Play time with more gear :-)

A few more week and some more interesting things to work with over the last while.  The local ham-space held it’s twice-annual flea market – I manned the membership table of the local MRS group – will be my last as I transfer membership duties to another ham – been fun.  I was able to find a used antenna from a local ham – seems I need to do some work on this GAP Challenger vertical as there’s some damage to it.

We’ve been fortunate enough to find some decent deals on some used RF gear to help with our project, so I have to get some to try them out.

A nice Ubiquity Bullet2HP unit (or two), a few RouterBoard with built-in 2GHz RF unit, a nice Ubiquity M3 3GHz unit.

RFgear RFgear2

… and more to come — some of these units have some rather nice features to visualize spectrum usage – will be interesting.

Another fun item was a recent tower-destruction resulted in a small piece of hardline being offered up – I put my hand-held next to it to give some form of context — this is hard stuff …

hard-line anyone?
hard-line anyone?

this was some form of commercial broadcasting … would have been interesting to see 400′ of that tower coming down!

Another fun thing to work on is to resurrect the ol’ TNC and put it into good use.  A friend put up a dual-channel radio on 145.01 and I am putting together this little unit to get “back” on the air on AFSK 🙂  brings back memories:

TNC anyone?
TNC anyone?

why not provide a separate back-up to our 2.3 GHz unit (10Mbps) with a 1200bps 145MHz unit … will be interesting to see in operation.  Next will be 9600FSK data-radios 🙂

73, Dan ve4drk



NAQP & new capacitance hat!

Well — I did try out the NAQP SSB this weekend — the bands were terrible … looking at the solarham site, it did show RED … solar winds were well over 400 and the conditions did show that … the only band that was partly open was 20m .. 15 and above really didn’t exist .. 40 was ok later in the evening .. i put in about 5 hours .. and i only made about 50+ contacts .. I will submit my logs to assist those that need them.

I even had a couple of thanks for the “rare ve4” section being in the contest!

Funny though — the only ve4 I heard was Ed VE4YU – he was S&P so I couldn’t work him.  I made a ve7 and a ve3 contact and that’s about it for the CDN side of things – the rest were US based contacts.

But — my antenna may be better now that it has a better looking capacitance hat on it ! 🙂   My XYL calls them lemon-drops!

73, Dan ve4drk


Local Antenna policy

Industry Canada administers the spectrum in Canada as well as it’s licensing and restrictions on various apparatus.

Recently, a group of municipalities had their get-together and one topic was the consultation process that Industry Canada wants the municipalities to provide clear guidance on what is locally acceptable.  Naturally, IC will have final say, but this guidance holds weight and will be just that – a guide —

For us hams, there is only one small paragraph which is applicable … and it is:


So, keep it in the back, don’t intrude on your neighbour, don’t make it go ‘blink’, and keep it under 70′.  Well, that is not too bad .. 70′ is reasonable within the city limits and does a decent job for most hams.

Actual reference:

City of Winnipeg Antenna Systems Policy

Industry Canada Amateur Radio Publications

73, Dan ve4drk

Antenna changes

I’ve been puttin’ this off for a bit .. getting my 2.3GHz high speed network connection functional.  I finally took down the alpha-delta fan dipole and the g5rv and the mount is down from the house.

New mount was fun to get up .. barely .. now I’m tired and have to put the fan dipole on the mount pole to have it erected on the mount on the house … that will have to be day 2. … maybe tomorrow … maybe not – depending how I feel.  Climbing ladders up and down just isn’t my cup of tea anymore.

So, when I mount this antenna up and give it a go, should be much better being much higher in the air 🙂  here’s hoping.

73, Dan ve4drk

Antennas, antennas, antennas

One of the things I enjoy again is meeting up with other local hams at the Saturday morning coffee “meeting” at the McD in St. James.  There’s quite a breadth of knowledge and experience there to gab with.  I was also able to hand-in my worked-all-winnipeg (WAW) aware to Dick at the coffee meeting.  Pretty good, I had my 25 contacts on 2m, 70cm, 80m and 20m.  I don’t normally hear locals on the 40m nor 15m bands – at least from what I’ve been seeing.

I’m currently looking for different antenna solutions to put into effect once the weather is a bit milder.  I was discussing the G5RV option and another mentioned ON4UN’s Low-Band DXing book at the library.  Well, I’ve already taken out the ARRL antenna handbook and have reviewed it last month or so, so now I have this other book to review for new insights.  I really enjoy the theory behind the antenna design as it gives great ideas as to how else one can adjust the antenna for the area/usage.

And I now temporarily have an upconverter to confirm working properly with the SDR packages.  This little guy brings the ham bands up 100MHz so the USB SDR dongle has a chance of seeing the frequencies … will be interesting to see how well it works.  It’s currently not working for my son, so if it won’t work for me, back it goes .. but we will see.

And back we go .. another Sunday under the belt …

73, Dan ve4drk

Keep on listening …

I’ve had a little bit of luck on 10m in the last few days.  I’ve heard a number of stations and was able to work a few.  While they come across as weaker reception for me, most are able to work me.  Best I had was a new contact in Mexico with an S7 reported back – for me on my vertical that’s pretty good.

I started looking around at other options, and reviewed some information in the Antenna books I have.  Pre-builts are not that expensive it seems – such as the G5RV and it’s variants, and even some other verticals like S9 etc.  Some people even sell the telescoping poles which may be of interest at some point – will see which way I lean.

On another front, the local radio group held a meet-up on 652 for those interested in getting their Worked All Winnipeg (WAW) award.  Work 25 local stations direct and get confirmation — so, while I already logged my entries back in the early 90’s, I never did submit them – so I will have to make sure I submit my new entries now.  For those interested, here’s the link:

I’m very interested in the Canada Winter Contest starting up this Friday – link here:   Will be great to test out changes to the antenna.

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and enjoys the season –

73, Dan, ve4drk