Calgary Amateur Radio Association
Enjoy Amateur Radio | Serve Our Community
Message from the CARA Executive
Joel Weder, Vice President
"Well, it's about time!!" I can hear one or two of you thinking just that as you read this. Yes, I've been a ham for over 30 years now, and I've been a member of CARA for all but the first couple of years. So I guess it really is about time that I jump in and start doing my part on the CARA executive. Thanks to Rob VE6CCL for doing a little gentle persuasion, by the way!
As I write this, the third QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is under way. Wow, what a tremendous event. If you can't actually GO to a hamfest or convention, this is the way to do it. All sorts of interesting presentations, on topics from basic troubleshooting to SOTA activations to designing a ham satellite!
But speaking of hamfests, it's sounding like there MAY actually be a hamfest in Calgary this fall, sponsored by SARA. I've already booked two tables - how about you? The tentative date is October 23rd, with doors opening at 9 am, and as usual it'll be held at the Eastside City Church. Everybody please do your part to make sure we're on the right side of the curve, so this event can go ahead!
While most hams have been doing their own thing this summer, trying to stay cool or just stay out of the hospital, the members of various CARA teams have stayed busy. The new executive team is learning our roles, club procedures and processes, to be ready for meetings in the fall. The repeater team has also been busy, with work ongoing to repair the roof at the RYC repeater site. Thanks must go to our very energetic Doug Howard, VE6CID, for organizing that effort as well as work at other sites.
The Calgary Sports Car Club (our landlord) has finally decided to move ahead with landscaping work and building modifications to keep water away from the building. If you've been there, you'll know the site has often been very wet, and the basement has certainly not been ideal for a contest station due to mold concerns. Various team members have been regularly dropping by the CSCC site to monitor the work and try to minimize damage to CARA's many antennas and towers. Special thanks to Harry Maylor VE6HRY for acting as liaison with the CSCC.
The club participated in Field Day, operating a Multi-Op Low Power entry. At least seven hams got on the air, including VA6HEM, VE6CCL, VE6WMS, VE6DXM, VE6ACF, VE6KC and VE6KZ. The new location worked out well, and while it was hot there was at least some breeze, and no rain for a change. Thanks to Mike VA6HEM and Rob VE6CCL for organizing, and the whole team for an excellent effort!
Personally, I've also been very busy. I'm a member of a team that's developing Winlink standards and training materials , in conjunction with RAC and the new Auxiliary Communication Service. (ACS) Have you tried Winlink yet? Basically, it's email over radio, via either HF or VHF/UHF radio. If you can run digital modes, you can do Winlink. Super cool stuff, and very useful for working with our Emergency Services partners.
Well, that's about it for now. I hope to get out and have some portable HF fun as the weather slowly cools down. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing you at club meetings over the coming months. Keep enjoying the hobby, whatever aspect of it has caught your interest this summer!
Joel Weder, VE6EIVice President, CARA
submitted by Peter LaGrandeur VA6RPL, CARA President
Greetings, members, and all who are interested in amateur radio. Happy summer!
2021 summer Field Day has come and gone, and by all accounts, it was another very successful event. Thanks goes to Michel Smith VE6HEM and Rob Wilson VE6CCL for doing the organizing. Well done all!
We are keeping quite busy around the club. It’s been an unprecedented hot June and July and the heat appears to be here to stay for the season. Stay clear of forest fires!
Finally, we have made some headway with getting improvements made with the building and yard of the Calgary Sports Car Club. The main thrust of it is to stop the flooding of the yard and the seepage/mold into the basement where our VE6AO station is located.
Work will start the week of July 26 with concrete work on the exterior stairs going down into the basement. The stairs and stairwell will be extended upwards by at least two feet. This will accommodate the raising of the ground around the south snd east sides of the building so that water sheds away from the building. Read: no more pooling around the club house!
New window wells are also to be installed where necessary to accommodate the higher ground level.
Earth moving is to tentatively commence the week of August 10. Members of the Station Interest Group will be on hand to point out locations of coax cables in the grass between the building snd the towers.
Many thanks to the guys on last year’s Executive Committee for getting these improvements rolling - Dave VE6DED, Harry VE6HRY, Stephane VE6NR, and Peter VA6RPL. .
Many thx to the same Dave, Harry, Stephane, and one other colleague, who did the yard cleanup prior to the upcoming earthworks.
After the earthworks, will come additional inside and outside improvements to the building, possibly such as improved exterior doors, an audio visual system for classes/meetings/rally orientations, roofing, etc. Step by step, things are happening.
The Repeater Interest Group remains busy with doing repairs to the roof of the VE6RYC building. The next work party is scheduled for August 7. For information on any project events with the repeater group, send your request to: email@example.com
It looks like the car rallies are starting to roll again. The next one is October 9. Garry VE6GDS and Dana VA6DJH are busy coordinating the radio operators for the next rally. Here’s the link to the ongoing updates for the next event.
Garry and Dana have a survey for radio operators who participate in car rallies.
Please reply on this survey by July 31.
So, let’s stay busy having fun with the many facets of amateur radio.
Enjoy the summer!
(from Dave Cason VE6DED, President)
Well, I’m sitting here in my underwear typing this in a 28 degree room, and the elements on my tower have melted, how’s that for a pretty picture? (grin)
No, calm down and stop crying. I'm not really doing that, but it is 32 deg out today and for early June in Calgary – that’s saying something.
It’s safe to say spring has sprung and the summer is soon upon us, and what sort of summer will it be? That’s the big question. With the rally off for now, however things are slowly getting going again with Field Day moving ahead and word that SARA will have a flea market in the fall, and even the Stampede is right around the corner.
As for the club’s executive committee and the various groups within CARA, meetings are being held and plans are being made. There is work being done at the club station and at the various repeater sites, and the VHF special interest group has been having some great meetings and topics, so we’re slowly waking up from our COVID slumber. If we are lucky, I think we may even get back to “normal” by the fall.
So what does this all mean? Well, we’d like to get busy with even more events and projects, and even some new ideas as we slowly come back to life, and that’s where we can use more help. I think all the special interest groups, and the club as a whole would welcome any new ideas and or projects you would like to propose.
As well, we’d also like some people who really want to see things happen join the board of directors. Our job is to listen to the members and their ideas, and then if enough people think it’s a good idea – help make it happen!
Soon we have elections coming up and we would really like more members to get involved – as a small board of just four, we think it would be nice to have a person from each special interest group join the board if they can. It's not vital but, it would sure make things easier for us communication wise if we could get one person from each group to join the board. So if you are part of one of the teams out there working at the station or on the repeater team or the VHF special interest group and the Comm trailer team, we would like to hear from you!
If you are a member and have been around for a few years – AGAIN - welcome and feel free to come and give us a hand; JOIN THE BOARD!
Once things get going again it would sure be nice to have the help. Having the board meetings via Zoom does make it a ton easier. A face to face meeting once in a while is okay but, the Zoom meeting makes the commute that much easier!
Here’s hoping for a ‘soon to be’ return back to “normal”; heck, I bet everyone misses the donut’s and coffee and all the radio tales at the club meetings…
73 de VE6DED
From: Stephane VE6NR, Treasurer
Greetings members from the Treasurer’s desk. This month I write to you, our executive message for the month of May.
Over the last couple of months, some great work has been done to establish a remote site with a storage container that is being used for the association's storage needs. The consolidation of our storage locations to one site has simplified our costs and needs. Just in time for a little spring cleaning and organizing of some of our less used but valuable items.
Also in the month of April on our website we transitioned our payment processing system from PayPal to AffiniPay, which enabled us to keep our website costs static, as well, simplify our payment processing, which is greatly appreciated by this treasurer.
A lot of things are moving forward, however many more things are on the back burner waiting for some volunteer time. As an executive we have also been discussing the merits of expanding the executive committee, as our bylaws do allow us to grow between 3 - 9 executive members. One of the possible pitfalls of doing elections every 2 years for a 2 year term is the possibility of a large changeover every 2 years. We have decided to try an annual campaign to recruit additional executive members for a 2 year term. This would ensure carry over from year to year with overlapping terms, and for the executive to dynamically grow and keep fresh minds and ideas at the helm without a complete change of the guard to ensure continuity.
Please join us at this month's General meeting where we will be discussing this new approach to the executive committee, and discussing the merits and opportunities to add your voice to the executive committee in the coming months. Elections will continue to be in June, however will become annual instead of the current bi-annual.
73 de VE6NR
Calgary Amateur Radio Association
Peter LaGrandeur VA6RPL, CARA Secretary, VA6RPL@techworld.ca
Greetings, fellow amateur radio enthusiasts. Happy April to all.
Your Executive Committee has been hard at work taking care of CARA’s admin tasks. These include financial matters (such as setting up a new on-line payment system for memberships), clarifying membership categories, asset storage, asset management (such as the vacuum tube collection), surplus asset disposal, investigating more CARA net infrastructure (a remote radio station and the AREDN), the next casino, requesting improvements to the CSCC building and grounds, and a new election strategy to turnover half the members of the executive committee every year to maintain continuity (oh, so important).
We look forward to the day when the Covid spectre departs and we can return to some normalcy. Members are longing to resume participating in our large roster of annual public service events, attending meetings for general gatherings and with our many interest groups, and with resuming classes in Basic and Advanced amateur radio. It’s a good thing that this latest pandemic occurred when we have global social networking technology available. Video conferencing has been a real boon, along with email, texting, and messaging.
In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, "Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly." As applied to us radio amateurs, we have risen to the challenge of social distancing, and continued to have our meetings using electronic technologies.
The life blood of CARA are its many diverse interest groups. CARA’s claim to fame has been to support a wide range of interests in the amateur radio community. Your executive committee strives to keep its ear open to the needs and wants of its members. No one should be shy to suggest new avenues for our hobby, or even for the direction of the club.
There is one CARA member, in particular, I would like to recognize, who is also a member of more than one other amateur radio club in the area, who is currently serving as the editor of CARA’s long-time publication, the KeyKlix. Ken Oelke VE6AFO puts a lot of effort every month producing a fab newsletter, which really shows his many years of experience and participation in the hobby of amateur radio. Such a publication is the etched tablet of what the club does and is the club’s record for posterity. It is a pleasure to pick up and read every time it comes out. Well done, Ken!
In conclusion, I’d like to recognize the hard working members of the CARA executive committee, President Dave VE6DED, Vice President Harry VE6HRY, and Treasurer Stephane VE6NR, all of whom have been very dedicated to the smooth operation and well being of CARA. I have never seen such as group as this, that has an ongoing dialog of club business on a daily basis. Keep up the good work, guys!
Harry Maylor VE6HRY, Vice President
Hello Members. Well it’s my turn to send out the monthly Key Klix message, so I put away the Halloween gear and sent in an actual photo of my mug. Preparing these messages is a challenge for us Directors and I will share with you my cheat. Thanks to people like Ken Oelke, VE6AFO and his predecessors, Key Klix archives go back nearly sixty years to 1964. I cull through the archives of a decade or two for March and see a common theme which helps inspire me in which direction I should go. March is the cusp of spring and often people engage in spring cleaning which is my direction for March 2021.
As a club we need spring cleaning in so many ways. We the Board Members have been spring cleaning since last March when the lockdown hit. Over this past year different groups in the club have been working at cleaning their projects and plans. Cleaning is not always physical cleaning but can be cleaning up plans or just decluttering.
One of our Boards most puzzling cleaning tasks has been the clubs tube bank. Yes the club has a tube bank and it’s huge. There are thousands of tubes in about 45 boxes that we keep for members to use if needed. Jerry Spring VE6TL for some time now has been our tube bank curator and did a great job storing the collection. At one point we thought we should just purge the tubes but what if they have value? How does one go about sorting so many tubes? We have had a few opinions on the value of the tubes and due to the fact there could be value in those boxes nothing has been done with the tubes. The problem however is storing these tubes, which President Cason has temporarily taken on. Storing things goes hand in hand with spring cleaning.
Just before lockdown the members came together and cleaned out the storage locker the club rents. We purged a large amount of antiquated and outdated gear then moved even more gear to the clubhouse. Unfortunately the lockdown hit and we had placed the valued stuff upstairs which is not our space. Many months later we finally got all the stuff under the stairs thanks to Dave our President. Some of the treasures we store are things like struts for a car?? Regardless we pay $1200 a year for storage and the board is working on many fronts to try and eliminate that expense. If we did some spring cleaning again perhaps we could truly empty the locker once and for all. The locker currently is in great shape as I stopped by and was relieved to see how tidy things are there. I’m sure the state of the locker is in no small part due to our new lifetime member Robert Wilson.
We as HAM radio folk are pack rats it’s just in our nature. I as a mechanic have the pack rat bug very badly. It kills me to need a part and think oh I had one of those but threw it out just the other day. The real problem comes when storing things for someday uses cost more money than the thing is actually worth. I have had to harden my resolve when it comes to purging stuff and I think Rob relies on it for the disposal end of our clubs cleaning.
Perhaps there are treasures in the pile and we should save them but we would end up with this for a storage locker. Another light at the end of the tunnel for our clubs storage is the work going into the disposal process guideline.
Thanks to Jack and Rob a great number of items were moved on to new homes. Jack and Dave sorted out the process guidelines and it looks like future estates donated will be dealt with quickly and fairly.
I recommend each member and group take on the task of spring cleaning and searching for those things that just are taking up space. Once you have purged the old junk you will have so much room for new junk. NOT! Well I hope you get the idea and look forward to one day when we can get together again in person and have a flea market to sell stuff and find new stuff to store.
Dave Cason VE6DED
Now that it has rolled around to being my turn for this month’s Key Klix message, I thought I would cover the fascinating world of finances. Don’t groan in pain, this is good stuff! Anyway, as you know or maybe have heard somewhere, CARA is the club with the big bucks! Right !? Well yes, and no.
We’ve been getting checks from the AGLC every 2 years for hosting casinos for the past 15 years. Oddly enough, while we have lots of money in our Casino Account, we also have another account called our General Account that is not quite as robust! (grin) That is the account we really need to watch. We are allowed to transfer 10% of casino money, which has to last over two years in to the General Account, and that is it. It is not enough money for our day-to-day expenses like internet, security alarms, repeater sites, other general club costs, etc!
As an example, we have a casino and from that we get a check for ~$51,000. Out of that we can take 10% and put that in the General Account, which is $5,100. But we need to remember, casinos only run once every two years so then for that one year we only have $2,550 in the General Account for that year from casino money, but we spend about $11,700 in a year. So as you can see, we have a deficit for the operation budget.
We have to make up the extra money by holding license classes, have flea markets, and the big one, membership dues. With COVID we can’t do the make up stuff, so that’s why we’re trying to cut costs. And yes, we will be able to raise funds in the future with license classes and flea markets, but not right now. And we don’t want to raise dues if we can avoid it. If we need to buy some equipment we’re in great shape because we can use the money in the Casino Account, but for day-to-day stuff, we’re a bit tight. So what we’re trying to do as an Executive is cut our day-to-day cost for things that have to come out of our General Account; we can’t run the club using money from the Casino Account, ever. The AGLC has a big thick binder called “Use of Proceeds”, and that is a hard "no".
We are trying to recover our storage costs for old equipment, and between the storage locker and the club trailer, we spend about $2,000 a year. If we can get rid of old things, and maybe keep the “must have things”, along with the trailer at the clubhouse, it would help cut our costs. And yes, we’re working on it!
Another expense is classroom rent for our ham classes that we hold to raise money for the club, but last time it cost us $1,700 to rent the hall. So again we’re going to try to use the clubhouse, and those ideas are in the works. So we are actively selling old equipment and working towards using the clubhouse for ham classes and trailer storage. If you have any other suggestions for us, please let us know!
Club members, it is a pleasure to bring you the January 2021 President’s Executive Committee Message.
The past year with COVID-19 and its requirements at various times with respect to distancing, face masks, and restrictions regarding social and family gatherings, has been very challenging, the more so with those who have unfortunately been infected or have been personally exposed to others with the virus.
As ham fans, we are very appreciative of a hobby that provides the ability to interact with others, socially and technically.
In December, the Executive Committee, with valuable member input, grappled with the unused hardware that has been accumulating, and communicated this to the membership. A sales protocol has been initiated, and sales continue.
The Executive Committee is anxious to continue the normal activities that the membership has missed over the past ten months.
Although it may be several quarters before “normal” resumes, we wish all members a healthy, safe, prosperous and active 2021 New Year.
Andy Norlander, Director
Fellow club members, it is my pleasure to bring you this month's Executive Committee message.
It has been a tough year with COVID-19 and the ongoing and changing social gathering restrictions. I write you this message shortly after the recently announced further restrictions right through the holiday season lasting right into the New Year.
This is a major disappointment for many. This is a time of year where we are meant to gather with friends and family, only to be told that this very act can help propagate this virus. It is a time like this where I really appreciate this hobby and the ability to connect to many like minded individuals over the radio waves. If you haven’t been able to get on the air lately, I encourage you to spend some time making these social connections over the air during the holiday season. This is a time where we need these social interactions, and the radio is a perfect pathway to these connections.
Later this month, the executive will be organizing a virtual Christmas party on December 22nd. Leveraging our Zoom club account, we will welcome all members of the community to join us for a virtual get together. Zoom information can be found in the calendar on our website. Join us to kick off this unusual holiday season.
At our last meeting, we recognized Rob Wilson VE6CCL’s amazing contributions to the club over several years by awarding him a Lifetime membership. Please join us in thanking Rob for his great contributions and accomplishments over the years. Thank you Rob!
Stephane Raimbaut, Treasurer
Greetings, fellow amateur radio fans.
It has rotated to my turn to speak in behalf of the Executive Committee this month.
We’ve just finished CARA’s second and last amateur radio event for 2020, the Test Day for the 2020 Rocky Mountain Rally, held on the Kananaskis Jumping Pound Forest Demonstration Loop, last Saturday. Many thanks to local hams who made it out. In particular, kudos goes to CARA members Dana Harding VA6DJH and Garry Spicer VE6GDS for providing the leadership for the communications side of the event. Before the event was greatly scaled back, due to Covid, we had a very large registration of radio operators for the day. Over forty two, the last I heard. In the end, we were able to use maybe seven radio people for the rally. Let’s hope that the world is free from this plague by this time next year.
Your executive committee continues to work hard for the members. Some of our initiatives include:
developing new expeditious and logical procedures for storage and disposal of items that are casino funded surplus, and for items that are donated to CARA by Silent Keys. This includes management of the club’s vacuum tube bank.
working with the Calgary Sports Car Club on upgrades to the grounds and building which will mutually benefit them and CARA.
Identifying ways to recognize and reward outstanding club members, such as Life members.
Examining new technologies that can benefit amateur radio and CARA’s facilities around the Calgary area.
Covid, on the surface, is definitely something that, seemingly, puts a massive damper on many of our activities. However, it’s does not have to hold us down. Please MAKE opportunities to continue our learning and social activities using radio and digital technology. We are masters of those media. For example, I’m hearing that the club’s education department is now working on creating distance learning programs. To support that, a pool of instructors and Elmers is being formed to provide early support and encouragement for not only long timers, but especially, new hams, who might otherwise drift away. Please contact Patrick VE6PDS@gmail.com to learn more of this program. Great initiative, Pat and colleagues!
Members, please be sure to attend our next two socials on the air. November will be a directed net on VE6RYC VHF on the topic of “The Year 2020 in Review”. Please attend and participate. In December, we will host a Christmas party using the club’s Zoom web conference software. Please join the party from the comfort of your own home bar or pub. Pour some eggnog and rum for yourself, and show us your best elf or reindeer costume. Visit the Event Calendar in the web site for days and times.
Peter LaGrandeur VA6RPL
CARA Executive Secretary.