Monday, 15 December 2014

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting - November 18, 2014

Meeting held in the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:16. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending; Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, Eric VE3EB, Barry VA3LLT, David VA3DCY, Steve VE3UT. John VA3JI, Geoff VA3GS. Guests attending; Russell VE3WTR
  1. Review of the agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT (attachment #1).
    • Motion 2014-11-18-01 by Rob VE3RQB, to adopt agenda with the addition of 4b Trailer Ownership, and the addition of Emcomm to other business. Seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried.
  2. Adoption of Oct 21/14 board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-11-18-02 by Barry VA3LLT to adopt minutes as published in the splatter blog at, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried.
  3. Governance
    • Insurance coverage next steps – Chris VE3NRT
      • Russell has volunteered to work with RAC to determine the options for insurance coverage under the RAC program.
      • Chris VE3NRT will provide Russell with a letter describing the coverage needed to support club business.
      • Rob VE3RQB suggested the board consider using commercial towing services to tow the tower trailer since is it moved very infrequently. By doing so we would not need to purchase a vehicle policy for the tower trailer.
  4. Finance report – There was no finance report to review.
    • Eric advised that he had a receipt for $27.12 for Christmas decorations for the communications trailer for the recent Santa Clause parade.
    • Motion 2014-11-18-03 by Steve VE3UT, to allocate $27.12 to cover Christmas decorations, seconded by David VE3DCY. Motion carried.
  5. Property – Rob VE3RQB
    • Communications trailer
      • Trailer is now stored at Bales Rd yard, home of the York Region EMS.
      • Russell VA3WTR indicated there is an MOU drafted identifying the 7 people authorized to access the trailer: Barry VA3LLT, Steve VE3UT, Steve VE3EZ, Chris VE3NRT, Chris VA3DXZ, Rob VE3RQB, and Russell VE3WTR.
      • Russell VA3WTR to send a copy of the executed MOU to the board
      • Russell VA3WTR requested that when the trailer is to be removed from the yard, that he be advised beforehand so that he can update the regions calendar to show that the trailer has been signed out. If the trailer is found missing by Bales Rd staff, and not signed out on the region calendar, the regional staff policy is to report it as stolen property to the police.
      • Russell VA3WTR reported that we must provide York Region EMS staff with a key to the tongue lock so they can move the trailer if needed.
      • Motion 2014-11-18-04 by Eric VE3EB, to allocate up to $100.00 to purchase a tongue lock for the tower trailer and a lock box for the communications trailer, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
      • The lock box will be designated for York Region EMS access and will contain a copy of the key for the communications trailer tongue lock. This will enable YR EMS staff to move the trailer if needed. A second lock box, already existing on the trailer, contains a tongue lock key and the key for the entry into the trailer. YR EMS will not have access to this lock box.
    • Trailer Ownerships
      • Rob VE3RQB is working on securing a new ownership for the tower trailer as the original ownership cannot be located
      • Rob VE3RQB indicated that he will sign the new ownership on behalf of the club and will also sign the seller section of the ownership to simplify the transfer of ownership in the future if / when required.
      • The new ownership will be left with the club secretary Chris VA3DXZ to be stored with the club files.
      • Rob VE3RQB provided the club secretary (Chris VA3DXZ) with the original ownership for the communications trailer to be stored in the club files.
  6. Repeaters – Steve VE3UT
    • Emergency Power for VE3YRC – motion to fund
      • On behalf of the entire club, the board would like to thank Glen VA3AU who donated batteries, and Rick Armitage VA3VO who donated cables and other materials needed to install the emergency backup power for VE3YRC
      • Motion 2014-11-18-05 by Steve VE3UT to allocate up to $25.00 for miscellaneous connectors needed to complete the installation of the backup power at VE3YRC, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
      • Steve VE3UT indicated that the link radio (linking VE3YRC UHF and VHF) operates in single duplex only and has been off the air. Bruce VE3BV has been able to determine a fix and he expects to be able to get the link radio back on the air soon operating full duplex, linking VE3YRC VHF and UHF machines. This will extend coverage well into Markham and Vaughan
      • Steve VE3UT is planning to hold a repeater committee meeting in January to discuss a vision for the YRARC repeaters in York Region.
    • Transfer of the VE3YRA call sign from Bruce VE3BV.
      • Steve VE3UT signed letter and returned to Chris VE3NRT. Chris VE3NRT will submit the paperwork to Industry Canada to have the call signed transferred to Steve VE3UT
  7. Events - Eric VE3EB
    • Recognition Plan
      • Eric VE3EB reported that the tracking sheet is almost complete. It has been circulated to event leaders to supply missing information
      • The plan will be to recognize the volunteer contributions at the Christmas social
      • Eric VE3EB also reported that the Club appeared the SNAP coverage of the Run for the Cure
      • There are no further events planned until spring of 2015
  8. Membership – Chris VE3NRT
    • Meeting schedule
      • Schedule was reviewed. Chris VE3NRT asked board members for ideas for upcoming presentations
    • Winter Field Day
      • Motion 2014-11-18 -06 by Steve VE3UT to allocate $200.00 to cover fuel and other miscellaneous expenses for Winter Field Day, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.
    • Christmas meeting
      • Motion 2014-11-18-07 by Steve VE3UT to allocate up to $300.00 for sandwiches and desserts, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
  9. Other Business
    • Emcomm
      • Ambulance donation – The club may be able to secure a decommissioned ambulance to support emergency communications. Russell VA3WTR reported that he is in discussion with the Town of Richmond Hill on this subject. The plan would be to secure an operating budget from the region and municipalities within the region to cover the annual operating costs
      • Russell VA3WTR requested board provide details of the club insurance policies so that he can work with the region to get competitive quotes from their suppliers. Chris VE3NRT to provide details to Russell VA3WTR
      • Russell, indicated the he may need a motion to indicate that Emcomm is a function of the YRARC to facilitate insurance coverage by RAC. Russell VA3WTR will confirm this point after discussing further with RAC.

Meeting Adjourned at 9:10pm

Friday, 21 November 2014

VE3YRK Gateway will be down for a while

Following some scheduled maintenance we need to do another site visit before the gateway will be back on line. This will be done as soon as it can be coordinated. Until then, the repeater is operational but its link to reflectors and other repeaters is out of service.

Thanks to Steve for all the hard work (past, present and future) for knocking our repeater systems into shape.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Minutes of General Meeting 2014-11-04

Meeting called to order 7:30 PM, Chris VE3NRT as chairman, John, VA3JI, taking minutes. Chris made introductory remarks.
  1. Introduced guests and members, 25 people present.
  2. Brian, VE3IBW, moved to accept the minutes of the October meeting, seconded by Bill, VA3QB, passed.
  3. John, VA3JI, gave Treasurer's report and moved its acceptance. Seconded by Glenn, VA3AU, passed. We have approximately [balance available to members on request to Secretary] in the bank but some expenses for the Hamfest have not been paid. A closer estimate would be [estimate available to members on request to Secretary].
  4. John, VA3JI, gave the financial portion of the Hamfest report. We had 565 admissions and 87 tables sold. Geoff, VA3GS, will have a fuller detailed report when he returns from Italy in December.
  5. Steve, VE3UT, reported on Winter Field Day. Runs noon 24 Jan, 2015, to noon 25 Jan. We have arranged for use of the Sharon Temperance Hall (where we meet) but due to previous commitments for the hall, we must be cleaned up and gone by 12:45 PM on Sunday at the latest.
  6. Eric, VE3EB, reported that 6 people wrote their exam at the Hamfest; 5 passed.
  7. Eric, VE3EB, is arranging for the entry to the Newmarket Santa Claus parade. We will be entering the Communications Trailer in the parade. Rob will be towing it.
  8. Don, VE3IXJ, gave the EMCOMM report.
  9. Steve, VE3UT, provided the repeater report. We have poor coverage in Georgina and he is looking at having a secondary repeater there as a relay. He is looking at obtaining an Internet connection at the Richmond Hill Hospital site.
  10. There is now a repeater in the Communications trailer for emergency use only. Callsign is VE3RCY and it requires a 100 Hz sub-audible tone to access it. This is on an uncoordinated frequency pair that can only be used intermittently.

Speaker was John, VE3IPS, who gave a presentation on the Elecraft KX3 QRP rig and its accessories. He also discussed Buddipole antennas.

Next meeting 2 December, 2014. This is the annual Christmas party. Please bring non-perishable food items for the food bank.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

South Pickering Amateur Radio Club Meeting Invitation

I received the following email from Dave Dempsey VE3EAB of the South Pickering Amateur Radio Club. Hyperlinks were added by me. Google tells me it is 49 minutes from my QTH, without traffic.


Hello Gentlemen and Ladies

I am emailing you today as your website lists you as a contact for your respective clubs surrounding the Durham Region Area.

I wanted to extend an warm invitation to your club members to attend our where we have a Guest speaker from the Memory Project.

We will be having Captain Brian Cotter, Retired Royal Canadian Air force as a guest speaker for the night speaking on a few topics such as communications in the Canadian forces, His career history and long with current events and search and rescue.

Feel free to share this information with your club members and such.

Event Location:
Pickering Recreation Complex (Back of Building, Arena Doors) Meeting Room A
1867 Valley Farm Road
Pickering, Ont
L1V 6V3

Meeting [on November 13th] starts at 7:30pm, Guest speaker at 8pm, Coffee will be hot.

Monday, 3 November 2014

General Meeting Minutes - 2014-10-07

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:30. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. 41 members and 3 guests in attendance.
  1. The agenda for the meeting was presented by Chris VE3NRT (attachment #1)
  2. News – Chris VE3NRT reported that
    • Aurora is getting LED lighting
    • Aurora council adopted a new tower protocol
    • W1AW moving to Virginia, Missouri, and the Mariana Islands at 0000Z
  3. Project Night – Brad VE3HII discussed / proposed a microcontroller project night. Please contact Brad if you are interested in participating.
  4. Financial Report – John VA3JI presented the financial report (Attachment #2).
    • Closing Balance August 31st [available to members upon request to Secretary]
    • Income (Dues and Hamfest) $1,140.00
    • Disbursements (Field Day, Trailer, Misc) $745.36
    • Closing balance Sept 30th $15,608.19
    • Income (Dues and Hamfest) $837.00
    • Disbursements (Fees) $8.21
    • Balance as of Oct 7th [available to members upon request to Secretary]
    • Motion 2014-10-07-01 by John VA3JI to accept the report, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried.
  5. Minutes of the last meeting:
    • Motion 2014-10-07-02 by Geoff VA3GS to accept the minutes of the last general meeting, seconded by Brad VE3HII. Motion carried.
  6. Field Day Report – Steve VE3UT reported that
    • The field day trophy (broken coffee pot award), now has proper plaques installed to record the winners
    • Anyone interested in participating in the winter field day event contact him so that he can gauge interest among the club
  7. Repeater report – Steve VE3UT reported that the repeater committee needs members who have the technical skills to support our repeaters. He provided an update (attachment #3) on the projects underway as follows:
    • Communications trailer – Work is underway to tune the duplexer previously installed in Richmond Hill to the new frequency pair. The repeater will also need to be programmed to the new frequency.
    • Tower trailer – repeater needs to be installed and tuned. There will need to be a budget approved to purchase materials required (antenna and feedline) and to cover any repairs necessary.
    • Tentatively planning to increase the power of the YRK/B D-Star UHF repeater to 75W in the next 2 or 3 weeks
    • Looking into the feasibility of a linked UHF repeater in Georgina to improve coverage
  8. Public service – Eric VE3EB thanked those who volunteered to support the CIBC Run for the Cure and highlighted the concern that the club was short of a full complement of volunteers to support the event. Eric VE3EB asked if the club planned to enter the Newmarket Santa Clause parade. Chris VE3NRT confirmed that the club will support the event. Plans are also underway to support the Bradford Santa Clause parade.
  9. EMCOMM – Russell VE3WTR reported that
    • YRARC served as emergency dispatch to EMS, St John Ambulance, and YRP again this year at the Markham fair. The communications trailer was deployed to the event
    • He is working to secure a parking space for the tower trailer at Bales Road site.
    • EMCOMM group is looking for more volunteers to act as site owners
    • Richmond Hill council has indicated they can fund an amateur radio equipment installation at their site. A volunteer is needed to take the EMCOMM lead with Richmond Hill.
  10. Hamfest report – Geoff VA3GS reported that set up will start at 1pm on Friday Oct 31st. On Saturday vendors will arrive at 6:30am. Yaesu will be presenting Saturday morning. Volunteers are needed.
After the break at 8:06pm Doug VE3VS presented Fox Island Activation (Canadian Islands on the Air - CISA) and Steve VE3EZ presented Durham’s Next Gen Regional radio upgrade project. The meeting adjourned at approximately 21:41

Minutes of October 2014 Board Meeting, 2014-10-21

Meeting held in the lower room of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:05. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending; Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, John VA3JI, Barry VA3LLT, Geoff VA3GS, David VA3DCY, Steve VE3UT. Board members absent; Eric VE3EB. Guests attending; Bob Rennie VA3BSJ
  1. Review of the agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT (attachment #1).
    • Motion 2014-10-21-01 by Geoff VA3GS to adopt agenda, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.
    • Barry VE3LLT VA3LLT requested the addition of item 4c to provide an update on the communications trailer
  2. Adoption of Sept 16 board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-10-21-02 by Geoff VA3GS to adopt minutes as published in the splatter blog at, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried.
  3. Governance
    • Insurance – John VA3JI
      • John VA3JI shared the list of assets to be insured. This is still a work in progress. Steve VE3UT offered a few corrections. John needs assistance getting serial numbers for some of the equipment in the communications trailer
      • John VA3JI confirmed that the existing insurance policies have been renewed and that these policies can be changed in accordance with the boards wishes once he finalizes his insurance proposal and it is approved by the board
      • Tower trailer towing and operating procedure is being worked by Rob VE3RQB
      • Rob VE3RQB confirmed that the communications trailer towing procedure is completed and located in the trailer.
    • Finance Report (Attachment #2)
      • Closing balance Sept 30th 2014 [available from club Secretary on request]
      • Disbursements (PayPal fees, Plaques, Insurance, Trailer) $688.95
      • Income (Hamfest, sale of assets, memberships) $2,149.00
      • Balance as of Oct 21st 2014 [available from club Secretary on request]
  4. Property – Rob VE3RQB
    • Disposition of surplus equipment
      • Aluminum tower section has been sold to Bob VE3WY and is waiting to be picked up
      • Trailer ball will be posted for sale online
      • Tri-band antenna has been sold to Bob VE3WY
    • Painting of the tower trailer
      • Painting has been completed.
      • Motion 2014-10-21-03 by Geoff VA3GS to thank Rob VE3RQB, Steve VE3UT, and Barry VA3LLT for completing the work, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried
      • Communications trailer – Barry VA3LLT reported that the repeater has been installed and equipment in the rack was re-organized.
  5. Repeaters – Steve VE3UT
    • Transfer of the VE3YRA call from Bruce VE3BV. Chris VE3NRT confirmed that he will draft letters for Bruce VE3BV, Steve VE3UT, and himself to send to industry Canada to initiate the transfer of the call sign to Steve VE3UT
    • Repeater Committee update
      • VE3RCY is operational in the communications trailer on 145.250 Mhz with negative offset and 100 hz tone for TX only. This is an uncoordinated shared frequency pair.
      • The club owns 3 portable repeaters. One is not operational and is being kept for spare parts. The remaining two could be used in an emergency to replace YRC or YRA operating from the tower trailer. The suggestion is to house the repeater inside a weather tight container on the tower trailer so that it is ready for emergency deployment.
      • Steve VE3UT suggested that the board consider a maintenance budget for the repeaters
  6. Events
    • Tracking of volunteer hours back to the AGM.
      • Eric VE3EB provided an email report prior to the meeting indicating that he was working on the spreadsheet and had requested input from those people that lead events that he had not participated in.
    • Recent and upcoming events
      • Newmarket Santa Claus parade Nov 15th – Eric VE3EB’s report identified a list of information he needed to complete the application which is due Nov 4th
      • Bradford Santa Claus parade (Evening) Nov 15th – Rob VE3RQB shared the application with the board. There is a requirement for 500 lights on each float. Rob will get a note out to club members looking for their support.
      • Aurora Santa Claus parade (Evening) Nov 22nd - The board discussed whether it was feasible to participate
      • Motion 2014-10-21-04 by Geoff VA3GS that the board approves the application to enter the Aurora, Bradford, and Newmarket parades, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
  7. Membership – Geoff VA3GS
    • Hamfest Update
      • Geoff VA3GS reported that 85 tables have been sold. The club has also once again donated tables to CLARA (Canadian Ladies Amateur Radio Association), CNIB, and RAC.
      • There will be 4 admissions booths this year.
      • Food will be cut back compared to last year.
      • John VA3JI will be in charge of dispensing and reconciling the cash floats
    • Motion 2014-10-21-05 by John VA3JI to approve $20.00 to cover the cost of the trophy plaques, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried.
    • The board reviewed the speakers list for the upcoming general meetings
    • Toronto Rebellion Special Events Station – Chris VE3NRT reported that the event is on hold and will be revisited next year.
    • Winter Field Day – Steve VE3UT reported that the Sharon Temperance Hall is the preferred location. He will see if it is available to be used by the Club.
    • Christmas meeting – Chris VE3NRT reminded the board that he will be unable to attend the December general meeting and that Rob VE3RQB will chair the meeting in his absence

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The YRARC Hamfest is 1 week away!

The York Region Amateur Radio Club is proud to present its annual Hamfest at the Markham Fairgrounds. Doors open at 0630 for vendors, 0730 for coffee and snacks, and doors open at 0900 for general admission. Chris Wilson, N0CSW, who is the national sales manager at Yaesu USA, will be making a special presentation at 1030 in Hall 2 on the Yaesu Fusion System.

More information, including directions and talk-in frequencies, is available here. We are having excellent participation from vendors this year so you won't want to miss this year's event!

Many thanks to Geoff VA3GS whose efforts have made this event possible. Please come and support your club by buying some stuff!

Chris VE3NRT

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Notes from the Shack - October 2014

Computer Problems and RFI

RFI is one of life's deep mysteries. As my station evolves it comes and goes in strange ways. I used to blow my garage GFCI any time I ran high power on 80m. That no longer happens. The Carbon monoxide detector starts beeping on 40m - the power required depends on the mode with CW being the most sensitive. 10 metres makes my subwoofer growl.

More recently, a new problem cropped up. I noticed during the CW WW RTTY DX contest that on 15m my USB Keyboard or USB mouse would go off line when running full power. To reset then, I could just unplug for a second or two and then plug it back it. 2 seconds is a long time during a RTTY contest but fortunately both weren't disconnected at the same time, so I could respond to a call with either.

The next day, while transmitting on 17m, the computer downstairs started throwing errors while I was copying some large files. A longer second transmission threw the disk drive off line completely and I had to restart the computer to get it working again. The next day I powered up my desktop system and got the blue screen of death. Hours of testing revealed that my SSD had failed completely. It's under warranty so the manufacturer will send me a blank one in return for the defective one. Whether RFI contributed to the demise of the SSD I'll never know - but so much for SSD reliability - I've gone back to hard drives, and added mirroring because I don't want to have that happen again.

Finally, a couple of days ago, while reinstalling software on the computer, I noticed a loose connection on my power supply. It turned out the U-shaped lug on the negative side of the supply to the transceiver was completed detached from the supply. Now one might think that this would have rendered the transceiver inoperable. However it seemed to be working perfectly normally! It is likely that the return path was made either through station grounding or the much thinner gauge power circuit to the antenna tuner.

Once the connection was fixed, I could transmit full power on 15 metres without upsetting the station computer at all. Good thing, because my opportunity test it was trying to reach W1AW/KH0 in the Mariana Islands on RTTY. I could barely copy him and needed all the power I had to get through.

One must learn from one's mistakes - and so I should be glad that I have so many opportunities to become more knowledgeable.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

YRARC General Meeting Minutes 2014-09-02

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:35. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. 39 members and 2 guest in attendance.
  1. Agenda
    • The agenda for the meeting was presented (attachment #1). Barry VA3LLT requested that an item be added to the agenda to discuss the trailer. Item was added.
  2. Minutes of the last meeting:
    • Motion 2014-09-02-01 by Bill VA3QB to approve the minutes of the June 3rd General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.
    • Motion 2014-09-02-02 by Bill VA3QB to approve the minutes of the June 3rd Annual General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Glen VA3AU. Motion carried.
  3. Opening remarks:
    • Chris VE3NRT presented the new board, highlighting that there is still one open position to be filled.
      • Chris VE3NRT - President
      • Rob VE3RQB – Vice-President, Property
      • Chris VA3DXZ - Secretary
      • John VA3JI - Treasurer
      • Eric VE3OIC VE3EB – Events chair
      • Dave VA3DCY - Events
      • Geoff VA3GS – Membership, Hamfest, …
      • Barry VA3LLT - Property
      • Steve VE3UT – TBA…
      • Open
    • Club’s accomplishments of the last year
      • the purchase of a large storage container to house club property,
      • reconstruction of the tower trailer,
      • improvements to the communications trailer,
      • the basic license class,
      • the microprocessor project night, and
      • a very successful field day
    • Old news and gossip
      • Two letter calls OIC->EB, PIP->EZ
      • Brad VE3HII moved to Beeton
      • Chris VA3DXZ moved to Schomberg
      • Anthony VE3HIS put up a tower
      • Chris VE3NRT talked to his neighbour about maybe putting up a tower
      • Bruce retired to his country home in FN05
      • Hamfest back to Markham Fairgrounds
      • Equipment donations received
    • Goals for the coming year
      • Increase membership; Another class in the Spring, Marketing (mostly free) activities, Member survey
      • Another project night – Thanks Brad!
      • Special Event Station – 177th anniversary of the Toronto Rebellion
      • Community Service Tracking
      • Balanced Budget
  4. Financial update, John VA3JI (Attachment #2)
    • FY 2015 Opening balance [available to members on request to Treasurer]
      • Income (July and August) $500.00
      • Disbursements (July and August) $1,215.70
      • Closing balance Aug 31st [available to members on request to Treasurer]
    • Pending items
      • Payments for field day
      • income for Hamfest tables
    • A special meeting will be called to approve the audit
  5. Field day Steve VE3UT
    • Participation by members was up this year. A lot of fun had by many people.
    • Total score submitted to ARRL was 3,598, slightly higher than last year at 3,496 See Field Day report prepared by Steve VE3UT
  6. Public service update Eric VE3EB
    • Eric thanked those people who volunteered their time over the summer to support the community events
    • Volunteers needed for upcoming events; Sharon Temple Illumination, Markham Fair, and CIBC Run for the Cure
  7. Hamfest Geoff VA3GS
    • Hamfest is the largest fundraising event for the club and volunteers are needed to support the event
    • Don VE3IXJ thanked Russell VA3WTR for his work and support of the Markham Fair organizers which led to improved pricing for the club and the ability to relocate the Hamfest to the Markham Fairgrounds site
  8. Communications trailer Barry VA3LLT
    • Barry reported that the communications trailer has been deployed to many public service events throughout the summer
  9. 6m Net is still on 8PM Monday evenings at 50.135 USB
Meeting adjourned at 21:30 following a presentation by Don VE3IXJ on his work with portable repeaters. Don has been experimenting with the Surecom SR 328 Duplex Repeater Controller and the SR 112 Simplex Controllers interfaced to various HTs. The duplex controller is used with a Sinclair MR356E Duplexor (F1 458Mhz, F2 468Mhz).

Friday, 26 September 2014

Repeater Report - Steve VE3UT

In the past, I headed up our club's repeater committee and now, once again, the Board of Directors has given me this task. Our club has a very good collection of machines but we have a number of challenges ahead. The departure of Bruce VE3BV, who has moved North to the Parry Sound area, has left a void to fill. The club has relied on Bruce's technical expertise and “connections” for the past 30+ years and we need to assemble a team of people with various skills to fill that void and keep us on the air. The challenge of keeping our sites or gaining access to new sites will also be an issue in the coming years.

The VE3YRC (147.225+ PL 103.5) site is not likely to remain available and coming up with ideas to keep it on the air from another location is a priority. YRC is the club's flagship repeater. The relocation of VE3YRA (145.350- PL 103.5) to its current temporary home has kept it on the air but ultimately it would be good to see us back at the original site with its superb coverage.

An idea that is just starting to be discussed is the possibility of have YRA and YRC permanently linked with one machine in the West end of York Region (the original YRA site) and another in the East end (actually North East). This would provide seamless VHF coverage of York Region and beyond with some overlapping coverage in places. Gaining a site in Georgina for YRC would solve the problem of spotty coverage there and other eastern locations.

With a link permanently on, users in the southern, western, and central areas of York Region would be able to select YRA or YRC depending on the coverage at their respective locations. For example, Bob WY and Brynn VOD could operate on YRA and talk to me UT and Barry LLT in the East on YRC. I mention these names because we all live or travel through noisy locations.

The club owns four repeater controllers, two 7330 units (on YRC and YRA) and a ACC RC85 (on YRC UHF) and a ACC RC96 (in the club trailer). The 7330 controllers are newer than the obsolete ACC units. The first 7330 was programmed and installed on YRC by Bruce BV and one was installed a couple of years ago on YRA when its ACC unit malfunctioned. Bruce was the only expert in the club on programming these controllers with me having a limited knowledge. But with Bruce's move, I have stepped up to the plate and am getting fairly proficient at programming them.

At this time, YRC is doing a fair bit of chatting at us. Some of the messages are regular daily messages and some are temporary for special club activities. They all serve the same purpose, to keep membership informed of upcoming activities. Please support our club and volunteer to help out at some of the events. Message schedule on YRC:
  • :00 Time and chimes
  • :10 Hamfest message, last week of October only
  • :15 Month long Hamfest message commencing October 1
  • :17 Tuesday club meeting message, last week of the month only
  • :20 Wildcard message – currently Run for the Cure event
  • :25 Wildcard message – currently Emcomm event at Markham Fair
  • :30 Time and ``this is VE3YRC repeater home of the YRARC``
  • :40 Same as:10
  • :45 same as :15
  • :47 same as :17
  • :50 same as :20
  • :55 same as 25
Last but not least...VE3YRK B and VE3YRK C, our D Star repeaters, great coverage and connect to international gateways. Check them out! borrow a club radio and get on the air!! These radios have FM and can also be used with YRA and YRC. [Note from Chris VE3NRT: Some members have already requested club radios which will be fulfilled at the next meeting]

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Membership Bulletin - September 2014

Welcome to the first edition of YRARC Membership Bulletin, which is planned as a complement to the blog on the club website and the club’s Yahoo Group.

Membership Dues: At the September meeting many club members paid their dues for 2014-2015. This is $25 for single membership, $30 for a family membership. Those who paid in September are asked to pick up their YRARC membership cards from Barry VA3LLT and/or Geoff VA3GS. You will have another opportunity to pay your dues at the October meeting. Members are asked to complete a form that will provide the Directors with information to better manage the affairs of the club.

Hamfest: This is scheduled for Saturday 01 November, back again at the Markham Fairgrounds. We will be setting up on Friday 31 October during the afternoon. If you can assist in any capacity please advise Geoff VA3GS, either at the next meeting or by email to:
  • If you have children or grandchildren who are in high school and want to earn up to 7 community service hours please bring them along to the event.
  • The club will have a table at the Hamfest. If you have any items that you want to sell please bring them along with the price clearly marked. Let the person looking after the table know the lowest price that you are willing to accept.
Presentations: The following are the presentation for the next few meetings. If you have any suggestions for presentations please let us know.
  • 02 September: Don VE3IXJ demonstrated his most ingenious portable repeater system, fashioned from two inexpensive HT’s and some readily available off-the-shelf hardware. If you missed the meeting please ask Don to tell you about it.
  • 07 October: Steve VE3EZ has just shepherded the Durham Region Police Force over to a new 700 MHz digital communications system. He will be discussing the challenges of the process and demonstrating some of the new hardware that the force will be using.
  • 05 November: John VE3IPS will be talking about lower power operation with the Elecraft KX3 and showing some of the antennas he uses.
  • 02 December: Our Xmas Party. Members are asked to bring non-perishable food items that will be distributed to local food banks.
  • 06 January: This is our in-house mini-fleamarket and is an opportunity to flog any ham-related items cluttering up your basement/shack. There will be a limit to the number of items that you may offer for sale; this is yet to be decided.

Friday, 19 September 2014

YRARC Board of Directors - Minutes 2014-08-19

Board of Directors: The following were present. Chris VE3NRT, John VA3JI, Geoff VA3GS, Rob VE3RQB, Representing EmComm: Russell VA3WTR
The meeting was called to order at 1909 with VE3NRT in the chair. In the absence of a quorum no motions were tabled or voted on. What follows is a summary of matters discussed.

  1. Governance:
    • Report from ad-hoc insurance committee (John VA3JI)
      • Only 1 trailer is covered. (the Car Mate CM6.) It is covered for $2 million liability (only) on the auto policy and for damage under the Lloyds policy.
      • The auto policy insures the trailer while it is being towed and is in addition to any coverage provided by the vehicle doing the towing. If the trailer is NOT being towed, then the auto policy doesn't cover it. (Lloyds does).
      • The tower trailer is NOT insured for towing. ie it is NOT covered by an auto policy [Motion passed in July to prohibit towing until insured].
      • The limit of liability coverage for the club under the Lloyds policy is $2 million for whatever happens (that is a covered type of loss of course). This is for whatever types of activities we carry on like the Hamfest, Field Day, public service, or whatever.
      • There is no directors and officers liability coverage for the board.
      • The limit of coverage for loss for the covered trailer is $15,000. Do we know how much the equipment mounted on it is valued at? Can we prove it?

        Here is what the insurance company says about the trailers when being towed by a PRIVATE vehicle (doesn't apply if the tow is a commercial vehicle).
        “In regards to the trailer - this would be the case for Liability coverage only while towing, however that only applies to personal trailers. Commercial trailers must be listed on a commercial auto policy in order to be covered for Liability purposes."

        • We need to cover BOTH trailers on the auto policy. That way no matter who/what is towing them we know we have enough and proper insurance.
        • We need directors and officer insurance. The board is managing a significant financial asset and we are not protected if something goes wrong.
        • We should determine a value for the stuff stored in the trailer and be sure that it is less than $15,000 or increase the coverage to enough.
        • The offsite repeaters are specifically covered on the Lloyds policy but the storage container is not. We should value the equipment stored in the container and see if it
          warrants coverage. Previously it would have been covered under Bruce's house insurance. We should send a list of what we have and what we expect to the insurance company for a professional review to make sure we are not buying too much or the wrong insurance. They know the policies, we don't.
        • The insurance company requires more information on the tower trailer.
        • We need to locate the old tower trailer operations manual, re-write it to apply to the new tower trailer, and submit it to the insurance company.
      • VE3RQB determined that the club trailers could be towed without an annual inspection as they were below the legal loads limits.
  2. Newmarket street lamp issue.
    • VA3GS had contacted VE1JBL, who lives in Amherst, NS. This is where the LED street lights are manufactured. VE1JBL had heard no reports of interference to Amateur Radio by the lights but would investigate further.
  3. Changes to budget estimates? in the absence of the full board this was deferred to the next meeting.
  4. Property
    • GO Kit Storage
      • The GO Kits have been moved from the VE3HII QTH to the storage container with the exception of the hand held radios which are with VE3NRT (not including cases).
    • Inventory
      • 5 Aluminum cases that house the ICOM HT's (ID-80D)
      • 3 Black cases for Mobile Go-Kits (ICOM IC-880H)
      • 1 ID880H and Samplex Power Supply
      • 1 12 Volt charger
      • 2 large cases that house the Field Supplementary Kits
      • 2 Bags of 4' Poles
      • 2 Jet Stream 144/432 Antennas
      • 9 12 Volt Batteries
    • Maintenance
      • Recharge HT`s on a monthly basis and before any public service events. I keep the HT`s out of the kits for easy transport to Events. Every 4 months I discharge the units prior to recharge.
      • Every two months I top off the 9 12Volt small car Batteries
    • Missing items from trailer: To be determined
    • Necessary maintenance & upgrade recommendations: To be determined
  5. Repeaters
    • Transfer of the VE3YRA call from Bruce VE3BV to another member of the club has to be orchestrated and the necessary documents sent to IC. VE3NRT would look after this.
  6. Events
    • Tracking volunteers for recognition and lack of support from members was discussed.
    • A request to use the trailer at the Markham Fair in October was approved,.
    • Recent and upcoming events were discussed
      • Aug. 25: Remembering Renata walk is along the Nokiidaa Trail. Chris DXZ is driving this event.
      • Sept 6/7: Caribbean event in Newmarket, being driven by Don Matthews.
      • Oct 5: Run for the Cure, No confirmation on our requirements. Use of the trailer would nice but will be bumped by the Markham Fair.
      • October 2, 3. 4 & 5 Markham Fair Russell VA3WTR is driving this event
      • Date not posted Newmarket Santa Parade in November, no bookings yet (driven with independent hams by Don Matthews., not a club event). Does the club enter the COMM trailer and/or the tower trailer as a float?
  7. Membership Matters
    • Information about members would be collected at the September meetings. VA3GS would produce a sign-up form. The logistics of this is to set up early, before 1900, with lots of extra pens on hand. As soon as the forms are completed members can pay their dues.
    • Up-coming programs are, subject to change:
      •  02 Sep: Don VE3IXJ on his "home brew" 2 m repeater
    • Project Night: VE3HII has offered to look after this
    • Basic Amateur Class: VA3GS said that he would offer a course in April – June 2015.
    • Hamfest: VA3GS said that planning was well underway
  8. Motion to purchase Field Day trophy tags ($30): Deferred to the next meeting
  9. Budget - the budget for 2014-15 was discussed:
  10. VE3NRT pointed out the club’s dependence of revenue from our hamfest.
  11. EmComm:
    • VA3WTR reported that there was a possibility for the club to secure an out-of-service ambulance that the region would maintain.

Meeting adjourned at 2110.
Geoffrey Smith VA3GS
Secretary pro-tem

Monday, 8 September 2014

Links of the Summer

July and August have been slow months for the submission of interesting links so I've combined July and August. If I've missed any that are still in my inbox then I will include them next month.

Chris VE3NRT
  1. Canadian Amateurs Receive the Order of Canada: ARRL Article; Southgate News Article; The original RAC link, submitted by Steve, VA3SRV, was broken in their web site move. Google to the rescue!
  2. UK APRS Balloons Circle Globe [Patrick VE3WST]
  3. Bringing down a 380' Cell Phone Tower [Steve VE3EZ]
  4. Info on VE3PIC repeater. Steve VE3EZ is interested in receiving signal reports for both the current and future location of this repeater. It is located in Durham but provides coverage in York.
  5. Field Day Press Coverage [Barry VA3LLT]
  6. ISS on Field Day [Steve VA3SRV]. As many of you know from the last meeting Brad VE3HII managed to contact several of the astronauts on Field Day, prior to his computer packing it in due to a power surge.
  7. The Open Repeater Project. This project based on Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone single board computers is in its early stages. [Steve VA3SRV]

Sunday, 17 August 2014

General Meeting Minutes, 2014.06.03

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:41. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Introductions completed. 36 members and 2 guests in attendance
  1. Motion 2014-06-03-01 by John VA3JI to approve the minutes of the May 6th General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Bill VA3QB. Motion carried.
  2. Finance – John VA3JI
    • Opening balance [available to members from Secretary on request]
    • Receipts totaling $75.00 in dues plus proceeds from sale of old tower $200.00
    • Disbursements $529.15 go kits, $2,401.24 container including delivery
    • [available to members on request] closing balance
    • Upcoming expenses: $344.00 for food for AGM
  3. Events – Eric VE3EB
    • MADD Poker Run – Eric thanked volunteers for MADD, repeater coverage was good
    • Girl Guide event went well, 5 volunteers
    • This weekend MT Albert Parade on Friday, run on Saturday
    • Canada Day at Sharon Temple
    • Need volunteers
    • Don VE3IXJ noted that August long weekend will be a big challenge with the Newmarket Jazz festival Aug 1-4th due to the expanded footprint. This is the same weekend as Al’s Ride.
  4. Membership Drive – Steve VE3EZ
    • Steve has worked with the board to design a club QSL card with the intention to mail these out to 500 local amateurs, inviting them to join us at field day and our regular meetings
    • Motion 2014-06-03-02 by Anthony VE3HIS to allocate up to $800.00 to fund the production and distribution of the cards, seconded by Glen VA3AU. Bill VA3QB suggested we focus distribution on newer amateur licenses; for example the VA3’s. Don VE3IXJ could use 411 to cross check mailing list. Chris VE3NRT will send a request through Yahoo to look for volunteers to vet the list. Phil raised the concern that this did not address targeting people who may want to become licensed. Motion carried.
  5. Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • Al’s ride is an important event to support because they provide the club with the use of their property for field day.
    • Steve thanked Rob VE3RQB for his work on the tower trailer and mentioned that the project is moving along very well and should be ready for field day
    • The military have contacted Steve and may not be able to join us at field day due to other commitments
    • Volunteer operators are needed as well as volunteers to help with setup will start on Friday Jun 27th. On the air at 2pm Saturday to 2pm Sunday.
    • Peter VE3PBT has received a donation from Tim Horton’s to support our event
  6. EMCOMM – Russell VE3WTR
    • EMCOMM has grown over the year. Site owners are assigned to EOC’s in the region
    • D-Star training was completed
    • Russell recently completed a number of renovations to the trailer over a period of 9 days. New internal layout to improve workability and weight distribution, installation of a UPS, accommodations built for storage of chairs, spare tire, etc… plus reflective tape outside, improvements to the generator storage cage
    • Russell VE3WTR has personally invested just under $1,300.00 into this project (for which he has receipts) and estimates that $3000-$4000.00 in total was invested in cash and in kind. He requested the club reimburse ½ of his personal expenses; an amount equal to $633.00
    • Motion 2014-06-03-03A by Brian VE3IBW, to reimburse Russell $633.00 seconded by Mike VE3FGU.
    • Secondary Motion 2014-06-03-03B by Steve VE3UT to amend the primary motion 2014-06-03-03A requesting that the issue be put to the board for review and final approval. Seconded by Ron KG4CVL.
    • Motion 2014-06-03-03A was carried as amended by 2014-06-03-03B
    • John VA3JI clarified that the board did not approve this expenditure, and authorized funding repairs to weight distribution system
  7. Ron KG4CVL was appointed chair AGM
  8. Chris VA3DXZ was appointed secretary for AGM
  9. General meeting is adjourned Motion 2014-06-03-04 by Terry VE3ODM to adjourn the general meeting, seconded by Garrett VA3PYP. Motion carried
  10. Chris VE3NRT announced that Steve VA3SRV is the winner of the Harvey Bell Award

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My Field Day 2014 - Digital Station

As band captain of the digital station once again, I had two important goals for 2014. The first was to beat last year's score (and targeted 500 contacts compared to 243 last year). The second and far more important goal was to lose the competition for the coffee pot award, which I won handily last year due to antenna and software problems. Fortunately this year things went better and there was more competition so I lost by a mile.

The antenna setup was much easier using the club's radial-free Cushcraft R8 instead of my 30 year-old Butternut HF6V. By Friday evening we had it up, tested and made a couple of DX contacts on 15 metres. We also strung up a home made 40m dipole which I'd built and tuned as an inverted V during my diving trip to Florida in April. True to theory, in the dipole configuration the antenna tuned a bit higher in the band but with about 2:1 VSWR on the digital subband of 40m and 3:1 on 15m it was well within the capabilities of my tuner. The club tri-bander was also available but we soon decided that it would need some repair work before it could be used again, so we set it aside for the event.

Another advantage over FD 2013 was a year's experience with my transceiver. My first contact on that transceiver was on Field Day 2013 and since that time it has logged another 5000 or so, probably about 1/2 of those in one digital mode or another.

Start-up was not without challenges, though. Digital operation requires an audio interface, rig control, PTT, etc. etc and the software didn't work quite right at the beginning causing a few minutes delay that was quickly resolved. I'd brought my docking station to provide extra USB ports and used every single one of them. The worst of the problems was that input monitor switch on the audio interface became set by accident and caused a sharp feedback sound on transmit that took a few minutes to locate, but we were shortly up and running RTTY on 15 metres.

Unfortunately Brian VE3IBW and I didn't get the QSO rate we were looking for, partly because of band conditions and partly because there was less RTTY activity than expected, so by about 6pm we were well short of the QSO rate we needed to be to hit our target. We had started on 15m but had trouble finding new RTTY stations to work so we went to 20m to work some more. After a while 20m became unproductive so I went over to the 40m CW station and talked to John VA3JI who was the operator at the time to let him know that I was going to try 40m and to let me know if he was getting any QRM. Fortunately there was no QRM even though we were operating at the maximum power for our class and the next 12 hours or so was entirely on 40 and the QSO rate started to pick up.

As night fell the tent filled up with mosquitoes and other annoying insects so Publius VE3XS commandeered the bug zapper from the (now closed) kitchen which made short work of them, and surprisingly didn't cause any QRM. On my list for next year is to bring my own zapper.

By 3AM however, the doldrums set in once again so in desperation I took a break to configure FLDIGI (software for digital modes) with N1MM. Having access to the Internet via my cell phone really helped get it up and running. Once configured, we went to PSK and spent most of the remaining time in that mode. There were many more PSK operators and we really started to make hay, even though the sunshine was still hours away. By the time Brian returned at 6:30 AM I was able to turn the station over to him with just 25 contacts to go to beat the previous years' high water mark.

The other change we made this year was to use a home-made dipole and an additional antenna. On 40m it seemed to work better than the Cushcraft so we turned the R8 over the GOTA station and ran the dipole for most of the remainder of the contest.

I went home to get a few hours of sleep and when I got back to the site at around 1PM I found that Brian had had an outstanding morning on PSK and we were closing in on 300 contacts. By the end we'd reached 309 QSOs using two modes on 3 bands, a new high water mark to beat in Field Day 2015. Next year we are thinking about using a second receiver for spotting unworked stations and maybe setting up for 80 metres as well. The multi-band capability of the digital station really helped rack up the points. In the picture below, you'll see the Coffee Pot Award being presented to someone other than me.

With the great weather, great food (Thanks Peter!), great organization (Thanks Steve!) and great company (Thanks everyone!) it was all in all an excellent weekend.

Friday, 1 August 2014

YRARC Board Meeting July 15th, 2014 - Minutes

Meeting held in the lower room of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:02. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, John VA3JI, Eric VE3EB, Barry VA3LLT, Geoff VA3GS, David VA3DCY. Board members absent: Steve VE3UT. Club members attending; Bob Rennie VA3BSJ
  1. Review of the agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT (attachment #1)
  2. Adoption of June 17th board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-07-15-01 by Geoff VA3GS to adopt minutes as published in the Splatter blog, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
  3. Election of officers – President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary
    • By acclamation, Chris VE3NRT is President
    • By acclamation, Rob VE3RQB is Vice-President
    • By acclamation, John VA3JI is Treasurer
    • By acclamation, Chris VA3DXZ is Secretary
  4. Appointment of committee chairs with responsibilities as described in the document “Board Responsibilities” (Attachment #2)
    • Governance - Chris VE3NRT is chair with support from Chris VA3DXZ
    • Membership and Activities– Geoff VA3GS with support from Barry VA3LLT
    • Public Service– Eric VE3EB is chair with support from David VA3DCY
    • Facilities: It was decided that the proposed facilities committee be split into two separate committees; Property and Repeaters.
      • Property– Rob VE3RQB is chair with support from Barry VA3LLT
      • Repeaters – chair position remains open at this time
    • Motion 2014-07-15-02 by Geoff VA3GS to disband 2013-14 committees and to establish the above noted committees / chairs, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
  5. Governance
    • Insurance
      • Review of the report from John VA3JI concerning club insurance coverage
      • Motion 2014-07-15-03 by Chris VA3DXZ to allocate up to $1,000.00 for renewal of the existing policy covering the communications trailer, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried
      • Motion 2014-07-15-04 by Chris VA3DXZ that the tower trailer not be towed, or deployed until further notice, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried
      • Motion 2014-07-15-05 by John VA3JI, to establish an ad hoc committee responsible for making a recommendation to the board on insurance coverage, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried
    • Budget Priorities
      • There was a discussion on the proposed budget lines
      • Treasurer is looking for input from committee chairs with their estimates prior to next meeting
  6. Facilities – Go Kit Storage
    • It was noted that Brad VE3HII is relocating and no longer able to store and manage the Go Kits on behalf of the club
    • Motion 2014-07-15-06 by Geoff VA3GS that the property chair be empowered to orchestrate the removal, storage, and management of the Go Kits, taking into consideration the needs of Emcomm and Public Service, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried
  7. Public Service
    • Upcoming events
      • Newmarket Jazz Festival Aug 1st -4th – Still many volunteers needed to support this event
      • Remembering Renata Walk Aug 24th
      • Sharon Temple; Ilumination Sept 5th
    • Recognition
      • There was a discussion and exchange of ideas on what the club could do to recognize the support of the club member volunteers for public service events. Participation in events will be tracked this year for the purpose of recognizing the volunteer contributions of our members
  8. Membership
    • Tracking
      • Chris VA3DXZ will send the current membership list in the club files to all board members
      • The membership committee will create a welcome letter for new members, a membership form to capture all necessary information
      • Membership will be tracked using excel
    • Advertising
      • Discussion concerning advertising and the suggestion that brochures be distributed to local libraries
    • Presentations for the fall meeting schedule
      • September – Echolink and IRLP demo
      • Membership committee to solicit ideas from the club for subsequent meetings
  9. Other business
    • Motion 2014-07-15-07 by Geoff VA3GS that an additional $75.00 is allocated to motion 2014-04-01-03, to bring the total amount approved for the tower trailer to $3,575.00, in order that the trailer could be outfitted with 4 jacks, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried
    • So that it is recorded in the minutes, Steve VE3UT was appointed to the board following an email motion raised by Chris VA3DXZ, seconded by Rob VE3RQB, and following voting via email, was declared carried July 7, 2014
  10. Motion 2014-07-15-08 by Chris VA3DXZ to adjourn meeting, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

July 1 Events

Thank you to the teams who sacrificed family time on Canada day to the support the 2014 Sharon Temple Canada Day Celebration and the Newmarket Main Street public service events.
Sharon Temple Team.
  • Brad VE3HII
  • Dave VA3DCY
  • Chris VA3DXZ
  • Brian VE3IBW
Sharon Temple Event as reported by Brian (VE3IBW). The event today was well attended and only a short down pour before the event officially started. Attendance was up from last year. Megan indicated to me that next year will have a theme: transportation and communication. She hopes to have police, fire, ambulance, and of course us. Brad mentioned that there is a Ham contest on today - the Canada day contest. He suggested that we can work the contest from the trailer and have the public watch. We should make sure we have the trailer booked for next year. Don (VE3IXJ) assembled a team to support the Newmarket Main Street vendors with safety and communications. This was the first year that the radio club participated in this event and seemed to be well received. Main Street Team
  • Don VE3IXJ
  • Barry VA3LLT
  • VA3OZZ – Victor Beitner - COARC
  • VA3BXG – Robert Galambos - COARC
  • Jesse Zhou – Student
Again, thank you all for your support on Canada Day.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

A New Canadian D-STAR Reflector

I recently received this email from Jeff VE6EFR in Alberta.

My name is Jeff Bishop and my call is VE6EFR.

I am contacting the various D-STAR repeater owners to let everyone know that we now have a DPlus reflector available Canada wide use. The reflector is on a high bandwidth server and is based out of BC. Services are being provided by the British Columbia Frequency Modulation Communications Association (BCFMCA).

The idea behind the reflector is to provide a place for Canadian hams to be able to talk with other Canadians. Granted we have XRF021 however not everyone has the ability or desire to install the needed software for use with their repeaters, DV Dongles, DVAP or hotspots. If you would like to link your repeater to the network, connect to REF026 module B.
The reflector is available for nets, ARES activity as well as general amateur use.

Let me know if you have any questions. I hope to see your repeater on the reflector.

73 - Jeff VE6EFR

The club's D-STAR repeater, VE3YRK, has access to the XRF reflectors, including XRF021, but this new reflector is accessible from all D-STAR repeaters so would provide broader coverage of Canadian D-STAR repeaters than an XRF reflector. The true value of the reflector will depend on how many Canadian repeaters choose to use it. YRARC D-STAR users may want to try connecting to it. If any interesting nets start up on the reflector then I will schedule the connection to happen automatically.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Notes from the Shack - Part 2, July 2014

Double edition this month, to make up for a recent publishing hiatus. I've related this to several club members already but for everyone else here's latest in my ham radio adventure.

I was driven crazy over the winter by sudden upward movements of SWR tripping my KPA-500 amplifier. It was more common in SSB with high peaks than with steady transmissions like RTTY. With more VSWR under normal conditions there seemed to be more chance it would happen at higher power, and it varied from band to band. I figured it was my 1983 vintage Butternut HF6V wearing out, either at the junction between the elements (although all were measured for DC resistance) or the ceramic capacitors getting old or maybe water in the coax, or maybe someone up there just didn't like me.

After 9 months of being very careful how much power I ran on each frequency, it dawned on me (an hour or two before the actual dawn) that my lightning arrestor (and old Drake) might be the problem. Sure enough, when I replaced it with a barrel connector the problem went away completely. I can match the antenna with the KAT500 and even with ridiculous SWR levels I can apply full power without problems.

The lightning arrestor has no power rating on its label, and I can’t find any information about its rated power on the net, but since when I bought it I had a 100W FT101E I'm guessing it wasn't meant to take 500W and just did its job of connecting my centre conductor to ground. Now I need to look for one with a higher power rating.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Minutes, YRARC Board of Directors - 2014-06-17

Meeting held in the multipurpose room of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:02. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending; Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, John VA3JI, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3EZ, Barry VA3LLT, Geoff VA3GS. Board members absent; Richard VE3NSD, Publius VE3XS. Board member elect attending; David VA3DCY. Club members attending; Russell VE3WTR, Steve VE3UT.
  1. Adoption of agenda
    • Motion 2014-06-17-01 by Geoff VA3GS to adopt the agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT (Attachment #1). Seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
  2. Adoption of May 20th, 2014 board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-06-17-02 by Geoff VA3GS to adopt minutes, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
  3. The chair VE3NRT welcomed David VA3DCY (newly elected to the board) and congratulated Rob VE3RQB, Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB on their re-election to the board, and thanked Steve VE3EZ (outgoing board member) for his many contributions to the board
  4. Chris VE3NRT facilitated a round table discussion whereby the board members commented on their observations from the past term and suggestions for the future.
    • General state of repeaters and in particular YRC, repeater troubleshooting expertise, possible future Trillium grant, membership and support for community events were noted as areas to apply greater focus in the future.
  5. Chris VE3NRT provided an outline of board activities
  6. Finance Report – John VA3JI
    • Balance at the end of May $21,430.14
      • Disbursements; $341.44 AGM BBQ, Field Day $848.60, Storage container shelving $80.00, Tower Trailer $3,453.12, QSL Card Postage $100.57
      • Revenues; $50.00 dues
    • Balance as of Jun 17 [Amount available to members on request to club secretary]
    • John VA3JI advised the board of the planned upcoming expenditures Hamfest $7,000, Field Day $350, Communications trailer insurance $873, General liability insurance $600, QSL cards $400, communications trailer repairs $300 (all figures are estimates and exclude revenues for Hamfest)
  7. Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • The planning and preparation for field day was going well, the tower trailer was on site at Al’s Tack Shop and ready for operation.
  8. Communications Trailer – Rob VE3RQB
    • The brackets for the weight distribution system were re-installed using the funding directed for that purpose under Motion 2014-05-20-06
    • Tongue weight was measured at the highway 400 weigh scales May 31st and found to be 814 lbs which exceeds the 600 lb tongue weight limit common on most pickup trucks. With the weight distribution system, the tow vehicle’s tongue weight limit typically increases to 1,200 lbs providing a reasonable margin of safety to cover additional loading that may be present in the trailer in the future.
    • As a result of the analysis, the need for the weight distribution system was confirmed.
    • Motion 2014-06-17-03 by Rob VE3RQB that Steve VE3UT be added to the list of individuals authorized to tow the communications trailer pending instruction to be provided by Steve VE3EZ, seconded by Chris VE3DXZ. Motion carried.
    • Rob VE3RQB reported that the installation of the HF antenna on the Helo Mast should be modified to ensure that in the event that the Helo Mast is deflated, the Helo Mast cannot dislodge from the HF antenna mast. Rob VE3RQB to investigate and come back with a recommendation.
    • Motion 2014-06-17-04 by Geoff VA3GS to allocate $632.97 to cover 50% of Russell’s VE3WTR out of pocket expenses (Refer to attachment #2) incurred doing the recent communications trailer renovations, seconded by Steve VE3EZ. Motion defeated.
  9. Tower Trailer - Rob VE3RQB
    • Project is complete, and the trailer has been deployed to the field day site
    • Steve VE3UT indicated that the field day site property owners would consider storing the tower trailer on the property at no expense to the club.
  10. Membership Drive – Steve VE3EZ
    • The QSL cards were printed and 550 cards were mailed Monday June 16
  11. Events – Eric VE3EB
      The Girl Guides, Aurora Street Festival, and Mount Albert events went well
  12. Emcomm – Russell VE3WTR
    • Request for the communications trailer to be deployed for ARES Day at Radio World 9am-4pm
      • Motion 2014-06-17-05 by Eric VE3EB to approve the transport of the trailer out of York Region, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.
  13. New Business
    • Mileage reimbursement – Geoff VA3GS
      • Item withdrawn by Geoff
    • Motion to approve trailer insurance – John VA3JI
      • Item withdrawn by John
      • Motion 2014-06-17-06 by [name not recorded] to allocate $180.00 for a 5 year renewal of the domain, seconded by Steve VE3EZ. Motion carried
  14. Motion 2014-06-17-07 by Chris VA3DXZ to adjourn meeting, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 9:05pm

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Notes from the Shack, July 2014

Under the Whip

Pardon the title! A while back I discovered that my 30 year old mobile mag mount, made by Larsen, only matched on 2 metres. On 450 it was more than 4:1 VSWR across the entire band. On close inspection it should not have been a surprise as the housing for the coil that separates the upper and lower halves of the antenna had broken open exposing the interior which had become a congealed mass of rusty metal. It was a wonder it matched OK on 2 metres.

More recently, the club acquired a couple more mag mount dual band antennas from a local donor, and I decided to test them as well. Initially I did this using a filing cabinet as a ground plane but when neither worked on either band I tried them on top of my Toyota to see if they'd fare any better. They didn't.

Eventually I found that one of the donated antennas worked fine matching less than 1.5:1 across both bands if I mounted it on my Larsen base. It works well even on the shack filing cabinet.

What have I learned? To trust but verify. Seemingly good antennas can go bad and need to be watched.


I'm now the happy owner of a vehicle with a permanent antenna mount on the roof. I expect that most of the time it will sport a 1/4 wave whip about 19" long because that's all the clearance I have into the garage. Long trips may give me the chance to run with something a little larger. I'm happy to have a rig in the car again!

I wrote this back in March but neglected to publish it. Better late than never.

Friday, 4 July 2014

2014/2015 Board of Directors

The YRARC Board of Directors for 2014/2015 are now in place. Members of the board are now:

  1. David VA3DCY
  2. Chris VA3DXZ
  3. Geoff VA3GS
  4. John VA3JI
  5. Barry VA3LLT
  6. Eric VE3EB
  7. Chris VE3NRT
  8. Rob VE3RQB

Meetings will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, starting with July 15, 2014. The July and August meetings will take place at the Magna Centre, 395 Mulock Drive in Newmarket, in Board Room #1. For the remainder of calendar year 2014 the meetings will be in Multi-Purpose Room 1 in the same building. Location is t.b.d. for 2015, but it is expected to continue to be in Multi-Purpose 1 at this time.

I also regret to inform you that Richard, VE3NSD, tendered his resignation to the board in June due increased demands on his time and availability. On behalf of my fellow directors I would like to thank him for his contribution to the board.

The board will consider appointing directors to replace Richard and fill the additional vacancy (due to the election of only 4 of the 5 vacancies at the last AGM) in the coming weeks.

Chris VE3NRT

Monday, 30 June 2014

YRARC Annual General Meeting, June 3rd, 2014 - MInutes

Ron KG4CVL called the meeting to order at 20:45 with 36 members in attendance.

  1. Appointment of the auditors for the financial year ending March 31 2014April 30, 2014
    • Motion 2014-06-03-AGM-01 by Anthony VE3HIS to appoint Bob Rennie VE3BSJVA3BSJ as auditor, seconded by Steve VE3UT . Motion carried.
  2. Motion 2014-06-03-AGM-02 by Dave VE3DCY to ratify board’s actions over the previous year, seconded by Glen VE3AU. Motion carried.
  3. Secretary reported on attendance at the board meetings indicated that all meetings achieved a quorum and were generally well attended
  4. Continuing directors,
    • Chris VE3NRT, Chris VA3DXZ, Barry VA3LLT, John VA3JI, Richard VE3NSD
  5. Appointment of scrutineers
    • Terry VE3ODM, Steve VE3UT, Publius VE3XS, volunteered
  6. Director requirements were presented
  7. Role of the directors was presented
  8. Nominations for the term commencing July 1, 2014.
    • Steve VE3EZ nominated Rob VE3RQB seconded by Terry VE3ODM
    • Steve EZ nominated VA3GS, seconded by Don VE3IXJ.
    • Geoff VA3GS nominated VE3EB seconded by Brian VE3IBW
    • Barry VA3LLT nominated VA3DCY seconded by Glen VA3AU
    • Further nominations were made but unfortunately those members were not able to accept their nomination and stand for a term on the board.
    • Eric VE3EB moved that nominations be closed, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried.
    • Rob VE3RQB, Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB, and Dave VA3DCY were elected by acclamation for the two year term beginning with the 2014/15 year.
  9. Barry VA3LLT moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Terry VE3ODM. Meeting adjourned at 21:08pm

Monday, 2 June 2014

Links of the Month, May 2014

The following links were submitted by club members. I hope you find the interesting and useful.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Minutes of the May 2014 Board of Directors meeting

Meeting held in the multipurpose room of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:07. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT
  • Board members attending; Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, Publius VE3XS, John VA3JI, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3EZ, Barry VA3LLT, Geoff VA3GS
  • Board members absent; Richard VE3NSD
  • Guests attending; none
  1. Agenda was approved as proposed by Chris VE3NRT with the addition of the two email motions;
    • 2014-04-24-01 Email Motion - Movement of trailer out of region
    • 2014-04-28-01 Email Motion - Trailer Renovations
  2. Adoption of April 4th, 2014 board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-05-20-01 by Chris VA3DXZ to adopt minutes, seconded by Publius VE3XS. Motion carried.
    • Finance report John VA3JI –
      • Income; $200.00 for the sale of the old tower, $75.00 for 3 memberships
      • Disbursements; $529.15 for Go Kit Items, $2,401.25 for purchase of the storage container
      • Balance [Available to members from Secretary on request]
      • John VA3JI reported that an earlier Motion for $500.00 for Go Kit materials was recorded in the minutes with the incorrect motion number.
      • Motion 2014-05-20-02 by John VA3JI to amend the earlier motion numbered 2013-11-19-04 for allocation of $500.00 for Go Kit items to 2013-12-17-04 seconded by Chris VA3DXZ. Motion carried.
      • Motion 2014-05-20-03 moved by Geoff to increase funding allocated under motion 2013-12-17-04 for go kits by $29.15, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
    • Motion 2014-05-20 -04 by Chris VA3DXZ to recognize and confirm approval of 2014-04-24-01, an email motion approving the movement of the communications trailer out of region, seconded by Eric VE3EB. Motion carried.
    • Motion 2014-05-20 -05 by Chris VA3DXZ to recognize and confirm approval of 2014-04-28-01, an email motion approving certain renovations to the interior of the communications trailer, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
    • Trailer Weight Distribution System – Rob VE3RQB
      • Rob VE3RQB reported that the weight distribution brackets on the tongue of the communications trailer were damaged during towing for the recent renovations and subsequently removed without prior approval of the board.
      • In response to a concern raised that the weight distribution kit was not compatible with the braking system on the trailer, Rob VE3RQB provided a report from D.D. Eagles & Sons (see attachment #2), (the installer of the weight distributor kit), noting the manufacturer of the kit; Reese Hitch, had confirmed that the weight distribution kit would present no issue. Problems arise when a sway control system is used. In the case of the club’s trailer, a sway control system has not been installed nor used.
      • Motion 2014-05-20 -06 by Eric VE3EB to allocate up to $300.00 to repair the weight distribution system in accordance with the recommendation of the trailer committee, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion amended by John VA3JI to request a written validation by the installer that the system meets or exceeds the manufactures recommendations, seconded by Chris VA3DXZ. Motion carried.
      • Rob VE3RQB recommended that the generator be removed from the trailer during towing, until such time that the weight distribution system is repaired.
      • Motion 2014-05-20-07 moved by Barry that Steve VE3EZ, Chris VA3DXZ, Bill VE3QB, and Rob VE3RQB, be solely authorized to tow the trailer until the trailer committee has reviewed / amended the trailer policy to ensure the club's interests are protected. Seconded by Publius VE3XS. Motion carried.
      • Motion 2014-05-20-08 by John to request that the board seek cost recovery for the damage to the weight distribution system. Seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion defeated.
    • Tower Trailer – Rob VE3RQB
      • Discussion concerning modifications of the new tower necessary to install it on the existing tower trailer
      • It was noted that the existing tower trailer was originally a Toronto Police tower trailer
      • The trailer committee suggested that only the 3 inner sections be used to reduce weight
      • Rob will call out for volunteers, to disassemble the new tower
    • Storage unit – Rob VE3RQB
      • The storage container was purchased (see attachment #3) and delivered to site. Rob VE3RQB will donate a lock. Property manager will hold one key and club secretary will hold second key.
      • Barry VA3LLT will begin work on interior shelving
    • Bylaws – Eric VE3EB
      • Bylaws have been distributed to the club secretary who will distribute to club members on request
      • The secretary reported that there have been no requests for a copy of the bylaws
    • Membership drive – Steve VE3EZ
      • The draft version of the post card was presented for feedback. Edits will continue for the following week at which time Steve VE3EZ expects to finalize the design
      • Steve VE3EZ provided a budgetary cost estimate totaling $762.00 including tax to produce and mail 500 cards. He will secure additional quotes prior to the next general meeting.
      • Steve VE3EZ will send the mailing list for review and comment.
      • Motion 2014-05-20-09 by Geoff GS to go to general membership with a motion to allocate up to $800.00 for membership drive seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
    • IRLP – John VA3JI
      • IRLP was brought on line 4 weeks ago but is presently down due to a lightning strike. System will be back online once the internet access is restored
    • Field Day
      • Chris VE3NRT & Steve VE3UT to meet to discuss details
    • Harvey Bell Award
      • The Harvey Bell award nominations were reviewed and a winner was selected by majority vote of the board. The winner will be announced at the AGM
    • Events update – Eric VE3EB
      • Eric noted the upcoming events, all of which are on the calendar on the club web site
    • AGM Food
      • Motion 2014-05-20-10 by Barry VA3LLT to allocate the $50 in addition to the amount allocated for food for the 2013 AGM.
      • Seconded by Rob VE3RQB
    • Motion 2014-05-20-11 by Eric VE3EB to adjourn meeting, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried at 21:10

Minutes of the May 2014 General Meeting

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:30. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT
  1. Introductions completed. 41 members and 7 guests in attendance
  2. Motion 2014-05-06-01 by Brian VE3IBW to approve the minutes of the April 1st General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Brad VE3HII. Motion carried.
  3. AGM – All attendees were reminded that the AGM will be held next month and that volunteers are needed for the BBQ, and to chair the AGM elections for 5 new members
  4. Treasury – John VA3JI - No transactions in April
  5. Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • Need some idea of the numbers to plan for food
    • There will be a military presence although less than last year as they have been asked by other clubs to attend their field day activities
    • 80m station to be located further south
  6. Bylaws – Eric VE3EB - Members are encouraged to review the proposed bylaw amendments prior to the AGM. The bylaws are available from the club secretary (Chris VA3DXZ). To request a copy, please email
  7. Public Events – Eric VE3EB
    • New GMAIL calendar will be made available. For more information members can email
    • Upcoming events are:
      1. MADD Poker Ride May 25
      2. Girl Guide Rally May 31
      3. Aurora Street Festival June 1
      4. Mt Albert Sports Day (Parade and Run) June 6&7
      5. Ontario Medical First Response Competition June 14
      6. Field Day June 28&29
      7. Sharon Temple Canada Day celebration July 1
      8. Tentative - Sher St Kits Event July 1
      9. Newmarket Jazz Festival August 1-4
      10. Al’s Ride August 3
      11. Remembering Renata Walk – Raising Awareness for Eating Disorders August 24
      12. Sharon temple Illumination September 5
  8. Hamfest – Geoff VA3GS - Saturday Nov 1st has been confirmed
  9. Property – Rob VE3RQB
    • Storage Container – Looking into an alternative supplier. Hope to have purchase completed next week
    • Tower Trailer – Waiting for access to new tower to get trailer modifications underway
  10. Meeting adjourned at 21:35
The club would like to thank Dr. Paul Delaney from York University for his fascinating talk entitled “A Quick Taste of Modern Astronomy”

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

VE3YRC IRLP/Echolink down until further notice

Due to an inopportune lightning strike affecting the ISP service the IRLP is down until further notice. The service provider is working on the problem.

Update: Service is now restored.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Guide to using IRLP and Echolink on VE3YRC

After a long cold winter John VA3JI has at last been able to climb his tower and complete the installation of the VE3YRC IRLP/Echolink node at his house and it is working well. It is simple to use and the following guide will take through through the steps of looking up your destination repeater or operator and connecting it to the VE3YRC repeater.

IRLP - The Internet Radio Linking Project

The operator accesses an IRLP "Node" by using DTMF (touch-tone) tones sent by radio. First, look up the node number that you want to contact. A list of current nodes can be found on the IRLP web site.

Once you have decided which node to call, listen to the repeater (VE3YRC on 147.225+, PL Tone 103.5) to ensure that it is clear and ask if the repeater is in use. Announce the node that you are about to call and then enter the node number (i.e. hold the microphone PTT down and then use the keypad to enter the 4 digit number)

For example to connect to VE3RPL in Parry Sound DTMF 2480f it will reply "Connected to VE3RPL"

NOTE: If your node is already connected to another node or reflector, the repeater will announce that "your node is currently connected to [ID of the connection]") In this case ask if anyone is still using the connection before dropping it with the off code 73

Once connected and after hearing the confirming voice ID, wait at least 5 seconds before transmitting as the following conditions may occur:

  • The link may be in use, and your command may have occurred between transmissions.
  • If the voice ID of your node is longer than the voice ID of their node, the connection will not be made until the ID is fully played.
  • Their computer may be slower and take longer to process the connection than yours.

Press and hold the PTT for a second and then announce your presence and your intention, such as you are calling someone specifically or just looking for a chat with another amateur in that city.

If no response is heard, announce your call and your intent to drop the link and then enter the OFF code 73. Please do not transmit DTMF commands without first giving your call-sign. Not only is this courteous it may be required by law in one of the countries that might be connected to the reflector.

Some nodes are configured so you cannot connect to them if that repeater is active. In this case you will receive the message "The node you are calling is being used locally" If you receive this message wait 5 or 10 minutes and then try again. If you stay connected to a node and there is no activity on your repeater for 4 minutes, the connection is automatically terminated with a spoken disconnect message on both nodes.

If unsure that local node is working you can perform a audio loopback check. Node 9992 will reply "IRLP reflector 9992 active". Cancel with 73

Don't forget if you require any more detailed information visit the official IRLP web site.

EchoLink Operation

The EchoLink system is similar in many ways to IRLP and the same operating etiquette needs to used. The main variation is that you can not only connect to remote repeater but also to another amateur's computer system. Like IRLP, you access EchoLink using DTMF tones using a node number that you can look up on the EchoLink homepage.

Entering Node Numbers

To enter a node number (for the Connect or Query by Node commands), enter the 4, 5, or 6-digit node number. If the specified node is not among the stations currently logged on, EchoLink will say "Not Found".


These examples assume that the default DTMF codes are configured on the local repeater, as they are with VE3YRC

To connect to node number 9999 (the echo test reflector) enter: #9999

EchoLink responds with: "Connecting to conference E-C-H-O-T-E-S-T" followed by: "Connected", because 9999 is the node number of conference server "*Echotest*".

For example to connect to VE3RAK enter: #2068

EchoLink responds with: "Connected to VE3RAK" (if the node is not busy)

To disconnect use 73 like with IRLP

******Note: Because we are using an ECHOIRLP combination only one of Echolink or IRLP can be used at one time ******

Please support your local repeaters VE3YRA, VE3YRC and VE3YRK by becoming a member of the York Region Amateur Radio Club!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Notice of 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 3rd, 2014 for the purposes of approving the financial statements for fiscal year 2014 and the election of directors to hold office for 2 years commencing July 1st, 2014.

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 Chris McGaffey, VA3DXZ, .

Dated this day May 12th, 2014 at Schomberg, Ontario.
Chris McGaffey, Secretary.


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 3rd, 2014 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 _____________, 2014.

Name and call of member (print) __________________________________

Signature of member __________________________________

Monday, 12 May 2014

6m Net Tonight

The Sporadic E season is upon us! Last night the spotting networks were full of North American 6 metre stations and I managed to complete a 6m CW QSO with WB4TBH in North Carolina and a part of a JT65 QSO with KN4NN in Florida. On JT65 I could hear (see?) /4 US stations in touch with Costa Rica.

Let's hope we see the same conditions tonight. Same time and place - 50.175 USB at 0000Z (8pm local).


Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Minutes: YRARC Board of Directors Meeting April 15th, 2014

Meeting held in the multipurpose room of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:00. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending; Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, Richard VE3NSD, Geoff VA3GS, Publius VE3XS, John VA3JI, Eric VE3OIC, Steve VE3EZ. Board members absent; Barry VA3LLT. Guests attending; Carlos VA3CAZ, Russell VA3WTR
  1. Agenda
    • Agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT (Attachment #2)
    • Motion 2014-04-15-01 by Rob VE3RQB to adopt agenda seconded by Richard VE3NSD . Motion carried.
  2. Adoption of Feb 18, 2014 board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-04-15-02 by John VA3JI to adopt the minutes of the Mar 18th board meeting seconded by Publius VE3XS. Motion carried.
  3. Treasurer's report John VA3JI
    • Current balance [Available to members upon request to club secretary]
  4. Richard VE3NSD
    • Announced that he is stepping down from Community Events / Public Service leadership
    • Eric VE3OIC volunteered to take over until the end of his term in June 2014 with assistance from Geoff VA3GS
  5. Old Business
    • Tower Trailer – Rob VE3RQB
      • Rob VE3RQB towed the tower trailer to Tricked Toys where the tower was removed from the trailer. Rob VE3RQB then returned the trailer to the York region yard
      • Contact at York Region yard is Scott Stover [phone numbers in secretary's minutes]
      • Tower is on Mark VE3SDF’s trailer at his home
      • Tower was weighed to estimate scrap value which is estimated to be $50-$75
      • Rob is in need of the key for the trailer storage boxes
      • Chris VE3NRT will coordinate with Steve VE3EZ load new tower on the tower trailer
    • Trailer Emcomm – Russell VA3WTR
      • Russell VA3WTR presented a letter (attachment #3) outlining proposed improvements / upgrades to the trailer to improve functionality and increase storage capacity at the front of the trailer
      • Recommendations were discussed and debated. Concerns were raised about the costs and discussion ensued about reducing the scope of work and associated costs
      • Decision made by the board to authorize Russell VA3WTR to undertake the improvements that can be done without added cost utilizing donations of the members
      • Work to be undertaken in region
    • Storage Container – Rob VE3RQB
      • The ground is too wet to place the container in the next 2-3 weeks
      • Bruce VE3BV needs to have the material in the garage moved out within the next two weeks
      • Rob proposed renting a storage unit for one month as an interim solution to allow us to move the material from Bruce VE3BV’s home while we wait for the proper ground conditions to move the container
    • By-laws – Eric VE3OIC
      • Eric and Geoff will be meeting to finalize the draft amendment
      • At the next general meeting, Eric and Geoff will announce the availability of the final draft and schedule for voting in the fall. Copies will be made available to paid up club members. Members requesting a copy will be asked to contact the club secretary Chris VA3DXZ at
    • Hamfest – Geoff VA3GS
      • Motion 2014-04-15-04 by Geoff VA3GS to relocate the Hamfest to Markham Fairgrounds, seconded by Eric VE3OIC.
      • Geoff VA3GS presented the rental agreement for discussion
      • Secondary Motion 2014-04-15-04b by Publius VE3XS to study the historical Hamfest financial statements, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion not carried.
      • Secondary Motion 2014-04-15-04c by Steve VE3EZ to amend Motion 2014-04-15-04 to include a review of the historical Hamfest financial statements in order to do a better job in 2014. Seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
      • Discussion concerning the 2013 Hamfest profits. John VA3JI voiced his concern to the chair that the discussion was once again questioning if there were errors in the accounting. Geoff VA3GS addressed the chair to say that he accepts full responsibility for the Hamfest. John VA3JI noted that he had reviewed the figures at the request of the board more than once and confirmed the numbers were accurate. This point was accepted and the discussion then focused on how to do a better job this year. The following points were discussed:
        • More focus and resources needed on promotion and sale of the tickets for the grand prize draw
        • Need to improve security around ticket sales and cash boxes.
        • Eric VE3OIC proposed to dedicate a board meeting to discuss management of the 2014 Hamfest
        • John VA3JI suggested a leader for each function and that the float would be split among leaders and delivered by the treasurer
    • Membership Drive – Steve VE3EZ
      • Steve VE3EZ reported that the mailer is still on track for a final draft at next meeting
    • IRLP – John VA3JI
      • Eric VE3OIC will help John VA3JI to fabricate a new cable
  6. Field day – No update
  7. Harvey Bell Award – Chris NRT
    • Secretary will consolidate nominations and send to the board for review at the next board meeting
  8. Upcoming Community Events – Eric VE3OIC
    • See attachment #1
  9. Motion 2014-04-15-05 by Chris VA3DXZ to adjourn meeting, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried at 21:10

ATTACHMENT #1 – Community Events

  1. MADD Poker Ride Event, May 25, 2014
    • Newmarket (City Hall) west to Tottenham road area (tentative route)
    • Call out is for 8-10 Hams
    • Trailer Needed
  2. Girl Guide Event, May 31, 2014.
    • Call out is for 4-6 HAMs
    • Good opportunity to show off the trailer, provide demos and “sell” Amateur Radio.
    • The Girl Guides of Canada, Ontario Council are holding a huge Province wide rally on Saturday May 31. Anticipated attendance is 5-8 thousand. We already have 3000 + members registered and the deadline isn't until May 2.
    • We were wondering if the club would be interested in setting up a ham radio display and demonstration where the girls could come by and see things and perhaps even try and contact people.
    • The event is being held at Canada's Wonderland, in the Kingswood Theatre Section. This section is blocked off from the public for the day and only Girl Guide members will be allowed in this section. (except of course, the presenters, demonstrators, etc.). We have checked with the officials at Wonderland and though they have a 'no radio' policy they have told us that we can go ahead and set this up with no issues using the radios.
    • I know that 3 (or 4) years ago, when we held our last Rally Day at Ontario Place in Toronto, there was a HAM display set up where the girls could see and use equipment throughout the day (under the supervision of the licensed Hams).
    • The day starts for the girls at 9:00 am and ends at 4:00. The presenters would have to be there earlier of course, to set up. I can get those details later for you. Girl Guides event May 31 Wonderland
    • Trailer Needed
  3. Aurora Street Festival Sunday June 1, 2014
    • (Opening and closing)
    • Call out is for 14-16 Hams
    • Trailer Needed
  4. Mt Albert Sports Day, June 7 (Tentative)
    • 5K run and Parade
    • Call out is for 6-8 Hams
    • Trailer Needed
  5. Remembering Renata - Walking Across Canada, Sunday August 24
    • This was a new event for our club last year and our first opportunity to extend our support to a deserving organization; Eating Disorders of York Region (EDOYR). Few people know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses but sadly, our healthcare system does not adequately fund the needs of the community. We can & did help make a difference!
    • Chris VA3DXZ is coordinating. Call out is for 4-5 hams
    • Trailer Needed
  6. Newmarket Jazz Festival, August 1, 2, 3 & 4, 2014
    • Newmarket Community Centre
    • Many HAMs for multiple shifts (details to follow)
    • Trailer Needed
  7. AL's Ride August 3rd, 214
    • Al’s Tack Sop, Vandorf Side Road
    • Call out is for 10-12 Hams
    • Trailer requested but not Needed!
  8. Coming soon…
    • Sharon Temple events (2-3)
    • CIBC Run for the Cure
    • Markham Santa Parade
    • Newmarket Santa (Freelance Hams via Don Matthews)