gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for the ‘Amateur radio’

Watching a satellite being launched

March 28, 2015 @ 14:04 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, General, Out and about, Photography, Travelling

I used to work in the space field when I was the operations administrator in Satellite Acquisition Services at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in the late-1990s. While I programmed various low-Earth orbit satellites to take pictures of the Earth, I never had the opportunity to see a launch in person. On Wednesday, however, that changed. (more…)

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 on the air

April 18, 2012 @ 08:20 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. There are lots of festivities taking place over the next few months to commemorate it. The Manotick Amateur Radio Group is going to be operating special event station VX3W from Fort Wellington National Historic Site in Prescott, Ontario on Saturday, May 19th from 10:00 to 16:00 EDT (1400-2000Z). We will be operating on various bands and modes, depending on the conditions. Any station making contact with us is welcome to send a QSL card and a postage stamp (if in Canada) or an IRC for anywhere other than Canada. Any cards received without return postage will be sent via the Bureau.

MARG has set up a page on their website (http://www.ve3rix.ca/vx3w.php) which will be updated with more information as the date approaches. In addition to the page, there’s also a VX3W forum linked to from the info page and you can follow @VX3W on Twitter, too.

Hope to hear you on the air!

June wrap-up

June 30, 2011 @ 12:50 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, Dragonboats, General, Out and about

It’s been a fairly busy June and I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I’d like so I thought I’d post a quick summary of things.

Since my last post, I took part in the Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival steering for the Algonquin College Singapore Slings. I’m proud to report that we have once again won the Mill Street Brewery Hospitality Challenge Cup. If memory serves me correct, this is at least the fourth time that we’ve won it since I joined the team. We also raised almost $8000 for the local charities sponsored by the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation.

Last weekend I joined the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club (OVMRC) at their Field Day station (VE3RAM), which was set up in front of the Canada Science and Technology Museum. With the exception of one voice contact on 6m SSB, I operated several shifts on the digital mode station. There were a few notable contacts, including Igor (RU6CH) in Russia and two French stations that I chatted with around 2am while the bands were dead. The 30m contacts didn’t earn us any points, but it was nice to have an actual conversation and I even got to use my French. 🙂 Last I heard, the digital station made 188 contacts, which is respectable. I think we were the only ones at the OVMRC Field Day to operate the full 24 hours — some people wimped out an actually slept!

Other than that I’ve been to the climbing gym a couple of times and I’m looking forward to getting out on real rock as soon as my climbing buddies and I can find a mutually convenient time.

As far as what I’m doing for Canada Day, that’s still in the air (and yes, I do realize it’s June 30th!). The options include heading downtown with the mobs of people to Parliament Hill, heading to Kemptville to watch fireworks there or escape the city to the lake for the weekend. All have their merits, so I remain undecided.

Playing radio at the cottage

July 04, 2010 @ 13:56 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

Although I’ve been licensed since the early 1990s, I don’t get on HF very often. This isn’t due to a lack of interest in working HF, but rather because it’s impractical for me to operate HF where I live. (I live in an apartment building, so I can’t really set up an antenna without violating some condo rule and I’d also be concerned about interfering with the fire alarm.) So, when I do get on HF, chances are it’s either Field Day or I’m at the cottage.

There are a lot of tall pine trees at the cottage, so I have installed some slings with caribiners from a few of the branches and strung ropes through them. This allows me to quickly set up a G5RV Jr. wire antenna when I want to operate. It works fairly well, but I can only work 10m through 40m. I’d need a full G5RV antenna to be able to work 80m, but there just isn’t quite enough room for it.

The orientation of the antenna is such that I can work down into the US, central America Cuba, and sometimes South America. Chunks of Europe are occasionally accessible and I’ve even worked Australia and New Zealand (I worked ZL3TE on 20m PSK last night). But try as I might, I can’t work people in Ottawa, especially if they’re using a vertical antenna because they’re looking at the end of the wire where almost no RF comes out.

I’m thinking of reconfiguring the G5RV Jr. into a sloped-V that’s aimed towards Ottawa. That should open up eastern Canada and the more northern countries in Europe.

Ottawa pirate radio station has its plug pulled

January 15, 2010 @ 12:34 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, Current affairs, General

Pirate radio station antenna being dismantled (Kenneth Jackson/Ottawa Sun)

Pirate radio station antenna being dismantled (Kenneth Jackson/Ottawa Sun)

The Ottawa Sun just posted a story that after two cease-and-desist orders the RCMP and Industry Canada showed up at the Saadé International Hotel at 11:45 this morning where Jayhaed Saadé has his illegal radio station set up.

Apparently, Saadé Junior is still acting like a spoiled brat and not cooperating with the authorities because he has apparently hidden some of the equipment and isn’t telling anyone where it is, even his father. And he’s not taking it very well, either:

Jayhaed was mad, yelling at the police and was crying at one point, [Georges Saadé] said.

Tracking down the hidden equipment shouldn’t be that difficult because everything will have to be connected via cables. If the cables are hidden, then I imagine there could be some collatoral damage.

According to the story, Georges Saadé (the father) was told there wouldn’t be any charges, just that Industry Canada wants all of the equipment. That is incredibly generous of Industry Canada, who are probably considering the fact that the equipment they’re confiscating is worth about $80000 as punishment enough.

So, it sounds like the plug is finally being pulled. Hopefully, Saadé Junior will learn from this experience and realize that he’s subject to the same rules as everyone else.

Update: The Ottawa Citizen has a story on it, too.

A tip o’ the hat to one of the participants in the Digital Home forums who posted a link to the Ottawa Sun story.

Greely pirate radio station’s plug has been pulled

December 14, 2009 @ 22:51 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, In the news

The Ottawa Sun is reporting that Jayhaed Saadé’s pirate radio station is off the air. It’s unclear what finally caused the plug to be pulled, just that he was being “forced to go off air”. Industry Canada’s threat of fines in the order of $5000/day probably played a role.

I didn’t hear his last broadcast, but people in the Digital Home forum said that someone could be heard in the background telling him to turn it off. Whether it was his father or someone from Industry Canada is unknown. He apparently is confident that his application for a broadcast license will be granted, something that most of the posters in the forum think is highly unlikely.


It’s time to shut down your pirate radio station, Jayhaed

December 12, 2009 @ 11:03 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, In the news

Yesterday’s Ottawa Sun had an update on the pirate radio station being run by Jayhaed Saadé out of his dad’s business in Greely. Apparently, Saadé Jr. was being interviewed by the reporter when he found himself served with a second cease and desist notice.

“They’re telling me I have to take it down. I’m not taking it down,” he said Wednesday, minutes after the encounter.

This despite the fact that the letter from Industry Canada says he could face fines of $5000 a day and up to a year in jail. Absolutely incredible, not to mention stunningly stupid.

Georges Saadé, his father, finally seems to be realizing that they can’t win. According to Saadé Sr., both he and his wife have told Jayhaed to turn it off. Junior, it appears, is now not only ignoring cease and desist orders from Industry Canada, but also his parents.

“He’s hard-headed. He won’t do it,” Georges said Friday afternoon. “I know it’s not good for him to have it on anymore. I want him to turn it off.”

I’m not sure why this is such a hard thing to achieve. If his parents are really serious about him turning off the transmitter, they could flip the breakers, and if necessary get an electrician to completely disconnect the power.

What Junior doesn’t seem to realize is that the next time Industry Canada knocks at the door, it’ll probably be with police in tow and an order to surrender everything related to the operation of the pirate radio station, which could include Junior’s computers, mixers, the antenna, and everything else. And while he would probably have his computer returned and maybe the mixers, he won’t get the transmitter or antenna back. I’m not sure exactly how much it cost, but 2000 watt FM broadcast transmitters are not cheap.

I doubt he’s read my other posts about this, but maybe he’ll see this one: Hey Jayhaed, it’s one thing not to have any respect for the government, and another to not have any respect for your family. Have you thought about the impact a $5000/day fine would have on your family? What about if your dad has to do jail time because of your actions? It’s not worth it, kid. Turn off your illegal transmitter now and spare your family all this potential grief.

A tip o’ the hat to Bob (VA3QV) for writing about the story in the Ottawa Sun.