Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors 2017-06-20

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multi Purpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:00 by Chris VE3NRT
Board members attending:
  • Chris VE3NRT Pres.
  • John VE3IPS V. Pres.
  • John VA3JI Treasurer
  • Geoff VA3GS
  • Eric VE3EB
  • Doug VE3ATP
  • David VA3DCY Secty
  • Rick VA3VO
  • Barry VA3LLT
Absent: Steve VE3UT Other attending: Charles VA3TTB, Mike VA3MCT Secretary's note: Board members finishing their terms are Chris VE3NRT, John VA3JI, Doug VE3ATP and Steve VE3UT. Newly elected board members are Chris VE3NRT, Steve VE3UT, Charles VA3TTB and Mike VA3MCT
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT
    • Additional item: Internet link for trailer- Doug VE3ATP
    • Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Motion to adopt the minutes of the 2017/05/16 meeting, moved John VA3JI, seconded John VE3IPS. Carried.,
  3. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/06/01 (Balance available to members on request to secretary)
      • Income: Field Day food (pre-pay) $300.00
      • Field Day food (pre-pay) $15.00
      • Total income $315.00
    • Expenditures: Barry – gas for trailer gen. $7.54
    • Geoff – AGM food $46.97
    • Info cards (printing) $135.60
    • Field Day food $1050.00
    • Total expenditures -$1,240.11
    • Closing Balance 2017/06/20 (Balance available to members on request to secretary)
    • Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Rick VA3VO to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  4. Field Day Report: Rick VA3VO
    • We have purchased the non-perishable food items.
    • The tower trailer has been delivered by Doug VE3ATP.
    • The meat has been purchased.
    • The 30lb propane tank has been filled, but it expires next month. We will need to replace the tank.
    • It is undecided what band(s) to use for GOTA.
    • Invitations to area officials have been sent, but no response has been received yet.
  5. Public Service Report: Eric VE3EB. Past events were the Mount Albert 5K Walk/Run, June 3 and the Aurora Street Sale, June 4, with both events having a good turnout from members. Unfortunately the Police Venturers were not able to attend the Aurora event as hoped. Upcoming events include the Sharon Temple Heritage Day on June 8, the Sharon Temple Canada Day celebration on July 1 and the Newmarket music festival in mid August.
  6. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. Motion 2017-06-20-6 to approve payment $126.00 for gas for the trailer generator. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  7. Board Officers and Responsibilities: Chris VE3NRT. Chris gave a brief explanation of the duties of officers of the club, including the president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary, plus other board and committee responsibilities.
  8. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS
    • Geoff announced the new prices for admissions at the hamfest. Admission, now $8 per person (up $1 from $7) and the price for tables, now $27 (down $1 from $28).
    • The Aurora Lions Club will again be asked to do the catering.
    • The date is Saturday November 4.
  9. Trailer Internet: Doug VE3ATP
    • Doug offered the club an available antenna on his tower at 300' for an internet link to the trailer.
    • Two 900 MHz radios would be needed – one at his site and one in the trailer.
  10. EmComm: John VE3IPS. For the recent SET, the trailer was used at the Bales Drive as the hub of the operation. Communication was set up with the regional EOC and with mobiles around the region. Markham needs work to reach Bales Drive (little or no communication possible). John is in contact with Bonnie to coordinate future events.
Meeting adjourned at 20:00 Moved by Eric VE3EB, seconded by John VA3JI. Carried
On-Line Motion 2017-06-22-1 to approve payment $785.80 for Markham Fair hamfest deposit.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2017-08-15

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:02 by Steve VE3UT.
Board members attending:
  • Barry VA3LLT
  • Charles VA3TTB
  • Chris VE3NRT
  • David VA3DCY
  • Eric VE3EB
  • Geoff VA3GS
  • John VE3IPS
  • Mike VA3MCT
  • Steve VE3UT.
Absent: Rick VA3VO. Others attending: none
  1. Approval of Agenda & declaration of conflicts of interest. Amendments: none. Motion: To adopt the agenda. Moved Eric VE3EB, seconded Chris VE3NRT. Carried.
  2. Minutes: Motion: To adopt the minutes of Board Meeting 2017/07/18. Moved Charles VA3TTB, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  3. Election of President: Moved by Eric VE3EB, seconded by Charles VA3TTB that Chris VE3NRT be nominated for the office of president. No one else stood for election. By a unanimous vote, Chris VE3NRT becomes the new president. Carried. As newly elected president, Chris now chaired the meeting.
  4. Election of Treasurer: Moved by Barry VA3LLT, seconded by Steve VE3UT that Charles VA3TTB be nominated for the office of treasurer. There were no other nominations. By a unanimous vote, Charles VA3TTB becomes the new treasurer. Carried.
  5. Actions arising from previous board meeting: Steve VE3UT.
    • David and Steve met to finish the Summer Field Day accounts.
    • The Markham Fair cheque has been delivered.
    • The go-kits are to be re-called.
    • Inventory tags – to be followed-up.
    • Access updated to allow new board members access to the membership database.
    • Outreach by Mike and Eric at the farmer's market – Newmarket Music Festival booth.
    • Cheque for trailer insurance has been sent.
    • Bank signatures for the new executive need to be done.
  6. Treasurer’s Report: Not available.
  7. Committee Reports:
    1. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. The trailer needs a clean-up. Some storage containers have been broken during transit. Barry will buy new replacement containers. Motion: 2017-08-15-7a to allot $200.00 for trailer maintenance. Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
    2. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT.
      • Steve needs to travel at times to get test equipment from Bruce VE3BV, and requested re-approval to pay for gas for extended travel. Approval unanimous.
      • Mike VA3MCT asked about repeater operation during the during the planned SET where there will be no power for an extended period. Only VE3YRA would have extended operation, the other repeaters have only battery backup.
      • Motion: 2017-08-15-7b to allot $200.00 for repeater maintenance. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
    3. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS. Information is on the RAC web site, and information will be passed out at Junk-in-the-Trunk on August 25. Mailings are to be sent.
    4. Web Site: Mike VA3MCT. Mike has built a new web site with information from the existing site. He will present it to the board for comments and approval. Next step will be to check the domain, but the site will not go on-line until after the hamfest.
    5. Property: Rick VA3VO. No report.
    6. Public Service: Eric VE3EB
      • A past event was at the Sharon Temple on July 22.
      • Eric and Mike attended the Newmarket Farmer's Market and distributed “QSL” cards with interest from the public.
      • The upcoming Newmarket Music Festival needs additional help from members.
      • Sunday October 2 is the date for Run for the Cure.
    7. EmComm: John VE3IPS. Mike VA3MCT will become the new RAC Emergency Coordinator for York Region instead of John. We should do our own “SET” like exercise within York Region to test our own internal communication.
    8. Field Day: Steve VE3UT
      • Motion: 2017-08-15-7ha to pay $50.49 to David VA3DCY for gas for field day generators. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded John VE3IPS. Carried.
      • Motion: 2017-08-15-7hb to pay $71.85 to Rick VA3VO for gas for field day generators. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded John VE3IPS. Carried.
  8. Other Business:
    • Possible donation of a trailer: Steve VE3UT. Steve offered a tent trailer to the club for the club's use. It was noted that there would be problems (costs) if owned by the club, and potential storage issues if parked with the EmComm trailer and the tower trailer. Geoff suggested parking it at Al's Tack Shop. Steve will investigate.
    • IRLP: Chris VE3NRT wishes to pass the IRLP construction to someone else. He will maintain/update the software on the Raspberry Pi. Steve VE3UT offered to take over the project. Chris would host the finished project.
    • Harvey Bell Award: We need to get the Harvey Bell Award returned, and make a new label and award it to DonVE3IXJ at the September meeting.
    • The Secretary, David VA3DCY will issue a recall notice for the Go Kits.
    • Barry VA3LLT mentioned a new tower to be erected in Georgina. He will investigate.
Meeting adjourned 20:40. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Eric VE3EB. Carried

Friday, 18 August 2017

Upcoming Club Meetings

We begin another meeting season on the first Tuesday of September at the Sharon Temperance Hall at 7:30pm. Our Fall meeting presentations have been set as follows.

  • September 5th: Grant VE3XTV will be bringing along ATV hardware to show what it can do. If you have a receiver bring it with you. The receivers used are standard free to air Satellite receive, for analog FM or digital DVB-S with a Mpeg2 decoder, the IF range is 950 to 2150 MHz; our 23cm band is from 1240 to 1300 MHz. As for the 13cm band (2.3 GHz up to 2.45 GHz) he will bring along a few Satellite down-converters to receive the repeater output at 2370 MHz.

  • October 3rd: Hugh VE3AYR will talk about the VIMY100 special event station.

  • November 7th: John VA3KOT will give a presentation on NBEMS (Narrow Band Emergency Message System).
We are in need of presentations for the club meetings January - May 2018. If you have one that you like to make or know of some one who might do one please let me know.

Thank you Geoff VA3GS for putting this together.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors 2017-07-18

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:15 by Geoff VA3GS. Board members attending: Barry VA3LLT, David VA3DCY, Eric VE3EB, Geoff VA3GS, Mike VA3MCT, Rick VA3VO, Steve VE3UT. Absent: Charles VA3TTB, Chris VE3NRT, John VE3IPS. Others attending: John VA3JI.
  1. Approval of Agenda & declaration of conflicts of interest. Amendments: There was no prepared agenda.
  2. Election of President. There was no one elected as president
  3. Election of Officers.
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Eric VE3EB that Steve VE3UT be nominated for the office of vice-president. There were no other nominations. Steve VE3UT becomes the new vice-president. Carried.
    • There was no one elected as treasurer.
    • Moved by Steve VE3UT, seconded by Eric VE3EB that David VA3DCY be nominated for the office of secretary. There were no other nominations. David VA3DCY becomes the new secretary. Carried.
  4. Other appointments:
    • Repeater: Steve VE3UT
    • WYNSORC: Geoff VA3GS
    • Public Service: Eric VE3EB
    • EmComm/ARES: John VE3IPS and Mike VA3MCT
    • Membership: Barry VA3LLT
    • Property: Rick VA3VO
    • Trailer: Barry VA3LLT
    • Media & Communications: (not filled)
    • Field Day: Steve VE3UT
    • Meeting Programs: Geoff VA3GS
    • Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS
    • Web Site: Mike VA3MCT
    • Training: Geoff VA3GS
    • Moved that the positions be filled by the directors listed above by Geoff VA3GS. Seconded by Mike VA3MCT. Carried. As newly elected vice-president, Steve VE3UT now chaired the meeting.
  5. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Motion: To adopt minutes of Board Meeting 2017/06/20. Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  6. Treasurer’s report: John VA3JI (past treasurer)
    • Balance at end of Fiscal Year 2017: [Balance available to members on request to club secretary]
    • Transferred to Fiscal Year 2018: [Balance available to members on request to club secretary]
    • There were no transactions.
    • Closing Balance 2017/07/18: [Balance available to members on request to club secretary]
    • Motion: To adopt the treasurer’s report and to thank John VA3JI for a job well done. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  7. Field Day: Steve VE3UT
    • Steve mentioned that Peter VE3PBT will not be able to cook next year. We will need other arrangements.
    • Steve and David will meet to complete the field day accounts.
      These are the results of Summer Field Day 2017:
      160m –3 qso20m cw – 32 qso
      80m cw – 55 qso20m dig – 37 qso
      80m dig – 12 qso20m ph – 455 qso
      80m ph – 183 qso15m ph – 12 qso
      40m cw – 476 qsoSat – 64 qso (an all time record)
      40m dig – 181 qsoGOTA – 22 qso
      40m ph – 142 qso
      We also received bonus points for running on generators, media, agency, youth involvement,copying the W1AW bulletin and safety.
  8. Public Service: Eric VE3EB
    • Eric thanked those who participated at the Canada Day event at the Sharon Temple.
    • There will be another Sharon Temple event on Sunday 2017/07/23.
    • The Newmarket Music Festival will return to the Newmarket Riverwalk Commons with new dates 2017/08 /25 to 27.
  9. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. The trailer needs a clean-up and a complete inventory.
  10. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS. Information has been sent to vendors, and is also on the RAC website. On-Line Motion: 2017-06-22-1 to pay $785.80 for the Markham Fair - Hamfest Deposit. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded David VA3DCY. Carried.
  11. Property: Rick VA3VO
    • We need to decide what goes on the inventory list.
    • It was decided to recall all go-kits and replace any missing items. The go-kits will be recalled for the September meeting.
    • The new inventory list of equipment should include serial numbers (if available) and inventory tags should be added to all equipment, including power supplies and repeaters.
    • John VA3JI suggested creating an on-line data base, accessible to all board members, and John volunteered to set up the data base.
  12. Programs and Classes: Geoff VA3GS. At the September meeting, Grant VE3XTV will be our speaker.
  13. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. Doug VE3ATP has a 900 MHz antenna that could be used for an ATV repeater and a data link radio. Motion: That Grant VE3XTV be allowed to operate at TV repeater, and use the call sign VE3YRC for a period of one year. Moved Mike VA3MCT seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  14. Membership Database: John VA3JI. John will update the list of board members who will be allowed access to the database
  15. Trillium Grant: Eric VE3EB
    • Eric suggested that we hold off until the fall, before proceeding with a grant proposal and application.
    • Eric also suggested using a Drop-box for board documents.
  16. Outreach: Mike VA3MCT. We need to approach the public to create awareness of our club, typically a table at a library or a farmer's market, to pass out information to the public.
Meeting adjourned at 21:05. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Eric VE3EB. Carried.
  • Trailer insurance: On-line Motion: 2017-07-21-1 to pay $811.00 for trailer insurance. Moved David VA3DCY seconded Chris VE3NRT. Carried.
  • On-line Motion: 2017-07-21-2 that we authorize John VA3JI to act as interim treasurer, and give him the authority to sign the cheque for the trailer insurance on behalf of the board. Moved David VA3DCY seconded Chris VE3NRT. Carried.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2017-03-07

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:32 by Chris VE3NRT
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2017/01/03 and 2017/02/07 general meetings, moved Rick VA3VO and seconded Jack VA3UU. Carried.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2017/02/01 [Available to members on request to club Secretary]
    • Income: Membership dues $25.00
    • Expenditures: None
    • Closing Balance 2017/03/07 [Available to members on request to club Secretary]
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by Glen VE3AU, seconded Jack VA3UU. Carried
  4. Trillium Grant – Eric VE3EB. We will probably not have a proposal by June, for a July submission.
  5. Field Day – Steve VE3UT.
    • At Winter Field Day, Charles VA3TTB made his first ever QSOs. Our final score (6348) was much better than 2 years ago (2015), however the ground rods were frozen into the ground after thaw/freeze cycles, and we need a solution to lower our generator fuel costs. For Summer Field Day, Steve will be away in May and June, and Rick VA3VO will be in charge. We will be at the same location – Al's Tack Shop, 4812 Vandorf Rd. The property has been divided and all stations will be on one property.
    • Peter VE3PBT has checked food costs, which were up by 3.7% in 2015 and up 2.3% in 2016. The increase for 2017 could be 13% over last year because of rising food costs and basic supplies (plates, knives, forks) also need to be replaced.
    • The cost per person for food could possibly increase from $10 to $15 or $20 if he club only pays for fuel and toilets, and does not subsidize the food costs.
    • We will need to know by the AGM how many members will want meals at Field Day in order to purchase adequate food.
  6. Projector – Steve VE3UT. We need a new projector, and the proposed cost is $500 plus tax. Moved by Mike VE3MKX, seconded by Rick VA3VO, that we purchase the projector for $500 plus tax. Carried
    EmComm – John VE3IPS. At the last Fox Hunt, 15 people participated. The next Fox Hunt will be on March 25, meeting at McDonalds in Aurora, between 08:00 and 08:30. All go-kits need to have their batteries charged. There will be an EmComm SET in May.
  7. Membership – Barry VA3LLT. We have 3 new members, 40 regular members, 5 associate members, 17 family members and 9 life members. Total members 71.
Break 20:04 – 20:20

Guest Speaker Mike VE3MKX. Mike spoke on one his other hobbies - Weather Observation and Recording.

He spoke about the data that can be collected with a weather station and observation, including temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, visibility, atmospheric pressure, hours of sunshine, cloud cover and types of clouds. Quality equipment is better, since it will often last longer and can yield more accurate information that lower end equipment.

The data obtained could just be retained for personal reference, or shared with others.

Popular web sites include weather.gc.ca (Cdn weather) ncdc.noaa.gov (US weather) lightningmaps.org and wundergound.com

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Minutes - General Meeting 2017-04-04

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members attending: 32
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2017/03/07 general meeting postponed until May.
  3. Harvey Bell Award: Nominations for the Harvey Bell award should be forwarded to the board and/or the secretary for consideration.
  4. Bylaws: Suggestions for changes or amendments to the bylaws should be forwarded to the board and/or the president for consideration.
  5. 3D Printing: The Barrie ARC has been making useful amateur related items such as PowerPole breakouts and Pi cases using a 3D printer. Mike VE3MKX had some of the items for sale and display. See also http://barrie-wax-group.dyndns.org/
  6. Field Day and Repeater Report – Steve VE3UT:
    • Summer Field Day will be at the same location as last year – Al's Ride on Vandorf Rd. Steve will visit the site in the next few weeks to plan a new layout, since the property has been subdivided and we will need to fit our stations within the new boundaries.
    • Food Costs are increasing, with a possible increase in the price of 'food tickets'.
  7. There has been recent malicious interference on our repeaters, resulting in a letter being sent to IC, making a formal complaint about the offender. Since IC may now be monitoring our repeaters, each user is reminded to properly identify and use proper operating procedures. If necessary, we may possibly be required to shut down links between repeaters, or shut down repeaters.
  8. Field Day Food – Peter VE3PBT: Food costs were $814 in 2014, $844 in 2015 and $864 in 2016. For 2017 the expected cost will be $976 (almost $1000). In order to purchase the proper amount of food, we need a commitment of the numbers attending SFD and wanting to be fed by the AGM in June. Doug VE3VS asked 'how many would be attending' and the answer was approximately 50 based on past attendance. Doug proposed charging $15 per person this year (50 x$15 = $750) to better cover the food costs. A show of hands supported his proposal.
    Peter's daughter Sherri, is currently in hospital, recovering from surgery. In past years she has helped Peter in the Field Day Kitchen, but will likely not be able to participate this year. As a result, this year Peter will need extra help in the kitchen from club members.
  9. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2017/03/01 [Balance available to members on request to Secretary]
    • Income: Membership dues $75.00
    • Expenditures: New projector $536.73
    • Closing Balance 2017/04/04 [Balance available to members on request to Secretary]
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by John VA3JI, seconded Brian VE3IBW. Carried
  10. Auditor: We need a new auditor, since our present auditor is not able to continue in the position. The auditor can not be currently on the board, but professional accreditation is not required. Doug Smith VE3XV, a new member, volunteered for the position.
  11. Public Service – Eric VE3EB. There are currently 9 public service events posted on the Yahoo group. Other events need to be confirmed.
  12. EmComm – Robert VA3BXG. The last 2 EmComm meetings have been cancelled due to low participation. The next meeting will be cancelled, due to the Easter weekend. There will be a SET (simulated emergency test) on Saturday May 27 for the Golden Horseshoe area, including the Western New York and Barrie areas. Instead of activating areas like EOCs, the focus will be on setting up temporary stations (probably outside) at arenas, community centres or similar locations in your own neighbourhood, where emergency shelters could possibly be located. Communication will be made using 2m equipment (subject to change). The SET would run from 08:00 to 13:00.

Break 20:10 – 20:25

Guest Speaker Bob VE3WY – “Antennae for Limited Space”. A 1/4 wave 80m vertical antenna would be approximately 62ft high, and the ground radials would be approximately 60ft long (in all directions). Guying the tower at 60 degrees would require 70 ft of ground space. If the height of the antenna was reduced to 30ft and bottom loaded, the match would be bad. If centre loaded the match would improve, and with a top hat, the match would be better. All of the radiation patterns would be similar.

A 30ft tall, 100ft horizontal inverted “L” antenna would also have gain.

An 80m horizontal dipole would be approximately 128 ft long, with an impedance of approximately 72 Ohms (in free space). Height above ground affects impedance and the radiation pattern. At 15ft above ground the impedance would be only 7.4 Ohms and the pattern would be vertical. At 30ft above ground, the impedance would be 26.6 Ohms, at 60ft above ground, 75 Ohms and at 100' above ground, 95 Ohms. At greater heights, the pattern would become less vertical and more horizontal.

If the dipole was shortened to 60ft long with loading coils 15ft from centre, the impedance would be 44.4 Ohms (in free space). The result: it is possible to fit an antenna into limited space (including the attic of a townhouse, and watch the cable company go crazy looking for their faulty installations).

Meeting adjourned at 21:05.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Minutes YRARC Board of Directors 2017-04-18

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multi Purpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:10 by John VA3JI – meeting later chaired by John VE3IPS. Board members attending: John VE3IPS V. Pres. John VA3JI Treasurer, Steve VE3UT, Geoff VA3GS Eric VE3EB, Doug VE3ATP, David VA3DCY Secty, Rick VA3VO, Barry VA3LLT. Absent: Chris VE3NRT Pres. Others attending: Doug VE3XV
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: John VA3JI. Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Eric VE3EB. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Motion to adopt the minutes of the 2017/03/21 meeting, moved David VA3DCY, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried.
  3. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/04/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Dues $50.00
    • Expenditures: None $0.00
    • Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Geoff VA3GS to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  4. Summer Field Day: Steve VE3UT.
    • Steve is working with Peter VE3PBT to create a food budget. At the last general meeting it was proposed that we charge $15 per person for food for the weekend meals. Following a discussion it was decided to charge $15 per person for Field Day food if payment is received by the annual general meeting (AGM) in June. The charge would increase to $20 per person if payment is received after the cut-off date. The purpose of having 2 different prices, is to encourage members to commit early, so that Peter can better estimate the quantity of food to buy. We will issue wrist bands at check-in as proof of payment.
    • Moved by Steve VE3UT, seconded by Geoff VA3GS that we charge $15 per person for Field Day food, if paid by the AGM, and $20 per person if paid after the AGM. Carried.
  5. Trailer Hilomast: Barry VA3LLT
    • The top section of the mast needs repair. Barry VA3LLT and Steve VE3UT removed the top section of the mast and brought it to the meeting to show the damage. They had previously taken the mast section to 'Rob the machinist' a friend of Rob VE3RQB.
    • The mast had split along the very thin section where a key way was cut into the material, likely caused by water entering the tubing, remaining there during the winter and freezing.
      (There was discussion about removing the top section, draining it and adding antifreeze to prevent future damage.)
      Rob gave them several options to repair the mast section.
    • Welding the crack was not an option since the heat would likely bend the tubing making it useless as a mast section.
      • Option 1 – insert a solid bar inside to reinforce the existing tube. Cost about $40 to $50
      • Option 2 – make a new tube from thicker aluminum. Cost about $230
      • Option 3 – make an new top section from solid aluminum with a 10” hole drilled in the top. Cost about $250
    • The 3 options were voted on to determine which option to choose. Option 1 – 2 votes, Option 2 – 5 votes, Option 3 – 2 votes.
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Steve VE3UT that we proceed with option 2 to have the mast section repaired locally with a cost of $300 max. Carried
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Barry VA3LLT that because we need the repairs done a quickly as possible, this should be considered an emergency repair, and it would not need to be approved in advance by the membership. Carried
  6. Public Service: Eric VE3EB
    • There will be no MADD ride or EMS ride.
    • The first event will be the Mount Albert 5K Walk/Run on June 3.
    • Future events include: Mount Albert 5K Walk/Run - June 3, Aurora Street Festival – June 4, Sharon Temple Heritage Celebration - June 8, Sharon Temple Canada Day - July 1,
      Sharon Temple Sharon Soundbites - July 23, Newmarket Music Festival (returned to the old location - Riverwalk Commons) – Aug. 25, 26 & 27, Sharon Temple Illumination - Sept. 8, Sharon Temple Weaving Words - Sept. 17 and Run for the Cure Richmond Hill - Oct 1.
    • Eric would like to have pamphlets to hand out at public service events, and will investigate the cost.
    • The web site needs to be updated. Someone with Joomla experience is needed. It was suggested that a contest for students (similar to the contest for a new club logo a few years ago) might be a possibility.
      The web site should be downsized to make it more manageable.
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by John VA3JI that Geoff VA3GS and Eric VE3EB explore updating the web site. Carried
  7. Auditor: Doug VE3XV
    • Doug presented his interim audit report.
    • There were procedures where he found them to be acceptable.
    • Some items such as inventory and insurance would need further investigation before his final report.
  8. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS
    Geoff proposed that for the hamfest this fall, that we rent halls 1 and 2 and not halls 2, 3 and 4.
    Hall 1 is now available and would be large enough to hold all of the vendors that have been in halls 3 and 4. Hall 2 would continue to be the assembly area before the event opened. Further discussion to be held at a later time.
  9. Foxhunt: John VE3IPS. No further foxhunts are being planned at this time.
  10. EmComm: John VE3IPS. The status of further EmComm meetings is unknown. The Trillium Grant proposal is on hold.
  11. D-Star: John VE3IPS. There is an upgrade to D-Star. John will investigate.
  12. Hammond Museum: John VE3IPS. The date for the visit to the museum is Saturday June 17.
  13. Trailer repairs: Rick VA3VO. The brakes on the railer need to be adjusted. This will be discussed at the nest meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 21:30. Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Steve VE3UT. Carried

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2017-05-02

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 43. Guests attending 3.
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT.
  2. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2017/03/07 and 2017/04/04 general meeting postponed until June.
  3. AGM – Chris VE3NRT. Our annual general meeting will be held next month (June 6). The BBQ will start at 18:00 followed by the regular monthly meeting and the AGM.
    At the AGM we will need to elect 5 new directors for terms of 2 years. Chris VE3NRT will be ending his 4 year run as president. The AGM needs to be chaired by a club member (not the president).
  4. Harvey Bell Award: Nominations for the Harvey Bell award should be forwarded to the board and/or the secretary for consideration.
  5. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2017/05/01 [Available to members upon request to Club Secretary]
    • Income: Membership dues $50.00
    • Adjustment $0.08
      Total income $50.08
    • Expenditures: Field Day food $1050.00
    • Total expenditures $1050.00
    • Closing Balance 2017/05/02 [Available to members upon request to Club Secretary]
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by John VA3JI, seconded Brian VE3IBW. Carried
  6. Public Service – Eric VE3EB. The upcoming events include June 3, Mount Albert Run, Jun3 4 Aurora Street Sale and July 1 Canada Day at the Sharon Temple.
  7. EmComm – Robert VA3BXG. The upcoming events include the Emergency Preparedness Fair May12 and the SET May 27. For the EPF, we need a trailer puller and 3 to 4 other members to attend the fair. The SET (simulated emergency test) will test communications within the region and the Golden Horseshoe area, possibly including the Western New York and Barrie areas. Communications will use HF with NVIS antennae and 2m. Locations will be sites that could be used as emergency shelters such as community centres.
  8. Hammond Museum – John VE3IPS. The trip to the Hammond Museum is scheduled for June 17. It will include a museum tour and a tour of the Hammond plant celebrating the 100th anniversary of the plant.
  9. Trailer – Barry VA3LLT. We are in the process of having a new top section of the mast on the trailer fabricated, to replace the section that was damaged, probably by water freezing inside the tube. The cost will be approximately $250 and it should be ready in about a week or two.
  10. Trailer Brakes – Rob VE3RQB. The brakes on the trailer need to be adjusted, and a trailer inspection should also be done.
  11. Hamfest – Geoff VA3GS. The hamfest will be held on November 4 at the same location, the Markham Fair Grounds. Last year hall 4 was not full. This year, instead of using hall 3 and 4 for vendors, we have the opportunity to use the larger hall 1 for all vendors. Hall 2 will still be used as an entrance and gathering hall.
  12. Summer Field Day – Steve VE3UT. This year we will charge $15 per person for food for the weekend. This will help reduce the cost that the club needs to pay for food.
    To give Peter VE3PBT a good idea of how much food to purchase, those attending Field Day are encouraged to pay by the AGM (June 6). After the AGM the cost per person will be $20.
  13. Other Business. John VE3POJ noted that there is a CanWarn training session on Saturday May 6 with other sessions scheduled as well.

Break 20:15 – 20:30

Guest Speaker Steve VE3EZ – “Solar Heating and an 80m Loop Antenna” Steve talked about his new hot water solar heating project. His previous hot water heating was an open loop project where water was heated directly by the sun and stored in a tank above the collectors. His new project uses a closed loop. The sun heats a liquid in a copper tube which is contained inside a glass tube. As the liquid boils, it rises to a copper bulb which is surrounded by glycol, and heats the glycol. The glycol is pumped to a heat exchanger beside a 200 gal water heater tank, which heats the domestic hot water. In winter if enough hot water is not available, the temperature is boosted by a separate electric water heater. His second project was a 80 m loop antenna, supported by existing towers and additional posts. The antenna is corner fed with a 4:1 voltage balun, uses stranded insulated wire, and has insulators at the 4 corners. Each side of the antenna is 65' and it is suspended 40' above the ground. The antenna is multi banded and performs better than his full length G5RV antenna. It is omni-directional with low noise.

Meeting adjourned at 21:15.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Notice of the 2017 Annual General Meeting

Take notice that the Annual General Meeting of the members of the York Region Amateur Radio Club, Inc., will be held at the usual meeting place, the Sharon Temperance Hall, 18974 Leslie Street, Sharon, at the usual hour of 7:30pm on Tuesday June 6th, 2017 for the purposes of approving the financial statements for fiscal year 2016 and the election of directors to hold office for 2 years commencing July 1st, 2017.

Regular, family and life members are advised that they have the right to attend and vote in person at this meeting, in accordance with the usual rules of order, and further, in the event of a member’s absence, the member has the right to appoint a proxy to vote on his or her behalf. An appropriate form is included at the end of this publication. Members who are unable to attend the Annual General Meeting may complete, date and sign a proxy form, which must be delivered to the Secretary prior to the call to order of the Annual General Meeting, to be eligible for voting.

For those wishing to mail a proxy, please send it to the club secretary, David Craig, VA3DCY.

Dated this day May 7th, 2017 at Aurora, Ontario.
Chris Sullivan, VE3NRT, President.

PROXY

The undersigned being a current member of the York Region Amateur Radio Club, Inc. hereby appoints


(Name of Secretary or other person) _____________________________________________ as proxy to attend the Annual General Meeting of the York Region Amateur Radio Club, Inc., on June 6th, 2017 and vote on my behalf on each and any question brought before the assembly, or at any adjournment thereof, and I do hereby revoke and make void any former instrument appoint a proxy on my behalf.


Dated at _______________ this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.


Name and call of member (print) __________________________________


Signature of member __________________________________

2017 YRARC Board of Directors Election

At the AGM on June 6, 2017 an election for new Board Members will take place. There are 10 positions on the Board, and each year we elect 5 new Board Members for 2 year terms. The terms of the following Board Members expire on June 30th. Board Members are permitted to stand for reelection.


  • Barry VA3LLT
  • Doug VE3ATP
  • Chris VE3NRT
  • Steve VE3UT
  • John VA3JI
Nominations may be sent to the club secretary in advance of the AGM as well as at the meeting itself. Directors elected for 2 year terms in 2016 who will continue through to June 30th, 2018 are:
  • John VE3IPS
  • Eric VE3EB
  • David VA3DCY
  • Rick VA3VO
  • Geoff VA3GS
73,
Chris VE3NRT

Final Call for Nominations - 2017 Harvey Bell Award



NOTICE TO ALL YRARC MEMBERS

Each year about this time, the members of our radio club have the opportunity to nominate a member by contacting the club secretary no later than May 15th, 2016. Nominations may be presented by individuals, or may be co-signed by several members, to be honoured with this award.
Your nominations should be made in writing or by email to the club secretary David Craig VA3DCY, and should include your description, explanation or citation related to the nominee, and be presented to the

At the January, 1971 meeting of the York North Radio Club, the membership established an award in memory of the late Harvey Bell, VE3AFK, of Aurora.

It was the wish of the members that this award be presented annually to a member in good standing with this club, in recognition of substantial achievement involving Amateur Radio, particularly in connection with the York North Radio Club.

The winner would hold the trophy for one year, and would also receive a certificate, or other citation outlining the achievement.

Any club member would be eligible to nominate any other club member for the award. Nominations will be considered by the 2017 Board of Directors.

Harvey Bell died unexpectedly in December of 1970. At that time he was in the process of making his third attempt at keeping the club together and active. He had been a club member for almost ten years, enjoyed the fellowship and the sharing of technical information regarding Amateur Radio. He was especially interested in the Morse Code, and CW operation, but was also very involved with the fairly new SSB technology that was growing with leaps and bounds. During the late 1960’s activity in the club seemed to wane, and Harvey Bell, along with a couple of other area hams kept up a steady contact with other hams in Newmarket and surroundings. Invitations were sent out on at least three occasions in a an attempt to keep the club active and growing. He had just succeeded, in the fall of 1970, to get the membership back together again, and had turned the leadership over to Frank Rusholme.

His influence and his leadership in club affairs will long be remembered by the Amateurs in this area who knew him personally. In addition to being an active 80 metre DX chaser, Harvey was also involved in RTTY (radio teletype), VHF, and had one of the outstanding stamp collections in the region.

The award, which honours his name, is consider the highest acclaim that the club can give to one of its members.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Thoughts on Field Day Catering

By Peter Burgess VE3PBT

The message I have been receiving over the last year or so is concern over the use of club funds and the lack of income. As food /refreshments: as in coffee and snacks at each meeting , AGM barbeque , Field day , and Christmas Party are probably one of the largest expenses the club incurs on an annual basis. Field day and AGM BBQ amount to approximately $1400.00 a year. Meeting costs and Christmas Party are not handled by me therefore the costs are not known by me.

In the last two years we have off set the field day cost by charging those attending a $10.00 for three meals, Lunch, supper, breakfast and beverages. The meals are not the cheapest of fare or the most expensive we have tried to provide good appetizing food at the least cost, but as we all realize the additional taxes hydro costs and cap and trade are increasing.

  • 2014 Field Day food costs were $814.00
  • 2015 Field Day food costs were $844.00 $30 increase aprox. 3.7%
  • 2016 Field Day food costs were $864.00 $20 increase aprox. 2.3%
The small increase in costs from 2014 are due to reducing deserts, buying large cuts of meat, using existing club supplies and consistently looking out for reduced or special prices 2017 PREDICTED COST up (13%) $976.00 based on the same format we have been using for previous meals and including replacing the basic club supplies (paper plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins and many misalliances other items).

Normally we base the cost for the kitchen on 50 people (by working a little magic we can handle up to 60 for the same amount)

  • $976 divided by 50 = $19.57 each round to $20.00
  • If these costs are too high, there are various options to reduce the clubs expenditures.
    • Each person brings their own food, club supplies the beverages.
    • Reduce the menu to simple fair by purchasing food at Nofrills etc. using the same assessment of $10
    • Keeping the same format and increasing the assessment to $20.00
And the club picks up the cost of propane, gas and toilets

We are open to other suggestions and options but the final date for commitment and payment will be at the AGM meeting in June

Ve3pbt
Peter Burgess









Monday, 27 February 2017

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2017-02-07

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by John VA3JI. Total members and guests attending: 12. (Note: Freezing rain conditions)
  1. Welcome & Introductions – John VA3JI
  2. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2017/01/03 general meeting postponed until March.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2017/01/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Membership dues $80.00
    • Markham Fair refund $1856.00
    • Total: $1936.00
    • Expenditures: None
    • Closing Balance [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by Barry VA3LLT, seconded GlenVA3AU. Carried
  4. Membership – Barry VA3LLT. We have 37 regular members, 5 associate members, 17 family members and 9 life members. Total members 68.
  5. Repeaters – John VA3JI for Steve VE3UT. All repeaters are OK.
  6. Winter Field Day – John VA3JI for Steve VE3UT. Winter Field Day was held on January 28 and 29 in the parking lot (near the road) at Al's Tack Shop on Vandorf Rd. There were 3 stations with 5 antennae, and we operated as “3O” (3 transmitters Outdoors not in a regular location with generator power). We made 107 QSOs with a submitted score of 6348 which included 4500 bonus points. Charles VA3TTB made his first ever QSOs at WFD.
  7. EmComm – No report. The February meeting will be cancelled.
  8. Trailer – Barry VA3LLT. The trailer Hilomast has been temporarily fixed. The top section, which has a crack, has been locked to the second section, to prevent the top section from being extended.
  9. Examinations – Doug VE3VS. Doug wanted to mention that Terry VA3TYB approached Doug in January, asking to take his basic exam, in which he received 99% (and knew the correct answer to his 1 mistake), then passed his advanced exam a few days later and received 100%.
  10. Trillium Grant – No report
  11. Other business
    • Question from Mike VA3MCT – Are we able to send emails to members if a meeting is to be cancelled? Answer from John VA3JI – The ability to send emails from the membership database does not currently exist. If requested by the board, John will investigate a means to send bulk emails to members.
    • Doug VE3VS has a projector available if needed.
    • We will need a new auditor, since Bob Rennie is no longer able to carry on.
    • There was no guest speaker. Steve VE3EZ who was scheduled to fill in at the last minute was unable to get to the meeting due to poor road conditions.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2017-01-17

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multi Purpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:05 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, David VA3DCY Secty. Absent: Barry VA3LLT, John VE3IPS V. Pres. John VA3JI Treasurer. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT. Additions: None. Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Eric VE3EB, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Minutes of the 2016/12/20 meeting to be adopted at the February meeting.
  3. Treasurer's Report: Geoff VA3GS for John VA3JI.
    • Opening Balance 2016/01/01 [Available to members on request to Secretary]
    • Income: Dues $80.00
    • Refund from Markham Fair $1,856.00
    • Total income $1,936.00
    • Expenditures: None $0.00
    • Closing Balance 2017/01/17 [Available to members on request to Secretary]
    • Note: The December statement received and balanced. JI
    • Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Steve VE3UT to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  4. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS. The speakers planned for the upcoming general meetings are: February - Steve VE3EZ, March - Mike VE3MKX, April - Bob VE3WY and May John VA3KOT.
  5. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. WFD will have 6 people attending. The proposed budget is $140 for food and $100 for gas. Rick VA3VO's trailer will be used for cooking and there will be 2 trailers for radios. Norma, the owner of Al's Tack Shop, enquired about the club's insurance, since the site may be icy. David VA3DCY will contact the insurance company to provide Norma with proof of our insurance.
  6. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT
    • There have been some recent D-STAR outages, likely caused by a malfunctioning firewall.
    • The UPS at the site is being upgraded.
  7. Trillium Grant Proposal
    • Eric VE3EB. Eric is waiting for proposals from EmComm. Steve VE3UT: There are no available pairs available in the GTA for a DMR repeater. We could use the UHF pair from the D-Star repeater. Chris VE3NRT asked is there DMR coverage or adequate coverage in the GTA? It was noted that a used Motorola DMR repeater costs approximately $850 US on E-Bay.
    • Should replacement of one or more existing analogue repeaters be included in the Trillium Grant proposal? The existing repeaters are older than 30 years and it is difficult to replace parts. Replacements could include: 2 VHF repeaters, 1 UHF repeater, 3 controllers and switching power supplies. The radios should be commercial frequency agile radios. The priority for replacement is the VE3YRC VHF repeater.
    • Chris VE3NRT proposed including a HamWan 'back-bone' data network.
    • Eric VE3EB suggested upgrading the club web site.
  8. D-Rats: Although D-Rats works on D-Star, it can only send files 'point-to-point', ie from one radio to another. Files can not be sent through an intermediate station, ie from radio 1, via 2 to 3.





Saturday, 25 February 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2016-12-20

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:03 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, John VA3JI Treasurer, John VE3IPS V. Pres., Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, David VA3DCY Secty. Absent: Barry VA3LLT. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT
    • Additions: 7 Floral motion.
    • Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Eric VE3EB, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Moved by Steve VE3UT, seconded by Rick VA3VO to adopt minutes of the Board Meeting. 2016/11/15. Carried.
  3. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS
    • The January general meeting will consist of a short business meeting, with a mini “for sale” table, and following the break there will be 5 minute talks from members.
    • The speakers planned for March, April and May are Mike VE3MKX, Bob VE3WY and Cliff VE3KOP.
    • We need a February speaker, or the meeting may be devoted to the proposed Trillium grant.
  4. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/12/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Dues $25.00
    • Expenditures: Flowers for Barry's wife $45.20
    • Food for Christmas party $187.71
    • Total expenditures: $232.91
    • Closing Balance 2016/12/20 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Eric VE3EB to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
    • John went on to explain why we need to control our expenses so that we do not deplete our bank balance, and also because of the recurring expenses that need to be paid throughout the year, before we receive any income from dues or the hamfest.
  5. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT
    • All repeaters are working well.
    • Chris VE3NRT may have time to work on the hardware for the IRLP and Echolink. The software is OK.
  6. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT
    • The WFD site is now confirmed – it will be the same site as used for Summer FD at Al's Tack Shop. The dates are January 28 and 29.
    • Steve proposed a budget assuming 20 people would attend: Food $350, Propane for cooking and heating $100, Toilet $125 and Gasoline $300.
    • Geoff suggested having members indicate at the January meeting if they would attend, and collect food money from each member wanting to attend.
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Eric VE3EB that the board postpone approval of any motion to fund WFD until the membership approved of any funding. (There was no motion made to fund WFD following John VA3JI's cautioning about club expenses.)
    • Of interest for Summer FD, the property (Al's Tack Shop) has been subdivided and a portion of the property has been sold. This means future SFD station layouts will be different from past years.
  7. Hammond Museum: John VE3IPS. There are probably no fees for entrance to the museum. Hours are 09:00 to 12:00. April could be a possible time to visit. Car pooling was suggested.
  8. Trillium Grant Proposal: Eric VE3EB. There may be a new structure for seeking a grant. June is the target date for submitting a proposal. A financial statement may be required in the proposal. We will need letters of support from served agencies. A Yahoo group has been set up to communicate with members of the committee. We need committee members and each will be assigned with a responsibility. he committee will report to the board and membership monthly. Eric is asking for a proposed list of what should be included in the application.
  9. Floral Motion: John VA3JI. Motion 2016-12-20-7 to approve payment $45.20 for flowers sent to Barry's wife. Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Eric VE3EB. Carried
    Fox Hunts: John VE3IPS. A winter date will be chosen with possibly 4 events for the year, perhaps once per month, and participation could be opened to other clubs.
  10. Other business:
    • John VA3JI. Will replacing batteries in the existing D-Star radios be a club expense or will it be included in a Trillium grant?
    • John VE3IPS would like to get a D-Star radio to be loaned to a new member.

Monday, 2 January 2017

AGC for Digital Ops: Friend or Foe?

Contributed by Brian Waterworth, VE3IBW.

I belong to the Elecraft reflector discussion group.  While I joined to learn more about my rig (KX3/PX3), I have found a wealth of amateur radio knowledge on various topics.  This group often has side conversations about everything Ham radio; sometimes Elecraft gear isn’t even mentioned.


One such tangent conversation centred around the use of AGC (Automatic Gain Control) for digital modes.  Being that I predominantly use digital for my HF operations, I was very interested in this topic.  The reflector elmers recommended turning off AGC when using digital modes.   


My research, prior to joining the Elecraft reflector, seemed to suggest that AGC should be on.  For digital modes, use the fast setting and for voice modes use the slow setting.  This seemed to work for me.  But I don’t think I really had a good grasp of what AGC was doing at that time.  A few years of operating PSK31, RTTY, and JT-modes revealed something that I unconsciously did not make a connection to AGC (fast or slow).  This reflector side conversation opened my eyes to AGC and its effect on my weak signal digital QSOs.


AGC, as many reading this article might know, is the ability of a transceiver to dynamically reduce RF gain when too much radio frequency energy is present in the passband.  The idea behind these adjustments is to avoid saturating downstream transceiver components (local oscillator, audio amp, your ear drums).  


I glibly referenced ear drums in the last paragraph because the reflector discussion turned to why AGC is nice to have when a strong signal enters the passband.  But, how many of us actually listen during digital operations?  I used to, but at a very low audio volume.  Beeps, twerps, blips, and clicks are a little fatiguing after a while.  For my current digital operations, I rarely have the speaker enabled and never listen through headphones.  All the information I need to operate digital is via a digital-mode program’s waterfall.


Narrow digital modes, such as PSK31 and JTx, enjoy many potential QSOs within a typical receiver passband.  A voice mode QSO, by contrast, occupies the entire passband.  During Field Day operations, PSK31 can have 20+ active QSOs in progress too.  If one of these QSOs happens to be a very strong signal, AGC will reduce the RF gain.  This doesn’t sound so bad.  However, in one passband (say 14.076MHz), you might have 20-30 active JTx QSOs and one of these might be yours with a weak station.


I use FLDigi to work PSK31 and RTTY during Field Day.  To compensate for strong signals in the passband, I created macros to reduce the receive filter bandwidth around a signal I was interested in trying to establish a QSO.  This worked great to filter out stronger adjacent signals in the passband.  But, was it necessary?  I am beginning to think it wasn’t.


Let’s look at an example using WSJT-X.  It doesn’t have the convenience of macros to adjust and re-instate filter settings like FLDigi does.  


I got interested in JT modes over the past two years as I wanted to work QRP and be able to make contacts around the world with very little power (5 watts or less).  I also wanted to do this in a portable fashion (on a sailboat, in a park, on an island, in my backyard on a nice day).  JTx modes seemed like the best candidate.  There are some JT-mode operators that use 30+ watts.  There are also band conditions that will present a low power signal as 0db or more above the noise floor; i.e. a strong JTx signal.  With AGC enabled, these stronger signals will reduce the RF gain.  Weak signals will become weaker.


Each trace, (JT65 between 0-2,500hz and JT9 above 2,500hz) in figure 1, is a CQ or an active QSO within one passband.  The darker red and deeper yellow colours represent stronger signals.  You can see there are some very weak signals where there is no red at all (usually between -15db and -25db below the noise floor).


Figure 1: Typical WSJT-X waterfall with AGC turned off, Preamp off


Imagine you are halfway through a JT9 QSO, which takes about six minutes to complete, and a strong signal comes through for some other QSO or a CQ call; could even be at the opposite end of the passband.  Your transceiver’s AGC will reduce the RF gain and your weaker signal QSO may be artificially reduced beyond the JT decoder’s capability.  At this point, you may or may not be able to complete the QSO.  


Figure 2: WSJT-X waterfall with AGC-F and Preamp off


From figure 2, the darker bands through time slot 14:38 is the effect of the AGC reducing the RF gain in the presence of the strong signal at about 1,375Hz.  To level set, blue is the typical WSJT-X waterfall colour displayed when there is enough audio drive from the rig, through the computer’s sound card, to the WSJT-X program.  Black indicates not enough audio drive.  From the above diagram, you can see that some of the weaker JT9 signals (> 2,500hz) are obliterated on the WSJT-X waterfall.  The JT modes are fairly robust, but a strong signal in the passband may be enough to disrupt a QSO when AGC is turned on.


In figure 3, I turned off the AGC prior to operation.  I received an answer to my CQ from a station in Spain.  I received this station’s hail at -27db below the noise floor.  The diagram shows a very faint trace at about 2,550Hz.  


Figure 3: WSJT-X waterfall, active JT9 QSO with a Spanish station at -27db; preamp off
The presence of the strong signal at approximately 2,200hz in the passband may have caused the AGC to reduce RF Gain to a point where WSJT-X would not have been able to decode this very weak signal.  Fortunately, the AGC was turned off and other strong signals did not affect the RF Gain setting.

By switching off AGC, I have been able to successfully complete QSOs with very weak stations in the presence of stronger stations in the passband.  If not for the Elecraft reflector elmers, I would have likely continued operating digital with AGC turned on.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Minutes: Board of Directors 2016-10-18

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:00 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, John VA3JI Treasurer, Geoff VA3GS, Barry VA3LLT, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, David VA3DCY Secty, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, Absent: John VE3IPS V. Pres. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT
    • Additions: 6 Correction to August BoD minutes and 7 Winter Field day.
    • Motion to amend the agenda, moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried
    • Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Doug VE3ATP to adopt minutes of the Board Meeting 2016/09/20. Carried.
  3. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. There is an 8” crack in the Hilomast, lower portion of the top section. Costs to repair options from the manufacturer: $250US plus brokerage fees (1 way) if shipped via UPS from Canada, $125US (1 way) if shipped from within the USA (Buffalo), $250US forrepair including parts and labour. If the mast was delivered to the factory (in Florida) the repair time would be approximately 2 hours. Other options suggested were to attempt to repair the mast section locally, pick up a replacement section in the spring and place a sleeve around the crack as a temporary fix. The agreed plan is to 1/ get a manual, 2/ order parts and ship if feasible and 3/ Chris or another club member could take the mast to Florida in the spring for repairs.
  4. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS. At the moment 80 tables (including 5 courtesy tables), have been sold out of 100. Setup will be at 13:00 Friday November 4. We will only be bringing the EmComm trailer, not the tower trailer to the hamfest. Don VE3IXJ will have a static display outside the trailer. We hope to have 'QSL' cards with club information available as a handout.
  5. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS. There will be a silent auction at the November meeting with items from a donation to the club. Rick VA3VO will set the reserve bid prices. The January meeting could either be a 'junk-in-the-trunk' with mini presentations or, a Saturday visit to the Hammond Museum instead of the Tuesday meeting. The February meeting is undecided, March a talk from Mike VE3MKX, and the April and May meetings would be talks from Bob VE3WY and Dr Paul Delaney (dates to be determined).
  6. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/10/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Hamfest vendors: $422.00; Dues: $185.00; Donation: $7.02; Total:$614.02
    • Expenditures: Repeater: $75.00
    • Closing Balance 2016/10/18 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Hamfest Income: Tables: $588.00 (to date); Admissions: $210.00; Grand prize: $60.00; Total: $858.00
    • Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Geoff VA3GS to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  7. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT.
    • Steve asked a question from Grant VE3ATV, do we want to promote an ATV repeater? It was decided to ask the club if there is any interest, and if there is to ask Grant to talk to the club members.
    • Motion 2016-10-18-4d to approve $75.00 for a mast section and cables used at the MacKenzie Richmond Hill Hospital when installing the link antenna for VE3YRA. Material supplied at cost by Rick VA3VO. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Rick VA3VO abstained from voting. Carried.
  8. Public Service: Eric VE3EB
    • The last events were 2 weddings at the Sharon Temple on Saturday October 1, and the Run for the Cure on Sunday October 2. There was a good turnout for the event, with 11 hams and 1 student participating.
    • Eric proposed getting QSL cards for public service events and hamfests, and 10 to 20 lightweight club jackets, instead of vests, which would be owned by the club.
    • We should set up a Trillium committee for funding these and other projects.
  9. York Region Astronomy Association (YRAA): Chris VE3NRT. The YRAA is responsible for operation and maintenance of the equipment at the David Dunlap Observatory and also provides education to youth groups, schools and adults. In addition to optical astronomy, YRAA wants to incorporate radio astronomy into their offerings, and would welcome collaboration from YRARC. Chris will send a letter of YRARC support, to YRAA.
  10. Correction of August BoD Minutes: David VA3DCY. The motion number for item 5b to purchase plaques for the Harvey Bell Award and the Melted Coffee Pot Award, was incorrectly published as “motion 2016-07-19-5b”. The correct motion number is 2016-08-16-5b. Motion 2016-10-18-6, moved by David VA3DCY, seconded by Geoff VA3GS that the minutes be corrected. Carried.
  11. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. We need to investigate the source of the noise at the Sharon Temple / Temperance Hall location, and we should ask Steve VE3EZ for assistance. 10 people attending a WFD event would be considered a success. WFD this year is on January 28 and 29.
  12. Brad VE3HII noted that that VE3YRA was not listed in the AMSAT report for Summer Field Day.
Meeting adjourned at 20:50. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried

Minutes: General Meeting 2016-11-01

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 35 including 1 guest and 3 new members.
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of Minutes from 2016/10/04 general meeting. Moved by Doug VE3VS, seconded by John VA3JI. Carried.
  3. Announcements: Setup for the hamfest starts at 13:00 Friday Nov 4. We received a cheque for $175 from the Central Ontario ARC for our participation in a recent COARC event.
  4. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/10/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Hamfest vendor fees: $1230.00; Membership dues: $185.00; Donations (US currency conversion): $7.02; Total:$1422.02
    • Expenditures: Hamfest - prizes: $171.50; Hamfest - Markham Fair Grounds: $4329.60; Hamfest – float: $750.00; Repeater $75.00; Bank charges for PayPal $7.74; Total Expenditures: $5333.84
    • Closing Balance 2016/11/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Additional income to be deposited: Hamfest vendor fees: $40.00; Membership dues: $155.00; Membership dues:$35.00; Donation $5.00; Bank Fees: -$1.57
    • It was suggested from the floor that we charge extra when payments are made by PayPal. No action to be taken at this time.
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by John VA3JI, seconded Bill VA3QB. Carried
  5. Repeater Report – Steve VE3UT
    • We need to check on the noise source at the Sharon Temperance Hall before winter field day.
    • We spent $75 on a link antenna at the MacKenzie Health Unit (to link the VE3YRA site with the hospital site).
    • The Field Day announcement, which has been running in error, has been turned off.
    • This morning it was discovered that that the link transmitter at the VE3YRC-V site has failed. The VE3YRC-V repeater (147.225 MHz) is now running in stand-alone mode.
  6. EmComm Report – Robert VA3BXG, John VE3IPS
    • At the recent GTA set, we had limited participation, and did a test call-out. The next EmComm meeting will be on November 10, at the Newmarket Community Centre.
    • The Fox Hunt, with help from Brian VE3IBW, will likely be held on November 19. Planning will be done at the next EmComm meeting.
  7. Other Business
    • Barry VA3LLT's wife is in hospital, in serious condition. Move by Steve VE3UT and seconded by Eric VE3EB, that we send flowers to Barry's wife. Carried.
    • Doug VE3VS is preparing name tags for those wishing tags.
    • Next year, CLARA will be holding its 50th birthday and preparation for the event is underway.

Guest Speaker – John VA3KOT

John spoke on outdoor QRP. His interest in QRP started with scanning and listening to satellites, which lead to his interest in amateur radio, especially QRP. His rules for operating QRP include an efficient antenna, elevation, using CW or digital modes instead of phone, endurance, the use of spotting web sites (to give advance notice to listen), and good propagation conditions.

Since he operates in public spaces, health and safety are important considerations. The passing public needs to be kept safe from RF high voltages etc. and 'no trace' operating means leaving the site tidy when finished.

When hiking, he keeps it simple with a Yaesu FT-817 radio, minimal batteries for lighter weight and a choice of several antennae including vertical, end-fed, loop and NVIS antennae.

John can be contacted at va3kot -at- gmail -dot- com for further information.


Minutes: Board of Directors Meeting 2016-11-15

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, multi purpose room. Called to Order at 19:04 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, John VA3JI Treasurer, John VE3IPS V. Pres., Geoff VA3GS, Barry VA3LLT, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, David VA3DCY Secty. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT. Additions: 8 WYNSORC. Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Eric VE3EB to adopt minutes of the Board Meeting 2016/10/18. Carried.
  3. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS
    • The non-final results from the hamfest – we made a profit of approximately $2400 plus any possible deposit refund. Geoff thanked all involved for their efforts.
    • The question was asked 'should we consider another venue?' The answer was 'yes' if we can find a suitable location with ample parking.
    • The Lions Club sold out of their food.
    • Renting the third hall costs only $200, and it is good to have a place to keep the attendees out of the rain/cold.
  4. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS
  5. Bring non-perishable food items to the December meeting for the food bank.
  6. There will be no speaker for the January meeting, but there will be time for '5 minute' show and tell presentations.
    • Dr. Delaney will be the guest speaker in February or March.
    • Mike VE3MKX will be the guest speaker in March or February.
    • Cliff VE3KOP will be the guest speaker in April.
    • Bob VE3WY will be the guest speaker in May.
    • The AGM will be in June.
    • Motion 2016-11-15-3b to approve $200.00 (maximum) for food at the December meeting, moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Eric VE3EB. Carried.
  7. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/10/31 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Hamfest tables $1455.00; Dues:$365.00; Auction: $140.25; Donation (COARC): $175.00; Hamfest door: $4614.90; Silent auction (Nov Mtg): $113.00; Total Income: $6863.15
    • Expenditures: Hamfest prizes: $196.00; Bank fees (Pay Pal): $1.03; Repeater (WYNSORC): $10.00: -$207.03
    • Closing Balance 2016/ 11/15 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Membership to date: Full voting: 33; Associate: 5; Family:17; Life: 9; Total: 60
    • Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Geoff VA3GS to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  8. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT
    • The CW identifiers on VE3YRC-V and VE3YRA have been lowered.
    • The Fox Hunt is being announced on the VE3YRC-V and VE3YRA repeaters.
    • The link radio at the Bloomington site is now working, levels have been set up, but may need some final adjustments. We need to return to using the mic input on the link radio for better audio.
  9. John VE3IPS: Members from the DDO will be attending the Fox Hunt. The starting location will be 12916 Yonge St. on November 19.
  10. Public Service: Eric VE3EB
    • There are no public service events at the moment.
    • Eric would welcome suggestions from the membership and the board for the QSL cards.
    • Certificates of recognition will be prepared.
    • Barry VA3LLT: Should we have coffee mugs, either with the club logo only, or logo and the individual member's name and call? He will check prices, in possible lots of 10, 20 and 30, and enquire about interest at the next meeting. Chris will check the Costco prices as well.
  11. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. The David Dunlap Observatory might be a possible site for Winter Field Day. Steve will check to see if it is available, and we could also include the Maker's Group and Astronomy Group in WFD. Paul Mortfield is the astronomy contact.
  12. Summer Field Day: Steve VE3UT. Peter VE3PBT may possibly not be available to cook be due to health concerns, however he may be able to advise and/or assist. Geoff has enquired if the Aurora Lions might be able to provide 3 or 4 meals, and is awaiting a reply.
  13. Hammond Museum: John VE3IPS. At the next general meeting,John will propose a trip to the Hammond Museum.
  14. PACTOR for EmComm: John VE3IPS. John is exploring the cost of PACTOR modems 1, 2 and 3. – Pactor 1 is the least expensive, Pactor 3 is the most expensive. It might be an item for a wish list on a Trillium Grant application, but a good business plan would be needed.
  15. WYNSORC: John VA3JI and Geoff VA3GS. The annual dues of $10.00 are now due. Motion 2016-11-15-8 to approve $10.00 for WYNSORC dues, moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
Meeting adjourned at 21:00. Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried

Minutes: 2016-12-06 General Meeting

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 39 including, 1 new member, 1 amateur guest and 2 family guests.
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2016/11/01 general meeting was postponed until next January.
  2. Announcements: CLARA will be celebrating its 50 anniversary in 2017. To celebrate, a year long contest will be held. For information, see the CLARA web site: clarayl.ca
  3. Fox Hunt – John VE3IPS: The fox hunt was held on November 19, with Ian VE3YRP the winner. More fox hunts will be held in 2017 (and they may get harder).
  4. Hammond Museum – John VE3IPS. A trip to the Hammond Museum could be in the works. Details to follow.
  5. Trillium Grant – Eric VE3EB. Eric is looking for interested members to be part of a committee which will investigate applying for a Trillium Grant.
  6. Repeater Report – Steve VE3UT. Several visits have been made to the VE3YRC-V site as well as a visit to the VE3YRC-U site to make some fine adjustments. All 3 linked repeaters (including the VE3RYA repeater) are working well and sounding good. The D-Star repeaters have had network connectivity problems, but are now working properly.
  7. Winter Field Day – Steve VE3UT. Winter Field Day will be held on January 28 and 29. The first location choice, the David Dunlap Observatory, is not available. The regular Summer Field Day site is the second choice and Steve will be soon be in contact with the owners. There are rule changes this year regarding setup, however it was suggested that we set up just before the contest begins, to simulate setup in a real emergency. We plan to use simple antennae to keep the setup simple and have a maximum of 4 stations. A quick show of hands showed 8 members were interested at the moment.
  8. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/11/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Hamfest vendor fees: $1455.00; Hamfest admissions: $4614.90; Donations COARC+ Anonymous+REACT: $680.00; Membership dues: $365.00; Auction plus club table $248.25; Hamfest grand prize tickets: $670.00; Total $8,033.15.
    • Expenditures: Hamfest - prizes $196.00; WYNSORC fees: $10.00; Bank charges for PayPal: $1.03; Total expenditures: $207.03
    • Closing Balance 2016/12/06: [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Additional expenses: December Christmas party - food $158.20
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by John VA3JI, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried
  9. EmComm Report – Robert VA3BXG
    • EmComm participated in the recent Municipal Exercises and the York Region Conferences.
    • The next meeting will be on the Thursday December 8, at the Newmarket Community Centre. Planning for next year including more fox hunts will be discussed.
  10. Other Business – Geoff VA3GS. Geoff thanked everyone involved with the hamfest for their help, and noted that at the January meeting we will have short, 5 minute talks, and show and tell sessions.