A return to Digital HF Modes

It was about 8 months ago when I decided that when Liz and I were going to be RV’ing on a full time basis it was also obivious that some gear would not make it into the trailer for the trip.  My desktop computer was on its last legs but my laptop was fine so…. that fit in with reducing the clutter for the trailer.  However some of the accessories would not be needed so…. At the Carp Hamfest they were sent on their way to their new owners….

Now fast forward to the present time and the COVID Crap and we are not on the road and we are not in our new trailer and I was getting bored so…..IMG_0710

One of the items sold has been replaced… and as you can see I am back on the digital modes using a SignaLink sound card device.

Its taking a while to get back into the modes as I have to remember how to set things back up but so far I have gotten a few FT8 QSOs in the log and so…..  Its another distraction to keep me going when I am in the shack trying to unwind after work.  The real reason the item was sold was I thought I would not have the time to operate as much and so now that I have the time….  why not get back to it?

va3qvcoffeeThis morning (Thursday morning) on our local Kingston Coffee (C4FM) Net I was mentioning that I was thinking of getting a new SignaLink and shortly after that one of the participants mentioned that he had a spare he was thinking of getting rid of….  A couple of hours later we had met up and I was heading home to set up the latest addition.

Its the same bunch of operators that used to meet at the local coffee shop to compare rare DX contacts and complain about stuff but due to the COVID restrictions we now do it on the air from our shacks.

Its still as exciting as watching paint dry but at least in these times of unstable conditons along with my antenna restrictions it is a way to at least make some contacts.


According to my LoTW files I need 49 more DXCC entities for my Digital DXCC and I need 8 more states for my Digital WAS from Kingston.  When I operated from Ottawa I did complete my Triple Play WAS so now the quest starts again from Kingston.

I’m not sure how many new ones I’ll get in the log during this time of self containment when not working …but I know it will be fun trying



Back again

Its been a rough couple of weeks but I’m back….  Some of you might say…. “you left????” but I was away from the hobby….


We have one less cat now (RIP Shadow) but its time to wipe away the tears and get back to our regular activities.


You might remember that I bought that $500.00 hat back at the Carp Hamfest well that radio they gave me is now up and running as a Personal Digital Node here in Kingston and its connected to the C4FM Canada Link (40505) which is the VE3ORF repeater system and accessable on UHF simplex at 443.1625.

As you can see from the above map the coverage is from Joyceville Ontario to West of Odessa (east of Napanee)  The VE3ORF system gives coverage from Brockville east on the 401 to past Morrisburg and then from Prescott Ontario north into Ottawa using several linked repeaters.  I give you a gateway from the Kingston area into the system and then you gain the full system as you get close to Brockville.

For more info on the system go to:  http://www.ve3orf.com

The antenna is an Arrow Dual Band Groundplane at about 20 feet above ground with the link radio at the 25w pwr setting.  For the testing I used VA3QV/m with its dual band mobile antenna and the mobile pwr setting was at 50w.  Now this is what I am getting with my setup so your results could (might vary)


Its still in the testing mode and so far the only issue is that if my internet hiccups at the same time as the node is doing something that it needs to connect to the network ….  well at that time it will just disconnect from the network which means that someone at my house has to go into the shack and double click on the icon to restart the system again.  So far in testing that has only happened twice so here hoping the internet stays stable…

Its a learning process and it will stay up and running as long as it remains stable and dependable.  I operate it on UHF as the local repeaters here in Kingston are on VHF so there is no conflicts and I can still operate locally as needed.

If you have access to the Wires X system from your location try connecting to node 40505 and you will be connected to the ORF system which also includes my little bit of radio land here in Kingston.




The $500.00 hat

Well I went to the Hamfest as you know. Had a fantastic time and brought home a new radio as well…. Here’s the history on it….

When leaving home I was instructed to have fun…. say “HI” to the guys back in Ottawa and not to buy any new radios …

Well you would not believe the deal I got at the Radioworld display… I bought a Designer Yaesu Hat for $500.00 and they threw in a free FTM100-D

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it….

(She never told me not to buy a hat)


Back home after the OARC (Carp) Hamfest

This is just to update you on the happenings….  I arrived in Ottawa (Stittsville) on Friday evening and parked my trailer at a business that I used to work at…..  The owners and I parted way on excellent terms and so they had no problems giving me a place to park for the night….

I drove north bound on Hwy 15 to Hwy 7 (Through Smiths Falls to Carleton Place and ended up in Stittsville.  The new truck handled the trip and the trailer with no issues…  On the RF side of things it seemed like everyone was sleeping early in anticipation of Saturdays event and no one made it in the VA3QV Mobile Log from Kingston to the parking lot in Stittsville

Saturday morning I headed over to the Carp arena to pass on some treasures and to buy one new toy from Radioworld…  By noon both goals had been accomplished with all my treasures sold and the new toy (Yaesu FTM-100/DR) in my possession.


Saturday afternoon I headed to the east end of Ottawa and parked at the Trainyards Walmart where my oldest friend pick me up and we headed out for a few cold ones and some story swapping…


Operating from the trailer with my FT70 handheld along with a magmount attached to the range hood in the camper I made many contacts on the VE3ORF C4FM Repeater system on the Saturday evening and Sunday Morning….

Sunday morning I left Ottawa and headed south on Hwy 416.  I remained in communications on the Ottawa ORF repeater till close to Kempville…  I then switched to the Kempville ORF repeater then finally switching to the Prescott ORF repeater.  I stopped for a few minutes at Angelo’s Truck stop on hwy 16 just north of the 401 to meet up with Mike VA3MPM.  Mike is the driving force with the VE3ORF linked repeater system.

After our chat we continued on our respective travels and were able to keep contact up on the linked repeater system till I finally ran out of repeater as I passed thru the City of Brockville on Hwy 401.

Arrived home and put the camper back in storage….  tired but happy and as I type this also trying to figure out how to operate the new toy without having to read the book of words….  not going as good as I thought…


Some upcoming #RV and #Hamradio Stuff

The first official trip of the New VA3QV Mobile along with the trailer is due to happen the weekend after Labour Day.


I will be leaving Kingston on Friday late afternoon/early evening  and heading out to the Western outskirts of Ottawa to spend the night before I arrive on Saturday morning at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Hamfest in Carp Ontario.  Saturday afternoon will be spent having lunch with some friends in Ottawa and will most likely spending a night or two at a Walmart before heading back to Kingston on Sunday afternoon or Monday Morning depending on how I feel.

The above pics were taken at Chillycon a few years ago….  A restfull weekend of QRP Radio… Camping…. BBQs and lying about all the great contacts we made….  The small Class C Motorhome was the first VA3QV/m and that was actually its first trip…

Later in the week I will be again leaving town with the trailer in tow and spending Thursday night at the Kemptville Walmart before arriving at Rideau River Provincal Park on Friday Morning to partake in two of the three days of the Amateur Radio Event sponsored by the Ottawa Valley QRP Society that we call Chillycon.  I have to be back in Kingston on Sunday by noon so not sure if I am going to head out real early on Sunday morning or late Saturday night.

There will be more on both events in a future blog post….

After that its time to work on whatever issues I had on the first two trip because Liz and I will be heading out  early in October for a couple of weeks (destination not finalized yet… )  before we winterize the trailer and then hand the keys over to Erika.  We are giving her the trailer and we will be pickup up a new(er) slightly larger (24-28 footer) in the spring.

This is all part of the retirement master plan but remember plans were made to be changed… And Liz has been known to change my mind in the past….

Erika is planning to renovate the interior and camp with it next year….  Only problem is that her Sonic is a little small for the trailer but she does not like driving the Silverado so,,,,,Lets see how this turns out…

Thats about all for now….  more later next week ….  mostly about the trip from Kingston to Carp and how much I sold and how much I bought at the hamfest

Till then “Safe Travels” and ….


First Tow with the new(er) Truck

This morning I headed over to the storage yard and hooked up to the trailer just to test out the Silverado….


It was a local tour as if anything was going to fail I wanted it to be closer to home to cut the towing costs if anything went south….


I toured around Kingston for a while and parked ( took up a few spots) at the local Timmies and had coffee with VE3FI Bill and then headed over to my local Walmart and took a couple of pictures just to prove I actually went somewhere….

Anyway long story short….  We need to do a bit of work on the Trailer Brakes but other than that all is fantastic….

First trip with the trailer is to the OARC Carp Hamfest on the 7th of September and aftetr that I have 2 days to make it home to Kingston before I am scheduled to work next so Gawd knows where I will end up….

I have some goodies to sell at the hamfest (Buddistick antenna, Winkeyer USB,  Yeasu MD 100 desk mic) and lots of COAX and other such stuff….

Also plan to be heading home with an good HF(40m and 80m) mobile antenna system which will work easily while travelling along with a new FTM 100DR C4FM rig for the Silverado….

Hope to see you there


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….