Monthly Archive for December, 2010

Happy New Year from the RAC Social Media Dept

Well gang…

We made it through another year…

On behalf of the RAC Social Media Department…. Thats our Facebook division, the RACTWEETS group, and of course the RAC Blog….

Please accept my wishes for a very…

HAMMY NEW YEAR

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Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob

Important News concerning the RAC Club Insurance Program

The following arrived in my inbox from RAC 1st VP Ian VE9IM and he asked me to share this with you…

Important News concerning the RAC Club Insurance program

  • Youth, student and honourary members of are now exempt

from Insurance Surcharge fees.

RAC has a major goal of encouraging and supporting youth and student participation in Amateur Radio to the highest degree possible. To further this goal and as a result of feedback from Clubs across the country, the RAC Insurance team has responded and been able to implement a major cost saving for RAC Club Insurance. Youth, student and Honourary members of a RAC Affiliated Club that is participating in the RAC Club Insurance program are now exempt from the $11 non RAC surcharge for Club Insurance coverage. Hopefully this will help in furthering our goal of increased support for youth and students. Additionally, amateurs who have been designated (as of Dec 31, 2010) as Honourary Club members for their long term work and service to a Club are also now exempt from the surcharge for Club Insurance coverage. By exempting youth, these changes should also help with Club family memberships.

Therefore :

  • For Club Liability insurance purposes only, Affiliated Club honourary (as of Dec 31, 2010), youth (under 18) and student (under 25 yrs) members are exempt from the $11 surcharge for non RAC members.
  • All Club members, that is all regular, associate, family membership persons, life, honourary etc have to be to be included in the club total membership count for the insurer and for the $1/yr per member insurance fee.

Clubs have been contacted concerniing these changes by seperate email. If your Club has not received this email please contact ve9im@rac.ca

Thank you and Happy New Year,

The RAC Insurance Team

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Thanks to the RAC Insurance Team for putting this information package together for us over the Christmas Holidays…

Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob

CQ Maritime ARES Groups CQ

With the recent really bad weather that hit the Eastern Seaboard and the Maritimes recently I am wondering if any of the ARES or SATERN Groups in the Maritime Provinces assisted in the relief efforts.

If your group participated in any relief efforts please send me an email (va3qv@rac.ca) so we can get your assistance documented.

We need all the data we can muster for our attempts to gain a better exemption in the Driving while distracted Bill in New Brunswick.

If you group did not get activated but you participated in the relief efforts as an individual the same request applies.

Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob

Some upcoming events

Now that the Christmas Rush is over and you are resting up for New Years I thought I would mention a few upcoming Amateur Radio Events to think about.

The First event which starts at 0000hrs (UTC) on Jan 1st 2011 is the ARRL Straight Key Night.If you click on the ARRL Logo (above) you will end up at the ARRL Website where you can read up on the where, what and wherefores of the event but basically its a CW Contest where the participants use the Straight Key rather than paddles, keyers, computers etc.

Although I (with my lousy CW Skills) will not be participating in this event I do recommend that you at least give a listen ( I will be) and if you have the necessary skills or think you do try making a few contacts…  I find it interesting that now that CW is not a requirement that the mode is actually gaining in popularity especially with the QRP Portable types as now everyone who is operating CW actually wants to operate CW…

If your not into CW HF but into CW and SSB VHF Work why not give the ARRL Jan VHF Sweepstakes a try.

Click on the above logo to go to the ARRL Contest site for more info.

Date and Contest Period: The date will be announced annually by the ARRL but will generally be the third or fourth weekend in January. Begins 1900 UTC Saturday, ends 0359 UTC Monday (January 22-24, 2011).

With all the various HF rigs that now offer 2m, 6m and 70cm as well (Such as the TS 2000, FT897, IC 7000 just to name a few) most of you have no excuse to at least listen to the contest and give out a few contacts to those who are actively contesting.

Also remember that they do call 6m the magic band for a reason and if there is any sort of opening you can have a blast operating just with the output of your radio and a simple dipole antenna.  But you can’t make any contacts if your not on the air…

I will be there for this one using a simple 1/4w rotatable dipole for 6m with my FT 847 with the rigs 100w and hope at least to get a couple of grid sq

Last but not least The SPAR Winter Field Day event is at the end of the month…

From their website:

The 2011 Winter Field Day will be held from 1700 UCT (12:00 noon EST) Saturday January 29, 2011 through 1700 UCT (12:00 noon EST) Sunday January 30, 2011. The object of the event is familiar to most Amateur Radio operators: set up emergency-style communications and make as many contacts as possible during the 24 hour period. The rules encourage as many contacts on as many bands and modes as possible, because during a real emergency, the most important factor is the ability to communicate, regardless of band, mode or distance.

If you click on their logo (above) you will be taken to the SPAR Website for more information.

I have participated in this event in the past and am looking forward to doing it again this year.  The plan is to set up in a park close to home and operate QRP/P from the great outdoors till I freeze up or I go through one battery pack with the FT817.  Either way I figure that I am good for about 3 hours or so …  Noon till 3 pm or 4pm would be a fun way to spend an afternoon giving out contacts and getting some fresh air at the same time.

So there you have it…  Three events to start off the New Year with…  Hope to hear you at least in one event…

Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob

Christmas Greetings from the RAC Social Media Guy

On behalf of the various authors of the RAC Blog, RACTWEETS and the RAC Facebook Group I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas along with my wishes for a Very Happy New Year.


Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob

EMCOMM – Update 2010-12-21 20:38 UTC

EMCOMM: Severe Weather Alert – Maritimes
2010-12-21

Severe weather including heavy rainfall, severe winds and storm surge is threatening many towns and cities in the Maritimes. The weather system that is causing this disturbance is expected to remain in place for the next 48 hours. During this time all Amateurs are requested to +keep the National ARES Emergency frequencies clear and monitor when able in the event that assistance is required. Also, please pay +particular attention to traffic on local repeaters in the event that calls for assistance are heard.

Thank you for your cooperation

http://www.rac.ca/en/rac/public-service/ares/frequencies/

Doug Mercer VO1DTM
Vice President Field Services
Radio Amateurs of Canada
P.O. Box 1042 Goulds
Newfoundland Labrador A1S 1H2

” We’re ALL about Amateur Radio! ”
” Tous ensemble pour la radioamateur! “

EMCOMM: Severe Weather Alert – Maritimes

Severe Weather Alert – Maritimes
2010-12-21

Severe weather including heavy rainfall, severe winds and storm surge is threatening many towns and cities in the Maritimes. The weather
+system that is causing this disturbance is expected to remain in place for the next 48 hours. During this time all Amateurs are requested to +keep the National ARES Emergency frequencies clear and monitor when able in the event that assistance is required. Also, please pay +particular attention to traffic on local repeaters in the event that calls for assistance are heard.

Thank you for your cooperation

Doug Mercer VO1DTM
Vice President Field Services
Radio Amateurs of Canada
P.O. Box 1042 Goulds
Newfoundland Labrador
A1S 1H2
” We’re ALL about Amateur Radio! ”
” Tous ensemble pour la radioamateur! “

The Party is over…

Well now that the contest is over and I got a bit of sleep…  How much fun did you have and how good or bad did you do???

Why not drop over to our RAC Facebook Group site and leave us a comment on the Wall there .  Lets make that the soapbox for this event…

Now for this event I was the guest of the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club as one of the Operators of VE3JW.  The VE3JW station is located at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa and is sponsored by the OVMRC

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One of the really great things about having the chance to operate at a better station than I have at home is the fact that I hear so much more…  An 40m/80m trapped dipole that is not folded over the tree a couple of times and a tower with a 7 element triband beam… I was in heaven for this event…

A Flex 3000, a TS 2000 and a TS850 were all at my disposal…  I felt like a kid in a Candy store…

Now lots of other groups were out there for the contest and first off a big thank you to the RAC stations who agreed to cause a pile up for the event.  I think we got most of them in the log…

But I do know as we did not make any contacts in VY0, VE8 and VY1 there were at least 3 that we missed…  We heard stations in the North but unfortunately we were unable to make ourselves heard.

So if you have the time why not drop over to the FACEBOOK RAC Site and make let us know what you thought and how you did…

A fellow blogger AA1J made mention of us in a post on his blog and I thought I would share the link with you.

On a personal side of things this week will be a busy one in the VA3QV household as we finish our preps for the big day on the 25th.  I might be a little slow posting here and on the FACEBOOK accounts this week, but as my smartphone does do Twitter this is a good reason to remind you to follow  RACTWEETS on twitter.

It goes without saying that if there is any NEWS that you need to hear it will be posted immediately here, on RACTWEETS, on FACEBOOK and of course on the RAC Bulletin and on the RAC Website.

We are giving you the means to stay informed and all you have to do is pick how you want to be informed…

See you before the “Big Day”

Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob

Bulletin RAC 2010-041F – Le concours d’hiver de RAC

Bulletin RAC 2010-041F – Le concours d’hiver de RAC
2010-12-15

Le concours d’hiver de RAC aura lieu de 0000 à 2359 UTC le 18 décembre 2010.

Les stations suivantes prévoient être actives en utilisant les indicatifs RAC:

Indicatif RAC Commanditaire

VE1RAC VE1PJS
VA2RAC Club Radio Amateur de Québec Inc. (VE2GEJ)
VA3RAC Ottawa ARC (VE3CWM)
VE4RAC VE4BAW
VE5RAC VE5CPU
VE6RAC VE6JY
VE7RAC Clubs Coquitlam, Surrey et Surrey Emergency opérant
sur toutes les bandes à 1 kW
VE8RAC VE8EV
VE9RAC VE9AV à Fredericton
VY0RAC VY0AW opérant sur 40 m. et 80 m.
VY1RAC VY1EI
VY2RAC VY2LI
VO1RAC VO1MX
VO2RAC VO2NS

Une des stations que vous pourriez rechercher en particulier est VE4RAC avec le président de Radio Amateurs du Canada Geoff, VE4BAW, en tant qu’opérateur. Geoff opèrera sur 20, 40 et 80 mètres.

Et, en prime pour tout le monde, soyez à l’affût de BY1RX avec un précédent président de RAC Dave, VO1AU, aux commandes de la station.

Dave planifie de participer au concours d’hiver de RAC avec l’un ou l’autre des indicatifs VO1AU/BY1 ou BY1RX. BY1RX a de très bonnes
antennes et un plein kW. Si vous avez besoin de BY sur une nouvelle bande ou un autre mode, il serait très disposé à faire QSY.

Finalement, un prix consistant en une tasse à café de RAC sera décerné à toute station qui aura fait contact avec toutes les stations RAC.

Prière de mentionner avec votre soumission de résultats si vous avez contacté toutes les stations RAC.

Pour les calculs de points, les fréquences, les logiciels gratuits pour vous aider à soumettre vos résultats et les détails complets au sujet du concours d’hiver de RAC, s.v.p. utiliser ce lien à la page Web de RAC:

http://www.rac.ca/fr/rac/programmes/contests/

(Traduction par Serge Langlois, VE2AWR)

The RAC Insurance Policy

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Since the RAC Bulletin advising Members about the changes to the RAC Insurance Policy came out there have been some questions being raised.  With the intent of keeping our members better informed I have asked 1st vice president Ian MacFarquhar VE9IM to address some of the questions we have heard recently.

I thank him for the time it took to construct his reply to your conerns and questions…

December 16, 2010

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Fast Facts on the New RAC Insurance Program
In order to help in the dialogue around the new RAC Insurance Program we have put together some points to help members understand what has transpired:

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1. The existing Policy could not be renewed:

The previous insurance provider informed RAC during the year that they were reconsidering the policy and may not renew citing concerns over risk. We argued that risk was low as there had never been a claim. They did not cancel with RAC until early December. The cancellation was non-negotiable.

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2. RAC was prudent and proactive:

Having been forewarned, and to be prudent, a RAC committee was formed over the summer, led by a highly experience insurance professional, who is also of ham of over 40 years, to scour the market for the best coverage and value RAC could get. MONTHS of volunteer work went into this.

3. Cost of Insurance has increased:

In the intervening years since the old policy had been negotiated, the costs of this type of liability insurance have risen dramatically. As well the tolerance for risk, as evidenced by the withdrawal of the previous insurer, had changed. Insurers were demanding new conditions and requirements if they were to provide insurance to the RAC organization.
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4. RAC polled Clubs to determine needs:

RAC surveyed the Clubs that were in the Insurance program as to their activities, events and requirements. These were used to insure that the coverage would match the requirements.
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5. Coverage “Gap” uncovered:

Based on the information supplied to RAC by the Clubs, the insurers indicated that the previous policy may not have provided the coverage that many over time assumed it did. The RAC Insurance team were determined to eliminate any gaps and provide a solid option at the best price possible. New conditions are being demanded by Insurers. The new reality is that to provide the kind of solid coverage demanded by RAC members for amateur radio types of activities, including  ARES, the Insurer made certain requirements and stipulations.
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6. Club Incorporation is required by the Insurer, not RAC:

To be perfectly clear, the conditions and requirements to be eligible for coverage are determined by the Insurer, not RAC. Would that it be different, but it is not. For instance, RAC doesn’t require a Club to be incorporated for anything, even Affiliation (although it is encouraged for a Club’s own protection). This requirement is set by the Insurer and was the same with the previous insurer.
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7. Insurer not RAC requires Affiliated Club membership for individual coverage:

RAC doesn’t insist its members be part of an Affiliated Club. This is the Insurer’s requirement, not RAC’s, and only if the individual RAC member wants to be eligible for personal coverage. Again, these requirements were stipulated by the Insurance Company, not RAC.
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8. Discrimination by RAC ? :

The Insurer’s insistence that only RAC members of an Affiliated Club would be eligible for personal coverage came as a surprise to the RAC Insurance team and we worked vigorously to have this requirement removed, without complete success. The insurer had its reasons for this which we are lead to believe are of a legal nature, and they were immovable on it. Regardless, we worked hard and developed a “work
around” for those RAC members not in an Affiliated Club. We got the
Insurer to accept a compromise whereby a RAC member could join ANY
RAC insured Affiliated Club and instantly be eligible for coverage. Again,
RAC didn’t invent this requirement the Insurer did. We simply tried to find a way to make it more workable for our members. And we spent a huge amount of personal volunteer time achieving this. We are examining the possibility of establishing a national insured RAC Affiliated Club for 2012 which could be joined for essentially the individual insurance cost.
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9. “Cash grab “ ? :

The RAC insurance program operates on a not for profit, cost recovery basis. The fees collected from Clubs for insurance are used for, and only for, payment of the premium RAC has to pay for the master policy. RAC DOES NOT MAKE ANY MONEY FROM THIS PROGRAM. Far from being a “cash grab”, RAC has lost money on the this program for years and even now carefully struggles to try and break even.
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10. Cost is too high :

The cost of this kind of coverage from insurers has more than doubled in recent years. RAC has no choice but to charge more just to try and break even. These costs are beyond the control of RAC. Insurance companies have advised that the cost of equivalent coverage for a club would be higher in the open marketplace. Bear in mind that RAC has to PREPAY the complete policy insurance premium, up front at the beginning of the year and then try an re-coup it, club by club. The insurance companies insist on payment at the commencement of coverage so RAC is on the hook for the total cost from the get go.
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11. Fee for Non RAC Club members is too high:

Should RAC members be subsidizing non RAC members in their Club for coverage ? The higher fee for non RAC members in a Club is the only way to try and provide some fairness and equity. As RAC is doing all the work and taking all the risk, financial and otherwise it seems logical that RAC members in a club should benefit.
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12. Not enough time:

This was an unfortunate reality. The previous insurer would not let us know definitively whether they would renew or not until early December. We had to have an alternate plan ready to go, which we did, and then act as quickly as possible. We polled clubs in October for information and tried to get all our ducks in a row as best we could. We ALL would have liked more time for this but it was not in the cards.

If you have any questions or require more information, please contact the RAC Insurance Manager, Jerry Beneteau at VE3EXT@primus.ca

Ian MacFarquhar P.Eng. VE9IM
1st Vice President
Radio Amateurs of Canada
December 16, 2010

As always if you have any concerns on this or any other RAC statement you can contact me via email ( VA3QV@rac.ca ) and I will pass your concerns on to the Director or Executive member  best suited to look into your query.

Just remember…  The original Amateur Radio Social Media device used a “Key” and not a “Keyboard”.

73 from Ottawa… Bob