Welcome to the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club Website!

Please click on any of the top club links at the top of the page, or more informational links on the side. News is immediately below.

2018 Bill Foster Memorial Field Day Update #2

We had a great day today, and here are some more photos from Field Day 2018 at the Central PREOC.

Chuck, VE7PJR works the "bug" on 40M CW.

Quentin (one of our "yutes"!) and Myles, VE7FSR work the pileup, while Chuck, VE7PJR copies the ARRL Bulletin.  Dave, VE7ODS watches on from the back row (Dave was our back-up ears for making sure we got the call signs correct).

Adam, VA7AQD, waits expectantly for confirmation of his QSO on FT8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TS-480SAT set up as an extra HF station to simulate the need for additional comms during an emergency at the Central Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre (PREOC).  This station was hooked up to one of the extra antennas (G5RV) we deployed at the PREOC at Emergency Management BC here in Kamloops.

Close up of Chuck, VE7PJR, working CW with his Vibroplex "bug".  Keeping "old school" alive at Field Day 2018!

The crew (Chuck, Adam, Peter and Myles) using a "falling derrick" to safely raise the tri-band beam into position.

 

 

Bill Foster Memorial Field Day Update

The HF beam and G5RV are both up, and the team is busy working Field Day contacts on FT8, CW, and SSB voice.  Here's a picture of two of the stations and our operators Chuck (left) and Adam (right). Dave (far right) is supervising.

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2018 Bill Foster Memorial Field Day will be held at the Central PREOC

The Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will host the 2018 Bill Foster Memorial Field Day at the Emergency Management BC Central PREOC at 1255-D Dalhousie Drive (https://goo.gl/maps/rRkdvRfJ4sB2 or see attached map for information on parking, etc).

VE7UT will be operating as 3F BC (3 stations from an official EOC) for the first time ever!  Daytime we will be able to operate simultaneously on 10/15/20, 40 and 80M; and in the evening we can operate simultaneously on 20, 40 and 80M. We will also have a GOTA station (VE7KAZ) and two VHF stations active, an information table, and some educational activities are planned during Field Day.  We can definitely accommodate and would welcome a CW operator, so bring your straight key or paddles, or use ours!

Setup will begin at 1700 hours local time Friday, and VE7UT will operate from 1100 PST (1800 UTC) Saturday, June 23 to 1100 PST (1800 UTC) Sunday, June 24.

The annual Field Day Potluck Supper will be held on Saturday evening, so please bring something and join us for dinner.

We invite visitors, other amateur radio operators, members of the public, elected officials, etc. to stop in and learn about amateur radio and emergency management, or to just spend some time on the air with us this Field Day.

For more information please contact Myles, VE7FSR at ve7fsr@telus.net or by phone at (250) 318-5150.

The Central PREOC, at 1255-D Dalhousie (around the back of the building):

Tapping out: B.C. Morse Telegraph Club says goodbye to an era

Tom Zytaruk,  May 3, 2018 12:30 p.m.

Are you reading this story in print? Or perhaps on your smartphone, that indispensable device you ritualistically pin your eyes to every day and night?

One day, that oh-so-important gadget will surely become an anachronism as new modes of communication take over. One day, you might well find yourself explaining to your grandchildren or great-grandchildren what it was like to use an Android or iPhone as you view, from behind the display case glass in some dusty museum, a rare specimen that survived the march of time unbroken.

As the Good Book says, we’re all dust in the wind, and that applies to technology as well. Take, for example, Morse Code telegraphy, a system of text messaging consisting of dots and dashes, combinations of which represent letters or numerals. Considered to be one of humankind’s top 10 inventions, well before there were telephones, fax machines or computers, Morse Code beepity-beeped from a tapping device called a “straight key” along telegraph lines to bring people news of births and deaths, weddings, tragedy and joy, emergencies and disasters, and other news of personal and global import. This medium of communication was, in a word, indispensable.

But that was then.

The last surviving members of the B.C. Chapter of the Morse Telegraph Club held their final meeting on Thursday, April 26, in room A123 of the Oasis building at Fleetwood’s Elim Village retirement community, saying goodbye to this important era in the history of communications.

“We’re dying off. There’s very few of us left,” member Chris Naylor, 87, bluntly explained. When it comes to words, the elderly generally don’t kid around.

“It is the closing of an era,” he said. “Nobody knows Morse Code any more.”

It’s named after inventor Samuel F.B. Morse who, along with physicist Joseph Henry and engineer Alfred Vail, created the electrical telegraph system in 1836.

This means of communication played an immense role in critical moments in history — such as the RMS Carpathia receiving Titanic’s wireless distress call to save 705 souls, and train dispatcher Vince Coleman bravely sacrificing his own life to alert an incoming passenger train to the imminent Halifax explosion in 1917, saving nearly 300 lives.

Locally, the first telegraph message sent along a line linking the U.S. with New Westminster, by way of the Kennedy Trail, brought news of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

The last train order sent by telegraph in North America was in the mid-1980s.

The surviving members of B.C.’s club marked the bittersweet occasion of putting their going concern to rest with a cake that was decorated with a small straight key and the words “What Hath God Wrought.”

It’s a phrase from Numbers 23:23 in the Bible and was the first message Morse dispatched, on May 24, 1844, witnessed by the U.S. Congress and sent from Washington D.C. to a railroad station in Baltimore, Maryland.

The 21 people present at Surrey’s luncheon and final meeting — those 10 remaining members who could make it, some of them accompanied by their adult children — sat solemn as retired Lutheran pastor Alfred Johnson, 92, tapped out grace on a straight key, thanking God, by way of dots and dashes, and beepity-beeps, “for the privilege we had to be part of this wonderful system of communication which the Morse Code has been.”

Johnson worked as a telegrapher while attending seminary and raising two children. He started his career as a Morse telegrapher in 1944, as an assistant station agent with the Northern Alberta Railways in Hythe, Alberta at age 18.

After lunch, the club’s final business was done, finances were sorted out, and members decided to donate the remaining $78.28 in the kitty to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

VE7WWW receives Outstanding Service Award

Bill Foster, VE7WWW, received an Outstanding Service Award from Emergency Management BC for his many years of service to the Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service (PERCS).  Regional Manager Mike Knauff from the EMBC Central Region office presented the award to Bill on February 8, 2018.

The plaque reads:

With deepest appreciation for 14 years of exceptional performance and tireless dedication to emergency radio communications, and in recognition of the thousands of hours of volunteer service you have selflessly provided to the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service.

Bill has been an key volunteer in the Central Region radio room, supporting exercises and activations over the past 14 years in Kamloops.

Field Day 2017 Information

On June 24th and 25th, the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will again be participating in the ARRL Field Day event, the largest Amateur Radio held annually in Canada and the US.  Come on out to the KARC Field Day site to learn more about Amateur Radio, the event and emergency communications!

In the frame below you will see the google maps driving directions (hit 'more options' to bring it up larger in the browser and get the full driving directions).  There are also several file attachments - a PDF of driving directions, a KMZ file that will open the location in google earth, and some screen shots from google earth as well.  

The files & information in the files shows "2015", but the location hasn't changed so it is still current.

The Field Day schedule will be similar to past Field Days with set up beginning Friday June 23rd in the afternoon and evening. We will finish set up Saturday June 24 morning and start operating at noon until noon Sunday June 25. Then it’s time to take everything apart.

As usual we will take a break from operating for our pot luck dinner around 5:00 PM on Saturday. Then back at it “CQ field day de VE7UT“

See you there!

73,

 

Adam

 

 

Canada May be the Best Place for Hams to Experience the Solar Eclipse, Says VE7DXW

Alex Schwarz, VE7DXW, who developed the online Scanning RF Seismograph to determine which bands are open, is among the many looking forward to the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Although the path of totality will move over Oregon then southeastward toward South Carolina, he believes radio amateurs north of the border can take advantage of this "very exciting celestial event," as those in the US will be doing, and may have an edge of sorts. Members of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) in the US will sponsor a Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) to conduct their own research.

The projected path of totality for the August 2017 solar eclipse. The arrows indicate possible HF paths for Canadian radio amateurs.

"This will be spectacular when viewed with our eyes," Schwarz said. "The effects of the solar radiation on the propagation of radio waves will be equally or more exciting." Schwarz said it may appear that Canada won't be a part of the solar eclipse, but British Columbia (BC) will have up to 95% coverage, he pointed out.

"As the solar eclipse is moving over the planet, it is leaving a canyon of de-ionized gas on the ionosphere in altitudes of about 100 to 300 kilometers," Schwarz said. "This puts Canada -- and especially Ontario -- in a very good position to get really long signal paths to the horizon toward the south. Southern Ontario will be in the best location to make contacts into the southern and western US and Central America. In southern BC, we can aim our antennas right down the length of the propagation anomaly and reach the Caribbean and southeastern US." Schwarz said timing is important, because the gas will ionize again after the solar shadow has passed. The entire passage across North America will be approximately 90 minutes.

Schwarz said that during the 1999 solar eclipse in Europe, radio amateurs recorded long-distance contacts on 160 and 80 meters. "We want to inform all amateurs about the opportunity of experiencing the solar eclipse on a totally different level by operating radios in their shacks," he said.

Schwarz encouraged all ham radio clubs to participate in the opportunity, not only to view the eclipse but to experience its effects on radio propagation.

NASA offers much more information about the 2017 solar eclipse.

Thanks to the ARRL for this story.

60M propagation experiment

This weekend I decided to become part of an interesting 60M propagation experiment being led by a bunch of keen Albertan hams.  The image at left shows which beacons I heard, and which monitoring stations heard my beacon, over the past 24 hours.

From Al, VE6RFM: "The objective of our 60M Experiment is to evaluate the band as a viable HF communications link between remote communities and larger centers throughout the Northern Canada Auroral Zone.  To accomplish this, we are gathering a team of interested individuals in various locations to beacon, and to monitor beacons from other stations throughout the region.  Beacons heard will be spotted to PSK Reporter and the PSK Reporter data will automatically update our central data base every 15 minutes.  Solar weather data will also be updated in our central database every 15 minutes.  Beacons heard, and solar conditions observed, will then be displayed graphically on a common time base.  The graphs will show us beacons heard by any station and the existing solar conditions at any given time.  From this information we are hoping to learn what solar conditions need to exist to support a reasonable communications path, and what conditions will not."

For club members active in HF digital this is pretty easy to set up, especially if you are already using FLdigi as your software suite.  It took me about an hour or so to work through configuring FLdigi and the FLdigi Beacon Scheduler and then I was on the air beaconing using Olivia 4-250 on 60M.  I plan to leave my station on for the next couple weeks (more use that it has probably seen in the past year!) and see how things go -- as we approach the solar minimum this should be a "worst case scenario" period of time to do the research.  If you are interested in giving this a try it is pretty simple to build a 60M dipole.

For a little bit of 60M allocation history see: http://www.ontars.com/Special%20Events/60meters/index.html

Introduction to NBEMS and Advanced NBEMS see: http://www.arrl.org/nbems

To see the stations participating in the research see: https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html and select all 60M signals sent/recd by anyone using OLIVIA.

Plans for new repeater packages on Lolo and Greenstone

As mentioned at the last club meeting, I am working on building two new repeater packages - one for Greenstone, and one for Lolo - to replace the existing aging and frequently failing repeaters.  With a lot of help from Lee, VE7FET, we are in the process of planning how the new repeater systems will work and what equipment will be needed.  For those members interested, I will provide some links below to information on the software, hardware, and interfaces that we will be putting together over the next couple months. Stay tuned to these pages for more information and updates as things progress. 

I have also been working on building some Raspberry Pi-based APRS and Winlink Packet gateways which will also be part of the repeater upgrades. The Raspberry Pi boards are connected to two TNC-Pi boards which are each connected to a VHF radio.  The Raspberry Pi will run Xastir for APRS, and LinuxRMS for the VHF packet gateway to the Winlink system. The two radios will share a single antenna, using a Sinclair Q2222 duplexer.

Here are some link to check out if you are interested in learning more:

AllStar Link https://allstarlink.org/about.html

Yaesu DR1X and AllStar Link http://crompton.com/hamradio/DR1_Allstar_mod/

Asterisk AllStar and the Raspberry Pi https://hamvoip.org/

Modifying USB Sound FOB for AllStar https://www.hamvoip.org/hamradio/usb_fob_modification/

Allstar RTCM (Radio Thin Client Module)  http://www.micro-node.com/thin-m1.html

VE7RKA repeater update

After several trips to Greenstone Mountain and a lot of troubleshooting and testing the conclusion is that the RLC-3 repeater controller has a bad CPU. This means that we can only have one link enabled at a time (for example, the IRLP node).

Please DO NOT use the *A1 all links on DTMF command.

At present the repeater is configured to enable the IRLP node (*5541) so that people can use the IRLP.  If you wish to use the North or East links, please follow these instructions:

To use the North Link: Send the DTMF command *A0 (Star A Zero) and wait for the repeater to reply with "All Links Off". Send the DMTF code *3961 to enable the North Link. When you have completed your QSO please send *A0, wait for the message, and then send *5541 to re-enable the IRLP link.

To use the East Link: Send the DTMF command *A0 (Star A Zero) and wait for the repeater to reply with "All Links Off". Send the DMTF code *8321 to enable the East Link. When you have completed your QSO please send *A0, wait for the message, and then send *5541 to re-enable the IRLP link.

If more than one link is active you will likely hear a choppy, interrupted audio coming from the repeater. Should you hear this, please send the DTMF command *A0 (Star A Zero) to turn off all links.  You may then enable the IRLP link with command *5541.

If you have any questions, or hear any issues on the VE7RKA repeater, please contact Myles, VE7FSR at (250) 318-5150.

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