On December 17, 2018, President Clayton Smith (VE3IRR), delivered this Annual Report:

The West Carleton Amateur Radio Club had another productive year in 2018. Among other activities, the Club participated in the ARRL June VHF Contest from grid square FN15 for the fifth year, purchased new test equipment for members to borrow, and added a 2m WSPR beacon.

In June, the Club once again competed in the ARRL June VHF Contest. Like the past four 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. The Club was also able to purchase two new antennas from Directive Systems for the 222 and 1296 MHz bands, thanks to a generous donation from the Boltwood family in 2017. We also obtained two new lengths of heliax. Special thanks go to Ray VE3BVV for his help with transportation, setup and tear-down, to Randy VE3AX for rebuilding the Club’s 6m antenna, to Wayne VE3CZO for helping with setup and coax assembly, 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, Doug VE3XK, Clayton VE3IRR, and Ray VE3BVV. Many others visited the station and helped with planning and logistics. Conditions on the six metre band were comparable to the previous year, but the smaller team of operators and the absence of one of our usual rovers limited our score. FT8 was a very popular mode this year, especially on the 6m and 2m bands. We made more FT8 contacts than any other mode. We were also able to make some meteor scatter contacts on 6m between sporadic E openings. In all, we made 333 contacts (compared to 398 last year) for a total of 83,053 points (compared to 105,625 last year). We placed 2nd in Canada, while dropping slightly to 9th place among unlimited multi-op stations (from 8th place last year). Our score was 43rd overall (compared to 37th 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 operate with 25-30 nodes on the mesh network at any given time. Plans are underway to improve coverage by adding nodes at Camp Fortune. 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 17:

  • January: 18
  • February: 23
  • March: 23
  • April: 5
  • May: 18
  • June: 14
  • July: 20
  • August: 19
  • September: 17
  • October: 18
  • November: 14
  • December: 12

Membership was substantially higher than last year, with 33 regular members and three life members. Many new members signed up for the first time this year.

Doug VE3XK proposed spending some of the money donated to the Club by the Boltwood family to buy additional test equipment for use by members. The Club purchased an AAI-N2061SA handheld vector network analyzer and an RF Explorer WSUB1G+ handheld spectrum analyzer. Doug put together accessory kits and documentation for the new equipment, which members can now borrow. In January, he will give a presentation on the operation of the test instruments.

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 6m, 2m, 1.25m and 70cm beacons continue to operate from the Boltwood home in Stittsville, and can be heard easily throughout most of the Ottawa area. Doug VE3XK repaired the 6m and 70cm beacons after a failure, with the help of Wayne VE3CZO. 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 and maintained by Rick VE3CVG, also underwent repairs and are now operating well.

Bert VE2ZAZ upgraded a 2m WSPR beacon that was donated to the Club by the Boltwood family. He added a 3W amplifier and stabilized the output frequency. The beacon now operates under the call sign VE2ZAZ/B from Bert’s home in Gatineau with an output power of 1W, a frequency of 144.490460 MHz, and horizontal polarization. Several local stations have reported reception of the new beacon.

Please join me in thanking all the people who made 2018 a successful year for the Club: the executive, presenters, net controller, contest operators, members and visitors.

Clayton Smith (VE3IRR)
President, WCARC