#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”



Field Day 2019 – Emergency Communications Test

As I type this our hobby’s biggest annual test is underway.  Amateur Radio Clubs and Individual Amateur Radio Operators are working hard to prove that we can communicate when (if) we are called upon.

For more info on Field Day please follow these links and then don’t forget to come back and finish reading this post

ARRL Field Day 


RAC Field Day


So welcome back…

This year due to staffing issues at work I was unable to join any of the local clubs in their serious participations.  Instead I decided to test out the equipment (in between sleeping and work)  I will be installing in our new trailer that we are finally going to purchase in the off season and should be on the road starting in late April or early May of 2020.

There will be more about that in a future post … but for now back to radio

The gear I used for Field Day (this year) was my Yaesu FT 450 along with my SGC 237 auto tuner and it worked flawlessly for the time I had to operate


Just finished working K2AA with the above radio.  Will fit on the small desk I will have in the trailer and along with the S9 43 foot vertical antenna will get the most out of the 100w output of the FT 450


Heres a pic of the S9 on my old Class C camper. To my long term readers…. that the one that burnt on our first attempt of the PEI Trip and below is what it looks like on my current pickup truck in its un extended position.


On the new trailer the S9 will be mounted on the rear bumper beside the spare tire carrier.

Anyway back to Field Day….  For me it was a success.  Contacts were made on 2m FM, and 10m, 20m, 40m and 80m Single sideband.  I heard a couple of guys ragchewing on 15m ssb but they were not interested in the event.  They were just a couple of friends chatting on a Sunday morning.

I know the gear works and thats all I can ask for…

Thanks for reading and there will a post coming soon with more info on the new trailer and the new tow vehicle for it .



A great “Stationary Use” antenna for your #hamradio mobile use

As mentioned from a previous post…

If you’ve ever worked a large public service event (Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour or the Canadian Ski Marathon as examples) that are in areas that are not always “Radio Friendly” where you have to reach the repeater then here is a suggestion for you.  


And here’s how I put it together… with next to no tools and with parts that mostly would be found in your radio equipment junk box

Parts list:

Hurricane style 3 or 4 magnet mount

Length of threaded rod-  I used a 3 foot long 3/8 inch threaded rod that I picked up at Princess Auto here in Kingston along with 3 nuts and washers

Home made copper J Pole antenna from my junk box that I built about 25 years ago as part of a club build project

Couple of small hose clamps

10 foot (or so ) run of coax

Step 1– Remove whatever antenna mounting hardware is currently on the Mag mount


Step 2– Using Nuts and washers attach treaded rod where the antenna mount used to be


Step 3–  Attach J Pole to the threaded rod  using hose clamps if needed at a length that you feel comfortable with or come up with a suitable way to secure the antenna to the rod (your choice)  In my case I just inserted the threaded rod inside the end of JPole


Step 4 –  Attach coax

In my case this gave me a  copper J pole 2 feet above the 6 foot high roof of the truck then you add in the length of the J Pole itself and I have a the top of a 1/2 wave antenna approx 14 feet above ground (6(truck)+2(rod)+6(length of Jpole) firmly attached by 3 large magnets to the rood of the truck.  According to Ontario Law its too tall to have on the roof while driving but if you are stationary (at a checkpoint) it will do you fine…



Whenever you are doing any sort of antenna work watch for and avoid all overhead wires.

You follow the above directions and use the information at your own risk.  The fact that it worked for me does not mean it will work for you.


If you have any doubts about the safe use of the information do not attempt this..  

Check your SWR before transmitting.  Finals can be expensive


I hope you have fun with this setup but please be careful…. Don’t be “THAT” Ham…

Hopefully this setup should (could, might) give your the extra oomph to your signal to get into the repeaters when needed.





The Rideau Lake Cycle Tour… Hams giving back to the commuity

Back in the shack after a hectic two days…. tired but it was fun and an honour to give back to our communities….

The Rideau Lake Cycle Tour is sponsored by the Ottawa Bicycle Club and on Saturday runs from Ottawa to Kingston and from Kingston to Ottawa on the Sunday.  They have a couple of routes but I’ll just show you the area on the following map and you can see the distances involved.

Communications for this is provided by three Amateur Radio ARES (EMCOM) Groups.

As the route starts in Ottawa the Ottawa ARES Group (Emergency Measures Radio Group) take the start of the event.  They provide communications to a location just east of Perth Ontario from the start in Ottawa.  The Lanark group takes over from east of Perth to a location west of Elgin Ontario.  From Elgin through to Kingston is the area of the Frontenac County Emcom Group

On the Sunday (as they had so much fun on the Saturday) they go from Kingston back to Ottawa.  

The logistics for this are mind blowing as there are checkpoints (manned by radio operators) along with repair wagons, SAG wagons, Administration and operational vehicles and a fully manned Net Control Station active for each part of the net.

For me this was not the first time I had participated but it was the first time I participated from the Kingston area.  In the past I would get up early on Saturday AM and assist them going to Perth and then back again on late Sunday afternoon to assist them on the final leg home to Ottawa.  This year was different as I started mid morning on the Saturday then finished late Saturday afternoon… Really nice hours….

My Saturday location was at a speck of land 11km west of Battersea Ontario with the name of “High Point”

It was a good high location (great for amateur radio) and I no problems joining the Lanark or the Frontenac communications networks as required….  However not much around to see other than blackflies.


Using my homebrewed mobile mount the 2m JPole worked well.  The actual design and parts list for this will be coming in a upcoming blog post AFTER I get caught up with the camping trip posts

Sundays location was in Inverary Ontario at the local park and it was a good location with lots of activity as it also has the local ball diamonds…

But on Sunday Morning getting up at ZERO Dark Thirty to head out of town for catch up with the riders who had already departed Kingston was a treat….  I got to my checkpoint so early the black flies and mosquitoes were still sleeping… 

However making it home before noon made up for it….  As far as I know there were no major injuries during the event although I did hear of one rider with a “Pre existing  Medical Issue that forced him to come off the tour on Sunday late morning.  An ambulance was not required and his bike and himself were SAG’ed to the site at Perth Ontario where further transport would of been provided.

We used 3 different Amateur repeaters and I believe that over 40 amateurs played a part in making the event a success.  It was great to give back to our neighbors and friends …


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 https://www.nue-psk.com/

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  va3rcs@yahoo.ca and we can start the process.

Thanks for reading this






How would you explain “ARES” or “EMCOM” to a non-ham?

Yesterday I dropped into a store wearing one of my old ” ARES ” golf shirts with the ARES crest surrounded by the words “Amateur Radio Emergency Service”


Above graphic was a cut and paste from the Radio Amateurs of Canada Website.  For more information on Amateur Radio please visit them at:


and someone asked me what it was all about.  I sat down with them and tried to explain about the hobby and how we like to assist when called upon but that did not really seem to work so I came up with this:

You’ve heard of First Responders??? Fire… Police…. Ambulance… Paramedics…Right???? Well their communications systems are fairly robust so they should be fine in an emergency situation…..

They agreed and thought it made sense so far…. so I came back with this….

In our case we provide communications support to the Second Responders….. In a large emergency the local landline phone system and/or the cellular system would (could) be overloaded or not functioning so…..  The ARES groups might get called in to provide communications between certain locations that had a need for communication such as emergency shelters, civic offices and other such locations as deemed necessary by the local goverment responding to the emergency.

Suddenly the light went off above their head….  They seemed to understand this part of it and after that… I told them that if they were to Google the words “Amateur Radio” and  “Their City” that they most likely had a group of willing volunteers (friends/neighbors) helping out close to their neighborhood. 

They thanked me for my time and I continued on with my shopping…

So thinking about it a day later…..

How would you explain it?



Antenna plans for the trailer

Well this is right in the middle of the Canadian May 2-4 long weekend.  Its date changes slightly as we determine the actual holiday as the 3rd Monday of the month of May.  Its the unofficial beginning of the summer camping season.

You might be wondering where the May 2-4 weekend gots its name from….  Well as the third Monday in May is somewhere close to the 24th so its a good start but according to tradition….  It is the “unofficial ” start of the camping season and by strange coincidence there are also 24 bottles or cans or beer in a case which we just shorten to picking up a “2-4” when we go camping.

The actual name of the holiday is “Victoria Day” in honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

  • Victoria Day
  • Fête de la Reine
Victoria édifice fédéral canada.jpg

Official name Victoria Day
French: Fête de la Reine
Also called May Long Weekend, May Long, May Two-Four, May Run, Firecracker Day
Observed by Canadians
Type Historical, cultural, nationalist
Celebrations Fireworks, parades
Date Last Monday preceding May 25
2018 date May 21, 2018
2019 date May 20, 2019
2020 date May 18, 2020
2021 date May 24, 2021
Frequency annual
Related to Birthday of Queen Victoria

Victoria Day (FrenchFête de la Reine, [lit. “Celebration of the Queen”]) is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria‘s birthday. As such, it is the Monday between the 18th to the 24th inclusive, and thus is always the penultimate Monday of May. The date is simultaneously that on which the current Canadian sovereign‘s official birthday is recognized.[1] It is sometimes informally considered the beginning of the summer season in Canada.

The holiday has been observed in Canada since at least 1845, originally falling on Victoria’s actual birthday (May 24, 1819). It continues to be celebrated in various fashions across the country; the holiday has always been a distinctly Canadian observance.[2][3] Victoria Day is a federal statutory holiday, as well as a holiday in six of Canada’s ten provinces and all three of its territories. In Quebec, before 2003, the Monday preceding 25 May of each year was unofficially the Fête de Dollard, a commemoration of Adam Dollard des Ormeauxinitiated in the 1920s to coincide with Victoria Day. In 2003, provincial legislation officially created National Patriots’ Day on the same


So I had big plans for this weekend and it involved the trailer and if ” Murphy ” had not gotten involved (Murphys Law states that if it can go wrong… it will) I would be loading up the trailer for a few day shakedown cruise instead of sitting at my desk nursing a very sore back….

But when life gives you lemons you make lemonade so I will be working on a couple of antennas that I plan to use with the camper this year…. No lifting needed as I will just be measuring and cutting wire to the correct lengths.

The first length will be 41 feet long and it will be my 6-80m vertical being supported by my S9 43 foot vertical mast


The second length will be 84 feet long and will be deployed in the inverted “L” configuration and also will be supported by the S9 Mast

Although we no longer own the RV shown in the above picture the same masting will be deployed using my pickup truck. (See below pic) using a trailer hitch style mount


Both the wires will be fed using my SGC 237 auto tuner which will be mounted at the base of the mast  They say this tuner can tune wet string and so far I have seen nothing to argue with that claim.  I plan to use the truck body, the trailer body along with a few wire counterpoises to act as a groundplane should (might) get my 100w signal heard.


So actually I will be operating with a better antenna system from the trailer than I do from home here in Kingston.  Hopefully all this will come together before the first trip of the season which will be at the end of May ( 2 weeks from now)

So for now its time to trim wire and rest up a tired and sore back