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Seaway Valley Amateur Radio Club

1489 Holy Cross Blvd, Cornwall Ontario K6H 2W9


Year 2007, 2008

Most of the activity in the club has been wrapped around installaton of a number of communications systems in Cornwall and area in support of the City's Emergency Management Commitee.

We are required to assist officialdom in the case of declared emergencies. This means that we are required to provide our equipment resources and our own skills and abilities if the municipality requests them.

trillium flowerIn support of this, we decided to apply for a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to be used to purchase and install a communications system in the two Emergency operations centers in the city, and in some other critical locations. We didn't expect it to be accepted, and we were very surprised to get a phone call stating that we were approved, and shortly after that, a cheque in the mail for $26,400.

We went shopping. We purchased several Yaesu 8800 VHF/UHF radios (with power supplies and antennas, etc), two Icom 706MK2G radios with tuners, HF antennas, three Alinco DR135T radios with TNCs, three Kantronix KPC3 boxes, and myriads of connectors, adaptors, mounts, tripods, etc.boxes of stuff

We set up the primary EOC system in a room dedicated to communications at the main EOC. It contains a Yaesu 8800 VHF/UHF radio, an Icom 706MK2G HF/VHF/UHF radio, an Alinco DR135T VHF radio for packet, a Computer-Monitor-Printer combination to run the packet radio, a homemade control panel, etc. The computer is running Outpost which uses the packet system to send emails over the radio to another similarily equipped system. We got this all set up, and because the municipality had to shuffle employees around, we lost the room. This equipment is now installed in the corner of a board room.

A five foot 19 inch rack was donated, and by adding a number of rack shelves, we produced a semi-portable system that got installed in the second EOC. It has to be relocatable, so it is in a rack on wheels. Mind you, it weighs 300 pounds. It contains a Yaesu 8800 VHF/UHF radio, an Icom 706MK2G HF/VHF/UHF radio, an Alinco DR135T VHF radio for packet, a Computer- Monitor-Printer combination to run the packet radio, a homemade control panel, rack

Three other single-radio systems were assembled to be used in the Red Cross office, the Cornwall Civic Complex which is the primary shelter, and a mobile unit which can be moved around as necessary.

We ran into an accessability problem with the city administration because they require a high level of liability insurance before we can have access to rooftops owned by the city. This was before RAC offered the accident insurance with their membership. I got a 30 page letter from the 'Risk Analysist and Insurance' clerk at the city listing all the different insurance coverages we had to have, and why we couldn't do anything without it. I got rather upset and shelved the project for several months.

We realized that we could get around all the legal stuff by hiring a licenced electrical contractor to do the physical rooftop installations for us. We did this, and used Barry Latreille Electric in Cornwall, who is the contractor of preference for the city. Their crews know the city buildings very well, and the administration was satisfied to have them do the rooftop work.ladder truck

So, in September of 2008, I got my butt in gear, arranged with the electricians to do the work, and with help from Doug, VE3HTR, Jim VE3AFV and John VA3EDG we got everything ready to go up.

I had expressed at a city EMC meeting that my biggest hurdle was getting the antennas and their rather heavy bases to the roof of the main EOC building. The Fire Chief, Vic, offered to have the equipment placed on the roof of the building using their shiny new ladder truck. We took them up on this, and was it an impressive sight!

The picture to the right is the ladder truck on the street lifting some of our items to the roof.  The picture below is the bucket of the truck loaded with our antennas on their tripods. bucket

At the main EOC, the three VHF/UHF antennas are Jetstream JTB2 antennas, 100 inches tall, mounted on pipes which in turn are mounted in three foot tripods. These are mounted on a pedestal which is made up of two layers of 7/8 inch pressure treated plywood cut into 4 foot squares, on top of a 4 foot square piece of one inch pink code board. These have a couple of deck blocks (the cement feet under a deck) to hold them down. This is the recommended way for installing them on a tar and gravel roof. The code board is so the weight will cause the stones to push into the code board instead of being pushed down through the tar and risking puncturing the rubber waterproofing membrane below the tar. This is the way the roofing contractor said to do it. There is also a wire dipole antenna for HF mounted on the roof of the main EOC.

The buiding where the second EOC is located has a metal roof and was designed by an architect on a high. There isn't a straight surface on it anywhere.  In this installation, we had to have 5 antennas, one HF vertical (no room for a dipole), three Jetstreams for our VHF/UHF equipment, and a VHF antenna for the city radio. This is the radio that communicates with their mobile command station. They put the radio and an antenna at the main EOC, but didn't install anything at the second EOC.

second roof installationWe had a surplus antenna that is identical to the antenna used at the main EOC for the city radio, so we included it in the second EOC installation. Because of the lack of vertical walls that we could use, we mounted a pair of 12 foot long 2x6 pieces of pressure treated lumber, painted blue to match the building.  We then mounted the five antennas on these pieces of lumber and cabled them into the location where the radio rack is installed. The photo to the right is the second EOC antenna installation. The leftmost antenna is for the city radio. The three white antennas are jetstream dualband antennas for the three VHF/UHF radios, and the tall one in the center is a Hygain DX88 for the Icom 706mk2g radio's HF side.

The third installation we had to do on city property was on the Cornwall civic complex, which is used as the main shelter. The single Jetstream dualband antenna was installed on a Jiffee pole holding up some of the air handling ducts on the roof. You can just see the antenna sticking up in the photo below.

Shelter antenna

In August we had a club get-together at the summer home of Patricia, VA3PUR on Hamilton Island, about 15 miles east of Cornwall. A number of members gathered, and Patricia's brother Marc manned the barbeque. The picture below was taken at the barbeque. Patricia's cottage is on the St Lawrence river and we were treated to a number of boats, a few ships and there were lots of geese and ducks in the vicinity. The weather was perfect and we had a very enjoyable and sociable time.

August 2008 Barbeque photoWe also have installed two antennas on the roof of the new Red Cross building. One of these is a jetstream VHF/UHF antenna, and the other is a HyGain DX88 HF antenna. We haven't got an HF radio for this site, but we will have an antenna so we can take one in with us if we need it.

In January of 2009, we  moved VA3SDG from the repeater owner's home to the Hospital site with our other repeaters. This repeater, on 444.450+ has an IRLP node (2804) and it works very well. The actual repeater is made up of a Motorola R1225 transceiver, which is a repeater in a box, a power supply and a duplexer along with an Alinco DR235 220 Mhz transceiver which is part of a link to the location where the IRLP computer is. We wired the Motorola to the Alinco and everything worked perfectly right away. We are very pleased with the performance of the Motorola R1225 transceiver with the Alinco link. With 5 watts out of the Motorola, we are getting about a 25 mile radius of operation.

We are now preparing an IRLP node for our VHF repeater, VE3SVC. When it is up and running, it will be on node 2811.