Calgary Amateur  Radio
                                                       Association
 
Club Station VE6AO


 

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The club station is available to members to explore DXing, contesting and casual station operation on the HF, VHF and UHF bands using SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK, packet and other digital modes.

The club station VE6AO is activated during major contests, normally in the multi-single or multi-two categories and occasionally, multi-multi. The two main stations consist of Yaesu FT-2000's and Alpha 9500 amplifiers. Heil boom headsets with HC-4 cartridges are used along with footswitches on SSB and Mircoham microkeyer USB interfaces to connect the radios to the computers and Bencher paddles for CW. Auto band-switched Dunestar 600 filters, using Top Ten band decoders, keep the inter-station interference to a minimum.  W2IHY two band equalizers, with noise gates, keep the fan noise down between words.  Yaesu u-tune filters allow greater selectivity on some bands during contests and crowded band conditions.


Antennas on the first 100 ft tower are three independently rotatable Bencher Skyhawks for 10/15/20 @ 101ft, 60ft and 30ft and two Cushcraft 402 CD for 40 meters @ 110ft and 50ft. A WX0B 3 position stackmatch is used to phase the 3 tribanders and a 2 position stackmatch phases the two 40 meter beams.


Tic ring rotors turn the middle and lower triband yagis as well as the lower 40 meter beam. An Alpha Spid rotator turns the top tribander and 40 meter beam. Five sloping broadband half wave dipoles for 80 meters on  the south tower can be selected using a remote coax switch in the shack. A ring of 30, 100 ft radials are attached to the ground system to support shunt feeding of the tower, through a series capacitor, as a vertical on 160 meters.


Antennas, rotors, radials and phasing boxes on the second 100 ft tower are identical to the first tower, except on 80m, where there is a vertical dipole 4 square using a Comtek 4 square box.


Another 2 port WX0B stackmatch allows the antennas on both towers to be combined and fed in phase the single operator mode. A pair of relays switches the station from the two operator to single operator configuration, resulting in 6 tribanders on 10/15/20 and 4 2 el monobanders on 40, with 40 M spacing between the two stacks of antennas.


The two towers, ¼ wave apart, can be operated as phased verticals on 160 meters using a WX0B 160M phasing box. The old manual array of 13, 2 position Daiwa antenna switches and 2 by12 position MFJ antenna/radio selector switches has now been replaced by auto band selection of dedicated antennas for the two main stations.


The third station is now being used for a W4MQ internet remote base station, allowing computer internet operation of this station from 3.5 to 440 Mhz using an FT-847. On HF there is a System One tribander on a 50 ft tower. This tower also supports an Alfa Delta DX LB in an inverted V configuration for 160 80 and 40 meters. A Hygain DX88 is used for WARC bands. It is also equipped for VHF/UHF weak signal operation with KW amplifiers on 50, 144 and 432 Mhz on CW/SSB and FM. Antennas include a horizontal 5 element yagi for 6 meters, a 13 element yagi for 2 meters and 15 element yagi for 432 Mhz. Hygain Tailtwister and Ham IV rotors are used on the two small towers. Both rotors can be turned remotely using EA4TX rotor control boards and software.


Additional antennas available to any station include an AR88 multi-band vertical that covers 10 to 40 meters including the WARC bands. A sloping half wave dipole is used for 40 meters. A 40 M four square using a Comtek 4 square box has been constructed and plans are underway for also feeding the two 100 ft towers as phased verticals on 80 meters.


There are additional VHF vertical antennas on the 100 foot towers; a folded dipole for 2 meters at about 80 ft, a high gain 2 meter vertical at 110 ft, and a few other verticals at ~ 50 ft for packet, APRS , IRLP etc. A dual band 146/440 vertical sits atop the mast on the 56 ft tower and is connected to a dual band VHF/UHF radio for local repeater use. A horizontal 439 Mhz yagi and 902 Mhz wire mesh parabolic antenna are fixed mounted towards the club ATV repeater site.


The station has 5 networked computers for logging using N1MM contest logging software. The operating positions normally connect to the local packet cluster through a cable Internet connection, thereby providing DX spots on the computer logging software for the band in use. Wireless computer networking is available in the building and web cams monitor the doors and radio shack along with elaborate entry and security systems.


A guest operating position is equipped with a computer, Dunestar filter and 220V socket for members to bring in their own transceiver and amplifier. Another tribander can be raised on a crank up tower trailer that goes up to about 60 ft, to support this station, or it can be manually patched into any of the existing antennas.

Members meet on the first Wednesday of each month at the Calgary Sports Car Club and are often
at the station Saturday mornings. Check the CARA calendar for upcoming events and contests.

VE6AO is open to any member (under supervision if they don't have HF privileges) for casual operating, DX’ing, special events or contest activities. Amateurs visiting Calgary are encouraged to contact Mike  VE6TC@rac.ca  for station tours and/or to operate the station while here. View pictures of the station at http://ve6ao.shawwebspace.ca/.

In 1998, CARA applied to the Calgary Community Lottery Board for a grant and received a $15,000 grant, which was used to purchase and install the first 100' commercial guyed tower. Later funding has allowed development of the stations to their current state. CARA thanks the Calgary Community Lottery Board for its generosity and the Alberta Government’s Liquor and Gaming Commission’s charitable gaming program, for their continuing support.

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