Adding to my blogroll

April 29, 2016

Happy Friday….

As the conditions have not been that good for 5w and a wire recently I have been spending more of my time in the shack “surfing” rather than playing radio. 

In my travels I found Craig’s Blog and Craig’s website and found it to be really informative and interesting

In my blogroll on the right hand side of your screen you will now see WB3GCK and I strongly suggest if you are interested in QRP and Portable Ops you take a look…

Enjoy your weekend…


News from RAC (follow up)

April 28, 2016

If you can remember back to my posting of March 22nd 2016 where I posted the following:

I draw your attention to this from the RAC Bulletin Service… RAC announcing that they are having an election for a position vacant on the Board of Directors.  Now the fact that they are having an election is not good news…The fact that its not an acclimation or an appointment is GREAT News.  There were two amateurs who cared enough about their hobby to run for the position which caused the election is FANTASTIC news.  If my memory serves me correctly this would be the 2nd Election held for board openings in recent history.  Ontario South (ONS) Director  VA3QR Phil McBride was elected in September 3rd 2015.

Back in the day….  When I was a RAC member and a RAC volunteer we used to see lots of uncontested elections followed by appointments…It appeared that things were getting stale…The fact that people are wanting volunteer for these important positions is another step in the right direction for RAC on their road to recovery.

Well here we are a little over a month later and the following comes to my email inbox courtesy of the RAC Bulletin Service:

RAC Bulletin: April 2016

New RAC Director for Alberta/NWT/NU Region

RAC would like to welcome Ernest Clintberg, VE6EC/VE6ECK, as our newly elected Director for the Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Region. Ernest was elected by the members of the region and will complete the remainder of a two-year term that started on January 1, 2016 and will end on December 31, 2017.

Ernest was born in Edmonton and grew up in Boyle, Alberta, a village on the way to Fort McMurray. He graduated from the University of Alberta (U of A) with a degree in Science (Major in Physics) in 1973 and obtained his Master’s degree in Education (1987), followed by a Doctorate in Education (2005). In 1975, he began his career as a teacher for the County of Parkland in Alberta and was appointed as an Assistant Principal (1977) and Principal (1986). He joined the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) as an Executive Staff Officer in 2000, a career that led him to assist teachers in employment matters and collective bargaining. In 2005 he was appointed as the ATA Coordinator of Teacher Welfare, and in 2008 he was promoted to the position of Associate Executive Secretary of the ATA (Deputy CEO), a position he held until his retirement in 2011. Currently, in retirement, Ernest serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta and has provided day-by-day service at the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Ernest resides in Spruce Grove, Alberta with his wife Linda. They have been married 45 years and have two children and two grandchildren.

Amateur Radio has been an interest of Ernest’s since age 12 when he found a kit-built crystal radio in his parent’s attic along with a set of surplus magnetic headphones. Thus began his interest in electronics. His mother took him out to visit Bonar Wilt, VE6HU (SK), who became his first Elmer. Bonar demonstrated his station, talked about the hobby and encouraged Ernest to get his ticket; however, it was not until much later that Ernest realized this goal.

Ernest was first licensed as VE6ECK in 1992 and he obtained his Advanced certificate in 1995 as well as a 12 wpm Morse Code certification. Over the past 23 years in Amateur Radio, his interests have been focused on the HF spectrum and contesting. He has set up a modest HF station which can be heard, depending on conditions, during many contests. He is particularly interested in those sponsored by RAC.

Since 2003 he has acted as Director of the North Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club he has served as its Secretary since 2011. He has been a RAC member since 1995 and also holds memberships in the Northern Alberta Amateur Radio Club (NARC), the Quarter Century Amateur Radio Club (QCARC), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and Ten-Ten International. In addition to his club commitments, he has served on a number of communication teams assisting community groups in events that have included the promotion of Amateur Radio as a hobby.

Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA RAC President and Chair

720 Belfast Road, #217 Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5

613-244-4367, 1- 877-273-8304


Wow…. more new blood coming into the Executive of RAC and what I consider to be the most important was that it was via an election. 

Not an acclimation or an appointment… but an actual election

There were two qualified amateurs who were willing to take on the job…  The membership have spoken and the new director will be taking over his position (if I read the bulletin correctly ) immediately…

Congrats to Ernest on his election and also thanks for caring about Amateur Radio in Canada… also Kudos to the management at RAC for being able to entice new blood to step up to the plate…



ps….  You can subscribe to the RAC Bulletin Service.  Follow this link to their website and look around from there or follow link for info on subscribing.


The Final results from the 2015 CQ WW CW

April 27, 2016

Just to refresh your memory ….

Let me take you back in time to right after the contest

From my Blog Posting on the Monday after the contest…

Well (for a change) lots happened here this weekend and most of it was amateur radio related…


Starting on the Friday evening (0000 UTC Saturday) until Sunday at noon (1700 UTC) I participated in the CQ WW CW Contest.  This was my first time participating in a MAJOR CW only contest and it was a learning experience to say the least.

In the last 2 years operating with the Flex 1500 ( I got it in November 2013) never before have I seen the Pan Adaper Display filled with so many signals.  I was overwhelmed to say the very least.  My decoder was overwhelmed as well and I was looking for islolated signals that I could work until the operators spread out for a while…

I previously knew that this was going to be a casual effort but I still had hopes of making lots of contacts… 

Well for me I made lots and was pleased with my results….  For a real contester they probally would look at my score and then say:

“So what did you do for the other 47 hours?”

But in the time I operated for (aprox 12 hours) I managed to make 100 contacts…. Out of those 100 contacts I worked 28 DXCC entities and out of those 28DXCC entities I managed to get 8 new ones in my quest for the QRP CW DXCC.


North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Oceanana (Hawaii) all were worked using 5w and a wire…

At the time I was not planning to submit a log (other than a check log) as I was under the impression that my poor copying of the exchange would adversely effect those who were taking the contest more seriously than I did…  After talking via email to a few serious contesters who live in Ottawa I was encouraged to submit my logs  and see where fate took me…

I did and here are the results:

After the log checking took place I managed a score of 11,473….  That consisted of 85 QSOs in 49 different DXCC entities  in 28 distinct CQ Zones



That score was good enough for 5th place in Canada (4th in Ont)in the Single Operator All Bands QRP Category

Not a record score…. but a good starting point…  I’m not sure  how much better it will get until my CW skills improve 10000% .  Most of my log errors were caused by my CW reader not copying the info sent to me correctly.  These quys were sending faster than my decoder could decode and the spectrum was fairly crowded and that can make a big difference in what CW Get (which does an excellent job for me when I’m DXing) was thinking it was hearing. 


The rest of my errors I’ll blame on the old “too many fingers on the keyboard” excuse or just not taking the time to double check that what I read on the screen was what I typed in the log….This was the first serious contest I ever participated in and I did find it overwhelming. 

The “Big Guns” play for keeps….

But as I have said many times over the years….  If it was not for the “Pop guns” out there the “Big guns ” would have no one to talk to…


And using 5w and a wire I consider myself to be a serious “Pop gun”

Hopefully see you on the bands…



P5DX (sk)

April 26, 2016

I have no insider knowledge  on this… just what I read on the blog of N6PSE….  His blog is one of many you will find on my blogroll on the right hand side of your screen….

It seems the planned P5 DXPedition has been cancelled. 

As a QRP Operator in VE3Land it means little as I can’t hear much from that area of the world anyway.  To many others it means an opportunity lost….

You can read about it here and draw your own conclusions

I would like to thank N6PSE for his efforts to activate a new one and am sorry for any funds he has lost in his efforts to help the DXers (myself included) out there.  I honestly doubt they would of heard my puny 5w ssb signal or if I could even hear their 100w signal, let alone break the mother of all pile ups… but….

It would of been fun trying…

Thanks for your efforts  Paul…



April 22, 2016

Don’t know how many hams that applies to these days…  I’m retired so Friday is just a day rather than the start of the weekend…We seem to be getting older at a remarkable rate…  The major radio organisations tell us that our hobby is growing but is it getting any younger?

However…. hopefully there are younger hams out there and here one way we could make them feel a little more welcome:

soapbox-600Contesting-  Just about every weekend there is either a State/Province QSO Party.  The rules are usually easy to follow…  Host stations work everyone…  Visitor stations work the host stations.  (a host station would be an Ontario station in the Ontario QSO Party and the Visitor station would be any other station not in Ontario)Some Parties are SSB and/or CW but a few of the more progressive groups are now welcoming the Digital Modes into the fray. 

In my opinion this is a great thing.  Lots of the new (and younger) hams seem to be into the many digital modes. 

By adapting the QSO Party rules to include digital you now open up the party to a new  enthusiastic group of participants. 

And I think that in most cases your local QSO Party is in desperate need of a shot of new blood….  and everyone’s scores get better when you have more participants to contact so why not add digital?


The above is just a suggestion…. but why not bring this to the attention of your State/Province group that runs your local QSO Party?  If they like the suggestion then take the credit for the idea…  If they don’t blame it on me…  Everyone else does…

On to another topic…

It has been brought to my attention that a few comments made on this blog seems to be lost in Cyberspace.  You posted them and they never showed up…  I do not moderate comments as long as they are on topic and the topic is ham radio.  I do have to approve your first comment but once I approve your first comment you are good…

I don’t know where you comment went (if you posted one) but the problem seems to be fixed for now so feel free to resubmit your comments….

But just to remind you…. I will remove a comment that I feel is in bad taste or downright nasty.  No vicious attacks please…. but I will also tell you why I removed it… and give you the chance to get your point across without getting removed. 


Enjoy your weekend….  Dayton is getting closer….  Hamfest season has started… and  camping season will be soon here…


New addition to my Blogroll

April 19, 2016

If you check on the right hand side of your screen you will see (underneath the blog stats) “Blogroll” and “Blogroll- Canadian Content

While surfing around yesterday I came across this site and after reading through it find it to have some excellent content. (FT 817, Portable antennas, Portable Operating) which I also enjoy so I thought I would share it with you….

I recommend you check out:

Jeff | VA2SS – Ham Radio World

In my opinion it makes for some good reading…



CQ WW CW Results- coming soon

April 19, 2016

cq_logoIf you participated in the 2015 CQWW CW contest the results should be posted soon.  Earlier I received an email from them with my log checking report.  This proves (without a doubt) that I am not a contester…

I do a great job giving out contacts to those who contest but it seems that somewhere between the signals coming in and me transcribing the data into my computer logging program there is a severe problem.

This should explain it all:

 16748 Claimed score
   11473 Final   score

   10.5% Error Rate based on claimed and final qso counts
       2 (2.0%) calls copied incorrectly
       3 (3.0%) exchanges copied incorrectly
       5 (5.0%) not in log
       5 (5.0%) duplicates (Removed without penalty)
       0 (0.0%) calls unique to this log only (not removed)

Although my score dropped by quite a bit….  my actual placing in QRP-ALL BANDS  NA(27th)  and Canada (5th) should not change if I can take what the standings were before log checking as a guide.  Its a good thing that not that many VE/VA/VY/VO ops were QRP for the contest…

However….  It proves that I have no problem making contacts with 5w and a wire but it also proves that I have a severe issue copying what I hear/see (or what I think I hear/see)  into my log.  This is something I need to work on or just don’t submit scores and go back to just giving out contacts…

I had fun giving out contacts for a short time in the Ontario QSO Party last weekend.  I was able to spend an hour in the shack on Saturday evening and managed to give out the rare “OTT” multi a few times on 40m SSB.  I also managed an 80m cw contact but it was easier to work ssb stations which proved to be a more efficient way to spend the little time that I had.

My meager logs for the OQP have already been uploaded to LoTW and EQSL along with my Logbook for all to see.

A few more warm days and the parks should finally be dried out and then it will be time to get the 817 out for its annual spring test…

Enjoy your week…




Weekend QSO Party activity

April 15, 2016

As it seems with every weekend there are some QSO Parties out there….  Give a listen on the weekend (April 16-17)for stations in the Ontario QSO Party and the Michigan QSO Party…

The rules for the Ontario QSO Party can be found here


The rules for the Michigan QSO Party can be found here


And one really nice thing about these two contests is that Ontario and Michigan are in effect neighbors.  Definitely in the same propagation pattern so if you work a W8 station in Michigan you should have no trouble working a VA3/VE3 in Ontario.

This gives you an excellent chance to work both contests at the same time.  In the past I have given out contacts in both and just copying the needed exchanges and then submit my logs to both groups.  Never a high score but it is fun to give out the contacts.

For those of you who participated in the recent North Carolina/South Carolina QSO Parties take note…..

that both the Ontario and Michigan are Phone and CW only.  No Digital Modes this weekend….

Hopefully that is something that will get changed at some time in the future….

This year I did have plans to operate seriously in the contests from a rare (for Ontario) location using my camper.  Well unfortunately with the last gasp of winter hitting us rather hard in March and the beginning of April the camper is not ready for the road yet. I could not get it out of the storage yard till the snow melted…



The green tube you see attached to the ladder is a S9 43 foot vertical that works quite well as a quasi-portable antenna when parked…

As I type this I am waiting for a call from my mechanic telling me he has moved the camper inside to do some needed (before the summer big trip) repairs.  So needless to say a serious effort will not be made from home.  I will however give out some of the (not so) Rare Ottawa Multiplier to whoever I can get in the log on Saturday evening after supper….

It is a fun contest though….  The last time I participated on a more than casual level VA3PCJ Jose, VA2EPR Tom and myself did a QRP day DXPedition to Foymount Ontario (Renfrew County)  and operated from the top of the mountain where the old Cold War Radar Base was (CFS Foymount)  We drove up to the top of the mountain in the rain to find out at the top it was actually freezing rain and snow….


For More info on CFS Foymount click on the Crest

Nothing build character more that trying to install antennas in the freezing rain and then trying to find a place out of the wind to operate from to stay out of the freezing rain…


We managed to give out lots of contacts using our QRP Gear (VA2EPR- FT 817, VA3PCJ- IC 703, VA3QV- FT 817) and VA3PCJ actually came 1st in Renfrew County when the scores were all tallied…


You can read about our efforts using this link

So if you need the OTT multi you should find me on 40m or 80m after supper on Saturday and I hope you have fun in the contests…


Radio activity (or lack thereof) update

April 12, 2016

Well…  someone told me the bands were not that great recently and from what I am seeing in my log they appear to be correct…  I am still making some contacts but the quantity has greatly diminished in the last weeks.


On any given day between 15-20 and 40m my QRP PSK signals seem to make it south (Florida), Southwest (Texas), West(Washington) along with a few states in the middle along any of those paths…


I am hearing some European stations (Spain always comes in strong) but they don’t seem to be hearing me… or at least as well as they used to…

north and south america map

I have made a few contacts in Brazil but usually nothing further south than Texas…

Perhaps it is the slightly weaker band conditions but at least I am making some contacts (19 since the first of the month) including the USA, Brazil, Germany and Spain.  But although the signal reports coming to me seem normal and PSK Reporter shows that I am getting my signal out it seems that only a very few are actually replying to my calls…

But again as I am still making contacts with “5w and a wire” I can’t really complain but it is a drastic change from what I was doing earlier this year… OH WELL!!!

I am not considering a change in my operating practices (yet) but I am starting to think the next addition to the shack might be a 100w rig just for those few days that I more than “5w and a wire…”  Remember the wire is about as good as it gets from my restricted location so the only think I can really do to improve the signals from home is to up the power slightly…

As the bands continue to deteriorate as we expect them to for the next little while…. I might have to compensate…

Sad but true….


Digital update (after 80 days)

April 5, 2016

Well the famed author Jules Verne went around the world in 80 days and I can’t brag the same…




However it been about 80 days since I decided to dabble in the “Soundcard Digital Modes” and I thought I would give you an update on howz things are going for a “Digital newbie”…

Right off the bat as I started this digital experiment early in Jan…. It has been 80 calender days but as I don’t usually step into the shack on the weekends so the operating time has actually been a bit less but for the purposes of the posting …. close enough…


I have been confirmed in 35 states via EQSL or 34 states via LoTW.  There are a few more contacted (both states and dxcc) but they won’t be counted till I get a confirmation.


Now some general stats…  Using the last 25 entries in my logbook I find that I have a 40% confirmation rate using EQSL, a 48% confirmation rate using LoTW and an overall 64% confirmation rate using EQSL or LoTW.


I also upload my logs to on a weekly basis and I have found no new confirmation using that method and the same could be said for


Now about the modes themselves….

The bulk of my contacts have been made using PSK 31 which I have found to be very popular.  I have made a few PSK 63 contacts and PSK 125 contacts and a couple of RTTY contacts.  Just enough RTTY contacts to prove to myself that its never going to be my favourite operating mode.  At this time I have not tried the JT 65 mode or WSPR and that will happen later but not just yet…

A lot of my fellow hams who love the digital world are telling me that your signal goes so much further and I have to admit that as a QRP Operator the digital signals seem to go further than my QRPSSB signals did.  However I find no real advantage to operating QRPPSK31 as compared to QRPCW other than there were new operators to contact which made the counts rise rapidly in the beginning.  In essence every contact was a new one for me…  Now not so much…

I did work the Canadian Northern Territories  in PSK 31 along with Alaska but I had also worked them in CW and SSB all at QRP Power Levels.  The same could be said for Hawaii and I am still waiting to make my first QRPPSK contact with Japan although I have worked JA both in SSB and CW using 5 w and a wire.

As you can see depending on the band conditions of the day it can be done…  just at QRP Levels the quest can be harder for the popguns…

Once you get the “Virtual” stuff figured out such as Virtual Com Ports and Virtual Audio cables the Flex is a great digital radio with no interfaces (such as Rig Blasters or Signal Link boxes) needed but at the beginning it can make life frustrating if computers are not your strongest skill sets…  As you must of figured out by now…. not me….

After seeing my results in PSK 31 so far it has me looking forward to the summer when I can take my FT 817 and NUE PSK modem out to the parks and set up a better antenna that whai I usually use at home and see where I can get get my signal out to when I am operating in a low noise area…



My next digital update will happen after the weather cooperates and I can get outside without fear of frostbite…

More Later…






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