SARC Events

SARC Events

SARC Courses
Course Information
Field Day


2012 Technical Presentations

Club meetings, on the second Wednesday of each month, are designed to appeal to a wide range of interests, from beginner to advanced. Following a brief business meeting, we present a speaker who has the specialized know-how to explain how to get the most from your hobby

Morse Code
Learn the code by ear, not by eye.
555 Timer Calculator 
On-line calculator for the 555 timer chip


SARC Repeater Guide

A How-To For Using VE7RSC

The SARC repeaters are linked together via an ARCOM RC-810 repeater controller. The current configuration as of August 2012 is for both our VHF and UHF repeaters to be linked together allowing for QSOs to span across the VHF and UHF repeaters. For example: All traffic on the VHF repeater is heard on the UHF repeater and vice versa. In this configuration both repeaters are connected to IRLP node 1736. If a scenario of high traffic was to arise in which both repeaters are needed for separate use, they can be disconnected with the VHF repeater remaining connected to IRLP node 1736 and the UHF repeater connected to node 1737.
To properly understand our repeater system, It’s important to distinguish the features of the ARCOM controller and the features of the IRLP nodes:
The ARCOM Controller provides:
  •  Flexible Linking between VHF, UHF repeaters, and the two IRLP nodes.
  •  Vocal & CW Repeater ID
  •  Hangtime
  •  Automatic time of day announcement

IRLP node 1736 provides:
  •  IRLP & Echolink connectivity
  •  Voicemail system
  •  Signal check function
  •  On demand time of day announcement
  •  Pre-recorded club event announcement

IRLP node 1737 provides:
  •  IRLP connectivity
  •  Signal check function
  •  On demand time of day announcement

SARC Repeater system diagrams:

Configuration #1 (default, low traffic)

Configuration #2

May be used during times of high repeater traffic like club events, exercises, etc.

IRLP Usage (basic)

For new IRLP users, please refer to the IRLP Operating Guidelines:

The guidelines page explains how the system works, explains what reflectors are and how they work, and provides important instruction on how to use IRLP. All IRLP users should review the guidelines from time to time.

Initiate an IRLP connection:

Hold PTT, say your callsign, and dial the node or reflector number via DTMF keypad. Release PTT once 4-digit dialing sequence is complete.

End an IRLP connection:

Hold PTT and dial "73" via DTMF mic. Release PTT. Note: when disconnecting from a reflector, it is best not to identify before you dial "73." Wait until the link has dropped, then say your callsign so people locally here on the repeater know who disconnected the link. It can become annoying to those who monitor the reflector to hear your ID before you disconnect. A busy reflector will often have two of three nodes connect and disconnect per minute.

The IRLP network status page:
Use the status page to view nodes by country, see reflector usage, etc. Node lists can be printed for easy reference.

A second option for viewing reflector status and activity:

Echolink Usage (basic)

Our Echolink node number for VE7RSC-VHF: 496228
*NOTE:  As of August 2012, only node 1736 has Echolink capability. Echolink is not available via node 1737.

Initiate an Echolink connection:

Hold PTT, say your callsign, and dial the echolink node number preceded by an asterisk. Release PTT once dialing sequence is complete.
For example: PTT + *190638 will connect to echolink node number 190638. (VE7RHS repeater at UBC)

End an Echolink connection:

Hold PTT and dial "73" via DTMF mic. Release PTT.
Echolink status page:
For more echolink info:

IRLP NODE 1736 additional features:

To leave a message:
1. Hold PTT, dial "AAA" and release PTT.
2. The repeater will respond with a vocal prompt "Who is this message for?"
3. Hold PTT, say the callsign of the person you wish to leave a message for, release PTT (note: voicemail has a 5 second limit to receive this information).
4. The repeater will respond with a vocal prompt "Please start your message."   
5. Hold PTT and say your message. The message time limit is 60 seconds. Release PTT when finished.
6. The repeater will respond "Message complete, thank you."

To check for messages:
1. Hold PTT, dial "BBB"
2. The system will respond "There are no messages" if voicemail box is empty, or the system will respond "There are messages for: + "
If you wish to listen to the message, it is important to note the message number. If there is only one message in the voicemail box, you can assume that message will be message number 1.

To listen to a message:
1. Hold PTT, on your radio or mic keypad dial "AAx" where "x" is the message number. For example, to listen to message number 1, dial "AA1"
To delete a message:
1. Hold PTT, dial "BBx" where "x" is the message number. For example, to delete message number 1, dial "BB1" The repeater will respond "Message number deleted."
2. If there is more than one message in the message box, when message number one is deleted, message number two will move up to assume the position of message number one.
3. If you have listened to a message that was addressed to you, please delete it once you have finished with it.

To delete a message:
1. Hold PTT, dial "BBx" where "x" is the message number. For example, to delete message number 1, dial "BB1" The repeater will respond "Message number deleted."
2. If there is more than one message in the message box, when message number one is deleted, message number two will move up to assume the position of message number one.
3. If you have listened to a message that was addressed to you, please delete it once you have finished with it.

Other repeater functions:
Signal check:
The repeater can make a short recording of your audio and play it back to you to assist you in testing your radio.

To initiate a signal check:

1. Hold PTT, dial "A3", release PTT
2. The repeater will respond "RX Check ready."
3. Hold PTT, provide some test audio, release PTT.
4. Once you release PTT, the repeater will respond by playing back your last transmission. Give it a try, it's a handy feature. Some of us use it several times a day.

To initiate on demand time of day announcement:

1. Hold PTT, dial "C", release PTT.
2. The repeater will respond "The time is, XX:XX am/pm."

Quick reference summary:

  •  AAA leave a message
  •  BBB check for messages
  •  AAX plays message X
  •  BBX deletes message X
  •  A3 signal check
  •  C clock
  •  *69 Function: reads back the last inbound and outbound connections via IRLP along with times and node numbers.

Additional/misc info:

Embedded node install/diagnostic manual


VE7RSC Is On The Air!

High Above Downtown Surrey...

The day we have been anticipating for over 2 years has finally arrived.
Thanks to Steve Coleman VE7MAN and Dave Cameron VE7LTD, who put in most of the day installing our new repeaters, both 2m and 440 MHz including IRLP and Echolink are now working at Concord Pacific. Andy Lo of Surrey Fire, Kelvin Hall VA7KPH and John Brodie VA7XB “assisted”. 

What we now have is a first-class installation at the top of the 36 storey Concord Pacific high rise in Central Surrey.

The Sinclair antennas are pointed southeast but the pattern is roughly omni-directional, so we should see good propagation in all compass directions. 

So if you want to test the new 2m repeater, go to 147.360 MHz + with a tone of 110.9, and if you want to test 440 MHz, go to 443.775+ with a tone of 110.9.


Field Day 2012

Our Investment In Training Paid Off!

Field Day 2012 was the most successful field day in a number of years for our clubs. There are, of course, many ways to measure success but the most obvious one is based on the final score. This year the score achieved was a very significant improvement over 2011 and 2010 so how did this come about?

Late in 2011 a suggestion was put forward that SARC, SEPAR conduct an organized training program with the objective being to achieve a better score in Field Day 2012. It was determined that we would use scheduled contests such as the QSO parties and major contests such CQ and ARRL. Contests that were selected were CW, SSB and RTTY in order to give the trainees a broad enough base to feel comfortable with N1MM, the logging software.

Each training session began with excellent documentation presented by Jim, VE7FO, which went through the basics of N1MM and how to use search and pounce as well as the running modes. The documentation served as the training document as well as a reference document during on the air activities. The schedule of training progressed at a steady pace, always cognizant of the trainee skill level. When the trainee was able to operate in the running mode she was ready for field day. Happily there were several of our operators who became comfortable in the running mode some with CW some with SSB.

For more details on the training see the QST writeup in the extended online version of 2012 ARRL International DX Contest – CW Results.

The portion dealing with our training starts on page 15. If you were a trainer or trainee your photo may be there.

There’s a reference to this in the Aug 2012 print version of QST at the bottom of page 81 if you aren’t able to find it.

Operator training was one factor among many that made this year’s field day a success. Planning certainly was a major factor along with the many volunteer hours preparing for the big day making the start up smooth with all 3 radios on the air at 1800Z. This was a great feeling. Support from the Langley club with the man lift and porta -potty's were major contributions. As with any successful outing plenty of good food is required and Susan and her crew had lots and lots of good dishes which certainly kept our energy level up. Despite the heavy rains on Friday and Saturday the dedicated hams who were focused on making field day a success kept working to get the antennas and operating tent up. Generators were running, power was on, the big tent provided a great shelter from the downpour and the work went on to completion.

This year there was a conscious decision to focus on the 2 point contacts for CW, RTTY and PSK31which proved to be the right choice. Our score mainly improved by making over 950 Q’s on CW plus RTTY and even a few PSK31. There were also good rates achieved by the SSB operators which rounded out the score.

We were very fortunate to have 5 CW ops this year as opposed to two last year. Some clubs don’t have any. There were only 3 hours out of the 24 when there wasn’t at least one op “pounding the key” and driving the points up. Our CW and Digi ops averaged 40 contacts per hour over the 24 hour period.

Our best CW hour was the very last hour of the contest when we had CW ops on 40, 20 and 15m who generated a total of 131 contacts, slightly better than 2 per minute.
Our worst 4 hours (Local) for all modes were 0000, 0100, 0200 and 0300 with, respectively, 10, 11, 13 and 9 contacts. Our best 4 hours were 1400, 1500, 0900 and 1000 with, respectively, 88, 84, 74 and 132 contacts. See elsewhere in this issue for additional statistics on our performance, along with comparisons to last year.

This year we did a much better job of ensuring that every HF op position was manned at all times. Last year there were a total of 13 hours during which at least one op position had no operator. This year, there were a total of 2. Last year we had no one in charge of the station. This year we had a Station Manager on duty at all times.

One of the measures of the effectiveness of an HF station is its coverage. From an Emcomm perspective the question comes down to how far you can reach in Canada and the U.S. We worked most Canadian Provinces and ALL U.S. States.

This year’s field day was recognized by our elected officials and the Emergency Planner who asked to have photos and stats that support our emergency communications program. Dan Barnscher, the Emergency Planner, was very impressed with our setup and our ability to provide complete communications.

Having the served agencies on site, such as the RCMP and BC Ambulance, went a long way to having amateur radio recognized by the cities of Surrey and Langley to say nothing of the extra bonus points we could claim.

Personally I have not experienced a field day of this quality since way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s when SARC was number one in Canada for several years. Thanks everyone who contributed their time and energy before, during and after the field day event - it was very rewarding. Being involved in the pre field day training it was awesome to see the operators sit down and quickly get into a comfortable running mode compared to previous years watching operators struggle with the logging software.

Dave Easingwood, VE7DPE, and I sent the score into ARRL and followed up with support documentation by regular mail. Now we wait until December to find out how we did with relationship to the rest of our Country. I’m sure we will be in first place in our category.

More photos:

~ Fred VE7IO
~ Jim VE7FO


The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens

Remembering the amateur radio account by Gerry Martin W7WFP On Sunday, March 27, 1980, a series of volcanic explosions and pyroclastic flows...

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