ARRL June VHF Contest

Last weekend, a few hams from the lower mainland took a trip to Promontory Hills near Merritt BC. See it on a Google map.

We operated single-band on 6 Meters from inside of a local telecommunications companies microwave site compound. Conditions were poor the first day, however the band opened up Sunday morning as we were packing up. We did not operate after 11AM as we started ripping everything down so that we could be out of the site before the sun set.

In this video you will see me operating the last few minutes of the end of the contest.

Here is VE7HHS working the pile up while VE7STK marks the grid squares.

As mentioned, conditions were poor for the most part, and we really did not really have a rate going until Sunday. Weather was interesting up at altitude, and it even snowed on us (on and off) for a few hours on Friday night, however none of it really stuck. Sunday, as is always the case, was our nicest weather day, and we had nice temperatures the whole time.

Our unchecked/ray log file is available here.

Photos will be uploaded soon. My next post will probably be able the 2012 Field Day event in Coquitlam or the construction of my FM Radio wide-band aluminum dipole.

Operators: VE7HHS, VE7FET(plus first harmonic Scott), VE7NEO, VE7STK, VA7NSA, VE7TL, VA7LNX, and VE7WNK.

ARRL VHF QSO Party 2011 VE7SCC Portable CO90

Me “operating” the contest when band was shifting. I typically call/run during contests but in this first video I am running around the band looking for others. In this video I end up working XE2K in DM22 Mexico which is a pretty damn good contact on 6 meters. I also worked WA7JTM in DM46 (Grand Canyon) who had a massive signal from his location.

In this video I am running up the contacts from inside the station. We set up a low power FM transmitter inside so that we could listen to the operating position from outside of the building. In the video you will see the other operators and the microwave site we camped out at.

All of the videos in this series are filmed by VE7HHS.

FD 2011 with VE7SCC

Again, as in past years, the Coquitlam, New Westminster and Burnaby clubs are combining for the largest field day exercise in Western Canada. Come check it out after 1400 at the location below on the map

View Larger Map

DTV HD TV Antenna

A little while back I purchased a 55inch LCD TV. I don’t have cable, I don’t have TELUS TV, nor satellite TV. The plan is for my room mate to build a HD-HTPC [High Definition Home Theater Personal Computer] with HDMI and HQ audio. Until this is built we needed something to look at; something to get the news and entertainment.

After a quick Google search to find a decent antenna design I found one that was popular and easy to build. If you type in “home made hdtv antenna” you will find a few designs, but the one I chose seems to be the most popular. As a ham radio op I wanted to make my own antenna, play with it, and experiment with designs. I took a midnight drive over to VE7SCC with a chunk of 2×4 and this is what I came up with:

Trailer park antenna

Trailer park antenna

Yeah, It looks like it should be strapped to the side of a 1970′s vintage mobile home, but I wanted HDTV. The antenna design has a few names, bowtie being the most common name. This 300ohm antenna is fed with an old balun that was laying around the bottom of my tool box for 10 years. The elements are made out of in-wall solid electrical wire that was part of the emergency power system at VE7SCC. The elements are the ground strand, and the phasing straps are the two conductors. Screws and washers make up the rest of the parts. I did add a two O-poles [whatever they are called] so that I could add a VHF dipole to this UHF antenna. That still has not happened.

In the photo you do not see the reflector on the back of the antenna. My room mate [VE7SDI] and I created one out of a pizza box, aluminum foil, and thumb tacks. We had plans of doing it right, but we laughed at the idea and could not turn it down.

Vancouver has a few digital broadcasters. When I did a scan with the new antenna this is what I found:

2: CBC [SD] – rough copy
8: Global [SD] – very clear!
8.1: Global [HD] – perfect
10: CityTV – good copy
17: A-Channel [HD] – some issues at different times of the day
24: Multi-cultural channel [DTV, barely HD] – great signal but poor video quality
26: CBC French [SD] – very weak
32: CTV [HD] – perfect when using the back reflector
42: Channel M [DTV, barely HD] – “Meh”

I was disappointed to find out that I could not get CBC HD [58.8/2.1].

When I get back from Vacation I will have another update with my 8 bay commercial antenna constructed.

RAC Winter Contest at VE7SCC

The Coquitlam club is hosting the RAC Winter Contest at their location again this year. The Surrey club will be joining, and bringing two portable crank up towers. This will be a social event as well as a contest and if you are interested in joining the Coquitlam Club, this is the perfect time to come out and see the facility. I am sure they would appreciate the membership as well!

Due to the fact that I am on vacation in the interior I will not be attending. Disappointing that the contest always seems to be happening when I am away for the holidays.

The contest is being organized by VE7HHS and VE7DUI from SCC and a few folks from the Surrey club.

When the contest is running you can watch the live video here: