Ethics and Operating Procedure

Now and then stuff happens and we get reminded about ethics and how hams can be have nicely. I am not going to repeat the DMR code of ethics for the VA3XPR machine and of course they are totally practical in nature.

John ON4UN who is the king of low band dxing bar none and was able to teach me the importance of grey line in working DX on 80m also with his friends developed a guide to assist hams in understanding some operating best practices on repeaters but also on HF

Grab your copy here

There has also been a lot of garbage also on HF (there are times when jammers pounce on the maritime net to hassle those seeking help) and I was saddened to hear a clown bashing away at the NCS on one of the morning nets. Obviously another drunken ham at 8am foaming at the mouth after double dosing his blood thinners and mood control drugs but he really took to very personal remarks. When life and death threats are made then increased action occurs. I understand later that several complaints were filed with the FCC along with beam bearings pointing to the city of where this loud mouth was living in. Now that the city is known more local RDFing can be done as well as marking up the database with which hams are registered in the area. If he is even a ham.

Thanks John for the great stuff on the Frequency Cops……and clarifying to Break into a contact is Break not Contact (sorry Jim you know who you are hihi)

Lets continue to make “The Old Man” himself, Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW proud

In case you need a review of the xpr rpeater follow this link:



Recommended Repeater Operating Procedures


  1. Use simplex wherever possible freeing the repeater for necessary uses.
  2. Monitor the repeater (listen) to see if its use before transmitting. Then, if all OK, proceed.
  3. Don’t break into a contact unless you have something to add. Interrupting is no more polite on the air than it is in person. Interruption without identification constitutes malicious (and illegal) interference. The correct trem is “contact” but many use “break”
  4. Use the minimum power to key up the repeater. To make contact, simply indicate that you are on frequency . For example “W1AW monitoring”. Do not kerchunk.
  5. Remember amateur radio transmissions are being monitored by many non-hams with scanners. Watch your language and your manners.
  6. Repeaters are intended to facilitate mobile and portable operation. During rush hours, base stations should relinquish the repeater to commuting mobiles.
  7. Keep transmissions short and thoughtful. Do not monopolize the repeater. Pause between transmissions to allow other amateurs to identify themselves if they wish to use the repeater. Pausing also allows the timer to reset, avoiding a “time-out”
  8. Identify legally. In Canada that means at the beginning and end of a contact and every thirty minutes of operation.
  9. Repeaters are installed and maintained at considerable expense. Regular users of a repeater should financially support the individual or club owner in their efforts to keep the repeater working properly.


Lots of repeaters at LAX


York Region ARC Foxhunt 2017-1 Results


York Region Amateur Radio Club FoxHunt 2017-1 Report


Another great day for Foxhunt training and to the lessons learned from the last one.

We had a great pre hunt social session with breakfast and as soon as the VHARC club members showed up we were ready to roll.


York Region has a lot of hills and valleys which can play havoc with signals as well as the Aurora ridge blocking signals as well.


I was located on Bombay Court in Aurora and offered some interesting terrain. First off I was not visibly from Yonge Street due to the wooden fencing. I was not visible from the side street as I was behind a huge snow pile. So you needed sharps eyes on the s-meter to catch a good bearing.

bombay crt.png

The Fox box started at 5 watts and then we did a ramp down in power as we progressed during the hunt duration.


The winners are VE3VSR Len and VA3KXP Stephen (visiting from the Victoria – Haliburton ARC) with a time of 10 minutes


VA3GS Geoff and VE3IBW Brian at 120 mins


Participants that were close but no luck within the time frame:



VE3RQX Matthew


Mike and Matthew were within 500 yards after I blurted out my location as we wrapped it up


Lessons Learned:


  1. Attenuation is important as one nears the fox as well as getting a good bearing
  2. Quads may be preferred to yagis due to the antenna lobe pattern to ensure a good bearing up front
  3. A radio with a proper or expanded S-meter is highly useful….3 segment s meters are useless



The behind the scenes Doppler System Proof of Concept (BSEU)  nailed it very quickly which demonstrates the capability of an automated system. Enhancements are being made to a GPS interface integrated with Google Maps and Canada Topo. This will help reduce the amount of noise and interference complaints.


Stay tuned for a February Date

We need your Help – please check your inputs and get a bearing on these Pesky Jammers

Getting close to actual locations but need help on the last mile

One is mobile and jams with his GF or wife in the car and another is a regular on the 401

Another jams from one location during the week and another on weekends

One poor idiot is actually jamming himself in order to raise pity from his community and complaining how he is getting jammed by his haters when in fact he is doing it to himself

Jamming activity is also from the Tim Hortons at two key Toronto locations East of the DVP and south of the 400

Current HOTSPOTS of Activity per Doppler Systems Reports

Bravo Sector Spectrum Enforcement Unit


Don’t forget the York Region FoxHunt on January 21 9am

Kerchunk ID pattern for the jammer known as the Masterbator69



First of all we need to understand these jammers. That’s not too difficult a task, they are quite simply brain dead morons with very sad lives. Simple, isn’t it? Let’s face it. If the most exciting thing in your life was to sit there and jam a radio repeater, then you would consider yourself a very sad person, wouldn’t you?.This feeling of self low esteem doesn’t seem to bother jammers though, as they aren’t bright enough to understand how sad they look to others. They are little more than unintelligent morons with nothing of interest to say and nothing to contribute to a community, so they make their presence known anonymously. This need for anonymity displays another common trait of a jammer’s character, the cowardice. Jamming is just a cowardly form of bullying.

The kerchunk jammer
This jammer likes to kerchunk the repeater over and over again until the thumb gets tired. He likes to hear the courtesy tone go beep and the repeater go kerchunk. It’s almost like the dripping water torture system.

The digital jammer

This jammer likes to send digital information, like packet or DTMF tones on repeaters.

The good citizen jammer

This jammer masquerades as an upstanding pillar of the community most of the time but makes his disgruntlement with different repeater users or the repeater operator known by disrupting communications. If he can’t operate the system the way he wants, when he wants, then no one gets to use it. He may be part of your group and may even be one of the ones complaining the most about “the jamming”. These are the manipulative type of jammers who try to recruit weaker minded people into their sad cause.

The sound effects jammer

This jammer feeds on indignation and disgust. Sound effects are “his bag” and even a disgusting word or two in a disguised voice. He also likes to play music and often uses a particular recording as his signature tune. His favourite pastime is waiting until someone he dislikes enters into a QSO and then unload his best stuff.

The rabid jammer

These are very sick jammers who have a need to do what they do in order to have some effect to the world around them. Everything else they do is a big zero and the ability to affect a large number of people, even in a negative manner, is just to good an opportunity to pass up.

The brazen jammer

These jammers are usually the ones that have already been caught, or are already known to others, and nobody wants to talk to them anymore. They know nobody wants to talk to them but they continuously call CQ without getting any replies. They see this as a legal way of jamming. What’s even sadder, and funnier, is “who calls CQ through a repeater anyway?”.

Well, not a lot really. You can’t reason with people of low intelligence. On the other hand you can minimise the annoyance factor by the way you react to them. Nothing you can do or say will stop them so simply remove yourself from the loop.

The answer is simply “don’t get stressed, give stress”. The worst insult you can throw at a jammer is to ignore him. Act like he isn’t there. Act like he is of no importance, which of course, he isn’t. It’s hard, but responding in any form means he’s won and you’ve lost. Instead, take satisfaction in the knowledge that by ignoring him you are also annoying him.

Jammers have a need for recognition, so don’t recognise them. Even a one word response like “prat” is enough to boost their ego enormously. If you respond, he’s won and you’ve lost.

If he’s a weak signal and is not effecting your QSO, then carry on as if he wasn’t there. Even if you go back with something like “you’re not making it so why don’t you give up” is enough to boost his ego. He’s won and you’ve lost.

Kerchunk jammers can only do it on a repeater that isn’t in use at the time. If it was being used then the kerchunk method wouldn’t work. The answer is as simple as the mind of the jammer, switch your radio off for five minutes. If he’s still there after five minutes, switch off for half an hour. If he wants to destroy his equipment by continuously keying it up, then let him.

It doesn’t really matter what type of jammer he is, the solution is always the same. Either ignore him or switch off. Don’t respond, don’t get into any sort of conversation with him, don’t be a weak minded moron yourself and get manipulated into his games. Just ignore him. If you do anything else, he’s won and you’ve lost.

You’ve spent a lot of time and money on this hobby, don’t let somebody else spoil it for you. You only become a victim if you allow yourself to become one. Don’t be a victim.

“Give a jammer enough rope and he will hang himself”.

thanks to GB3OK Bromley Repeater Group for guidance


North American Talkgroup has Returned to Full-Time Usage, not Just a Calling Channel

The biggest nonsense with DMR was that you could not have QSOs on the North America Talk Group and there were several repeater cops out of Florida trying to maintain order.

Now that is not an issue and with the ability to now have a QSO maybe the Talk Group will get more traffic as its been very quite lately.

The repeater cops may move their patrol radios over to the world of BrandMeister

North American Talkgroup has Returned to Full-Time Usage, not Just a Calling Channel


      DMR-MARC Network Users,


      Effectively immediately, the North America talkgroup (TG3) will return to its original purpose as a wide-area talkgroup available to all North American hams for general QSO at any time. We believe that the North America talkgroup is more effective as a meeting place for all hams, rather than only as a calling channel. Accordingly, we encourage all hams to use this talkgroup for general QSOs spanning across multiple North American repeaters as a way to bridge the distance between us. In addition, we kindly ask that hams respect the fact that this talkgroup is widely distributed and that they keep conversations to a reasonable length and take regular pauses to accommodate others that might want to join the QSO. Remember, User Accessible English 1 (TG113) and User Accessible English 2 (TG123) are available on many systems as talkgroups to continue your conversation if you feel that it is going to be lengthy in nature.


      Hope to hear you all on North America soon! Best regards & 73’s!


    The DMR-MARC Administrative Team


FT-817 QRP radio survives 3 foot drop

i at first was going to break out in tears after seeing what happened since this is a $1000 radio here in Canada

‪WTF Carl can you not be more careful? The 817 is rugged and the brackets saved the day. Any Elecraft  KX3/KX2 volunteers?

I had the great Chameleon V4 antenna mated to my FT817 until it was stolen off my vehicle

York Region FOXHUNT Open to all Hams Jan 21, 2017

yrarc-logoFox Hunt 1-2017

Hunt Logistics

Date: January 21, 2016
Start Time: 09:00 am
Duration: 2.0 hours
Fox transmit power: 1 Watt
Hound start location: McDonalds, 2 Allaura Blvd, Aurora 905-727-1600

                     Frequency 146.565 MHz



Davis Drive
East Hwy 404
South 19th Avenue
West Dufferin Street




  1. DURATION – The exercise ends after two (2) hours or when all hounds have either found the fox or conceded, whichever is the earlier.


  1. FOX’S OPERATION – The fox will transmit on one of the above FM frequency signals from a fixed location, on unrestricted public property, and within the above declared boundaries.


  1. The fox will use an Omni directional, vertically polarized signal. The fox’s effective radiated power will be such that any hounds starting towards the centre of the area in a reasonably high and clear location shall be assured of receiving the fox’s transmission. The fox’s transmitted power will remain constant throughout the hunt. The fox may issue clues to his location. The fox will transmit the location at the end of the exercise.


  1. HOUND’S OPERATION – The hound is a person or team in one vehicle using one set of equipment. The hounds may start from any location. Taking bearings from home is not permitted. Hounds without transmission capability should make their participation known in advance.


  1. RESTRICTIONS – The YRARC is a responsible club with an enviable reputation. Hounds will adhere to the terms of their transmitting license, all driving laws, the Highway Code, and local Bylaws. YRARC members must satisfy themselves on relevant matters of law and insurance.  They participate in these foxhunt exercises at their own risk and on the strict understanding that all participants agree to indemnify YRARC Officials, the Fox Hunt Committee and the YRARC Inc. for any accident or other damage arising from the event.


Fox Logistics: John Leonardelli OR

Buzz Buzz Bzzzzrrrp The Short Guide to Digital RadioS

Update: The Tytera MD-380 is the most popular DMR radio due to its $100 price

D-Star continues its leadership in digital voice due to its robust and stable technology and huge worldwide user base


Whistler’s TRX-1 and 2 offer DMR and NXDN decoding in a scanner

Uniden offers DMR decdoing in its flagship scanners

Fusion is gaining popularity as hams enjoy the best audio mode on digital for rag chews and local QSO’s


Buzz Buzz Bzzzzrrrp The Short Guide to Digital Radio

The world of scanning is changing as we move from an analog world to a digital one. Each digital mode has different characteristics in how the analog voice is converted to and decoded from digital. Linking methods vary across each mode and inter-operability is lacking between them. Many local amateur radio club nets that offered interesting listening is now moving to the digital modes. However, many ARES/RACES groups continue to offer analog and digital mode nets to test out the communication readiness. Every scanner hobbyist needs to be prepared to listen in on all modes.

Many of these modes require appropriate radios to monitor them with some SDR methods as well. Please note that appropriate radio licenses are required to transmit legally on amateur radio, business and public band frequencies. In many cases, users will disable transmit allowing the commercial radio to be used primarily as a receiver. Many scanner listeners are also ham radio operators so experimenting in a new digital mode can be an interesting experience. I am not going to go into any technical details as those can be easily gathered on a web search. Let’s explore how a savvy radio listener can hear these new digital modes and better understand them.


JARL developed the protocol back in 2004 and has a well established global amateur radio repeater network already in place.

D-Star allows 2 linking methods. The Call Sign routing allows you to communicate with another ham user where you connect to the local repeater and through an internet gateway connect with a defined ham user by their call sign.

The other method is via linking into “reflectors” where users can meet and communicate among each other.  Examples of popular reflectors is the REF001C Mega repeater, REF005A for the United Kingdom and Listen to HamNation on Wednesdays nights on REF014C.

Icom is the only manufacture of this equipment. They offer 5 handhelds and mobiles to choose from. The ICR-2500 Scanning receiver does offer an optional Digital Voice card for reception of this mode. The other method is to purchase an Icom radio with D-Star for reception. There are also many boards like the DVDongle that can receive signals on your computer. You do need to be licensed amateur radio operator in order to transmit.


Project 25 has been THE North American standard for LMR Public safety agencies for years. It is part of a trunked radio system and has two modes of operation. Phase 1 uses a FDMA standard and the newer Phase 2 offers a 2 slot TDMA standard. This is where a lot of change has occurred as the older systems have migrated to Phase 2. Because of this standard change, older scanners are not equipped to receive the new system due to the modulation method. The newer scanners such as the

Uniden BCD436HP, BCD536HP, HomePatrol-2, BCD325P2, BCD996P2 and

Whistler WS1080, WS1095 and PSR-800 (GRE Brand) have the codecs that decode the proper signals.

Along with the migration to Phase 2 many public service agencies have moved to encryption making reception impossible.

There is some amateur radio activity so check the ARRL Repeater on-line app for what’s available in your community.

The Toronto GTA has access to a couple of Ham Radio VHF and UHF P25 repeaters.

The Toronto Public Safety service and York Region has moved to the new Phased 2 system with encryption.


Digital Mobile Radio is the fastest growing segment of the digital mode hobby. It is based on Motorola MOTOTRBO technology. It also offers the largest selection of radios to choose from. Linking is done via talk groups and they are managed at the local repeater level. The protocol allows 2 time slots to be available in a single channel. The talk group concept is an interesting one as you program your local DMR repeater as a Zone then add your 16 talk groups. A popular talk group is called North America (Talk Group 3). There are also various technical nets where a lot of information is shared and can make for some interesting listening.

Popular radios are the Motorola 6550 and 7550, Yaesu Vertex EVX-539, Hytera PD-782 and various new Chinese entrants. The most popular is the SC700/750 from Connect Systems.

Toronto has the VA3XPR repeater that is also linked to the VE3OBI, VE3XPR, and the VE3UHM repeater provided extended geographical coverage for the golden horseshoe in the local talk group. This mode has become the fastest growing digital segment in LMR and Ham radio.

Check listing for LMR service providers using this mode for their regional networking services.


This is a popular digital mobile radio technology in Europe with many dPMR446 users on the license free radio band. This is very popular in the UK. Several Chinese manufacturers and Motorola make radios. Analogue PMR446 covers band 446.0–446.1 MHz and digital dPMR/DMR cover 446.1–446.2 MHz which is in the North American ham band plan. These radios are illegal for North American use. However, do not be surprised to find activity here as many may have purchased these radios overseas on cruise ships.

Yaesu Fusion

This is also known as C4FM and is another relatively new digital mode from a Japanese manufacturer. It’s gaining a lot of popularity as repeater clubs migrate their older equipment to the newest for a promotional cost of $500. You do need to be a licensed ham radio operator as your call sign needs to be entered into the radio. It also supports the ability to send data and Yaesu has added microphones with a built in camera allowing photographs to be sent across the network. What’s interesting about this mode is that it also supports analog FM transmissions and like DStar supports GPS functionality. Yaesu now offers 2 handhelds and 2 mobiles to choose from. Yaesu using their WIRES modems to allow connectivity between repeaters. It has not had a lot of success in North America but that may soon change. Currently, the Fusion mode is for local communications. It is understood that Yaesu is looking to increase the level of connected repeaters in the coming years.

Toronto currently has two repeaters using Fusion and its VE3TWR and VE3SKY. There should be 8 more club repeaters coming on-line this summer. Watch activity increase thereafter.

Kenwood NXDN

This is another variation of a commercial digital mode called NEXEDGE. The activity is sparse as there are few amateur radio repeaters but it is growing in the larger cities. The equipment is purchased through a local Kenwood LMR dealer.

Icom also supports this standard with their iDAS brand.

There are two repeaters in Canada VE7NYE and VE3SKV.

Check Radio Reference for NXDN networks with LMR users on it.


Terrestrial Trunked Radio is a European trunked radio standard that has been the backbone of European Public Safety. It uses a 4 slot TDMA method as its protocol. It is starting to make headway into North America. The Toronto Transit Commission has chosen TETRA technology for its analog system replacement that will be implemented over the next few years and it’s the system that will be used by the Toronto PanGames 2015.

It offers a great talk around method, better spectrum management and improved operations with a direct mode operation (DMO).

DMO allows communications without repeaters and you can also use a Trunked Mode Operation (TMO) for use of TETRA repeaters to communicate. This is done seamlessly.

There is discussion among amateur radio users about using TETRA for another digital mode to use as equipment becomes more available.

This mode was very popular in use for the Toronto Panam 2015 Games.

Alinco Digital

Not to be left out, Alinco does offer a digital board for selected transceivers but its review have not been favourable and its use has not been widespread. If anyone has any experience please email e and I can include some information in the next column.

It does have its own proprietary standards and info is hard to come by.

How to Receive these Digital Modes?

There are several ways to receive these modes:

  • Amateur radio transceivers. The Icom D-Star, DMR, and Yaesu Fusion are the easiest methods
  • Commercial radio transceivers. Motorola, Tait, Sepura, Kenwood, Vertex and Hytera come quickly to mind as these are typically purchased from ham friendly land mobile radio dealers. You do need to buy programming software and for Motorola it can be $300 for a 3 year term.
  • European FRS radios for dPMR
  • Icom 2500 D-Star and P25 capable receiver
  • Uniden/Bearcat and Whistler/GRE new P25 Phase II scanners
  • AOR Scanners with the add-on ARD300 $900
  • AOR Stand-alone DV1 scanning receiver $1500
  • DSD+ Decoding software running on a PC connected to a discriminator tap on a scanner or SDR Dongle
  • Web based receivers that are streaming local digital audio


The reviews for the new AOR boxes are showing some great promise to make listening to digital communications with a simple to use stand-alone receiver as we get through the initial adoption process and it will get better and at a lower cost if the SDR receiver manufactures build their version of a stand-alone receiver.

The challenge that I have with DSD+ is its lack of portability as many have installed the software on a netbook and use an older scanner that had the discriminator tap mod completed. It does not fit easily on your belt or as an easy mobile in your car but it is doable. The other challenge with DSD+ is that it can decode all DMR communications on a repeater across its 2 time slots but cannot differentiate among different talk groups. This can make a jumble of conversations confusing when both time slots on the repeater happen. A scanner listener only could have a DMR radio programmed with transmit disabled for the ham radio portion so they can scan and listen to specific talk groups just like a regular SmartNet talk group would work.

There is a lot of activity going on right now with digital modes and the best way to enjoy it is to jump in and start using the new technologies available to us.


I am sure many have noticed that there has been a lot of low band skip coming in so keep that search mode on a second scanner going on in the background to catch any activity.




from Scanner Digest #72 (Summer 2015)
CANADA Report – John Leonardelli – VE3IPS