Monday, 31 August 2015

2015-2016 Board of Directors & Volunteer Posts

Below is the current board of the York Region Amateur Radio Club. Check out past boards.

Chris Sullivan VE3NRT President, Web Site, Blog, EmComm,
Steve Holland VE3UT Vice-President, Repeater
David Craig VA3DCY Secretary, Hamfest
John Iliffe VA3JI Treasurer
Rob Barnett VE3RQB Property
Eric Brown VE3EB Public Service
Geoff Smith VA3GS Hamfest, WYNSORC, Door Prize
Doug Peckhover VE3ATP Repeaters
Alf Burnham VA3BLE Membership
Barry Byrom VA3LLT EmComm, Trailer, Membership

The board also wishes to acknowledge the roles of the following volunteers.

Nick VisserVE3NJVMeeting Refreshments
Robert GalambosVA3BXGEmergency Coordinator
Bruce ClementsVE3BVTechnical Advisor
Don MatthewsVE3IXJAssistant Emergency Coordinator
Russell WalterVE3WTRAssistant Emergency Coordinator

If I have missed anyone please bring that to my attention and I will update this list.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Minutes: General Meeting - June 2nd, 2015

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:30. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. 37 members and 1 guest in attendance
  1. Reminder that proxies must be given to the secretary prior to AGM
  2. Adoption of the minutes
    • Motion 2015-06-02-01 by Bill VE3QB to adopt the minutes of the May 5th general meeting minutes, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.
  3. News and Opinion
    • Congratulations to Jack VA3UU for qualifying for “Worked all Pacific”
    • Thank you to EmComm for participation in the SET exercise & the May 29th exercise
    • Chris raised the question of whether or not the club should continue meeting on the first Tuesday of each month or look at the option of finding an alternate date for club meetings. Based on a few responses during our meeting, it seems club members would prefer that the meetings continued on the first Tuesday of each month.
  4. Public Service - Eric VE3EB
    • Eric VE3EB reported that we need 6 additional volunteers for the Aurora Street Festival this Sunday.
    • Chris VE3NRT reported that the MADD event went well and thanked Rob VE3RQB, Carlos VA3CAZ, Steve VE3UT, Steve VE3EZ, and John VE3POJ
  5. Field Day - Steve VE3UT
    • Brad VE3HII and Alex VA3ASE have confirmed they will be operating satellite
    • Set up will begin after lunch on Friday. We need lots of help on Saturday morning for final set up
    • All stations will be on the air at 2pm
  6. Emcomm – Barry VA3LLT. Barry VA3LLT reported that during the RED Cross SET there was some difficulty getting to Peel Region but the organizers praised Emcomm for how quickly Emcomm was able to setup and begin operation on FL Digi
  7. Appointment of the AGM chair. Bill VA3QB nominated Ron KG4CVL for AGM chair
  8. Appointment of the AGM secretary. Chris VE3NRT nominated Chris VA3DXZ for AGM Secretary
  9. Harvey Bell Award – Chris VE3NRT
    • This year’s nominees were all board members
    • Two winners were selected this year, Eric VE3EB and Steve VE3UT
    • Congratulations to both Eric and Steve
Meeting was adjourned and the Annual General Meeting was opened

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Minutes: Annual General Meeting - June 2nd, 2015

The meeting was opened following the closing of the YRARC general meeting and chaired by Ron KG4CVL. There were 37 members in attendance for the Annual General Meeting.

  1. Appointment of the auditors for the financial year ending April 30, 2015 and 2016.
    • Bob Rennie VA3BSJ was nominated for the position of Auditor for 2016, by Chris VE3NRT and seconded by Geoff VA3GS.
    • No other nominations were received and Bob Rennie VA3BSJ was declared auditor for 2016
  2. Auditor’s Report
    • It was noted that the auditor’s report for the period May 1st 2014 to April 30, 2015 was published in the minutes of the May 19th board meeting
    • The auditor’s report was then read aloud to the club members attending
    • Motion 2015-06-02-AGM-01 by Rick VA3VO to accept the auditor’s report as published in the minutes of the May 19th 2015 board meeting, seconded by Brian VA3BAH.  Motion carried.
  3. Ratification of the board’s actions
    • Motion 2015-06-02-AGM-02 by Glen VA3AU, to ratify the board’s actions over the previous year, seconded by Don VE3IXJ.  Motion Carried.
  4. Report on board meeting attendance
    • Chris VA3DXZ reported that a quorum was reached for all board meetings except one.
  5. Reports by continuing directors
    • Geoff VA3GS reported that the Hamfest was successful.  He felt the board’s actions have been well documented.
    • Eric VE3EB reported that participation in public service events was down at the same time that there were many requests from the community for support.  Eric also reported that he was involved in the Pan Am games and would not be available to lead many of the events this summer.  Additional volunteers are needed.
    • Dave VA3DCY reported that this was his first year on the board and he felt the board was a good group to work with and was looking forward to his second term.
    • Rob VE3RQB reported that he also felt the board worked well together and he was looking forward to the next term.
  6. Appointment of scrutineers - Rick VA3VO and Jay VA3COW volunteered
  7. Election of new directors
    • Members were reminded of the qualifications, role, and standard of care to be exercised by board members
    • Director qualifications
      • Be a full or family member
      • Be a person
      • Be at least 18 years old
      • Have not been found under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 or under the Mental Health Act to be incapable of managing property.
      • Not have the status of bankrupt
      • Have not been found to be incapable by any court in Canada or elsewhere.
    • Role & functionality of the board
      • To manage the affairs of the corporation
      • To act in the best interests of the club.
      • To act in accordance with the by-laws
      • To form committees to oversee club activities
      • To maintain records in accordance with the by-laws and applicable statutes
      • To manage the club’s physical and financial assets
    • Directors’ Standard of Care
      • To act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the corporation and to exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.
    • The new positions to fill were identified as follows
      • 5 new directors, each to serve a term of 2 years, and
      • 1 new director to serve a term of 1 year
    • Nominations received
      • John VA3JI was nominated by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Chris VE3NRT.  John accepted the nomination for a 2 year term.
      • Steve VE3UT was nominated by Rob VE3RQB, seconded by Geoff VA3GS.  Steve accepted the nomination for a 2 year term.
      • Chris VE3NRT was nominated by Garrett VA3PYP, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Chris accepted the nomination for a 2 year term.
      • Barry VA3LLT was nominated by Steve VE3EZ, seconded by Chris VE3NRT.  Barry accepted the nomination for a 1 year term.
      • Doug VE3ATP was nominated by Chris VE3NRT, seconded by Don VE3IXJ.  Doug accepted the nomination for a 2 year term.
      • Alf VA3BLE was nominated by Benny VE3MUU, seconded by Anthony VE3HIS.  Alf accepted the nomination for a 2 year term.
      • No further nominations were received.
    • Motion 2015-06-02-AGM-03 by Steve VE3EZ to close nominations, seconded by Bill VA3QB.  Motion carried.
    • Election: As the number of nominations was equal to the number of open positions, there was no need for a vote and the nominees were declared board members.
    • The new board members were congratulated
  8. Motion 2015-06-02-AGM-04 by Rick VA3VO to adjourn meeting, seconded by Jay VA3COW.  Motion carried.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Upcoming YRARC General Meetings

The first meeting of the new season is on Tuesday, September 1st - before the Labour Day weekend. The meeting schedule for the year is:
  • September 1st - Dave VE3OOI on "Model Rocketry & Amateur Radio"
  • October 6th - Prof. Paul Delaney, Senior Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy, York University
  • November 3rd - Dave VE3KCL on balloon launches with a ham radio telemetry package on board.
  • December 1st - Christmas Social
  • January 5th - Mini flea market
  • February 2nd - TBD
  • March 1st - TBD
  • April 5th - TBD
  • May 3rd - TBD
  • June 7th - Barbecue and AGM
Club meetings are at Sharon Temperance Hall at 7:30 pm. 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Splashdown - Flight S4 Descends into the Norwegian Sea

The first report came in this morning at 0430Z (00:30 EDT) with a single station LA9JO reporting until 0654 when it was joined by SM0EPX/RX2. Only once did we see as many as four stations reporting, with the last one at 1130Z (07:30 EDT) heard by OH3HTI and again by SM0EPX.

The last altitude reported was 1,120 metres, down from 8000 metres. The Flight S-4 status page estimates it ditched at 1135Z after a steady descent of 920 metres per minute, just about the time I was on the repeater telling Geoff VA3GS how well it was doing.

Looking forward to the next flight.

RF eBooks on the net

I painstakingly googled every one of these referenced in the March 2008 edition of the Splatter up to a little over half way, as the two pages of links it provided no longer exist. Then I remembered the "Wayback Machine" and found an archived copy of the original page, along with archived copies of many of the documents that are no longer in their original locations.

Digital Signal Processing

  1. The Scientist's and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing - This book is quite readable, but has to be downloaded a chapter at a time. The chapters are short and there are a lot of them.
  2. Mixed Signal and DSP Design Techniques - published by Analog Devices
  3. Numeric Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing - current versions are not free. There are some interesting free downloads on the site in but mostly in formats I've never heard of.

Electronics and RF

  1. Op Amps for Everyone Design Guide - published by Texas Instruments
  2. Designing Analog Chips - Most of us aren't trying our hands at chip design, but there is good information about transistor design and some historical information about designing common analogue chips like the 555 timer.
  3. Wireless Networking in the Developing World - Looks very interesting. Covers the technical issues in great detail. It was this kind of work (building wireless networks in Africa) that got me initially interested in MESH networks.
  4. XYZs of Oscilloscopes - published by Tektronix
  5. XYZs of Signal Generators - also by Tektronix, I stumbled on this one while searching for the above title.
  6. RF Basics - published as a PDF presentation by Texas Instruments, also in PPT by Anaren Integrated Radio, which may be a bit different from the TI PDF.

Electronic Programming

From WikipediaVHDL (VHSIC Hardware Description Language) is a hardware description language used in electronic design automation to describe digital and mixed-signal systems such as field-programmable gate arrays and integrated circuits. VHDL can also be used as a general purpose parallel programming language.

Recent editions of QEX have discussed design projects with field programmable gate arrays.
  1. VHDL Quick Start - PowerPoint style introduction, by Peter Ashenden of the University of Adelaide, South Australia.
  2. The VHDL Cookbook - by the same author - 111 pages.
  3. VHDL Modelling Guidelines - by the European Space Agency
  4. Analog and Mixed-Signal Modeling using the VHDL-AMS Language - 199 detailed presentation format pages from the 1999.
  5. Beginner's Introduction to the Assembly Language Programming of the Atmel-AVR-Microprocessors - yes the same ones we used in project nigh. Last updated in 2011. There's lot of info available with an easy google search.

RF Fundamentals

  1. RF Basics
  2. Understanding Radio for the Practical Engineer
  3. Wireless Networking in the Developing World
  4. Radio Receivers, from Crystal Set to Stereo
  5. Fundamentals of RF and microwave Power Measurements - published by Agilent (formerly the instrument division of Hewlett Packard).
  6. The RF and Microwave Circuit Design Cookbook - Doesn't appear to be a free download any more but you can buy it from Indigo books for $224.98.
  7. The Design of Radio Frequency (RF) Subsystem Printed Circuit Boards for the Petite Amateur Navy Satellite (PANSAT) Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design


  1. Electromagnetics 
  2. Fundamentals of Electromagnetics - A too-general search term. Just copy and paste into Google and you'll find lots of stuff.
  3. Health and Electromagnetic Fields - a report from the European Commission.
  4. Electromagnetic Radiation in Analysis - This is chapter 4 of a text on polymers from the University of Cincinnati. No idea why electromagnetic analysis is included in that course.
  5. Electricity and Magnetism - Not a surprise that this is hard to locate. Just add "PDF" to the title and you'll find lots of hits.

Antenna Fundamentals and Design

  1. Antenna Fundamentals - This presentation covers a lot of ground. Without notes it will probably best serve as a guide to searching for any topics that interest you.
  2. Antenna Basics - Glossary, radiation patterns, antenna types.
  3. Antenna System Guide - From the National Institute of Justice - covers a lot of ground with accessible math.
  4. Antenna Fundamentals & Definitions - From Penn State. Brief, starts with coordinate systems and ends with double integrals.
  5. Antenna Design - While searching this one I found the "Practical Antenna Handbook" which is unlikely, but this 625 page download contains a wealth of material. In places it is heavy on formulae but it avoids calculus.
  6. EMC Antenna Fundamentals - Concise coverage of different antenna types
  7. Micro-strip Patch Antenna Primer

Various Modulations

  1. Introduction to Modulators - "Introduction to Modulation" was the closest hit I could find. This is a bit terse.
  2. Principles of Digital Modulation - Published by Toshiba Europe. Mostly descriptive, with a bit of complex (not complicated) math.
  3. QPSK Modulation Demystified - Brief mathematical description of QPSK
  4. Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) Modulation  - This one also covers FSK
  5. OOK, ASK and FSK Modulation in the Presence of an Interfering Signal - fairly mathematical treatment of the subject by RF Monolithics (Dallas).
  6. AM/FM Modulation - Short required reading for communication system engineering at York University.
  7. PLSK vs. DPSK in Four-Wave Mixing Crosstalk - PLSK is polarization shift keying and DPSK is differential phase shift keying.

Spectral and Signal Analysis

  1. Spectral Analysis - (almost) non-mathematical introduction from Agilent
  2. The Fundamentals of FFT-Based Signal Analysis and Measurement - From National Instruments.
  3. Fundamentals of Signal Analysis - Another Agilent application note
  4. Fundamentals of Real Time Spectrum Analysis - from Tektronix who want you to register before downloading, or you can just download it here


  1. Mobile Satellite Systems - a presentation format treatment of a lot of the parameters about receiving satellite signals. Oriented toward mobile-phone systems like Iridium and Odyssey.
  2. Optimizing Satellite Communications with Adaptive and Phased Array Antennas - scholarly paper @NASA regarding reception of BPSK signals with phased array antenna.
  3. Satellite Communication Tutorial - This may not be the original, but this is a very comprehensive presentation on satellites. 

RF Measurement

  1. Perform More Effective RF Measurements Using Vector Analysis - A short description of this technique by National Instruments, intended to educate customers about the advantages of using such instruments.
  2. Understanding the Fundamental Principles of Vector Network Analysis - A PDF download. Not tested as the server was down at the time of writing.
  3. Calculating the Sensitivity of an ASK receiver - Maxim Integrated
  4. Phase Noise Profiles Aid System Testing - Maxim Integrated 
  5. Three Methods of Noise Figure Measurement - Tutorial (#2875!) from Maxim Integrated
  6. Specifications and Measurement of Local Oscillator Noise in Integrated Circuit Base Station Mixers - Maxim (updated from original)
  7. Basic Equipment Design Tutorial
  8. Smith chart tutorial (parts 1, 2, 3)
  9. Spectrum Analyzer Measurements and Noise
  10. dBm - volts -watts conversion
  11. How to build your own RF Spectrum analyzer (part 1-2) - Couldn't find this one but it is a good search phrase to find dozens of suggestions on how to do just that.

RF Filters

  1. Sallen-Key Low Pass Filter Design Routine
  2. Band-Pass Filters for HF Transceivers - September 1988 QST
  3. A Diode-Switched Band-Pass Filter - By Doug Demaw W1FB in January 1991 QST
  4. Second-Harmonic-Optimized Low-Pass Filters - From February 1999 QST
  5. Narrow Band-Pass Filters for HF - from September/October 2000 QEX
  6. Clean Up Your Signals with Band-Pass Filters (part 1 - 2) - QST 1998
  7. Introduction to RF Filter Design
  8. Introduction, definition of RF Filter terms, Q&As - No longer exists

Amplifier Design

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Not Quite Norway: The Balloon Wanders Westward

We pick up the story in Finland this morning, with the balloon travelling North from Estonia to somewhat West and North of Helsinki through the night. We will never know the exact path it took, as the electronics power down when it gets too dark to drive the solar cells.

From southern Finland it crossed the Gulf of Bothnia heading Northwest into Sweden, picking up speed to a still-slow 28 knots, which gradually reduced through the day until its final report at 1818Z (14:18 North American Eastern Daylight Time) where it was doing just half that speed.

Its final reported position for the day is at the foothills of the Scandinavian Mountains, perhaps 150km from Norway (I do wish the map had a scale). It is not a densely populated area but the last report has it right over a road which winds it way around lakes and through the mountain valleys, continuing on to Norway. It looks like it might be a spectacular drive. The mountains are not particularly steep and the balloon is some 20,000 feet above their highest peak.

The WSPR reporting site shows LB9YE continuing to hear the WSPR transmissions for 48 minutes after the last position report. It only seems to have heard the "main" WSPR transmission, not the secondary information that provides temperature, battery condition and the final two digits of the grid square. Those reports show the balloon moving from JP85 to JP75, which includes both Sweden and Norway. LB9YE is on the Norwegian West coast about 185km Southwest of the last reported position.

Earlier in the day I checked the web site to see who was hearing the reports. First the first hour or so of the day there were reports from New Zealand and Australia.The site can also display a map of the communication paths between stations. This one shows all stations hearing VE3KCL at around Noon today.

In spite of being wrong 2 days in a row about its forecast direction, the winds appear to want to take it off the West coast of Norway only to make a right turn and head back towards Russia. As this may well happen overnight we may not see that track due to lack of overnight position reports. It might also head to Greenland if it picks up a different wind but we'll definitely know if it does that.

The Flight S-4 Status Page is also providing comments on the flight and is worth checking out. It has posted some other interesting links recently.

The development of new weak signal protocols has spawned great new opportunities for low coast experimentation with some spectacular results.

My Field Day 2015

This is the third post on the YRARC Field Day 2015. The first talked about the melted coffee pot award, while the second was mostly about the weather.

This time I'll cover the 40m SSB station, which is not coincidentally the one for which I served as band captain. This was a departure from my last two fields days where I captained the digital station (PSK31 and in 2014 RTTY). The decision to move was partly to do something different, and partly to give the opportunity for Brian, VE3IBW, to lead the charge this year (we can always use more band captains!).

As usual, my preparation was full of optimism and ambition. Fortunately Bob VE3WY had agreed to help out with the antennas, and in return I set up the rest of the 40m station, serve as monkey for antenna setup, and supply N1MM Logger Plus on my spare laptop for 6m and 160m.

Speaking of N1MM, there were two firsts this year. With the exception of 40m CW and the satellite station, all stations in YRARC Field Day were networked together. Setting up N1MM was the easy part, with the heavy lifting done by David VA3DCY who handled the wireless network infrastructure. Networking provided a running total of what was going on at all stations, a way of using contacts on other bands to check the exchange information, and replication of the log providing an automatic backup.

The second innovation, only used on 40m SSB, was a prerecorded CQ call. Not only does the prerecorded call pack more audio punch, thanks to preprocessing of the signal, it saves the vocal cords for long sessions. I don't know about other people, but after half a dozen or so calls with no answer, I'm usually ready to give up. With N1MM automatically repeating the call every few seconds, it was easy to keep going for an hour at a time. The problem of course is holding a frequency against all the kilowatt operations out there.

For some reason, which I now forget, we started a couple of minutes after 2pm, and the band was full of stations calling CQ. So spending time on search & pounce operation was in order. It went pretty well although I was getting a bit of noise from the Digital station. Unlike the last two years, where the digital station ran my Elecraft K3, this year's transceiver didn't seem to be as QRM-friendly (although maybe being on the receiving end this time coloured my perception). Fortunately the dipole, with partial cross-polarization (it was a sloping dipole), provided a bit of relief. The noise on the vertical was about 2 S-units higher most of the time.

I finally found a frequency about 10KHz from the top of the band, and had moderate success calling CQ there. Unfortunately at no time during the 24 hours did I have more than 4 or 5 stations answer in a row. I can only dream of commanding a frequency for long runs.

The rain did not relent until the 24 hours was almost up, and in the late evening the winds really picked up and made our leaking tent even less hospitable, but it wasn't until we saw lightning at about 1:30 AM that we shut everything down and disconnected for the night, despite having modestly good band conditions. It was a small storm and I probably could have waited an hour and resumed operations but to be honest I was a bit fed up with the conditions and longed for a warm bed.

The tent was still standing when I returned and we finished the morning with a bunch more contacts. The power to the station from the generator kept getting interrupted which was a minor inconvenience because I had a battery backup for the rig and a good battery in the laptop, although it would take out the second screen and the desk lamp. The problem was traced to panel of electrical outlets attached to the generator. They were all GFCI outlets and they kept tripping, no doubt due to the wet conditions. This was solved by plugging the extension cord into a different generator without GFCI protection.

Ending up in the neighbourhood of 250 contacts was lower than I would have wanted, but the upside is that it will be an easier score to beat next year. I hope the weather will be more cooperative but at least we had the chance to prove our deployment capabilities under less than ideal conditions, furthering the emergency preparedness objectives of the day.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Balloon Experiment in the Doldrums

Once again the balloon's systems are asleep right now. The last transmission was heard by 22 stations, including one each in Australia and New Zealand. Not bad for 16mw.

Not much distance was made today due to very light winds aloft, with the final report of the day at only 4 knots. It has almost crossed the Baltic Sea from Sweden (after passing over Stockholm) to Estonia, making the island of Hiiumaa, part of Estonia and off its West coast, South of Finland.

The slow speed is evident from the meandering track shown on the map. The sharp right turn on the left hand side of the map is from the first report of the day. The overnight flight is always shown as a straight line from the last report of the previous day because the intermediate points are unknown, but it is likely that it held a track further West than the line indicates. The zig-zagging during the daytime trip, especially East of Stockholm as it slowed to a crawl, is due to the lack of precision in position reporting, which is done with 6 character Maidenhead Grid Locators.

The last reported temperature on board was -10.8C. During the day it is often around 30C, which is clearly inside the insulated electronics package the ambient temperature is about -40C. Before the electronics go to sleep the temperature starts dropping with the setting Sun, and the altitude usually drops a couple of hundred metres as well. We also see the battery voltage dropping, nearing the point where it is too weak to support the radio transmissions and other powered activities.

The winds are forecast to continue to blow from the West but will not pick up much, so when (if) it wakes up tomorrow morning it probably won't have even crossed Estonia.

RAC Ontario South Director Election

The ballot came in the mail recently for the choice between two candidates (VA3QR and VE3ZF) for the position. If you are a member of RAC and received the ballot please consider voting for one of the candidates, due back to RAC by August 31st, 2015.

Rather than write more on a topic I know little about, beyond what I read on the RAC mailer, I'll just point you to the Oakville Club's blog on the topic.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Balloon crosses into Europe

The VE3KCL s-4 balloon experiment woke up this morning just off the coast of France spent the day working Northeast across the country, passing over Luxembourg, Germany, and reported its position just across the Danish border on its final transmission of the day. 14 stations, all in Europe, received this final report.

During the previous night, the winds aloft changed from Southeast to Northeast and then slowed down, and by the end of the day it was only doing 44 knots compared to 68 knots earlier in the day. It was closing in on Odense Denmark by nightfall, where sunset was 20:32 local, or 1832Z, just 10 minutes before that final report.

Based on the forecast upper level winds in Europe, it appears that the balloon will continue North and then veer towards the West, which if so will cause it to cross the West coast of Norway before heading towards Iceland and further North from there. Based on a smaller scale upper level wind forecast we might see the balloon pass Northward off the East coast of Greenland before doing a right hand 180 degree turn and heading North to South across Russia. Then again it could find its way along a more Eastward course over Denmark where the winds diverge a bit and go straight to those Southerly winds in Russia without taking another tour of the North Atlantic. We should know by tomorrow morning.

Of course, anything could happen between now and then. Before getting ahead of ourselves we can just hope that the balloon wakes up in the morning. If it really does find its way that far North it might stay in the midnight Sun for a while, giving us more reports from which to track its progress.

This map shows the track from a little before it shut down last night to the latest report. Note the little zigzag on yesterday's path from the West. It is an artefact of the position reporting which is limited to the precision of a Maidenhead grid locator.

The segment just before it reaches the coast of France is a straight line. This is another artefact due to the lack of reporting through last night. A straight line was drawn between consecutive points, but it is more likely that it really took a curved path somewhat South of that line.

So far the balloons have reported for 3 days and 5 hours and covered a distance of 7,668 km (as the crow flies, I believe). If you want to check out the position in the morning, a map is available.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

By Geoff Smith VA3GS

In the distant past this used to be an essay topic that teachers handed out the first day of school.  Now that I have grabbed your attention let me tell you about spending some of my vacation time as a radio operator at the Pan Am Games.

A Call for Volunteers

It all started with a request for hams to volunteer as radio operators.  We had to undergo an online interview and latterly a police check.  When the smoke cleared I was offered a position as a VCC Supervisor; VCC translates to Venue Communications Centre.  For the Pan Am games I was assigned to three sites – HRD, TTS and MWW. HRD was the site of the mountain bike cross country competition at Hard Wood Hills just north of Barrie.  TTS was the shooting site just east of Crookston.  And MWW was the white water canoe and kayak course just outside of Minden.  For the Parapan Am Games my venue was MAR, a complex in Markham where they had the table tennis competition.

Mandatory Training

Before any of this there was training and more training and too much training.  From my perspective too much “touchy feely” and not enough practical.  A lot of the training was online.  The rest meant travelling down to the Pan Am HQ on Queen’s Quay in Toronto and at one of the actual sites up North.

Hams in Demand

They went after hams as supervisors as most of the radio operators, all volunteers, had never used a radio.  All the volunteers were given session on voice procedures but actually did not handle a radio until they arrived for their first duty session.  I showed up at one training session with eight FRS HTs in my bag and suggested that we might use these.  This did not fly as it had to be done their way with myriad PowerPoint presentations.

Hams would have had no problems with any of the voice procedure as we used OVER, OUT, STANDBY, COPY, etc.  That said, I was less than successful in getting everyone to say OVER or OUT but not OVER OUT.    They devised a sandwich approach for initiating a transmission.  Here is an example: "VE3NRT, this is VA3GS calling VE3NRT, OVER"

The response would be: "GO for VE3NRT, OVER"

I assume the call sign of the station that was being called was given twice for the benefit of inexperienced operators to ensure that it was heard.

The operators in the VCC, who had the call sign VCC, monitored one “talk group”, i.e. a “net”. Stations in the talk group were free to call any other station in the same talk group without requiring permission of the VCC.   If they needed to chat with someone in another talk group then VCC would send them off to a common channel for this purpose.  At any time VCC could assume control of the talk group.  Two of the talk groups were very busy and required an operator specifically assigned to it.   For less busy talk groups an operator monitored two at a time.  If we were an operator short or an operator had to leave the VCC it was my job to cover his/her assignments.


The radios were, with one exception, a Motorola HT using a PTT.  Each was equipped with an ear phone/mic.  All the channels had been programmed into the radios.  We were operating somewhere in the UHF band.   At the three sites up north we were in trailers or tents so the HTs were able to do the job.  At MAR we had mobiles with an antenna attached to the roof via a mag mount.  These radios had external speakers that produced lousy audio.  So I reached into my trusty junk box and found some 3.5 mm female headphone connectors.  I soldered these parallel to the speaker leads and cut one of the speaker leads between the join and the speaker and used cheap stereo headphones instead of the speakers.

Getting the soldering iron through security required a lot of fast talking.  Security was tight at all the sites.  Operatives from a private security company were on site 24/7 along with the OPP up north and the YRP in Markham.  We all had had to have photo ID and on the card was the areas we were restricted to.  At Markham I had to get an upgrade to my ID to allow me go down a particular hallway to the VCC. Securing the ID meant a trip to North York where we also issued our uniforms.    
At my first venue, HRD, the team consisted of four hams and a woman who had never used a 2-way radio.  However she was a quick study.  This was an extremely busy site with over 6000 paying spectators.  The only medical emergency we had to deal with was a young visitor who ran into a nest of wasps while walking through the woods.

Early Mornings and Afternoon Thunderstorms

At TTS the team consisted of two high school students and another woman.   Steve VA3SRV had been the VCC that day before and had whipped them into shape.  This was a very compact site and they had room for only 150 spectators.  Eric VE3EB was also at TTS in a managerial capacity.
Then off to Minden for three days.  I used this is an excuse for a mini vacation.  My wife visited friends who cottage in the area while I toiled at the white water course.  The team this time consisted of three hams, a former dispatcher for the TTC, a former dispatcher for a fire department and a professional engineer.

I was on site by 0600 each day, transported by a shuttle bus.  Like all the sites, my day would commence with a meeting of all the venue managers at 0630 then on to a meeting with the radio team.  We would open the VCC at 0700 and then do radio checks of all the operators on each talk group.  Periodically throughout the day we would do an ALL CALL with various announcements. Usually we closed down the VCC at 1800 or later dependent of the day’s competition schedule.  The last day at Minden we had to shut everything down for an hour and head off to the safety of trailers during a thunderstorm.  The volunteers on the other side of the river were all supposed to go to a fleet of official Pan Am vehicles.  Unfortunately they were all locked.  We stayed dry, they got soaked!

The three venues up north all used huge banks of generators to provide the AC necessary to run the site.  At Minden they laid 6 km each of electrical cable, CAT 5 Ethernet cable, and fibre optic cable. What had been laid down then had to be removed as soon as the event was over.

They had no one officially on site to look after problems with radios so it fell to us in the VCC to look after this.  Replacing batteries, microphones, ensuring that all the radios were put on charge before the VCC closed became part of our duties

The Parapan Am Games

The Parapan Games in Markham were different.  I was on duty for five days.  The first two were on a Saturday and Sunday so I was able to drive down to Markham, parking my car at my dentist’s office and walking to the site.  It is a huge facility that cost $48 million dollars!  For Monday through Wednesday I used the VIVA bus from Aurora to Richmond Centre and on to another bus that rocketed down Highway 7 using the new bus express lanes.  Not quite as convenient as driving as I had to catch the VIVA bus in Aurora at 0514.   At Markham I had nice team to work with. No hams, but they had worked in the same capacity at the Pan Am Games.  We also had shorter shifts.  At 1430 another team took over.

All in all a good experience.  Met some really nice people.  The only downsides were ugly golf shirts, an equally ugly jacket and a less than useful knapsack.

Geoff VA3GS

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Update - Balloon Flight S-4

The intrepid pair of party balloons were more than 1/2 way over the North Atlantic by Sunday evening, when transmissions ended due to darkness. The last reported position is between the Azores and Iceland, west of Ireland. Darkness arrived early with transmissions ceasing at 2030Z (16:30 EDT), over 2 hours earlier than the night before where it was just off the coast of Labrador.

All seems OK so far. Altitude and speed was 60 knots. 15 stations on both sides of the Atlantic reported its final transmission for the day. You can check the WSPR web site for signal reports, click "Specify Query Parameters" and enter VE3KCL in the call sign box. The current track will mean that it will make landfall over Northern Spain, and it may well do that before the Sun rises and we see the next transmission. If it does, it will be the first in the series to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

It could be transmitting again as early as 3:30 EDT Monday morning, assuming all is well.

AGM Barbeque

Due to time constraints organizing the general meetings (regular and annual) I only took one picture at the Annual General Meeting on June 2nd. However, it's an important one. Thanks to Peter VE3PBT (shown manning the barbecue while the rest of us enjoy the good weather) and Robert VA3AOP for their tireless efforts in feeding the masses at our events. We are all lucky and grateful to have them in our club.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Another Balloon Experiment Takes Flight

It crossed the region a little further North than the last one, crossing St. John's Sideroad about half way between Yonge and Bayview travelling eastward. Also unlike the previous flight, which crossed the South shore of Lake Ontario and was over Delaware when it reached the Atlantic Ocean, this flight (number 4) has stayed North of the 401, at least so far.

Check out the status page for this new mission. The last one made it more than 1/2 way over the Atlantic. Maybe this one will make landfall over Europe. The battery doesn't stay charged overnight so a little after dark the transmitter goes quiet and we wait until it gets light and hope we hear from it again.

Here's a full size map of the flight track.

Previous posts about flight #3: part one, part two.

Friday, 21 August 2015

"Junk in the Trunk" this Weekend

The annual junk in the trunk sale is happening in Newmarket on Saturday, August 22nd from 7:30 until Noon and features free admission for prospective buyers. There's usually a good turnout of vendors and besides being able to pick up some odds and ends you might need it's an opportunity to say hello to some the hams you haven't seen since Field Day or the Annual General Meeting.

Details about the event can be found in the RAC Event database.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Visit to the Aurora Readiness Centre

Aurora's annual "Doors Open" event was on Saturday, August 15th, and featured 16 sites that are not normally open to the public. Most aren't all that interesting - to me at least - but I decided to visit the Aurora Readiness Centre, 220 Old Yonge St., which was sometimes referred to as "Aurora's Diefenbunker".

I grew up during the cold war, like many of us. I lived in the US from 1969-1971, with a fallout shelter in the elementary school kitty-corner to my house. The fallout shelter sign is now gone. My Dad subscribed to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. I'm not sure why as he was a chemical engineer. Every month when it arrived I would check the "Doomsday Clock" in the front to see how many minutes to midnight it was. At the time it was around 7-9 minutes to midnight. In the nineties it was as much as 17 minutes to midnight. Now it stands at 3 minutes to midnight, although it has been expanded to represent other threats than nuclear annihilation. The only year it has been closer to midnight was 1953, when the Hydrogen bomb was first tested by both the United States and the Soviet Union.

The building of the Diefenbunker in 1959 along with 5 other shelters by the Canadian Government was emulated by other levels of government. This was the year the York Region Amateur Radio Club was founded which at that time had a close relationship with the York Civil Defence organization. The Aurora location was conceived by the Toronto City Council, choosing Aurora because it was ostensibly far enough away from the epicentre of an H-Bomb detonating in downtown Toronto and it was furthermore expected that the Oak Ridge Moraine would provide some protection from the shock wave. It was also expected that fallout from an explosion would travel Eastward with the prevailing winds rather than toward Aurora in the North.

When the Centre was built in 1962, Aurora was much smaller than it is now and the location was a farm property. The forces of urbanization now pressure the site but it retains the look of a 19th century farm house (it was built in 1873) along with mature trees. Werner and Orianna Broebeck bought the house in 1996. Werner, a firefighter, told me that they had no idea that the facility was there at the time. He also mentioned there was a large diesel generator in the garage that disappeared during the time between when they purchased the house and when they took possession.

The stairs lead down into a 10.6 x 18.3 metre room containing the operations centre. Werner took pains to explain that it wasn't a bomb shelter as although the ceiling was made from preformed concrete about 2 feet thick covered by another 18" of soil it would hardly have survived a nearby nuclear blast. Rather it was intended to serve as a command and control centre for emergency services and logistics in the event that those services had to operate from outside Toronto. Each service, such as the various branches of the fire department, had an emergency location to assemble in case their location needed to be evacuated.

To the left of the entrance you can partially see another door. This led to the communication room, with stations for radio operators and 100 telephone lines. That room was not open for viewing, but had enough light to get a shot of the operating desks.

The operations centre was mostly empty. The map on the left is original, as are the large set of maps at the end and the chalk boards on the right for keeping track resources. Werner is on the left talking to a group of visitors.

The ladder in the middle of the room leads to the outside. It seems strange that it was necessary given the much easier access from the house. Perhaps it contemplated the destruction of the house by a shock wave.

Above ground the ladder ends in a concrete shed. No Maxwell Smart elevator unfortunately.

The status boards reveal the concerns of the time. There is space to record the dead, wounded and unhurt population in several zones that appear on the maps. The left side is for estimated casualties while reported casualties are on the right.

Another status board appears to have been for keeping track of resources - presumably military units though possibly also municipal emergency services, and clearly they were concerned about exposure to radiation. While most of us would recognise SITREP as "Situation Report", the only definition for ORBAT seems to be "Order of Battle". Probably this term has been stretched to include the determination of which units to deploy when amongst the served communities. (In the middle there's a reflection of me taking the photograph with available light and someone reading the poster board on the opposite side of the room).

They were also concerned about logistical matters, such as tracking equipment.

All in all it was an hour or so well spent. It was great to talk to Werner and Orianna who would like to see the building designated as a heritage site, which is it not, despite the placque on the outside wall. So would I.

Aurora "Doors Open" had many other places of interest, including:

  • Aurora Armoury
  • Aurora Cultural Centre
  • Aurora Farmers' Market and Artisan Fair
  • Aurora Lawn Bowling Club
  • Aurora Public Library
  • Aurora Sports Hall of fame
  • Benjamin Stephenson House
  • Charles Henry Sheppard house
  • George Russell House
  • Hillary House and Koffler Museum of Medicine
  • History and mystery walking tour (in the Town Park)
  • Merlin's Hollow
  • Rising Sun Masonic Lodge
  • St. Andrew's College (where YRARC once had a club house)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

1957 Toronto ARRL Convention - Part Two

A recent post about the 1957 ARRL Convention in Toronto noted that the date was not given on the convention register. Fortunately, QST had been published since long before 1957 and sure enough the convention was listed as happening in "Ontario Province, Toronto" on October 18 and 19.

Even today, there are frequent ARRL Division Conventions held in the US, but sadly not in Canada now that RAC has taken their place as the organization representing Canadian Amateurs. Here is the schedule of conventions in 1957.

City State/Prov Date
Grand Rapids Michigan March 8-9
Tahlequah Oklahoma June 1-2
St. Paul Minnesota June 7-9
Estes Park Colorado June 15-16
San Antonio Texas July 27-28
Long Beach California August 16-18
Chicago * Illinois August 30 - September 1
Charlottetown Prince Edward Island August 31 - September 1
Kansas City Kansas September 21-22
Long Beach California August 16-18
Toronto Ontario October 18-19
Long Beach California August 16-18
Guam (Far East Division) November 8-11

* The ARRL National Convention was in Chicago that year.

QST listed the convention from April 1957 onward, which was good lead time compared to some which appeared only 2 months prior to the date. Aside from the implication, which was close to the truth, that amateurs were all male at the time, it is quite remarkable that it was held at the King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto, which has accommodated kings, queens, movie stars, famous authors (including Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling and Ernest Hemingway), and so forth, for a fee of just $5.00 including dinner.

You couldn't buy an hors d'oeuvre there for $5.00 now. Mind you, the minimum wage then was in the neighbourhood of 60 cents an hour, so adjusted to today's minimum wage we're around $75 for registration and dinner.

Reprinted with the permission of the ARRL. Copyright ARRL. Courtesy October 1957 QST.

Another interesting habit of those more innocent times was the publication of people's home addresses. The newspapers did this as well. That would not go over very well these days.

Another noteworthy item is in the second paragraph about the initiation into the ROWH, which is of course the "Royal Order of the Wouff Hong", which hams may ignore at their peril!

An interesting story about buying a Wouff Hong ash tray made for the 1948 ARRL Convention is on KY4Z's blog.

The convention register lists attendees, including "the ladies" numbering in the mid 200's, well short of the "Over 700" expected. However there is a note in one of the later conventions that not everyone who was there signed the book. Perhaps that was the case in this one as well.

A careful search of the pages of the Toronto Star and the Toronto Globe and Mail revealed no mention of the convention, despite coverage of dozens of other conventions in the month of October, 1957.

One of them, earlier in the month, was the convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers. One article featured their discussions of tracking Sputnik with a computer. Sputnik orbited the Earth during both conventions, and no doubt was a topic of intense conversation at the ARRL Convention as well.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

In Search of the Great Channel Debate

YRARC has had a standardized VHF/UHF channel list for about 2 years now. It was mostly driven and developed through the efforts of Don, VE3IXJ and has made public service and EmComm operations simpler by allowing us to select repeater and simplex channels without having to memorize frequencies, CTCSS tones and the like, or figure out how to program someone else's radio when the main task is to actually communicate.

Many of us thought it would be a good idea to have some common frequencies so that clubs could also communicate with each other, especially in an emergency, but it has been difficult for clubs to even begin discussing the issue, much less come up with a plan that everyone is willing to implement.

Why is this so difficult? Let us not underestimate the challenges. I see a number of realities and possibilities.
  1. Clubs in the area don't talk to each other all that much. Maybe that's because we don't have a common channel list! Seriously though, while clubs do compete for members and hamfest vendors and attendees to a certain extent, and there is no wider organization other than RAC that represents radio clubs, other than through ARES there are no formal channels for clubs to coordinate activities or share ideas.
  2. ARES/EmComm groups in the region do talk to each other as RAC has district managers and emergency coordinators but reports so far indicate there is little agreement on the topic.
  3. "NIH" (not invented here) is also a possibility. I know we at YRARC like our list (although I wish our D-STAR repeater channels were a little closer to our analogue repeater channels - there's a lot of knob twisting to go from one to the other). It's natural that we all think our own ideas are the best - at least initially. Also our club radios are suited to this list - no cross-band capability but lots of channels available.

But the questions we should really be asking ourselves are:
  1. Why do we want a common channel list? How do we think that will benefit us?
  2. If we had common channels, how would we coordinate their use? In a major disaster, for instance, how would we organize ourselves with nothing but radio, possibly just simplex radio, to do it with? Once organized, how would participants develop situational awareness and be able to brief each other and potentially other agencies, especially NGOs which don't necessarily have access to the communications facilities that we do.
  3. What are the issues that each club has in developing a channel list, and how do we get this issues on the table for discussion?
  4. What are the compatibility problems we face? Clearly not every region has D-STAR repeaters like YRARC does, but likewise YRARC has no System Fusion or DMR repeaters. Many radios available to EmComm members, like the ones we have in club inventory, lack cross-band capabilities. Other regions may be VHF-only. 
  5. What are the coverage issues? Our EmComm group wants to know the coverage of our repeaters, but coverage means different things to different people. Are we looking for full quieting 100% of the time? Is communication with vehicles sufficient or do we need to understand coverage to hand held radios with a rubber duck? At what power level? Our club handhelds have 4 levels from 100mw to 5 watts, and at the highest power level battery life isn't good and the radio gets hot when you talk.
  6. How do we facilitate the discussion that can fully account for each clubs' needs, understand the issues, and drive toward a solution that everyone can live with?
We might even need to ask ourselves more fundamental questions than these before we can get this resolved, about how we are called out in emergencies and by whom, or whether we need to self organize. Do we see ourselves as a "guard network" for official communications or do we need to assist other agencies like St. John Ambulance, the Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and others, and when do we show up at their door to help?

As you can see I have lots of questions. I can't wait for the debate! I'm hopeful that the August 23rd GTA ARES/EmComm meeting will move the ball forward in a meaningful way.

Monday, 17 August 2015

YRARC Members QSO Awards Program

This award was introduced on June 6th, 2006 at 9PM EDT by Bob Morton VE3BFM (now VE3WY).

Purpose: Work as many York Region Amateur Radio Club members on as many different amateur bands as possible.

Contacts: Once per amateur band regardless of mode. Repeater contacts can be counted (no cross-band contacts).

Exchange: Callsign and name.

Eligibility: Must be a licenced amateur radio operator

  1. Member - must be a member of the York Region Amateur Radio Club
  2. Non-member - any amateur not a YRARC member
Points: 1 point for each contact with a club member. A club member is a member of YRARC at the time of the QSO, even if that person is not a member at the time of application for the award. Check the 2015 list for members at the time this was posted.

Amateur Bands: All Canadian amateur bands

  • Certificate for a minimum of 50 band-contacts
  • Certificates for additional multiples of 50 band-contacts (e.g. 100, 150, 200, ...)
  • Presentation of certificates at club meetings
Start Date: June 6, 2006 21:00 EDT

Submissions: Log books not required. A spread sheet record page is sufficient. Submit log pages to Bob Morton VE3WY by email or at club meetings.

Winners: So far, it seems that the first and only club member to win the QSO award is Neil Macklem, VE3SST, who was presented with the certificate by Bob VE3BFM (now VE3WY) at the October 3rd, 2006 Club Meeting (from the minutes of the November 2006 Splatter).

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Crystals Go to War

While perusing the blogs of other amateur radio clubs around the planet, I happened upon a post about the development of crystal oscillators during World War II. This was one of the many technological developments that tipped the balance of the war. One link was to this (42 minute) 1943 video produced by Reeves Sound Laboratories about how crystals are used. If you follow this through to YouTube you'll find many videos on the development and use of crystals in oscillators, although you'll have to sort them from the spiritualist videos about the magical power of crystals.

Personally, I prefer to connect with the mysteries of the cosmos by contemplating the crystal's magical power of maintaining tight adherence to a given radio frequency on my journey to personal enlightenment.

The original blog post is the Crawley Amateur Radio Club Newsletter: Crystal Clear: The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II, which highlights the book of that title written by Richard J. Thompson Jr.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

EmComm Newsletter July 2015

From Robert VA3BXG

[First published, July 26th, 2015]

Welcome to the first, and I hope an ongoing semi-regular newsletter, from EmComm to our serviced partners and other interested parties.

It is my plan to reach out on some sort of regular bases to update the goings on of the EmComm group.

So let’s start.

Since some agencies were involved in the Pan Am games, we inventoried and updated the City of Markham’s EOC radios to ensure everything was operational in case of a Pan Am incident.
We are reaching out to the region to continue the dialog between the parties. We are attempting to improve the communications and attention needed to ensure no stone goes unturned.

We have reached out to a couple of municipalities to let them know we are here to help, and hopefully ensure when moving forward that we cover all our bases.

A couple of agencies have asked us to for input in developing long term plans for their EOC. This includes suggestions on what type of equipment should be considered for inclusion on any changes/additions to the operational centres.

We have reached out to Richmond Hill and plan to do the same in the next little while to Vaughan and Aurora.

We held a successful parallel exercise with the King Township & East Gwillimbury in May. A report was written and some actionable items were identified.

In October there will be the annual SET exercise for all ARES/ EmComm groups within the GTA as well.  Tentatively, the amateur radio section of the PEOC (Provincial Emergency Operations Centre) will also participate.

The next ARES GTA meeting will be held at the end of the month of August [August 23].  These meeting are designed to ensure co-operation between the various ARES groups that service the GTA.  If anyone is interested in obtaining more information please let me know.  Some of the topics that are currently being discussed is the 'standardization' of digital communication across the region and the province, mutual aid areas and getting updates from the Radio Canada/Industry Canada arenas.

Right now the regular meeting of the group has been suspended due to the Summer break, but will resume in September.

If you have any questions, please feel free in contacting us at EmComm/ARES.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Communication Trailer Request

From Robert VA3BXG

EmComm will need the trailer to be moved for the following activities.

  • Oct 3 Markham fair (this runs several days)
  • Oct 10 GTA SET exercise
These requests have been approved by the property director, Rob VE3RQB.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors 2015-07-21

Meeting held in Multipurpose Room 1 of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:01. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT.
Board members attending:
  • Chris VE3NRT, Steve VE3UT, John VA3JI, Geoff VA3GS, Barry VA3LLT, David VA3DCY, Rob VE3RQB, Alf VA3BLE, Doug VE3ATP.
  • Absent: Eric VE3EB.
  • Club members attending: Chris VA3DXZ, Peter VE3PBT.
Review of the agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT. Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded John VA3JI to adopt the agenda without changes. Carried. [2015-01-21-01]

Pro-term chair and secretary for elections: Moved by Chris VE3NRT, seconded by Rob VE3RQB that Geoff VA3GS serve as pro-term char and secretary. Carried. [2015-01-21-02]

  • Chris VE3NRT, nominated for president by Steve VE3UT, moved Steve VE3UT, seconded John VA3JI, Carried. No further nominations for president.
  • Steve VE3UT, nominated for vice-president by Rob VE3RQB, moved David VA3DCY, seconded Chris VE3NRT, Carried. No further nominations for vice-president.
  • John VA3JI, nominated for treasurer by Barry VA3LLT, moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Chris VE3NRT, Carried. No further nominations for treasurer.
  • David VA3DCY, nominated for secretary by Steve VE3UT, moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Chris VE3NRT, Carried. No further nominations for secretary.
All of the above agreed to serve, no other nominations were made and the positions were filled by acclamation. (There was no need for an election.) [2015-01-21-03]

Minutes: Moved by Barry VA3LLT, seconded by Geoff VA3GS to adopt minutes of the board meeting held on 2015/06 /10. Carried.            [2015-01-21-04]

Committees: The following were chosen to act as chairs and vice chairs for the following committees:
  • Property: Rob VE3RQB
  • Trailer : Barry VA3LLT
  • Repeaters: Steve VE3UT, Doug VE3ATP.
  • Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS, David VA3DCY
  • Membership: Alf VA3BLE, Barry VA3LLT
  • Events : Eric VE3EB
  • EmComm: Barry VA3LLT, Chris VE3NRT
  • Field Day: Steve VE3UT
Moved by Rob VE3RQB, seconded by John VA3JI. Carried. [2015-01-21-05]

Treasurer Report:
  • John VA3JI reported as opening balance (2015/05/30) [Club members may request the bank balance by contacting the Club Secretary]
  • Income $75.00, Expenditures  FD toilets $253.13 Repeaters $300.19 (total $553.31)
  • Closing balance (2015/06/30) $14,807.40 (includes $205 prepaid dues for 2015/16).
  • Upcoming expenses: Insurance $814.00, Trailer maintenance $100.00
  • Future balance  [Club members may request the bank balance by contacting the Club Secretary]
  • Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Barry VA3LLT to adopt the treasurer’s report. Carried. [2015-01-21-06]
  • Rob VE3RQB reported the cost of the 'drive-on' anchor brackets exceeded the original quote. He has donated the excess cost of the brackets.
  • David VA3DCY proposed to make trailer additions – add phone and data circuits, a new circuit breaker, receptacles, and an exterior mouse hole for miscellaneous cables/extensions.
  • Moved by David VA3DCY, seconded by Geoff VA3GS to proceed, with the cost not to exceed $50.00  . Carried [2015-01-21-07]
Trailer Insurance:

  • Moved by Barry VE3LLT, seconded by Rob VE3RQB to pay the trailer insurance $874.00, due in August. Carried. [2015-01-21-08]
  • Steve VE3UT reported the second battery charger at VE3YRC-C site appears to be defective. A Kenwood power supply is now installed to power the link radio at Yonge/Bloomington. All repeaters are currently linked. [2015-01-21-09]
  • EchoLink has not been working for approximately 5 weeks. The current server has failed (and is both old and too large). It was suggested to use a Raspberry Pi for IRLP or a Klaus Rung thin client solution. Chris VE3NRT will investigate. [2015-01-21-09]


  • Barry VA3LLT reported that volunteers are still needed for the Newmarket Jazz Festival. Contact Don VE3IXJ. [2015-01-21-10]

  • There have been no recent meetings, and no report. [2015-01-21-11]

  • Moved by Steve VE3UT, seconded by Geoff VA3GS that name plates for Harvey Bell award and the field day Melted Coffee Pot award be ordered. Cost not to exceed $50.00. [2015-01-21-012]

Field Day: 

  • Steve VE3UT submitted the field day results and gave a preliminary report of field day results, with the official report to follow.  Steve VE3UT and Peter VE3PBT made the following observations about Field Day.
  1. Field day food money collected from members should be handled by a 3rd party and deposited into the club bank account.
  2. All money to purchase food should come from the bank account as an advance, not partly from the club and partly from participants.
  3. Rent only one toilet next year to reduce costs
  4. A better kitchen shelter is needed.
  5. The club BBQ needs to be repaired, however it may be cheaper to purchase a new BBQ. [2015-01-21-13]

Other Business:
  • Chris VE3NRT asked that committee chairs submit a preliminary budget for each     committee's estimated expenditures – due at the next meeting in August.
  • Geoff VA3GS suggested a generator as a hamfest grand prize.
  • Geoff VA3GS is looking at getting speakers for the fall meetings.

Meeting adjourned at 20:42. Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Carried.