General News

Winter Field Day Fun VE6BLD

I spent about 6 hours Sat and Sunday working the Winter Field Day. The bands were good until after 9 Saturday night. I slept in Sunday till 9:30 but managed a lot more contacts till noon.

Here are my results.

51 Sections,  38 States,   222 contacts,  1320 points,

80m, 40m, 20m, 15m,  6m, 2m.

I hope to see some more results from others here.






CW Ops

I was surprised and delighted to see John’s (VA6SJA) post about CW and that a couple of Hams are looking to improve Morse Code skills. Because of Covid, the last couple of months I have been re-learning Morse as well. Licensed in 1982 I was at one time comfortable at 18-20 wpm. Not having used CW in very many years I also had a desire to get back at it.
I found a site CWops, that has a great training system tailored to all levels of operator skills. You can self train on your own at any time or they have structured classes with interacting instruction (3 times per year, January to March, April) to June, etc) ( They use the Farnsworth method, which seems to be the standard learning tool these days. There are a large assortment of training/student resources for receiving and transmitting CW (Practice QSO, words, abbreviation text files etc, too many to list here. They also have numerous on air tests “contests” for students. This is a large site with many features. If interested have a look. This is all free, the desire being to promote the use and operation of the CW mode.
When first licensed we had a group of locals in Kelowna that would meet on 10 meters which gave good local coverage (even with a closed band) for practice sending and receiving.

Neil VA6AK

VE6WCE Station

Ok, so here is my story.

As per frequent requests to post something. I will post my station. Granted it isn’t the most sophisticated station out there, but it works for me.

The pictures you see are my hf/vhf station complete with a CB I had from the 70’s. CB, the cell phone system of the 70’s. I have three radios, Yeasu FT-5000 that I bought as a retirement gift. Yeasu FT-857 that I use primarily for VHF and an old Heathkit HW-101 I bought at a fathers day picnic and it works. I remember dreaming about building and owning that radio in the 70’s as I started to seriously pursue obtaining a licence.

Anyway I also included a picture of my test equipment and parts.

I had always wanted to go digital and as you can see my space is very limited. Then I thought why not just install a keyboard tray and laptop and so I did. Now you can see how I have digital set up. Using Airlink Express software and a SigaLink USB sound card feeding into the Yeasu FT 857 for digital. The SignaLink is sitting just below the FT-857.

I have three antennas. Cushcraft R6000, Diamond X-200 VHF/UHF and a 40m vertical that I can set up if I want to work 40m.

You may notice the antenna analyzer hooked you to the antennas. Before I transmit I always sweep the antenna to ensure nothing has changed. I also use it to tune the antenna as needed so I am not sending out a carrier to annoy anyone and stress out the transmitter finals.   

Finally Betty snuck up on me working a station or at least trying to, wasn’t successful that time. 

Anyway that is it.




CWCOM – Morse Code on the Internet

The topic of improving Morse Code skills came up on the CAARC net of January 18.

I mentioned an internet system, CWCOM, also known as CW Communicator, as a potential way to practice. It’s not radio, but either is sitting across a table from each other each with our own code practice oscillator. This morning I checked to see if it was still operational, and it is. Gerry, who uses call sign G3MS on this system, is the manager and chief guru of the system. Here is a slightly edited screen shot of a QSO I had with him this afternoon Alberta time over the internet.  I didn’t have my key set up at this time, so I keyboarded. The program also allows using the down button on your keyboard as a straight key. I do have the ability to use a key or a paddle with this system, if I could only make them make predictable sounds!

Gerry mentioned his blogsite which is a complete introduction and instruction manual for the CW Communicator program and system. It is at . You usually have to scroll down past the contents. He mentions a “Contact Me” address, which is below the contents on the page labelled “Home”.

Gerry’s parting comment was “t ~~okjohn~~lookforward toseeing some new callsign”

You would need to download, install and set up the CW Communicator program.

I have had an on-and-off relationship with this system since 2003.

For whoever is interested.


Note: Jan 20, 2021 Corrected the call sign Gerry uses.

Baseline repair trip Jan 2021



January vhf contest

Here is a link for the January vhf contest. Lets get on the air and have some fun and put CAARC on the map and in the logs.


Hello – I received a phone call this morning from Carole Guthrie with the sad news of Bill VE6OLD’s death. Bill Guthrie was a long time member of CAARC and was very active in club activities until ill health slowed him down.  Bill was a fixture at club picnics, serving up SARA dogs with a smile!  He always had lots to sell at any of the flea markets and was on the air all the time when he was still working, driving from one job to another.  Bill was a past president and one of the founding members of SARA. Bill’s voice will live on, on the VE6REP repeater controller. He will definitely be missed!

Because of Covid restrictions, there will be a small family service.  Condolences can be posted on the Wilson’s Funeral Home website on the Tribute wall.  Donations maybe made in Bill’s memory to the Canadian Cancer Society
Obituary posted for Ian “Bill” William Guthrie. See
Sandy Jacobs
CAARC President

Earthlings and astronauts chat away, via ham radio

Earthlings and astronauts chat away, via ham radio

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The International Space Station cost more than $100 billion. A ham radio set can be had for a few hundred bucks.

Perhaps that explains, in part, the appeal of having one of humankind’s greatest scientific inventions communicate with Earth via technology that’s more than 100 years old. But perhaps there’s a simpler explanation for why astronauts and  operators have been talking, and talking, for years.

NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock was just a few weeks into his six-month mission at the  station when feelings of isolation began to set in.

Wheelock would be separated from loved ones, save for communication via an internet phone, email or social media. At times, the stress and tension of serving as the station’s commander could be intense.

One night, as he looked out a window at the Earth below, he remembered the space station’s ham radio. He figured he’d turn it on—see if anyone was listening.

“Any station, any station, this is the International Space Station,” Wheelock said.

A flood of voices jumbled out of the airwaves.

Astronauts aboard the space station often speak to students via ham radio, which can also

More >

SOTA Activations, Short Video Example

If you have been curious about what a SOTA activation looks like, this video is typical of our beautiful Canadian mountain SOTA activations.
Paul Mower


VE6BLD’s solar pop can heater to warm your shack from the sun.

In 2014 I found a video on you tube of a man in Newfoundland who had built a solar pop can heater. I decided I would build one for my big shop in the back of my large town lot. There is a south facing wall to install it on a foot away from the wall for safety reasons as it can produce 80 -90 degree C!  I had an old double pane window in the shop that was about 3 by 7 feet. So the project began. I also had the aluminum frame from a score clock which had been removed from a school gym which turned out to be the perfect depth to fill with rows of pop cans after being insulated with 2 inch styrofoam. The metal frame also had a perfect indentation on the front to install the double pane window. See the pictures in the link below for how I  built  this pop can heater. I used a small squirrel cage fan on the inlet in the garage and another one on the outlet in the garage. There is a temperature sensor at the top of the outlet pipe connected to an adjustable digital temperature control ($8.00 on ebay). I can set any temperature to turn on the fans and I can also adjust the differential to turn off. As soon as the sun comes up and shines on the heater  it  will quickly come to the set temperature I programed of 32 C. The heater was tested to  produce up to +180 degrees F  (+80 degrees C) before I installed the fans. This is a good reason to have 2 fans so it will not melt the heater if one fan quits! Today Nov 11, 2020 the sun was very low (temperature – 12 degrees all day) but the heater quickly rose to +32 C and the thermostat turned the fans on. The heater produced a steady +18 C temp into the garage all day until there was no more sun shining on it. ! Darn nice free solar heat. 

Click the pictures in the gallery 


Click this link to see the picture gallery of this project