Calgary Amateur Radio Association
Enjoy Amateur Radio | Serve Our Community
The CARA Spring Flea Market has come and gone for another year and wow, what a wonderful event thanks to the sponsors, vendors, participants and of course those that volunteered to help organize and setup the event. Thank you to all and it could not have been a great success with all the pieces that we had, especially those that volunteered; Dave VE6DED, Doug VE6CID, Jim VE6JF, Don VE3DD, Frank VE6ZQ; and many others!
We had approximately 250 participants with over 40 vendor tables and some very lucky Hams who won the raffle and 50/50 door prizes. Anis VA6TUN won the Yaesu FTM-400XDR and Akin VA6ATA took home the FTM-3200R. Another lucky winner is Neil Brown who won the 50/50. Congratulations to all 3 of you and thanks once again for our sponsor Radioworld Central for working with the club on such great raffle prizes!
As we prepare to support the upcoming public service events such as the Rocky Mountain Rally and the Banff-Jasper Relay I encourage all members to keep a close eye on our changing website for information regarding those events for some volunteering opportunities.
We would also like to inform club members that with the recent completion of the 2018 Casino we are now accepting project proposals for the upcoming casino funds we are expecting in June. We are requesting that project proposals be submitted by June 1st, 2018 for consideration by the executive. Projects will be considered as per the revised policy manual (version 2018.2 or later). Please reach out to the executive if you have any questions regarding the project proposal process.
73 de VE6NR
What a month of activity for the club and it’s members! With the Cookie Race, Cochrane Winter Rally, Casino all behind us with the help of very many volunteer hours to make those events work like clock work… Great job everyone involved, especially Tony Mountjoy VE6MX, Dana Harding VA6DJH, Garry Spicer VE6GDS, Dave Cason VE6DED our volunteer and event coordinators. Fantastic work team… you clearly knocked the word “amateur” out of amateur radio.
All this in addition to all the other regular club activities going on such as the various group meetings (general, special interest groups) and the presentations at each of them, radio contests, nets, work on the website and Key Klix, and many more things that is creating a buzz within the club. I am continued to be amazed and impressed by the efforts put in by members. Let’s all try to make sure the same 10 percent aren’t doing all the work, I call to all members to contribute where you can…. Every little bit counts.
As we prepare for the Flea Market which takes place on April 14th, we are still looking for some volunteers to help at the door, setup and tear down, etc… If you are interested in contributing some time to a great event for the Amateur Radio community, please e-mail your club executive: firstname.lastname@example.org
But that is not all…. We have been working with Pat Spencer VE6PDS on some behind the scenes changes to our website, and now it’s time to look at making changes that are more visible.
2018 will be an exciting year of change for the CARA website. The website has a long history and it is time to do some housecleaning and implement some changes. The list of improvements that we are planning include a more efficient menu, better mobile support, less confusion on where “Members-only” content is located, and a general cleanup of old data.
There will also be an update this year to the Wild Apricot hosting software that will greatly improve our ability to manage access to the website for content contributors. We expect to see a lot smoother operation of the overall website management going forward.
We will be adding a new Blog for communicating Web Site Updates that will allow members to track what changes have been made. When the changes are implemented, members can review the details and avoid unwelcome surprises.
In the meantime, you may see minor changes as we ramp up the preparations and get closer to a refresh.
As we enter the next few months it is evident that the club is busy and hopping. We have several club volunteers stepping up to help on some CARA supported events such as 2018 Cookie Race (Feb 24th), 2018 Cochrane Winter Rally (Mar 4th), the 2018 CARA Casino (Mar 8th and 9th) and the upcoming 2018 CARA Spring Flea Market (Apr 14th).
These events could not be there without your support. Thank you, volunteers!
There is still a need for additional volunteers at some of these events. Please login to the CARA website and reach out to the event coordinators to see how you could help. Information can be found both in the event calendar and in the members blogs on the website.
The executive has also been on a few different fronts.
CSCC Club Station
We continue to work with the CSCC executive to get updates on the remediation of the bathrooms and to ensure appropriate documentation indicating that the building is a safe location that we can all enjoy once again.
The executive continues to explore our current and previous unspent Casino Funds to ensure we are funding projects that meet the use of proceeds requirements and benefits our club, its members, and the overall general public and amateur community. As we prepare for our 2018 Casino we intended to have any outstanding funds assigned to approved projects so a clean slate can be had with the 2018 funds.
Revisions to the Policy Manual
There are some revisions to the policy manual which will be posted on the website and Key Klix. There were some items that didn’t seem clear or seemed counter to the bylaws. We look forward to your feedback at the next general meeting or through the website.
2018 Spring Flea Market
We are still in need of several volunteers to help out with the event. Please contact the CARA executive if you are interested in volunteering some of your time at the event.
We are working on setting up learning conferences, raffle and door prizes, and many other things…. I look forward to seeing many of you at this event.
I wanted to wish every one of you a happy new year and welcome to 2018.
This has been an incredibly busy time over the last month with getting myself up to speed with all the club activities in motion. It is truly incredible to me how many volunteers are constantly keeping busy with all the various activities the club is involved in.
The Club station is active and I had the joy of operating the club station remotely for the RAC Winter contest in December with other club members and guests and it was a blast. If you haven’t considered what the club has to offer there, please make sure you reach out to the club station group who keeps the station in working order.
Speaking of operating the club station remotely, we currently have an Advanced Class which began this month. You require your advanced license to operate the club remotely. There is no better chance to obtain your advanced license then through our instructor led class that CARA promotes. If you did not have a chance to join the class however and would be interested in a future class, be sure to let the CARA Executive and Education Coordinator aware of your interest so that we can consider future Advanced Classes.
The Executive held another meeting in early January to review the remainder of the 2016 Casino Funds and have allocated the remainder of the funds to submitted club projects. Funds were approved to restore the repeater network into the Kananaskis (AQA) with a link through Wildcat Hills (AUY) and back to Calgary (RYC). I could not describe a better project which promotes Amateur Radio then one that provides HAMs the ability to use handhelds or mobiles to communicate where there is little to no cell phone coverage. I look forward to the links coming up over this spring and summer season.
There are some upcoming club sponsored events that will be or has been looking for volunteers. Be sure to reach out to the event organizers over the coming weeks. More information will be posted on the website as we approach these events.
2018 Cookie Race – Saturday, February 24th
2018 Cochrane Winter Rally – Sunday March 4th
2018 CARA Casino – Thursday March 8th, and Friday March 9th
2018 CARA Spring Flea Market – Saturday, April 14th
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.