Saturday, 3 March 2018

Minutes - YRARC General Membership Meeting 2018-02-06

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 38.
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Trailer and Membership Report: Barry VA3LLT.
    • The club trailer was used at Winter Field Day, and a small clean-up is needed.
    • We have a total of 73 paid members, including life members.
  3. Trailer Item Purchase: Steve VE3UT. MOTION: To approve payment of $28.24 for a USB to RS232 adaptor, purchased for the D- Star radio in the club trailer. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  4. Adoption of minutes from 2017/12/05 and 2018/01/02. Moved Brian VE3IBW, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  5. Treasurer's Report: Charles VA3TTB. Due to an incompatibility between a USB drive and a computer, there was no official report, only a verbal summary.
  6. Insurance: Charles VA3TTB. We have 3 insurance policies, liability insurance, trailer road insurance and directors insurance. Charles is investigating getting us coverage at better rates.
  7. Public Service: Eric VE3EB.
    • There are planned events for the year 2018, including but not limited to, the Mount Albert Run, the Newmarket Music Festival, the Aurora Street Sale, Run for the Cure, and various events at the Sharon Temple.
    • We participated at the recent 2nd Markham Scouts Winter camp. Steve VE3UT, Geoff VA3GS and David VA3DCY set up on the Friday (in winter conditions). On Saturday Geoff VA3GS and David VA3DCY introduced younger youth to Morse Code and the phonetic alphabet. For the older youth, Eric VE3EB and Brian VE3IBW demonstrated APRS and digital modes with the help of Steve VE3EZ (who was off site).
  8. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT
    • WFD weekend was on January 27 and 28. Set up started on Friday with the club trailer, Steve VE3EZ's trailer and one section of the summer shelter. We operated as 3Oscar (maximum 3 transmitters at one time and Outdoors).
    • In 2015 our score was 3573, in 2017 our score was 6348 and for 2018 we claimed 10,690. The total number of QSOs were 239 with a multiplier of 7, for a QSO score of 2345. We claimed 1500 bonus points each for non-commercial power (generators), operating outdoors, away from home and a minimum of one satellite QSO. We made 3 Satellite QSOs (although only 1 counted).
  9. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. VE3YRA was off the air recently due to a failed power supply. It was returned to air using a temporary supply. A replacement supply will arrive soon.
  10. ARES (EmComm) Report: Don VE3IXJ. The UHF frequencies used on the cross-band repeaters at the EOCs, may conflict with digital frequencies. Don is working to resolve the situation.

Break: 20:10 – 20:25

Guest Speaker: Alex VE3ASE

Topic: Amateur Radio Satellites.

It can be inexpensive to start working satellites with a minimum of equipment. Alex started with a simple 'tape measure' yagi and a dual band handheld radio. Satellites can be worked regardless of band conditions, since they are worked with line of sight VHF and UHF communications. The satelites are in low-earth orbit (not geosynchronous orbit like communications satellites) and have a 10 to 20 minute maximum window when they can be 'seen'.

FM satellites operate on 1 cross-band channel, and like a terrestrial repeater, allow only one QSO at a time. Linear satellites have a 50 to 100 kHz bandwidth and allow multiple SSB/CW QSOs.

For FM satellite operation, the handheld radio should be capable of full duplex operation, first to ensure you are actually being heard by the sattelite and secondly to be able to respond quickly to a QSO. Alternately 2 separate radios could be used. Because of the satellite movement, you can expect a doppler shift, so at least 5 pre-programmed transmit and receive frequencies are necessary – (2 lower, 1 on frequency, 2 higher). In addition, a voice recorder is necessary to record the exchange in the QSO. In order to know when satellites will be 'visible', satellite pass prediction software is invaluable.

The most critical antenna is the downlink antenna. It should be a high gain Yagi. While the antennae can be hand-held, it can also be permanently mounted, and motor driven as done by Brad VE3HII. The setup can also be more expensive.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2018-01-02

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 26
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of minutes from 2017/12/05. Postponed until February 2018.
  3. Repeater Committee: Steve VE3UT
    • The voice IDs on the repeaters are now muted when the repeater is in use. VE3YRK-V is still off the air due to a 4:1 SWR.
    • Winter field day will be on January 27 and 28, and we will be at Al's Tack Shop on Vandorf Rd. A show of hands indicated approximately 10 people plan to attend. The cost of fuel and snacks will be covered by the club. Peter VE3PBT will prepare a light meal for those wishing to stay for supper at a cost of $3 per person.
  4. Don VE3IXJ noted that VE3BAL is now on a new frequency.

Break: 19:50

Guest Speaker: Don VE3IXJ
Topic: The Power of the HT Repeater.

Don demonstrated a simplex repeater, Surecom SR-112, costing approximately $80 Cdn bought on eBay from China. It attaches to the mic/speaker of the HT radio. On receive it records the audio, then re-transmits the recorded audio. It is a very simple solution for use in a local environment. Then Don demonstrated a crossband repeater, Surecom SR-628, costing approximately $90Cdn. The lightweight and inexpensive repeater could be set up easily and quickly in a typical emergency where simplex operation might be ineffective.

The crossband repeater was connected to an inexpensive Chinese radio capable of crossband. Anything received on VHF was retransmitted on UHF, and anything received on UHF was retransmitted on VHF. To extend the range, Don added a second crossband repeater/radio combination and then a third repeater/radio combination. From end to end a typical path would be VHF Freq#1 – repeater – UHF Freq#2 – repeater – VHF Freq#3 – repeater – UHF Freq#4.

A conversation could be heard on any frequency along the path. A radio in the middle could transmit on UHF Freq#2 or VHF Freq#3 and be heard at both ends of the path on VHF Freq#1 and UHF Freq#4.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

YRARC General Meeting - Minutes 2017-12-05

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 27
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of minutes from 2017/11/07. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Jack VA3UU. Carried
  3. Ontario VHF Association: Bob VE3WY; The Ontario VHF Association is having a 1 day meeting in June, with antenna testing in the morning, and technical talks in the afternoon, followed by dinner. Bob asked if we as a club would host the event.
  4. ARES Report: Mike VA3MCT; The recent SET in Markham was based on a 5 day power outage. Messages were passed using only simplex communication, however hand written messages using standard voice relaying are slow, and not the way to go forward. Eric VE3EB and others are experimenting with Fldigi to transfer messages of UHF and HF. Steve VE3UT and others have tested D-Star to transfer messages. John VE3IPS would also like to encourage the use of NVIS antennae for short range HF links.
  5. Treasurer’s Report: Charles VA3TTB; There was no working projector and no definite treasurers report, just figures from memory. Charles spoke about a proposed project night Arduino antenna analyzer. He has been sourcing parts for the project, and the cost should be approximately $100.
  6. Repeater, Winter Field Day Reports: Steve VE3UT; The D-Star VHF repeater is off the air until further notice. The antenna has a 4:1 VSWR. Steve asked for a headcount of potential WFD participants, to estimate refreshment requirements (approximately 10 to 12). Proposed bands for operation will be 160m, 80m, 40m and 20m...Phone, CW and digital modes. Rob VE3RQB wanted to know when the 'brag messages' on the repeaters would be lowered when there was a conversation in progress.
  7. Public Service Report: Eric VE3EB; There are still items remaining from the estate of Bernie VE3OTR. John VE3POJ is disposing of the assets. Contact Eric for details.
  8. Hamfest Report: Geoff VA3GS; Geoff thanked all who were involved with the Hamfest. He also noted that as of December 1, all cell phones can be unlocked without charge for the unlock code.
  9. Membership Report: Barry VA3LLT; We have a total of 70 paid members including life members.
  10. Name Tags: Doug VE3VS;Anyone a name tag, please contact Doug. When there are enough orders, the name tags can be made. There is a DXpedition at the Galapagos Islands, and Doug received his Vimy 100 certificate.

Meeting adjourned at 20:15. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Jack VA3UU. Carried.

The Christmas party followed the business meeting.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2017-09-05

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRTTotal members and guests attending: 42
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2017/05/02 and 2017/06/06 general meeting postponed until October.
  2. Public Service – Brian VE3IBW for Eric VE3EB. Past events included the Canada Day celebration at the Sharon Temple and the Newmarket Music Festival. We received a $600 honorarium for our participation at the music festival. Upcoming events include the Sharon Temple Illumination on September 8 and Weaving Words, also at the Sharon Temple on September 17. Run for the cure is on October 1 and we will need 10 to 14 volunteers to run this event.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – Charles VA3TTB. Charles stressed the need to pay our dues and support the Hamfest, since we have many expenses including insurance and rental costs for the Hamfest which occur throughout the year.
    • Opening Balance 2017-09-01 [available to members on request to club secretary]
    • Income: None
    • Expenditures: None
    • Closing Balance 2017-09-01 [available to members on request to club secretary]
  4. Hamfest – Geoff VA3GS. Our annual hamfest will be held on November 4 at the Markham Fairgrounds. This year we will use Hall 2 as the entrance as before, and this year, all exhibits will be in Hall 1. We will need lots of help, on Friday for preparation, on Saturday morning to run the event and also for tear down. When we do the cleanup, we save ourselves money.
  5. Ham Classes – Geoff VA3GS. Information about upcoming classes – TBD.
  6. Summer Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • Steve gave a quick summary of Summer Field Day, noting that it was a success with many bands operated, more QSOs and a record breaking number of Satellite contacts. This was in spite of having to shut down early because of severe weather.
    • Plans are underway to hold Winter Field Day in January with details to follow.
    • We have been invited to attend a Scout Winter Camp, the weekend before WFD. This will be a 'low key event'.
    • We have also been asked to participate at a Scout JOTA camp at Woodland Trails (Kennedy Rd north of Bloomington) on October 21.
  7. Repeaters – Steve VE3UT. The IRLP node should be working within a few weeks.
  8. Co-ax and 6m Net – Johnn VA3JI. John has some 7/8” Heliax available, and would also be willing to reactivate the 6m Net if there is sufficient interest.
  9. ARES / EmComm – John VE3IPS, Mike VA3MCT. There is a GTA SET on Saturday October 14. York Region will be holding an emergency exercise on Wednesday and Thursday November 15 and 16. The scenario will involve a simulated 5 day power outage and will be at the Markham EOC. Check-ins are encouraged during the event.
  10. Co-ax and TV tower – Doug VE3VS. Doug has some co-ax and TV tower sections available.
Break 20:30 – 20:45 Guest Speaker Grant VE3XTV – “Amateur TV Repeaters”. Grant talked about his amateur TV repeaters. He has plans for a hybrid analogue/digital repeater and spoke about some of the challenges and potential obstacles in getting his repeater up and running. For the moment the repeater input would accept analogue signals, and the repeater output would be a digital signal. Much of the equipment used would be old broadcast equipment, available at bargain prices, along with some custom made items. Future plans are for an all digital repeater.

Meeting adjourned at 21:30.

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2017-10-17

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1.. Called to Order at 19:00 by Chris VE3NRT
Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT (P), Steve VE3UT (VP), Charles VA3TTB (T), Geoff VA3GS, Barry VA3LLT, Eric VE3EB, David VA3DCY (S), Rick VA3VO. Absent: John VE3IPS, Mike VA3MCT.
Others attending: None
  1. Approval of Agenda & declaration of conflicts of interest. Amendments: None. MOTION: To adopt the agenda: Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  2. Minutes: MOTION: To adopt minutes of Board Meeting date 2017-09-19. Moved: Geoff VA3GS, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried.
  3. Actions arising from minutes
    1. Bank signatures for the new executive. Done.
    2. 'Form 1' needs to be submitted to Service Ontario with updated director information.
    3. Canvassing of membership for Hamfest duties. Geoff has reissued a request.
    4. Sign-out sheet for club equipment. Done.
    5. Mike VA3MCT to contact York regional personnel regarding ARES requirements and participation. Deferred to November meeting.
    6. JOTA Event October 21 (trailer/personnel). Geoff VA3GS to attend the event.
      • MOTION: To authorize Steve VE3UT as an additional trailer trainer (to Rob VE3RQB). Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
      • MOTION: To train Charles VA3TTB and David VA3DCY as trailer pullers. Upon successful completion of the training, be authorized to haul the trailer. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
    7. Investigation of Project Night. Charles VA3TTB reported that Gary VE3NMI would be happy to run a project night. Projects might include an Arduino type antenna analyzer (approx cost $50) or an Arduino clock project.
  4. York region battery and hardline donation. Steve VE3EZ has picked up the batteries and hardline. They are in his trailer and the batteries will be charged and tested. The batteries are approximately 100 Ah glass mat sealed batteries and the hardline is 100' sections of 1/2” 50 Ohm coax. It was decided to allocate the first batteries to the repeaters and trailer – 3 batteries for YRC-V Bloomington, 3 batteries for YRK Ballantrae and 1 for the trailer. Rick VA3VO has 3 solar panels to exchange for 2 batteries. It was suggested that the batteries be sold at $40 to members and $75 at the hamfest. The price for the coax was to be determined.
    • MOTION: To allocate 7 batteries for club use and sell the remaining batteries and hardline, first to members, and then at the hamfest. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  5. Committee Reports:
    1. Treasurer’s Report: Charles VA3TTB (several months contained herein). MOTION: To adopt the treasurers report: Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
      • Opening Balance 2017-07-01: [Available to members on request to Secretary]
      • Hamfest table rental: $43.00
      • Trailer Insurance: ($811.00)
      • Membership Dues: $50.00
      • Hamfest table rental: $86.00
      • Banking Fees: ($3.10)
      • York Music Festival: $600.00
      • Field Day revenues: $354.20
      • Hamfest table rental: $70.00
      • Membership Dues: $780.00
      • Banking Fees: ($2.33)
      • Hamfest table rental: ($115.00)
      • Banking Fees: ($2.93)
      • Closing Balance (available to members on request to Secretary)
    2. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. All is OK, no report.
    3. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. All is OK, no report. Steve gave a receipt to Charles for $10 for the Harvey Bell award label.
    4. Web Site: Mike VA3MCT. Deferred to November meeting.
    5. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS
      • On Thursday Nov 19 Geoff and David will make a trip to the Markham fairgrounds.
      • Trevor VE3SLT will look after coffee, the Lions Club will serve breakfast, Terry VE3ODM will look after admissions, Chris VA3DXY will be in charge of admissions for next year.
      • Bill VA3QB will look after security, Brian VE3IBW will look after parking and Barry VA3LLT will look after talk-in.
      • The door prized have been bought, and the grand prizes will come from Durham Radio, Radioworld and Maple Leaf Communications.
      • Internal communications will be on 446.075 MHz (ARES 43)
      • Admissions float cash should be $300 in $2 coins and $300 in $5 and $10 bills.
      • Grand prize float cash should be $200 in $5 bills and $200 in $10 bills
      • Setup on Friday will be 13:00 at the fairgrounds and arrival on Saturday morning 06:00. (EmComm trailer and container items: P/U Friday morning, Geoff/David Saturday 05:00)
      • MOTION 2017-10-17-4e: To pay $2,464.51 - the final instalment for the Markham fairgrounds. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
    6. Property: Rick VA3VO. No report.
    7. Public Service: Eric VE3EB. The Run for the Cure had 1600 participants, with 13 volunteers (10 club members, 3 others). It was a problem-free event.
    8. EmComm: Mike VA3MCT. No report.
    9. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. Steve VE3UT, Peter VE3PBT and David VA3DCY met to discuss WFD. Band conditions, cost of gas, weather conditions and the number attending could all affect the WFD costs. It was proposed that the club pay for fuel and refreshments at WFD. Those attending would be responsible for their own meal(s). MOTION 2017-10-17-4i: To pay $275.00 for WFD fuel and refreshments. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried. The motion to be approved by the general membership, and payable in January 2018.
    10. Basic Qualification Course: Geoff VA3GS. There were 6 at the last class, where the participants built a J-Pole antenna. They will write exams soon.
    11. Membership: Barry VA3LLT. We have 51 paid members, 8 life members, and 24 unpaid members at the moment. Barry transferred $300.00 for membership to Charles
  6. Other Business:
    1. Liability and Property Insurance: David VA3DCY. We have the insurance bill to pay immediately.MOTION 2017-10-17-5a: To pay $1,112.40 for Liability and Property Insurance. Moved David VA3DCY, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  7. Meeting adjourned.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Minutes, YRARC General Meeting 2017-11-07

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Steve VE3UT. Total members and guests attending: 31
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Steve VE3UT
  2. Adoption of minutes from 2017/10/03. Moved John VE3IPS, seconded John VA3JI. Carried
  3. Treasurer’s Report – Charles VA3TTB
    • Opening Balance 2017/09/30 [available to members on request to club secretary]
    • Income
        Memberships $330.00
      • Hamfest $308.00
      • Total Income: $638.00
    • Expenses:
      • Markham Fair Rental $3,643.21
      • Liability Insurance $1,112.40
      • Canada Post box rental $250.86
      • Misc $12.92
      • Total Expenses: $5,019.40
    • Closing Balance 2017/10/31 [available to members on request to club secretary]
  4. EmComm Report – Mike VA3MCT
    • On October 14 there was an Ontario wide SET. The York Region EOC was activated, and communication on 40m and 60m was attempted using NVIS antennae.
    • On November 15, there will be a Markham SET. We need support for this event.
  5. Winter Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • Winter Field Day will happen in January 2018 and the proposed site is Al's Tack Shop, 4812 Vandorf Rd in Stouffville. The board approved payment for gas and beverages only, and meals would be the responsibility of the participants.
    • Motion that the club pay $275 for gas and beverages, moved Alex VA3ASE, seconded John VE3IPS. Carried.
  6. Public Service Report – Eric VE3EB. No report
  7. Repeater Committee Report – Steve VE3UT
    • IRLP is off the air momentarily.
    • One repeater is announcing the Hamfest message – to be investigated.
  8. Membership Report – Barry VA3LLT. We have a total or 61 paid members and 8 life members.
  9. Hamfest Report – Geoff VA3GS. Geoff was away, but there was a short discussion on what went well and where improvements could be made.
Guest Speaker John VA3KOT – “Narrow Band Emergency Message System”

John talked the need for emergency communications, not for ARES types of disaster events, which occur very infrequently, but for something that is likely to happen more often, like an ice storm or winter snow storm where power and communications are disrupted.

Is voice radio communication the answer? 2M or 70cm repeaters may be down without power, simplex has limited range and it uses bandwidth.
Winlink? It works only with Windows and not open source software, depends on the internet, is email based and needs a 'connection' to function.

CW works and uses less bandwidth than voice, but not everybody knows Morse Code.

There are other digital modes that use less bandwidth than CW and work under the noise floor.

NBEMS is an open source, free, multi platform that can be 'connectionless', ie the signal is broadcast to whoever is receiving, or with a 'connection' to only one receiver for security.
Remember, email does not need to be sent over the internet.

FLDigi (Fast Light Digital) and the suite of products, like FLMsg (Message), FLArq (Automatic Repeat Request), FLWrap (to drag and drop messages), FLAmp (Amateur multicast protocol, for connectionless transfer of files).

FLDigi is open source, run on multiple platforms (Windows, MAC, Linux and more) on powerful processors down to a RaspberryPi, using a soundcard and supports many digital modes.

John demonstrated the use of FLDigi with a RaspberryPi, interfaced to a handheld radio, and received buy cheap off-shore radio, acoustically coupled to an old android smart phone running AndFLMsg. It worked and was done with inexpensive devices.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Minutes: YRARC General Meeting 2017-10-03

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 36
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT. Chris presented Don VE3IXJ with the Harvey Bell Award for his past and present contributions to the club.
  2. Treasurer’s Report – Charles VA3TTB
      Opening Balance 2017/09/01 [Balance is available to members upon request to Secretary]
    • Income
      • York Arts Music Festival: $600.00
      • Dues $780.00
      • Field Day refund: $354.20
      • Hamfest table rental $70.00
      • Total: $1804.20
    • Expenditures:
      • Bank Fees: $2.33
    • Closing Balance 2017/10/01 [Balance is available to members upon request to Secretary]
      Charles also spoke about a proposed project night.
  3. Public Service Report – Eric VE3EB
    • We supported Run for the Cure (year #8) with parking and vehicle management. It was a successful event for the organizers.
    • The club received letters of appreciation from the Mount Albert Sports Day and the Run for the Cure organizers, for our participation in their events.
    • The next events will likely be in the spring of 2018.
  4. EmComm Report – Mike VA3MCT. On October 14 there will be an Ontario wide SET. The York Region EOC will be activated, and members are encouraged to make check-ins during the SET. Further details to be provided closer to the event. Communication on 40m and 60m will be attempted using NVIS antennae.
  5. Membership Report – Barry VA3LLT. This is the last day to pay membership dues, before your membership expires. The Go-kits are being refurbished.
  6. Hamfest Report – Geoff VA3GS
    • Our annual hamfest will be held on November 4 at the Markham Fairgrounds. This year we will use Hall 2 as the entrance as before, and this year, all exhibits will be in Hall 1.
    • We will need lots of help, on Friday for preparation, on Saturday morning to run the event and also for tear-down. When we do the cleanup, we save ourselves money.
    • We especially need help with security, parking and admissions.
  7. Winter Field Day – Steve VE3UT. Winter Field Day will happen in January 2018. It is both a contest and an emergency preparedness event. We will be operating outdoors again this year, with antenna and station setup done as a team. The intent is to be able to erect antennae as quickly as possible. It is proposed that the club pay for gas and beverages and that meals be the responsibility of the participants. The proposed site will be Al's Tack Shop, 4812 Vandorf Rd in Stouffville.
  8. Repeater Committee Report – Steve VE3UT. IRLP and Echolink are running. Steve gave a demonstration of IRLP and Echolink with the help of Bruce VE3BV who was at home. See for a list of IRLP nodes. Also mentioned, there is an Echolink app for Android and Apple devices.
Guest Speaker Hugh VE3AYR – “Vimy 100”. Hugh talked about Vimy 100, an event to commemorate the 100thh anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Planning started back in 2011 for a special event with amateurs from across Canada running a commemorative station from locations across Canada.

A special, non-standard call sign was obtained: VE100VIMY, along with a corresponding French call sign TM100VIMY. Although the site of the Vimy Memorial is Canadian territory, the air waves are not, thus the use of the French call sign.

  • The Canadian operation ran from 2017 Jamuary 01 to 2017 March 31. In April 2017, the operation moved to Arras France, the closest town to the Vimy Memorial. The station in France ran from 2017 April 01 to 2017 April 09.