Archive for May, 2009

Working the Indy 500

May 24, 2009

While spinning the dial on 20m I heard this station:


W9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

I had a great QSO with a YL called “Rhonda” who also gave me an honest 5/9 signal report.  I call it an honest 5/9 because I heard her give a 5/7 and a 5/9+10 report out before I made the contact.

Another nice thing was getting the contact on my first call.  I was using my inverted “L” antenna and 100w with the FT 847.  I was pleased with the contact as I have not worked that many stations on 20 so it was nice to have the reassurance that everything works fine.  Most of my contacts with the inverted L have been on 80 or 40 and there it shines.  I still get reports of “30 over” as compared to the 5/9 I used to get with the folded vertical.  Now if I could only solve the noise issue but my next attempts will be for another post…

Its been a great weekend so far and I have had the chance to play lots of radio and also enjoy the outdoors…

More Later


APRS Special Event Coming

May 24, 2009

I got the beginning of this from the ARRL Website which led me to this site which has some great information on an upcoming APRS Special event…


I think this is going to be a great event and this could be a good use in the future for APRS.

What do you think?


…No antenna upgrades today…

May 24, 2009

Well it seems that this morning (Sunday) I once again missed my chance to sneak the weighted line over the tree branch in my front yard.  For some silly reason (like my 14km bike ride) my knees and ankles were a bit stiffer than I would have liked and moving around for the first part of the morning usually was done in conjunction with a creaking sound (knees) and a deep moan coming from me…  By the time I was feeling a bit more mobile or able to move around without discomfort it was too late and the neighbourhood had come to life…  I will try again on Monday if the knees are willing…

Today has been an exceptional noisy day with “30 over” signals on 80m and even 40m was almost to an S9.  If I don’t get this noise problem corrected soon I could become a DXer ( as 20m and up is normal )or stuck on the VHF bands working 6m/2m and 70cm…

On the brighter side it is a fantastic day in Ottawa so at least I can sit in the back yard and soak up the sun….  I might even take the 817/W3EDP combo out for part of the afternoon if my legs agree to the work….


Some tasks accomplished and …

May 24, 2009

… Others were not….

Today I was able to play some radio, head out for a good bike ride, set up a portable station in a park along with visit a local television station.  The antenna work did not get done but I have hopes for early Sunday am…

It took me roughly 45 minutes to head from my place to the Market Media Mall in Ottawa for my visit to the A Channel studios… The time could of been a bit quicker but for my first real ride of the year….  I’ll take it…

Although Google maps don’t always take bike paths into concideration, the route I took is almost the same as the one they suggested.

After my visit to the A Channel Studios where I met many of their on air personalities and I can offer the following commentary…after an approx 45 minute wait to get inside the doors (yes it was that popular) we were brought into the studio and introduced to Kurt and Sandra.  They gave us a brief lowdown on what we would be seeing today and they we were put in the capable hands of Leanne who would be our groups tour guide for the duration of our tour.  We were shown the newsroom where we met Bill who does the weather and Tony who is one of the news anchors.  We were shown how the tools of the trade are used including the “Green Screen” A couple of observations I could make would be that “Tony” and “Bill” both look taller on the air than they do in person but they are great guys to talk to…  We were also shown some of the production staff such as directors and editiors who showed us how they create the product that the on air people give to us.

To be honest this was a plug for their promotion Support Local Television and lots of the comments and statements were made to that end but their comments did make sense and I have commented on this in the past.

After the tour concluded I rode over to the QTH  of Jerry VE3QSO and we set up his portable station in the park across the street from his place.

The route I took is here

We set up his 100W K2 Transceiver along with a W3EDP end fed antenna supported by two 31 foot Jackite Poles.  This was the first time we had set up this equipment and it worked great.  Contacts were made on 20m ssb and 80m ssb which proves everything worked up to expectations.  After playing radio and ragchewing we broke camp and I helped Jerry take the toys home then I jumped back on the bike and headed back home…

The route I took is here

So as you can see it was a great afternoon with a total bike ride of almost 14kms.  Complete Route shown here and more importantly with NO CHEST PAINS!!! This one is important as its one of the first rides of the year and although I was not expecting any problems … the threat of a “screamer” is always there.  The good doctor wants me to exercise and lose weight for a reason!

So all in all it was a great afternoon….


Saturday Morning Blog Surfing

May 23, 2009

This morning in between checking out the front door of my QTH to see if the “coast is clear” (which since 7am has not been) I have been checking out some of the blogs that I read…  Most of them (if not all ) are on my Blogroll but I thought I would mention them here and let you know what seems to be going on.

RAC BLOG (With an update on Ontario Bill C118)

VE3HG BLOG (Peter talks about his Dayton Trip.  Lots of Pics)

VA3STL BLOG (Alan talks about operating portable)

VE3OIJ BLOG(Darin talks about GPS and Balloon Chasing)

VE3XGD BLOG (Gordon also talks about Balloon Chasing)

Enjoy your weekend…


The rest of the weekend

May 23, 2009

Remembering the famous line about “The best made plans of mice and men often go astray” here is what I hope will happen this weekend…

Saturday early morning or Sunday early morning I hope to get the weighted line over a tree branch in my front yard.  This will allow me to get the end of my Inverted “L” about 10 feet higher than it is now.  This will make the “L” part of the antenna about 30 feet above ground compared to the 21 feet (approx) that it is now.  Seeing that my agreement with my landlord about antennas is “out of sight and out of mind” as I am going to be working in front of my gardenhome rather than in the obscurity of my back yard I have to find a time when there are not as many prying eyes watching the fool with the rope…

I have an outside hope that once I get the antenna up that little bit higher either my receive will improve with the added altitude or because I will be moving my antenna higher and hopefully further away from whatever is causing my noise level…


On Saturday afternoon I plan to ride over to the local A Channel Studios to show my support of local television.  To see what I am talking about please follow this link…

Saturday evening will be spent recovering from the Saturday afternoon Bike Ride and then on Sunday I think an afternoon in the park might be a fun thing to do…

Hoping all will happen as planned…


Working 80m with a big split

May 23, 2009

I figured out how to work around my noise problems that everyone who will listen to my whinning knows I have…  Its a merge of the new and the old…

I transmit from my QTH using my normal FT 847 and the Inverted L antenna along with my LDG Z100 Autotuner.

I then recieve off my laptop using the ECHOLINK and the VE3MAZ-L remote receiver in Niagara Falls Ontario.

I have used this system in the past just to listen to various nets but this is the first time I actively participated in a net. The net I chose to test things out on was the Ontario Phone Net which is on 3.742 at 1900 hrs local time.

Tonight I recieved 3 pieces of traffic via the echolink hf link and transmitted via 80m hf.  Outside of some getting used to hearing myself talk (full duplex as I can hear what I am saying via the Niagara Falls remote base) it was not that bad.

There was an approx 1 second delay between the RF side of things and the ECHOLINK side of things…  The Net Control Station VA3PB Paul was good enough to slow things down just a bit to account for the delay on the “overs” and after that all was easy to follow.  As I have done some SAT work since I got the FT 847 working full duplex was not that hard…

It was nice to participate in the net from the comfort of the shack and its also nice not to be feeding the skitters in the park….


Knew I forgot something….

May 22, 2009

In Ottawa yesterday the weather was fantastic…  I managed to get some non-radio releated yardwork done…. A great afternoon walk… an early BBQ with Erika (daughter) and then an interesting evening watching the television…  I did try to modify my antenna again to cut down on the noise with no success and I was able to hear one station check into the Ontario Phone Net so I was able to get relayed in to the NCS…

I am starting really to get discouraged with my lack of success with the high noise level on the 80m band.  After adding grounds, and overall swapping out of equipment trying different feed lines and antennas with different radios and different tuners all with the same results…

Last nights attempts were really an issue when I check into the OPN and get a signal report of  “30 over” which is a huge increase from my old S9 signals and can’t hear anything less than a “20 over” signal due to my extremely high noise levels.  And before you ask I have tried going back to the old ways and antenna styles but the noise remains the same…

I believe it to be (as stated MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY times in the past) a problem with one of my many neighbors running some sort of electrical device that throws out noise close to the 80m band or its a leaky transformer…

Right now the noise is S7 on 160m,   S9 +20 on 80m,  S8 on 40m,   S5 on 30mS4 on 20m S2 on 17m,  S2 on 15m,  S1 on 12m and a big ZERO on 10m.

So as you can see I was busy yesterday….   Got lots accomplished but I also did forget to post yesterdays entry in the BLOG…  I also forgot to attend the OVMRC Meeting so I really was distracted…

Anyhow…  There will be a posting later today on the weekends events, the weather is looking good….  and the antenna work I planned to get done this week was put on the backburner by my constant attempts to cure the high noise levels…   I don’t think there is much I can do there till HYDRO comes in to do the anticipated repairs/upgrades in my neighborhood…

Till this afternoon or early evening….


World Radio Online

May 20, 2009

Today in my email inbox was the monthly reminder that my copy of World Radio Online was now available for downloading.  Its a free fully featured Amateur Radio Mag bought to us by the good people at CQ Amateur Radio.

I have been a subscriber for 3 months now and to be honest can’t remember if I mentioned this to you before.  I went back for 3 months and read through the blog and can’t find any mention of it….  OOPS and GOSHDARN IT!!!

Anyhow if you follow the links you can download the monthly magazine in its PDF format and it makes for good reading.  You also have the option of signing up to receive the notification every month via email that the issue is ready for downloading.

Like I said earlier its well worth the bandwidth and I think that its worth you looking at…

The price is right and this time you get more than what you pay for…


More info on the May 9th LASA Mission

May 19, 2009

If you remember back so long ago on May 9th I did participate in the launch and recovery of two balloons that were launched by LASAMy comments on the event can be found here.

In addition to my comments one of the chase team members Gordon VE3XGD has blogged his comments on the event.  You might want to check out Gordon’s Blog and read up on what he was thinking…



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,505 other followers