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 YRARC.org 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