General News

B17G WWII Flying Fortress Bomber Airflight!

I can still hardly believe it!!  This morning at 8:00 AM,  I found out that not only could we view a WWII bomber at the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. airport, BUT  they were offering rides and had two seats still available.  An hour later Sarina and I were strapped in a WWII B17G flying fortress  bomber and took off for an amazing 30 minute flight!!!

It is only one of a few still in existence today. I will be posting another blog with all the details when we get home.Here are a couple of pictures. What an absolutely unforgettable experience for both of us. It felt like we were going on a real bombing mission!!! We survived and the pictures to come will prove our ability to operate the machine guns from inside the plane while in flight. We were allowed to move around throughout the plane  while we were flying up to 3000 feet.

Stay tuned for more to come!!!!

Bob VE6BLD and Sarina VE6QEN





Red Deer Picnic 2011

Once again the Red Deer Picnic and Hamfest was a huge success. The rain tried very hard to put a damper on things but in the true spirit of Ham Radio everyone had a great time. (maybe a few had to cook in the rain!!) The flea market worked well under the canopy and the pig roast was a huge success as always. Thanks to Greg and Karen VA6GMC   VA6LDY as well as Steve and Nancy VA6ASM and VA6HOT.  I have been waiting for pictures from the 2011 picnic. These great pictures were sent  to me by Sue. Thanks Sue!




VE6EB Silent Key

MRS. REGINA MARTENS beloved wife of Mr. Tom Martens, of Raymond, AB,
passed away at home on Sunday, May 22, 2011, at the age of 64 years.
Regina was an amateur radio operator (Ham) VE6EB for many years and a
familiar voice on the local radio repeater.
A Memorial Service will be held at the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATER
DAY SAINTS, Taylor Street Chapel, Raymond, AB at a later date.
In memory of Regina, donations may be made to the Red Cross Relief Fund
for Slave Lake, 1120-7 Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta, T1J 1K5.
Honoured to Serve
Cornerstone Funeral Home & Crematorium
2800 Mayor Magrath Drive South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 7B1
Telephone ~ (403) 381-7777
Fax ~ (403) 381-3128
Toll Free ~ 1-(888)-381-7778


New VE6QE repeater package installed on May12, 2011

This is a 13 second fast video of VE6BGT Skip and VE6BLD Bob installing the new VE6QE repeater package built by Skip over the past many months.


Click this link to watch a 4 minute video of the same video above


New Brochure for the Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club

I have produced a new Brochure for the Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club.

To download a color printable PDF document of the Club Advertising brochure complete with hot links back

to the web site  click this link

or check the second Tab under Site Tools menu.

Bob VE6BLD. Webmaster


Explanation For Low Sunspots

An amateur photographer has completed an incredible feat of capturing the space shuttle approaching the International Space Station

Amateur photographer captures space shuttle from back garden

Thank you to Earl 4Z4TJ for the link !! Incredible!

An amateur photographer has completed an incredible feat of capturing the space shuttle approaching the International Space Station – from his back garden in the Forest of Dean.

Astronomy enthusiast Rob Bullen used a mid-range digital camera and a 20 year old telescope to take the photo of the shuttle and the ISS Photo: ROB BULLEN/NATIONAL PICTURES
8:46AM GMT 02 Mar 2011

Using just a mid-range digital camera and a 20 year old telescope astronomy enthusiast Rob Bullen, 40, was amazed to get the shot.

He said: “I have never been able to capture a space shuttle in this flying configuration. It is the Holy grail of International Space Station imaging.”

Mr Bullen, who has had a passion for the skies since the age of 10, said: “Some years ago I thought it would

be interesting to try and view the space station through my telescope and was shocked by the amount of detail you could see on it.”

The realisation inspired him to pick up his Canon Eos 40D DSLR and 8.5 inch Newton telescope as the station passed over the UK and the shuttle was in orbit last Saturday.

The IT manager rigged his 10 megapixel camera up to the telescope and had just three minutes to capture the event which raced across the sky at a similar pace to a jet plane.

He tracked the two craft across the skies but it was only when the cloud parted at the right time that he captured this rare gem.

He said: “I had no idea that night the shuttle would only be 45 minutes away from docking with the station. After a very cloudy day the skies cleared to allow a view of this stunning pass of the ISS and Discovery.

“I could not believe the timing was so fortuitous to show the shuttle closing in on the station. I captured this, what I guess could potentially be, a once in a lifetime image of these two spaceships traveling as separate craft.

Mr Bullen said: “Needless to say I was totally shocked and delighted to see the shuttle closing in on the ISS.

“Although over the years I have obtained clearer images of the station on its own to capture such a iconic image of mankind’s only permanently manned outpost in space and the most sophisticated flying machine ever built on its last flight before ending its days bound to Earth in a museum was a real privilege and something I will treasure.

“I am unlikely to capture such an image again with only two Shuttle flights left before they are decommissioned.”

Fun with WSPR

Fun with WSPR

I have sent out some emails reporting my success and the success of other hams in making DX contacts using unbelievably low transmit power levels.  There was some interest in this so I thought I would briefly provide some background to jump start you.

What is it?

The Weak Signal Propagation Reporter Network is a group of amateur radio operators using K1JT’s MEPT_JT digital mode to probe radio frequency propagation conditions using very low power (QRP/QRPp) transmissions. The software is open source, and the data collected are available to the public through this site. Go to the website, click on the map tab, select a band (below the map) and take a look at the action.  Clicking on any call sign will show you who is receiving that station and who he is receiving.

Where do I get it?

Program and documentation downloads are available here

If you have not done this before, read the documentation.  J

When can I start having fun?

First of all, my experience has been that the set-up is really easy and, if you are already working digital modes you can start WSPRing (pronounced whispering) in just a few minutes.

A few tips:

  • Use a rig with a TCXO, good stability and calibration (i.e. check against WWV)
  • Use a rig with CAT control (sorry, that old FT-101 will just give you grief here …)
  • A simple antenna is all that is necessary, of course if you have a big, high antenna results will be  better
  • Install an internet time program in your computer (as per documentation); or go into the Windows time and date and make the clock update once every 15 minutes, or use GPS timing (overkill, but what the heck)
  • If you have a multiband antenna (e.g. an all band vertical, 10-15-20m beam, etc.) you can have more fun.
  • Loop antennas, including magnetic loop antennas that don’t take up much space, work well.  No excuse not to try this mode if you live in an apartment!
  • Please don’t use more than 5 W out.  In this mode QRP starts at 500 mW.
  • I have two screens on my station computer, one showing the WSPR software and the other the map on

What should I try WSPR?

This mode has given me a much better appreciation of how propagation works.  I found it interesting to watch the signals on a given band change as the gray line approached and then passed overhead.  I learned that a wire antenna and <1 watt can radiate a signal simultaneously heard (from the middle east) both in New Zealand and North America.  I also found out that you can reduce power to ridiculously low levels — I am currently running on 125 mW on 20m and 250 mW on 40 m with good results.   I have “spotted” (i.e. decoded signals from) hams in Europe using 10, 5 and even 1 mW.  The current challenge is to see how far your signals get on 500 micro watts !  (0.5 mW you will need calibrated attenuators in your antenna line to do this).

The ability of the software to dig a narrow band signal out of 30 dB of noise is impressive.  We are lucky to have a Nobel Prize winning physicist (K1JT) writing software for ham radio.

“…to explore strange, new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no ham has gone before.”