Friday, 27 February 2015

Notes from the Shack - February 2015

The K1N Navassa DXpedition is now history. Several club members reported making contact with them, which considering the pileups and QRM, was an accomplishment. I had a pretty hard time myself as my antenna decided to succumb to the winter weather. It's still upright but the VSWR went through the roof.

I made a recording of my first contact of a total of three was on RTTY (the others were CW) because I thought it was interesting.



K1N 599 VE3NRT


Short and sweet. Based on VE"FRTP containing 4 letters of my call and "&9&;3NRGCVAK containing 3, I decided he was replying to me and acknowledged with a slightly exaggerated 599. His response actually was perfectly readable, as were most of his transmissions, but likely he was hit by QRM (probably "UP UP UP") when he came back to me.

A lot my RTTY DX is like that. You just have to read between the lines. From a technical standpoint, running multiple decoders is useful. The two most popular in the contesting world are MMTTY and 2Tone. Those, unlike DM780 (part of Ham Radio Deluxe), don't come with a waterfall but are more suited to working with narrow filters that make it easier to decode weak signals in the presence of strong stations nearby. Having two different decoders provides a second opinion on the contents of the message giving you a better chance of decoding it correctly. Operation with multiple decoders is supported by both the DXlab suite and the N1MM contest logger.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors, January 20th, 2015

Meeting held in the Newmarket Community Centre. Called to order at 19:10. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending; Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, Eric VE3EB, Barry VA3LLT, Steve VE3UT, Geoff VA3GS. Board members absent; David VA3DCY, John VA3JI. Guests attending; Russell VA3WTR, Doug VE3ATP
  1. Adoption of Dec 16/14 board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2015-01-21-01 by Chris VA3DXZ to adopt Dec 16/14 minutes as published in the splatter blog at, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried.
  2. Governance
    • Insurance
      • Report from Chris VE3NRT concerning PARC insurance discussion
        • Chris VE3NRT attended the Peel Amateur Radio Club meeting noting that they had planned to discuss insurance coverage
        • PARC subscribes to RAC insurance, but 2015 RAC insurance is not yet finalized
        • It was noted during the meeting that the GTA areas group has requested a copy of the RAC insurance policy from RAC but nothing has been received as yet
        • PARC will be involved in supporting the 2016 Canada 55+ Games to be hosted by the City of Brampton
        • PARC and the Mississauga Amateur Radio Club are working together on MESH and have successfully tested a 10km path
      • Directors and officers insurance
        • A quote was received by John VA3JI for directors and officers Insurance and was forwarded to the board via email ahead of the meeting
        • Motion 2015-01-21-02 by Geoff VA3GS to allocate $601.00 for the purchase of directors and officers insurance, subject to approval by the club, seconded by Rob VE3RQB.
        • Chris VE3NRT clarified that the directors and officers Insurance would be in addition to the liability policy currently in place on the communications trailer, and the club's general liability policy.
        • Motion carried
      • Property insurance
        • John VA3JI had reported via email prior to the board meeting that he had received a quote for loss and theft coverage of the clubs key assets (valued at $60,000.00). The quote amounts to $1,063.00 and it includes the existing liability coverage in addition to the new loss and theft coverage.
        • Further discussion was deferred to next board meeting
    • Property Rob VE3RQB
      • Russell VA3WTR will send a copy of the parking agreement (letter of understanding) to the board members. The agreement has not been executed. It is with the office of the Chief, York Paramedics Services for review and signature. Once signed it will be sent to the board for review and signature.
      • Russell VA3WTR reported that Terry VE3ODM is working on a proposal and operating budget for the acquisition of a retired ambulance which would be donated to YRARC by the region. The proposal is to be reviewed and approved by the board prior to any commitments being extended to York region or the regional municipalities.
      • Motion 2015-01-21-03 by Rob VE3RQB that Doug VE3ATP be added to the list of persons approved to tow club trailers, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried.
      • Russell VA3WTR requested that the list of persons approved to tow club trailers be added to the towing policy. Chris VA3DXZ agreed to update the policy and distribute to the board.
      • The policy will reflect the following list of persons approved to tow club trailers
        • Rob VE3RQB
        • Steve VE3EZ
        • Steve VE3UT
        • Chris VA3DXZ
        • Doug VE3ATP
      • Motion 2015-01-21-04 was carried to temporarily rescind motion 2014-07-15-04 ” That the tower trailer not be towed or deployed until further notice” to allow it to be re-located to York EMS site and then subsequently deployed in support of Winter Field Day, then transported back to the York EMS site for storage.
      • The tower trailer now has a lock box installed. Russell VA3WTR and Steve VE3UT have the combination.
      • Barry VA3LLT reported that he was at the communications trailers today to start the generator, test the heater, and perform a radio check.
    • Repeaters
      • VE3YRK: Chris VE3NRT reported that the VE3YRK gateway has malfunctioned. There are reports that people are unable to get the C module linking but that B module is working. Also the registration web page is malfunctioning. The existing gateway is using 10 year old software which is no longer supported, and prevents us from installing the latest patches in the operating system. Chris VE3NRT has proposed that we migrate away from the US Trust Registration system and just run the g2_link software which is part of the free*star system . There will be limited impact to users and there is no cost to change.
      • Motion 2015-01-21-05 by Steve VE3UT that the club move VE3YRK to the free*star system, seconded by Eric VE3EB. Motion carried.
      • Chris VE3NRT will advise the club at the next general meeting and communicate updates via the Yahoo group.
    • VE3YRC: Steve VE3UT reported that VE3YRC has been reprogrammed with the updated custom audio library. Steve VE3UT and Bruce VE3BV are working to resolve an issue which results in a long tail occasionally coming in on port 2.
    • VE3YRA: Steve VE3UT reported that VE3YRA is operating with improved coverage to the north. The link radio project to VE3YRC is still in progress.
    • Steve VE3UT asked the board if separate calls should be used for VE3YRC VHF and UHF. This will be investigated by board members.
    • Winter Field Day – Steve VE3UT
      • Russell VA3WTR has sent invitations to 30-40 emergency management personnel for a walk through at 1pm. 5-10 people have responded.
      • Steve VE3UT has notified SNAP as well.
  3. Membership Geoff VA3GS
    • Geoff has secured the following presenters for the upcoming general meetings
      • February – Don VE3IXJ will present inexpensive handhelds
      • March – Bob VE3WY will present on antennas
      • April – Ontario contest club
      • May – Dr. Paul Delaney
    • Chris VE3NRT has done work on the web site
    • Geoff VA3GS is looking into holding a basic class in April
Motion 2015-01-21-06 by Geoff VA3GS to adjourn meeting, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

YRARC General Meeting - January 6th, 2015

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:30. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. 31 members and 3 guests in attendance; Brian Hopkins VA3BAH, Alex Sutherland VE3ASE, Ian Sutherland
  1. Agenda
    • The agenda for the meeting was presented by Chris VE3NRT (attachment #1)
  2. Adoption of the minutes
    • Motion 2015-01-06-01 by Brian VE3IBW to adopt the minutes of the XX general meeting minutes, second by Steve VE3EZ. Motion carried
  3. Opening remarks – Chris VE3NRT
  4. Repeaters – Steve VE3UT
    • VE3YRA 145.350Mhz is going off the air next Wednesday Jan 14 2015 at 10am, and will be off the air for 2 weeks to complete work.
    • Work is continuing on the project to link VE3YRA to VE3YRC. Bob VE3WY has loaned the club a filter to reduce interference.
    • There was a question from the audience asking if VE3YRA will go back to original location. Steve VE3UT reported that it is unlikely we will be relocating.
    • New audio messages have been recorded and sent to Steve VE3UT for use on the repeaters. Special thanks to Cindy.
    • Question from the audience on the status of the 6m repeater. Geoff VA3GS reported that the frequency pair was unused for 3 years and has been relinquished. A new frequency pair can be acquired but there is presently no location available to host the repeater.
  5. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Bank balance at the end of November $22,967
    • Income $50.00 dues plus $500 security deposit
    • Expenses $5,279 for Hamfest, $278.20 for the Christmas party, $200.00 for Winter Field Day, and $64.21 for the Trailer
    • Current balance is $17,695.59
  6. EMCOMM – Don VE3IXJ
    • There were no on air, or face to face meetings held in December
    • The group is continuing the work to improve sites
    • Work at the East Gwillimbury EOC will begin this year. Don VE3IXJ will take the lead on this site on behalf of EMCOMM
    • Next EMCOMM meeting will be held this Thursday Jan 8, 2015 at 7:30pm at the Newmarket Community Centre
  7. 6m Net – Chris VE3NRT
    • Chris VE3NRT has been hosting the net for over a year. Idea is to move the net to different bands / modes (between 6m and 80m) and continue to operate at the same time each Monday.
    • Suggestion to use 30m PSK next week. Chris will announce the frequency and mode on the YRARC Yahoo group
  8. Winter Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • There has been lots of interest expressed by club members
    • Reviewed the list of equipment pledged by the participants; Radios, Antennas (R5 in trailer, R8, G5RV, 75m dipole cut to 3.75 MHz, 160m), Coax: Steve asked participants to bring coax, Participants are asked to bring their laptops, Chris VE3NRT will take the lead on logging using N1MMplus, which will be networked across all PCs. Participants are asked to install N1MMplus ahead of the event
    • Discussed the station layout inside the Temperance Hall
    • Need volunteers to transport Communications Trailer from Bales Road, and tower trailer from the summer Field Day site
    • Space heater for the club trailer is needed
    • Everything except lights, coffee pots and space heaters to be operated on generators
      Kitchen: we have 14 people who have purchased meal tickets.
    • Two generators are available which should meet our needs. Participants are asked to bring extension cords
    • Concrete blocks are needed for antenna anchors
    • Chris VE3NRT indicated that the rules will allow us to make repeater contacts. All club members are asked to monitor VE3YRC.
    • CW and digital contacts on each band count as multipliers.
  9. Sable Island and Navassa – Doug VE3VS
    • There is an amateur radio operator presently working on Sable Island who will try to be on 15m each day around 2220z for about an hour during the month of January
    • Navassa Island will be activated for approximately 2 weeks near end of January to mid February, with 5 to 6 stations operating. This is a very rare opportunity. Call is K1N1