It’s Field Day time again, where amateur radio operators get to showcase and practice their emergency communication by setting up and operating a radio station under impromptu or unusual conditions.
Once again, local pandemic conditions have restricted access to our usual preferred site, so we are adapting by once again setting up a hybrid operation.
The club station VE6FAR will be on air as a 5E station on emergency power, operated by Vince VE6LK and Dann VE6TD, along with some guest operators.
Operators that wish to join in the live action can attend on site and operate out of the Okotoks Composite High School parking lot on Woodhaven Drive. A logging computer and wireless access can be provided. Contact Vince or Dann for details.
A Zoom video conference call will be set up and open starting at 11:30 MDT for those wishing to join.
[call has ended]
When joining, please be sure to set your name and call sign in your Zoom client.
Feel free to drop in and encourage the operating team at any time during the 24 hour event.
Into the late hours Saturday, you may find the team has signed off for the night. If so, come back to the Zoom session Sunday morning some time.
Please be advised that the VE6HRP repeater and the BURMIS digipeater located in Burmis is offline. Watch this website for further updates.
A quick note of appreciation to those of you that participated and dropped into our Zoom call (which kept those of us that were contesting spurred along nicely thank you) over the past couple of days.
We had participants and visitors from Ontario, Alberta, Texas, California, North Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. One intrepid Ontarian bundled up and worked off his back deck with his KX3 in the -8C and 70% humidity weather (brrrrr) while the other had firmware issues 🙁 with his KX3 and then discovered a bad PL259. One Californian tested out his IC-705. Our friend from North Carolina was hooting and hollering at his large run of over 100 QSOs in under an hour on 40m voice last evening. The Texan had fun with a quick run in CQ. The four Okotokians were hampered by very challenging conditions with customary high noise conditions, and we all dealt with low SFI and A indicators and, sadly, no sunspots throughout the contest.
We worked a whole lot of single-operator at home (1 Hotel) class stations and, for me, a surprising number of Outdoor stations in cold climates. While you almost expect to hear of the guy in Texas or Arizona on their deck in January, you don’t usually expect it in Ontario or Minnesota!
Fun was had by all, even if we did let out the occasional bad word in frustration during a momentary challenge placed in front of us. Like the guy in RI who was only working stations by the number “any number twos? ok now number three…” as if he were rare DX, hmph, half an hour later he was working sixes. [I’m over it already – and I got my RI multiplier elsewhere!]
We are all eager to see the final score total when results are released. For those of you who have completed your logging and already told us you’ve submitted to the group – thank you. If you have not yet submitted your log, please do not forget to enter the Club Name exactly as VE6FAR Cycle25 in your logging software, and to verify it is there before you submit it.
FARS is participating in the Winter Field Day contest this weekend. We will be socially distanced and operating from our homes however we will be aggregating our scores together. Members have been sent an email with directions + a Zoom link to drop in and visit. If guests wish to participate please contact the Secretary and request the info packet by 9pm on January 29th.
Thanks to Dale, Gerry and Dann for restoring the VA6CTV machine back to normal operations. Kindly contact us if you notice anything amiss.
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 http://vincedeon.com/amateur-radio/how-field-day-became-a-reality-the-story-of-the-high-river-flood-of-2013/. 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.
Secretary, Foothills Amateur Radio Society
Assistant Emergency Coordinator, Alberta Amateur Radio Emergency Service
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…
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.
Pass the word around – Dann and Vince are holding a Ham Radio Basic Course from March 5 to April 5. Follow this link for more information and to sign up.
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.