Durham Hamfest – CB 11m Heaven

Well this was an interesting hamfest to say the least. The local Motorola guys were doing a brisk trade in VHF and UHF gear and speakers. Several tables were dumping their MD380 handhelds as well. Radioworld also sold a bunch of FTM3200 Fusion mobile radios for the Peterboro boys as they embrace C4FM with open arms.

No D-Star radios were spotted

Hamfest vendor tables were sold out as usual and 30% of the tables had CB and 11m radios for sale. Obviously, Durham has more CBers in the community than Mississauga and has been strong for many many years.

Here are some distinct classics that found new owners

The Realistic Navaho is pretty common but WOW I really wanted the Co Pilot.

These were all collector grade and very mint!

Last year I got a Sirio 11m dipole that came part of Kenwood Handheld purchase but left this year with no CB stuff

Picked up a very nice UHF Duplexor for my repeater project and a bag of N connectors.





Ozipole on the Balcony

The Ozipole dipole loves being used on Balconies

Balcony ozipole.

An ideal for the traveler and or cliff dweller.

The KX3 and its built in tuner makes quick work of getting a low swr. The FT-817 boys can just fiddle with it to get a low swr


73s and good dx

New 472-479khz spectrum allocation for Amateur Radio in Canada – Repost

In case many hams have not heard we do have a new band segment. Jim VE3IQ was very helpful with the team to get IC to allow.

Since Jim went SK and I now hold his call and  I have plans to run a 472 Khz beacon as a project.

Check out the QRPLabs Special its QRP but my initial proof of concept shows some good results. Goal is to cross the pond Marconi style but I will not be using a Spark transmitter. The Ultimate3S version I have does not support the low low band but the deal makes up for it.



 New 472-479khz spectrum allocation for Amateur Radio in Canada

RAC is pleased to announce the official Canadian implementation of the 472-479 kHz band. “Agreed to in 2012 at the World Radio Conference (WRC), and now approved in Canada this is more good news for Canadian amateur radio”, said enthusiastically Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW, and RAC President.

The amateur service is now authorized to use the 472-479 kHz band with the release of the new Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations by Industry Canada.   While approved at WRC 12 by the ITU, each country then must implement regulations for its amateurs before the band is available.  Operations are subject to the international foot notes, which limit power to 5 watts EIRP except in certain areas within 800 km of certain other countries.  Industry Canada release:  http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf01678.html

This addition to our allocations is especially appropriate given that Industry Canada, with Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, acting as a representative for both RAC and IARU, lead the charge for this new band at WRC 12.  Of course, WRC 12 was the end of a long process that started many years earlier and many others need to be recognized for their contributions: Industry Canada  which brought together all of the industry players to form consensus, Ken Pulfer VE3PU (SK) who started it all off and provided help and insight throughout the multi-year process, Dave Conn VE3KL did the critical antenna analyses. Jim Dean VE3IQ oversaw getting licenses for 504 – 509 kHz experiments to verify non-interference to power control systems.  Also, Norm Rashleigh VE3LC who guided the favourable responses to the proposed amateur secondary allocation at 472-479 kHz through IC’s Request for Public Consultations on the WRC-12 decisions.  Many others also provided valuable support and work over a seven year process.

Canadian amateur operators have two new segments of spectrum thanks to the very hard work by RAC with our regulator. Five 60 meter band channels were made available by Industry Canada a few months ago.

Antenna Notes from the Field – QRP

Antenna Notes from the Field


Here are some observations from using the following antennas for QRP operations in the field




Hamsticks are classified as helical wound 4 foot antennas that have a tuning tip on the end. They come with a 3/8-24 stud for easy mounting to magnetic mounts or other mounts adapted for fixed use.


Hamsticks are easy to use, quick to set up and can be found for $5 at most hamfests.


I have had good success with using them with magnet mounts for mobile or fixed mobile operations and the efficiency is greater on the higher bands. They do work on 40m and 80m but bandwidth and efficiency is reduced but its suitable for local traffic.


You will get better results on 40m and 80m by using the Hustler antenna as its longer and its coil offers better bandwidth and supports higher power. This is the antenna of choice for mobile county hunters.


If you wish to operate 5 bands you will need 5 hamsticks. Hamsticks with a dipole mount can also be used for portable operations eliminating a need for a ground.



Buddistick – PAC 12 – Superantenna – Chameleon- Ozipole



These are shortened antenna systems that offer greater flexibility than a cheap hamstick. They can also be part of a system of parts that can be adapted for various configurations.


They make the use of tapped coils or broadband baluns to provide a wide swath of bands that can be deployed.  The advantage is that you can also add longer whips to increase efficiency or even adapt for use as a dipole.


They all need a counterpoise for best results.


The Chameleon doesn’t use any tapped coils but it does have a broadband transformer and will require an antenna tuner. I have found this to be a versatile antenna especially with the longer whip and can be also used as NVIS by angling the mount that I use.


My PAC-12 is an easy home brew as is the Ozi-pole and they work as well as a standard Buddistick. The SuperAntenna MP-1 seems to be the worst performer and the tripod is very flimsy.


The tapped coil whips all need some fiddling around with and the best suggestion is when you get close to the frequency you can adjust the SWR by tuning the counterpoise. This wire is also a radiator and is a MUST to get a signal out.

EFHW Antennas


The EFHW or End Fed Half Wave antenna is another great antenna for field use as it only needs a single elevated endpoint (Tree or Fishing Pole). I have various versions but I tend to grab the PackTenna version most often for 20m. For 17m I am using the SOTABeam version. Many hams are using the PAR Endfedz version as well. Throw it up and get on the air – no tuner required.


Long Wire 9:1


This is another simple set up for multi-band use with a tuner. There are various 9:1 balun designs and I have made several EARCHI and UK designs. They all work well from a T-50 to a FT-200 toroid. I have several purchased baluns and the LDG and PackTenna versions are what I use the most for higher power. I have a pocket balun for QRP use that is on a key chain that I use a lot. This to me seems to be a better antenna for the lower bands as it does need a minimum 29 foot radiator.


For the end fed vertical offers advantages such as easy band change from 80m to 10m using an external auto tuner and ability to run higher power.

I usually run mine in a Marconi NVIS configuration for the lower bands.


packtenna marconi NVIS endfed

Norcal Doublet


The Norcal Doublet is a favourite antenna that can be made for $2. Its basically a 44-foot dipole made from speaker lead and does need a tuner. You will need to suspend it but it can also be used as a long wire with your tuner by shorting out the feed end if you only have a single tree to support the end. I have hung it over balconies as well or draped within a hotel room.


norcal doublet


Magnetic Loops


This is another antenna for field use that is becoming popular. My version uses the Chameleon DIY kit that replicated their F-Loop and P-Loops. The AlexLoop is another version that works well. I am hoping to do some shootout tests when the Toronto QRP Society gets together for a field operation in May.


So for portable use, the Magnetic loop antenna has a few advantages: Deployed in 3 minutes, Low receive noise, Some directionality, typically tripod mounted and external antenna tuners not required.

chameleon floop

Motorized Mobile Antennas


I have no experience with these antennas. They are basically tapped antennas for mobile use that have a motorized assembly to tune them for multiband.



Eve’s Wireless Silent Film – Crystal Radio out in the Field

“Bless us, they’re never still – always up to something new. And Eve’s latest invasion is in the wireless world – ” Two women walk towards the camera on a city street. They stop beside a fire hydrant (this is presumably the United States of America). C/U of the women winding a wire around the top of the fire hydrant. One of the women holds a small box.

“It’s Eve’s portable wireless ‘phone – and won’t hubby have a time when he has to carry one!” L/S of the women – one holds the box and the other puts up an umbrella – presumably this acts as an aerial as a wire comes from the handle of the umbrella to the fire hydrant. The women stand together and the woman holding the umbrella puts an ear piece against her ear. M/S of a woman at a telephone exchange holding a microphone or stick telephone. She speaks then turns around to a wind up gramophone. She winds it, places the needle on the record and holds the microphone or mouthpiece to the record. The two women smile and chat – they are listening to the record presumably. An early mobile phone crossed with an early Sony walkman! Excellent!

Amendment November 2011: A visitor to the site has written in to say that the phone is probably a “Home-O-Fone”, produced by the Radio Receptor Co. in New York.

This must be in Brooklyn and next time I have a chance I will attach my crystal radio to the fire hydrant


JP6VCH Vertical Coil Half Wave Antenna

My new project is to build this antenna that I found in the Japanese CQ Ham Radio magazine but I am looking to use a 3D printed coil form.


It turns out Hiro VE3CGC has also published his version in the RAC magazine


VCH type moving fishing rod antenna ◆



· November 2006 CQ magazine page 141 “New QRP communication” The way to make a VCH type moving fishing rod antenna (which makes the whole 1 / 2λ motion) was released. I decided to try making a handy antenna at the time of movement (there are some parts that are different from the content on the production method, please understand).
this presenter JP6VCH / Matsuki’s a, VCH (Vertical Coil-Half-Wave) is named by JF1RNR / Imai is.
· I would like to express my deepest gratitude to JP6 VCH / Mr. Matsuki who I also personally taught.

Easy structure
· Very easy structure.
– such a simple

A nearly 1 / 4.lamda
B + C is approximately 1 / 4.lamda
is A + B + C approximately 1/2 [lambda]

is effective radiation from coil.
· The current antinode is on the upper side.
· The ground element (horizontal element) is shorter than 1 / 4λ.

It can be said that.


Rocky Mountain National Park – CO

I love Colorado and Boulder is a favourite city of mine. Well I got to go back there for a vacation and the usual radio fun.

Please note that the Park Rangers will be very upset at you if you toss an antenna into a tree.

It was frigid on the top of the summit with a blistering wind that made it very hard to keep warm considering it was 15 degrees warmer in picture number 2. I tried to get a aprs marker out but the cellphone coverage was very bad up there. I used an end fed for 20m (no tuner required) and also the 20m whip. Guess what? No trees at the summit area so i just had to toss it over the rocks and let it hang down. Bands sucked so no luck with any SOTA contacts.

The park  ranger seemed pretty happy with her Bendix King VHF radio

20161028_134659 rmp co

This was not posed as she actually put the radio down to hold the map to show us how to get to the waypoint. Of course out comes the camera. I tried to buy the radio and was politely told “Not for Sale”. Radio does P25 but for reasons we all know the VHF analog offers the best results.

National Park Service

Eastside Park Channels

All 4 RX Frequencies are Simulcast

Channel #↓ Rx Freq↓ Rx Tone↓ Tx Freq↓ Tx Tone↓ Description↓
01 169.8000 110.9 166.3500 103.5 Prospect Mountain Repeater
02 171.7500 110.9 166.3500 123.0 Twin Sisters Repeater
03 171.0250 110.9 166.3500 131.8 Alpine Visitor Center Repeater
04 170.3875 110.9 166.3500 136.5 Meadow Mountain Repeater