Monthly Archive for January, 2011

News from the Loyalist ARES Group

On the past weekend the Loyalist ARES Group provided much needed communications support for the Eldorado Dog Sled Race. From reading their blog posting( click on the ARES Logo on the left) it looks like they used one 2m repeater and also had about 12 hardy souls come out and operate in the very cold weather Ontario has this past weekend.


To those who came out to participate….  Well Done

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

73 from Ottawa… Bob

VE8 Amateurs assist NASA

Now if you remember a couple of days ago on the RACTWEETS Twitter account I posted the following:

RACTWEETS RAC HQ NanoSail-D Ejects: NASA Seeks Amateur Radio Operators’ Aid to Listen for Beacon Signal via @NASA21 Jan

RACTWEETS RAC HQ Urgent– help find ‘lost’ solar sail via radio: via @addthis21 Jan  

RACTWEETS RAC HQ Stubborn nano-satellite finally pops out – This Just In – Blogs via @cnn21

Well as it turns out Amateur Radio came through and the “Bird” was heard by some VE8′s…

Thanks to AMSAT Twitter account we get the following:

AMSAT AMSAT VE8EV/VE8NE team confirms @NanoSailD sail deployment Great work!

So for the complete story I recommend you head over to the VE8EV Amateur Radio Blog.

In passing I’ll mention that John was one of the station operator for VE8RAC recently during the RAC Canada Winter Contest and he also is an avid DXer and Contester who has given many rare IOTA numbers out during his DXPeditions and also given a bunch of not so avid DXers the rare VE8 Prefix for their logs (me included in this one).

Well done (again) John

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

73 from Ottawa… Bob


RAC will be at Dayton 2011

In this mornings EMAIL was the following from Geoff:

The Radio Amateurs of Canada has been absent for too long from the Dayton Hamfest. In 2011 groups ranging from ARRL, JRRL, DARC, IARU were present and profiling their organizations.

In 2011 RAC intends to join them. RAC is currently arranging for a booth at this world class hamfest.

The RAC is an amateur lead and run organization and is looking for volunteers to help run the booth at the hamfest. We are also looking for a Team Leader to pull RAC’s contribution together.

If you are interested in profiling your counties national organization to an international audiemce please call our office at 1 877 273 8304 and register your interest.

Ah yes and we will pay the admittance of helpful volunteers.
Geoff Bawden  VE4BAW
President and Chair RAC

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

73 from Ottawa… Bob

From the Ontario STM VE3GNA/VA3OPN

The Section Traffic Manager (STM) for Ontario Glenn Killam VE3GNA has sent us some exerpts from the Brass Pounders Quarterly.  This pertains to the NTS System and well worth reading.

Follows are parts of the quarterly article on NTS


Bob: I have snipped out what I believe are the main points to the
newsletter. They may be editable to some degree due to their length.

If any of the material is used, please ensure that reference is made to the originating document, namely the Brass Pounders’ Quarterly vol V issue 1.

Thanks and 73,
Perhaps a header along the lines of :

“Where is NTS Going in the Future?” from Richard Webb, NF5B, Central Area Chair.




A fork in the road

Well folks, that’s where we are right now, we’re standing at a fork
in the road. One branch leads us toward the untried, an unfamiliar
route along paths we’ve never traveled before. The other fork
takes us past familiar scenes, everything’s just as it always has
been, but that way leads to ultimate failure. Taking the fork
which leads to the unfamiliar is going to require some work on our
part. There are places along the road where we’re going to have to
get out and push a little bit. The going isn’t going to be smooth,
the bumps haven’t been nicely taken care of by the maintainers,
because we’re essentially breaking trail here. The crews haven’t
been out to clearly mark hazards with signs and use the other heavy
equipment to smooth the way for us.

There are two things needed to be done if we choose to take the
unfamiliar way, but again, along that way leads opportunities for
growth, continued relevance and a good possibility of a renewed
interest in what we’re about among the general population of radio

Both of the tasks that need doing to smooth our journey along this
new path are of equal import. First, I hope everyone has had a
look at the new NTS Methods practices and guidelines chapter 6. As
you know, the MPG can be found in Appendix B of the ARRL Public
Service Communications Manual. The new appendix B chapter 6 has
not yet been folded into the pSCM however, but see elsewhere in
this issue to find your way to it on the web. These concepts go a
great deal of the way toward a robust messaging system of the
future, but, they only do this if they’re implemented. TO get that
implementation we need to be sure that those winlink sysops who put
up those packet radio gateways on vhf and uhf are aware of this
work. Then, there ar going to be gaps that need filling with
capable hf stations.

Comments from the trenches

Over the last few months there has been some discussion amongst
NTS leaders and others regarding the future of NTS. The
following are comments I’ve received from active
radio amateurs from within both Ares and NTS. My conclusions
follow their comments.

Note the common thread in all of these comments. those comments,
and similar that I’ve received over the last five years are
reflected in the thinking which went into the white paper I
composed from september through December of 2010.

A long time ntsd traffic handler and leader writes:

National EmComm Traffic system proposal (For example, can NTS be
more effective during emergencies or do we need something
completely new?)

The current NTS is not currently able to respond in a prompt
fashion without internet notifications which take place outside the
RF world. The NTS should be able to function in a “ramped up”
fashion in response to events. Training should be the same as the
exercises, and should be the same as the real events.

The ARRL killed, or hid or suppressed, much of the work that took
place in 2004 and 2005. The world has changed in the last 5-6
years. Some of the material is still current; some is not. An
ICS213 or any other format is only a format. The ability to move
the “information package” is the part the NTS needs to address. Can
the NTS move information point to point in a timely fashion is the

A local ares leader from TEnnessee with a variety of experiences in
various emergency response organizations writes:

ARES has bought into the idea we MUST have a served agency. This
violates the idea of the Emergency Coordinator, what is he
coordinating. This also gives the served agency the veto on ARES
membership. Thus the EC is reduced to a recruiter with training and
management residing in the served agency

In short the problem has been around a while. Unfortunately neither
service, NTS or ARES by enlarge, has kept up with the rapid changes
in communications technology. Back in the day, tube technology, AM
and the Novice license, the current net plan may have been the best
way to pass messages across the county. The capability of the
Amateur Radio infrastructure; including repeaters mobile and Ht
equipment, was valuable to the local community. This was in the day
a Motorola HT220 cost $1,000 per. Many smaller communities could
not afford the cost of such systems which also required a repeater.
Now with the cell phone industry providing a similar infrastructure
at low cost the current Amateur Radio infrastructure is seen as
unnecessary to many of our government agencies. NTS also is looked
at as to slow and not reliable for EMCOMM use by most emergency
responding agencies. Another thought has also come into my head.
That is the personalities that are drawn to ARES and NTS. NTS is an
ordered scheduled system, in normal operation. Thus most NTS
operators can schedule their participation around the various NTS
net schedules. ARES on the other hand is seen as the unscheduled
immediate response organization which also draws many of those that
want to be in the lime light or seek official recognition from
local government agencies. Also by not having a single management
structure there is no perceived or actual national coordination
between the two services. NTS as currently structured is unable to
provide the required long haul message handling that is required
for large scale disaster response. ARES, for the most part, is
unable to provide NTS with messages in the proper format. We
realize the problem, and maybe even the source of the problem.

The real question is, what is the solution?

Can NTS restructure itself to meet the needs of ARES during a large scale disaster? Can  ARES be required to have Radiogram format trained operators as well  as the competence to operate on NTS nets?

I could go along with a training requirement for EC’s and above as
well as performance requirements for certifying any ARES
organization. A similar requirement may be needed for NTS NCS and
above. AT least NTS does provide continued reinforcement in the net
held and traffic that is passed. Until we professionalize the ARES
side and make NTS responsive to the needs of ARES both may be
heading for the grave yard as functional services.

One real problem the ARRL made was to push for ARES to provide
services to one served agency. This holds ARES hostage to the needs
of a single local agency without the thought of interagency
communications. Interoperability has been the buzz word for the
last 5 years but we, the Amateur Radio community, have not taken
this to heart. In my opinion ARES can best serve the local
community by knowing and working with multiple agencies. No single
agency would control the local ARES group but help support the
training and communications needs of the local community. ARES has
lost site of the definition of coordinator used in the title of all
ARRL appointed ARES positions.

Not all agencies need a full range of communications services. Some
need only local communications. Others need long range
communications, but does each agency need a dedicated team to
provide them or could one team provide the same service for
multiple agencies? One example of a real problem with ARES serving
a single agency. County A uses ARES for local hospital
communications. The next county uses ARES for EMA communications.
County C they are ARC members. County D is ties to Satern. Now
County C needs to coordinate medical evacuees with County A. Can
this be done? And County D could use the help of county B for
traffic control. I do not see much coordination under this
K, rant done. Just very frustrated within the current structure
and lack of even a concept of professionalism, or do they even

My comments:
The sad truth is the man makes some valid points. We have allowed
ourselves to miss the forest as we look at trees. Instead of
adaptability and flexibility we’ve got various entities and
organizations that don’t work well together and poor participation
in emergency communications among the amateur radio community. YEt
if you ask the majority of amateur radio operators they’ll tell you
that emergency communications is one of the primary reasons that
the service exists. IF the majority of radio amateur agree with
this they don’t show it by participating. Have our leaders
bothered to consider why this is so? some are, hence some of the
efforts that are ongoing to improve participation and provide
better service to the public we serve.

An emergency coordinator from Indiana sent the following comments
by email to some colleagues …

Referencing the INdiana traffic net (on ssb).

1) the net runs at two times a day when most fully employed
operators aren’t available. I work a 7:30 to 4:30pm schedule. By
the time I get home at 5:15, the net is over. I suspect only
retirees or unemployed operators can routinely check into the ITN
due to schedule conflicts.

2) I question the relevancy of the current ITN mission to serve
EmComm. Nearly all the traffic handled falls into one of 3

a) Happy Birthday, you aren’t SK yet

b) Congratulations on your license upgrade, real hams know code so
learn it NOW!

c) Your license is about to expire, so get off your butt and renew

I understand the need for practice and if these are the only
messages that can serve as practice, then so be it. Most hams
aren’t motivated to handle mundane traffic that originates from the
same Oklahoma station just to earn top score in the PSHR each

The NTS needs a mission overhaul that focuses on customer needs
rather than a self-serving mission that keeps outdated ham
practices on life support.

summing up

I hear comments such as those above from a variety
of individuals. Average hams have a scheduling problem with
current NTS structure and aren’t inclined to even participate
regularly in section phone nets because many involve too much time
spent unproductively. Many of the section phone nets utilize a
format with a long drawn out role call which is unnecessary. When
propagation conditions deteriorate these nets often don’t even
utilize relay stations effectively. Section nets that choose
counties or other geographic entities alphabetically and therefore
result in long role calls taking 45 minutes to an hour should
endeavor to call different sections of the alphabet first so as to
give the poor folks in counties beginning with letters t through z
a chance to be first, get in and get out. NTS phone nets need to
provide better training and relevant service to today’s amateur
operator. Region and area “guard frequency” nets such as I propose
allow NTS to develop better training tools serving a variety of
subsets of the amateur population whilst providing useful and
relevant training to operators. Though it must be admitted that
the bulk book traffic *does* provide some training opportunities
its usefulness is limited as a primary training tool. Currently it
is the only NTS training tool which reaches most amateurs. All one
need do is listen closely to a variety of section phone nets for a
period of a few days to realize that net controls themselves often
are not properly trained, or exposed to an operation which would be
similar to that which would be needed for emergency communications
phone circuits.

NEts such as those on 14300 khz; Satern, MIdcars/southcars, etc. do
a better job at exposing net control operators to the variety of
conditions that will be encountered when controlling a busy
tactical or other emcomm circuit using voice. NEt controls are
exposed to how to work with relays; medical and other emergencies;
malicious interference; untrained operators with communications
needs that must be met, etc. NTS section phone nets in some
sections are well run operations, but others are “hi bubba did ya
catch any fish today” sessions. Any emcomm circuit, including the
health and welfare or information net is going to be a very busy
circuit and net controls must know how to prioritize the handling
of business effectively. MOst of these section nets don’t even
acquaint operators handling traffic with building a stack off
frequency allowing the net to continue with other business. IN
short, NTS offers poor training for today’s radio amateur instead
of the operating skills he or she needs to learn.

The preceding paragraphs make some strong statements that fly in
the face of conventional NTS thinking, and every time such
statements are made we hear the same old tired whine that the
person making them is advocating the abandonment of cw. Quite the
contrary! Those of us who have been around any time at all
understand the value of fostering the skill. So, please move past
that and consider the following in support of those statements I

I’ve participated more than once in a busy network in support of
such an activity as a parade, marathon, bike event or other
activity. Net control often cannot acknowledge more than one
station and handle each in turn in an orderly fashion. Net control
often is the person expected to copy participant numbers and other
information which must be copied accurately. Yet you never hear ncs
do a read back or in any other way verify that he copied the
traffic accurately and in full.

Most section and local nets do not provide the intensive training
needed for net controls to be at all comfortable handling a busy
net such as those which will be needed during emergencies or

we hear all this talk of “professionalizing” emergency
communications, but within this talk we never hear about
professionalizing the operational side. Yes, knowing about the
incident command structure is a must, knowing how to devise and
critique exercises is important as well! However, our operators
such as our net controls should present a professional sounding
efficient operation to their fellow amateurs, and the public, which
*will* be listening.

Even local nets are going to require seasoned skilled net control
operators. Repeater systems may fail and automated links be
unavailable. Controlling a busy tactical or other net on simplex
where net control can’t hear all the stations utilizing net
services, and all stations can’t hear each other is a challenge.
That challenge is met every day in the world of utility comms, and
has been now since there was such a thing as radiotelephony. This
skill is basically ignored in training available to operators who
only control local and section nets. AS I stated above, some
section phone nets are well run efficient operations. Others not so
much so.

NTS needs to broaden and deepen its activities if it truly wishes
to remain viable and relevant. To that end I’ve composed a white
paper discussing some possible ways forward for the system and the system’s possible long term goals. You can download it on the web at>

If you have any points you would like to discuss with the Ontario STM on the topic of the NTS , Glenn can be reached via email at or via his blog at

VE7CVA Field Day 2010

Today’s movie comes to us from our friends in VE7Land who posted an exceptional You Tube Video on Field Day 2010.  Their comments were as follows:
“Here is a video we made at the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society’s (VE7CVA/VE7RVC) Field Day in 2010. We were set up at a local community hall and had twenty operators present.”

Good Production Technique in the Video and also Nice Toys in the video itself

Thanks to Gabor Horvath, VE7DXG for bringing this to my attention

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

73 from Ottawa… Bob

Bulletins RAC 2011-001F

Bulletins RAC 2011-001F : Doug Mein, VA3DM, nommé conseiller spécial pour l’organisation des Services extérieurs de RAC

Doug Mein, VA3DM, nommé conseiller spécial pour l’organisation des Services extérieurs de RAC.

Je suis très heureux d’annoncer la nomination de Doug Mein VA3DM en tant que conseiller spécial pour l’organisation des Services extérieurs de Radio Amateurs du Canada. Doug est radioamateur depuis plusieurs années et détient les qualifications de base, de code Morse et avancée.

Doug possède d’importants antécédents et il est retraité de Transport Canada après 33 ans de service. Au moment des attaques terroristes du 11 septembre contre les États-Unis, Doug était directeur des services de navigation aérienne et de la division de l’espace aérien de Transport Canada à Ottawa, jouant un rôle-clé dans la coordination des opérations du département et prenant des actions décisives au nom du gouvernement canadien. Doug demeure à Alliston en Ontario.

L’attention de Doug se portera sur les sujets stratégiques qui affectent l’organisation des Services extérieurs de Radio Amateurs du Canada nationalement.

Je suis sûr que vous vous joindrez tous à moi pour souhaiter la bienvenue à Doug.


Doug Mercer VO1DTM
Vice-président Services extérieurs
Radio Amateurs du Canada
B.P. 1042 Goulds
Terre-Neuve et Labrador
A1S 1H2

” Tous ensemble pour la radio amateur! ”

(Traduction par Serge Langlois, VE2AWR)

RAC Bulletin 2011-001E

RAC Bulletin 2011-001E : Doug Mein VA3DM appointed Special Advisor to the RAC Field Organization

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Doug Mein VA3DM, Special Advisor to the Radio Amateurs of Canada Field Organization. Doug has been a Ham for many years and holds basic, morse and advanced qualification.

Doug has an extensive background and is retired from Transport Canada after 33 years of service. During the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Doug was Director of Transport Canada’s Air Navigation Services and Airspace Branch in Ottawa, playing a key role in coordinating department operations and taking decisive action on behalf of the Canadian Government. Doug resides in Alliston, Ontario.

Doug’s focus will be with strategic matters that effect the Radio Amateurs of Canada Field Organization nationally.

I know that you will all join me in welcoming Doug.


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! ”


Submarine Museums and Radio Rooms

The following was forwarded to me as an email by VE4BAW.  I added a few pictures off the internet to dress things up a bit but the text is courtesy of Donald Courcy,  VE2CW.

As you will see from reading through his article he has a great deal of love for our submarine fleet and he wears the dolphins proudly…


HMCS OJIBWA is a cold war Canadian Oberon Class submarine which
was in  service in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1965 to 1998. The
submarine has  been acquired by the Elgin Military Museum of St. Thomas,
Ontario and  will soon be towed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Port Burwell, Ontario  where it will be preserved and operated as a submarine museum.

Plans are being prepared to restore the radio room onboard the
submarine as an active ham radio club station, operating under
call sign VA3ZFQ,  in memory of OJIBWA’s former international call sign CZFQ.

I am a former submariner who served onboard submarines HMCS
OJIBWA, HMCS  ONONDAGA and HMCS OKANAGAN during the cold war. I have agreed to  sponsor call sign VA3ZFQ until a local ham radio operator in the  Port Burwell  area, with an advanced radio certificate, comes forward to take  over as  the sponsor.

Call sign VA3ZFQ has just been assigned to HMCS OJIBWA Submarine
MuseumAmateur Radio Club (HOSMARC). To view the VA3ZFQ info at, CLICK ON THE PICTURE OF THE SUB (ABOVE)

Once the submarine has been towed from Halifax and installed at Port
Burwell, the restoration of the radio room will begin.
Volunteers will  be needed to assist in the project. We will also be looking for old  naval radio equipment. Details about the radio room restoration
will be  posted in the coming months on the:

VA3ZFQ page at

For more information about The Ojibwa Project in Port Burwell,
Ontario, click on the Museum Logo (above)

If you are interested in helping out during the restoration of
the radio  room onboard OJIBWA, and/or in joining the HMCS OJIBWA Submarine  MuseumAmateur Radio Club (HOSMARC), send an email to

You might recall that I was involved in a similar endeavour 3
years ago  in Rimouski, Quebec, where OJIBWA’s sister submarine HMCS
ONONDAGA was  installed as a submarine museum. The radio room onboard ONONDAGA  is now  on the air as a ham radio club station and operating under call sign  VA2GNQ in memory of ONONDAGA’s former international call sign  CGNQ. The  station is operated by members of the St-Lawrence Amateur Radio  Club found at

For more information about HMCS ONONDAGA’s ham radio club
station, please click the sub (above)

For more information about HMCS ONONDAGA’s Submarine Museum in Rimouski,Quebec,click the sub (below)

Donald Courcy,  VE2CW
Sous-marinier Partenaire: Musée du sous-marin ONONDAGA -
Rimouski, QC
Member # S72-0007 – Ships Company – HMCS OJIBWA Submarine Museum
- Port Burwell, ON
Sponsor for VA3ZFQ – HMCS OJIBWA Submarine Museum Amateur Radio Club (HOSMARC) – Port Burwell, ON

Member: Submariners Association of Canada
Member # 0732 – North American QRP CW Club
Member # 15344 – FISTS (The International Morse Preservation Society)
Member: Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC)
Membre: Radio Amateur du Québec (RAQI)
Member: Submarine Veteran Amateur Radio Club (SVARA)
Member: Club Radio Amateur Rive-Sud de Montréal
Webmaster and Radio History Keeper:
Personal Website:


So thanks again to Donald for sharing this information with us and many many thanks for doing all this work to get the Subs Radio Rooms back on the air.

Donald also advises that the story (in much more detail) will be coming out in a TCA Article in the future.

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

73 from Ottawa… Bob

RAC President attends ARRL Board Meeting

As part of the cooperation and warm relationhip between RAC and ARRL the President of RAC has traditionally been invited to attend the twice yearly Board of Directors meeting held in Windsor Falls, Connecticut. This January, the President of RAC, Mr, Geoffrey Bawden, VE4BAW drove From his QTH of Winnipeg to New England to attend the Board meeting as an observer. The 15 Directors and senior officers of ARRL meet twice annually to define policy for the US association representing the interests of their 156K members and approximately 700K US amateurs.

The President and Chair of ARRL is Kay Craigie, N3KN and the Secretar is David Sumner, K1ZZ. Also in attendence as an observer is IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD.

The ARRL is the world’s largest amateur radio association and is headquartered in Newington, Connecticut. This association is a key driver both within the United States and worldwide for the interests of hams.


Geoff Bawden VE4BAW

President and Chair, RAC

January 21/11

From the Ontario Section Manager

New Appointment of Assistant Section Manager for Ontario as of January 12, 2011

As many of you know RAC is moving ahead with great changes and it is
a very exciting times for RAC and the Field Services. As Section
Manager for Ontario my area of responsibility is going to increase
over the next few months as we move the program forward. As such I
realize that I can not do it alone. I need to build a strong Ontario
Team that will move our Section in line with the National Level
however with the interests of Ontario in mind. So having said that I
am very pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Hickey VE3IPC,
Assistant Section Manager (ASM) for the Ontario ARES.  Michael has
been a Ham for many years and holds his basic and advanced qualifications.

Michael has been with ARES since the early 90′s and in 1998 accepted
the appointment of first EC for Prescott-Russell Counties lasting 6
years.  In 2004 he accepted the appointment of DEC and continues to
oversee and develop what were two non-developed ARES Districts now
making up Eastern Ontario.  He is the originator of the ARES District
Mutual Aid Program (DMAP) manual.  He now promotes ARES to ‘student
officials’ that attend the week long course at the Canadian Emergency
Management College in Ottawa.  Michael has a background in commercial
sales, marketing and promoting.

Michael’s focus will be to put together a steering committee and
working groups to deal with pressing issues that will affect the
Ontario Field Organization starting with the Incorporation of ARES in
Ontario and a number of other important key issues.   Michael will
also act as my adviser regarding similar issues being worked by each
Section Manager working in concert with the ARES National level.

Please join me in welcoming Michael to the Ontario ARES Section.

Allan Boyd – VE3AJB
Section Manager Ontario
Radio Amateurs of Canada