Three months later….

3 months ago Liz and I almost bought the RV Trailer of our dreams but that nasty old COVID came calling and everything was closed and put on hold….

kodiak 1

The following YouTube clip is from a different dealer but it shows the finer points of the trailer without the normal BUY NOW….BUY NOW….BUY NOW that most RV dealers put on their YouTube postings

2 weeks ago I headed back to the dealer and found that it was still available and we started to talk…

Before I go any further I must mention that Quinte RV did not ask me to write this or did they offer me any thing to write this.  What you see here is an personal endorsement  which honestly describes my purchase experience…

The salesman let us visit with our old friend with no pressure.   I took a long visit and it was everything I remembered it as.  Big…. but light enough that my Pickup (VA3QV/m) could easily tow it….


So now that the trailer remains how I remembered it ….  Just for $h!ts and Giggles lets put in an offer to purchase…..



The Salesman passed me over to the Financial Wizard and he started to do his magic.


And the Wizards magic was strong as he was able to get me the price I wanted, at the terms I wanted and  at a much better interest rate than I expected.

And to make matters even better (yes it does get better….) we were able to grab one of last two permanent campsites at a private campground just a short 45 minute drive from Kingston.  At this time I expect that Liz and I will spend most of our time there from when we move in on June 26th till the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend in Mid October.

Our summer is now spoken for….  Time to enjoy life a bit when not working…  


For those of my followers who are more into RF than RV there will be a C4FM station set up along with my new(er) FT 450 set up there with what I expect to be an Inverted “L” which will cover 10-80m and maybe even 160m when I feed it with my SGC237 auto tuner which will relocate from the home station to the trailer for the season.



I plan to operate from the campsite as soon as I am able to which means a limited Field Day station but a strong attempt at the RAC Canada Day Contest a few days later.


I still have more to share with you especially on how great the new HF antenna system on VA3QV/m is working out but that will be for another post after I get everything moved into the trailer.

73 and safe travels






Has it been 2 months already?

Well look back….  On March 14th 2020 Liz and myself drove to Oshawa, bought my 2nd Yaesu FT 450 from VE3FJC….  Looked at a new trailer , but did not sign on the line and had supper at the Belleville Casino….

A day later it all hit the fan….  Pandemic City and the worst two months in our lives…. Fortunately we kept our health and financial security (many lost both) but its changed life as we know it…. and two months later its not getting much better….

As things pertain to Ontario (VE3) the public parks are just starting to open up but right now  its only for day use…..  Don’t make any plans for Field Day yet…..


I am still planning to operate Field Day but most likely as a 1A station.


Yaseu FT 450, 43 foot vertical, 25 amp power supply and my Champion 1.5k Gas Generator.


Overnight won’t happen but will (should)operate for both days but will be operating under Day Use restrictions.

Now as plans were made to be broken… I will be fairly flexible if the parks suddenly open for general use

However as of today’s date the private campgrounds that cater to the permanent campers will be allowed to start their season…  In addition many more businesses are going to able to open up but with some restrictions….

A biggie for me is that the Provincal Parks remaining day use only….  We were still strongly debating the new trailer but we also want to travel with it so……  Hard to travel if there are no Provincal Parks to travel to….  Not really wanting to make the payments with no where to go with it….

Radio wise it might be the year of the Contests or QSO Parties….  DXPeditions for the most part are not going to happen….  Just can’t see some remote area  inviting a bunch of old people from a country or countries that have had serious issues with COVID19 to welcome us with open arms…..  However I will be the first to admit that sitting in the shack in the evenings and having some chats have taken most (if not all) of the stress from my daily life  till the next day when it builds up again…

Hoping you are staying safe and sane through our search for the “new normal”




Saturday AM #hamradio musings

This was created on Saturday morning  but I got distracted and it got posted a bit later the same day….

Its a Saturday morning and as I’m still on holidays I get to spend some quality time in the shack…..

I heard a few guys chatting on HF and they were talking about call sign designations( such as VA3QV/m) and how they should be used…. It was a great debate and I could not comment as they were starting to fade so….. Here is the  way I see it

At home I would sign as VA3QV  by at home I mean the address that Industry Canada has on file for me,


In the mobile I would sign as VA3QV/m.  Rather common sense.  If I was travelling across Canada (I don’t travel in the states due to no private healthcare) I would be VA3QV/m VE2, VE4 etc depending on what Province I would be driving thru at the time.


Operating from a place other than my residence or my vehicle I would be VA3QV/p, but if the location was outside my home province then I would be VA3QV/p VE4 or whatever province I was in at the time.


Why you ask????

In my humble opinion as Canada is not normally rare DX…. calling CQ de VA3QV will not cause much excitement.


But if I happened to be up north at the time VA3QV/VY0 or /VE8 or /VY1 could make it more interesting for the chasers.

I look at it as more of a courtesy….  I chased a KH6 station for about an hour and when I finally got him confirmed in Logbook of the World …. I found out that he was visiting friends in California so I got another west coast station (/W6)in the log rather than the Hawaii contact I was hoping for.  The same thing happened with a Alaskan resident calling CQ from his parents house in the lower 48 who neglected to add the /p to his call….


And thats the view from the cheap seats this morning






#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….


FS. Yaesu FT817 and accessories

The FT 817 combo has been sold as of 2000z on June 7th

thanks for all the interest


To my non ham followers this might not seem like much…. but….

After lots of soul searching I have decided to put my favorite but most unused radio in my collection up for sale.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Yaesu FT-817 is one of the smallest MF/HF/VHF/UHF multimode general-coverage amateur radio transceivers. The set is built by the Japanese Vertex Standard Corporation and is sold under the Yaesu brand.[1][2] With internal battery pack, on board keyer, its all mode/all band capability and flexible antenna, the set is particularly well suited for portable use. The FT-817 is based on the same main circuit board as Yaesu’s FT-857 and FT-897, so it is a compromise transceiver and incorporates its features to its low price ($670.- at its 2001 release).[3]


My Yaesu FT 817 along with lots of accessories


image1 (2)

Above front view… Below rear view showing connections for balun to be directly attached to radio eliminating line losses in coax

image2 (2)

My Yaesu FT 817 and LDG QRP autotuner combo with the NUE PSK/RTTY modem along with a keyboard. 

image3 (1)


What you see is what you get (in the above pictures) and I’ll even toss in a 10-20-40 end fed QRP wire antenna which if you use the tuner will load up quite well on all bands between 10m and 80m.  I will also include my homebrewed 6m dipole which works really good for portable VHF Contesting as it loads up fine on 2m and 6m


I have had this radio forever…. I operated my first DXPediton with this rig back in 2005 and I used it before then….  I bought the radio from Radioworld and then bought the Tuner from a local ham.  Its been well used…  but still works fine. 

Image result for va3qv

It has a history….Island activations, SOTA activations, Field Days and Public Service events including SAR Exercises…. and in 2017 It won 1st place in the RAC Canada Contest (SOAB QRP ) for VY2 (It was not a high score but it was “the winning score”)

Image result for va3qv

Now comes the question…  Why am I selling it????  

Mostly because I am not using it….  I’ve hit the age that I no longer want to (or easily) operate portable any more.  After 2 knee replacements I can walk fine but climbing up a hill for a SOTA or hiking through the woods not so much…. 

Rather than leaving it in the bag or on the shelf I figure that there might be a ham out there who would like to try a different part of our hobby without breaking the bank to do so.  or…  A ham out there who really does not want to break his new KX3 or KX2 when the rig falls off the picnic table while he is away from the radio for a minute.  

So there you have it:

YAESU Ft 817 (original – no 60m) Stock mic, Tri Band Rubber Duck antenna and power cord-  NO BOX manuals available on line

LDG QRP Antenna tuner with power cord- No manual but easy to operate

PAR End Fedz QRP 10-20-40m (End FED wire ) antenna that will load up fine on 10-80m using the above mentioned auto tuner. 

Home Brewed 6m wire dipole that will also work great on 2m.  Remember that a 1/4w on 6m is a 5/8w on 2m

NUE PSK/RTTY Modem with power cord and keyboard.  Check out their website at

All you need to operate with the above equipment is a 12v battery.  Your choice of battery depends on your operating style.

All for a non negotiable price of $500.00 Canadian.  Shipping not included.  Feel free to price these items out on line to see the deal I am offering.  

Please read the following:  The items listed above are “Field Used” items and although they work as intended their appearance is not pristine.  My firm and fair price ( in my opinion ) has taken their age, overall appearance and their excellent performance as a portable station into consideration.  I would prefer to sell it locally (100 miles radius) to Kingston Ontario so I can show you its working but I will consider shipping out at your cost after payment has been received.  


As with any used electronic device I will not take back after shipping as I don’t know what you did to it when you tried it at your QTH.  It will be working as it should when it leaves….

If you are interested or have any questions please send me an email to and we can start the process.

Thanks for reading this