AVARC Field Day results – Summer and Winter

Once again, members of AVARC have demonstrated that they are ready and able to assist emergency officials in time of disaster – summer AND winter!

First, the June Field Day.  AVARC set up two stations, complete with towers and triband yagis, in the sports field adjacent to the Annapolis West Education Centre in Annapolis Royal.  We had a score of 2520, which was good for second place in the 2A category in the Maritime Section, behind the Kings County Amateur Radio Club.  We were number 9 of 31 entries in all of Canada in the 2A category.

In the Winter Field Day last January we operated in the 1H category.  Once again, we did very well.  Our score of 20,876 was good enough for the top station in any category in Canada, and top station in the 1H category in North America. Overall, we were #4 in North America in the “Home” category.  It’s worth mentioning that the 3 stations that were ahead of us used 3, 4 and 6 transmitters respectively to earn higher scores than we did.

So – excellent results!  Thanks very much to all those who took part or assisted!

Field Day 2017

Hello everyone,

Field Day is fast approaching, so I want to let you all know what the Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Club (AVARC) has planned for this year.

Dates and Times:

Field Day will take place on the weekend of 24/25 June 2017.  Setup will start early Saturday morning.  The operating part of Field Day starts at 1500 Saturday and continues for 24 hours.  We will then tear down and return home.

Location:

We have been invited to conduct Field Day in Annapolis Royal by the members of the Basic Course that AVARC is teaching.  Field Day will therefore be held in the fields beside the Annapolis West Education Centre (AWEC), 100 Champlain Drive in Annapolis Royal.  To get there, take Exit 22 off Highway 101 and head towards downtown.  Champlain Drive is off St. Patrick’s Lane.

I should mention that the students on the Basic Course are also members of the Annapolis Royal Space Agency, and they hope to incorporate Amateur Radio into the payload of their next high altitude balloon launch!

Objective:

To quote the ARRL website, the objective of Field Day is: “To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions.  Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region Two.  DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.”

AVARC has two objectives for Field Day.  The first is to practice those skills necessary to operate in an emergency – deploying to a remote location, setting up effective stations without relying on commercial power, and making QSOs in an efficient manner. The second is to have a fun and interesting weekend!  We fully recognize that many of you have not operated before, especially in a contest-type situation.  There is no need to worry!  The idea is to learn in a fun, non-intimidating environment.

Category, Stations and Exchange:

AVARC will operate in the 2 Alpha category.  This means that we will have two HF stations operating on emergency power (generators).  These stations will use the callsign VA1AVR.

We will also have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station.  It is a “free” station that may be operated by any person licensed since the previous year’s Field Day or by generally inactive or inexperienced Hams.  Non-licensed persons may participate under the direct supervision of an appropriate control operator.  Doug VE1FAL will be GOTA “coach”, and the station will use his callsign.

The GOTA station will also serve as the digital station, using such modes as PSK-31 or Radio Teletype (RTTY).  These modes can be used by newcomers, so there is no excuse for anyone suffering from “mic fright”!

We will also have a 2M FM simplex station, and possibly a 6M SSB station.  They will use the VA1AVR callsign.

Field Day Exchange and Logging:

For a Field Day QSO to count, both stations must accurately copy the other station’s report.  This is called the “exchange”, and for Field Day it is our operating category and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) / American Radio Relay League (ARRL) section.  For us, that is “Two Alpha Maritime”.  The “Two” means we are using 2 HF stations.  The ‘Alpha” means we are using emergency power, and “Maritime” means we are in the Maritime provinces of Canada – NS, NB and PEI.

If we answer a station calling CQ (K7UM for example), the exchange would go like this:

CQ Field Day.  This is Kilo Seven Uniform Mike.

Kilo Seven Uniform Mike this is Victor Alpha One Alpha Victor Romeo.  You are Two Alpha Maritime.

Victor Alpha One Alpha Victor Romeo you are Four Alpha Utah.

 Roger Four Alpha Utah.  Good luck and 73.

A list of the different categories and RAC/ARRL sections will be located in each station.  As well, the logging software will also have that information.

We will use the N1MM Logger+ (N1MM Logger Plus) logging software.  It is a very popular logging program, and is available as freeware:

https://n1mm.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php?page=Full+Install

Bonus Points:

There are a wide range of bonus points available for Field Day.  We will try to take advantage of as many of them as possible.  They include:

  • 100% emergency power
  • Media publicity
  • Public information table and visitor’s log
  • Message to the RAC Section Manager
  • Satellite QSO
  • Alternate Energy QSO (solar panels)
  • Copying the ARRL Field Day Bulletin
  • Educational Activity
  • Site visit by an elected official
  • Site visit by a served agency (EMO, Wing Operations)
  • GOTA station bonuses
  • Use of Social Media
  • Submitting our report online, and
  • Youth participation

We will publish more information on the Bonus Activities closer to Field Day.

Site Layout:

HF Station One – This station will be located to the southeast of the school, not far from the basketball courts.  It will be housed in a cargo trailer specifically modified for use as a communications facility, and will use a 3 kw generator.  It will have a Kenwood TS-870 transceiver, a 3-element triband yagi on a 30-foot tower, and dipoles/inverted V antennas for 40 and 80 meters.  This station will be set up for voice operations.

HF Station Two – This station will be located to the north of the school.  It will be situated in a tent, and will use a Kenwood TS-450 transceiver with a 3-element triband yagi on a 30-foot tower and dipoles/inverted V antennas for 40 and 80 meters.  It will be powered by a 3 kw generator, and will be used primarily for CW operations.

GOTA Station – This station will be located in a tent close to HF Station One, near the basketball courts.  It will use a Yaesu FT-1000D transceiver, and will be used for voice and digital operations.  It will have a vertical antenna for 40M, and will share other antennas and a generator with HF Station One.

Visitor Information Table – This will be located near the GOTA station, co-located with the Galley Tent.  It will have a slide show and pamphlets explaining Amateur Radio, as well as a visitors’ logbook.  This is also where we will conduct lessons in antenna building and attaching coax connectors for the bonus points.

Galley Tent – This will located near HF Station One, and will house our galley and eating area in a 10” x 20” screen tent.  Information about meals can be found below.

Toilets – We will have access to proper indoor flush toilets.

Camping – There is plenty of room for people to pitch a tent should they wish to spend the night.

Food services:

Because most of us will be located far from home, we may have to forego our traditional potluck dinner on Saturday evening.  There are several options for supper that we are investigating however.

We will have food available for the following meals:

  • Lunch Saturday – hot dogs
  • Supper Saturday – To be confirmed
  • Overnight – snacks
  • Breakfast Sunday – delivered to overnight operators
  • Lunch Sunday – hot dogs, hamburgers

Expenses:

AVARC is a new and informal club, and we don’t have funding available to support Field Day.  We will therefore have to charge to cover the cost of food, soft drinks and gas.  Donations will also be gratefully received!

Requirements:

While planning for Field Day is progressing well, we will need information and support from YOU!

We have most of the equipment requirements filled, but if you have something you think might be useful, please let me know.  We can always use folding tables, chairs, coolers etc.  Does anyone have a propane BBQ that can be easily moved to the site?

If you are able to transport equipment to/from the site, then please let us know.

We need people to assist with all aspects of setup, operating and teardown.  If you can help, please let us know!  

Conclusion:

Field Day 2017 promises to be a fun occasion!  We will have effective stations, efficient antennas, tasty food, and an excellent location.  Best of all, we will have the assistance of a group of motivated young people who wish to become Hams!  You do not need to be a member of AVARC to take part – everyone is welcome.  Further details will be promulgated in the next few weeks, but please mark the weekend of 24/25 June in your calendar and come out for Field Day!

73
Al Penney
VO1NO
AVARC Field Day Coordinator

AWEC Antenna Class

Amateur Radio antenna class for students from the Annapolis West Education Centre in Annapolis Royal. We covered the theory of transmissions lines and antennas first, then made some practical measurements, and finally went outside to set up a portable HF station. With 100 watts from a battery-powered transceiver and a simple dipole antenna, we worked stations all over Europe and North America.

AWEC Antenna Class 2017

Winter Field Day 2017

Hello everyone,

Winter Field Day will take place this upcoming weekend, and once again the Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Club will participate!

As described on the WFD web page, the purpose of Winter Field Day is “to foster Ham camaraderie, field operation, emergency operating preparedness, and just plain on the air, outdoor fun in the midst of winter for American, Canadian and DX Amateurs”. Disasters don’t always happen in the summer, and as providers of emergency communications capabilities, Amateurs need to be ready.
Last year, AVARC was the top station in the world in its category, and we intend to defend that placement. Don’t worry about freezing in a tent however! We will operate in the “Home” category, using my station. In recognition of the emergency preparedness aspect of the event however, we will power the equipment with a generator.

Winter Field Day will start at 1500 (3 PM) Saturday 28 January, and will finish up at 1500 the next day. All modes are permissible, so we need voice, CW and digital operators. If you would like to take part in the event, or simply want to drop by to see how Amateur Radio works, please contact me and I’ll fit you into the operating schedule.

This is a low intensity, relaxed contest, so there is no need to feel intimidated. I’ll have snacks and refreshments for those who drop by.
73
Al
VO1NO / VA1AVR

Annapolis Royal Space Agency

AVARC has received a request from the Annapolis Royal Space Agency for assistance with their next high altitude balloon project. Doug and I met with them today to discuss the part that Amateur Radio might play. We were really impressed with their enthusiasm, and look forward to working with them! Assistance right now will consist mainly of technical advice, but we’ll need club members to help with tracking and chasing the balloon when launch day arrives.

Field Day 2016 Results Published

Hello everyone,

The Field Day results have been published, and it looks like The Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Club did very well!  Our score was 2276 points, placing us fifth overall in the ARRL Maritime Section. We actually had the second highest number of participants, and the third greatest number of QSOs – Well Done!

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Visit to Veteran’s Wing of Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

Members of AVARC gave a demonstration of Amateur Radio to residents of the Veteran’s Wing at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in Middleton today. Three of us erected a 30-foot mast, and in short order we had dipoles for 40m and 20m hoisted aloft. Wayne VE1BAB made several CW QSOs for the Vets, while Doug VE1FAL showed them how digital communications work. All told, we worked several stations in Europe and North America. The Vets, who included Stan VE1WW and an Army Signaller who served in NW Europe in 1944/45, tried their hand (literally!) at CW with a code practice oscillator. Some even made a few QSOs on 2M Simplex.

Thanks to Wayne and Doug for assisting with this worthwhile demonstration today!

73
Al
VO1NO

Visit to Veteran's Wing at Soldiers' Memorial

Field Day 2016 Wrap Up

Hello everyone,

Well, that was one heck of an excellent weekend! Thanks so much to all those who participated and assisted in making Field Day 2016 a huge success!

We had two objectives for Field Day. The first was to practice those skills necessary to operate in an emergency – deploy to a remote location, set up effective stations without relying on commercial power, and make QSOs in an efficient manner. The second was to have a fun and interesting weekend. I can safely say that BOTH these objectives were met quite handily!

The setup crew started at 0830, and by noon had two towers in the air, complete with triband Yagis and inverted V antennas. The tents were easily set up, and by 1500 we had two stations in operation and a field galley set up. The logging software worked well, and our local network had very strong signals, thanks to our helical antennas – we probably could have separated our stations by 2 km and still maintained the network!

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