A new (to me) Tow vehicle

Well it had to happen….  The oil spots in my driveway and wherever I parked the Dodge was telling me that the end was near… IMG_0497

This was also confirmed by the guys at the local “Oil Changers” who advised me that the oil pan gasket was leaking and the oil pan was also rusting and was approaching critical.  The same was found to be happening on the Transmission Gasket as well but not as bad as the oil pan.


This post is not about The Oil Changers franchise operator but I do appreciate the honesty of their staff….  Their opinion greatly influenced the rest of this post….

So what was supposed to be search starting in the spring suddenly became a search that started about two weeks ago and finished today with the arrival of :



And I took possession of it this afternoon… and the Ham Gear is starting to get installed

Its a bit newer….. lots less KMS….. with a larger engine…..  more than enough b@lls to tow the existing trailer (and the planned new trailer) and the Air Conditioning works fantastic….

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be taking the trailer out for a test pull and adjust the trailer brakes as needed…. Its first trip could be early in September and we do have plans for a two week trip in October….  In October the temps are great during the day… The bugs are scarce and in the evening an extra blanket makes the evenings just fantastic….

More on how the new truck handles this thing we call life in the next post…






#HamRadio #Lighthouse August 17th

The following has been cut and pasted from the ILLW website


International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend – ILLW

3rd Full Weekend in August since 1998

00.01 UTC 17th August to 2400 UTC 18th August 2019 (48 hours)

00.01 UTC 15th August to 2400 UTC 16th August 2020 (48 hours)

For some reason or other August seems to have become the international weekend for lighthouses. Countries all over the world have become involved in one for or another of lighthouse activity. Some years ago the United States Congress declared August 7th as their National Lighthouse Day and during that first week in August amateur radio operators in America set up portable stations at lighthouses and endeavour to make contact with each other. This event is known as the US National Lighthouse Week.

In Britain the Association of Lighthouse Keepers, ALK, conducts International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend on the 3rd full weekend in August. Their objective is to encourage Lighthouse managers, keepers and owners to open their lighthouse or lightstation and related visitors centres to the public with a view to raising the profile of lighthouses, lightvessels and other navigational aids, and preserving our maritime heritage.

akmanrags latvia

Akmenrags Lighthouse, Latvia.

However, the major event which takes place in August is the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, ILLW, which came into being in 1998 as the Scottish Northern Lights Award run by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group. The history of this event can be found elsewhere on this site. The ILLW takes place on the 3rd full weekend in August each year and attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries. It is one of the most popular international amateur radio events in existence probably because there are very few rules and it is not the usual contest type event. It is also free and there are no prizes for contacting large numbers of other stations. There is little doubt that the month of August has become “Lighthouse Month” due largely to the popularity and growth of the ILLW.

Now according to my personal records the last time I operated this event was in 2015 when I operated from the National Museum of Science and Techology in Ottawa Ontario operating CA0016

 Cape North (Old), ON  (Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa) VE NA Museum CA0016


My old camper (the orignal VA3QV/M) August 2015 operating from the Museum Lighthouse


Some local Kingston Hams will be operating from 9 mile Point Lighthouse on Simcoe Island.  Check out :


for more info

Now I find myself with some time on my hands on the Saturday in question in an area that has lots of lighthouses as Kingston Ontario is on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the St Lawrence River.

The big question is will I be giving out contacts from a Lighthouse or will I be hunting lighthouses from home?

Only time will tell


Winding down a #Hamradio Weekend

Now thats something that I have not been able to say for quite a while.  But I managed a few contacts on VHF and UHF C4FM and FM along with a few HF SSB contacts and also 2 HF CW contacts.

In addition to that I also managed to find more “stuff” for the VA3QV table at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Hamfest on September 7th in Carp Ontario.

For more info go to:


Its really amazing when you do a “stuff” hunt what you can find when you look hard enough…  For most of the weekend my catch phrase seem to be

“I wondered where that was!!!”

Some stuff included:


My TakTenna… Its a limited space 10-40 m antenna that can be configured as a multi band or a single band antenna.  Not as efficient as a dipole but it has a small footrpint and it does work.



Also found was my Yaesu MD 100 Desk Microphone.  Its been sitting in a box in my garage for about 14 months now.  Finally found it.  Never really missed it as I prefer hand mics but it sure looks pretty on the desk.

No doubt it will find a new home after the Hamfest


A 2m mobile antenna and a 6m mobile antenna were hiding in the garage as well along with lots of COAX runs of various lenghts ….  Lots of small stuff as well…. a few small power supplies…. and gawd knows what else….

Above pic shows a much younger VA3QV at the hamfest more than a few years ago.  I’m the fat guy on the left.

And I’m still looking….

I earlier mentioned my Winkeyer USB and I am happy to report that its working fine and I managed to get CY9C (St. Pauls Island DXPedition) in the log on 30m CW and 40m CW.  I got them on Digital on the previous DXPedition so I left them alone there (that and I already sold my Digital Interface for the radio so…..)  I am still listening for them on SSB but not going to cry if I miss them.  There is only so much I can do with my compromise antenna system and I am ok with it.  As I have said many times in the past:

” I would rather be on the air with a bad antenna than not being on the air at all”

And with my setup I can get a weak signal out on 6m to 160m that hopefully a big gun station should be able to hear.

A DXPedition is not a big gun station…. 

Hell….their antennas are only marginally better than what I am using here.  Vertical and wires are better than my random short wire antenna but they mean that they are trying to get the signal out and the stations who want CY9 in the log have to work hard at it….

If you can’t make the contact its not them…..  its you!!!

The CY9C crew are spending a lot of resources to operate from that little speck of land in the Atlantic… time…. equipment….food and fuel…. so they can give out contacts….  They are trying to give out the most contacts in the time they have available and if thats SSB, CW or Digital (FT8) so be it.

After seeing some of the comments about the DXPediton on the cluster….  I think we are lucky that they don’t just shut it down.  

If you don’t like how they do things just leave them alone and let the rest of us happily make the contacts….

Sorry about the mini rant…..  Just an old Phart speaking his mind….

Thats it for now…..I think (hope) the next post has a camping twist to it….


Finding #hamradio stuff

Liz has been commenting that a few boxes are sitting in the garage (since we moved in last June) that have the words “Radio” on them that just seem to be gathering dust. To be honest I don’t know whats in them but as I have not opened them it seems that I had no need for the contents.

It has been suggested that I open them and sell the contents….  Seeing that I have already been selling some unused gear this year….  It seems like a good idea….  So an email was sent out to the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club asking that they reserve me a table at their Hamfest on September 7th in Carp Ontario. 

If they have the space available I should be there.

On the table will be: 

Buddistick Portable Vertical Antenna with some additional accessories

Hamstick Dipole Mounts

Homebrewed W3EDP HF antenna

Winkeyer USB

2m, 6m, and dual band (2m/70cm) mobile antennas

Baluns 1:1, 4:1, 4:1 unun  

Numerous runs of coax,  Some RG8, RG8X, RG58 all with PL259 connectors also some Patch Cords 

A couple of Power Supplies (low amperage)

…..  and thats all that I’ve found so far after going thru the first box……  

Seeing that “Stuff Out” = “New Stuff In”  I have already ordered a new Yaesu FTDM 100 (Fusion C4FM) radio and it will be brought to the hamfest by the Vendor which saves me the shipping and if it gives Liz some room in the garage at the same time it should be a “win-win” situation. 

Once I empty all the boxes I will post some pics of the neater stuff that I find…

Who knows????  I might even find some other stuff that I havn’t missed yet….




Living on the “wrong side” of the hill

Both the RV community and the Amateur Radio community should like this one


In yesterdays post I mentioned that we were parked for the day at Lake Ontario Park in Kingston.  I forgot to mention that I decided to play a bit with some HDTV reception to compare signals from my home 5km to the north to what I would receive at the park.

From my backyard (facing south) I get Global Kingston which is about 6 km to the south south east and thats it….

From Lake Ontario Park I got signal locks on 18 different stations  (Global Kingston was the only Canadian station)  and 17 other US stations between Watertown and Rochester NY.  Between those 17 stations I managed to get ABC, CBS,NBC and Fox along with several different shopping channels and a few special interest channels.  

Why the big difference?…..  at home I’m blocked to the south due to a hill between me and the lake….  I did not really think it would make that much of a difference but it did….

Proving that “Location, Location, Location” comes into play in more that real estate and thats its all about the antenna (and the antenna location)

Safe Travels & 73bob

#hamradio 2m band Would we even notice?

I’ve been seeing some scary stuff flying around social media about the chances of the Amateur Radio Community (in Europe) losing parts of (or all of) the 144.0-146.0 mhz Amateur Radio Band.

Now before you all start yelling that they wouldn’t dare….  Anyone been around long enough to remember what happened to our 1.25 band (220 mhz)?

Sitting here in the shack with my 2m/70cm rig on scan and scanning both Analog and C4FM frequencies in the 2m and 70cm portions of the band I am only hearing the occasional repeater ID’er and static.

For more information on this topic….  Bill VE3FI has a blog and he is keeping on top of this.  I suggest you check out his blog at:

http://ve3clq.blogspot.com/   (just in case the link did not work)

Scrolling down a few of his posts will bring you up to speed… and hopefully wake you up!

As its been said many times in the past…. “Use it or lose it”



2019 RAC Canada Day Contest

Although my time in this contest will be limited I do expect to be on the air just after the start for about 4 hours or so.  I will be giving out contacts on 6m to 160m SSB only.


Hope to get YOU in my log

The following comes from the RAC Website (www.rac.ca)

Each year on July 1, the anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, Radio Amateurs of Canada sponsors the Canada Day Contest and Amateurs all over the world are invited to Canada’s Birthday Party on the air.


Contest Period: 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC July 1, 2019.

Bands and Modes: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6 and 2 metres, CW and phone (SSB, FM, AM, etc.)

Suggested frequencies: CW – 25 kHz up from the band edge and for SSB – 1850, 3775, 7075, 7225, 14175, 21250, 28500 kHz. Check for CW activity on the half-hour.

Exchange: Stations in Canada send RS(T) and province or territory. VEØs and stations outside Canada send RS(T) and a serial number.

QSOs: Contacts with stations in Canada or VEØs are worth 10 points. Contacts with stations outside Canada are worth 2 points. Contacts with RAC official stations are worth 20 points. RAC official stations are: VA2RAC, VA3RAC, VE1RAC, VE4RAC, VE5RAC, VE6RAC, VE7RAC, VE8RAC, VE9RAC, VO1RAC, VO2RAC, VY0RAC, VY1RAC and VY2RAC. You may work any station once on each of the two modes, on each of the eight contest bands.

It is prohibited to make CW contacts in the conventional phone sub-bands and phone contacts in the conventional CW sub-bands. Contacts or soliciting QSOs through a repeater during the contest period is not allowed.

Multipliers: Thirteen in total, Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. Each multiplier may be counted once on each mode on each of the eight contest bands. The multipliers, with their postal abbreviations and prefixes are: Nova Scotia [NS] (VE1, VA1, CY9, CYØ); Quebec [QC] (VE2, VA2); Ontario [ON] (VE3, VA3); Manitoba [MB] (VE4, VA4); Saskatchewan [SK] (VE5, VA5); Alberta [AB] (VE6, VA6); British Columbia [BC] (VE7, VA7); Northwest Territories [NT] (VE8); New Brunswick [NB] (VE9); Newfoundland and Labrador [NL] (VO1, VO2); Nunavut [NU] (VYØ); Yukon [YT] (VY1); and Prince Edward Island [PE] (VY2). Certain special Canadian prefixes in use at the time of the contest may also apply; however there may be no more than 13 multipliers on each band/mode. Please use the multiplier abbreviations, in square brackets, noted above.

Final Score: The total QSO from all bands multiplied by the total number of multipliers from all bands.

Categories: The following nine categories are eligible for plaques or certificates as detailed in the Awards section of the rules.

Single Operator All Bands High Power (>100 watts) – Radioworld

Single Operator All Bands Low Power (max. 100 watts output) – Contest Club Ontario

Single Operator QRP (max. 5 watt output) All Bands & Single Band ** – Radioworld

Single Operator All Bands CW only, any authorized power – Gary Bartlett VE1RGB Memorial by the Maritime Contest Club

Single Operator All Bands PH only, any authorized power – Saskatchewan Contest Club

Single Operator Single Band, any authorized power *** – Radioworld

Multi-Operator Single Transmitter High Power (>100 watts) * – Alfa Radio Ltd

Multi-Operator Single Transmitter Low Power (max. 100 watts output) * – Tony Allsop VE3FTA Memorial by the Mississauga Amateur Radio Club

Multi-Operator Multi-Transmitter, any authorized power – Radioworld

For the Canada Day Contest a special trophy is awarded for the highest Single Operator (no power classification) Foreign Entrant – Larry Kayser VA3LK Memorial by Alan Goodacre, VE3HX.

Special thanks to our sponsors for their support of the RAC contests.

Category notes:

1) The contents of a log that is submitted for a specific category must reflect that category. In the event of a conflict between the actual content of the log and the stated category in the Cabrillo header or contained in other elements of the entry material, the actual contents of the log will be used to determine the category of entry where possible. In the event this cannot be determined or in the event where a log does not identify the entry category, the entry will be classified into the Multi-Operator, Multi-Transmitter, any authorized power category.

Any entrant who wants to enter a specific category (i.e. Single band entry) but who also worked additional contacts outside that category may submit those additional contacts in a separatecheck log file. Do not include them in the main entered category log file.

2) Where the categories have a power class and the submitted log does not clearly identify the power class entered, then the log will be treated as if the highest power class for that category was entered.

3) Single operators who receive assistance from a DX spotting system, including Skimmer and similar technologies or any type of Packet Cluster network during the contest must classify themselves as Multi-Single ops.

4) * In the Multi-Single category only one transmitter and one band are permitted during the same time period (defined as 10 minutes). Exception: One, and only one, other band may be used during any 10-minute period, if and only if the station worked is a new multiplier. In other words the Multi-Single Transmitter class allows a second station to “hunt” and work multipliers only on a single separate band during any 10-minute period.

5) Multi-Multi category stations may operate on several bands simultaneously.

6) For all multi transmitter categories, all transceivers, transmitters and receivers operated by the multi station participants/entrants must be within a single 500-metre diameter circle and the antennas must be physically connected by RF transmission lines to the transceivers, transmitters and/or receivers.

7) Operators in either the Multi-Multi or Multi-Single categories should note that a distributed contest station is permitted in the RAC contests, however such operations are not eligible for awards. A distributed station is defined as a station which does not have all transceivers, transmitters and/or receivers operated by station operators/participants/entrants located within a single 500-metre diameter circle of each other. Distributed Multi-Multi operations must identify such operations as part of their Cabrillo form log submission or summary sheet document.

8) ** Although there is only one QRP category, which qualifies for a plaque or certificate, it is intended that the published results would show All Bands or the Single Band of operation.

To facilitate this break out of the listings, your entry should indicate the band(s) or mode(s) operated.

9) *** Although there is only one Single Operator Single Band category that qualifies for a certificate or award, it is intended that the published results would show High Power or Low Power.

To facilitate this break out of the listings, your entry should indicate the power class you used.

10) Operators who have participated in any multi-operator category entries may not contact the station they have participated in if they were to operate as part of another entry in the same contest. In addition, guest operators at any station regardless of entry category may not claim contacts with the station host owner or host station mobile call for points or multipliers.

Awards: Plaques will be awarded to the top-scoring entrants in each category, as noted above in the category list. Special thanks to our sponsors for their ongoing support! Certificates will be awarded to the top-scoring entrant in the categories described below.

  • Canadian provinces or territories
  • Continental US call districts, W0 through W9 as well as Alaska and Hawaii. US Commonwealths, Territories and Possessions such as Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, etc will be treated as equivalent to a DXCC country
  • DXCC country, excluding Canada and the US.

To facilitate the proper allocation of certificates, all US stations should indicate their actual US call district based on their actual address, as provided in the Cabrillo header, if different than indicated by their call prefix. DX stations should indicate the actual country of operation if different than indicated by their call prefix by indicating the country as part of the portable call sign designator.

RAC stations will compete and be considered the same as any other entrant for eligibility to plaques and certificates.

Results: Will be published in The Canadian Amateur magazine published by the Radio Amateurs of Canada. The results will also be published on the RAC website at:

Entries: All entries (electronic or paper logs) must be postmarked or electronically submitted by July 31, 2019. Electronic entries will be confirmed by return email. Send email entries to: canadaday@rac.ca

Send paper entries to:

Radio Amateurs of Canada
720 Belfast Road, Suite 217
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 0Z5

We will be publishing a list of logs received and the categories entered on the RAC website during and/or after the submission period after the cut off date to assist in correcting any entry categorizations.

Paper mail entries must contain a summary sheet showing score calculation, a dupe sheet listing calls worked on each mode on each band, a multiplier check sheet and log sheets. Logsheets must show time, band, mode, call of station worked, exchanges sent and received and claimed for each QSO. New multipliers must be clearly marked in the log.

Contest entry forms are also available on the RAC website at: https://wp.rac.ca/contesting-results/

Any entry with 100 or more contacts should be submitted in digital format. The preferred electronic format is the RAC Cabrillo format. The files must be submitted in plain ASCII/Text format.

While the contest committee prefers Cabrillo formatted submissions, we will continue to accept electronic logs from older versions of contest software, but your file must be in ASCII/Text format and have all the required information. However “.adi” files are not acceptable.

Given there are several free programs that support the RAC contests and generate an acceptable Cabrillo entry, we encourage you to seek out one of these programs.

The RAC Cabrillo format is described and its detailed layout is shown on the RAC website at: https://wp.rac.ca/contesting-results/

Electronic logs that do not have a complete Cabrillo header should provide a summary sheet with the same information as shown for the paper log entries. The standard summary sheet provided by the typical logging program is generally acceptable, but you should confirm that it contains the same information as shown for paper log entries.

A properly filled out Cabrillo header section will be a sufficient substitute for a summary sheet for logs submitted in that format. Please ensure that you review the header for accuracy and that it is completely fill out. Name your file with your Call Sign and the file extension.LOG (e.g., yourcall.LOG). If you email your log, please send the file(s) as attachments.

Do not paste the log file into the text of your message as there may be issues with the formatting making it difficult to properly extract the log. Large files may be zipped if necessary.

If you need help with preparing or emailing your log or have any other questions, please contact Bart Ritchie, VE5CPU, ve5cpu@rac.ca

For the previous year’s contest results, visit the RAC website at https://wp.rac.ca/contesting-results/ in the Contest section.

Good Luck to all participants