Tuesday 23 November 2010

Frequencies On The Block

I read the Globe & Mail online at breakfast most mornings. A lot of the financial news brings me screaming back to reality – gas prices, hydro prices all skyrocketing. And now the two Koreas exchanging mortar fire with civilian casualties in the South.

An article in the business section stood out:

Prime-quality frequency on auction block

“It is called the real estate of the telecommunications business. Wireless spectrum, the regulated airwaves over which an increasing amount of the world’s data flows, is a key source of profit for the industry and brings in billions to the federal treasury when it is sold off.”

Make no mistake about it. Last September’s incursion by Industry Canada into our “airwaves” is part of the big picture here. We, as amateurs don’t own this valuable commodity and the Government of Canada has its eye on all of these underused frequencies. RAC or any organized voice we think we may have will be useless once buyers are found and they are shopping NOW for underused spectrum. The telecom industry will gladly pay the exorbitant prices the GOC is asking – it helps pay down the deficit and will keep our cell phone bills the most expensive in the world.

The rest of the story can be found online at the Globe & Mail here. Industry Canada’s website can be found here.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Bluenose Radio Op Identified

Last February I posted a story about sailing on the regular ferry run from Bar Harbour Maine to Yarmouth Nova Scotia. I visited the radio room aboard the ship and couldn’t remember the operators name or even what ship it was.

Last week an anonymous poster left a comment identifying the operator as David Vail, VE1GM of Yarmouth. A few days later David left a comment:

“Hello, Bob - I am the R/O in your photo of the radio room on the M.V. "Bluenose" registered in Nassau, Bahamas with the call sign C6DZ. She was the second Yarmouth to Bar Harbor ferry named M.V. "Bluenose" and your other ship photo shows the original M.V. "Bluenose," registered in Canada, with the call sign VDND. I served on both ships and 2 others in the Yarmouth to New England ferry service for a total of 34 years.

If you look up VE1GM on QRZ.com you'll see the radio room clock from C6DZ mounted above my ham station desk.

73...Dave Vail VE1GM”

David Vail VE1GM c1985 aboard the Bluenose

Very nice indeed to have David write in about that blog entry many months ago. I wrote David and asked him a few more questions about his career aboard ship and his other postings. Here’s what he wrote back along with a photo taken a few days ago.VE1GM_sm

“OK Bob, here's a photo taken a couple of days ago, about 25 years after the one you took.  There's a computer monitor in your photo and we received that in 1985 and used the computer to run a maintenance management system for the entire ship.  It fell to the R/O to look after that program.  25 years later I'm 20 pounds heavier and down to almost no hair! (You should see me Dave! – VE3MPG)

Take a look at www.ve1yar.com to see a photo of my largest and smallest Morse keys.

73...Dave Vail – VE1GM”

“I was born in Charlottetown, PEI. I left home at age 17 to take a commercial radio operator’s course in Saint John, NB and graduated in December 1956 with a Second Class Certificate of Proficiency In Radio which was upgraded to First Class in 1977.

I then went to Moncton, N.B. airport for a couple of months of training as a surface weather observer, then posted to Yarmouth, NS Aeradio (CYQI) as radio operator/weather observer. This was a 2-man station open 24/7.

I was transferred from Yarmouth airport to Yarmouth Marine Radio (VAU) then to the LURCHER lightship (VGA) anchored 17 miles offshore. Then it was back to VAU where I was transferred to Seal Island Radio Beacon (VGY), a 1-man station for 14 months. It was back to VAU then transferred to the Canadian Government Ship “C.D. Howe” (CGSS) for the 1959 Eastern Arctic Patrol, a 3-month voyage.

Returning to the Maritimes, I was stationed to Fredericton Aeradio as r/o and weather observer. All these transfers and postings happened over a 3-year period. When a permanent position on the M.V. “Bluenose” (VDND) became open I applied for it and was accepted. I joined that ship on Boxing Day in 1959 and remained in that service until early retirement in 1993.

In the Yarmouth-New England ferry service I served on VDND, on the M.V. “Marine Cruiser” (GSOC), the M.V. “Marine Evangeline” (C6CA) and later VCQK and finally on the second “Bluenose” (C6DZ). The “Marine Evangeline” had two call signs because she changed from Bahamian to Canadian registry.

In the spring of 1957 I joined the Yarmouth ARC where I'm still a member and have helped train many new hams over the years. When I.C. instituted the Delegated Examiner program in the early 1990s, I became an examiner for the various amateur qualifications. In the late 1970s, our club took in our first “White Caner” who was later followed by about 10 others, some of whom are now silent keys.

Nowadays I work a bit of HF, mostly 80 and 20 meters some CW and some SSB. Still take part in Field Day and a couple of local HF contests. Living on a small lot I could only put up a G5RV and a 2-meter vertical, so no powerhouse operation from this QTH.”

Tuesday 12 October 2010

SK Willard (Bill) Eric Cousins VE3GPR

Bill Cousins VE3GPRKorean War Veteran

Peacefully at home on Sunday October 10, 2010. Willard (Bill) Eric Cousins age 79. Beloved husband of Carolyn (nee Rogers) Cousins. Loving father of Betsey Stewart (Andy), Velda Eburne, Judy Andrews (Dana), Walter Cousins, Daren Cousins (Danielle Cote) and Sandra MacKenzie (Allan). Predeceased by his son Wayne Cousins. Survived by his sister Betty-Ann Caseley (Clifford). Cherished grandfather of Tammy, Tracy, Kyle, Travis, Krystal, Jason, Tanya and Darren. Also survived by several great grandchildren. Visitation will be held at Grant Brown Funeral Home, Rolston Chapel, Kemptville on Thursday October 14th from 1 to 3pm followed by Funeral service at 3:30 pm at the South Gate Wesleyan Church, 1303 French Settlement Road, Kemptville. Those who wish may make memorial donations to the Canadian Guide Dogs or Korean Veterans Association of Canada.

Thursday 30 September 2010

Original Industry Canada Document To RAC

Here’s the original Industry Canada document sent to RAC on September 9th 2010 in its entirety and verbatim. I have just received it via email from the regional IC office in Quebec City:

Sir, Madam,

Monsieur, Madame,

The 10 and 12 of september there will be a cycling event in Québec City and Montréal. The runners are mostly european and so is their radio stations, therefore are located in the 430 - 450 MHz. Since this band is reserved secondarly for the amateurs, I beleive it is in order that I warn you. The following frequencies will be used by mobile stations up to 25W:

Les 10 et 12 septembre verront un événement de cyclisme à Québec et Montréal. Comme la plupart des participants et leur matériel radio sont européens, des fréquences entre 430 et 450 MHz ont dû être assigné. Cette bande de fréquence étant réservée aux amateurs à titre secondaire, j'ai crû bon vous en avertir. Les fréquences suivantes seront utilisées par des stations mobiles d'une puissance maximale de 25W:


Only one VHF ham frequency will be in use: 145.5550 MHz
Une seule fréquence VHF amateure a dû être assignée: 145.5550 MHz.

Best regards,

Marc Déry

Agent de Gestion du Spectre | Spectrum Management Officer
Direction générale des opérations de la gestion du spectre | Spectrum Management Operations Branch
Secteur du Spectre, des technologies de l'information et des télécommunications | Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector
Industrie Canada | Industry Canada
1141 route de l'Église, Québec QC G1V 3W5 | 1141 route de l'Église, Québec QC G1V 3W5
Téléphone | Telephone 418-648-4848
Télécopieur | Facsimile 514-283-7035
Téléimprimeur | Teletypewriter 1-866-694-8389
Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada

Wednesday 29 September 2010

A Story (part deux – We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us)

RAC Bulletin 2010-09-14E
Industry Canada advised both RAC and RAQI on Friday, Sept 10, 2010 that their Montreal office had authorized a number of 430 to 450 MHz frequencies and a single VHF frequency on 145.555 mHz. According to IC, frequencies were chosen to avoid known amateur repeater channels. These frequencies in the 70 cm and 2m amateur bands were temporarily authorized to support communications for many European entrants of a cycling event to be held on Quebec City and Montreal on Sept 10 and Sept 12 respectively. This type of authorized intrusion by Industry Canada of non-amateur communications in amateur spectrum is highly unusual and is a matter of great concern to Radio Amateurs of Canada. RAC will be taking the matter up with Industry Canada officials.  RAC will be interested in knowing if actual interference has been caused to amateur communications; please report any observations to

Norm Rashleigh, VE3LC
Vice President, Industrial  Liaison

All RAC members should have received this a few weeks ago. I did and was naturally quite upset about hearing this. I wanted to wait until I had more information about what actually occurred before publishing here. You, the readers of my blog can read on to see how this unfolded (so far!).

On September 12th I wrote to the President of RAC Geoff Bawden VE4BAW:

Subject: Industry Canada

Date:Sun, 12 Sep 2010 07:46:41 –0400
From: Bob Baillargeon VE3MPG
To: ve4baw@rac.ca

Good morning Geoff,

Could someone at RAC forward the original document from Industry Canada notifying RAC on Friday of the non-amateur use of the 440 and 2m frequencies? What immediate action will RAC be taking in this matter? I hope that RAC makes this a priority concern and I can assure you that all Canadian amateurs are watching this matter with great concern - well, I am anyway.

Thank you,

Bob Baillargeon VE3MPG
RAC member

I received no response from the President but did hear from Norm Rashleigh at RAC:

from:Norm Rashleigh <rashleigh@sympatico.ca>Sent at 16:34 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 16:26.
cc:gbawden ghbawden@shaw.ca
date:12 September 2010 16:34
subject:Use of amateur radio spectrum for non amateur purposes.

HI Bob..

Yes we do have the original e-mail correspondence from the Department.

We can forward it, but it was between the originator and RAC and I wouldn't necessarily want it on your blog or passed around.

We will be drafting an appropriate well worded response to the Department very soon and this will probably be something worthy of posting in TCA

Thanks for your concern in the matter.

Norm, ve3lc

And here was my final response to Norm and Geoff:

Hi Norm,
Normally I would agree with you on matters of correspondence, but in this instance I believe Industry Canada was writing to RAC rather than a private individual.

Since it was written to RAC, this matter, which is so important to the survival of amateur radio in Canada, must be a public matter, open to all members, to comment and debate.

It has been a common theme that RAC is in a state of crisis, which can be attributed to the state secrecy perpetrated by the executive. Membership has been declining for reasons such as this and we must change the way RAC leadership works in order to stave off the extinction of RAC and of amateur radio in Canada.

Please open up this issue and others to the membership. The executive is there on behalf of the membership, not the other way around. As a paid up member of RAC I believe I am entitled to receive a copy of this correspondence and to comment on it, either in my blog or in writing to you.


Bob Baillargeon VE3MPG

I received no response to this email and I’ve been hearing from other bloggers that any emails to RAC concerning this matter are not being answered. What’s happening and what’s RAC doing? Nobody knows, not even paid up members of RAC.

On my own initiative I wrote to Industry Canada to find out the real story, the story RAC tried to keep a lid on. I received a response from Industry Canada this afternoon, September 29th, 2010. Here’s the detailed explanation on what happened in Quebec City and Montreal:

Dear Mr. Baillargeon:

Thank you for your email of September 13, 2010, concerning RAC Bulletin 2010-09-14E – Industry Canada Authorizes Commercial Activity on 2-metre and 70 cm bands.

From time to time, Industry Canada receives requests from foreign organizations for temporary authority to operate radio systems in Canada for short periods of time while their officials are visiting. These requests often come from foreign governments for diplomatic visits and from organizers of special events, including motor races and cycling events such as the UCI pro tour that took place in September.

As spectrum managers, our mandate is to manage the spectrum. In doing so, we try to ensure that these temporary users have sufficient access to the spectrum to conduct their communications in a manner that will assure the safety of their participants and spectators, while minimizing the potential for interference to existing users. However, sometimes the limitation of the radio equipment available to our visitors requires that we take exceptional measures in assigning spectrum.

One of the difficulties in accommodating these requests is that not every country allocates the radio spectrum in the same manner as we do in Canada. Many of these teams have existing equipment from their home countries that is set up on channels that are already allocated for a different purpose in Canada. However, if the Department's assessment indicates that the use of that spectrum here is unlikely to cause problems for our domestic users, we can issue non-standard authorizations to these visitors under the provisions of subparagraph 5(1)(a)(v) of the Radiocommunication Act.

Industry Canada considers several factors when making such decisions, but safety and interference are always prime considerations. In this instance, having reviewed the local use of the spectrum requested, we determined that harmful interference was unlikely. Given the short duration of the cycling events (less than four hours) in Quebec City and Montréal on September 10 and 12, and the sporadic nature of the communications, we issued a short-term authorization for 12 frequencies between 430 and 450 MHz. This is a shared allocation in Canada and a secondary allocation for amateur radio. Additionally, a single simplex VHF frequency was allocated for handheld radios (3 watts). The issuance of short-term authorizations in the VHF amateur band is exceptional and not undertaken lightly.

Notification to the local amateurs was achieved via the national organization representing amateur radio operators in Canada, Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), and the organization representing radio amateurs in Quebec, namely Radio Amateur du Québec (RAQI). The intent of the notification was to seek the assistance of the amateur community in advising us of any incidents of harmful interference that might result from this temporary authorization. Please be assured that when amateur spectrum is affected, the Department makes every effort to give the amateur community as much advance warning as possible, but sometimes we are working with very short time constraints.

We appreciate the positive relationship that Industry Canada has with Canadian amateurs who have a long history of providing emergency communication, as well as facilitating communication for various public events. We would like to assure Canadian amateurs that when amateur spectrum is temporarily used in such circumstances, it is done only after much deliberation, with the hope that amateurs will understand the rationale and will respond in a manner that facilitates the effective use of the radio spectrum.

Yours sincerely,

Michel Landry
Agent de gestion du spectre | Spectrum Management Officer
Industrie Canada | Industry Canada
1141, route de l'Église (5e étage / 5th floor )
Québec (Québec), G1V 3W5
Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada

Here’s the subsection 5(1)(a)(v) from the Radio Communication Act mentioned in the Industry Canada response, for those not familiar with it:


5. (1) Subject to any regulations made under section 6, the Minister may, taking into account all matters that the Minister considers relevant for ensuring the orderly establishment or modification of radio stations and the orderly development and efficient operation of radiocommunication in Canada,
(a) issue
(i) radio licences in respect of radio apparatus,
(i.1) spectrum licences in respect of the utilization of specified radio frequencies within a defined geographic area,
(ii) broadcasting certificates in respect of radio apparatus that form part of a broadcasting undertaking,
(iii) radio operator certificates,
(iv) technical acceptance certificates in respect of radio apparatus, interference causing equipment and radio-sensitive equipment, and
(v) any other authorization relating to radiocommunication that the Minister considers appropriate, and may fix the terms and conditions of any such licence, certificate or authorization including, in the case of a radio licence and a spectrum licence, terms and conditions as to the services that may be provided by the holder thereof;

I would urge all of you, members of RAC or not, to contact his or her Member of Parliament and let them know how you feel. RAC only has about 5,000 members out of a ham population of 56,000 in Canada. Therefore RAC does NOT represent the majority of Canadian hams. Most clubs are not even RAC affiliated. I doubt that RAC holds much sway with Industry Canada. It’s up to us Canadian amateurs to protest loudly to our representatives in government.

Some comments from the blogosphere and on public forums >>

“I believe this is a test to see what spectrum can be grabbed; in this day and age of narrow band trunking and digital communications there is absolutely no need for any incursion into the Amateur bands. Also hearing of the technical ability's of inspectors in Canada perhaps you should be pushing for standards for inspectors just like there are standards for other law enforcement officers; just a thought!” – KF5EQB

“Non-qualified persons may use an amateur radio station provided a qualified operator is in attendance to perform the control functions.” – Industry Canada

“If you Americans want to help.... good luck. IC couldn't care less what someone in another country thinks. And as for “our” national organization.... read: deep sigh.... they're the kind of people who would bring a knife to a gun fight.” – a Canadian ham

Thank you all for reading this far. I would hope that any members of the RAC executive read my previous blog post about RAC’s problems. Here’s the link:

“We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us” – a little about ‘dinosaur disease’.

The event in Montreal and Quebec Cityand the event partners.

Peter VE3HG’s Blog posting response

Monday 20 September 2010

Re-Furbishing The MFJ-941D Versa Tuner II

I was given the MFJ-941D about 8 years ago. It was in rough shape when I got it from another ham. There were bugs in it and every screw and bolts was loose. I re-soldered a couple of points along the coil inside and gave it a good shot of canned air to dislodge dust and the nasty critters that had taken up home in it. I put it away and didn’t think much about it until I was revamping my station this week. The darn thing looked really bad with deep scratches in the powder coated top cover. There were lots of paint chips and the cabinet looked grungy. The self tapping screws were faded and bare so they needed attention too. Here’s a photo before I started >

© VE3MPG  -2752
© VE3MPG  -2757
© VE3MPG  -2758

I decided to use the same paint treatment that I had used on my Cushcraft R6000 a couple of years ago. The paint was from the auto section of our Canadian Tire store. It’s a tough paint used to touch up and paint plastic auto bumpers and I had a little left over – this would be the perfect project for it.

Surface preparation is important so I located some #320 and #600 grit sandpaper. First sanding was with the #320 grit and progressed to the #600 grade. I wiped the sanding dust off with a tack cloth and inspected my work. Sanding is not critical but I payed careful attention to the deep scratches. The bumper coating covers extremely well and I planned for at least 3 coats to hide any imperfections.
© VE3MPG  -2761
© VE3MPG  -2762
© VE3MPG  -2764

To spray paint the top of the screws I lightly screwed them into a piece of scrap wood and spray painted them with 3 coats. The bumper coating dries very quickly, about a half hour – the screws looked new again.

© VE3MPG  -2760  
© VE3MPG  -2766
© VE3MPG  -2768 Here’s the finished product. Three coats of bumper coating, air dried for about an hour. There’s a half hour drying period between coats and no sanding between coats. The coating usually hides any imperfections and forms an extra tough scratch resistant coating – much better than the original MFJ powder coated finish. The tuner looks like it just left the factory.

© VE3MPG  -2773

© VE3MPG  -2777 The same methods can be used for just about any ham equipment that needs sprucing up. There are some very interesting paints available at any local hardware stores.

Usually I leave painted components overnight before putting it all back together. After an hour the top cover and screws were ready as this coating dries to a hard finish very quickly.

This was a very easy project and didn’t take a lot of time or effort. If you decide to try this just make sure you have plenty of ventilation while you’re spray painting and keep your work area clean. Use a fresh tack cloth to wipe up sanding dust.

Sunday 19 September 2010

OVQRP Weekend At Rideau River Provincial Park

It’s the weekend and not a drop of rain. The weather is cool at night, dropping to 6C last night at the campground on the Rideau River near Kemptville.

Members of the Ottawa Valley QRP Society (OV-QRP) group are still out there tonight working qrp and some really great DX. Bill VE3CLQ worked France and Zagreb Croatia with 20 watts and 10 watts with his Buddistick antenna and his Yaesu FT-857. Goes to show that even with low sunspot numbers you can still work some great DX with low power. Martin VA3SIE, Mike VE3WMB and Jim VE3XJ did kitchen duty.

Here are a few pictures of this weekend’s event on the Rideau >

© VE3MPG  -2735
© VE3MPG  -2736
© VE3MPG  -2737
© VE3MPG  -2745
© VE3MPG  -2746
© VE3MPG  -2748
© VE3MPG  -2750
The group will operate through part of Sunday and it was a good effort and not at all a contest type operation. 

Friday 10 September 2010

September 11, 2001 – We Remember 9/11

“We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further — we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races, nations or regions. A new insecurity has entered every mind, regardless of wealth or status. A deeper awareness of the bonds that bind us all — in pain as in prosperity — has gripped young and old. In the early beginnings of the 21st century — a century already violently disabused of any hopes that progress towards global peace and prosperity is inevitable — this new reality can no longer be ignored. It must be confronted.”

~ Kofi Annan ~

© Bob Baillargeon -2615


Tourists in Plaza WTC

Tourists in Plaza WTC2

WTC Mezzanine


WTC2 IMG_1658 (1) IMG_1627


Nine years ago, our neighbours, the United States of America had their hearts ripped out. I was in New York twice that summer, my first visit since first being in New York in December of 1970. My last visit was in late July of 2001 just a few weeks before the twin towers were destroyed. The World Trade Center Plaza was always full of tourists and office workers taking time out in the beautiful surroundings. I had friends at the UN in New York and it was impossible to contact them after the attack. They were safe but the UN building was in lock down and they eventually made it back to the Upper East side where they lived.

Ottawa had a memorial ceremony on September 15th just a few days after the attack. Canadians were shocked and in those many days after the attacks we welcomed stranded American travelers until they were able to resume their journeys home.

To our American neighbours, and the amateur radio operators who provided comms during the days and weeks following the attacks “We remember September 11th, 2001”.

Link to memorial events taking place in New York City tomorrow, September 11th, 2001 >>

Remember September 11 on Ninth Anniversary of 9/11

Thursday 19 August 2010

New Kenwood TS-590 Release Specifications


The new Kenwood TS-590 that created a buzz at Dayton this year is finally being released worldwide this October. Kenwood Japan has released the final specifications. It looks like it’s going to be a superb receiver but the pricing looks to be well over 2K USD. Kenwood’s Japan site lists it at 228,900.00 JPY=2,679.41 USD. No doubt this is due to the fluctuating value of the YEN these past few months.

You can read all about it at these links at Kenwood Japan



Here’s a pretty good page translator for the second link:


Technorati Tags:

Tuesday 17 August 2010

The Latest From PAR Electronics – Dale W4OP

PAR_logo_animated One of my most popular postings is the interview I did with Dale Parfitt, the owner of PAR Electronics, 2 years ago. Dale makes amateur and commercial antennas. The amateur line and specifically the PAR EndFedz antennas are big sellers, used by amateurs, SWLs, and commercial interests alike. If one checks the eHam ratings on the PAR antennas, well, they can’t get any better than a 5 across the board.

Over the years Dale has had trouble filling amateur orders and has had to rely on time slots of one to two weeks where amateur orders were taken and then filled. These windows of opportunity happened several times a year as PAR was just too busy with commercial interests to accommodate the amateur market full time. That is about to change.

On August 2, 2010 on the PAR Electronics website a press release was published indicating “LNR Precision acquires EndFedz line of amateur and SWL antennas”.

PAR EndFedz are now being manufactured exclusively by LNR Precision. Please contact them for pricing/availability.

On August 2, 2010 LNR Precision, Inc. acquired the popular EndFedz line of amateur and SWL antennas. Larry, AE4LD, is the new owner. Larry is a talented machinist, active amateur, QRPer and will be far better equipped to manufacture and expand the EndFedz line of antennas. In recent years, PAR has had to resort to only accepting orders in 1 week windows in order to better balance their growing commercial segment and the amateur products. LNR Precision will have much larger manufacturing capabilities and thus amateurs will benefit from much faster order filling. Dale W4OP will be staying on to complete new designs and offering technical assistance to LNR Precision. Amateurs can expect new novel EndFedz models in the near future.

I wish to thank the many thousands of amateurs who have bought EndFedz and whom I think of as friends. I will continue to design/manufacture both commercial and amateur filters and expand our line of commercial and amateur VHF/UHF antenna products and hopefully some really interesting surface mount accessories for HF rigs. You may contact Larry at controlliner@embarqmail.com.

Give us a few days to complete the transition.

I had also read about the change at PAR on several other websites like eHam and one of the Yahoo amateur groups.

I was surprised but glad that Dale had taken some steps to alleviate the EndFedz supply problem. I was sceptical about the level of service LNR Precision might be able to provide as Dale was always there to answer questions; even late into the evening. I don’t think we have to worry. I contacted Dale a few days ago and he graciously agreed to another interview. Here it is in its entirety:

VE3MPG: You've obviously made some difficult decisions in the last few months to sell off your amateur antenna division. Tell us how and why this came about and also finding a competent and astute business person, Larry  AE4LD, to carry on what you started.

Dale W4OP: This was a very hard decision to make. I felt as though I was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. Our core business has always been commercial. Those clients are  very valuable to us but they can also be very demanding. As the EndFedz line continued to grow, I had to resort to limiting orders to 1 week windows every 5 weeks or so. This allowed us to better compartmentalize amateur production and time requirements but was not really fair to our clients. I was personally involved 80+ hours per week. This obviously was very tiring and also prevented me from pursuing other interests. So, I began looking for a buyer for the EndFedz. After four false starts, Larry came into the picture. He is the perfect candidate. He was already using our product. Larry also has injection molding capabilities and an extensive machine shop. Finally, he lives in North Carolina which made the entire transition much easier and smoother.

You mention some new antenna designs in your press release on your website. Can you give us an exclusive look into what's developing?

Dale W4OP: I really cannot divulge what I am currently working on- but it involves several new designs that I simply could not bring to market through  PAR for lack of production time. A couple are antennas that customers have long been asking for though. Look for some very novel antenna designs with pending patent claims.

With the acquisition of the manufacturing of the PAR amateur antennas including shipping and technical support, what will you do with your spare time? Any plans for a real holiday?

Dale W4OP: I love to play billiards and also I am a competitive distance runner. I will finally have the time to practice both sports and travel to meets. I also just bought another SGC SG-2020 and will be doing a lot of portable ops here in the mountains.

I live on a large Lake (Glenville) that has excellent lake trout, bass and walleye fishing. I have not even bought a license in the last three years. That also will change (my new fly reel just arrived today).

Amateurs around the world are using your antennas and have nothing but praise for the performance and build quality. Your almost immediate email support is legendary. I'm sure that my readers and the users of your fine products  will miss your rapport and camaraderie. What can you say about the loyal following your product and your service have created?

Dale W4OP: I have really been blessed by our clients; made many friends and really appreciate how loyal you all have been. This loyal, patient following is what made all the long hours worthwhile.

PAR will still be manufacturing our Omniangles, Stressed Moxons and filters for amateurs and scanning enthusiasts. I plan on staying active on the QRP reflectors and attending Dayton and FDIM.

In addition I will continue support for PAR products that are out in  the field and will be answering tech questions for LnR for at least a year.

It's been a great run and it's a wonderful feeling knowing the EndFedz line will continue on with Larry and the enthusiasm that he brings to the plate.

Can you add anything else?

Dale W4OP: I appreciate your site Bob. It is not everyone that can  put together insightful questions and keep all of this going. I know I speak for other followers of your site and blog in thanking you for putting your journalism skills to such an interesting and creative  use. Much success in the future. Now is Tokyo ever going to release that 160-->6M HT-200?HT-200

Thanks Dale for your generous contribution to my blog and to my readers. We wish you and Larry, AE4LD, at LnR Precision the very best in your new directions and endeavours.

My previous interview with Dale, W4OP, can be found at this link:

First interview with Dale Parfitt, October 2, 2008

PAR Electronics

LnR Precision

Sunday 15 August 2010

We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us

The first step is admitting you have a problem and then asking for help. Nothing wrong with this approach. The Radio Amateurs of Canada, Canada’s national amateur radio organization is in dire need of help. The organization wants change and it identifies itself as having ‘dinosaur disease’ as one fundamental problem amongst many.VE3HG Peter

Peter VE3HG, VP of Public Relations at RAC, has a plea on the RAC blog for members and non-members alike to look at 7 documents for ideas on transforming Radio Amateurs of Canada. Download them to read and please send your comments to Peter in the comments section of the RAC blog or write Peter directly at his RAC email address - ve3hg @ rac.ca . (remove the spaces)

Is RAC worth saving? Let’s hear from you, hams and non-hams alike. Tell it like it is.

About this entry’s heading – Earth Day 1971

Monday 9 August 2010

California Dreamin’

June and July were busy. Two trips to California and I’ve only been back less than a week from the last one. I had a few days of work and took a few days to just take it easy and see some of the coastline of California. One afternoon was spent on the Pacific Coast Highway north of Los Angeles. Then it was off to San Diego, a beautiful coastal city on the border of southern California and Mexico.

San Diego is home to the Pacific Fleet and there was no shortage of things to see in the harbour. Below is the USS Nimitz, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier anchored at the San Diego Naval Base. The USS Carl Vinson was anchored alongside.

© Bob Baillargeon - CVN-68 - USS NimitzThe ships were surrounded by floating buoys shaped like fat cigars – used to keep any boats away from the carriers – a precaution for all navy ships ever since the USS Cole was targeted and severely damaged in Yemen a few years ago. US Navy armed patrol ships continuously ply the waters near the naval ships guarding against intrusions.

The decommissioned USS Midway, named after the Battle of Midway, is anchored as a permanent museum in the harbour. She was launched in March of 1945 and she served in Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. The Navy launched 228 sorties from Midway and Ranger (CV-61) in the Persian Gulf, from Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) en route to the Gulf, and from John F. Kennedy, Saratoga, and America in the Red Sea. Her flight deck is 4 acres in size.
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway 
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway Harbour Level
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway - Flight Deck The USS Midway is one large ship. It actually functioned as a small city so it had its own postal code. Naval engineering practices 60 years ago were quite advanced and subsequent refits over the years made it quite a modern carrier. Newer carriers have a 50 year life expectancy. The United States has 11 active aircraft carriers.
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway - hangar area below flight deck © Bob Baillargeon - Midway Flight Deck
© Bob Baillargeon - Radio Central - USS Midway Radio Comms center above (no ham shack here!). The main items that are visible are the three AN/USQ-69 data terminal sets with keyboard and CRT display, and an AN/UYK-20 computer.
© Bob Baillargeon - racks of R-1051B HF receiversRacks of R-1051B HF receivers in Comms Center 
© Bob Baillargeon - R-1051B Receiver© Bob Baillargeon - Command centerThis is the Command Center where the Commander and Officers watched Desert Storm play out on automated monitors – this was the ship’s nerve center. 

© Bob Baillargeon - HF antennas horizontal These are the outboard HF antennas in their horizontal positions on tiltable bases. There’s a set port and starboard.

© Bob Baillargeon - hf antennas vertical


Midway prepares to moor at her final resting place at Navy pier in San Diego where she was to become the largest museum devoted to carriers and naval aviation. (10 January 2004).

I also boarded a “Foxtrot” class Soviet submarine, B39, commissioned in the early 1970s. It was based on German WWII era U-boats. It had a crew of 78, was 300 feet in length and displaced 2000 tons. B39 was assigned to the Soviet Pacific fleet. I’m not sure how 78 sailors lived inside this sub for long period of time. I had a difficult time manoeuvring inside each compartment. Each compartment was accessible via a round porthole about 38 inches wide – you went in feet first and propelled yourself through it. The confined space was claustrophobic. They were extremely low tech but lethal and carried 24 torpedoes and some capable of low-yield nuclear warheads. They played a large part in the Cuban missile crisis and other cold war scenarios.

© Bob Baillargeon - Foxtrot Class Soviet Sub 70s B39 was Diesel-Electric – this design was even quieter than nuclear powered subs. They were used to track NATO and U.S. warship throughout the world’s oceans. See some interior shots here > B-39 Foxtrot-Class Diesel Submarine

So it was a great summer trip to California again. It’s an extremely beautiful state and the people of California are great. I’m headed out next month for a final visit this year.

© Bob Baillargeon - Sunset along the Pacific Coast HighwayTo those of you wondering what kind of camera I use it’s a Canon Powershot G10. I have a future article in the works on how I take and process my digital photos.

The Midway Museum