The Prescott-Russell ARES Group, (having an MOU with UCPR) conducted an EmComm radio communications test on March 28 to look for a VHF radio path from Embrun in Russell TWP and the radio station at the United Counties of Prescott & Russell’s (UCPR) primary EOC in Hawkesbury. This station uses the powerful Diamond X-700A dual band antenna (VHF & UHF) some 40ft up, which was replaced 3 years ago in 2020. This radio station exists to provide a service that is in support of municipalities’ Emergency Management (EM), so that UCPR’s EM can be in contact with them, when all normal channels of communications go dark. Under such a condition, this auxiliary communication capability using radio amateur frequencies by certified radio operators, would allow two-way radio contacts with municipalities that may be in need of support from the UCPR.
The Prescott-Russell Amateur Radio Club (PR-ARC) owns, operates and maintains 2 VHF radio repeaters (RPT) using Amateur Radio frequencies. One is at the Alfred water tower and the other is at the Hammond water tower. An impromptu (Diamond X-200) antenna and radio station was temporarily installed at the old ambulance station near town hall, in support of Russell TWP’s Emergency Management.
The resulting tests revealed that there is NO direct radio path from point A Embrun, and B Hawkesbury however, there were several VHF repeaters that were suitable for passing radio traffic between the 2 mentioned stations. The Alfred repeater being more central in the UCPR region, so is more capable to complete the communications path between point A and point B that the Club controls. The only weakness at the moment is that when hydro goes out – this repeater also goes dark. Presently there is no battery backup system to keep the repeater on and operational during a power blackout to provide a reliable channel of communications.
Here were the results for Hawkesbury’s station signal reports received – frequencies tested were:
Hammond RPT (VE3PRV) 147.330MHz+ T110.9 Hz was used as the common Net Control frequency to coordinate from, to direct what RPTs are to be tested and in what order. The wave propagation was stable this time for the Hawkesbury station into the PRV RPT and the report was ‘full quiet’ – so that was good.
Alfred RPT (VA3PRA) 145.470 MHz – T 110.9 Hz was ‘full quiet’ on high power and 20% ‘white noise’ reported on medium power.
Camp Fortune PQ RPT (VE2CRA) 146.940 MHz – T 100Hz – good on high & medium power – impressive.
Pine Hill PQ (VE2RWC) 146.805 MHz – T100 Hz – N/A – RPT was not stable – not tested. [UPDATE info – this is now fully operational as of Sunday afternoon]
Moose Creek RPT (VE3OJE) 145.370 MHz – T 151.4 Hz – hi power was OK and med was poor – not usable.
VE3MPC may be off air – last heard was south of Ottawa for the past few years. N/A
Rigaud PQ RPT (VE2RM) 147.000 MHz– Embrun was ‘full quiet’ on high power, and near ‘full quiet’ on medium power & on low power was readable 3. Impressive!
Covey Hill PQ RPT (VE2REX) 146.685 MHz- T100Hz – Embrun on high power surprisingly was good – on medium power was poor & intermittent.
Ottawa RPT (VE3OCE) 146.880 MHz – T 136.5 – This test from Hawkesbury was done later after the tests were completed – once I was able to put this frequency in memory – was missing – signal report given by Mike VE3FFK in Ottawa was readability 5 with some white noise on high power and poor in medium power – not useable. Very good considering this RPT is in Alsta-Vista at the Ottawa Fire Dispatch center.
Pine Hill PQ (VE2RCS) UHF 443.850 MHz + T 100 Hz – fully operational and was used as the common local frequency for coordination with Al VE3BOA who was high up in Vankleek Hill and we could have gone to simplex and be full scale, so close we were with his height. Embrun was NOT able to key up this RPT.
Additional: Al VE3BOA was able to pick up Embrun on reverse on each of the RPTs that Lance was transmitting on. The reception Al in Vankleek Hill had was 30% white noise (readability 3) on his short Diamond X-50 Omni directional antenna, which is some 55 ft up. Al did not have a chance to try a two-way Comms test with Embrun on 146.565 MHz – our designated simplex frequency – to see if he was heard or not. Time permitting Al could have done some signal comparison tests with Embrun by switching from the Omni antenna to the 5 element directional antenna that he also has on his tower.
So this means there IS a direct radio path from Embrun impromptu set up using the Diamond X-200 antenna some 40ft up with about 45 watts output, and Vankleek Hill’s Diamond X-50 some 55 ft up. The signal reception would have been much greater had Al had the chance to switch to his 5 element beam antenna.
The participants in the Hawkesbury area were: Mike – VE3IPC liaison at UCPR EOC1 and Al – VE3BOA at home QTH.
Participants that traveled to Embrun to install the impromptu radio station for EmComm tests were:
Lance VA3LP, Gilles VE3NPI, Harry VA3ZAK, Leo VA3EBI, Michael VA3PAI, Chad VE3OUO.
Thanks go to ALL who participated.
Mike Hickey – VE3IPC
Prescott-Russell ARES Group Liaison