RAC Ontario Sections Bulletin for January 20, 2024
Official Bulletin Station for Radio Amateurs of Canada with this week’s bulletin.
ONTARIO SECTION NEWS
ITEMS OF INTEREST
1. Canadian Ski Marathon 2024 (February 10-11, 2024)
Founded in 1966, the CSM is North America’s oldest cross-country ski event. Held the 2nd
weekend in February since 1967, it takes place in the beautiful Outaouais region, centred on
Montebello. It is a two-day, family friendly event. It is not a race. Skiers can ski on one to five
sections each day. Each section averages 16 km, but there are longer and shorter sections.
Checkpoints are set up at the start and end of each section.
Much of the ski trail used for the CSM is in semi-remote areas that have little or no cell
coverage. The CSM uses commercial digital radios for health, safety, and logistics traffic.
However, the CSM needs the skills and knowledge of ham operators to run a controlled net
on the commercial radios. When equipment or environmental factors make the commercial
rigs difficult or impossible to use, 2m ham radio is used as a backup.
The important point is that the CSM needs people who are skilled at operating on a
controlled net. Those are ham skills. Volunteer now at https://signup.hambone.ca/csm/
To comment, please send an email to Harrie Jones, VE3HYS harriej59_at_gmail.com or to
Neil Herber, VE3PUE ve3pue at hambone.ca.
— Canadian Ski Marathon (RAC Events Database)
2. USGS Thanks Winlink Amateur Volunteers for Shakeout Service
“We at the US Geological Survey really appreciate the work of the Winlink amateur volunteers
who contributed to the recent ShakeOut earthquake scenario exercise as well as contributing to
the USGS Did You Feel It? (DYFI) system since 2020. Winlink volunteers have sent in more
than 6,000 responses for exercises and actual events. We anticipate that your contributions will
help us provide critical situational awareness in the minutes and hours after a significant earthquake.
You have a rather unique capacity to communicate after a damaging earthquake.
“I’ve been really impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of all the amateur radio
operators we’ve worked with over the past few years who have been ready and willing to
develop the interface to connect directly to USGS via the DYFI system and to the many
operators who have sent in felt reports. Fantastic!
“Lastly, I also want to thank Vince Quitoriano (USGS contractor) for making the connections
between Winlink and USGS work so smoothly.”
— David Wald, PhD, Supervisory Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey
3. Neighborhood Radio Watch Ideas
The purpose of a Neighborhood Radio Watch program is to promote safety and cohesiveness
of the community neighborhoods by using radios to communicate. When normal communications
are lost, radio comms can save lives, or at least, reduce fears. When times are tough, the ability to
communicate with others can be calming. In normal times, scheduled radio nets for the purpose
of radio training and practice can help neighbors get to know one another. That tends to make life
better for those involved. For neighborhood communications, CB, General Mobile Radio Service
(GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS) radios are options.
We’ve tested out CB. In spite of excellent antennas, CB contact dropped off after about 2 miles.
GMRS proved to be better. We communicated on channel 16, using maximum power. Coverage
was about 3 miles, maximum. FM gives a good signal until it starts to fade. First it starts to crackle,
but still remains copyable, then nothing.
The FRS radios we’ve tried are good for about half a mile. Since GMRS and FRS can talk on the
same frequencies, FRS can be a decent option for those who don’t want to spend the $35 to get a
— Reid Tillery, K9RFT, Alachua County (Florida) ARES
4. Solar Eclipse QSO Party April 8, 2024
The Solar Eclipse QSO Party is an opportunity for amateur radio operators to operate during the
April, 2024 eclipse, before, during and after it passes over North America. Using various modes
(CW, voice, and digital), QSOs made during the SEQP will contribute to scientific studies focusing
on the ionosphere’s reaction to the eclipse. The studies should lead to a better understanding of the
interactions between the Sun, the ionosphere, and radio wave propagation. That research should
benefit hams, professional broadcasters, satellite operators and other users of the radio spectrum.
Eclipse paths can be seen at https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/.
Almost any ham station can participate. An HF radio and antenna, usable on one or more of the 160,
80, 40, 20, 15 10 and 6 meter bands is required.
The SEQP, while technically an ‘operating event’, closely mirrors the definition of a ‘contest’.
It is a friendly competition where participants endeavor to make many contacts in a short period
of time, over the widest possible area. QSOs will be short, with specific information (callsigns,
signal reports, station locations) exchanged between stations. If it is your first contest, the first
few minutes can be a bit overwhelming, but listen in, learn the operating rhythm, and jump in!
The basic idea is to have as many hams as possible make as many QSOs as possible, then
collect their QSO data, carefully studying it for trends indicating how far, how strong and where
HF signals propagated vs. the path of the eclipses.
The HamSCI Data Processing Team will gather all of the entries submitted on the SEQP website,
visit propagation databases such as WSPRNET.org and PSKReporter.info, and assemble millions
of data points into a research database. From that database the HamSCI Data Processing Team
will be able to assign everyone a score, which will then be published some months after the SEQP.
There is a solar eclipse event for those who are interested in transmitting and receiving WSPR
and FST4W signals: The Gladstone Signal Spotting Challenge
If you have questions regarding the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, send them to [email protected]
— hamsci.org website
This concludes this week’s bulletin.
Bulletin sent from Official Bulletin Manager VA3PC
RAC Ontario Sections Bulletin for January 20, 2024