Calgary Amateur Radio Association
Enjoy Amateur Radio | Serve Our Community
Seasons greetings to all Hams and their loved ones.
I have the honour to address the clubs’ membership through the president's message. With the recent resignation of 2 dedicated individuals from the board including our club president, I had the opportunity to let my name stand for the executive at the November general meeting. At the end of my first executive meeting in early December, I stood as the club's president.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the countless volunteer hours by previous and current club members, not only executive members, but all the various aspects of our club from club memberships, to coffee and donuts at our meetings, and many more!
This club keeps moving forward thanks to all of it's dedicated club members and the hours they put in. Thank you!
There is some very important work currently on-going in the club. A few key items I see, are as follows.
2016 Casino Funds - The executive is currently reviewing all submitted projects from its members and approving projects and funds as we wind down the available funds from the previous Casino.
2018 Casino - There is ongoing work in preparing for the 2018 Casino. Please take the time to review the information regarding the 2018 casino on our website. The more volunteers we have the easier the work is. The funds raised through the Casino events help fund most of the CARA projects over the next 2 years. The 2018 Casino is scheduled for Thursday, March 8th and Friday, March 9th.
Club Rooms and remote operations committees - Committees have been struck and are working feverishly to gather information to make a recommendation back to the executive and its members on how to proceed in these respective regards. The membership has identified these key items to help the club move forward and I certainly look forward to their recommendations.
There are many other projects and important work that is on-going. Be sure to read up about all club activities on our website. Members who login to the website have access to a treasure trove of content (as I am discovering).
The executive has also decided to move forward on organizing an Advanced Amateur Radio Class to begin in January. Stay tuned for updated information on our website regarding the class. With the increasing interest of operating remote stations, amateurs are reminded that Advanced qualifications are required to operate such stations. I encourage any members interested in operating the remote stations or increasing (or in many cases validating) your level of knowledge in our hobby to take the course to update your qualifications.
Although I have been around Ham Radio all my life thanks to my father... it was the CARA courses, both basic and advanced that allowed me to obtain my ham radio qualifications! Kudos to all current and past instructor volunteers!
In closing, I look forward to serving out the rest of the current executive's term as President and ensuring that the Club keeps serving its mandate of having fun and serving our community for its members.
Thank you and 73 de VE6NR, Stephane Raimbault
The previous Board (July 2014 to April 2016) established the mission statement: "Have Fun and Serve Our Community". This statement is the top level of CARA’s Renaissance. The amateur radio hobby continues to evolve rapidly. Change is driven by technology, but also by the changing interests and needs of its community of members.
Mission statements are short and broad and intended to provide general direction. CARA 's current Board thinks the mission statement aptly captured the club's value proposition for current and future members.
Have Fun and Serve Our Community.
The last word, Community, is perhaps the most significant: a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals. The sharing elements are powerful motivators for participation.
I think it is safe to say that the interests and personal goals of individual members in the amateur radio community are very broad. Yet they can be identified, aggregated and explored within the club experience. Attitudes, perhaps not so much, but they have to be acknowledged and when necessary, dealt with.
The current Board focused energy, time and debate in the last 14 months to establish a set of goals. The goals, presented below, are not fully crafted nor set in stone. They are however, formed to a point where they can be set before the membership for consideration within the context of "having fun and serving our community".
The above brought focus to the Board's collective efforts toward engagement of more of its current members in shaping the club's future.
The motions presented at the CARA Annual Meeting on Oct 24 established a process by which a greater number of CARA members can actively participate and make a personal contribution to the practical implementation of the club's efforts to ‘Have Fun and Serve Our Community. Regrettably, the loss of Quorum of Executive members present prior to the votes on motions 2 and 3 will require a second presentation of these motions for ratification at the next General Meeting later this month.
In closing, I have officially tended my resignation as President of the Calgary Amateur Radio Association. This is in response to my offer at the August 28th Board meeting to do so. The offer was made in my recognition that my leadership effectiveness was essentially spent. At the Board meeting Nov 8th, convened to accept that offer, it was suggested that I should also resign from the Board. I tender here my resignation from the CARA Board of Directors as well, but with the intention of remaining an active club member.
My final statement as Club President is to express my gratitude to all the members who actively supported the club through participation in club meetings, events and activities over the past 14 months. You are the backbone of the club. You are the members who are having fun and serving our community in a selfless manner. You are the ones who will move the club forward as it realistically faces the challenges of repositioning its human and physical resources towards the interests and needs of its next generation of members. Please continue to do so and stay the course.
Change is hard. Its hard to accept the need and hard to accomplish. In the last 14 months progress has been made in understanding the need for change. With the continued participation and voices of members supporting that need, accomplishment will follow.
73 de VE6TI
The club needs additional members to be on site to interact with attendees at the 6th https://calgary.makerfaire.com/about/er Faire at the Spruce Meadows site this coming Saturday and Sunday.
This event is an opportunity that draws huge numbers of people with interest and passion to use technology to make things and have fun. This is the kind of audience that may not know of our hobby and its nature in doing the similar things however, may not even know we exist. It’s a chance to attract and retain new members to the club as well as inform the general public to the significance, small as it may be, of our communications capabilities if ever needed.
We need to have at least two members at our display on Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00. All that it is required is to interact with the public interested in our display, the club Comms Unit.
Setup and tear down needs are already in place. If we get 8 to 10 members participating we can reduce shifts to a couple of hours and then you will be free to roam the entire Maker Faire. We have suitable handouts ordered from the ARRL for our Field Day effort at The Military Museum location in June. That event, although not well attended by the general public, did draw the attendance of Calgary’s Mayor for more than an hour.
I suspect that the Maker Faire itself will also stimulate a number of us to see what other hobbyists are doing. As a volunteer in support of our contribution you may be eligible for a free admission pass. I have requested 10 passes but considering the lateness of this development I cannot promise at the moment.
Thanks for considering this request. If you can commit just drop me an email. I will reply to it as quickly as I can an update the number of participation responses.
Hoping all had a nice summer enjoying time with family, friends and some relaxation. Typically summer is a quiet time for the club, however a number of notable activities took place to prepare for the upcoming year.
A "Kick off" item in need of immediate attention is the addition of one more member to participate in the audit of the club's operation over the past 2 years. This is required to meet AGCL requirements for compliance with the Casino funding. This is neither an onerous task nor one that requires a professional designation or a formal accounting background to complete. Please consider this short term volunteer role. Email, Jim Weisert, VE6GO, CARA Treasurer for further information.
In May, members present at the meeting approved the appointment of Jim Leslie, VE6JF and Gerry MacDonald, VE6QLT to the Facility Coordinator roles for the Club Station and Club Repeater facilities. These roles were established to provide leadership regarding the sustainability and relevance of these facilities to current and future members of the club and the amateur radio community in Calgary and surrounding regions. Both have been addressing the major challenges of keeping the "lights on" and preparing for the upcoming club year.
Jim and others undertook the task of tidying up the areas available to us for storage at VE6AO, the club station located in and on the leased property of the Calgary Sports Car Club. Item accumulation of over the years had overrun our leased area as well as the room adjacent to the operating positions. A modest expenditure on shelving and a basic culling of bits and pieces of cable and inoperable or obsolete gear resulted in confining our presence to the allotted area in the lease agreement and the potential for additional activities in the freed up space.
Periodic problems with drainage and the reoccurrence of mould in the basement washroom facilities at VE6AO resulted in a member motion at its April meeting warning of its presence. The Board undertook a professional mould assessment in May that produced two quotations for remediation. These were then presented to the CSCC President for actioning and have been followed up to determine progress. I have been advised by email from CSCC to seek an alternate meeting location for the September club meeting. This is underway and will be announced shortly.
The current lease arrangement at the CSCC location runs until the spring of 2019. Notice to renew or not is required six months in advance of the end date or the lease automatically extends for 5 years. This is a key issue for CARA. Member input and the club's primary goals as established last year, will guide the decision to renew, or investigate other locations/options for delivery of the facility's services to members.
In a similar manner, Gerry MacDonald and others undertook the task of maximizing the use of the rented storage at Lo-Cost Storage. The compartment primarily houses Repeater Facility items as well as the paper records the club has accumulated over many years. The installation of shelves and culling of accumulated boxes and unused items left over from earlier club eras has increased its capacity and usability as well as identifying items that were thought to be missing.
During the last 3 months a number of the club's Repeater Facilities have been accessed by Gerry MacDonald and others to provide and document each ones's current state. When this is complete and with Member input and fit to the strategies to address the club's primary goals as established last year, will guide further planning and investment.
The fourth goal established in the first year of the new Board was to reach out to the other amateur organizations in the Calgary region to seek complementary opportunities to have fun and serve our communities. Over the summer preliminary discussions with Foothills Amateur Radio Society look promising. At September's Program meeting, this will be fleshed out for CARA member consideration and input.
In closing and on behalf of The CARA Executive, thanks to all members for your support and participation in club events and activities in the past year. We hope you can continue to contribute and ask all members to participate as time, circumstances and interest in amateur radio enable.
Field Day 2017: Final Update June 19
On Saturday, June 10 a crew of 10 members gathered at the CSCC to do a dry run setup of the Antenna trailer and its antennas: a 3 element beam for 20, 15 and 10 meters and a fan dipole for 80 and 40 meters.
As expected, Murphy showed up and threw a couple of curve balls. The crew managed to handle these with a bit of ham ingenuity and bits and pieces from the club’s Junk Box. Scheduling the practice session was brilliant; otherwise, the surprises we encountered would have interfered with getting on the air at 12:00 sharp when the event begins on Saturday. Thanks Jim, Ameer and Jerry for organizing the practice and to the rest who took part.
The Beam tuning was bang on, thanks to previous crews having marked all the element pieces with black electrical tape to make it easy to re-install them correctly. The fan dipole was too long (by design) so it took a couple of adjustments to get both of them resonant where they need to be. Four sections of surplus 42” military mast were used to provide the two end supports for the Fan Dipole. This gets the 40-meter dipole up near a half wavelength so it should be a good performer. The 80 will still be a cloud warmer but we will not have to worry about its orientation.
Five of the crew managed to set up the 2-man tent in about 10 minutes. Not a spectacular time but it was entertaining and I have pictures. Hopefully, “practice does make perfect“ or at least better. This structure houses the operators and radios for the antenna trailer station as well as the logging network for the entire site.
The 8-KW generator was hauled out of the basement of the CSCC and returned as practice to determine the amount of manpower it takes to load and unload it from the transporting vehicle; another item off the checklist.
The Communications Trailer has been used at all Field Days since 2012 so it is already to go. It will just need to have its antennas deployed once it is on site.
The third station, if we have sufficient operators to man it, will be erected on Friday evening when we do our set up at the Flanders and Crowchild site of Calgary’s Military Musems.
So, we are pretty much ready to go. Having only missed one CARA Field day in the last 10 years, I think this one is the best prepared. All that is needed is good participation from our 190 odd club members to make it one of the most memorable. It would be especially appreciated if many of us could attend just for the fun of it and to socialize with fellow members. You do not have to sign up for the full 24 hours of the event, we have some die-hards who will keep the station(s) on the air and remember we are providing barbeques for a potluck dinner, 6ish, on Saturday. Just bring your own protein to cook and a side dish to share. It would be helpful to know how many to expect for the potluck so please register on the CARA Website if you plan to come.
Tnx es 73 de VE6TI
Today, May 10th already. Is it just me or is the passage of time actually accelerating? Looking at the trees and flowering shrubs, spring appears to have finally arrived.
In reading my amateur radio email this morning I am reminded that once again we are in the most demanding and competitive time period for our radio communications services.
Case in point, the Rocky Mountain Rally is just 17 days away and we currently need 12 more members to commit to supporting this event. Granted, this is one of the most onerous events in terms of time committed in our annual cycle of public event support. It consumes the entire weekend and evolves 500 plus kilometres of driving.
In recognition of the associated travel costs, The Calgary Sports Car Club and the Calgary Amateur Radio Association are offsetting a significant portion of the out of pocket expense. Shared accommodation costs are provided by CSCC for the radio operators as well as lunches while in action and event related dinners. These volunteers will receive reimbursement for fuel costs up to $100.00 from CARA upon submission and processing of a mileage expense form after the event.
With current membership just over 200, this event needs about 12% participation. If you are one of the members who enjoy the amateur radio experience and the benefits/opportunities of club membership, be it fellowship, knowledge acquisition, and its sharing or just personal satisfaction, this is one to consider.
Next item, the May General Meeting-its import and challenge. As above, much of our activity and planning for the next club year happens in the spring.
Field Day goes the last weekend of June. Its is one of the most appealing club events in that it brings together and draws upon the myriad of experiences and skills in the amateur radio community to work as a team. The event’s duration is just 24 hours but the preparation takes much planning and effort to make it work. This year’s leaders, Jim Leslie, VE6JL and Ameer Shaikh, VE6QAS are well off the mark. They will provide progress to plan and outline items yet to be accomplished. Keep checking the CARA website for needs and opportunities to be part of the process.
This meeting is also significant to the club as a whole. Over the last eight months the CARA Executive has considered the need and planned for the revitalization of the participation of its current members and in actively attracting new members. We have a sense of traction and movement towards that goal. We have the first stage of next steps to outline and a desire to implement before the end of June. We will propose and discuss an action plan focusing on the future of the two main facilities the club has built up over the last several years an how to further leverage them to meet the needs of members to have fun and serve our community.
Stand by for the location of the May meeting. It will be communicated by this time next week.
Towards getting the Field Day word out, Jim has nailed it. Please read on.
As you may have heard by now, Field Day 2017 will be held June 24/25. This year CARA will hold the ARRL annual event at the Military Museums located at 4520 Crowchild Trail SW in Calgary. Many thanks to Ameer, VA6QAS for his initiative in suggesting the use of the site during the May general meeting, and for making the request to the museum on behalf of CARA.
On April 20th a meeting was held at the musuem with Jerry - VE6TL, Ameer - VA6QAS, myself - VE6JF and Gordon - VE6TI. Gordon signed all the necessary paperwork on CARA's behalf, giving us permission to proceed. Following the meeting, we had a lengthly tour of the grounds including the roof, with an eye to locating a few stations and antennas. They also have a military tent we are welcome to use and will move it for us to wherever we choose. The initial plan is to have it in the center courtyard. This tent opens on the sides giving good viewing access to the public.
This site will be a terrific location not only from the standpoint of having plenty of space for antennas and room between the operating positions, but also upwards of 1000 or more visitors are expected. The museum told us they are promoting the event as well. More news will follow on their events in the coming weeks.
What do we do next? Last Saturday afternoon April 29th Dana, VA6DJH and Ameer, VA6QAS visited the club station and investigated the state of the antenna trailer. The objective was to evaluate what is required to prepare it for Field Day use. To to do list includes a brief written procedure in order to do it safely and efficiently as it can be challenging to raise the first time.
We should also have an additional practice sesionion to build experience, confidence and increase the membership pool in its continued use. Some addition TLC could be applied to sustain this club asset as well.
Other Field Day tasks that we are looking for help with now is:
1) Someone to fill in the ARRL locator on their web site to mark the CARA Field Day location.
2) Another is to have someone assist/take charge of with th GOTA station. We intend to score as many bonus points as possible. There are many opportunities within this area to explore.
3) Bonus points are issued for satellite contacts. We need someone with this capability to steer this one.
There is a lot to do and the Field Day Team needs your help to make this event a success. If you would like to contribute in any way, from operating to raising antennas or only to be present wearing your CARA badge and be an ambassador of amateur radio and explain to the public what ham radio is, please join us that weekend!
That's all for now, but I will have much more to add in a few days. Please contact me if you can help with any of the above items, or if you have any questions, comments or can help in any way. Suggestions are welcome!!
You can reach me here: galoot @shaw.ca
The business portion of the tonight’s General Meeting will focus on upcoming project objectives for spring and summer execution with our Club Station and the Club’s Repeater facilities. The program portion of the meeting will follow and will be titled Field Days, Past and Present. Start time 7:00 PM, location; CARA Club station, 4215 80th Ave NE.
As of 2:00 Friday April 20 we officially committed to holding Field Day at the Military Museums, just East of Crowchild trial at Flanders Avenue. Jim Leslie, VE6JL, Ameer Shaikh, VE6QAS, Jerry Spring, VE6TL and I met with Sargent Major Jody to discuss how things could/would work and then walked the grounds and rooftops to get the lay of the land for our 2017 Field Day Event.
The area is well set up for Field Day. The site offers the opportunity to run up to three separate stations with separate antennas. The Military Museum has its own event on Saturday that will draw a significant public attendance and provide additional exposure to Amateur radio in Calgary. Food service trucks will be on site during the day. A large army tent will house our public interactions and provide a gathering area for station operators when not pounding brass or running a string of SSB contacts.
This year’s Field day will be one of the largest such undertakings in recent club history. Given its location it will be one of the easiest to attend. With 8 weeks to complete the planning and organizing of the teams we can be well prepared to have Fun and Serve our Community. All members are invited to participate in the balance of the planning and the operation of the club’s 2017 Field Day Event. Looking forward to seeing you tonight.
Last Saturday, 20 or more club members made the trek to the site of the Calgary Sports Car Club’s Winter Rally, NW of Cochrane. Given the driving conditions on Highway 40 and the Hunter Valley road this required a 1½ to 2 hour cautious drive from Calgary. The in-position target was 07:00. When combined with the “spring ahead” time change it made for an early rise. As our Australian hams would say, “Good on you mates”!
Murphy’s law: “whatever can go wrong will go wrong “ applied to the early stages of setup and resulted in moving Net Control to simplex when both the primary repeater and the backup repeater proved unreliable. Undaunted, but prepared for the unexpected, Net Control persevered and moved to 146.52 and carried on. With the passage of time and more daylight the original repeaters were then used to coordinate efforts for the subsequent stages. “Kudos to all,” for their adaptability and persevere in the face of uncontrollable circumstances. Amateur radio at its best, when as Robbie Burns wrote; “ The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry”.
Racing conditions proved equally challenging to the rally teams. A number of unintended off-road outcomes occurred. While there were no serious injuries Robin Greig, VE6RBN, in the ambulance role of radio operator experienced first hand the importance of good organizational planning and the commitment of volunteer’s expertise, time, and efforts to ensure the safety of all involved.
Next up on the scheduled events is the Spring Flea Market. It is Saturday, April 8th at the East side Church. Seller, buyer and learning Conference information is available on the Upcoming Events section of the CARA Home page.
This year’s flea market has the usual offering of amateur radio treasures for redistribution. So if you are relatively new to the hobby the flea market is a place to get started on building your first station and connecting with others to enhance your amateur radio journey. For the not so new there will be old boat anchors to rummage through and reminisce about as well as an endless variety of parts for the current project or the ones on the drawing board.
The Calgary Amateur Radio Association is again offering attendance incentives. A 50/50 draw will be available under Alberta Gaming license # 460298 for which we have 500 tickets available @ $2 per ticket. There are two transceiver prizes with 300 tickets @ $5 and 900 tickets @3 for $10 available under License 460305.
Radio World Central http://radioworldcentral.ca has graciously donated a Yaesu FT-891 radio. This 1.8 to 54 MHz mobile transceiver is valued @$950. CARA is providing the second radio, a Yaesu FTM-100DR for the 2 meters and up attendees interested in both the digital and analogue modes. It is valued @ $450.
Personal attendance of the winning ticket drawn at the draw location, East Side Church in SE Calgary at approximately noon is required for awarding of prizes.
At our last Board Meeting we discussed some ideas for this year’s ARRL Field Day the last weekend in June. The last 2 years we went out to High River and joined the FARS club at a location on the south side of town. On the 3 previous years we chose rural locations. This year we thought we should look at setting up for the 24-hour operational period within the city to make it easier for members to attend and to enhance the awareness for this facet of amateur radio. In the past we used the parking lot on the East side of the Sunridge Mall one year and Glenmore park for another.
If you are new to the Field Day event just go to: ARRL Field Day 2017 and find out all about it. If you are a past participant and want to get in on the organization part we are now in the process of setting that opportunity up. A member is needed to take on the role of Field Day Director. This role coordinates the place, process and people to enable a whole lot of fun while building operational experience to be of assistance when mother nature or some other event calling on us for assistance. Look to the CARA Site in a couple of weeks for more information and details as they take shape.
The last item for this time concerns progress towards further linking of CARA’s VHF repeater facilities. An initiative is underway to determine which site(s) are candidates for linking in the upcoming spring through fall window for site access. More detail will be provided in the next President’s Message.
That’s it for now; see you at the Flea Market next month.
At this month’s GM we will be honouring the long and extensive service to CARA of Mike Ross, VE6TC. Mike will be presented with a Lifetime Membership award in appreciation of his dedication and endless efforts to envision, plan, and build and support the Club station. For the many of you that have been involved along the way in Mike’s quest please attend and contribute your interesting observations and reflections on the journey. Other regional Ham organizations have been invited too; it will be an opportunity to reconnect with others as well. I am off to visit my daughter in those Excited States of America and will miss this meeting. So, I take this opportunity to personally thank Mike for his commitment to and support of the amateur radio community in Calgary and to our hobby. Well-done Mike.
Spring is nearly in sight. Time to start thinking about what we need to do to take advantage of the good outdoor weather. The folks at the club station recently completed their review and priorities to address maintenance needs for the CARA antenna farm. The budget and work plans for the four towers and antenna systems was presented to the Board and approved this month. A similar plan and process is anticipated to be completed in the next two months to cover off VHF facility needs in order to implement in the summer.
This is also the time of year when CARA’s support needs for its various annual events are identified, quantified and scheduled. The first CSCC car rally goes March 12th in the Wiaprous valley area north west of Cochrane. Garry Spicer, VE6GDS, is coordinating CARA’s communication operators with the Calgary Sports Car Club.
This event is particularly suited to club members with 2-meter mobile equipment, an interest in VHF operation and in participation in a service opportunity with one of our communities. From the enjoyment and satisfaction perspective there is no better spot to observe the thrills and spills of high speed rally car racing than at one of the numerous Blocker positions along the course.
Gary said at last count we have about 75% of the operator needs covered. There is still a need and opportunity for more to participate. If you are new to this but unsure you may be able to accompany and experienced operator once the required positions are covered. Rally detail and volunteer participation registration can be found at: Cochrane Rally. Scroll to page bottom for registration sheet. Contact Garry <email@example.com> if you would like further information. I look forward to seeing many of you at this event.
Next up is the CARA Spring Flea market, April 8th at the East Side Church. Peter Barry, VA6PJB and the CARA Secretary heads up the organization. Watch the website for further details as they unfold.
A bit farther out is the Annual ARRL Field Day Event. CARA has fielded a team for this event for as long as I can remember. For the last two years we joined with the Foothills Amateur Radio Society (FARS) group in High River and had good WX and a good time. We may want to host the event this year and ask other regional amateur radio groups to join or we may just go it alone.
While the event is still a ways off we need to get the planning effort kicked off in March. The definition of planning and fun will be left up to those members who can and will participate. Please contact: VE6PJB, Peter Barry and express your interest in the organization of this event.
Still lots going on here.