gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for July 2007

VC3R at Black Rapids lockstation this Sunday

July 26, 2007 @ 16:38 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

The Manotick Amateur Radio Group will be operating VC3R at the Black Rapids lockstation on the Rideau Canal Sunday, July 29th from 0830 Eastern to 1630 Eastern (1230Z to 2030Z). VC3R is a special event callsign being used to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Rideau Canal.

Operating information:


  • 20m on 14.275; other bands as conditions permit
  • 146.520 simplex
  • club repeater VE3RIX (145.450-), IRLP node 2596, Echolink node 148649

Digital modes (BPSK, etc):

  • 20m on 14.070; other bands as conditions permit

If you’re in the Ottawa area, please feel free to stop by the lockstation. The lockstation is on Prince of Wales drive in Ottawa, roughly halfway between Hunt Club and Fallowfield.

CQ Lighthouse: Activating lighthouse CAN-767

July 21, 2007 @ 23:58 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

No, I didn’t turn on the light in a lighthouse today, but I did go and “activate” it on the air so that other amateur radio operators could check it off their lists. “It” is the white and green lighthouse on the end of the breakwater in the Prescott Heritage Harbour, also known as ARLHS lighthouse CAN-767.

I decided on the spur of the moment that I would do this, so I sent out an email message to the other ARLHS members saying that I would be activating CAN-767 for a little while this afternoon. I parked in a lot about 150m away from the lighthouse and fired up the radio on 14.270 MHz. At 1812Z (1412 Eastern), N0PKX responded to my call. He had seen my email alert and was waiting for me to show up. We exchanged details and I continued to call CQ Lighthouse.

Five more people responded in the next ten to fifteen minutes. As time progressed, the received signal qualities kept decreasing until I could no longer hear anyone trying to answer my calls. I even switched briefly to 7.270 MHz, but didn’t hear anyone respond so I returned to the 20m band. At 1915Z (1515 Eastern) I had activated CAN-767 for an hour, which is the minimum time I’d decided I would be on the air, so I decided to head off in search of ice cream before doing a little geocaching.


Massive flooding isolated Britain from the rest of Europe

July 19, 2007 @ 20:37 By: gordon Category: General, Seen on the 'net

Researchers at the Imperial College London and the UK Hydrographic Service have announced that they think they know why Britain isn’t attached to France and the rest of the European continent. Apparently, between 200000 and 450000 years ago there was massive flood that was so large (one million cubic metres/second) and continued for so long (months!) that it scoured the land and created what is today the English Channel. High-resolution sonar scans in the English Channel has revealed scour marks and landforms that are consistent with what you would expect to see in such a catastrophic flood event. Apparently, there’s an article in the July issue of Nature, though I haven’t seen it, yet.

The research was conducted using data collected for another purpose, which makes this particularly interesting. One has to wonder what other discoveries are lurking in data people have collected for one purpose and then stuck on a shelf because they’ve finished with it.

Very cool research!


July 17, 2007 @ 16:59 By: gordon Category: General

image159.jpgI haven’t been out on my bike in quite some time, so when it ended up being a nice evening last night I decided to head out. After topping up the tires, as usual, I headed out to follow one of my usual routes that takes me along the Ottawa River to the Rideau Canal and along to Dow’s Lake before returning home. It was an uneventful ride until I stopped to adjust the seat height. When I got back on there was a sound like a gunshot. After a quick check to confirm that I wasn’t, in fact, being shot at, I discovered that the back tire of my bike had blown the sidewall off the wire. A couple of people walking by at the time said they jumped when it went off.

I rummaged through my saddlebag to see if I had a patch kit. Though I did, I quickly realized that it probably wasn’t going to do the trick. If I’d been in the Middle of Nowhere, I might have attempted it, but I wasn’t so I didn’t. Instead, I called my friend, Bev, who didn’t live too far away and begged a drive home from her. She showed up shortly thereafter and I loaded my bike in the back of her pickup. (Thanks, Bev!)

Before I headed out, I had made sure that I had more than enough money to cover a cab ride home from anywhere I might have been able to ride to. While I usually carry some money with me, I don’t usually carry quite that much. In all the years I’ve been riding, I guess I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had a blowout like this before. I recall getting a flat once, but that was caused by a nail or glass and was easily patched an repaired. After that flat, I added kevlar inserts to my tire to make them very puncture resistant. My current tires have kevlar blended into the rubber so they’re very puncture resistent.

When I changed the tire last night, I noticed that it was a slightly smaller profile tire than the one on the other rim. I vaugely recall buying a new tire last year and there being some fuss at the time over the size. The spare tire I had on-hand is the same size as the other one, so hopefully I won’t have any problems with it.

Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS) Member #1489

July 13, 2007 @ 12:43 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

I took a few years off from amateur radio, but returned to the hobby last summer. In the intervening time, I gained full HF privileges because Industry Canada changed the rules and anyone who had been a licensed amateur radio operator for at least three or four years at the time (I think) was grandfathered in.

As I mentioned in a blog entry last summer, some of the first stations I talked to on HF were lighthouses and lightships. Recently, I operated VC3R at the Ottawa Locks and talked to a station on an island off the coast of Maine near the Canadian border. Yesterday, I received the QSL cards from him for QSOs as both VC3R and VE3XGD. On the certificates were the numbers for a couple of lighthouses that he had activated for his event. This got me thinking back to last summer, so I did some googling and found the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society’s website again. Reading through it, I decided to join the society. This morning, I received an email confirming that I am now ARLHS member #1489. 🙂

This is the first amateur radio-related organization I’ve joined that’s not a club, excluding RAC. I’m looking forward to activating a lighthouse event station sometime this summer.

Hawaiian Octosquid

July 06, 2007 @ 23:40 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

Apparently, a new creature that’s half-squid, half-octopus has been found in a filter on the end of a pipe 3000′ down in the waters around the Big Island of Hawaii.

Rideau 175 special event station VC3R

July 01, 2007 @ 08:34 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, Current affairs

Yesterday, the Rideau Canal celebrated its 175th anniversary and its recent inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List. To help celebrate, I proposed to the Rideau Canal people that the Manotick Amateur Radio Group operate a special event station, VC3R, at the Ottawa Locks. Their response was incredibly positive and they provided us with all sorts of on-site support. We had a tent, tables, chairs, as much electricity as we could use and lunch. About half a dozen club members showed up Saturday morning around 8am and unloaded our equipment. We set up three HF antennas in the trees around the site: a G5RVjr used by one radio; and a long spring antenna and a long wire antenna that we used by another radio. We also had a VHF/UHF station running and someone showed up with a Dstar HT, which is a new type of digital radio.

Darin (VE3OIJ) brought his digital mode stuff, so we basically had every operating mode, except CW and SSTV, covered. (Ironically, Darin apparently put his CW key by the door but forgot to grab it on the way out.) He was pleased to report log the first QSO of the day.

I had one QSO with a station on Moose Island, a small island off the coast of Maine near the Canada-US border, who boomed in at S9+10, but in general the conditions were poor. Naturally, just before we started packing up at the end of the day the conditions were improving.

Still, we had a good day and for a first-time event station we did quite well. The plan for VC3R is to operate at other lock stations along the Rideau Canal between now and the end of the summer.

A special thanks goes out to the Rideau Canal staff, the people who stopped by the tent and to my fellow hams who helped operate the station.