000 callsigns. We’ve all heard or experienced that individuals and clubs hold several callsigns, and hear of silent keys still listed in the database. I suggest that really there are about 30,000 of individuals there. From what I hear, RAC has about 5,500 members, which is about 18% participation rate. Is RAC really that far off the mark? Maybe only a little bit.”

So there’s no need for “the sky is falling down” worries but it does say to me that with the exception of Len Morgan, the regional director for the Atlantic (Who says he’s leaving! Don’t go Len!!) and Ontario assistant director Doug Frame, VE3JDF who is asking other hams to join RAC?  I’ve asked a couple of times and heard nothing. Hum :(

This membership campaign can’t be left to a few. We all need to be involved. I challenged you to ask 20 other hams between Field Day 2010 and Field Day 2011. And let us know the results.

Former RAC President Post

With great respect, in my humble view RAC President Bawden’s latest posting seems sadly not to have much, if any, relationship to John Bartlett’s seven (or it is eight)-part oversight of how the RAC might pull itself out of its present woes.

Are John’s recommendations being taken seriously and being acted upon by the president or directors, or are they not?

After all, it is those recommendations that started this entire discussion in the first place. It was not inititated by the president or board. Yet we members are left in the dark as to what, if anything, is actually taking place. Surely it isn’t secret.

The RAC could be seen as burning while its leaders fiddle with plebiscites, wringing their hands in a show of concern, if not confusion.

Frankly, talk is cheap, especially when it has little bearing on the matter at hand. Action, on the other hand, is what is needed. And now.

Afterall, isn’t that what the RAC leaders were elected to do?

Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

Bob Cooke
Past President RAC
Past Ontario South Region Director RAC
Past Vice President Field Services RAC
Past Ontario South Assistant Director RAC

But I’m just new!

A ham who describes himself as being “new” said in an email to me that he wasn’t sure he should speak up since he really didn’t have a vision for the future. He also questioned the wisdom of going public with the transformational process. He said he’d wait until he heard what the leadership of RAC had to say.

Since his email was addressed to me and a few others in the RAC board/executive team it wouldn’t be good protocol for me to reprint it here but I can share my reply. Here it is with names changed:

Hi Bill:

I disagree with you (so what’s new with that?). As an inexperienced amateur your comments are just valid as mine as we’re talking about what we’d like to see (vision) and your vision is as valid as my own. Maybe even more so since you come at the issues with fresh eyes and no baggage from the past. We have enough of that already :)

I’d suggest you not wait for the direction from us in the exec/directors group. President Geoff has supported the public airing of the process and this is a brave and progressive stance. Based on the silence from some, I have a story that he is not universally supported in this.

I support him and after answering emails and posting comments to the blog for seven straight hours today alone I can tell you he has the support of some of the best people in Amateur Radio in Canada.

If we were running a corporation or private company, going outside to the public would be inappropriate and perhaps even unethical. However Radio Amateurs of Canada is not owned by the directors or executive.

In fact, as a public members-based organization, our executive and board are but trusted servants and should never govern. As a member I would reject being “governed” by anyone but I’d appreciate being “served” by those I elect or appoint into positions of trust.
That’s why this transformation discussion must be held in public and engaged in by the members. It can’t be relegated to a back room discussion by a few “officials” who then do the thinking for the rest of us. That’s not going to fly with the members.

It’s going to come as no surprise to anyone that RAC needs work. We have a few specific problems that need addressing right now. We have a much larger issue around governance and how do we work together. I fear these maybe the insurmountable issues.

When we come to the meeting in October I will be calling for transparency and open access to anyone who wishes to monitor the process. I’d love to live stream the discussion online. We’ve nothing to hide. No one has any special agenda here that doesn’t benefit Amateur Radio in Canada and Radio Amateurs of Canada specifically….do they?

In a year and half of teleconferences I’ve never heard anything that could not have been heard by every member. By being open and transparent our members will see for themselves that we’re less of an “old boy’s” and are a group of dedicated members just like them.

Don’t wait to speak up Bill. Radio Amateurs of Canada needs to hear from you and from every member.
Any folks, the same applies to you. Let us know what you think and get involved in the future of Amateur Radio in Canada. This is much too important a debate to be left in the hands of a few.

World Radio Online & Youth

World Radio Online’s newest edition is available for a free download. This month’s issue if full of great ideas on how to attract young people into Amateur Radio.

For example, how many ham radio clubs in Canada organized a Youth Day demonstration at a local library or community hall in the last 12 months? I bet the number is zero!!!

Email me if I’m wrong :) and I’ll post your comments here.

Who is involved in RAC’s Youth Education Program? Let us know what you’re doing.

Let’s get fired up about getting youth involved.