New: FARS Winlink UHF Node

FARS now has a Winlink node in High River, co-located with the VA6HRH repeater.

This relay node interfaces with the Winlink CMS nodes on the Internet using the AREDN mesh network, relaying your messages originating over RF to the Winlink servers.

Node ID : VE6OKT-10
Freq: 431.000 MHz
Baud: 1200
Protocol: Connect via Telnet Winlink

The radio and TNC part of the system is battery powered, and the server is powered by a monitored UPS.

Media Invite for Field Day June 27-28

Save the date – June 27 and 28.

On behalf of the Foothills Amateur Radio Society in Okotoks Alberta, I would like to invite you to meet with the Amateur Radio Operators of your community. The event is the ARRL Field Day for Licensed Radio Amateurs. Throughout North America, ham radio operators will be setting up radio stations in unusual locations and making contact with others as a display and test of their emergency communications capabilities.  It is a 24 hour exercise to test emergency readiness and provide a showcase to members of the public.

Given pandemic protocols, social distancing and a myriad of other precautions, instead of an in-person group event at a central location, this year the event is being held both remotely and virtually, between noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday. Dignitaries, Media and Guests may visit our operating locations via teleconference calls at a time that is convenient for them. Please ask for the teleconference links and advise your schedule when you reply to this note so that we may give you our undivided attention during your visit.

Ham radio remains relevant even among all of the “modern” communication conveniences we enjoy today. In 2013 we were called upon by the Alberta Government and were at the heart of communications during the first 72 hours of the Southern Alberta Floods as all conventional communications infrastructure had failed.  55 Ham Radio operators worked around the clock keeping the Town of High River connected to the outside world.  We were setting up for Field Day 2013 when the floods hit.  We practice at Field Day to prepare such events.  That story can be seen here  Like most communities, ours does not expect a major emergency and losing communications can quickly turn an emergency into a real disaster.

I hope this email meets with your approval and look forward to your virtual visit at our event.  It should be fun and is also a validation to the many Amateur Radio volunteers who have spent time providing emergency communications, public service work and other benefits throughout our community and region.

If you need more information or would like to confirm your visit please contact me so that we ensure we welcome you and spend time during your visit to answer your inquiries.  Please feel free to cascade this to other members of your team.  I sincerely hope that you can find a bit of time in your calendar to join us.

Yours truly,

Vince d’Eon

Secretary, Foothills Amateur Radio Society

Assistant Emergency Coordinator, Alberta Amateur Radio Emergency Service

VA6CTV is not feeling well

The VA6CTV repeater in Calgary is not feeling well. It started feeling this way on June 14th. The characteristics of its illness are that the receiver is hard of hearing and the transmitter seems to be running with reduced output.

Due to pandemic protocols at the site it may take some time for repairs to be effected. 

Please view our entire repeater network and pick an alternate repeater. The next closest to Calgary is VE6HRA.

June 24 update: a receiver fault is the current suspect. A plan is in place for replacement, but will take a number of days to implement. Stay tuned…

Meeting location change starting in March 2020

Please note that due to enactment of Pandemic protocols at the Okotoks Firehall, FARS has relocated their meeting to the Okotoks Public Library an online format via Zoom on the same dates and times as usual. This change is in place until further notice.

Members receive a monthly email with the invitation. Guests are always welcome and may request an invitation by emailing the Secretary.

Winter Field Day – Jan 25-26 2020

Winter Field Day is fast approaching. It will be held in DeWinton at the home of Stephen and Ruth Whiley. The event itself runs from 1200h MT Saturday January 25 to 1200h MT Sunday January 26. Operators are needed for all modes. Volunteers are needed for set-up and tear-down. As we are operating a Home class station, the rules (pdf) are much more flexible on set-up ahead of time thus will be done on a schedule depending on the weather. There will be two additional antennas to erect: a 20/40/80m Fan Dipole and a dedicated 40m dipole. Operators required for Phone on 10m through 160m, CW on 40m and whatever other band is open, and Digital if someone has a station they can bring along. Snacks and drinks will be provided for volunteers and operators during the weekend and dinner will be provided Saturday evening. If you are able to help out please email fieldday at fars dot ca.

Update: Computer setup is on Saturday January 18th at 1130h – 1730h and all outdoor work on Sunday January 19th at 1300-1700h.

FARS Network Update – Mar 9

With thanks to Stephen, Ty, and Wade, the team and I made a trip through deep and drifting snow to the repeater network hub site. A provisional transmitter was installed, returning the network to an operational state, with the all repeaters linked again.

FARS Network offline Feb 10

Normally our network operates in a full-time always-linked manner. An equipment failure earlier today is impacting operations to the backbone of our network. All repeaters are operating in standalone mode. Please do not expect any linked functionality until we correct this issue.