On December 1, 2009, President Al Penney, delivered the following Annual Report:
Once again, the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club has had a busy and productive year. Among other things, the club made significant progress on its comprehensive beacon project, finished first in a grid expedition during the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, and initiated a 5.8 GHz telephone project to assist the club’s future contest ambitions.
Under the leadership of Doug VE3XK, the club assembled a professional-quality set of VHF/UHF beacons and associated antennas and power supply. Following successful trials, the beacons were relocated from FN15wg to FN15vf in July 2009. The stacked antennas, mounted on a single common mast, should launch most of the power at an elevation angle of 20-30 degrees above the horizon. Due largely to the dedication of WCARC members, Ottawa is fast becoming a focal point of weak-signal VHF/UHF activity, as evidenced by a very complimentary mention in CQ Magazine. The beacons will permit local Amateurs to calibrate their equipment, and will alert others to propagation openings.
In June, several members of the club returned to FN04xa for the ARRL June VHF QSO Party. Led by Al VO1NO, the team consisted of Doug VE3XK, Ken VA3KA, Barney VA3BGB, Andy VE3NVK, Stephen VE3LWX, Glenn VE3XRA, Bill VE3NNQ, and Air Cadets Erin, Abigail, Michael and Dalton, all of whom are studying to earn their Basic licenseAmateur Radio in a course taught by Al VO1NO. In a very busy weekend, they made 496 QSOs and 176 multipliers for a score of 134,816, a significant improvement over the previous year. This was enough to finish first in any category in Canada, and first in the ARRL Central Region in the Multi-Op category. The club is looking forward to defending their excellent results in next year’s competition, by which time the Air Cadets should be licensed!
Later in the year, Doug VE3XK reported to the club that certain 5.8 GHz cordless telephones could be used as Amateur transceivers. Given enough telephones, the club could greatly increase its Grid Expedition score by lending them to rovers passing through the area, and because of rules that permit multi-op stations to work their own operators on microwave frequencies. In a trial, Doug and Barney VA3BGB determined that far from being limited to a few hundred feet as advertised, the telephones actually had ranges measured in kilometres. Based on this, the club approved the acquisition of a number of these phones, and several members are actively investigating how to connect high gain antennas to the devices.
In January the club presented a plaque to Manfred VE3WK in appreciation for his donation of two complete repeaters. A similar presentation was made to Kieran VA3KS in September for his donation of antennas and other equipment, the sale of which greatly bolstered the club’s bank account. In November, both ManfredManfred and Kieran, as well as Phil VE3CIQ, were inducted as the club’s first lifetime members. Phil’s place of honour is due to his invaluable assistance in obtaining and maintaining access to commercial towers for the club’s repeaters and beacons system.
The club had a variety of interesting guest speakers and entertainment. January saw Al VO1NO deliver a presentation titled “Chase Me Charlies”, an account of how the Allies developed electronic countermeasures to Nazi radio-controlled bombs in World War II. In February club members watched a video presentation on the 3Y0X DX-pedition to Peter 1 Island in 2006. In March, club members received 3 presentations. Doug VE3XK gave a detailed briefing on the club’s repeaters, and Rick VE3CVG demonstrated a portable Web server. Rick also unveiled the WCARC Minutes Generator software that he developed with his friend Bob Chambers. This excellent program permits the club secretary to generate meeting minutes much more swiftly and accurately than previously possible, and is now in use by the club.
In April Dave VE3KL described the excellent attributes of the NEC2 antenna software developed by Dutch Ham Arie Voors. In May, Al VO1NO briefed the membership on the club’s Grid Expedition in June. Due to scheduling difficulties with Sobey’s, the June and July meetings were held in the Diefenbunker, thanks to Brian Jeffrey VE3UU and the Directors of the Diefenbunker Museum. The June meeting featured a roundtable discussion on all aspects of the Expedition, from antennas to food, and photos of the event were displayed at the July meeting.
August was the Club’s Show and Tell evening. Of note, Peter VA3PJ displayed several pieces of radar equipment in which he had played a part in developing. Doug VE3XK also gave an update on the status of the club’s beacons. In September Air Cadet Erin Burrell, a member of the Grid Expedition, demonstrated the CO2 powered car that she had built for her technology class. Inspired by the expedition, she painted “VE3WCC” on either side! The members also watched an interesting presentation called “Zoom” on the powers of 10. To cap off the evening, Al VO1NO described Operation Crossroads, the American atomic bomb tests in the Bikini Atoll in 1946.
In October Michael VE3WMB described HF Portable Operations, and demonstrated several innovative techniques and pieces of equipment. The following month Norm VE3LC spoke about Amateur applications for Bluetooth technology, especially appropriate given the new law that bans the use of handheld communications devices while driving.
Membership peaked at 32 members. Attendance at the meetings also increased significantly over 2008.
Some “off-site” activities by club members should also be recognized. Ken Asmus VA3KA gave a presentation on our grid expedition to FN04xa, to the Ontario VHF Association October meeting in Toronto. Doug Leach VE3XK also gave a presentation on our VHF/UHF beacon project. Several towers were disassembled in the field and the tower sections and antennas placed in storage for sale by WCARC, for fund-raising. WCARC exhibit tables at Iroquois (April), Smith Falls (May) and Carp (September) raised substantial revenue for club activities. Doug VE3XK also gave a presentation on the VHF/UHF beacon project to the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club. Our WCARC web site, under web master Rick Bandla VE3CVG continues to provide a comprehensive display of club activities for members and others interested in our many past projects. Finally, Al VO1NO is engaged in teaching a Basic Course to a group of 10 Air Cadets and parents.
Although a relatively small club, the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club has maintained a well-deserved reputation for technical expertise and excellent operators. This is no accident - it has taken a lot of hard work by a number of very dedicated individuals to put the West Carleton Club where it is. I ask you to join me in a round of applause for those people, and for the success of the club in general. I also remind everyone that each and every member of the club has something to offer - please remember this the next time the club needs a volunteer!
Al Penney (VO1NO)