Archive for September, 2009

Walk, talk, beware: Texting dangerous for pedestrians

September 19, 2009

Well it must be happening soon.  Yesterdays article in the National Post and then today’s article in the Ottawa Citizen. (link to complete article below) which seems to be warning us of whats coming this way…

As usual my main comments, thoughts and fears are on how this could affect the Amateur Radio side of things as this  is an Amateur Radio Blog.

Quoting from the article (link below) gives us:

“Newfoundland and Labrador banned use of hand-held cellphones while driving in 2003.

Quebec and Nova Scotia introduced similar bans in 2008. In October, drivers in Ontario face fines of up to $500 for cellphone use while driving. Alberta, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are considering similar bans. No jurisdiction in North America has issued a total ban on cellphone use in vehicles.”

Now the above statement for the most part is just background information but its good to know.  Has anyone out there seen any other locations that have amateurs out there screaming  that they have been banned from operating their amateur radios during mobile operations?  I have not seen or heard the rumblings of this so I am going to guess that Ontario’s Bill C118 will most likely be “Status Quo” with the other provinces.

Now one thing I noticed today while reading the Ottawa Citizen Article (link below) is:

“drivers in Ontario face fines of up to $500 for cellphone use while driving”.

The thought of only a $500.00 fine (and the article says “up to”) has me believing that this will be a charge we see on a fairly regular basis in our local courthouse.  I also see this being the first charge with the second charge being “Dangerous operation of a Motor Vehicle…”  It appears to me (and I am no lawyer) that get seen using your hands held device while  operating a vehicle and its a $500.00 warning.  Cause any serious (or not so serious) issues at the same time and get the book thrown at you.

Once again getting back to two basics….   The first being that so far nothing we have seen mentions amateur radio so we avoid the basic $500.00 warning but still could get hit with the Second more serious charge depending on the Descretion of the the Officer.

Remember that this could apply to anyone (the guy who looks at the pretty girl at the bus stop, or the mom who looks at her crying child in the back seat for a split second…  The “careless driving” or ” Dangerous Operation of a motor vehicle” charges have always been there and do not specify what sort of distraction needed…

The second thing is all we know for sure is that the law is coming but right now how they define things are still in the open.  I have not seen anything that would appear to give the people who will be enforcing the Highway Traffic Act any direction on this matter.  We have seen quotes from the minister but so far nothing in writing.

In fairness we don’t really need a law to tell us how to be behave…  or to be more correct we should not…..  However one is coming and once again its kind of a good thing as you might be driving towards me or a member of my family in the near future.

Here is an interesting article on the current topic from the Ottawa Citizen

Walk, talk, beware: Texting dangerous for pedestrians

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73bob

73bob

More on Driving while distracted

September 18, 2009

Recently we have been watching the news for anything that might give us as amateurs a hint of what to expect when Bill C 118 finally becomes law.

The comments from the minister made in the National Post (and I quote from the National Post) might just clarify the position

“Jim Bradley made that statement yesterday, after telling reporters the province’s new distracted driving legislation will take effect by the end of October. The new law will make it illegal to talk, text or email on any handheld device while driving.”

Although we as amateurs would like our rights spelled out in “plain english”.   I believe that the ministers statement quoted above does just that…  Its as straight of an answer that we could expect from any politician…

“The new law will make it illegal to talk, text or email on any handheld device while driving.”

He has singled out hand held devices.  He mentions nothing of CBs, Amateur Mobile Radios or Private Commercial Radios.  He does however mention handheld devices.

I read this as Private Commercal handhelds, Cell Phones, “Mike Style” (Bell 10-4) radios and unfortunately handheld Amateur Radios.  This effects me as my “Mike” phone falls under the “no way list” both as a hand held radio and a cell phone but I can live with it…

However on the bright side he seems to be leaving mobile radios alone so I for now am not going to worry about using my FT 857 while mobile.  It would be properly secured (mounted), it is not hand held, and it can’t text message…

I do understand that I could still be charged with driving while distracted if the officer noticed me driving in a way he deemed unsafe while operating any device in my car and I for one am ok with that…

Lets hope the burocrats that actually write the law and the officers who will be enforcing it look at what the minister intended from his statement…

If you follow the link (below) you will see the complete article…

http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=2005820

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73bob

My neighbors only complained about the antenna

September 17, 2009

I guess I’m lucky….  One complaint and a bit of discussion and all is good in the neighborhood again….

Some people have it harder and take it much harder….

Here is a story from the Kitchener-Waterloo Record which describes  what happens when some idiot does not like the 120 footer that was being used by a local internet provider…

The link to the actual story is here…

And the story is here (as well)…

===================

Police search for person who cut down communication tower, knocking out internet service in southwestern Ontario

Submitted photo
The sabotage of a tower cut internet service to much of southwestern Ontario.

Submitted photoThe sabotage of a tower cut internet service to much of southwestern Ontario.
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September 16, 2009

By Cherri Greeno, Record staff

MAPLETON TOWNSHIP — More than 7,000 people throughout southwestern Ontario had their Internet connection abruptly shut off this weekend after someone cut down a steel communications tower in Wellington County.

“To think somebody would actually do something like this – you just shake your head,” said Richard Cantin, president of Everus Communications, the Waterloo- Holstein based company that owns the tower.

“I doubt it was a very mature person,” Cantin said. “A mature person would think twice about doing this.”

Internet service to homes in Waterloo and to Grey, Wellington, Dufferin, Perth and Bruce counties were cut off around 2 a.m. Saturday after someone cut the base of a 120-foot tower, which was located in a field off Wellington Road 7 near Road 12.

Everus network servers and other gear that was located at an equipment shelter attached to the tower were also destroyed as the tower collapsed.

“It took planning, it was deliberate,” Cantin said. “This isn’t a normal event.”

Cantin doubts the vandalism was a prank.

“There’s a lot of things it could be,” he said. “We’re just trying to narrow that down to try and figure out who did it.”

Wellington OPP Const. Mark Cloes said it’s clear the vandalism was a “deliberate act.

“It could be a competitor or someone who had a grudge or someone who doesn’t like towers,” Cloes said. “You just never know.”

Damage to the tower is estimated at $100,000.

Cloes called it a “very rare incident” and said whoever is responsible is lucky they didn’t get injured.

“It’s extremely dangerous,” he said. “You need trained people to fell a tree properly. It would be the exact same with the tower. It could have seriously injured or killed someone.”

He said officers are working very hard to find whoever is responsible.

Cantin said most of his customers have had their service rerouted through other towers and links but that service is slow due to high traffic. He plans to have the tower back up and running within two weeks.

He said the customers are being very supportive and want to help catch whoever is responsible.

Anyone with information can e-mail Cantin at rcantin@everusinc.com or contact police at 519-323-3130 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

cgreeno@therecord.com

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My thanks go out to “therecord.com” for providing the story….

73bob

A couple of 40m contacts

September 17, 2009

Its been a while since I have spun the dial down to the lower part of the 40m band.

Before I go much further I will mention to my international readers that for years and years 7.055 has been the frequency for the Trans Provincal Net which is a voice net that ran (runs) daily from 7am to 5pm.  When the band started to go long a couple of years ago the interest in the net started to fade (as so did the band) and now its rare that you hear much there except CW signals…

Well this morning I decided to spin down before the COMSONT Net started up on 7.153 and much to my suprise there was several old friends trying to keep things going.  I was able to hear the station on the VE2/VE9 Border and I was able to hear the VE3 Station near Sault Ste Marie.

Unfortunately the band was too long to hear much else but there was activity there…

I’m hoping we finally get 40 back as it used to be a great ragchew frequency for daytime use.  I remember driving downtown in the afternoons to pick up my wife at work and talking around the province from around 2pm to 4pm.  After 4pm the band started to go long and it was time to QSY to 80m and then the fun started again….

Hopefully the good times will return sooner or later but I’m hoping sooner…

73bob

VA3 and VE3 Dust off the gear and get ready

September 14, 2009

Now if that title does not get your attention then nothing will…

Saturday October 3rd ARES ONTARIO and EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ONTARIO through the EMO ARES Group will be conducting the 2009 SET Exercise.  The HF Nets will be coordinated by the Ontario Phone Net (NTS)

This will be a Province Wide exercise that will be using HF (40m & 80m) VHF (linked repeaters, IRLP and ECHOLINK) along with some Digital Modes (PSK 31, Winlink 2000 and AX25 Packet)

So Ontario Amateurs dust off the gear and get ready to put your training to use…

73bob

OARC Carp Hamfest

September 12, 2009

Well I just got back home from the CARP Arena which is home to the CARP Hamfest which is held by the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club.  The turnout was excellent with a great supply of Amateur Equipment with all 98 Tables rented.

oarc

In additon there were all the Big Vendors there as well…

Enjoy some Pictures from the event…

CARP_AMSATAMSAT was there…

CARP_ARES1

CARP_ARES2

CARP_ARES3And so was the Local ARES Crew

CARP_QCWA_1

CARP_QCWA_2And the QCWA was there as well…

CARP_VA3MPMCARP_VA3RDC

Mike VA3MPM             and          Daryl VA3RDC

from the 3730 group were there…

3730

And the Vendors were there as well…

CARP_DURHAMRADIO

CARP_ELKEL

CARP_MACFARLINE

CARP_RADIOHF

CARP_RADIOWORLD

As an added bonus and my way of saying “Thanks” to the above major vendors who showed up and supported our local hamfest if you click on their pictures (above) it should bring you to their respective websites so if you did not find what you wanted at CARP you can always take a look and find it on the WWW…..

Hope you enjoyed your tour of the OARC CARP Hamfest….  It had a great turnout… and was run as a first rate event….

Thanks go out to Don VA3GFD for letting me ride in the co pilots seat there and back….

73bob

VY0O- an update from his QRZ Site

September 10, 2009

If you follow this link to the VY0O QRZ.com site you will get the up to date information on what Cezar had to endure  just to make this dxpediton happen for us.

I was one of the 3000 QSo’s he made (20m SSB) and for me it was a new IOTA and a new Canadian Call District as it was my first VY0 contact which made it double good…

Hopefully there will be enough support from the international Amateur Radio Community to encourage him to try this again…

73bob

Bill C118 is a Popular topic today…

September 9, 2009

Well if I was to open up the blog so you could access all the stats (not going to happen) you would see that the topic of the day today is Ontario’s Bill C118.  That is the law that will look into the act of “Driving while Distracted”.

Even our own well known and very informative RAC Blog has been giving this topic alot of bandwidth recently.  VE3HG and VE3BDB both have had very good articles in the blog recently on what we could do as Ontario Amateurs, on what we could do as RAC Members and what RAC could do for us if the membership funds allowed it…

This in itself is a big issue which I will be addressing in a future series of posts but its only common sense that if we are going to have a National Body such as RAC to lobby on our behalf then we have to support them with our membership dues.  We have to give them the tools so they can do what we expect them to do….

But back to the present time for now…  I am expecting (predicting) that we will come away from bill C118 with little damage.  Most of its common sense anyway…  The intent of the Bill has always been to restrict those in the world who insist on being distracted by their wireless toys and the very worst of us who insist on reading emails and text messaging on the IPHONES, Blackberries and the like while driving.

Chatting on an amateur radio never really has been proven to be too distractive as long as the radio was properly mounted and not bouncing around on the seat beside you anyway…

Amateur Radios, CB Radios and Private Commercal Radios play a big part of the highway traffic and I just don’t see them banning all of that.  They always had the right to lay a careless driving charge and still will after this bill becomes enforced…

We should know shortly whats going on….

73bob

Ottawa Hamfest Reminder-repost

September 8, 2009

oarc

P.O. Box 8873, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 3J2

Ottawa ARC 13th Annual Hamfest & Forum.

NOTE: New date!! September 12, 2009

Sponsored by the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club inc.
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2009
Place: Carp Agricultural Fairgrounds,
3832 Carp Road (at Falldown Lane),
Ottawa (Carp), Ontario.
From Ottawa, take Highway 417 West to Carp Road exit, then 11 km North to the fairgrounds. Hamfest is located in the arena, so follow the signs on the site.

Last years event was a great success and this year should be as well…

bobatcarp2

I was there last year and plan to be there early this year…

73bob

Rare DX on the Long Weekend

September 7, 2009

I guess I should start this off my giving you  my idea of “RARE DX”…

Seeing that I live in a major city in a “Garden Home” (row house/condo style) development and my back yard is 20 feet by 20 feet and there are some restrictions on antennas and their visability  I use the term “Rare DX” to be defined as  the following:

Any station outside North America and Europe…

Any IOTA DXPedition…

Any DXPedition…

Hawaii &  Alaska…VY1, VY0 & VE8…

Any Station I can hear that is not Groundwave on 15m or 10m and 6m

Due to where I live and my antenna restictions I am limited to the following antennas:

I use an approximate 70 foot long Inverted “L” for 10 to 160m.  It is fed with RG8X and a 4:1 commercal balun.  I use a radial system that is wound around the inside of my fence and so the maximun length on any one radial is 40 feet long.  The inverted “L” runs from a tree in my back yard over my home to a tree in my front yard.  All the radials are in my back yard which faces east and the driven element of the antenna runs east to west…

I have a 10-80m tapped coil vertical that really likes 10-12-15-17-20m which I use ground mounted and tie it into the radial system for the inverted “L”.  This antenna is only put up for contests to give me a different radiation pattern for those days when the inverted “L” just is not enough.

I also use various single band dipoles for 6 to 20m which are tied up a couple of trees I can access but are not kept up as not to draw attention to wire not completely in my property area. Average height of these dipoles is 20 feet above ground.

So as you can see given the definate antenna restrictions any contact is one that normally brings a smile to my face…

This weekend I was able to snag VY0O which was an Island DXPedition in VY0 (Nunavut) (Northern Canada) along with 4Z4DX in the country of Israel.

Now to your hard core DXers with towers, beams and a KW…  I can hear you yawning and saying “So what…Big Deal…”  But to someone with a simple wire inverted L antenna or a ground mounted vertical running 100w for me its a big deal…  And big deals keep me excited about amateur radio and keep me in the hobby…

If I get bored then you have nothing to read and laff at…

There were more contacts but they were in Europe which I seem to always get with no problems with all the radials for the inverted L facing East and some south west states along with western Canada…  Nothing that I concider rare but nice contacts none the less.

Hope your weekend was as good as mine was….

Dont forget that if you are in VE3Land that there are two hamfests coming up this Saturday Sepember 12…  Carp Ontario (just west of Ottawa) and Barrie Ontario (just north of Toronto) so you have two chances to buy toys, sell valuable equipment and grab a coffee and chat in person with someone who you normally only hear on the air…

73bob


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