Playing catch up…. Part 1 Field Day

July 3, 2015

Sorry folks but this one is very graphic intensive….lots of pics…

Wow whatta week….

Hard to believe that a week ago today Trisha and I were loading up the camper for our first real road trip…. Now its time to share it with you…  The whole trip was radio related in one way or another….

On Friday June 26th we left Ottawa for the Red Devils Airsoft site just outside of Kemptville Ontario.  Airsoft for those of you not in the know (as I was and still am for that matter) seems to be a sport simular to “Paintball” but done with smaller ammo…  They use a small plastic BB (for the lack of a better word to describe it) and replica air powered guns…  The uniforms they use are also very realistic.

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Mark (the owner of Red Devils Airsoft) was nice enough to let us set up some gear and so we were able to participate in Field Day 2015 from his location.  I was participating with the VE3ORF/3730 group from Ottawa as one of the operators of their 2A station along with many others.  He did warn us that on Saturday he did have an event scheduled so we would have lots of visitors.  By my rough count his event brought in just over 100 Airsoft competitors (but more on that later).

20150627_164002We arrived at his site around noon and parked the camper in is assigned location and stretched out the awning and set up the solar panels.  (15w panel charging the RV Isolated Battery/ 7w panel charging the RV Battery/ 3w panel charging the 70ah sla battery that powers the radio stuff)

This was a test of not only our Amateur Radio skills but also seeing what was working and what was not with the camper itself as this was our first real trip of the season…

20150626_130346After we got our own gear (non radio) set up we went over to see if we could help with the setting up of the antennas that the group would be using…

20150626_142756We were running a 2A station and both stations had a 3 element tribander at their disposal and a 130 foot doublet fed with 450 ohm ladder line.  The GOTA station used a 10-40m vertical and the VHF/6m station used a 1/4 w dipole on 6m (5/8w on 2m)

Later in the day the others started arriving and we had a bit of a ham parking lot in our midst along with 2 other campers…

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After the work was done Friday night was a bit of a social evening with supper then bragging about DX contacts, and other stuff that hams do so well.  Also the 3 stations got well tested out during the evening as well….

Saturday am …. WE GOT INVADED….

The airsoft event started and suddenly appearing in the parking lot across from my camper were 100 people dressed like a combination of Seal Team 6 and Rambo…

20150627_091831I immediately surrendered and walked over to chat with a bunch of them….  This was my first introduction to their sport and they seemed to take it very seriously (just like us hams) and they were happy to explain the hobby to an outsider.

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For more information on the AIRSOFT Sport please use the above link to contact Mark- Owner of RED DEVILS Airsoft-   He is a great host… a real nice guy…. and a new friend…

2015 Field Day Logo Red Design 1

The rest of the morning was a bit loud (they do use sound effects) and as all the radio stuff seemed to be done last night we just took it easy till the 2pm start of Field Day.

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At 2pm EDST the games began….

My tasking was to operate the VHF Station from my camper…  Try and make a few contacts….

ntsredAnd most importantly try and pass the NTS Field Day Message to the Ontario Sections Manager VE3IPC who would be participating in Field Day from the Prescott Russell ARES (approx 90 kms away from us)  This was well withing the groundwave distance for 6m as I have worked PR ARES on 6m before during Section Exercises…

I was able to pass the NTS Message but it was my only 6m contact of Field Day…  I heard a couple of other Ottawa area stations but it seems that their beams were not aimed at me…. To be honest my dipole was also aimed due east so i could get the best signal out to Prescott Russell along with the fact that I figured the best chance of getting contacts would be from the east as there is a strong VHF Contingent is Vermont and Montreal…  I heard both,  but the stations they seems to be working were to the south east and not the north east….  But at least the traffic got passed…

Saturday evening passed and after a great BBQ supper it was time to get some sleep before I was to operate the HF station in the morning…

Late Saturday night and early Sunday morning the skies opened up….  The joke the “Last Rainy Weekend in June” suddenly was not a joke….  Our camper was dry and so was the radio gear that was set up but the tent campers were looking a bit soggy….

I did my shift in the SSB station and worked mostly on 40m and 80m using the doublet which worked quite well…. Just as 80 was starting to fade…. 20 was starting to pick up but my relief also came in they got to play on 20m and 40m….

20150628_100102Above pic the SSB Station

Below pic the CW Station

20150628_100059After my stint on SSB finished I went out and had some breakfast and also helped some of the flooded out campers get squared away….

20150628_09592820150628_095940Anywhere you did not see green was mud…. I almost fell a couple of times…  It was that slippery….

Soon enough the rains sort of stopped…. and we started tearing down and packing up….. A little after 2pm we finished packing and Trisha and myself left the site and drove over to the Rideau River Provincal Park to have a couple of days of Rest and Relaxation (after Field Day) to get ready for the RAC Canada Day Contest….

But that is another story in itself….

73bob

At the Montfort Hospital Annual General Meeting- June 17 2015

July 2, 2015

For the purists out there…

WARNING-  This is a non amateur related post

I will return to talking about Ham Radio and more Field Day/Canada Day Contest stuff in the next post….


 I wanted to share this with you earlier…. but between Field Day Preparations and other stuff…. I was out of touch for a few days and during that time the Email from the Montfort Communications Dept came in with the youtube link I could share with you…  I tried to post it but had little luck using my tablet while out on Field Day and the Canada Day Contest effort from Kemptville… So better late than never here it is…


 

If you think back to February 11th 2015 and to be more specific my blog posting of that date you will remember that  I rambled on about how pleased and thankful I was for the excellent services provided to Liz and myself during the last year by the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa.

twitter_logo_headerIf you follow me on Twitter (@VA3QV) you often see me saying nice things about the Montfort Hospital ( @hopitalmontfort)

After that post I started corresponding via email and phone with the Hospital Corporate Communications Dept and they wanted more information on my experiences with them.  They also asked for permission to re-blog my posting on their blog which I happily granted.  You can check out their blog if you like.

I was asked to come in and talk to their Communications Dept in person and we had a great chat about my two stays in the Hospital and the  FIZZIO treatments that Liz and I had received (Cardio and Ortho for me and Cardio /Pulminary for Liz).  I was more than pleased to talk about the people who gave both Liz and myself part of our lives back.

Shortly after that meeting I was asked if I would consent to being interviewed for a video that would be shown at the Hospitals AGM which would be held on June 17th.  I agreed and then I waited for the date.  The video interview was a success (as you will see later in this post they do great work in the offices as well as on the floor) .  After seeing (and approving) the video I as asked if we (Liz and myself) would attend the AGM.  I jumped at the chance to thank some of the people who directly or indirectly were responsible for our health care successes.

Montfort_Management

The above picture shows yours truly (center)  with the President of the Board, Alain-Michel Sékula (on the left), and the CEO of the Hospital, Dr Bernard Leduc (on the right). 

The meeting was informative and educational.  The meeting was also carried out in French and I was pleased (shocked) to see how quickly my language skills (that I thought I had lost) started to come back to me.  However as a courtesy everyone who talked to me quickly reverted to English when they realized my limitations in French… Which is exactly the way I was treated there as a patient and later an out patient…   I will note however that their English skills were far better than my French skills….

There were 3 testimonial videos shown and mine was one of them.

I was amazed by the number of Hospital Dept Heads that came over to me and thanked me for my “kind words”…  I am at a meeting that I might not of been to without the services they provided and they thank me???

At the end of the day…. We (Liz and myself) got a chance to thank those who helped us….  We were pleased to do so…  This is not the end of our experiences with the Montfort….  Follow up appointments for both knees are in my future (I call them warranty checks ) and  Liz could be returning for more Pulminary Fizzio in the late fall…  We both have our problems but given our advancing years that is to be expected.  The Montfort is doing their best to make them minor problems…

Montfort_Communications

A Special SHOUT OUT to the Communications Dept at the Montfort Hospital for the excellent work (in my opinion) in the video that follows….  Just like everyone else I met at the Montfort … they are fantastic at what they do…

 

To my regulars…  Thanks for reading….  We now return you to our regular scheduled hobby…

73bob

 

 

 

After the RAC Canada Day Contest

July 2, 2015
Well it WAS FUN…

The plan was not to take it too seriously and give out contacts… I had planned to give out more than I did….

But MURPHY came for a visit….

The 4:1 balun on my W3EDP is advertised as NOT BEING WATER RESISTANT and it seems that LDG is truthful in their advertising. It was left on the picnic table and the skies opened up… When I found it after …soaked… Shortly after that I was unable to load up the W3EDP on 80 and 160m. I was able to do that earlier so I am predicting that moisture to be the culprit.

I had my Par QRP end fed tribander with me as well so I used that with S9 43 foot telescopic support and operated the best I could…

As it turned out… the best I could was pretty good… Operating casually as planned I managed contacts in VO1, VO2, VE1, VY2, VE2, VE3, VE4, VE5, VE6, VE7 and VY0… Missing VE8, VE9 and VY1 … and won’t be getting them as I decided to pull the plug and lower the antenna as I am hearing the rumblings of thunder getting louder.

About 80% of my contacts were made on 20m with the remainder being on 40m and 15m… The Par will work on 15m with the tuner but its not that efficient…

JUST TO REMIND YOU… I WAS OPERATING QRP SSB fron a campsite… Not from the comfort of the shack… It will be a week long field day effort by the time the RV makes it home…

Till next time

73bob

Bob Sharp VA3QV/VA3RCS

VA3QV.wordpress.com
rvsandradio.wordpress.com

Final Preps for Canada Day Contest

June 30, 2015
Good afternoon from Rideau River Provincial Park… still here and almost dry… and wishing that it was easier to blog with my tablet…

Well the actual preps would be charging the battery … but that will happen tomorow (Tues) afternoon so everything is ready for 0000 hrs utc on July 1st..

I tested out the Ft817/W3EDP antenna combo and everything seems to be working great. I managed contacts on 20m, 40m and 80m ssb and considering I AM OPERATING QRP the reports were good…

My 80m QRPSSB contact was with VE3ISX Barry in Hamilton Ont. Barry is the Net Manager of the ONTARS NET which is 3.755 daily between 6am with the warm up till 6pm.

Check out their website at http://www.ontars.com

Till you are away from your creature comforts ( I left Liz my cell phone) you don’t realize the valu of the HF Nets like ONTARS. You can find a friendly voice on the nets… Why not check into ONTARS or the TPN on 7.055 OR 1 of the daily nets on 14.300 and let them know that you appreciate the service they offer us…

Now back to the antenna stuff again..

I slso have a 6m vertical up and it also likes 2m so… it gives me 2 more bands to give out contacts on… Although the W3EDP works great on 10 to 80m every now and again it will even tolerate 160m but the tuner does have to work at it…

Hopefully tomorrow is one of those days…

I hope that I get you in the log…
Bob Sharp VA3QV/VA3RCS

VA3QV.wordpress.com
rvsandradio.wordpress.com

From the Field Day site 2

June 28, 2015
its wet…

Remember my joke about the last rainy weekend in June?

Its true…

I have operated 6m ssb and 40/80m ssb and made a few contacts…

Trisha and I are having a good time but so far Sunday is very wet…

more later..

73bob

Bob Sharp VA3QV/VA3RCS

VA3QV.wordpress.com
rvsandradio.wordpress.com

From the field day site 1

June 28, 2015

Kemptville Ontario Friday June 29th

We are here…

Google Maps APRS

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Google Maps APRSaprs.fi · Login Show last: 15 minutes 30 minutes 1 hour 3 hours 6 hours 12 hours 24 hours 2 days 3 days 4 days 5 days 6 days 7 days Track tail length:
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We have arrived….

First thing is to get our own setup up and running…. and I don’t mean the radio gear…. That would be next….

We have to get the Coleman Stove set up…. The BBQ set up and also get the tarp up for some shade along with some protection from the rain that we always seem to get over Field Day…. There is a reason they call it the "Last rainy weekend in June"…

BTW this posts and the ones for the next week will be sent using my tablet…. So if they are not up to the usual standards or just look different… You know why….

Time to get back to work…. more later

73bob

Bob Sharp VA3QV/VA3RCS

VA3QV.wordpress.com
rvsandradio.wordpress.com

From the field day site 1

June 28, 2015
Its Sat am and at 7am the invasion started…

We knew we were sharing the property with airsoft competion… Its kinda like paintball but the ammo is smaller… However the participants dress the part… Check the pic at the bottom of this post…

But back to radio…

As of 5pm VE3ORF is doing well… There was a 10 m opening and the bands so far seem to be cooperating… I have been operating 6m qrp ssb. The antenna is a simple dipole and so far its working but no rare dx yet …

I did manage a contact with VA3PRR who is at the eastern end of Ontario east… bout 50 miles away or so… no 2 bad for a qrp groundwave contact…

Taking a break to recharge the batteries and will be back on the air later…

73bob

Bob Sharp VA3QV/VA3RCS

VA3QV.wordpress.com
rvsandradio.wordpress.com

Doing the last minute preparations for Field Day 2015

June 25, 2015

As every ham knows (all the active ones at least) ….  This weekend is Field Day...

2015 Field Day Logo Red Design 1.

3730group.

My daughter Trisha (NOCALL) and myself we will be loading up VA3QV/m early Friday morning and heading to Kemptville Ontario to join the VE3ORF/3730 group Field Day effort….

,

camper5The support for the Delta Loop attaches to the spare tire carrier on the front and the W3EDP or the Par End Fed will attach to the S9 43 foot Telescopic mast attached to the Luggage Rack Ladder on the rear of the camper

camper7

The food is in the freezer awaiting transfer to the cooler as is the soft drinks and a few “Daddy Pops” (807’s  to the Amateur Community….)

For my part the radio toys will be as follows:


FT817_LDG_Z11_Combo

The rig will be my FT 817 (what else would I bring?) along with my LDG QRP Auto tuner…


NEWW3EDPThe primary antenna for HF will be my home brewed W3EDP (10m to 80m) The back up antenna for HF will be my Par QRP End Fed (10m to 40m) ,


6m_Delta_Loop

I will be bringing a 6m delta loop for the VHF bands. 


As far as powering all these toys….

I have my 70 ah sla battery that will be powering my FT 817 along with a small LED desk lamp and the 300w inverter that will be needed every couple of hours to charge the batteries on my laptop so I can continue logging…

smallsolar3I will have a 15w solar panel connected to the battery to keep it topped up….

(Thanks to Coleman for the loan of the graphic…  I also like their Green Stoves as well… and will be using one at Field Day)

coleman-425c-stove.The model I use is the Propane version…  Uses the little green tank on the side rather than the red tank on the front… Also the one in the picture is way cleaner than mine has been recently…

Now with 5w and various wire antennas I have no expections….  The Solar Flux Indicators are not looking too good right now and the long range predictions are not looking too promising….

aurora-forecast-solar-storm-march17Its an old pic used for the graphic only… not part of the forecast….

But…. it is what it is….  We can’t expect nice weather and great radio conditions every time we go out into the field….  We will be comfortable….  we will be dry…. If there was an emergency we would be in a lot worse conditions

So as I said earlier….  All thats left is to pack the gear up tomorrow… Liz is looking forward to getting it out of her living room…

Hope to get you in the log over the weekend….

73bob

CanadaFlagSunset1

ps……  I think I mentioned this earlier but after Field Day we will be staying in the area for a few days Rest and Relaxation…  I will be operating QRP/p for the RAC Canada Day Contest but it will be casual operating only… 

Hopefully I will be able to give you that rare Ontario multi… or the even rarer “ONE” (Ontario East) for Field Day

If you hear me on 6m I will be in FN 24 for Field Day and FN 25 for Canada Day

73bob

The last “Rainy Weekend” in June

June 20, 2015

We are 7 days from the “Last Rainy Weekend in June”… 

canadadayflag1americanflag

To most of you that means the weekend before Canada Day or fhe Weekend before the 4th of July….

2015 Field Day Logo Red Design 1Click on the above logo to go to the ARRL Field Day Site

But to the Amateur Radio Community everyone knows the Last Rainy Weekend in June is more commonly known as “Field Day”

Field Day is a 24 hour long Emergency Exercise that starts on Saturday at 2pm and runs for 24 hours.  For those 24 hours Amateur Radio Operators from across North America bring their gear out of their homes, out of their comfort levels and set up portable stations and prove that if there was a disaster in their local areas they have the capability to communicate with the rest of the world if the other means of communications fail…

WhenAllElseFails

Now in this day and age people expect that the normal means of communications are robust but there are also recent examples of “it failing”…

If you would like to see some examples of Field Day setups in the Ottawa Area….


ovmrclogo

The Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club will be set up at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum…  Talk in on VE3TWO Repeater 147,300  +


oarc

The Ottawa Amateur Radio Club will be at St Pauls University on Main St in Ottawa.  Talk in on VE2CRA Repeater 146.940 – ctcss 100.0


3730group

The 3730/VE3ORF Group will be in Kemptville Ontario.  Talk in on VE3ORF Repeater  VE3ORF 146.850 –  ctcss 136.5


RIXLOGE

The Manotick Amateur Radio Group is participating in Field Day this year but has not announced their site according to their website.  Talk in should be on VE3TEL 147.030 –


The Ottawa Valley QRP Society will be at the church at 971 Woodroffe Ave in Ottawa.  Woodroffe just north of the 417 highway.  No talk in frequency given but in previous years they have used VE3MPC Repeater 147.150 +


ares450

The Prescott Russel Amateur Radio Emergency Service (PR ARES)  will be South and West of Clarence Creek Ontario.  The talk in will be on 147.330 +


If my plans come together … my daughter Trisha and myself will be in Kemptville Ontario with the VE3ORF/3730 group.  The new VA3QV RV Mobile will be there for the weekend.  Hope you can drop in and say hi…

camper8and if my mobile internet is stable from the Field Day site you should be able to find us on APRS.FI

If the map shows me being South of Hwy 43 and west of the South Gower Road then the location should be fairly accurate…

If you’re a Ham then you should be participating…. and if you’re interested in the hobby and you want to see Amateur Radio in a different light…. Find a site to visit….

Now if you are not in the Ottawa area….  The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has an interactive map with all the Field Day Sites listed…  Feel Free to drop in to the closest one to you…  Follow this link…

So…  Hope to hear you on the air…

73bob

Its a “Back to Basics” day…

June 19, 2015

If you look at my log…. the last 15 contacts are listed at the bottom of my QRZ.com page you might notice that I’m having a bit of a slump.  According to the log its been 3 weeks since my last HF contact.  In actuality I have made a couple of 40m and 80m ssb contacts but they were local and I did not log them…

logbook

While cleaning out my basement looking for much needed piece of camping equipment I came across my early logbooks (VE3YBC book 1 to book 7 ) which covered my early amateur life.  Contacts logged from my first call on 2m FM to my first year after getting my HF Privs.

I was logging all calls back then because I was worried (paranoid) about getting RFI complaints….  My agreement with my landlord (same one as I have now) was a simple one.  I was allowed to put up an Amateur Radio Antenna….  It should not stand out too much (read verticals and wires)…. It must stay within the confines of my own yards (front or back)  Until recently we had a maple tree in the back yard… its still there and an Ash Tree in the front yard and my Inverted “L” antenna ran from the backyard to the front yard using the trees as supports.  The Ash was a victim of the Emerald Ash Borer and is no longer giving us shade (and supporting my antenna).

The big issue was RFI.   The agreement also stated that any RFI would be deemed my fault and I would have to take any and all steps necessary to elimate the interference including shutting down.  I figured my best defence against that was logging all my calls (knowing that 2m fm did not interfere) and hope that if there were complaints I could use the defence of ” I’ve been operating since 1991 and have had no complaints…. Suddenly we get a complaint…. Look at my logs books…  Its not me!!!”   Now I only got one RFI complaint and that was when the 6m repeater VE3RVI was operating from my QTH before it found its way to its current home.  I explained that the repeater was being tested and was moving to its new home soon…  They suggested sooner than later and we pulled the plug….  Problem solved…

Now that I should have more time on my hands…. (retired)….  I find that I’m spending less time in the shack than I did in the past…. More to do at a time I should have less to do….

Granted the RV is keeping me busy…. and the yard needs raking…. and Liz wants me to continue cleaning out the basement….  (at the rate this one is going I think we might actually make it into an apt next year) but it does seem that I have less time to sit in the shack and just play radio….

So today….  Its a play radio day…. The plan is to sit in the shack and let the Flex do its thing….  SSB or CW…. I want to get some contacts in the log today….

6m_Delta_Loop

While in the shack I also have to do a quick repair on my 6m delta loop as I think it will be needed at Field day.  But other than that…. Lets play some radio….

VA3QV_1

Now if my morning in the shack has proven that the bands are in good shape then there is an excellent chance of the FT 817 heading out to a local park in the afternoon…

Hope to get you in the log today….

73bob


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