Camping Season is back ! This year I reserved our camping spot at Oka National Park months in advance to make sure we get a spot we like. A few weeks before it’s time to leave, I realize I still don’t have a car to get there. It hardly seems worth renting a car for a full week, just to drive it TO camping and then back, so instead I bought a cheap car ! Strangely enough, one of the most exciting parts of this is the fact that I finally get to use my HAM RADIO Licence Plates that I received almost a year ago but never got to put on a car !! So YAY, my first Ham Radio ID’d car. (I should point out that here in Quebec, ONLY ham radio operators get customized licence plates with their call sign. Everyone else simply gets what they get.
- 1 – DIY Solar Power installation
- 2 – Solar Power Basics
- 3 – Calculating your Power Consumption
- 4 – Figuring out how many Solar Panels you need
- 5 – Solar Lighting
- 6 – Installing your Tarp for Camping
- 7 – Keyboard Hack for MAME console or PC interface
- Your internet and cable provider – The honest version
- VOiP PHones and Equipment in Canada
- Fixing a Broken (bricked) seagate Barracuda 7200.11 Hard Drive
- My first Remote Controlled Airplane
- How to make a wind turbine
- Hilarious XKCD comic
A few weeks ago was the Field Day for Amateur Radio operators throughout Canada and the United States. Field Day, basically, is a contest for Ham Radio operators about who can get the most amount of confirmed contacts within a 24 hour period using only temporary installations.
This is how the Wikipedia describes the field day :
Field Day is an annual amateur radio exercise, widely sponsored by IARU regions and member organizations, encouraging emergency communications preparedness among amateur radio operators. In the United States, it is typically the largest single emergency preparedness exercise in the country, with over 30,000 operators participating each year.
Since the first ARRL Field Day in 1933, radio amateurs throughout North America have practiced the rapid deployment of radio communications equipment in environments ranging from operations under tents in remote areas to operations inside Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs). Operations using emergency and alternative power sources are highly encouraged, since electricity and other public infrastructures are often among the first to fail during a natural disaster or severe weather.
To determine the effectiveness of the exercise and of each participant’s operations, there is an integrated contesting component, and many clubs also engage in concurrent leisure activities (camping out, cookouts, etc.). Operations typically last a continuous twenty-four hours, requiring scheduled relief operators to keep stations on the air. Additional contest points are awarded for experimenting with unusual modes, making contacts via satellite, and involving youth in the activity.
In the past field day’s that i’ve been involved in, this meant setting up in a field. We put up huge shelters and powered everything with Generators. We installed temporary towers and masts to hold our antenna’s. The last field day I went to (almost 10 years ago!) we had about 2 HF Voice stations, 2 HF Morse Code Stations, a Satellite Station, and a Packet Radio Station. There were always LOTS of people present during the 24 hour period. We even had a cooking station to make food for all the operators !
Ham Radio organisations world wide hold a contest every year called a field day. Essentially it’s a contest of which club can get the most contacts in a 24 hour period, using only TEMPORARY INSTALLATIONS. In the case of my ham radio club, this means we will be setting up in a Park in St-Eustache and using electricity from generators. All the antenna’s and stations will be put up about an hour before the contest starts. Then the stations will be manned at all times for 24 hours. (I guess I will get a few hours sleep in my car!)
I will post pictures after !
If anyone wants to come, it’s from Saturday 10am until Sunday at 10am.
EDIT : It turns out the field day is only at the same time in the Canada and the US. Also, my ham radio club has changed in the sense that it only had 1 station, and we were setup inside the chalet of a park where we had access to electricity. It’s legal in the contest, it just means we get less points per contact. A video slideshow will be put online in the days that follow.
- Filed under: Ham Radio
- Date: Jun 1,2008
One of the things I’m most interested in with Ham Radio, is Satellite Communications. There are satellites in space that contain repeaters that enable ham’s with the right equipment to communicate incredible distances in voice mode, Morse Code, and Packet Radio.
With the right equipment (Meaning Radio’s that can tune to the right frequencies and good antenna’s) you can also listen to the Space Shuttles communications with Ground Control. Most astronauts are also Ham radio operators and they often spend some of their “free time” in space talking with other ham’s down on earth.
In Quebec, the province I live in, there’s no such thing as personalised license plates for your vehicles. With one exception : HAM RADIO OPERATORS. We’re allowed to have license plates with our Ham Radio callsigns on them.
So, in the end of January I ordered my Ham Radio license plate for my car. Although I knew it would take a while, I’ve been checking the mail every day with hopes that it would be there.
Last week it finally arrived. I haven’t yet gone to make it legal so it’s not ON the car, but I enjoy looking at it. It took over 4 months, but that’s how long they said it would take, so it’s ok !
A hamfest is basically a flea-market (or swap meet) for Ham Radio operators. It’s filled with all kinds of techie toys and gadgets. The things for sale vary from specialized top of the line equipment, to old antiquated “stuff”. Cable, computer parts, EVERYTHING you might need for Ham Radio, all this at REALLY REALLY low prices.
This is the first time I went to a M.A.R.C Hamfest. It was near my house so there was nothing to lose. I must admit that it doesn’t compare to the hamfest’s that my ham radio club does. (C.R.A.L.L : Club Radio Amateur Laval Laurentides) This hamfest has about one third the space that the Laval one has, and most of the tables / people there selling stuff were at the Laval one also which was only a month ago.
The Radio Amateur is
CONSIDERATE…never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
LOYAL…offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally. (In my case the Canadian and Provincial Equivalents)
PROGRESSIVE…with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach.
FRIENDLY…slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.
BALANCED…radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.
PATRIOTIC…station and skill always ready for service to country and community.
–The original Amateur’s Code was written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928.
I have had my Ham Radio now for a couple of weeks. I’m very happy with the Yaesu Ft-2800m. I have discovered a bunch of new repeaters, since I am ideally located in the southern tip of Montreal Island, near the water, so I have access to the south shore and west island.
One of the more interesting repeaters for me, is on Mount Sutton, which enables me to talk to people in Vermont and Burlington. I’m not used to doing Ham Radio in english, (since I only do VHF and that’s more local) but it’s very very nice.
I was worried about my J-Pole, since it’s the first antenna i’ve ever built myself, but the results have been extraordinary. I have yet to get a single BAD SIGNAL report from anyone, however I look forward to testing / tuning it with a proper SWR meter.
I would really like to contact the International Space Space, and have tried a few times, but so far I have not picked up ANYTHING on the ISS frequencies when it’s passing over me. (Although I only have access to the VHF frequencies, UHF would help alot) Every time it’s passed over me so far has been during the day, which is not the best time for Satellite / space communications.
It’s also been very nice talking to a few people that I remember (and they remember me) from 10-12 years ago when I was a very active Ham Radio operator. (And one of the youngest in Quebec, at the time using the callsign Ve2 JAZ .
There was a large snowstorm last night (March 8, 2008) and the city’s of St-Jerome and Dorval called for Ham Radio operators to be onsite at Transport Quebec locations and City Hall’s for emergency communications. I was unable to participate since those cities are kind of far, and the road conditions were VERY VERY bad. (Which is why the Ham Radio operators where called in in the first place) . Too bad though, I love those kinds of events. I’m not quiet ready to pack-up and leave to do emergency communications yet anyways.
I will go into more details later. I have spent the week getting supplies and learning how to build myself a J-Pole antenna for my Ham Radio that was now confirmed for arriving at my apartment on Saturday afternoon.
I had never used a blowtorch before, so I was a little nervous, but there’s nothing to it, it’s literally just like soldering … on a larger scale …
I’ve been getting GREAT reception and people are saying i’m coming in loud and clear from repeaters all over !
Here are a couple of pictures of the antenna that I built 100% on my own, as well as a bad pic of my new “ham shack”
Notice the tops of the tree’s on the left. I’m on the 3rd Floor.
I’ll eventually post something about how i made the J-Pole, in detail, and a review of my Yaesu FT-2800M. Thanks for reading and 73′s from VE2RIF !
I do not have it in my hands yet, but the Ham Radio that my friend ordered for me has arrived and is now at my mothers house. (My friend is my mum’s neighbor, in Blainville) Since I don’t have an antenna yet, and since my car isn’t a great one, I will wait until the weekend for her to bring it to me. I can’t wait to see it / use it !!!
Anyone reading this in montreal with a swr meter ???
73′s de VE2 RIF …
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