Friday 26 September 2008

Two Young DXers Headed to Willis Island

A follow up to our story a few weeks ago about the upcoming Willis Island DXpedition looking for a pair of young DX'ers to join the party. Now comes word that two young hams have been selected.

w4wjf The lucky young hams who are about to embark on the ham radio trip of a lifetime are Josh Fischer, W4WJF from North Carolina. He will join the group for the first part of its operation.

United States of America


Name: William Joshua Fisher, 21
Profession: Electrical Computer Engineering Student
Licensed since: 1999 (ex. KG4EGC)
Preferences: Contesting, SSB, CW
Other callsign: none
Former DXpeditions: none
Contest-Op @: AA4ZZ, NC4CQ


Fischer will later be replaced by Rhy Louw, ZS6DXB, from the Republic of South Africa. Louw will also be on hand to close out the Willis Island operation.

South Africa

Rhynhardt Louw, 25
Profession: Sales consultant
Licensed since: 1999
Preferences: SSB, RTTY
Other callsign: none
Former DXpeditions: 3DA0WW, 3DA0EI
Contest-Op @: none

The Willis Island DXpedition is one of the most anticipated in years. If all goes as expected, the operation is slated to be on the air from October 9th to the 27th.

(Willis Island Team Announcement)

Mastering the art of CW

morse I posted a story a couple of days ago of a ham who was rescued after breaking his leg in the Cascade mountain range. He had a K1 transceiver with him and used it to call for help. By the time rescuers reached him on horseback his tent was snow covered. His skill at radio telegraphy and the skill of the operator 600 miles away is a testament to the value of good old CW. During the Vietnam War, POW Jeremiah Denton, later a U.S. senator from Alabama, blinked "T-O-R-T-U-R-E" in Morse code when his captors put him on television.

I'm rusty at CW but for the first two years of operation (1980 - 1982) I used mostly CW. The first year was with an old Apache and Comanche Heath transmitter and receiver. Had to stay away from the band edges as those old radios were a bit off in frequency. But it was fun to work CW and always wished that I had kept up those skills. I do some listening everyday on the low end of 40 meters to bring up my speed, copying in my head.

There's a free publication available in PDF format called "The Art Skill of Radio Telegraphy" 3rd edition, by William G. Pierpont, N0HFF. "It's for those who are interested in telegraphy, for those who would like to learn it, for those who love it, and for those who want to improve their skills in it."

The art and skill of telegraphy is unique. The psychologists who have seriously studied those who have developed this skill have been fascinated and challenged to try to understand it. Isn't the very idea of being able to communicate your thoughts to another by means of intermittent tones something intriguing in itself? - N0HFF

The Art And Skill Of Radio Telegraphy

Morse Code at 140 WPM

There are many other helpful programs and websites for learning or brushing up on your CW skills - use Google for more information.

Animated Knots by Grog

knot Having spent the better part of the summer contemplating new antennas for the upcoming winter season I realized I was lacking a certain skill - knots!

Here's a really great website with animated knots to teach you how to do just about any type of knot needed for putting up wire knot2antennas. This site has been extremely helpful these past few weeks as I've installed a PAR HF EndFedz antenna. You'd think rope and knots aren't important until you try to put up multiple wire antennas with pulleys and other hardware.

Great site -

I'll have a post about the PAR EndFedz in the next few days, complete with pictures of the masts and mounting hardware. The PAR antennas are great performers and extremely easy to set up and tune.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

K1, CW, Rescue in the Cascades

Glenn Russell Ruby Jr, W7AU, of Corvallis, Oregon, broke his leg while hiking in the Buck Creek Pass area of the Cascade Mountains. His call for assistance was heard 600 miles away by Bob Williams, N7ODM, of Bozeman, Montana.

444 On Sunday, September 21, Bob Williams, N7ODM, of Bozeman, Montana, was just tuning around on 40 meters, giving his rig a test just before a scheduled QSO with his brother Rich, K7URU, in Spokane, when he heard a faint CW signal around 1 PM (MDT): Glenn Russell Ruby Jr, W7AU, of Corvallis, Oregon had broken his leg and was using a portable radio and Morse code to send out a call for help. Williams said he was able to understand the injured man's code even when his signal became very weak.

"He called me. He must have heard me testing out the radio. When I finished, I signed off with my call, and then I heard, 'N7ODM, this is W7AU/7,' so I answered," Williams told the ARRL. "I told him to go ahead, I had solid copy. He told me that he was a hiker that had fallen and broken his leg. He identified himself as Russ, provided information as to his GPS coordinates, the shelter, food and water on hand, as well as his detailed physical condition. He told me exactly who I needed to contact for assistance."

According to Williams, Ruby had slipped on a wet rock and broken his leg while out hiking in the Buck Creek Pass area of the high Cascades in Western Washington, 600 miles away from Williams. "Russ really had his act together," Williams said. "Before he even called for help, he set up his tent. It was raining when he fell, so he climbed into his tent and got into some warm clothes and had a snack of sunflower seeds and dried apricots. After that, he strung up a wire antenna, fired up his Elecraft K1 and called me." Williams said that Ruby told him he had a "couple of weeks worth of battery power" for the radio.

Ruby asked Williams to notify the Snohomish County Search and Rescue in Washington State. "I didn't have their number, so I called my local 911 dispatcher. All they had was the info for King County in Washington, so I called them and they gave me the number for Snohomish. When I got a hold of Snohomish County Search and Rescue, they asked me to obtain additional info from Russ, such as the color of his tent and if he was in a clear or wooded area, and remain in contact with him as long as possible," Williams said.

"Russ and I were able to maintain contact until about 8 PM on Sunday, during which time I was able to pass additional traffic between Russ and Search and Rescue, but then his signal got so weak where I couldn't copy it anymore. Before he faded, we had agreed to try and make contact in the morning. I tried, starting around 6:30, but he never heard me. I finally heard him calling me around 9 on 7.051 MHz. We kept in contact until he was evacuated from the site by Search and Rescue at about 10:35 AM," Williams told the ARRL.

On Sunday, rescue crews reached Ruby, who had set up camp on Buck Creek Pass, at about 6000 feet just west of the Chelan County line. He was taken to safety Monday on horseback. Williams said that bad weather Sunday prevented a helicopter rescue: "It was snowing all night; Russ told me that when he woke up Monday morning, his tent was all covered in snow."

"I just happened to be at the same frequency," Williams said. "It's just a stroke of luck that turned out great. It was quite an experience. I'm just glad that he was a ham radio operator and that I was able to talk to him. It made the difference for him. What I did was not anything special. I'd like to think that any ham in Montana would've done the same thing."

Tuesday 23 September 2008

A New Cycle 24 Sunspot Emerges

From the Southgate ARC site:

For the first time in months, a significant sunspot is emerging on the sun.

It is a fast-growing active region with two dark cores, each larger than Earth. The magnetic polarity of the sunspot identifies it as a member of new Sunspot Cycle 24.

Because the year 2008 has brought so many blank suns, some observers have wondered if we are ever going to climb out of the ongoing deep solar minimum.

Today's new sunspot is an encouraging sign that the 11-year solar cycle is indeed progressing, albeit slowly.

So there you have it, an encouraging display by the sun. We've all been waiting for some spots and maybe this trend will continue.

I hope you all have your antenna projects started or finished before the winter sets in.

Monday 22 September 2008

A Radio I Wish I Still Had

I had a radio many years ago, grade 7 if I remember. It was a crystal radio in the shape of a Mercury Space Capsule. It was about two inches long with a tuning probe at the top and two wires coming out of the bottom - one a crystal earphone and the other had a clip on it to connect to a convenient antenna. During the hot summer nights in Tecumseh near Windsor I would listen to CBC Windsor and the great AM station WJR (760AM) on the other side of the river in Detroit. At night WJR was all talk radio and CBC would broadcast adventure stories. WJR began as WCX in 1922 and was located in the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit. It began its callsign with "WJR Detroit, from the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building." Many nights were spent tuning that little radio trying to dig out some real distant DX. It needed no batteries or other power source. I wish I'd held on to that little radio.

Crystal Radios: Stay Tuned Crystal Sets

Sunday 21 September 2008

Algonquin Park, Fall 2008

This is not a ham radio related post. Not this time. I've just returned from 5 days in Algonquin Park, without HF gear. I did nothing ham radio related. I needed a hiatus from my radios. I did take my 2 meter handheld for the drive up from Ottawa but repeaters are quiet up that way. It was a weekday so it was even more quiet.

I stayed in the Lake of Two Rivers campground near Killarney Lodge. This is the park's oldest campground. It is kept immaculate for campers. I tow an Antigua hybrid with all the amenities of home. The schedule was getting up late, turning up the furnace to warm the trailer and a good breakfast of porridge and juice with tea. The lunch schedule was usually way after 12 noon and supper was later, after sitting around a good roaring campfire with wine, cheese and crackers. After the dinner dishes were stowed away it was movie time and then bed.

You know I didn't really miss my station much and the dining table in the camper was clear of the clutter of wires, rigs and tuners. It was a good holiday but way too short and Algonquin really is a beautiful place to camp.

I was camping with some university friends - we go way back, to 1972. We've held on to our friendship for a lot of years. We try to meet at least once a year at campgrounds or at my place near Metcalfe.

I think that next year ham radio will definitely be part of my camping. Algonquin was just too beautiful this year to spend any time on the radio.

Friday 12 September 2008

VC3RCS Leitrim

It was a humid and rainy Friday afternoon at Leitrim Station in Ottawa's south end. Ken Halcrow VE3SRS has only been back from Alert for a few hours and already his hand is on the key sending morse code, making contacts. This is the 50th anniversary of ham radio at Alert and Leitrim. The Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club trailer is on site at CFS Leitrim sheltering the veterans visiting VC3RCS today. There were a handful of hams there this afternoon each with a story about how ham radio served as an only means of communicating with family and loved ones from their remote postings.

CFS Leitrim is Canada's oldest operational signal intelligence collection station. Established by the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in 1941 as 1 Special Wireless Station and renamed Ottawa Wireless Station in 1949, CFS Leitrim acquired its current name when the Supplementary Radio System was created in 1966. In 1946, the station's complement was 75 personnel. In 2005 personel was estimated at 450 with 29 civilian employees. PACERM PETERE, the station's motto means Research For Peace.

Here's Ken at the door of the comms trailer this afternoon.

Here's an unidentified former op at the keyer with Ken VE3SRS.

Hutch, VE3NG says "My most memorable call sign activity was from 1963-1965 when I was VE8TU and VE8RCS, operating from Alert, N.W.T., on the tip of Ellesmere Island, 650 miles from the North Pole. Alert is the most northern permanently inhabited settlement in the world. " Hutch was also the holder of VE1KV, VE8TU, VE8RCS, VE3GFL, VE2ZD, VE3GUJ.

VC8RCS will be operating most of the weekend on 40 meters and possibly other bands. When I left this afternoon Ken was working repeater VE3TWO making contacts.

Thursday 11 September 2008


From A Prayer for America - Sunday September 23, 2001
Oprah Winfrey

I believe that when you lose a loved one you gain an angel whose name you know.

Over 6,000 and counting, angels added to the spiritual roster these past two weeks.

It is my prayer that they will keep us in their sight with a direct line to our hearts.

May we all leave this place and not let one single life have passed in vain.

May we leave this place determined to now use every moment that we yet live to turn up the volume in our own lives, to create deeper meaning, to know what really matters.

What really matters is who you love and how you love.

Wednesday 10 September 2008


The anniversary of that fated day, 9/11, is tomorrow. Those of you reading this blog will probably reminisce of where you were when they heard of the monstrous attacks on the Pentagon and New York's World Trade Center, and over Pennsylvania in 2001. I was in my office when a colleague called. Turn on the TV he said. He told me what was going on but I could not comprehend any of what he was saying until I turned on the teli and saw something unimaginable happening in New York city and then at the Pentagon. The chaos caused with the no fly orders in the U.S. was felt here in Canada as those planes without airports were landing at Canadian destinations. Overseas flights were filling Gander's airport and available accommodations were scarce. The people of Gander opened their hearts and their doors to stranded fliers. I know we'd help our friends south of the border again, without reservation. Some of you may have known friends or family directly involved in the mayhem in New York or the Pentagon. A retired friend living across the street from my former home in the Glebe had a daughter working at the Pentagon when it was hit by American Airlines flight 77. The enormity of the attacks still linger today. Our world was permanently changed by the events of 9/11. Hams took up the slack when comms were needed at the WTC rescue effort and even welfare traffic into NYC and elsewhere when it was needed during that crisis. These tireless hams need to be remembered too.

The Pentagon Amateur Radio Club is hosting a special event station commemorating 9/11.

Pentagon Amateur Radio Club to Host Special Event Station Commemorating 9/11 (Sep 2, 2008) -- On Thursday, September 11, the Pentagon Amateur Radio Club (PARC) will operate a Special Event station commemorating the 7th anniversary of the attacks that occurred on the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and over Pennsylvania in 2001. This special event will be held in conjunction with President Bush's visit to the Pentagon to dedicate the new Pentagon Memorial, honoring the 184 people, both at the Pentagon and on American Airlines flight 77, who lost their lives in the attacks. Operators will be on 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters - both phone and CW - with plans to operate on a 12 hour basis (1200-2400 UTC). There will be a special QSL card available for stations that work K4AF. For more information, please contact Gary Sessums, KC5QCN. QSL via PARC, PO Box 2322, Arlington, VA 22202.

First Anniversary 9/11 Special Events Station Story - The K4P story 9-11-2002 Special Event Station at The Pentagon.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

J-38 Telegraph Keys used by the US Army Signal Corps

I'm not an avid key collector. If I come across something interesting I usually go for it if the price is right. I found this Lionel J-38 key at the large flea market just north of Morrisburg on Hwy. 31 (Bank Street). I'd seen it a week before I bought it but the seller wanted way too much for it. The following weekend I went down again but he was nowhere to be seen since it was one of our 'rainy' type weekends. Well three weeks later I went down with a friend who did the haggling for me since I didn't want to show up again drooling over that key and him not budging from his price. I eventually brought it home for $35CDN.

Now was research time - I had done a bit of research during that first week but looking again at all the Google hits I realized that this was one of the rarest J-38 keys manufactured by the Lionel Corporation of N.Y. The full name of the Lionel company was engraved just below the knob on the base. Now the key is not perfect but a little cleaning will bring it all back to an acceptable 'shack' showpiece condition.

In the coming weeks I'll showcase a few more finds. My collection isn't huge but I do have some interesting keys. Bob Ellis, VE3DUB (Dirty Uncle Bob), now a silent key, got me interested after seeing his collection way back in 2002 - here's a photo of Bob and his collection and his ham station.

Monday 8 September 2008

Virtual Box, Linux and PSKMail

Sun Microsystems has just released version 2.0 of its free virtualization software. The free and open source software runs on all major operating systems. Sun VxM Virtual Box runs multiple operating systems at the same time on the PC. Virtual Box runs Linux on the Windows desktop, in a separate window. It supports the Solaris OS, OpenSolaris, Windows, Macintosh OS X, and Linux. Here, at VE3MPG, I've been using it to experiment with PSKMail which only runs on Linux at present. The photo at the left (click for larger view) shows Puppy Linux running on the XP desktop. For all of you who have wanted to experiment with the different flavours of Linux this software will run most distributions quite nicely on Windows XP or Vista. The software allows Linux to boot from an iso CD image that you download from the various Linux sites. So far I've run Puppy, Mandriva and will be trying openSuse in the next few weeks. There is a live PSKMail distribution called PSKLive. It has everything installed and ready to run and uses Mandriva 2007 linux distribution as its base.

More information on the various flavours of Linux distributions can be found at Distrowatch.

The first graphic below shows the startup and configuration screen of Virtual Box. The second graphic shows PSKMail and fldigi, a linux psk program running under the PSKLive distro.

We experiment and try new things, this is what hams do, and PSKMail seems like a worthwhile effort to pursue. More on this in a future post.

Friday 5 September 2008

Backup Strategies for your Ham Station

We all do backups, right? I've been guilty of not backing up enough. Our valuable information, logs, programs, browser favourites, all manner of configurations, photos and all the valuable material we sometimes take for granted. We never expect a crash or hard drive failure. My stint in the IT field left me with some lasting impressions of poor practices when it comes to backing up software. Redundancy is key here. A poor practice is having your backups only in one place, like the hamshack or a file cabinet somewhere in the home. Even having a copy of your backups at the office makes it difficult to restore a system or files in the event your only backup is there.

My backup strategies are pretty simple but effective. Invest in a large USB thumb drive - one can fit an enormous amount of information on these little devices - your complete log book and browser favourites and lots of other stuff. Use a file compression program and you can fit even more info on these thumb drives. Buy good quality CDs or DVDs and religiously backup to 'glass'. Software is available that you set and forget - it will automatically backup to your DVD drive at a pre-determined time. CDs and DVDs are cheap enough to change once a week or more. I always make a copy of my backup and spirit it away to another location. External USB hard disks are still vulnerable to crashing and offer no real backup solution unless that infomation is backed up to other media or off premises.

This brings me to a real neat piece of software that does remote backups. It uses the internet to send an encrypted backup of your files to a location based in the U.S. It's called MozyHome Remote Backup. I use the 'free' version and find that it's enough to backup my station logs, blog articles, browser favourites and just about anything else. It first does a complete backup of the files you choose then every day at your pre-determined time it will do a backup of only the changed files so backup times are very short. It does it all in the background and keeps a running log of any errors and successful backups. Mozy is a set-it-and-forget-it designed backup solution. I highly recommend it for any ham station setup. You can add multiple computers to the same account. The free version allows 2GB of storage and works with Windows or Mac. MozyHome website

Many of us have more than one computer and our browser of choice happens to be Firefox. This browser is ultimately configurable with add-ons. One add-on that syncs bookmarks on multiple computers is Foxmarks. My laptop, main ham computer and another work computer all get seamessly synced up whenever I add a bookmark on any of the computers. All 3 systems have the same bookmarks. One can also configure so the home bookmarks don't get transferred to the work computer. You configure it the way you want it. If any of my browsers or computers have a good crash and I do loose all bookmarks and browser configurations I just add Foxmarks on the new installation of Firefox, (or IE ) type in my password and wait for the bookmarks to sync up. Couldn't be easier; and it's free, and it works. Highly recommended and now available for IE. Read more at the Foxmarks website.

Setting your radio for weak signal work

At VE3MPG digital modes are the preferred operating mode. I use low power and stealth type antennas and have been using PSK modes since I acquired my FT-100 in 2000. I ran across a really great article written by Larry, W7IUV, where he explains how to set up a FT2000 (or the FT-950 or any rig for that matter) for weak signal work and I'll quote some of his superb information below:

One of the biggest problems I see is that most people either don't know how to set up a radio for weak signal or they do and refuse to do it due to some personal agenda. Here's the way to hear weak signals either SSB, or CW;

Listen to the background noise. Does it move the S-meter at all? If yes you have the radio set up wrong. Yaesu provided a switch to select preamps or not and another switch to select input attenuation. USE THEM! On the low bands (160-30 meters) I will almost never operate with one of the preamps on. IPO ON all the time. Look at the S-meter. If it wiggles at all with background noise, add attenuation until it stops wiggling. On all modern radios there is about a 20-30dB difference between MDS and where the AGC starts working. You want the background noise (QRN, power line, QRM, whatever) to be at a level just below the point where the AGC starts working. That's also the point where the S-meter starts wiggling! At this level, when you tune across a weak signal it will jump up out of the noise at you. Note that setting the radio this way will NOT impair your ability to hear the weakest signal possible with current band conditions. The S-meter does not tell you S/N, stop trying to make it read upscale all the time!

Use the narrowest filter possible. Wide for me is 300 Hz. That's what I use for trolling the band. When things get tuff, I switch down as far as possible. Learn to use the narrow filters, they work far far better than screwing around with the shift and notch and other do-dads.

Do not use the RF gain control. If you have a SX-100 or a HQ-180 or maybe a R-390A it's a good thing. With modern radios like the FT-2000, using the IPO and ATT is far more effective. Also, depending on how and where the AGC voltage is applied to the RF and IF stages, using the RF gain control could possibly reduce your IMD performance and reduce you ability to hear weak signals due to increasing the noise figure faster than reducing the gain.
I've tried Larry's methods and on my 'old' FT100 it works great. On the FT-950 it works even better. I can copy weak psk signals better and it gets rid of much of the background noise. The signal traces on digital modes become very distinct using this method.

More info on Larry:

Larry - W7IUV

Thursday 4 September 2008

Young DXpeditioners Wanted!

Hey, I'm still young, I'm a ham, can copy some CW, but don't even fit the upper end of their age criteria. Youth is wasted on the young. Read on -

The crew of VK9DWX wants to invite two young hams who have a passion for Ham Radio, DXing and contesting to take part in the DXpedition to Willis Island in October this year.

One young ham from 6th October till 19th October and the other one from 15th October till 28th October.

You can reside in any country in the world, you hold a valid amateur radio license in your country, you have some experience in working pile-ups and you are between 18 and 29.

For qualification you have to send an email to contact @ which must include an essay of 500 words minimum (in English) describing how you got started in ham radio, who your Elmer was and why you should be selected for this DXpedition opportunity. Please include also you full name, callsign and home address.

The VK9DWX crew will pay for all expenses except your flight from your home to Cairns, Queensland, Australia. (VK9DWX)

Send us your application now to contact @ We will receive applications until September 15th and will make a fast decision.
Are there any readers that meet the criteria??

Willis Island is an island in an external territory of Australia, located beyond the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea some 420 km east of Cairns, Queensland. It is the southernmost of a group of three islands, which with their associated sandy cays stretch in a NNE to SSW line for about 12 km. Willis Island itself is aligned NW to SE and is about 500 m long by 150 m wide, 7.7 ha in area, rising to just under 10 m above sea level. It is the only permanently inhabited island in Australia's Coral Sea Islands Territory. (Wikipedia)

VE8RCS/VY0 and Alert, Ellesmere Island

We've been hearing them and some of us have worked VE8RCS/VY0 and no doubt they are causing some good pile ups on the amateur bands where they show up. A couple of nights ago they were on the low end of 40 meter CW (7.009MHz). They sat there for a little over four hours pounding out the contacts. Check out Scott Crouse's special CFS Alert web site for up to the minute news and some great photography from this DXpedition.

Ellesmere Island is part of the North American IOTA Group. The designation for Ellesmere is NA-008 for the information exchange during a contact with VE8RCS/VY0. This is a rare one no doubt. Here's a map showing Ellesmere Island and the surrounding area including part of Greenland and Thule air base.

Ellesmere Island is the largest island of the Queen Elizabeth Islands located off the northwest coast of Greenland. The island is about 500 km wide and 800 km long and has an area of about 200,000 sq km. It is the most rugged in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Cape Columbia, at latitude 83º07' N, is the most northerly point of Canada, and Barbeau Peak, at an elevation of 2,616 metres, is the highest point in Nunavut. The settlements are all quite small, including Eureka, Grise Ford (Aujuittuq), and Alert. Alert is the northernmost community in North America.

Alert is an unforgiving place where night and day dominate the seasons. From late March till the middle of September there is 24-hour daylight. And from the middle of October until the end of February, the sun does not make an appearance, culminating in 24-hour darkness. To make matters worse, temperatures rarely move above the freezing level. And in an emergency situation, help may not come very quickly, as only two ships have ever reached CFS Alert!
(Ellesmere Island website)

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Countries I've operated from

Licensed since 1980 I've had the opportunity to operate in Britain, the U.S., and Slovakia during the remnants of the Velvet Revolution. The Soviet army was still firmly entrenched in many parts of Slovakia and Czechoslovakia at that time. I was granted a license by the new government and also permission to set up a packet station at the university residence where my humble room was located. With the help of several students who were amateurs a packet station was installed. I was using a very basic laptop that booted DOS 3.3 from disk - a Radio Shack, dual 720Kb disk drives and a black and white LCD screen. With this modest station I connected into Budapest and from there to the rest of western Europe. It was a great time to experience democracy being embraced with open arms. I will have to find my Slovak radio license for those years. The first photo shows me inside a Soviet camp with three young Russian soldiers. Their camps were very run down and through my translator, they told me that they didn't know what they were still doing in Slovakia. This camp was on the border of Slovakia and Hungary in a village called Roznava. This was the summer of 1990.

Summer Storms in FN25fe

We've had strange weather conditions for most of this summer season. These disturbances were accompanied by extremely strange cloud formations. The national and local weather gurus attribute this bizarre weather to the jet stream being further south than it's supposed to be. Out here near Metcalfe I can see the storms approaching from a good distance. I've attached a few photos of these foreboding formations. Heavy or light rain showers ensued along with some extreme temperature drops. Didn't see any hail this year.

The radios get unplugged and disconnected, from the AC mains, antennas and grounds. My Buddistick gets lowered to its low profile setting and the anchors get an extra brick or two. More on this in a later post.

OARC, MARG, Summer 2008

Well it certainly has been awhile since my last post. I have no excuse. Amateur radio is now more important than ever to me since my cochlear implant in October of 2006. I've acquired some new HF gear but still lean heavily to the digital modes. SSB is still very difficult to understand. Some have good audio, and some, really bad audio, along with poor diction techniques over HF SSB and other bands and modes.

Last Saturday the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club hosted its latest flea market at the Carp Fair grounds in Carp Ontario. Hundreds of area hams and many from outside the region helped make the flea market a huge success for the OARC.

The Manotick Amateur Radio Group attended in full force and had a table full of gear for sale or trade. Mike, VA3MPM presided over a good chunk of the treasures at this table as well as Darrell VA3RDC, Brian VA3DXV, and Norm VE3NLH.