Calgary Amateur Radio Association
Enjoy Amateur Radio | Serve Our Community
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.
Uhmmm, what? President!?!? Me!? Really?!?!
OK, just so you guys know, I dunno if I want to be in a club that would have me as a member much less the President! (grin). OK, I’ll do it, and I think it’s pretty safe to say those of you in the club who know me know what a serious and studious young man I am. HA!
Anyway I hope I can do right by you guys and CARA, and if you have any problems or concerns about the club, and the way things are done, please call or drop me a note and let me know what the problems are that you see, and I’ll do my best to make it right! I’ll let you know right now the new Executive won’t be perfect, but if we can make 51% of you happy, that’s a good start! But I think we can hit 99% if we do it right, or at least offer up a decent explanation of why something was done the way it was.
I used to wonder why some things were done the way they were in the past, but boy after sitting on the board for a while, I think I owe some of the old Executive members a beer or two!
Anyway we have quite a bit going on right now with the Repeater Team and the Station Team and CARATELS, so be sure to check out what’s on the website and we’ll do our best to keep it up-to- date. Also, we’ll start the on-line meeting when the monthly meetings soon start, and it’ll be on VE6RYC, and we might try to have it on-line as well at the same time. So you can listen in on a radio and also on-line in Zoom or Google Meetings with a moderator running the on-line part and someone doing net control on the radio.
Anyway I’m happy to do another term as the CARA President, and if I can do half as good a job as Stephane did, I’ll consider that a success. I’d like to welcome Peter and Andy to the board and also thank Jim and Dana for a job well done. We did a bit of a shuffle for roles and who can do what because someone had to withdraw, but I think we did OK.
So here’s this fall’s new action-packed line up on CARA.
Lastly, with great sadness we learned that Dale Olsen, former Board and CARA member, became a Silent Key this summer, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to friends and family of Dale.
C: 403 540 9041
We enter this month with the typical June weather, but as we all know, this is no typical June thanks to the ongoing public health orders and recommendations on physical distancing. I would typically be writing to you about all the successful public service events that were recently completed and the others still coming this summer. However all of those events have been cancelled or postponed.
We, individually and as a club, try to forge forward in this new reality that physical distancing will be with us for quite some time. Club members are preparing for a Field Day event that I'm sure will prove to be unique in its challenges, and I look forward to what this innovative group is able to cobble together with the restrictions in place.
Another club event to be discussed is our biennial executive election. With the prospect of not being able to come together for our typical June election meeting, we faced a choice to either delay the election to when we could meet in person again, or forge ahead leveraging technology to hold an election and conclude the current 2 year mandate. A poll was issued to members earlier in June to get an understanding of how the membership would like to proceed. The results of this poll have recommended that we proceed with a June election leveraging our website for voting. Additional information on the election will be posted in Key Klix and emailed to all members in mid-June.
With the election set to proceed, I would like to thank all the club members who participated in a variety of club events and activities over the last couple of years. Without you, our volunteers, this club would not be what it is today. It has been my pleasure to serve you as the club president over the last 2+ years.
73 de VE6NR
It’s hard to believe that just a little over 2 months ago the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, which would result in countries around the world to start shutting in citizens, disrupting economies and people's livelihood. As time drags on it’s hard to know if this was truly an effective response to this corona virus, but one thing seems clear to me, if governments had not acted when they did, we may very well be in a much worse situation today.
As a result, we have minimized our in-person club activities and have taken some of those activities on-line with the help of internet based tools and on the air, leveraging our repeater system to stay in touch.
As we look forward to our new and ever evolving normal, I’m left wondering how much of our “old normal” we will find at the end of all of this.
Over the coming days and weeks, the club executive will be meeting to discuss how the government’s re-launch strategy for the economy factors in how we operate the club. There could be the possibility of re-opening some in-person events such as meetings, operating the club station, or getting together for work parties. We will have more details soon, but I want to remind everyone that we are not near the end of this pandemic, but rather just entering the next stage. It is evident to me that there is still a long road ahead, and it is entirely possible that we will never find our “old normal” at the end of this, but rather we will have forged “new normal” that we will have to embrace for quite some time.
Stay safe and stay home if you can. I hope that during this time you can embrace the hobby and find some joy and on-air camaraderie.
It’s hard to believe that a month ago I was writing about all the upcoming club activities, such as our general meeting at the end of March, preparations for our Spring Flea Market, and upcoming volunteer opportunities at upcoming public service events.
In a little less than a month, events were cancelled, altered, and rescheduled. Many of our daily activities have been turned upside down by a viral pandemic that very few could imagine.
Our general meeting, instead of meeting at our usual location, took place over the air as a directed net on our main Calgary repeater, VE6RYC. The CARA Spring Flea Market was cancelled, and in its place, club members are organizing an on-line technical conference to take its place. The Rocky Mountain Rally, scheduled for May, has been rescheduled to the fall, and will take place in Kananaskis.
We continue to navigate this new world together altering our plans on a daily and weekly basis. I hope many of you have found our hobby as ways to communicate and socialize from a safe physical distance, and that the days that are passing by aren’t too lonely.
I look forward to the day we can re-group in physical proximity and forge a new way forward in what will undoubtedly be a new normal.
Please also read the:
** COVID-19 - Coronavirus and it's effect on CARA **
We have had some nice weather but it looks like we are being thrown back into winter with some colder temperatures and snowfall this month. I still choose to believe we will have an early spring as Balzac Billy predicted on Groundhog Day.
Since my last note to members, the club had our General Meeting in February with a wonderful presentation from Peter Barry VA6PJB on APRS messaging. This spiked interest of more than a few club members with continued interest in APRS. Peter showed off the power of APRS messaging, and we were all able to take away something new from his presentation. The popularity of APRS appears to always be growing in the region and is well supported by the many Digipeaters and Igates in the area.
Club members also participated in a couple public service events that leverage the amateur radio service to provide radio communication for the safety of their event. The Foothills Nordic Ski Club put on their annual Cookie Race in Kananaskis country at the end of February. From what I understand it was a good day for all involved, and the radio operators did a fantastic job as always.
There was also the Cochrane Winter Rally, which I had the pleasure of participating in as net control once again this year. We had a large crew of radio operators supporting the Calgary Sports Car Club once again. This year everything went quite well, and the rally was on-track throughout the day, that is until the last car on the last stage that exited the stage earlier than expected! After a recovery effort, the rally was able to complete a wonderful day north of Cochrane in the Ghost valley. It was an absolute ‘blue bird’ day with rising temperatures throughout the day. Although we did not get above freezing, it turned out to be a wonderful day in the foothills!
Looking ahead, we are continuing the planning for the CARA Spring Flea market which is currently scheduled to take place on April 18th. We are pleased to welcome Ric Henderson, VA6RIC, the local ARES Emergency Coordinator at our next General Meeting where Ric will give us insight on ARES in our community. Our General Meeting is open to the public and all amateurs, and is scheduled on the 4th Tuesday of the month. The meeting in March will take place on March 24th; 7PM… see you there!
Greetings all! January has quickly come and gone with a flurry of club activities to report on. The CARA Advanced Class has started with approximately 8 participants, but we have an eager bunch of volunteers teaching the course this year. By all accounts it should be fun for all, and even some are garnering teaching experience.
Peter LaGrandeur organized an “Order of Good Cheer Festive Dinner” for club members to give us a chance to get together in a more social setting with fellow club members, their spouses and even a child. The 4 year old kept me busy, and I apologize if I didn’t get a chance to say hello during this fun event. It was much appreciated by all, and a show of hands recommends we do this again with increased frequency!
A group of Club Members activated the communications trailer and made a presence for Winter Field Day. It was a successful event with a few visitors, and even some newly minted radio operators who had a chance to get on the air during the event. Congratulations to all on your efforts, and I look forward to Winter Field Day continuing to be an annual event.
We wrapped up January with our general meeting, which was focused on welcoming new hams. Some equipment was brought in for a “show and tell” to highlight multiple aspects of the hobby. Experienced members also shared stories ranging from quick tips to life stories on how they got into ham radio with the hope to impart some knowledge to our guests and new hams. I hope the evening was enjoyed by all.
Looking forward to February we have a very interesting topic for our upcoming general meeting. Peter Barry VA6PJB will be presenting on the topic of APRS Messaging. APRS is a popular topic amongst club members, however very few realize that APRS not only provides you position location services, but it also has a very robust text messaging application. Come and learn about APRS messaging. It promises to be a great presentation.
With the CARA Spring Flea Market on the books for April 18th (mark your calendars), we will be going through our storage lockers to identify any equipment that needs a new home. Throughout the month of February we will be preparing equipment for review at the general meeting and in Key Klix before issuing the equipment for a flea market table. As equipment seems to pile up quickly, this will be no small task. Volunteers will surely be needed, and a call for help may be coming soon.
I trust everyone has had an enjoyable holiday season and a good start to the new year.
In December, we had another group of students graduate from the CARA Fall basic course, please join me in welcoming these new hams on the air and at any upcoming meetings or get togethers. Also, as always, a big thank you goes to Peter Risdahl (VE6KK) and the ever growing group of club and community members helping out with these courses. These courses are important to help students enter the world of amateur radio.
The CARA Club station was active during the RAC Winter contest and activated the special call sign VE6RAC. Thank you for the great effort during the contest and representing the Alberta section as being the designated RAC Station in Alberta.
In January, we look forward to the social get together that Peter LeGrandeur (VA6RPL) has volunteered to organize. I am certainly looking at re-connecting with many of you outside of our regular general meetings for a chance to catch up and enjoy each others company. More information on the event can be found on our website and will take place on Saturday, January 18th.
For those unable to join us on January 18th, I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming general meeting which takes place on the 4th Tuesday of the month (January 28th) at the Calgary Sports Car Club.
Before I close out this months letter, I also wanted to bring attention to the effort club members are doing to participate and operate in Winter Field Day this year. If you are interested in cold weather operation, please check out the Winter Field day event... you can find more information on our website and this takes place on January 25th and 26th. Have fun and stay warm!
Thank you and 73 de VE6NR
What a busy October! With the CARA Casino, CARA AGM, and Kananaskis Car Rally, it was a very busy month for many of us in the club.
A big thank you to all the volunteers that make these events successful. We received many updates from many groups and individuals during the AGM. It really shows how big and wide of a group we are and all the different activities that keep the club what it is.
I look forward to our regular November general meeting. Wilson VA6JWL has organized for a demonstration and discussion on home built VHF antennas. Feel free to bring any homebrew VHF antennas that you have built as there will be an analyzer available to test out antennas.
The Kananaskis rally was another successful events where we amateur radio operators provide a vital service of radio communication for the car rally. We employed our communications trailer that have been improved over the last couple of years. I had the pleasure to operate net control out of the communications trailer and I must say, the many upgrades over the years are certainly coming together. Everything from flooring, heating, power options, radios and mounting locations, antennas have allowed for a quick, efficient, and comfortable deployment. Congratulations and thank you to the communications trailer group who have worked tirelessly on this project.
As we roll into October, the executive and members are preparing for the club’s annual general meeting which will be held on October 22nd. This is the meeting where we get an update on the club’s financial situation as well as updates from different sections of the club. If you haven’t been able to follow all the activity in the organization this past year, this is a great opportunity to get caught up on the club’s happenings.
The club casino event is on track and will have occurred by the time this is published. I would like to extend a thank you to Martin VE6VH for organizing this year’s casino.
We also have the Kananaskis Car rally which we volunteer to provide the critical radio communication during the event for the Calgary Sports Car Club. The rally takes place on October 27th and we are always looking for more volunteers to ensure a safe and successful event. You can get more info on the rally and how-to signup as a volunteer on our website.
At our last general meeting we continued the discussion on our asset disposal processes. We have received a few donations over the summer and our storage space is full. With the upcoming SARA flea market on October 19th we should hopefully be able to unload some equipment that the club has little use for at this time.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the above-mentioned events in October.
Stephane Raimbault, CARA President