On December 18, 2017, President Clayton Smith (VE3IRR), delivered this Annual Report:

The West Carleton Amateur Radio Club had another productive year in 2017. Among other activities, the Club participated in the ARRL June VHF Contest from grid square FN15 for the fourth year, and continued to grow its Broadband-Hamnet mesh network.

In June, the Club once again competed in the ARRL June VHF Contest. Like the past three years, the Corkery Community Centre was the base of operations, located in grid square FN15xg. Donations and loans of station equipment played a big part in the success of the event. Special thanks go to Ray VE3BVV and Wayne VE3CZO for their help with transportation, setup and tear-down, and to Doug VE3XK and Robert VE3BE for their help preparing the site in advance of the event.

The contest operators were Bill VE3MMQ, Ray VE3FN, Bert VE2ZAZ, Luc VE3JGL, Doug VE3XK, Clayton VE3IRR, Andy VE3NVK, and Ray VE3BVV. Many others visited the station and helped with planning and logistics. Conditions on the six metre band were poorer than last year, which limited the number of QSOs and multipliers on that band. But we were able to make better use of the time between sporadic E openings by making digital meteor scatter contacts, and improved our performance on most of the higher bands. In all, we made 398 contacts (compared to 506 last year) for a total of 105,625 points (compared to 141,372 last year). We retained our 1st place standing in Canada, while moving up to 8th place among unlimited multi-op stations (from 10th place last year). Our score was 37th overall (compared to 36th last year). Contacts were made on all amateur bands from 50 MHz to 24 GHz. Microwave contacts made using SDRs, WiFi equipment, cordless phones and tellurometers continued to provide a big boost to our score.

The Ottawa-Gatineau Broadband-Hamnet, one of the Club’s projects, continues to grow with 35-45 nodes on the mesh network at any given time. Since last year, more Gatineau stations have joined the network. Further information about the Club’s efforts can be found at http://ve2zaz.net/BBHN-Ottawa_www/.

The club had a full schedule of interesting presentations. Materials from many of them are available on the club’s web site.

Attendance at this year’s meetings was up compared to last year, averaging around 15:

  • January: 17
  • February: no meeting (Family Day)
  • March: 17
  • April: 12
  • May: 10
  • June: 12
  • July: 23
  • August: 12
  • September: 13
  • October: 16
  • November: 20
  • December: 15

Membership was substantially higher than last year, with 25 regular members and three life members. The increase in attendance and membership can likely be attributed to the change from Tuesday night to Monday night meetings made late in 2016. This change was made to avoid a conflict with the Diefenbunker radio group’s meetings.

The Ottawa Valley Upper Frequencies SSB Net continued to operate weekly throughout the year, with participation typically between five and ten stations. Stations from the Montreal area participated when conditions permitted. Glenn VE3XRA hosted the net most weeks.

The Club’s website was overhauled over the course of 2017. It’s now hosted by Amazon, which has improved speed and reliability. Web pages are automatically generated from template files using a static site generator (Jekyll), and all changes are tracked using a revision control system (git). All existing content has been preserved during the transition, and presentations have been converted from PowerPoint to the more accessible PDF format.

On September 25, Club member Paul Boltwood (VE3PLE) passed away. Paul had been a member of WCARC since obtaining his amateur radio certificate with Advanced Qualification in 2014. His contributions to the Club included substantial help with measurements and connectorization of the coax, heliax and rotator cables for the June Contest, hosting the VHF/UHF beacons and design and construction of the 2m WSPR beacon (in progress). He also made presentations on WSPR (March 2015) and amateur astronomy (September 2016). Paul and his wife Lee donated his amateur radio and test equipment to the club for auction to club members and local friends who would be able to use and enjoy it (with proceeds going to the club for future expenses and projects). This donation made a significant boost to the Club’s finances. The WCARC Executive and members sincerely appreciate the generosity of the Boltwood family.

The Club’s 6m, 2m, 1.25m and 70cm beacons continue to operate from the Boltwood home in Stittsville. The beacons have been operating well, and can be heard easily throughout most of the Ottawa area. The Club receives occasional reports of distant reception. The Club’s 33cm and 23cm beacons, located on the roof of the YMCA in downtown Ottawa, continue to function well.

Please join me in thanking all the people who made 2017 a successful year for the club: the executive, presenters, webmaster, net controllers, contest operators, members and visitors.

Clayton Smith (VE3IRR)
President, WCARC