There was an excellent article on WCARC and our DXpeditions in the West Carleton Review - July 21, 2011.

On December 6, 2011, President Al Penney (VO1NO), delivered the following Annual Report:

The West Carleton Amateur Radio Club has had yet another busy and productive year! The club regained first place in Canada in its annual grid expedition for the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, played a key part in the ongoing development of the City of Ottawa’s antenna policy, initiated a 24 GHz project using police radars, and scored a major publicity success.

The club’s professional-quality set of VHF/UHF beacons have continued to put Ottawa on the VHF/UHF map. Reception reports have been received from all over North America and as far away as the Azores. The beacons were down several times early in the new year due to a defective ground fault circuit breaker, but thanks to Dale (VE3XZT), that has been fixed and the beacons have functioned well since then.

In June several members of the club returned to FN04xa for the fourth year in a row to take part in the ARRL June VHF QSO Party. Having finished second in Canada in last year’s contest, the group was determined to regain their rightful position at the very top! Led by Al VO1NO, the team consisted of Barney (VA3BGB), Glenn (VE3XRA), Greg (VA3OMP), Sam (VE3CMS), Andy (VE3NVK), Ray (VE3BBV), Allan (VA3FMN), Michael (VE3ARL), Bert (VE2ZAZ), several hams from Hamilton, and Air Cadets Erin, Kristin and Kristian. In a very busy weekend, they were credited with XXX QSOs and XXX multipliers for a score of 86,335 points. This was an improvement from the previous year, and made us top multiop station not just in our category in Canada, but also in all of the ARRL Central region! Part of our resurgence can be attributed to increasing our multiplier totals by expanding into the 2.4 GHz band. This was thanks in large part to Glenn (VE3XRA), who used WiFi equipment and helical antennas built by Clare (VE3NPC). The sight of the antennas on tripods alongside country roads made many a driver slow down, fearing a police radar trap!

The move into 2.4 GHz was sparked by the decision of many of the club’s members to participate in a bulk purchase of 1-watt WiFi USB adaptors. In addition to operating in part of the Amateur allocation in that range, they permit solid WiFi access from greater distances than would normally be the case.

The club also initiated a move into even higher frequencies. After a presentation on police radars and breathalysers by Greg (VA3OMP) at the March meeting, Greg’s boss granted the club permission to use several defective radars, and several members are attempting to convert the units into transceivers that can be used in the June contest. Greg’s presentation also sparked a great deal of discussion in how to jam police radars!

The club had a variety of interesting guest speakers and entertainment. January saw two presentations. Bert (VE2ZAZ) briefed everyone on his Bluetooth-radio interface kit. Interest was so great that more than 30 were eventually sold to club members. Barrie (VE3BSB) described the high-altitude balloon activities of the Lanark Space Agency in a presentation titled “Amateur Radio Journeys to the Edge of Space”. The agency must be doing something right, as they recently set a new world altitude record for amateur balloons.

There were also two presentations at the February meeting. Glenn (VE3XRA) gave an update on the 5.8 GHz phone system, while Michael (VE3WMB) spoke about “New Digital Modes and Old Hellschriber”. In March Rick (VE3CVG) described the past, present and future of D-STAR radio, and in April Ray (VE3FN) spoke about Amateur Radio Microwave Communications. It should be noted that at the April meeting the membership voted to support the Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group’s efforts to develop D-STAR Radio in the area with a $300 donation.

Dave (VE3KL) gave a technical description of the many uses of ferrites in Amateur Radio at the May meeting. June saw another technical presentation as Bert (VE2ZAZ) spoke about Spectrum Analyzers and Network Analyzers. It included a demonstration of an analyzer so big that required 3 men and 2 horses to get it up the steps!

In July, Al (VO1NO) described the club’s Grid Expedition for the June VHF Contest, while in August fellow-grid expedition member Glenn (VE3XRA) spoke about radio astronomy and his interesting career experiences as a radio astronomer. Al VO1NO was the guest speaker again in September. In a presentation titled “A Race on the Edge of Time” he described how the British developed not just radar, but an entire air defence system as well, and how it defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain.

October and November marked a return to purely Amateur Radio topics. In October, Andy (VE3NVK) described the wide range of digital modes available using the FLDigi software. The following month Greg (VE3YTZ) delivered an informative talk on TAPR’s Software Defined Radio project.

Membership peaked at 32 regular members and 3 life members. Attendance at the meetings remained very high, with 26 at the February meeting - possibly a club record:

  • January 15
  • February 26
  • March 18
  • April 19
  • May 14
  • June 15
  • July 16
  • August 12
  • September 11
  • October 16
  • November 16

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)