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KARC Field Day 2022 -- It was awesome!





KARC Field Day 2022 was held at Peter's (VE7DNZ) farm in Knutsford near Curry Hill (aka Brigade Hill).  We enjoyed fabulous weather and made lots of contacts and had lots of fun.  We put up the club's 40-foot portable mast (aka tower) and HF beam (10/15/20m), and a 40-foot fiberglass mast from which we hung the OCF Carolina Windom HF antenna (mostly used for 40/80m).  We also had a portable APRS station broadcasting our location for Field Day.  Band conditions were great (particularly 20m), and we made almost 200 (197, "missed it by that much") contacts over the 24-hour period.  We operated as a 2A station, using the club's IC-7300 in Ralph's tent and also the IC-7100 in Myles' Jeep.  We used solar power (3 - 100W panels) for the contest, although we did run the 3kW generator for a while on Friday evening just to make sure it worked in case we needed it.  We also lit the "VE7WWW Memorial Mosquito Coil" -- long time club members will recall Bill's passion for the mosquito coil!

Thank you to everyone who helped set up and take down, and to all those who participated or just came out for a visit!

There is a Field Day 2022 Photo Album here: https://karc.ca/node/694 and I have included a few photos from the weekend to whet your appetite before you look at the complete Photo Album.

Participating were:
  • Peter, VE7DNZ
  • Ralph, VA7VZA
  • Simon, VE7RIZ and his son Bryson
  • Mark, VE7ARN
  • Shawn, VA7NIN
  • Jeff, VA7LH
  • Bill, VE7EAF and his XYL Susan
  • Don, VA7LNX
  • Myles, VE7FSR

KARC Field Day 2022 -- How to get there




The KARC Field Day will be held this weekend from Saturday noon until Sunday noon, at Peter (VE7DNZ) Philip's farm in Knutsford.  A map and Google Earth KMZ file are attached, as well as Google Maps directions from the link below.


We will be setting up on Friday from noon onward, and on Saturday morning.  Please bring your own chair, food and beverages, and be prepared for "rustic" and historic conditions (this is part of a ranch that has been in operation for over a hundred years).  There is an old ranchers cabin and an outhouse, and lots of room to camp if you are so inclined.  The views are spectacular, so remember to bring your camera.

To get there start from the Knutsford Community Hall south of Aberdeen, and follow the Long Lake Road south until you come to the junction and turn left onto Jackson Road.  Head east and then turn right onto Mannings Road and follow it south until you come to the sign that says "End of Public Road".  Look to your left and you will see a sign for the KARC Field Day and a gate leading into a field.  Please close the gate after you come through, and follow the two-track dirt road and the flagging ribbons until you come to the old rancher's cabin.  Please stay on the two-track (unless you need to bypass a mud puddle) and avoid driving in the field wherever possible.  We will be monitoring 147.320 VE7RLO if you need help finding the place.

Please keep in mind you are driving through open range and there may be cattle on the roads so please drive carefully, especially after dark.

Here is a photo of what to expect when you get there.

2022 KARC Picnic

The annual KARC Picnic was held Saturday, May 28 at the City of Kamloops Long Board Park in Aberdeen.  Ralph VA7VZA organized the picnic and the permitting from the City, and in attendance were Ralph VA7VZA, Myles VE7FSR, Simon VE7RIZ, Jordan VE7OSX, Peter VE7DNZ, Jim VE7JMN, Shawn VA7NIN, and Alphie the dog.

The gang set up a portable mast with a 20m quarter-wave vertical antenna, and four ground radials.  We tried out the club's new Icom IC-7300 HF radio, and Simon and Shawn made their first HF contacts with W9IMS the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ham special event station.  We had quite a few dog walkers wander by and ask us what we were doing, and the weather cooperated with some sunshine and a few overcast clouds.

For more photos of the picnic please see:  Photo Album 2022 KARC Picnic

Reminder: Annual KARC Picnic Saturday May 28

The annual KARC Picnic is being held this Saturday, May 28 from noon to 4PM, at the City of Kamloops Long Board Park in Aberdeen.  It's just above the Pacific Way Elementary School, and you can access it from the upper parking lot of the school.

Please bring your own camp chair, snacks, and beverages.  There are two picnic tables, one under a shelter.  We will have a two-burner Coleman stove for anyone wanting to roast hot dogs or marshmallows.

We will be monitoring VE7RLO (147.320+ and 442.525+ PL100) for anyone that needs directions or help finding the picnic.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!

For directions: https://goo.gl/maps/agLeD3YN8S5J7HvD6






PS.  Don't forget the club breakfast at Kirsten's Hideaway at 9AM Saturday.

Reminder: KARC Monthly Meeting next Thursday, June 2 at 7:00PM






The next monthly meeting of the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will be held on
Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 7:00 PM PST.

The Agenda and Minutes from the last meeting are attached below.


Project Corner: Building an APRS Tracker for a Snowmobile





By Myles Bruns, VE7FSR

The APRS-IS network is terrific -- it not only shows the geospatial location of amateur radio stations (for example, https://aprs.fi/VE7FSR-9), but it allows for messaging between those amateur radio stations over RF (on 144.390 MHz).  The APRS-IS also supports short messages to and from email (see http://www.aprs-is.net/email.aspx) and short messages to and from SMS (e.g. mobile phone, see https://smsgte.org/ug-sending-messages/ for more info).  What this means is that the user of a "two-way" APRS tracker has the ability to send and receive messages to other ham radio operators on APRS, but also to non-hams such as family members through the email or SMS gateways.  This increases a person's safety net and ability to "stay in touch" -- and to call for help if needed.

Fortunately for me, in my pile of "ham radio and electronics junk" I had almost everything I needed to build a "two-way" APRS tracker which would allow me to send and receive short messages over APRS while out on the snowmobile alone.  It took a little thinking to figure out how to make this work on the snowmobile -- I didn't want to have something else (more weight) to carry in my pack -- and I wanted to use an efficient (and tough) antenna mounted to the snowmobile.

Click on "Read more" to see the rest of the article...

South Forge VE7LGN Solar Charging Analysis

by Myles VE7FSR and Lee VE7FET

On January 15, 2022 Myles, VE7FSR snowmobiled up to South Forge Mtn to download the log file from the Morningstar TriStar MPPT solar charge controller.  Myles and Lee were curious how the new solar panel array and "new" batteries were faring so far this winter.

Originally we had planned to have a 48vdc battery plant, but when we undertook the big rebuild project this summer we had to change those plans and use a 12vdc system.  The TriStar MPPT-45 solar charge controller is rated for a 2400W array when using 48vdc, but only 600W when using 12vdc.  This means that our solar panel array (~900W) is over-sized and over the rated capacity of the charge controller.

In full sun, and with a lower battery voltage, it appears that the charge controller is reaching its 45A charge limit and goes into current limiting (and also generates one or more error messages in the log file, see attached).  The good news is that the charge controller still charges, and it hasn't gone kaput so far!

We were worried that without the wind generator (with we discovered had failed when we did the repeater rebuild last summer) we might be short of power, hence the trip up in mid-January to check on things.  We we guessing that if the repeater had survived through the shortest (and probably coldest) days of the winter then things might not be too bad.

Lee: "Looking at the log file, it is good to see "float entered" on most days. That means that the battery voltage got up to the absorb voltage, and stayed there for the three hour time limit, when it transitioned to float (remember, this charge controller is "dumb" and can't measure battery current, so it relies on a timer for how long to stay at the absorb voltage, before switching to float)."

Click on "Read more" to see the rest of the article...

Greenstone Mountain Panorama

VE7RLO UHF repeater back on the air!

After unexpectedly going silent a week ago, the VE7RLO UHF (442.525+ PL 100) repeater is back in action.  Myles, VE7FSR and Doug, VA7GPX made a number of trips up and down Mt. Dufferin to bring down, and take back up the repeater, both times in the dark.  One the first trip up one evening, Myles discovered that the fuse had blown on the repeater power supply, and not having brought any tools with him (other than a tiny pocket tool which was all but useless) it meant another trip up to take the repeater out of the rack and bring it down for testing.

After some head scratching and bench testing the best hypothesis was that the stock power amplifier (PA) fan was not running when there was an Allstar connection (such as during the Rainbow Country Net, which is when it died a week ago) which probably led to the PA overheating and blowing the fuse.  A new bracket was fabricated and couple of fans were added that operate all the time, cooling the PA and power supply.  After two days of bench testing showed everything was working fine, and no overheating problems were evident, it was time to take the repeater back up the hill.

Last Friday evening Myles and Doug took the repeater back up to the top, which led to some interesting questions from curious and confused night time dog walkers!

Thanks Doug for your assistance and company on this project!

Updated: KARC Monthly Meeting this Thursday, February 3 at 7:00 PM

The next monthly meeting of the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will be held on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 7:00 PM PST.

We are going to do things a bit differently from now on, and will be opening the meeting at 7:00PM so that members have a chance to chat, catch up, share news of their recent exciting DX contacts, etc.  So feel free to sign in a bit early and kibitz with your fellow hams!

We will start the official portion of the meeting at 7:30PM as usual, and this month we are fortunate to have our very own Ralph Adams, VA7VZA to give us a presentation titled:



Ralph tells us that this talk started as a joke over a lunch with Myles, VE7FSR at his favorite restaurant, the Coconut. 

"I was explaining my lack of progress with getting on air on HF and all the ways I kept finding to play with my collection of cheap software defined radios. After about fifteen minutes of me going on, he shut me up by suggesting I do a club talk on the subject. So here it is."

Ralph's presentation will give listeners a quick introduction to SDRs, a quick description of what is meant by inexpensive SDRs, and an introduction to the software available to operate them.  Then Ralph is going to tell us about all the ways he has found to have fun with SDRs, some things that he has tried, and others that he is going to try. You may have already heard about some of these in his last talk on weather-related projects, tracking weather balloons, decoding weather satellite images, etc..

Ralph is going to tell us about more fun SDR projects such as: tracking aircraft using the ADS-B system, recording IQ spectrum for "tuning" through later, surveying and tracking down RFI sources, as panadapters for high-end HF rigs, and amateur radio astronomy projects such as the one we heard about last month from Ken Tapping. With luck we will get to learn about the kiwiSDR network, an amazing resource, especially for those of us who suffer from RFI and HF antenna challenges.

This will be an online meeting so please use this link to join: https://bbb.isurf.ca/b/ada-jnt-mkf

Non-members are welcome to attend, so please feel free to share this information and the meeting link above with anyone you think might be interested.

Please click on "Read more" below to access the attached Meeting Agenda, Draft Minutes and Treasurer's Report.


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