The day after

Well its Sunday am and I’ve finally thawed out…. Strange thing this Canadian Weather…..

I got on the bus at 130pm Eastern and the weather was nice and sunny….. Got off the bus close to the Murney Tower at 230 pm eastern and the weather was nice and sunny…..

Walked from the bus stop to the Murney Tower and the weather was nice and sunny….Started to set up and the weather was starting to cloud over…. Called CQ POTA and the sun gave up and hid beside the clouds and the wind from Lake Ontario picked up….

The working conditions was my Xiegu X5101 with a Sota Beams Bandspringer antenna. My Shakesphere 20 foot Wonder Pole was being supported by the Heavy Duty Tripod I mentioned a few posts back….

As you probally noticed the graphics above have for the most part been recycled from my library. I did have my IPhone with me but the pics for the most part did not turn out…..

I started out on 40m and had managed to contact about 5(or so) parks when Martin VA3SIE arrived and set up his KX3 along with his ALEXLOOP antenna. He started calling on 20m CW and I kept on with 40SSB.

Martin posted an excellent Video (link below) on his part of the activation so check it out….

After a while I switched over to 20ssb and managed a contact before jumping back to 40m ssb

As the sun turned into sunset it really got cold and the wind really picked up. We packed up and moved closer to the Murney Tower to escape the wind but it still was goshdarn cold…. Martin continued to operate and I decided to leave the gear packed up….

I managed to give out Murney Tower VE4877 and the Kingston Fortifications VE4872 to 14 hunters making it a successful Two Park activation day.

Just before 6pm eastern I got my bus ride home and called it a day…. Martin decided to stay (those youngsters just don’t feel the cold) and he was making SSB contacts on 40m and 20m….. I was actually impressed seeing how easy he was pulling in the stations with the KX3 and the loop…

This will most likely be my last activation for a while. The sheer pleasure of operating portable was negated by the reality of freezing (ok the coldest I have been in quite a while) and at a certain time it just is no longer fun…. I’ll keep on hunting till things change a bit….. and if we get a warm afternoon who knows…

A Bit of POTA News….

On Friday evening the Pota Gawds determined that I had been confirmed and had make contacts with 2000 individual parks. BIG THANKYOU to the activators that made this possible. This was one of my goals and it happened earlier than I had expected….

More News

As of the time of this post my attempts to complete the “Park A Day Challenge” continue and since Jan 1 2022 I have made at least 1 confirmed contact a day with a POTA Park. As of the end of October there were 24 of us still in the Challenge…

48 Days to go….Will I make it???

Thats it for now…. I’ll post more when I have something to talk about


(this)Saturday in the Park

Starting around 3pm Eastern (2000 UTC if I did the math right) a few of us hearty souls will be trying to activate the following POTA parks:

VE 4877 Murney Tower

VE4872 Kingston Fortifications

The operators will be Martin VA3SIE (KX1 or KX3) and Bob VA3QV(Xiegu X5105). It is hoped that Bill VE3FI (KX3)will be with us as well if his earlier activation allows him to make it here. The activation was also talked about on our local QRP/POTA groups (VHF and HF) weekly net so I’m not really sure how many operators will show up.

We will be spotting ourselves on POTA Spots and hope to get you in the log.

This is also fitting with the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness (PBMME) event. The event takes place on the Saturday closest to a Full Moon and is a fairly popular event for the QRP Types

This will be the first time that my XIEGU X5105 will be playing outside with other radios in close proximity. Lets hope the little rig does not get overloaded

Hope to get you in the Log


Caught the 13 Colonies Stations

It started during the RAC Canada Day Contest on July 1st when I started answering CQ’s on 40m from a station with a call of K2D. During the contest K2B and K2L also made it into my log.

On July 2nd while I was hunting some POTA K2M also made it into my log for a total of 4 of the Special Event Stations in the bag

On July 3rd once again hunting POTA I also managed to get K2K, K2A, K2G and K2F for a total of 8 of the 13 now in my log.

On July 4th in between wishing any US station that was calling CQ or answered my CQ a happy 4th of July. I also managed to get K2J and K2E for a total of 8 logged with only 3 to go.

July 5th was a busy time with K2I, K2C and K2H along with the Bonus Stations WM3PEN and TM13COL logged,

And on July 7th the final Bonus Station GB13COL was captured for the Clean Sweep

So there you have it ….. 13 Colonies and 3 Bonus Stations in 7 days… And for the most part I did have fun…

For those who might be wondering about the operating conditions used….The HF RIG is a Yaesu FT 950 running at approx 95w on SSB. My antenna is a 50 foot long inverted L with approx 150 feet of radials that run along the edge of fence and small yard. I use the SGC 237 auto tuner to bring it all together and it gives me excellent results on 10-80m and tolerable results on 6m, 60m and 160m but it does work on all the above mentioned bands. This setup has to be stealthy as the CONDO Corporation or HOA group does not like antennas but I’m still on the air after 4 years here

However on the downside of things…. The just plain stupid operators who could not figure out the words “UP 5-10” or “He’s working split” while the bulk of operators were trying to get GB13COL and TM13COL in the logs…. Right behind them were the operators who could not figure out what “by the numbers” meant when the DX stations were calling for specific calling areas to try and ease the pile ups.

And as always the self proclaimed DX POLICE had to increase the frequency QRM by telling each individual several times of their mistakes

In some cases the behavior was so bad that the DX Stations were forced to shut down for a while…. People calling on top of other operators…. People calling on top of the DX Station??? (really guys if you can’t hear him then why are you even calling???) and of course the operators who insist on tuning up their AMPS and antennas on the DX Frequency…

The stations who benefit the most from the 13 Colonies event have to remember that to the DX Stations it means nothing(Ok to the British it means something but not what it does to the Americans) and the French are just being nice to try and help out. I tell you they had more patience than I would of had and I for one thank them for what they did for us.

Last night (July 7th around 0030utc) when I was getting frustrated by the lack of brains in the pile up …I Tweeted the following:

“Starting to believe that on the #hamRadio Exams for any class that includes #HF they should have to prove that they understand the words “SPLIT” and “Listening up” and know to use the function”

I feel the same today even before the joy of successfully completing the event wears off

Once again… Thanks to the various operators of the K2A to K2m stations and also the WM3PEN operators and of course the various operators of TM13COL and GB13COL.


Public Service (Communications)

The last time I helped out providing communications for a public service event was in June 2019 in the Rideau Lakes Cycle tour.

You can follow this link to see what we did back then in the good old Before Covid days

Now that we are told that COVID is behind us and we must live with it (or die from it) the event was held again this weekend just past. Rather than be at a checkpoint somewhere in the middle of somewhere I was doing dual duty as one of the Communicators at the End of Saturdays Leg and the Start of Sundays leg as I was at Queens University doing some Start/Finish line stuff as well as being one of the Net Control Operators.

Most of our local (Kingston Ontario)crew came back (after 2 years off) to operate for the event and we used the VE3FRG 2m repeater which is normally a C4FM repeater but for this event was locked in the FM mode. Even though all of our team have C4FM gear not all the other (Aux Communication Groups) have that mode so to keep everyone in our area on the same page (and same mode) we kept it FM only.

The event itself seemed to run smoothly and there was nothing worse that a few riders getting small amounts of road rash. The tour management seemed quite pleased with our services and when we were shutting down our end of the tour as the riders were safely on their way to Perth Ontario the words I heard most was “See you next year”

I think they will!!!

Sorry but to be honest I did not have the time to snap any pics so…. next year I will try harder


POTA-What’s easier Hunting vs Activating?

Now remember I did not ask “what’s more important”. I am asking what’s easier… Now I must admit I have only hunted POTA (so far) but over the last 20 years I have operated portable a good deal of the time. Activating Parks is not new. The level of organization that the current POTA team has is new and very well done.

We were operating from Parks because we could not get a decent antenna up at home, we operated from parks because the noise was usually less from the park and we also operated from parks because once you got set up it seemed to attract other amateurs which also turned into a social event.

And more importantly we did it because we could….

So here are my thoughts (my opinions) and feel free to agree or disagree just be nice about it…


Has to find a place to operate (has to do their homework to find a site that is clear for antennas, no or low noise floor, and most importantly close to a bathroom, but sheltered from the elements would be good as well….

VA3QV/vy2 2017 RAC Canada Day Contest

Has to calculate how much battery power they need and bring twice what they think… Has to bring at least 2 hf antennas, and all the rope needed to get the antennas in the air, along with coax runs….

The SOTA Activation was catered

Has to take into account the band conditions as they don’t want to drive to a distant park to find the band is crap… But they can pick and choose who to contact as they control the pile up


Already set up… Stronger equipment… Higher Power…Better antenna…. normally higher noise floor… has to hear the usually QRP Signals coming from the activators through the loud pileups…. More distractions from family and noises coming into the shack…. Does not get much of a choice as they can only contact who they can hear and who can hear them.

So in my humble opinion:

Both are equally important in the process. Take away the hunters and you have a bunch of activators calling “CQ POTA” with no one answering. Take away the activators and you have a bunch of hunters listening to dead air….

But there are some days hunting is easier or at least warmer

Personally I think that its would be easier to Activate as everyone is looking for you and then control the pile up than be the one trying to break into the pile up.

And that my friends is the view from the cheap seats…


Was it only 16 years ago?

Some days it seems just like yesterday and other days…. well you know

                   RAC Winter Contest

Call: CF3RCS
Station: VA3UMP

Class: M/S LP
QTH: Bate Island, Ottawa
Operating Time (hrs): 19

 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  CW Mults  Ph Mults
  160:   17      9       3         2
   80:   11     37       3         6
   40:   15     26       3         6
   20:   10     46       1         5
   15:    0      4       0         3
   10:    0      1       0         1
    6:    0      0       0         0
    2:    0      0       0         0
Total:   53    123      10        23  Total Score = 46,860

Club: Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club


C F 3 R C S
(Canadians Freezing - 3 - Real Cold Spot)

And we were!  We operated 19 hours of the RAC Canada Winter Contest
from Bate Island in the Ottawa River.  We set up tarps to break the
wind and we used a propane heater to ward off the cold.  We ran two
radios, an FT-897 and an FT-857.  The FT857 was used on VHF and the
FT897 on HF.  We earned Bate Island a number in the Canadian Island
Award Program (CISA) - Number ON283.

We operated from battery power and the antennas in use were a 275ft
Carolina Windom up about 30/40ft in the trees for HF, a rotate-able
dipole for 6m and a halo loop for 2m.  We operated VHF only for the
C.I.S.A. activation during the first few hours of the expedition.

We all had a great time on the island.  Some of the highlights were
making contact with Garry Hammond (VE3XN), who manages the C.I.S.A.
program. Garry issued us a new island number right there on the air
to much jubilation on the island.  We also made contact with two of
the USA special event stations celebrating the 100th anniversary of
the first broadcast of voice and music over radio by Fessenden.  We
were using the CF prefix to mark the same event.  We also ran a 40m
phone net from the island, that was great fun and we had great QSOs
in the net.   And we had some visitors who enjoyed working some new
contest contacts.

We made contact with other islands as well.  We contacted VE2IDX on
CISA QC-027 Blizzard Island and GM3PPG/P on South Uist, IOTA EU-010
in Scotland.  For many of us, it was our first try at top band, and
we were amazed at how well top band performed.

73 and Thanks! from the Bate Island DXpedition team.

Back in our younger days a bunch of us (during coffee …no beer involved) got the crazy thought to make a group entry into the RAC Canada Winter Contest. From that thought it mutated into the idea that we should operate from somewhere portable (yes it was winter time but being hardy Canadian Hams it was still at the idea stage).

The idea was starting to morph into a plan….. How can we get more interest and so we though why not operate portable from an island that we could activate for the Canadian Islands Program…. The plan (not sure if it was a good plan) was now defined as much as we could and so we had the choice of two islands easily accessable to play from.

Taking parking and structures into account we decided on Bate Island (middle of the Ottawa River but accessable by the Island Park Bridge and there was a roofed (no sides) picnic table there.

Long story short…. about 2 bbq tanks to run the propane heater… 2 deep cycle batteries for the radio(s) and one very large tarp to cover most of the sides of the picnic table area and we did it.

We were POTA before POTA was cool… but we were more than cool…. we were freezing.

My station at its best

The 2021 version of the RAC Winter Contest starts at 0000 UTC December 18th and finishes 24 hours later.

Listen for the Popgun (VA3QV)giving out the rare “5/9 ON” multi on SSB and CW

For more info go WWW.RAC.CA


The two I regret letting go

Over the years I have owned plenty of HF radios and sold/traded most of them away for something more “Shiny or newer”….

But out of all the ones that are no longer with me, there are two that I am now kicking myself for selling..

Mistake number 1

Flex 1500 QRP HF SDR Radio

This fantastic little radio was my first (and only so far) SDR Radio and my second QRP Radio. It took a while to get used to all that computer hook up stuff but once I finally got it right it was a dream to operate. Using it at home with my S9 43 foot vertical, 4:1 balun, along with a Elecraft T1 QRP autotuner brought a new spark to the hobby and I was a happy ham.

This was done with the help of my laptop for the computer control, CW decoding program, and a logging program.

Using the Flex and T1 combo I was able to:

Complete my QRP DXCC, add to my QRP DXCC totals, complete my WAS Triple Play and actually make a decent showing in the 2015 CQ WW CW contest:

VA3QV2015VE34SO QRP ALL11,47385284913.8
That ranked me as 4th in Canada, 25th in North America and 100th WW

With the excellent recieve filtering the Flex had it made hearing the weak ones out there much easier and allowed me to work into the areas of the world I had never even heard before.

FT 817

The other rig that I regret leaving my possession was the Yaesu FT817. Not an 818 or a 817 ND but the original 817

Mistake number 2

I bought mine from Radioworld shortly after they were available in Canada and added the orignal LDG QRP Auto Tuner a few months later.

My favorite setup involved using a few adapters connecting the rig to the tuner direct with no coax in the picture. Also using a double male adapter connected the end feds balun directly to the tuner so there was no coax in the picture at all. Normally the antennas of choice would be a Par Endz Fed or my old homebrewed W3EDP antenna.

I would like to think that having no line losses (no coax) made lots of contacts a reality but most likely it was also operator skill.

W3EDP antenna (Tnx to VE3FI for the graphic)

Contacts were made on all the amateur bands (70cm/2m/6m) along with (10m/12m/15m/17m/20m/30m/40m/80m) in SSB and Digital (PSK31) using a NUE Modem.

Back then I was not really a CW operator (and that remains true today) so all of my 30m contacts were PSK31 only and the original 817 did not have 60m so no contacts were made on that band.

Given the fact that the family budget could not really afford new toys at the time…. Old toys had to be sold so new toys could be acquired so…. both the Flex and then the 817 left me so newer and shinier toys could come into the shack to be sold later.

Now that I am fairly secure in the hobby…. and not wanting to get rid of the FT950 at home or the FT450at that will be going into the new (to us) VA3QV/m (once we decide on what to get).

I have the hope that a gently abused FT817 might find its way into my shack again if I can find one at a good price (or trade deal.)

I do have the portable station from the camper (FT450, 25amp power supply and LDG Auto Tuner) and its a great cottage/camper station and its currently surplus to my needs… that is gathering dust so you never know.

Image credit : NASA/SDO

This is also the weekend for the CQ WW SSB contest. For those of you who dare to brave the Solar Storm predicted….

Good luck in the contest


Best contact for VA3QV/m so far

A few days ago I found myself listening and checking into the CAN-AM Net which is on 7.153 lsb.  Some of you old Pharts (like myself) might remember it as the Communications Ontario (COMSONT for short) Net

As the needs of the Ontario Goverment changed as far as Amateur Radio went the net carried on and thats how my Wolf River Coil ended up on 40m….  I checked in to talk to a few old friends and actually never bothered changed frequencies  after

So lets fast forward to today and I decide to try and check into the Trans Provincial Net on 7.100 LSB ( and before the flames start lets remember that the Canadian Bandplan allows voice there…..

IMG_0746 (1)

VE2OL Ray from SAINT-BRUNO-DE-GUIGUES, QC (about 425 kms North North West of Kingston) was the NCS and gave me a really nice 5/9 report from my mobile.  I gave he a 5/9 +10 back and we had a great QSO without any QSB.  It was armchair copy….

When we cleared I noticed that Woody VE3JJA from North Western Ontario checked in and I could actually hear him.

I broke back into the net and asked Ray if I could give Woody a call and as it turned out we could hear each other just fine….  This was a 1500 kms QSO from Sioux Narrows Ontario to my mobile in Kingston….

I was more than pleased…..

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come with the propagation Deity smiling down on us which will allow more great contacts…..

On to other topics for a few seconds….  We will be taking possession of our new trailer at the end of the month and will be spending a few weeks there getting things set up as we would like them….  However we have no WIFI there and my internet will be limited to cellular 4G connects till I run out of bandwidth.  Our provider assures us our plan is actually unlimited and I guess this is where we find out what their defination of unlimited is….

However if you are looking for me…..  try the following

Daytime – 3.755 Which is the Ontars Net between 7 am and noon

Daytime 7.153 Which is the Can-AM Net between 930 am and 11 am

Evenings- 3.733 Which is the Sandbox Net between 630 pm and 730

Evenings- 3.730 Which is the 3730 net which starts at 730pm

In addition I will be listening on the C4FM Repeater VE3FRG 146.805 also connected to the System Fusion Network (look up VE3UCC)

Not sure how radio active I will be as Liz and I have lots to do getting our trailer to resemble how we want it to be

Hope to hear you on the air during that time



The result of having way too much time on my hands but as of right now VA3QV/m is as good as I see it being….


VHF/UHF communications provided by my Yaesu FTM7250D which along with being dual band its also dual mode (FM/C4FM) with output power being up to 50w.  If the repeater I am on at the time is part of the Wires X network I can also access that network as well


HF Communications (15m/17m/20m/40m/60m/80m) with my Yaesu FT450d along with a Wolf River coil.  The FT 450 has a built in Auto Tuner which I plan to use to extend the bandwidth of the antenna system but so far it has not been needed

IMG_0746 (1)

In addition I have a hotspot that I tether to my cell phone that interfaces the 7250 with the System Fusion system for Wires X style linkingIMG_0728

But getting back to HF Mobile operating…

In anticipation of next year being better than this year is turning out I decided to outfit my truck with a good selection of communications gear so that if we are allowed to travel unrestricted next year communications “home” from wherever we were visiting would be possible

It did take a few remakes but the Wolf River 10-80m coil along with a 90 inch stainless steel whip is working better than expected.  I am making contacts (on a daily basis) with stations across Ontario/Quebec and the Maritimes on 40m and 80m ssb. I have also make contacts into Canada’s western provinces using 20m and 40m ssb.  In eastern Ontario the guys say that my mobile is almost as strong as my fixed station setup seeing that I have to use a stealth antenna here at home to keep the condo board guessing.

Left pic shows the mount that failed and the one that is stronger is on the right

Now if you decide to go this route for your mobile I do recommend going with a very strong mount on your vehicle.  My first mount failed due to the flexing issue with the 102 inch whip (I later cut it down to 90 inches due to height restrictions) and a 16 inch coil driving around the streets of Kingston.  Before then the coil was working fine and then the mount failed.  After replacing the mount with one more robust it is working just fantastic.  I still have some filtering to add to my ignition and charging systems as there is some alternator whine and ignition noise there but I’ve got time before 2021 to get that figured out

The next part of the package will now to get the trailer set up and then make it “Radio Active” in time for Field Day and the RAC Canada Day Contest.  The next 2 weeks are going to be a busy time.


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