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Archive for the ‘Amateur radio’

Industry Canada needs to fine the Saadés and confiscate their transmitter immediately

December 07, 2009 @ 12:50 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, General

On Friday, I said:

Should he be fined? Not if he stops broadcasting, but if he continues then he should. If he does continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if Industry Canada confiscated the unlicensed transmitter.

At last report, the pirate radio station I wrote about that being run by Jayhaed Saadé is still on the air, despite having been told to cease and desist by Industry Canada.

If asked that question now, my answer would be: Yes, he should be fined to the maximum extent of the law, which is at least $5000 and possibly more. And all of the equipment should be confiscated, including the antenna and tower. Wading through a thread on the Digital Home forums, it appears I’m not alone in this sentiment.

The Ottawa Sun had a story that said he’s running a 2000 watt transmitter. Combined with his antenna, the footprint of his pirate station has a radius of at least 30km, with reports coming in from as far away as Franktown. And despite what Jayhaed has said in the Digital Home forum thread, he is interfering with other stations. CBC has a story where their reporter is unable to receive CBC Radio 1 (91.5 MHz) in close proximity to the transmitter, which you can watch here (it starts after the obligatory ad). (To put it in perspective, the maximum power a  licensed amateur radio operator with many more qualifications than Saadé has can run is 1000 watts.)

He is apparently applying for a license, which I hope he doesn’t obtain. Industry Canada would effectively be rewarding him for breaking the law if they were to grant him an FM broadcast license. They need to make an example of him and show that they’re serious when it comes to pirate radio stations.

But the problem isn’t just Jayhaed Saadé — it’s his father, Georges. Georges Saadé is actively encouraging him to ignore the cease and desist order from Industry Canada and knowingly break the law. Some people have even suggested that the Children’s Aid Society should investigate Georges Saadé for contributing to the delinquency of a minor by encouraging him to continue running his pirate station.

Greely Pirate Radio

December 04, 2009 @ 13:08 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, In the news

The CBC had a story on the news this morning about Jayhaed Saadé, a kid in Greely who has set up an unlicensed radio station broadcasting out of his parents’ restaurant on 91.9 MHz. Industry Canada has told him to stop broadcasting immediately. The laws on this sort of thing are very clear and the penalties include fines of up to $5000 and even jail time. Predictably, a lot of people have made comments supporting the Saadé and encouraging him to continue broadcasting even without a license, but at the same time there are also people saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse and that he should stop broadcasting, at least until he obtains a license. (According to the story, Saadé didn’t know he needed a license and has said he’ll apply for one, but that he “can’t shut off the station”.)

It’s a low-power station and he’s a kid, so it’s no big deal, right?

Wrong… (more…)

A few pictures from the launch of VE3REX-11

November 10, 2009 @ 17:02 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, Photography

I posted a video to YouTube today of the launch of VE3REX-11 this past Saturday:

I’ve also posted a few pictures in an album on Facebook that you can view even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

What goes up usually comes down…

November 09, 2009 @ 14:27 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

ve3rex-11 map … but not always where you want it to.

I picked up my friend, Ken, Saturday morning and we headed to Perth to watch the LASA group launch two balloons: VE3REX-11 and VE3LCA-11.

VE3REX-11 was the first hydrogen-filled (yes, not helium-filled) balloon to be launched from outside Perth. This balloon carried just an APRS tracking device and was hoped to set a new altitude record. Ken and I decided to follow this balloon, so we took off shortly after launch and left the other people to track the other balloon.


Chasing balloons this weekend

November 06, 2009 @ 13:01 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, General

Updated with callsigns for the balloons and to show a static map of the tracks.

The Lanark Amateur Space (LASA) group is at it again. This weekend, they’re planning on launching two balloons from Perth around 9am on Saturday. The balloons will be carrying GPS receivers and small transmitters so their locations can be tracked using APRS. I’m going to be one of the teams chasing the balloons and hopefully recovering the payload after it returns to Earth.

This will be my second time doing this, the first being earlier this year, which you can read about here and here.

The forecast for the winds aloft is such that it’s likely that the payloads will land somewhere south of the border, though you never know. Last May’s balloons had similar predictions, but they landed on the Canadian side of the river just outside Cornwall.

If you’re interested, you can track my progress on this map Below is the map showing our progress. Because of the terrain, my track stops much further north than we actually travelled.


The two balloons are VE3REX-11 and VE3LCA-11.  REX-11 has just a tracking unit in it, while LCA-11 has a camera and temperature package in it in addition to a tracker.

A tip o’ the hat to Bob (VA3QV) who blogged about the upcoming launch, which I would have missed otherwise.

Field Day weekend

June 26, 2009 @ 10:00 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, Weather

image We’re approaching the last weekend of June and that means that the ARRL Field Day is nigh. Field Day is an amateur radio event which sees amateur radio operators setting up temporary stations in public places so that people can learn about amateur radio, and usually using generators and batteries rather than commercial electricity. Field Day starts at 1800Z (2:00pm Eastern) Saturday afternoon and runs through 1800Z on Sunday.

The Manotick Amateur Radio Group is going to be operating under its club callsign, VE3AIR, as a class 5A station, which means a 5 transmitter, club portable station. Being portable means that we’ll be using generators and batteries. We’re setting up at Long Island Marine (map and directions) in Kars starting later this afternoon.

Historically, the weather for this weekend has been highly variable. The National Capital Airshow used to be held this weekend and I remember weather ranging from face-of-the-sun-hot to cold, wet and miserable, sometimes all in the same weekend. Darin (VE3OIJ) and Bob (VA3QV) have both commented on the weather forecasts, which looked rather gloomy when they posted, but I think (hope) they’re wrong. I checked the forecast this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see this:


The TAF for CYOW shows a 30% probability of overnight thunderstorms:

TAF CYOW 261139Z 2612/2712 30012G22KT P6SM FEW080 BKN140 PROB30
2618/2623 3SM TSRA BR BKN020 OVC040CB
FM262300 33005KT P6SM BKN050 PROB30 2623/2703 3SM TSRA BR BKN020

Hopefully they don’t manifest because antennas are uncomfortably like lightning rods.

If you’re looking for something to do Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, you can visit VE3AIR at Long Island Marine (map and directions) and see what Field Day and amateur radio are all about.

One more lesson learned from balloon chasing

May 20, 2009 @ 01:02 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

One more lesson learned from the recent balloon chasing is that finding a large pink foam cube in the middle of a field isn’t as easy as it sounds, even if you’re within a couple of dozen metres of it.  This might be mitigated by installing a noise maker in the payload package might make them easier to find. If they had something like a piezo electric beeper, or the siren from a smoke detector, in them that sounded for 5 seconds every minute it would give you something to home in on when the payload is on the ground/in a tree/floating downstream/whatever.

Weight being a concern when you’re launching things to the edge of space, such a noise maker would have to be very miserly in terms of its power requirements so that the existing power supply could be used rather than requiring a bigger – and thus heavier – one.