“Is WARA a VHF only club?”

28 May

Dear WARA member, The question “Is WARA a VHF only club?” is often asked and the answer is usually ‘yes’. As with any organization there is a lot of history involved and WARA is what it is because of that history, but it does not have to remain that way.

Amateur radio is changing in many ways and HF operation is a major part of that change. The hobby has gone from the time of spark gap transmitters with coherer detectors to what can only be described as sophisticated equipment and techniques. Equipment today is often micro-processor based with digital signal processing and digital transmission/reception, as well as conventional CW and SSB. One thing that has not changed is the need for an operating station, at the very minimum a transceiver and antenna.

It wasn’t long ago that most amateurs would have such a station. Sometimes little more than a broom closet to contain the equipment with maybe a dipole or end fed wire somewhere in the backyard. Others more sophisticated of course. Often the biggest problem encountered would be neighbours complaining that their TV reception was being mangled when the amateur transmitted.

Today things are somewhat different. More and more amateurs are living in strata type housing where outside antennas are prohibited, and the problem of electrical noise generated by much consumer equipment can render the HF bands almost non-useable particularly at a sunspot minimum as we are now.

So how does WARA move from being a VHF only organization to one that supports HF operation as well? Is there any desire among club members that WARA should even become involved in HF activities? If the answer to the above questions is a yes then perhaps WARA should have some form of club station available for members use. There are various ways in which this could be implemented and a few suggestions are listed below, although not intended to limit possibilities.

– Obtain a property where a station and antennas can be located.
– One possibility is to rent part of a farmer/landowners property
– Perhaps through personal contacts even at no cost
– Maybe a WARA member has property on which he/she would allow WARA to
install a station.
– Depending on what can be obtained maybe operation would/could be used remotely.

At one time club stations were not uncommon and some still exist. Very close to home in Richmond BC the Richmond Amateur Radio Club has its own station located in Steveston. Go to rarclub.ca to see a photograph of the trailer and tower and read about it, including its history. Why couldn’t WARA have something similar?

If you do believe that WARA should have some form of HF capability and are prepared to be part of a small group to make it happen, then please contact me or any Board member so we can pursue it further. Thank you, Brent Besse va7bnb@shaw.ca

April 14 – Message from Our President

14 Apr

April 14, 2020 – Hello fellow WARA members, I hope everyone is doing OK during these new and unsettling times. I am hearing some new call signs on the WARA repeater systems. Welcome to all the newly minted operators. During this time of Social Isolation, we all have some time to use our radios. For the newer operators, using your radios is the best ways to overcome mic fright.

NETS: For the VHF/UHF crowd, there are some local nets you can connect to.

  • WARA runs our club net every Monday on our VE7VIC repeater network, 146.840 MHz with 100 Hz tone.
  • There is a very active morning net on the Island Trunk network, run by CVARS, the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society. The net covers the Vancouver Island and over to the lower mainland. The closest repeater is on Mt. Brenton north of Duncan. Some of us can’t hit it but give it a try on 146.680 MHz with a 141.3 Hz tone. There is also a Monday night social net on that system.
  • The Victoria New Horizons Amateur Radio Club holds a morning net EVERY morning on 146.980 MHz with a 103.5 Hz tone.

For the HF operators, there are a number of nets, search the web. Check out The BC Public Service Net which runs every day at 01:30Z on 3729 kHz. Radio Amateurs of Canada (www.rac.ca) has announced two special events:

  1. VC2STAYHOM is now active, April 6 to May 6. Please see the webpage at https://www.rac.ca/special-event-vc2stayhom-now-active/
  2. GOTA “Get on the Air on World Amateur Radio Day” Saturday, April 18, 2020.  https://www.rac.ca/get-on-the-air-on-world-amateur-radio-day-event/

MORSE CODE: This may be the time for you to learn Morse code, or explore the world with FT8 and various other digital modes. There are a lot of things to learn in the world of Amateur Radio. For Morse Code, some useful information was developed by our fellow member, Larry Gagnon VE7EA, look at www.ve7vic.ca/morse-code-course-wara/

As always, follow the advice of the Federal and Provincial governments, Stay home, wash your hands frequently, and practice social distancing. For us radio operators that is 146.000 MHz (2 metres!! Get it??)

Bet wishes to everyone, Brent Besse VA7BNB

Message from our President – Meetings Cancelled

19 Mar

Hello all, In the midst of all the happenings with the Covid-19 virus, your board has agreed to cancel all board and members meetings until further notice. This follows the Provincial and Federal edicts for group meetings. Please note, this INCLUDES THE SATURDAY BREAKFAST meetings at the Appletree. The Monday WARA net is still running, get on-the-air and check in.  The TC10k Run has been cancelled, and the status of Field Day is yet to be determined, although it may be cancelled.

We will be posting more news there as things progress. Please follow general emergency preparedness protocols. Look after your family first. Ensure you have a 14-day supply of food and medicine in place. After your family is looked after, check on elderly friends, neighbors and Yes, older amateur operators. Some of us can’t get out like we used to. If you need help, ASK! Everybody needs help sometime.

Until then, be safe, practice good hand washing routines and we will weather this pandemic. Cheers, Brent VA7BNB.