Seaway Valley Amateur Radio Club
1489 Holy Cross Blvd,
Cornwall Ontario K6H 2W9
Spring and Summer 2006
There is a Basic
course running this spring, with 5 students attending. One of these,
Rennie Bachner, has already written the test (a million years of
experience in the electronics business) and is now known affectionately
as VE3AAJ. The rest will be writing the test sometime in late June,
2006. We hope they will all do well.
still haven't got the repeater tower back up. (it's mid april
while I am writing this section) I am not able to do the job alone, and
I am getting no cooperation or interest from the majority of the other
members in the club. Lots of bickering, but no serious offers of
assistance. We need someone to take the tower on as a project and get
the job done. The repeaters both have their antennas mounted on the
same three foot tripod sitting on the hospital roof - I'm surprised
they don't interfere with one another, but they don't. As it stands, we
have a fairly strong in Alexandria, and are workable almost to
Ingleside to the west. Maybe that's the problem - it is actually
working not too badly as it is. Even on the Standby repeater which is
only 3 watts out, we get S7 reports from Alexandria. That's not too bad.
is now a PL tone board attached to both the main and standby VHF
repeaters on 147.180 set for
110.9 hz, to filter out the interference we are getting. If you are
inside our coverage area, I suggest you program your radios to send
110.9 Hz pl tone on both the VHF and UHF repeaters
now. The CTCSS
controller, a TS64, is set up to detect 110.9 hz on the receiver
signal, and then to transmit 110.9 Hz ONLY WHEN IT IS RECEIVING a PL
tone. What this means is that if you set your transceiver to both send
and expect the PL tone, you will only hear audio when the sender is
using a tone. You won't hear the ident, courtesy tones or tail time.
You also won't hear the interference
we are getting since it is not
transmitting a PL tone. Of course, the down side to this is that you
won't hear anybody transmitting without a tone. If you set up your
transceiver to send 110.9 hz, but leave the receive open, you will hear
the repeater normally (without the interference of course).
The object of all that is to make
the VHF repeater IRLP friendly. IRLP requires the sending of only
received audio across the internet. They don't want tail time, courtesy
tones or idents. By setting up the PL tones the way we did, we can use
a transceiver on the frequency at a remote location to connect the
repeater to the IRLP without having to have another transceiver at the
site connected to the repeater's remote port, and needing another
antenna. We have an IRLP kit and it will be set up soon.
The main VHF repeater has a rather
long ident right now. I have added
the characters 'PL 1109' to the end of the ident so anyone passing by
and wanting to use the repeater will know what the required PL tone is.
That's on the assumption they can read a bit of morse code.
The ident you will hear on the main
VHF repeater right now is:
V . . . --
3 . . . -- --
S . . .
V . . . --
C -- . -- .
P . -- -- .
L . -- . .
1 . -- -- -- --
1 . -- -- -- --
0 -- -- -- -- --
9 -- -- -- -- .
have been doing a lot of work in relation to ARES and also in relation
to the Cornwall Emergency Management Committee, for which I am the
SVARC representative, and the Communications Officer. I am also the
ARES EC for the City of Cornwall. I have been revising and expanding on
some work originated by Michael Hickey, the ARES DEC to create Training
material, Pamphlets, and other things for ARES training. For the
city's EMC, I have the use of a room in the city's EMO site for
communications equipment for City frequencies and for Amateur Radio
ARES equipment. We have at this time, the city's EMC transceiver set up
in the room, and four pieces of coax going through the wall to be used
for ARES equipment. That part of the job is only partly done, since the
cables have to be ducted to go up the wall on the outside, and we have
to establish some dual band antennas up there.
I am planning:
To support this, we need to acquire
- one dual band permanent
transceiver with an antenna there;
- one dual band antenna for
another VHF/UHF radio, either provided or a carry-in;
- one dual band antenna for a
packet link with Winlink, which allows using the packet system to send
internet type email messages and also connecting them to the internet
for outside mail operations; and
- one 80/40 HF antenna for an HF
- one or two dual band VHF/UHF
- one VHF radio for packet;
- one HF radio to contact EMO
and other services when the phones are down;
- a power supply capable of
carrying that load;
- a packet controller; and
- a computer.
The site has backup power with an almost instant changeover.
VE3IMP, has installed a dual band antenna at the Red Cross
Building and we have used it a couple of times for testing. It is
presently mounted in the attic of the building and should be relocated
to the rooftop. We need to also install coaxes and antennas at a couple
of other locations where we may be placing operators during an
emergency, such as at the civic complex which is designated as the
major shelter, at the hospital, and wherever else they may be needed.
An antenna system is also needed for the Command Vehicle, which has a
place for us, but no equipment.
April 30th, 2006
VE3HCB represented ARES along with the Red Cross and SDG Emergency
Management at the South Stormont trade show on the 29th of April, 2006.
Since the arena in Long Sault, Ontario, where the show was held, is a
metal clad building, He took along a Diamond XL500HD antenna and a 5
foot tripod, along with an IC2350 dualband and an IC706MK2G and two
handhelds. The XL in the antenna name stands for eXtra Long. It was
assembled inside the building - the designated space was smack in the
center of the arena so there was no chance of running coax to an
outside antenna. At a total height of 24 feet, it reached to within a
foot of the ceiling. If nothing else, it looked pretty impressive. Deaf
as a rock, but impressive.
Even with that antenna, and a 50
watt dualband transceiver, the only repeater that could be used was
VE3PGC in Bonville, about 20 miles to the north. And that happened only
when the large vehicle doors on the west side of the building were
opened. He logged onto the Denver IRLP reflector and let it chatter
away. Repeaters VE3SVC and VA3SDG in Cornwall could be heard, but could
not be worked.
Standing outside the building, a
good half dozen repeaters can be reached with a handheld, and Cornwall
can be worked simplex with 10 watts or less on both VHF and UHF using a
quarter wave dualband antenna on the vehicle. This is an excellent
demonstration of the fact that for us to work out of buildings like
this which are liable to be used as shelters in an emergency, we need
outside antennas to do the job.
About 150 of the pamphlets
originated by VE3IPC and others originally for Prescott and modified
for Cornwall and SDG use were distributed along with EMO's saftey
information. Two of the persons who visited us have asked for
information on a basic course, so I guess I'll have to run another one.
I took the pictures in the middle of
the night, and there wasn't anyone to pose. Joe was napping in front of
station 2, and I was holding the camera. For whatever reason, I didn't
take any pictures during the day when there were a lot of people around.
July 1, 2006
We did Field Day
on the weekend of the 24th of June, again at the schoolhouse at Ault
Park. We had the participation of a number of members, had three
workstations set up (but only ran 2A because only two were operational
most of the time) and managed 130 contacts for 260 points for basic
operation, plus extra points for generators, media relations etc.
The bands were open from the start until about 3am when they closed
down hard until about 7 am. I got a couple of contacts on 6 metres from
georgia and lots of contacts on the other bands. The three
stations set up were an IC706MK2G with an AT180 autotuner (nice), an
FT101 and a TS860C, both with manual tuners. We had several antennas
up, three multibands and one 80 Metre dipole. One of the multibands was
a vertical and it performed quite well. The pink monster - a 5
band antenna made from recycled pink electrical wire - performed very
well. The other multiband, which is a trap tuned dipole that is
supposed to work from 160 through 6 wouldn't tune on 40 or 15, and was
noisy on the other bands. There is obviously something wrong with it,
and we may have to make another pink monster for next year.
The participants were: Tim, VE3HCB; Bert, VA3TL; John H, VE3XAM; John
V, VA3EDG; Doug VE3HTR; and Joe VA3ADB. Joe VE3ADB
commandeered to do the cooking saturday night and filled us up with
burgers and hot dogs. Joe and Tim stayed overnight and tried
valiantly to stay awake. As I said earlier, the bands died right out
about 3 am and it got pretty boring. Bert brought out some coffee
(thank you thank you thank you!) for us in the morning
and took over, Tim and Joe got a few hours sleep, and the teardown
happened around 2 pm. Thanks, Doug, for the use of the two
A reporter from the Seaway News came out saturday afternoon and
interviewed us about what we were doing - and found out we really
didn't know what we were doing - but the report didn't show up in the
paper yet. Tim was interviewed on CJSS 1220, the local AM station
on friday morning over the phone.
Here's some pictures:
706MK2G with AT180 Autotuner, and an IC2350 Dual Band Radio
Kenwood TS-860C transceiver
The weather was nice, not too hot, and a bit of breeze. We thought
there were going to be gobs of mosquitoes after sunset, but there was
only a few. We were able to leave the windows open all night.
We had a couple of fans going (thank you, John V) and that made
it even better.
July 4th: Good News and Bad News
The Good News:
On Monday, June 30th we finally got the tower up. (YAY!) A
foolhardy members went up and drilled holes, put clamps on cables and
then assembeled the tower in the reverse order that anyone of
intelligence would do it; however it worked and the tower is up, with
both the VHF and UHF antennas mounted and working, and while it looks
kind of funny, it works.
Earle VE3IMP, Phillipe VA3PED, John VA3EDG, Doug VE3HTR, Marshall
VE3SAQ and Tim VE3HCB participated in erecting the tower. What we did
was to drill a hole in the wall over the door onto the roof and mount
one anchor there. We connected two guy lines to that anchor and to the
tower. We installed two other sets of Guy wires to the tower and then
stood it up.. While it was being held in place by John and Tim, (and
Doug and Marshall hanging onto guy wires), Earle and Phillipe drilled
holes and mounted the other two anchors, and then fastened the guy
wires to the anchors. Once the guys were properly tensioned, Earle and
Phillipe climbed the tower and installed both sets of antennas. The
feedlines were brought down the guy line that is mounted above the
access door, keeping the cables off the roof surface and out of
One other glitch we encountered is that the turnbuckles didn't fit the
anchors - the hooks were too small. In typical Ham ingenuity, we solved
the problem by taking the guy wire through the hole in the anchor, made
a loop further back in the guy wire that we could then put the
turnbuckle hook into, and then tightened everything up. It looks weird,
but it works. I'll go take some pictures and post them here.
As things are right now, the repeater is good to the other side of the
Quebec border to the east, (Cote de Lac, I believe) reliable to past
Ingleside and useable almost to Morrisburg to the west. To the north,
the only report we have is that Mike, VE3AET was able to check into the
monday night net from his kitchen in Alexandria with a handheld.
The bad news is that we may have to move it because the new digital
police system is getting interference, which they think is from us. The
call I got is that they are getting interference 'big time', and while
I know it won't be from the VHF system - it wasn't being used very much
- it might be from the UHF system, because we were rebroadcasting the
NASA audio feed most of the day. we'll find out.
December 30th: Bad News and Good News
The later part of the summer was pretty quiet, and about all we did
activity wise was to support the local Heart and Stroke organization
when they did a fund raising walk. They were rather well organized at
their base of operations, but rather poorly organized along the walk
itself. The only people actually looking over the walkers was us. I
think if they want us to be part of the event next year, I am going to
have a little talk with the event organizer about what event organizing
is all about before I commit the club to supporting them.
The previous section talks about us finally getting the tower up. Boy,
did we get in trouble! We violated the warranty on the hospital's new
roof, and had to take the tower back down. When we drilled into the
parapet (the short wall around the edge of the roof) we penetrated the
one piece waterproofing membrane that covers the entire roof. In two
places, no less. The contractor that has to honour the warrantee was
not impressed with us at all. They insisted we take the tower down, and
that the roof be repaired to keep the warrantee valid. We consider
ourselves very lucky that the Hospital did not make us pay for the
repairs and did not toss us out of there completely. They even offered
a number of suggestions as to how we could mount the antennas safely
without getting into any trouble. Presently we are back to using the
VHF unity gain antenna that used to be our packet antenna on VE3SVC,
and the UHF antennas are on a wall mounted post that was empty. They
both work very well in itself, and we get a good contact with one of
our members who lives in Alexandria which is about 40 or 45 miles away
as the crow flies. I would be satisfied with leaving them as they
We had a christmas gathering on monday, December 19th at Jazz
Magnolias, and had 17 attendees. We all had a good time, and a fine
dinner. Here's a few pictures taken at the evening:
We wish all of you a good year in 2007, and many more after that too.
Tim Smith, VE3HCB EC Cornwall
Last updated December 30,