Living on the “wrong side” of the hill

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

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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

Back to where it began….

(This is a camping post…. to my amateur radio followers…. you might enjoy it anyway)

…or it might be called returning to the scene of the crime…

It was the summer of 2001 and we were camperless.  Our last tent trailer had been damaged by a harder than expected winter and the roof had collasped.  We were looking for a way to get back into camping and I found a 1980 GMC 1500 van at a good price.

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With the help of a few friends, a couple of power tools, a first aid kit and some lumber we turned it into a home made van conversion that would sleep 4 and for the most part was comfortable….  I seem it to take about 3 weekends to get it all done.

We built a bed in the back with storage underneith.  The storage was accessable from the barn doors and there was also a small circuit breaker panel that allowed us to plug into a 15 amp service and provided power for the bar fridge along with an electric light and an electric fan.  In the storage area was the tiny propane BBQ and a Coleman stove.

Our first trip with it was to Lake Ontario Park in Kingston.  On the shores of Lake Ontario it was a friendly but mostly transient park but with your choice of 30 amp or 15 amp electrical service and clean washrooms along with a swimming area (by the boat launch) it was a dream for us

The camping area back then was off the first loop you come to when you enter from King Street.  Thats also the area that has the easiest parking for RVs

So now we fast forward to 2019 and we live in Kingston.  We had visited Lake Ontario Park earlier and found that it had been converted to a day use park but the campsites were still there…  no power …. but they were roomy and free.  Signs were posted saying that there was no overnight camping but we were allowed to spend the day there… IMG_0438.JPG

and so today we did and had a great time.  On Monday we hit the Costco and picked up some burgs, sausages and steaks along with getting 2 propane tanks refilled….

Tuesday morning we picked up the trailer out of storage and headed over to Lake Ontario Park and set up.  We BBQ’d lunch and supper.  The breeze off the Lake kept the bugs at bay and kept the  temps bearable. After supper we packed up and headed back to the storage yard and put our trailer to bed

Now there is a bit more to this story.   I did mention that Lake Ontario Park is now a day use park and is free to all to use…  Well if I was into “Boondocking” this would be fantastic place to spend a long day…… Spend the night at Walmart, get up and buy your daily groceries…..  Take the rig over to Lake Ontario Park and spend the day there…  When the sun goes down head back to Walmart, catch some ZZZZZ’s and repeat.

Sometimes a short trip can give you great rewards

Safe Travels

Bob

#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”

73bob

 

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.

back-in-the-saddle

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.

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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:
https://wp.rac.ca/contesting-results/

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

73bob

 

 

 

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 

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RAC Field Day

375wh

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

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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

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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.

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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 .

73bob

 

Its a small world after all

Interesting evening….

Got a phone call from the local repeater operators telling me that they were testing the Wires X Fusion Node on a simplex frequency before switching it over to their repeater….

I switch over there and the first person I hear is VE1AS (Terry) ex VE3KLT who I have known for ever…. and when we both lived in Ottawa lived about 3 km away….

UPDATED:  Should of given a bit more info.  Terry now lives in Pugwash NS and according to QRZ.com thats a bit over 625 miles from Kingston.  Now Wires X/Fusion does use a form of internet linking so its not really DX  but I still think its neat that my first Fusion contact from home in Kingston would be with an old friend who I knew in Ottawa who now lived in Nova Scotia

I knew he moved but this is the first time we have talked since I moved into Kingston Ontario a year ago…

No rare DX but it was nice to talk to an old friend and neighbor

The hobby never ceases to amaze me

73bob

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.  

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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

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

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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

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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…


WARNING

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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.

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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

Safety+–+Antenna+Mast+Deployment

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.

73bob