On December 4, 2012, President Al Penney (VO1NO), provided the following Annual Report:

The West Carleton Amateur Radio Club has had yet another busy and productive year. The club maintained first place in Canada in its annual grid expedition for the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, played a key part in the development of the City of Ottawa’s antenna policy, successfully completed a 24 GHz project using police radars, and received noteworthy mention in TCA, Canada’s national Amateur Radio magazine.

In June several members of the club returned to FN04xa for the fifth year in a row to take part in the ARRL June VHF QSO Party. Led by Al (VO1NO), the team consisted of Ken (VA3KA), Bill (VE3MMQ), Glenn (VE3XRA), Ray (VE3BBV), Allan (VA3FMN), Michael (VE3ARL), Bert (VE2ZAZ), Alex, and Air Cadets Kristin and Darla. In a very busy weekend, they were credited with a score of 278,496 points. This was a huge improvement from the previous top score of 134,816 in 2009, and made us top station in Canada, and number 20 of all stations anywhere in the world! This can be attributed to several factors, including an excellent opening on 6 meters, but also our continuing expansion into new bands in search of QSOs and multipliers. This year we operated on 24 GHz thanks to the engineering expertise of Bert (VE2ZAZ) and surplus defective police radars courtesy of Greg (VA3OMP). If last year’s WiFi antennas caused many a driver to slow down upon sighting them, then this year’s modified police radars must have caused consternation to owners of (illegal) radar detectors! Dana (VE3KU), Six Metres and Down columnist in TCA magazine, asked for a description of the expedition. After a few iterations to ensure that no “classified” information would be released to our competition, Al VO1NO submitted an article that was published later that year.

The club had a variety of interesting guest speakers and entertainment. January saw Al (VO1NO) describe the installation of a ScanEagle UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) system in the Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown in time for its deployment to the Mediterranean for NATO duties. It included technical duties of its control system, and a video of launches and recoveries. In February, Bert (VE2ZAZ) described the process he uses for the design and manufacture of printed circuit boards for his projects.

Due to renovations at the Sobeys, the March meeting was held at Mobile Knowledge thanks to Jeff (VE3EFF). Instead of a guest speaker, members engaged in a ‘show and tell” of their latest projects. The guest speaker for April was Al (VO1NO), who described his expedition to Bon Portage Island for the 2011 IOTA Contest.

In May, the club decided to cancel the http://www.wc-arc.org domain name to save the club webhosting fees and save the webmaster, Rick (VE3CVG), considerable work. Up til then he had maintained identical information on 2 different websites - http://www.wc-arc.org, the site which had been set up while trying to recover the original club URL; and the long standing url, http://wcarc.on.ca/. The original url was recovered thanks to the efforts of Jeff (VA3ISP).

Also in May it was announced that WCARC secretary Glenn (VE3XRA) had been named Deputy Director for the RAC Ontario North East section. As well, Bert (VE2ZAZ) delivered an excellent description of how he modified defective police 24 GHz radars to operate as full duplex transceivers.

In June, Bert (VE2ZAZ) demonstrated a USB dongle Software Defined Receiver that operated between 64 MHz and 1.7 GHz. Al (VO1NO) spoke about the plan for the upcoming Grid Expedition in July.

The possibility of vehicle warning radars was discussed in July when Glenn (VE3XRA) reported on a meeting he had attended with representatives of Bosch from Germany concerning their desire to use spectrum around 77 GHz for short range automotive radar. Later that meeting, Al (VO1NO) gave an account of the club’s Grid Expedition to FN04xa.

In August, Andy (VE3NVK) demonstrated his most recent acquisition - a Raspberry Pi computer. Al (VO1NO) also spoke about Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) propagation. For the September meeting members had a spirited discussion as part of a roundtable discussion on all aspects of Amateur Radio.

Bert (VE2ZAZ) spoke again in October, this time about automating instrument measurements. Rounding out the year in November, Doug (VE3XK) delivered an interesting presentation on RF propagation.

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. There have been several discussions about implementing a beacon for 1296 MHz. The current setup has physical room for an additional module, but unfortunately the club does not have the financial resources to undertake such a project at present. As well, the head of the Beacon project, Doug (VE3XK), is investigating moving the beacons in order to improve their coverage.

In April, Glenn (VE3XRA) reported that the Ottawa City Council had approved its new Municipal Concurrence and Public Consultation Process at their March 18 meeting. Representatives of the ad-hoc group of Radio Amateurs from across the Ottawa area, formed to respond to the City proposal, met with City staff in March and reached an agreement that met the City’s concerns for encouraging antennas to be located in less visually intrusive locations, while also recognizing the requirements for adequate antennas to serve Radio Amateur needs. Several members of the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club played important parts in this consultation process.

Membership peaked at 23 regular members and 3 life members. Attendance at the meetings was down considerable from the previous year:

  • January 14
  • February 10
  • March 10
  • April 8
  • May 15
  • June 8
  • July 10
  • August 9
  • September 11
  • October 18
  • November 13

The Executive recognized the decreased attendance, and made efforts to improve it, with some success late in the year. This is a continuing issue however, and will be monitored.

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. Once again, 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)