Thursday, 30 June 2016

Field Day 2016 – 40m Phone

I don’t know why, but I always find set up for Field Day stressful. Maybe it’s the looming threat of the Melted Coffee Pot award that sends me into a tizzy, but more likely it’s just the worry about getting the antennas working early enough that I still have time to set up the station.

Over the winter I scaled back my dreams from a 9 verticals, each with 60 radials, arranged in a phased array, down to 5 relay-switched dipoles hanging from the tower, then down to a simple dipole. Then, just 5 days or so before the event, I decided to add a full wave loop sloping from the tower in a diamond shape, fed from the side. This, as Bob told me, would give me a mix of horizontal and vertical polarization to get me some of the all-important low-angle radiation to the West Coast.

Surprisingly, because I had no time for debugging, I found this worked quite well. Both antennas tuned reasonably well. The VSWR on the loop seemed a little high at first but then I realized that I had the analyzer set for 75-ohm impedance instead of 50 (left over from when I was confirming the electrical length of the RG6 matching section). It was more or less flat at about 1.5:1 across the 40m phone band. The dipole was slightly higher but still fine and none of it bothered my KAT-500 tuner at all.

The station came together pretty quickly and just before kick-off I started making some casual QSOs on 7.200 MHz to commandeer a calling frequency. That seemed to work, although about 15 minutes into the 24-hour marathon I was bullied off the frequency by high-powered stations encroaching from above and below, and went off searching and pouncing for the next couple of hours.

John, VE3IPS took a turn and went down to about 7.130 where less US amateurs are licenced to operate and found a clear frequency to run. His unique style attracted lots of attention and he made plenty of contacts.

We went back and forth between S&P and run mode several times through the 24 hours with Alex VE3ASE taking a few turns at the helm between satellite passes and doing really well.

After thoroughly enjoying the loop antenna’s pattern to the West and working Hawaii plus lots of stations in the Pacific time zone, I abandoned the station at 3:15 and went home to get some sleep, returning at about 8AM to have breakfast and go at it again. The last couple of hours were really productive as the big guns abandoned their frequencies to do some S&P themselves leaving a spot in the middle of the band for Alex and then me to get another 100+ contacts.

The result was that we blew away last year’s record of 272 to get a whopping 492 contacts in 24 hours.  Doug VE3VS, along with Jack VA3UU and Bert VE3NR still beat us with more than 520 on 40 CW, but I’m just glad we were in the same ballpark as those veteran operators this year. Besides, we have room to aspire to a 500+ next year!

Thanks to Steve VE3UT and Rick VA3VO for organizing this fine event, to Peter VE3PBT, grandson Robert and a host of family members for their fine work in the galley, the other band captains for their hard work and risking their equipment, John VE3IPS for the social media direction, Bonnie Stone for working the information table and everyone else who dropped in or stayed the duration for making the club’s 2016 such a fun and successful event.

Once I’m back to my normal sleeping pattern I’ll start looking forward to next year. The club should be proud of its efforts and ability to collaborate to bring about a fine result.

73 from Chris VE3NRT

Sunday, 26 June 2016

YRARC Field Day 2016 - Almost half way

It's 20 past midnight and 40 is wide open, 20 is fading out and 80 is coming into its own. The cloudless night will be cool, but Saturday had perfect weather and it remains dry.

So far, everything's being going pretty well!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Field Day starts in 14 hours

Most of the shelter has been moved in, the food tent is set up and at least the GOTA antenna is ready to go. It's another Field Day and the weather looks good and we hope the band conditions are too. See you there!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Call for Nominations: 2016 Harvey Bell Award


Each year about this time, the members of our radio club have the opportunity to nominate a member club secretary no later than June 20th, 2016. Nominations may be presented by individuals, or may be co-signed by several members, to be honoured with this award.
Your nominations should be made in writing or by email to the club secretary David Craig VA3DCY, and should include your description, explanation or citation related to the nominee, and be presented to the

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

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

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

Any club member would be eligible to nominate any other club member for the award. Nominations will be considered by the 2016 Board of Directors.

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

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

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

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Minutes: YRARC General Meeting 2016-05-03

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 37 Guests attending: 2
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of Minutes from 2016/04/05 general meeting postponed until June.
  3. General Announcements – Chris VE3NRT
    • The 6m net continues to operate on Mondays at 20:00 on 50.135 MHz
    • The recent VE3KCL balloon flight reached altitudes of 10,000m. Data was returned by (a) WSPR, low speed, low power transmission on 30m, (b) JT9 and (c) CW.
    • Upcoming hamfests include the Barrie, Smiths Falls and Dayton hamfests.
  4. Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • Steve visited the Field day site at Al's Tack Shop, same location as last year, to plan a new station layout which will hopefully reduce or eliminate interference between stations.
    • Additional generators will be required. The date is the last weekend in June.
    • Peter VE3PBT reported on the cost of a new 20' x 30' shelter frame with fittings from Cameron Canopies and separately purchase conduit, would cost $492.68 plus shipping.
    • Motion by Steve VE3UT, seconded by Bill VA3QB that we allocate $500.00 plus shipping to purchase the new shelter frame. Carried. (Membership approval of Board motion 2016-04-19-5a).
    • Peter reported the results of the food survey were inconclusive, and the menu will be similar to last year's menu.
  5. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/03/01 [Available to members from club secretary on request]
    • Income:
    • Membership dues:
    • received at last board meeting $75.00
    • PayPal dues received $25.00 Total: $100.00
    • Expenditures:
    • PowerGates for repeaters: $200.00
    • Food for the AGM: $330.00
    • Bank charges for PayPal: $0.05 Total -$530.05
    • Closing Balance 2016/04/01 [Available to members from club secretary on request]
    • Motion that the treasurer's report be adopted, moved John VA3JI, seconded Doug VE3VS Carried.
  6. Public Service Report – Eric VE3EB
    • Upcoming public service events include:
      • Saturday, May 14, 2016 (New Event) Cancer Recovery Foundation 5K Run/Walk, Sutton
      • Thursday May 19, 2016 Sharon Temple
      • Saturday, May 28, 2016 (Rain date Sunday May 29)
      • MADD York-Simcoe Riders Poker Run, Newmarket Town Hall
      • Friday June 3, 2016 Mt. Albert Sports Parade
      • Saturday June 4, 2016 Mt. Albert 5K Run/Walk
      • Sunday, June 5, 2016 Aurora Street Festival, Yonge Street (Murray to Wellington)
      • July 29 to August 1, 2016 Newmarket Jazz Fest (New Location) Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, Eagle Street West
  7. Trailer – Barry VA3LLT. Barry has checked the trailer - the radios, computer and tires are all OK, ready for the trip to the EOC in Newmarket on May 04.
  8. AGM – Chris VE3NRT. Chris advised the AGM will be in 5 weeks (June 07). The By-laws are being updated and will be reviewed by the Board in 2 weeks. Comments on the By-laws should be sent to Chris by email, in advance of the AGM. Proxies are to be delivered to the secretary before the start of the meeting and BBQ, no later than 18:00.
Guest Speaker – Dan VE3DOF spoke about remote controlled models. Dan brought his realistic “kid” on a tricycle. The “kid” with a mannequin head, moulded hands and sneaker covered feet, rides his tricycle, steers with his hands via a drive shaft and differential axle in his shoulders, however his feet just follow the peddles as the rear wheels on the tricycle are driven by motors. The model is driven by a 12v battery made up of 1.2v cells. A 75 MHz antenna is run within the frame of the body. Next Dan demonstrated his helicopters and drones. He commented that the cheap helicopters are only good for entry level use and testing. For the serious user, buying quality is best. For location of his quality devices, he uses a Moteino transmitter, which is an Arduino compatible device, transmitting at 431.94 MHz.