Archive for June, 2010

NTS, the OPN and the ISS

June 29, 2010

The following is from my Personal Blog ( describing an interesting contact made early Sunday Morning during Field Day.  Just a reminder that in this day and age the NTS can reach out…

The highlight of  Field Day came much later but did involve the NTS when around 0100 local with a Carleton Student at the controls.  There was a station calling CQ Field Day but every time they made the contact at the end the operator asked the contacted station if they could handle NTS Traffic for the bonus points and strange as it seems none of the contacted stations were willing to pick up the traffic.  When we finally got through to the station I instucted my operator (I think her name was Maria from Carleton U) to accept the traffic and I would copy it.  To be honest I was expecting the usual message to “Uncle Bill from your nephew at the Ham Radio Exibit at Field Day” but as the sending station was relaying the message you could hear a pin drop as the recipient was given:

Now this was something…  I have been connected with the NTS for many years and this was the first time I had ever heard of a NTS message being addressed to the ISS.  We accepted reciept of the message and then continued on with our Field Day after explaining to Maria the functions and history of the NTS… 
After Field Day I contacted the Ontario Section Traffic Manager and asked how I would route traffic to the ISS and it was decided I would try via AMSAT.  The local Canadian AMSAT Rep who happens to live in Ottawa (VE3VIG) send an email to the ARRL and at this time we are waiting to hear back to see if we send it to NASA or the Russian Space Federation for relay.  From what we have been told so far it appears that this is the first time a Canadian Amateur Radio Station has had to pass traffic to outer space via NTS and it could also be the first time that any NTS Message has been sent to outer  space and we are eagerly awaiting routing instructions and also to find out if indeed this was a first for Amateur Radio.
As I said earlier this was the highlight of Field Day for me…
Bob Sharp VA3QV Net Manager

1530hrs 2nd Region Net (2rn-1530)

June 28, 2010

From the email inbox comes the following:





We do however meet with the 2nd region (2RN) at 1345hrs and 1830hrs daily on 3.925 to pass traffic.


Bob Sharp Net Manager OPN

RAC Ontario Section Bulletin for June 26, 2010

June 28, 2010

RAC Ontario Section Bulletin for June 26, 2010


1. RAC Membership Campaign

Radio Amateurs of Canada has announced a year-long membership campaign starting on Field Day 2010.  RAC is providing campaign aterials such as brochures, and is asking each RAC member to prsonally ask 20 amateurs to join RAC — whether they join or not, just ask 20.  The goal is to increase RAC membership by 1,000 over
the next year.  For information and campaign materials, visit

— Peter West, VE3HG, RAC VP Public Relations

2. OPN Seeks Two Net Control Stations

Due to a change in work schedules, the Ontario Phone Net (OPN) needs
a new operator to run the Tuesday night net. You start by checking
into the Second Region Net on 3.925 MHz at 18:30 Eastern, checking
for traffic to Ontario.  At 19:00 Eastern you QSY to 3.742 MHz and
run OPN.

We also have an open slot on Saturdays with the same format.  If you
can help out, please contact Bob VA3QV, via OPN, or via email at
opnreport (at)

— Bob Sharp, VA3QV, OPN Net Manager

3. Milton Hamfest

The Burlington Amateur Radio Club will hold its Ontario Hamfest 2010
on Saturday, July 10, at the Milton Agricultural Fairgrounds in
Milton.  Open to the public at 9 a.m.; talk-in on 146.52 simplex. For
more information visit

— RAC Events Database

4. K2BSA Special Event

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will celebrate 100 years of Scouting
at this year’s National Jamboree from July 26 to August 4.  K2BSA
will have a large demonstration station operating for the duration of
the Jamboree.  Note that this is NOT the October Jamboree-On-The-Air,
this is a 3000-acre event at Fort A.P.Hill, Virginia.  A special QSL
card will be available for a self-addressed stamped envelope.  For
more information visit

— Amateur Radio Newsline

5. PileUP! Magazine

The Contest Club of Finland’s PDF magazine Pileup!, issue 14(2), is
now available for free download at .
The theme of the issue is “Low-Cost Contesting.”   It’s about 4.4
megabytes to download.

— ARRL Contest Update

Bulletin sent from Official Bulletin Manager Brad Rodriguez, VE3RHJ.

Saturdays Net

June 28, 2010

Our Field Day session of the OPN was a great success…  Net Control was VE3RAM (Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club) from Ottawa with VA3QV at the mike and the net had 10 stations checking in with 9 pieces of formal traffic passed.

We had Eastern Ontario, Central Ontario,South-Western Ontario and North Eastern Ontario covered.along withh the GTA.  We did not have 80m conditions into North Western Ontario.

I thank those who checked in and as there were some new calls heard I hope they come back again for a visit…


Bob Sharp VA3QV Net Manager


Photo courtesy VE3EMB- Above picture shows the Lighthouse we operated from with the Club Trailer.  Due to damage from the earthquake we did not have access to the interior or the top railing so the 80m antenna was tied to the lower railing about 10 feet agl… NVIS seemed to work well for the net…bob


June 23, 2010

Approx 30 minutes (1340hrs) a 5.5 magnatude earthquake struck Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.  Sources are putting the epicenter close to Buckingham Quebec.

There are reports of minor damage…

The Cell Phone Networks seem to be overloaded….Our family is with Telus, Rogers, Virgin and Wind and we all had slight troubles checking in with eachother…

Internet seems to be OK as I am posting this…

Bob Sharp VA3QV OPN Net MGR


June 22, 2010

Due to a change in work schedules James VE3TPZ is no longer able to cover the Tuesday night net.  You start by checking into the 2nd region net at 1830 checking for traffic to Ontario.  At 1900 you QSY to 3.742 and run thr net as normal.

We also have an open slot on Saturdays with the same format as Tuesdays…


Bob Sharp VA3QV Net Manager

Ontario Field Services- ARES and the NTS

June 20, 2010

As most of you aware the  Field Services for RAC  in Ontario is made up of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS)

The NTS meets every night on the Ontario Phone Net which as you know is held at 1900 hrs eastern (EDST or EST) as close to 3,742 that we can find a clear spot to operate from


In addition our cousins ARES meet several times a week on HF and also on the IRLP networks. 

You can find them on Sunday on 7.080 at 1300 hrs eastern along with at 2000 hrs on IRLP reflector  9035

On Mondays they can be found on 3.650 at 2100 hrs

On Wednesdays they can be found again on the IRLP Reflector 9035 at 2000hrs.

On Thursdays they hold a net on the IRLP Reflector 0040 at 2000 hrs as well.

For more information on the ARES in Ontario please check out their website


Todays story (and yes there was a point to the information above) starts just before 1300 hrs in Hutton Park in Ottawa when VA3QV Bob (OPN Net Manager) decided to take his QRP Radio (Yaesu FT 817) out to the Park to test out a modification to his W3EDP Antenna.

Anyway in my own words…  If you zoom in as much as you can on the map you will see a baseball backstop on the top right of the map and a row of trees below on the left.

I strung my W3EDP from a line thrown over the backstop to the tree on the bottom right of the map.  I then adjusted the lenght of the antenna so it was approx 15 feet above ground at either end and approx 10 feet above ground in the middle as I was hoping for a NVIS style of operating.  Hearing the Ontario Swap Shop on 7.055 before the ARES Net Started did not fill me with confidence but at 1300 I tried 7.080 and was able to be checked in by the Net Control Station Bob VE3YX in Deep River Ontario with a good signal report.  Seeing how long 40m usually is I was suprised as he was on how good the signals were between us.

The above “Google Map”  image will give you an indication of the distance between the stations although Radio Waves don’t take hwy 17 but its close enough for an example…

For the duration of the Net I had good copy on most of the participants although some of them had more than a bit of trouble with my QRP Signal not getting over the static level they had at their locations.  One of the stations checking in was VE3NCQ Austin who is a regular on the OPN as well as the ARES EC for Chatam Kent Ontario.  He came to the net wondering if anyone could handle traffic for Ottawa and although he could not hear me I could hear him so relaying through the NCS the traffic was passed to  Ottawa and then my reciept of the traffic was relayed to Austin via the NCS in Deep River.

Once again the above map is more to show you the area involved as radio waves don’t follow the 416 and the 401…

Now the big thing to remember is that the traffic got passed…  ARES and NTS got together to do it… 

So the moral of the story would be that if you don’t check into the nets who will pass the traffic???

The ARES Nets are filled with skilled communicators who can pass traffic if needed.  Several times a year for exercises the NTS is called out to support various ARES groups.  We work together and we get the job done… 

As net manager for the Ontario Phone nets I ask my NCS stations and liason stations to do their best to check into the Ontario ARES HF Nets and IRLP Nets if they have an outlet to IRLP to better hone their communications skills.  I would hope that my counterparts with the Ontario ARES Nets would be asking their operators to visit the Ontario Phone Net if they have the capabilites for 80m voice for the same reasons.


Bob Sharp VA3QV Net Manager Ontario Phone Net

From the STM

June 20, 2010

An email from the STM advises that the family issues have not been resolved ,but he will do his best to be available for Net Times at least for the short term.

Therefore traffic for the STM can be brought to the net…


Bob Sharp VA3QV OPN Net Manager

Net Business

June 20, 2010

Saturdays session of the OPN has me re-thinking the NCS Station for Field Day Saturday…  I am scheduled to be NCS and as I would be operating as VE3RAM (Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club Field Day Station) from the Science Museum in Ottawa which is less than a km from my place… 

Check out the Museum and my place on and you will see what I mean…

The last two Saturdays the net has been conducted but with limited results…  Last night using the VE3MAZ Echolink RCVR in the Niagara Area I was able to hear the two stations checking into the net (VA3PB and VE3TQT) but they were unable to hear my transmissions from Ottawa.  Going on the assumption that the band conditons will be just as bad as they have been at 1900 in the last few days I am asking if any of the Net Control Stations would like to step in and do an extra shift as there should be a fair amount of Field Day Generated Traffic and the NCS should (in my opinion) be centrally located so they stand a better chance of hearing and being heard…

So if any of the regulars want the overtime please contact me ASAP other than that I will do the best I can with what I have…  100w with an antenna aimed for the best signal going – west..


RAC Ontario Section Bulletin for June 19, 2010

June 19, 2010

RAC Ontario Section Bulletin for June 19, 2010


1. Ontario Phone Net on Field Day

As in previous years the Ontario Phone Net (OPN) will be in operation
for Field Day, running our regular scheduled net activities.  The
“Pre Net” will start at approximately 18:30 hours Eastern time, and
the net at 19:00, as close to 3.742 MHz as conditions will allow.

Remember that there are bonus points awarded for NTS messages being
sent from your field day site to the Ontario Section Manager and the
Ontario Section Emergency Coordinator.

— Bob Sharp, VA3QV, OPN Net Manager


2. Quebec Amateur Radio Balloon

The next flight of the Quebec Amateur Radio Balloon is scheduled for
June 26 or 27, Field Day weekend, weather permitting.  The main
payload will be a VHF-UHF crossband repeater  available to the
amateur community while airborne. Input frequency 145.560 Mhz, with
103.5 Hz tone; output frequency 445.525 Mhz.  The balloon will also
be equipped with APRS and can be followed during the flight.

This will be a bilingual (French and English) directed net with Gerry
VE2AW as net control.  Check-ins are invited to use the phonetic
alphabet and then will be required to provide their nickname and
location.  A commemorative QSL card will be issued to all  stations
which are confirmed by the net control station.  For more information

— RAC Bulletin Service

3. U.S. Licence Exams

The Lambton County Radio Club sponsors a Volunteer Examiner Team
certified to administer examinations in Canada for all three classes
of United States Amateur Radio licenses.  This service is offered to
assist those who would like to obtain a US Amateur Radio license and
call sign without traveling across the border to do so.

Test sessions are scheduled by appointment. Depending on the
availability of examiners, dates and times can be tailored to
accommodate those traveling long distances.  Pre-registration is
REQUIRED and absolutely NO “walk-ins” will be accommodated.  You must
have a mailing address in the U.S. where you can receive domestic
U.S. mail. For more information visit and click on
“USA Licensing”.

— Keith Baker, VA3KSF

4. Radio Telegraphy Web Site

For anyone who is a CW aficionado this is the definitive webpage for
everything you would ever want to know about the mode. From links to
sample spark transmissions to those for many CW clubs it is the place
to look.  Visit

— Glenn Killam, VE3GNA, Ontario STM
Bulletin sent from Official Bulletin Manager Brad Rodriguez, VE3RHJ.