Sunday, March 17, 2019

N8RMA's 2019 State of the Hobby

Your chance for an opinion on our hobby

Dustin Thomas N8RMA, got the idea for a comprehensive ham radio survey while browsing Reddit back in 2017. “I started to notice an influx of surveys being posted, almost all in regards to highly specific topics in amateur radio,” he says. "I made sure to participate yet often wondered what the results were. I then decided to host my own survey, to collect the opinions from the community on a variety of topics for comparison over the years. I wanted to ensure I made the results widely available for anyone to consume for whatever reason."

First licensed in 2014, Dustin upgraded to General in 2015 and looks forward to reaching Extra. His personal ham radio interests include contesting, DX, and Field Day operations. But as he got into the hobby, he wondered where it was headed. They survey is a way for him to make a meaningful contribution toward the hobby’s future.

“I always wanted some baseline questions to compare from year to year, as well as specific issues impacting amateur radio today,” he says. “The State of the Hobby was born.”

Dustin pointed out some highlights — and surprises — from the 2018 State of the Hobby survey:

Concerns over HOA’s came in as the third most reported issue (fourth overall as the biggest single issue) yet 75% of respondents reporting not being effected by an HOA
Respondents ranked HF award nets (such as 3905 Century Club and OMISS) very low – on par with believing there should be a code requirement for licensing.
68% of respondents claimed to have talked with a new ham in the last 12 months
DMR seems to be growing in terms of local repeaters, outranking both YSF and D-Star
Why should you bother to take the survey?

“It’s important for independent bodies (independent from the ARRL or commercial organizations with unknown agendas) to solicit and publish the opinions of ham radio operators,” Dustin says.
“This survey will give us insight into what is working and what is not, new or emerging trends in modes or activities, and successful ways to increase membership and licensing.”

He said interest in the survey has surprised him and that several clubs have reached our to say they’ve used insight from the survey to promote ham radio and establish new activities.

Dustin hopes to get more opinions this year from folks who may be studying for their license, or on the fence about whether to get involved. “This year I’ve also included a second for those not yet licensed, but who are interested,” he says. “This will give us a great insight into how new operators are preparing, what works / what doesn’t, and what recently caused them to be interested.”

More information:

2019 survey link:

If you have not had a chance to see the results from previous years, they are listed here:

Thanks to feedback and inquiry from hundreds of participants, Dustin has made a few minor changes to the survey. He says: "This year I've included some questions specific to 2019, which of course will change year to year. I hope to keep the core portion of the survey mainly intact (for that comparison) and continue to modify the annual section as deemed fit."

Please, help spread this survey to those whom you know in amateur radio. This will help strengthen the survey results and spread awareness of the results. Results and future surveys will be posted to so make sure to subscribe. 

Thank you for your time and participation.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

My Return To Ham Radio

One Ham's View

Like many hams, I got licensed at a young age and was active through my later school and early adulthood years, but amateur radio then faded into the background as the responsibilities of life, family and career took precedence.  I was licensed as VE7CPT in 1977, at the age of 17, and over the next five to ten years “dove in”: I got my “Advanced” license, designed and built equipment, became a DXer and half-serious contester, explored packet and satellite communications, and even got onto 2m EME – still the “coolest” thing I have done in amateur radio! 

During this period of time, I also graduated university, got my first “real job”, got married, started an interesting career in the Vancouver Police Department, got divorced, eventually re-married, and began assuming significant supervisory and managerial responsibilities at work.  I also went to graduate school, completed three years of research and a thesis, and contributed to an advanced 56 Kbps wireless networking project.

I became VE7ZD in the late 1980s after meeting the ten-year advanced license requirement and spending three years on the “two letter suffix” waiting list.  Such were the regulations in those days!

For me, like many others, amateur radio operation had to “take a back seat” to the responsibilities of life, and twenty years flew by before I realized it.  During this period, while I maintained my station, towers, and qualifications, I operated rarely, maybe once a year.  Probably ten years went by without me making a contact on HF.  My interest in radio and communications technology, and my love of amateur radio never died, though, and I always knew that one day I would return to the fold and become active again. 

Kevin with his Field Day 'lemon battery'
I finished my policing career in 2011, and after about seven years of being involved in other professional pursuits, I made the decision to return to the ham world earlier this year.

This story is about my observations after returning to the hobby after a long absence. 
How has amateur radio changed?  In summary, the “ham radio” I see today is closely aligned with the hobby I left.  The people and enthusiasm are the same, and the debates are similar, but the context has changed significantly due to the immense impact that new technology, both analog and digital, has made upon radio and communication systems.
One difference I have observed is the wide variety of complex gear that is now available to the average ham at an affordable price.  Devices like handheld antenna analyzers can now be bought for a couple of hundred dollars.  The capabilities and performance of these devices far exceeds that of devices that were unheard of in the amateur community, and that cost in excess of $100,000. 

The development of new digital modes such as PSK31 in the 1990s, and most recently FT8 and its related weak-signal modes have greatly improved the effectiveness of ham communication.  While there are detractors, more communication ability is always better than less, and it is notable that FT8 has come along just at the right time: at the bottom of one of the worst solar cycles in recent memory.  Oh, for the summer of 1979 – global communication with 5 watts SSB on 10 metres, almost 24/7!

Incidentally, new modes in amateur radio are always accompanied by negativity from the established amateur community.  This will pass, as did negativity about SSB from the “AM” crowd in the 1950s.  In fact, this skepticism is one of the aspects of amateur radio which has not changed in my absence.

A follow-up career, flying the big jets
The advent of DSP and software-defined radios is also a major development over the past 20 years.  Like most other new technologies, initial skepticism gave way to utility, and the SDR has found its way into just about every ham shack.  The thought that you would be able to buy a receiver for under $10 that runs on 5 volts and covers 10 MHz through 2 or 3 GHz would have been laughable in the 1980s.

Innovation within amateur radio has persisted, and I see many projects that build on (especially) SDR and other new technologies to produce great new modes and communication capabilities. 

One thing I do note, however, is that the percentage of electronic experimenters within ham ranks seems to have dropped.  There are fewer amateurs building their own gear, and more “buyers” who simply acquire products and deploy them.  Innovators are fewer than they were before.

This may be understandable, as these new technologies are quite complex compared to the earlier amateur era, and more technical background is necessary for an individual to innovate, i.e. to invent new modes or techniques. 

I think that one reason for this is that amateur licensing standards have failed to keep pace with the development of new technologies.  This is the case in Canada, the US, and in other nations as well.  The licensing standards have taken modest strides towards inclusion of material covering DSP and SDR, for example, but not in enough depth to provide individual amateurs with enough technical background to invent or innovate, as they were able to in the past.

It is a difficult problem, and I am not advocating an increase in complexity or difficulty of amateur licensing!  Amateur radio plays many roles: emergency communications; public service; a reserve of technical talent; - finding the right balance is what is important. 
Hams are not, nor should they be expected to be, electrical engineers, but licensing standards should always reflect the technologies in use.  Compared to twenty years ago, I think that some aspects of the standards should be revised to better reflect use of current technologies within the hobby.

Providing a workshop on GnuRadio

I think that the average ham today is much more aware of the important role amateur radio can play in public service and 
emergency response than was the case a couple of decades ago.  Public service and emergency communications has been part of amateur radio’s focus going back to the 1930s at least, but I have noted much more emphasis on this role since my return to the fold.  Public service and emergency communications plays a more prominent role in clubs, and even in popular magazines like QST.

Society’s dependence on telecommunications for day to day life is much greater than in previous decades, and hence the impact of a disaster, for example, could be much greater.  Amateur radio’s stronger focus on public service is good, because (as we all know), commercial infrastructure usually fails in a disaster despite the “best laid plans” of the major telecom providers.  Amateur radio will be able to help as it does not depend (as much) on this infrastructure.

Back to more specific observations

Use of repeaters seems, for some reason, to have declined.  I hear a few VHF/UHF nets during the day and in the evening, but the idea of a repeater as a “watering hole” is no more.  One used to be able to find other hams 24/7 on local repeaters.  The repeaters still exist, but it just seems that hardly anyone is using them.  Perhaps the rise of smartphones, or the ban on use of handhelds while driving is responsible, but I think that the sense of “community” that was enabled through heavy usage of local repeaters has been eroded.

Fewer hams are active on HF, it seems, and those who are newly licensed are less inclined to want to upgrade themselves and their stations to utilize HF.  This is a shame, in my opinion, as the challenge and fun of HF communications, and in making contacts (and possibly friends) across the world is something that is personally satisfying. 
I understand the counter-argument – “what’s the point of putting together an expensive HF station for unreliable communications when I can just email or group chat internationally over the Internet at no cost?” – but this argument is weak in the context of amateur radio’s role in emergency communications and disaster response.  I think we need to emphasize amateur radio as “unmediated direct communication without reliance on commercial infrastructure”, and that this aspect might elicit more interest in HF among new (and younger) hams.

Younger hams: this is an important observation.  I believe that amateur radio has largely lost its innovative “spark” to the “maker movement”.  In the 21st century, young “makers” exploit technology to undertake all manner of interesting tinkering and research, and the movement has been the source of many technological innovations. 
When you read QST from the 1920s and 1930s, this innovative spirit was the purview of young hams.  Radio was fairly new and represented the bleeding edge of a lot of industry and government research.  Radios and antennas were (relatively) affordable to build and maintain.  Young people got involved and their tinkering led, in many cases, in the discovery and development of new technologies.

Computing hardware and software has become the area of current industrial innovation, and naturally many young people today have been drawn to this interesting field.  They are experimenting and creating, just as young hams in the 1930s did.  The proliferation of cheap computing devices such as the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi, global networking, and open source software support affordable experimentation, and one can see the appeal of “making” to young people.

What I find ironic is that many in the “maker” community are now interested in wireless devices and applications but have no experience with or understanding of radio science or technology.  There are almost endless discussions on “maker” forums and mailing lists about antennas, radio propagation, and the like, and most of the information being spread is totally incorrect. 

Makers are fumbling about and trying to re-invent the wheel in regard to wireless communications.  Most of these technical questions on “maker” groups were answered about a century ago by experimenters within the amateur radio community. 
I think that our amateur radio organizations, both in Canada and the US, missed (or are missing) a great opportunity to contribute to innovation and to technological literacy in general.  Our partnership (or even leadership) in the “maker” community would support amateur radio and help spread our skills to a younger generation.  In return, we would learn much ourselves.

Why the missed opportunity?  Every organization (and even radio clubs and individuals) tends psychologically, and unconsciously, towards a parochial position and can feel threatened, or at least uncomfortable, when others want to use “technology invented here”.  We have to maintain self-awareness and see the bigger picture.  “Makers” would make great amateur radio operators.

I’ll stop here for now, but summarize my observations by saying that I’m enthused to be back, the amateur community is alive and well, and the hobby still presents great opportunity for fun, learning and public service to all those who get involved.  In that sense, amateur radio is unchanged from twenty years ago.  See you at the club and on the air!

~ Kevin VE7ZD

Kevin now writes his 'Radio Ramblings' column monthly for 'The Communicator'

Friday, March 1, 2019

The March 2019 Communicator

News, Views and Reviews... 

Several interesting projects this month, plus Amateur Radio News from the South West corner of Canada and elsewhere. You will find Amateur Radio related articles, profiles, news, tips and how-to's. You can download it as a .PDF file directly from

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome.  My deadline for the next edition is March 21st. We are planning a special issue focusing on home-built antennas. If you have a successful model, for any band,  we'd like to hear about it for publication. 

If you have news or events from your Vancouver area club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from elsewhere, please email them to the

Keep visiting our site for regular updates and news:    

~ 73,

John VE7TI
'The Communicator' Editor

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Women in Radio

Hedy LaMarr

Hollywood Screen Seductress and the Mother of Spread Spectrum Communications

Other than some fleeting familiarity with her films, I first learned about Hedy Lamarr (9 Nov 1914 – 19 Jan 2000) while on a tour of celebrity homes in Palm Springs, CA. She was an Austrian actress, sex symbol and… yes, inventor. Not something usually attributed to screen seductresses.

She started her film career in Austria. When she worked with Max Reinhardt in Berlin, he called her the "most beautiful woman in Europe" due to her "strikingly dark exotic looks", a sentiment widely shared by her audiences and critics.  Friedrich Mandl, her first husband, objected to what he felt was exploitation of his wife. The 19-year old Lamarr had married Mandl on 10 August 1933. Mandl, reputed to be the third richest man in Austria, was a munitions manufacturer. In her autobiography ‘Ecstasy and Me’, Lamarr described Mandl as extremely controlling, preventing her from pursuing her acting career and keeping her a virtual prisoner, confined to their castle home, Schloss Schwarzenau. Although half-Jewish, Mandl had close social and business ties to the fascist governments of Italy and Germany, selling munitions to Mussolini.

In her memoir, Lamarr wrote that Mussolini and Hitler had attended lavish parties hosted at the Mandl home. Mandl had Lamarr accompany him to business meetings where he conferred with scientists and other professionals involved in military technology. These conferences became Lamarr's introduction to the field of applied science and the ground that nurtured her latent talent in the scientific field. She had been an excellent student and attended the best private schools in her youth.

Lamarr emigrated from Austria by posing as a maid, to escape her controlling husband. First she went to Paris, then met Louis B. Mayer in London. Mayer hired her and insisted that she change her name to Hedy Lamarr—she had been known as "the Ecstasy lady" — choosing the surname in homage to the beautiful silent film star, Barbara La Marr, who had died in 1926 from tuberculosis. She received good reviews for her American film debut in Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer, who asked that Lamarr be cast after meeting her at a party. 

She became a contract star of MGM's "Golden Age”.  In Hollywood, she was invariably cast as the archetypal glamorous seductress of exotic origins. Lamarr played opposite the era's most popular leading men during the 1940s. She appeared only sporadically in films after 1950, and for a time gave up custody of her children as she became destitute. Twice during the 1960s she was charged with shoplifting.

And now the rest of the story… 

Avant garde composer George Antheil (died 1959), a son of German immigrants and a neighbor of Lamarr in California, had experimented with automated control of musical instruments, including his music for Ballet Mécanique, originally written for Fernand Léger's 1924 abstract film. This score involved multiple synchronized player pianos playing simultaneously.

During World War II, Antheil and Lamarr discussed the fact that radio-controlled torpedoes, while important in the naval war, could easily be jammed by broadcasting interference at the frequency of the control signal, causing the torpedo to go off course. Lamarr had learned something about torpedoes from Mandl. Antheil and Lamarr developed the idea of using frequency hopping to avoid jamming: using a piano roll to unpredictably change the signal sent between a control center and the torpedo at short bursts within a range of 88 frequencies in the radio-frequency spectrum (there are 88 black and white keys on a piano keyboard). The specific code for the sequence of frequencies would be held identically by the controlling ship and in the torpedo. It would be practically impossible for the enemy to scan and jam all 88 frequencies, as this would require too much power or complexity. The frequency-hopping sequence was controlled by a player-piano mechanism, which Antheill had earlier used to score his Ballet Mecanique.

On August 11, 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and Hedy Kiesler Markey, Lamarr's married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping, although novel, soon met with opposition from the U.S. Navy and was not immediately adopted although it was held a closely guarded technological secret by the US military. Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds.

Frequency Hopping was not implemented in the US until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba after the patent had expired. Her work was not honoured until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr a belated award for her contributions. In 1998, an Ottawa wireless technology developer, Wi-LAN Inc., acquired a 49% claim to the patent from Lamarr for an undisclosed amount of stock. LaMarr was once again a wealthy woman.

Lamarr's and Antheil's frequency-hopping idea serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as Bluetooth, COFDM (used in Wi-Fi network connections), and CDMA (used in some cordless and wireless telephones). 

For more on Hedy LaMarr, watch this YouTube clip:

~ John VE7TI

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The YL Contest Advantage?

A Communicator Reprise...

May 2014

When the idea of a YL only operation for a contest was suggested we considered a smaller contest like a QSO party or something like that. However when it was discussed, the YL's wanted something that would provide more activity so the CQ WW WPX SSB contest was chosen. It would be hosted at VE7IO.

Participants were six enthusiastic YL's, Marcy VE7JT, Christine VA7NLF,  Margaret VE7TJF, Pam VE7PFH, Jeannie VA7QLT and Shirley VE7SHL. We used the call sign VE7JT.
Contest weekend arrived, the schedule was in place and everyone was keen to get going.  We operated two radios in the high power category and happily everything worked well.  We had to leave the night time operation dark, no pun intended, due to family commitments but the early morning and evening operation was covered. 

By time they shut down on Friday we realized that this was going to be a good opportunity for the YLs.  Band conditions were looking very good and everyone now realized that this was going to be a fun weekend. Their best bands were 10, 15 and 20 meters with DX continuing to be heard late in the evening. They did not operate overnight and only had a very short opportunity to work 40m.

Over the past 3 years we have conducted contest training sessions here at VE7IO, VE7FO and VA7XB. The training program has been very successful and we can now proudly list a number of new very good contesters. The program has sparked interest in contesting so when the YL's asked if they could do a YL only contest entry with a training component it sounded like a great idea.  Two of the operators were skilled in the "run" mode and this served to motivate the others as they watched and heard the DX stations calling us.  With such good openings to the DX world, the "S&P" operators were able to log multipliers and  see how their contributions increased the overall score.  Between the "run" operation and the multipliers being added by the "S&P" operators, everyone had a great time and would definitely like to do this again.

Stan VA7NF dropped in on the Saturday to help with station management and plan strategy, the ladies just kept busy on the radios. Stan stayed most of the day and we both enjoyed assisting with band changes and monitoring activity.
For me this was the first time ever hosting an entirely YL group and it was great fun.  We operated Multi/Multi (M/M) which gave us lots of latitude in making band changes and operating in the assisted mode.  As a M/M entry they were nowhere near the big gun stations but the YL's were very proud of their accomplishment, having fun, learning new skills and achieving a reasonably good score.

It certainly seemed an advantage to have an all YL station. Whether it's their voice or their charm (they always added a greeting to their QSO) they always got a great response.

Operating time: 27 hrs. Score: 2,945,743

The graph clearly shows the down times but when they were on the air they did well.

~ Fred VE7IO

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Here's A Few Interesting Anagrams

When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
~ Thanks Norm Schmidt

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The February 2019 Communicator

Hot off the presses... 

This month an in-depth look at the new digital mode FT8, plus Amateur Radio News from the South West corner of Canada and elsewhere. You will find Amateur Radio related articles, profiles, news, tips and how-to's. You can download it as a .PDF file directly from

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome.  My deadline for the next edition is February 20th. If you have news or events from your Vancouver area club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from elsewhere, please email them to the

Keep visiting our site for regular updates and news:    

~ 73,
  John VE7TI
  Communicator Editor

Monday, January 28, 2019

BC QSO Party 2019

As far as history goes, the British Columbia QSO Party—originally, the BC QSO Challenge—hasn’t got a long one. It began with a suggestion by Scott Robbins, VE7CCY in 2005 to members of the Delta Amateur Radio Society for a casual event that would promote on-air activity in BC. 

The objective was for VE7/VA7 stations to work anyone in the 36 federal electoral districts of BC, as well as the other Canadian provinces, US states and DX countries, and for stations outside BC to work only VE7/VA7 stations. While the rules have been tweaked a bit over the years, the objective has remained the same. 

We hope to hear you on the air!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The "Best" Random Wire Antenna Lengths

Random wire lengths you should and should not use

A Communicator Reprise: February 2014

Jack Clarke, VE3EED - SK

A random wire is exactly that—a piece of wire that’s as long as you can possibly make it. One end of the wire attaches to a tree, pole or other support, preferably at a high point. The other end connects to the random-wire connector on a suitable antenna tuner. You apply a little RF and adjust the antenna tuner to achieve the lowest SWR. That’s about all there is to it. 

Random-wire antennas seem incredibly simple, don’t they? The only catch is that your antenna tuner may not be able to find a match on every band. The shorter the wire, the fewer bands you’ll be able to use. And did you notice that the random wire connects directly to your antenna tuner? That’s right. You’re bringing the radiating portion of the antenna right into the room with you. If you’re running in the neighborhood of 100W, you could find that your surroundings have become rather hot—RF hot, that is! We’re talking about painful “bites” from the metallic portions of your radio, perhaps even a burning sensation when you come in contact with the rig or anything attached to it.

The random wire antenna is probably one of the least expensive, easiest and cheapest HF antennas to use if you have a tuner and you want to get the "most" out of a length of "random" wire without having to pull out that calculator, doing the math, getting the center insulator built or bought, running the feedline, and all the rest that goes with putting up a more elaborate antenna. All you need for a random wire antenna is some wire, your tuner, one or more supports up as high as you can get them to string the wire from the supports to the tuner, at least one or two insulators and a little time.
One single wire, no solder connections, very simple… all the way from the tuner to the end support. That's it in a nutshell… or is it?

Many hams have tried till they are blue in the face to install the random wire antenna that works on most; if not all of the HF bands with terrible results.
SWR usually is all over the place and the tuner will just not do it's job. You can get good loading and low SWR on sometimes 2 or 3 bands, but one or more of the bands that you want, just will not cooperate with an SWR that can be adjusted with the "tuner".

So after much frustration, down it comes and you go on to a totally different type of antenna… all that time just wasted in your opinion… until now!

We recently found some good information about random wire lengths that you should and should not use.

Jack, VE3EED, hopefully has solved a major headache we all have when we attempt to go thru the trial and error and frustration with getting the random wire to work where WE want it to work.

He knew that in order for the tuner to "see" a fairly low SWR to work within it's range, that the antenna had to be NOT A HALF WAVE ON ANY FREQUENCY that we wanted to use, because a half wave will give us a very high impedance and the resulting high SWR into a 50 ohm transmitter!

So Jack took most of one day, did the math with the aid of his trusty calculator, several cups of coffee and came up with, in Jack's own words…  "Here's the word on random-wire antennae."

Presented for your consideration by Jack, VE3EED, the table (next page) represents half wave lengths and multiples that you  DO NOT WANT TO USE!

You have to stay away from a half wavelength on any frequency. Therefore, we came up with the following numbers to avoid (IN FEET):

These lengths in the table are the culprits that cause all of the trouble when using random lengths.

So those are the numbers above that we have to stay as far away from as possible when building a long-wire antenna. Here they are in order: 16 19 22 26 32 33 38 44 46 48 52 64 65 66 76 78 80 88 92 95 96 99 104 110 112 114 123 128 130 132 133 138 144 152 154 156 160 165 171 176 182 184 190 192 195 198 208 209 220 224 228 230 231 234 240 242 246 247 256 260 264 266 272 276 285 286 288 297 304 308 312 320 322 323 325 330 336 338 342 352 361 363 364 366 368 369 374 380 384 390 396 399 400 414 416 418 429 432 437 440 442 448 455 456 460 462 464 468 475 480 484 494 495 496.

Some of these numbers are too close to squeeze in between them. Here are the final numbers (in my opinion) in green below that would be good for a long-wire antenna: (You may want to make a note of them)

29  35.5  41  58  71  84  107  119  148  203  347  407  423

REVISION NOTE:  James, KB5YN, points out that one of the so-called GOOD numbers was 220 feet. That is the 10th multiple of a half wave on 15 meters. His radio didn't tune up very well on 15 meters. So, having nothing better to do one day, I re-did the calculations going out to 500 feet. That meant calculating all the way to 32 multiples of a half wave on 10 meters. I won't bore you with all that so the first portion of this still only shows up to the 4th multiple. There are so many new frequencies to stay away from, that it gets pretty tricky for the longer wires. However, the list has been revised and is good for wires as long as 500 feet.

Mike AB3AP wrote a small C program that does just what Jack did, but used the band edges.  Because he’s more visually oriented, he then plotted the many overlapping "red zones" and ended up with the page at:

He plotted the results for the U.S. CW band edges for use with his  4 band Elecraft K1 QRP rig.

You will note that when comparing Mike’s results with VE3EED that some of the results are a bit different.

Monday, January 21, 2019

YAK ! Yet Another Knot...

Knots are used frequently in our hobby. From securing loads to securing antennas, a knowledge of some basic knots is very valuable. In this series we feature some common knots for you to practice. This month… 

The Constrictor Knot 

Use this knot to bind ropes, as clamps, or as cable ties

The constrictor knot is appropriate for situations where secure temporary or semi-permanent binding is needed. Made with string or twine it is especially effective, as the binding force is concentrated over a smaller area. When tying over soft material such as the neck of a bag, hard stiff cord is more effective. When tying over hard surfaces, soft stretchy line is preferred. The constrictor knot's severe bite (which makes it so effective) can damage or disfigure items it is tied around.  To exert extreme tension on the knot without injuring the hands, one can fashion handles using marline spike hitches made around two rods.

Constrictor knots can be used for temporarily binding the fibres of a rope (or strand ends) together while splicing, or when cutting to length and before properly whipping the ends. Constrictor knots can also be quite effective as improvised hose clamps or cable ties. 

Noted master-rigger Brian Toss says of the constrictor: "To know the knot is to constantly find uses for it.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Arduino

VE7ZD's Presentation 

At our January meeting, Kevin McQuiggin VE7ZD spoke about the Arduino and the many interesting possibilities for Amateurs to use this low-cost board.
Kevin's presentation is included here. A Saturday workshop is being planned to work on an Arduino project, most likely a TNC for messaging.

Click HERE for a link to the presentation

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Our Next Basic Amateur Radio Course

Register Now... We Start Tuesday, January 15

The Surrey Amateur Radio Club generally offers two Basic licensing courses per year. Last year we graduated 27 members who attended our classes. These new 'Hams' came from all walks of life, some with technical backgrounds, most without. Many were interested in emergency preparedness and staying in touch if the BIG one hits.

We have set the start for the next class as Tuesday, January 15th at 6:30pm. We use the excellent classroom facilities courtesy of the Surrey Fire Service at their training facility 14901 64th Avenue, Surrey, BC.

Have a look at what Amateur Radio can offer:

An exciting modern hobby

A useful emergency communications skill

Click on the poster for more information


N8RMA's 2019 State of the Hobby

Your chance for an opinion on our hobby Dustin Thomas N8RMA, got the idea for a comprehensive ham radio survey while browsing Reddit ba...

The Most Viewed...