CARA

Calgary Amateur Radio Association

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  • 28 Jun 2021 10:10 AM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Rally Radio Operators;

    It has been a while since the last posting to this space, so an update seems in order.

    What a tumultuous year we've had, with events being repeatedly planned and then cancelled due to the pandemic. Thanks go out to all our radio operator volunteers who have stood firm with us and supported our events despite the chaos and disappointments brought on by COVID-19. It is finally beginning to look like we're winning the battle with that virus and things should get back to a semblance of normality this fall. It's time to rally!

    As Dana noted in a prior post, the current date for the Rocky Mountain Rally (RMR) is 08-09 October, 2021. This will displace the usual Kananaskis Stage Rally that has typically been held in the autumn. This means that there will only be the one performance rally event in our area this year. Note that the Pacific Forest Rally (Merritt, BC) is planned for 01-02 October, 2021. That is just one week before RMR. This may make it easier for Eastern teams to attend both events. With a long course road on Powderface Trail, extra cars could make for a busy day of racing!

    While we do not yet have confirmation details, it appears that planning is also underway for the Big White Winter Rally in Kelowna. If both the Pacific Forest and Rocky Mountain rallies proceed as planned, it seems reasonable to assume that Big White will also be a 'go'. This event typically happens in December and has attracted volunteers from the Calgary area in the past.

    Thanks again for sticking with us through the ups and downs of this past year. We're looking forward to getting our rally events back on track and we hope that you will be a part of them. Stay tuned to this space as more updates will be coming soon.

    For those feeling nostalgic and missing the thrills of rally events, take a few minutes to check out the Rocky Mountain Rally webpage:

    https://rockymountainrally.com/

    There is a YouTube video link posted there with great material from the 2019 Rocky Mountain Rally that was held in Invermere. That was a memorable event and one that will get you thinking of good times coming back soon.


    73,
    Garry, VE6GDS
    Dana, VA6DJH

  • 21 Apr 2021 11:11 PM | Dana Harding (Administrator)

    {Update 2021-05-12}: New date has been set for 9 October 2021

    ====

    Notice that went out today is below.

    This rollercoaster of a year isn't finished with us yet -   we know that the on and off is hard on the volunteers thank everybody for your continued patience.

    73,
    Dana, VA6DJH
    Garry, VE6GDS


    Postponement Announcement

    The organizers of the Rocky Mountain Rally, along with the executive of the Calgary Sports Car Club, regret to announce that the Rocky Mountain Rally will be postponed until later in the year.

    Recently announced travel restrictions in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia have called into question the ability of our participants to travel to Cochrane in late May from anywhere outside of Alberta. While all indications are that the travel restrictions will have ended the week of the event, we have seen similar deadlines come and go with no easing of restrictions. We know how much effort it takes to participate in a rally, and we feel we cannot ask teams and volunteers to plan for an event to which they may not be able to travel.

    We are already evaluating our options and will be proposing a new date to the CARS board for approval as soon as possible. You should expect an announcement within the next two weeks.

    Keith Morison
    Chair – Organizing Committee
    2021 Rocky Mountain Rally

  • 02 Apr 2021 11:32 PM | Dana Harding (Administrator)

    Registration Now Available!

    The Rocky Mountain Rally volunteer registration webpage is now available. Here is the information you will need to sign up as a radio operator for this event. If you follow this URL it will take you to the main RallyWest page:

    https://www.rallywest.com

    From there click on "Events" in the upper left of the page and you will be taken to a set of images for upcoming RallyWest events.

    https://www.rallywest.com/events

    Click on the picture for the Rocky Mountain Rally to get to the rally information page. Here is a shortcut:

    http://www.rockymountainrally.com/

    Click on the Volunteers dropdown at the top of the page, then click on Volunteer Registration. This will take you to the Volunteer Registration page. Here is a final shortcut:

    http://www.rockymountainrally.com/volunteers/registration/

    Scroll down and look for the "To Sign Up" link beside the blue vertical bar. Clicking on this link will take you to the registration page with the title Rocky Mountain Rally Volunteer Signup

     https://www.rallywest.com/signup/volunteer/RockyMountainRally

    This link will generate a unique tag in the URL.  If you bookmark the link you get after this point, with that unique tag in the URL, you'll be able to go back to your registration record and make updates later. Note that clicking on this link more than once means that you are signing up more than once!

    If you are considering coming to volunteer as a radio operator, then please complete the signup page. If you're not sure you can make it, then indicate in the Comments text box that you are "tentative" for now, but please do sign up. If we have no registration information for you, then it's difficult to assign a role or to contact you if there are urgent changes.

    When indicating the radio equipment that you plan to bring to the rally, try to be as generic as possible. It's much easier to deal with "50 watt mobile radio with APRS and a quarter wave magnetic mount antenna" than a bunch of make/model numbers with which we may not be familiar.

    Finally, please double check that the email address and phone number(s) that you enter on the registration form are correct. Messages that bounce back at us are not getting to you! It's also important to have valid contact information, should a change occur at, or just prior to, the event.

    To accommodate feedback that we have received, we will try to keep the number of mass emails to a minimum. We will usually post material here in the Rally Radio Recce Blog where everyone can find it at their own discretion. That means it is up to you to check here regularly so that you have the latest information. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

    We hope you'll be joining us for a great time at the Rocky Mountain Rally!


    73,
    Dana, VA6DJH
    Garry, VE6GDS


  • 02 Apr 2021 11:31 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Hello Radio Operators,  

    The Organizing committee of the 2021 Cochrane Winter Rally regrets that we have to announce the cancellation of the event.

    The Calgary Sports Car Club held a lengthy review of the situation in consultation with the event competitors. Given the rapidly increasing  COVID-19 infection rates of the past couple weeks and the ongoing Health Emergency regulations, it was determined that the event cannot responsibly or legally proceed.

    Thank you to all our volunteers for your support. Once again, we had a good number of radio operators sign up for this event. Everyone is disappointed that we have to cancel a rally once again due to the pandemic. We trust that everyone will stay positive and be ready to support our next event. Sooner or later we will get back to having rallies!

    Watch this blog carefully for information about the Rocky Mountain Rally planned for late May. We're going to try the same thing again and hope for better results!


    Garry Spicer, VE6GDS
    Dana Harding, VA6DJH

  • 29 Mar 2021 10:55 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Rally Radio Operators;

    Here is the event COVID update for 29 March.

    As of today, the event organizing committee continues to work with provincial officials to secure opportunity for the Cochrane Winter Rally 2021 to proceed on 11 April, as planned. Having said that, I’m sure we’ve all seen the latest COVID statistics, too. The final decision is still slated to happen one week prior to the event date, on or about 04 April. As soon as Dana or I have the word, we’ll be sure to get it out to you.

    In the mean time, we’ll continue to post material to this blog for our radio operators to use in preparing for the event. We have a good number of radio volunteers, so thanks go out to everyone who has signed up. We’ll keep you apprised as the date grows closer.


    73,
    Garry, VE6GDS
    Dana, VA6DJH


  • 26 Mar 2021 11:44 AM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    The rally date is just a couple of weeks away. While the COVID statistics are not looking favourable, we'll continue with our preparation efforts for now.

    If the event goes ahead as planned, then we need to be ready to ensure everyone's safety. This updated pandemic protocol provides guidance on protecting ourselves, and each other, from the spread of the virus.

    All rally radio operators are required to review this protocol and take reasonable steps to implement its guidance. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dana or me.

    Please download a copy via this link:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/18McBkSc0da0fRdGhRbv7pw3C5jPgg5rF/view?usp=sharing


    73,
    Garry, VE6GDS


  • 25 Mar 2021 12:50 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Updated Rally '101' Guide

    Below is a link to the updated Rally '101' Guide.

    To ensure that our radio operators are comfortable with common rally terminology, everyone who is considering participation in the upcoming event is encouraged to review this document. While this guide is oriented at people who have had little exposure to rally events, experienced operators may also benefit from a refresher. In any case, the pre-op briefing will assume that everyone is familiar with the contents of this guide.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/16diYsCR-zT-LZ-PP0i2P_q3MfutX4Nyd/view?usp=sharing

     

    73,
    Garry, VE6GDS


  • 22 Mar 2021 9:10 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    We are still hoping to make this rally happen, though recent pandemic trends are disconcerting. Everyone please do your best to help keep those COVID numbers down!

    To help you get ready, here is a link to the updated packing and preparation guide for radio operators who are planning to be part of the rally. Be sure to download a copy and review it so that you have your kit assembled for the event.

    While this guide is primarily oriented at new or returning folks, even experienced operators will benefit from a review of its contents as we get ready for this challenging day. Not everything listed in the guide is a requirement for participation as a radio operator. However, this list is based on the experiences of operators who have completed many prior rally events.  Please consider the material covered by this guide as you make your own preparations.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1osEZW_r3VjQttExWP03mqUYYn6dh0WZH/view?usp=sharing

    Keep checking this blog regularly. As the event approaches, there will be other materials and information posted here that you'll want to review.

     

    73,
    Garry, VE6GDS


  • 15 Mar 2021 10:26 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    As promised in a previous note, this is an update on how the pandemic situation is affecting plans for the rally. Before we get to that, I want to thank everyone who has signed up already. It's clear that people are ready to get out of their basements for a day! Dana and I really appreciate your support for this event. If you are thinking of joining us, registration instructions are provided in a prior posting to this blog.

    As of today, 15 March 2021, the event organizing committee has issued no changes to its position on planning for the event. See this post for the information about our pandemic strategy:

    Calgary Amateur Radio Association - CWR 2021 - Pandemic Statement (caraham.org)

    Additionally, I am unaware of any major changes to the provincial rules being announced in the last week. It seems as though the case numbers have plateaued, so we all need to do our best to keep them going down!

    For now, we are continuing with plans to hold the event in the hopes that provincial restrictions will be sufficiently lifted in time for us to go forward.


    73,
    Garry, VE6GDS


  • 09 Mar 2021 12:15 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    *NEW* Rally Registration Procedure Now Available!

    Volunteer registration for the Cochrane Winter Rally is now available. Please review this posting carefully, as there are changes from previous registration procedures. We will be using a Google Forms tool this time. Please do not look for the usual registration links on the RallyWest web page. The URL for the form is provided below. Progress urges us forward!

    On the Cochrane Winter Rally Volunteer Registration form, questions with a red star are required information. There is a progress bar at the bottom of each page and buttons to navigate amongst the pages.

    The form requests your email address. The address you provide will be the one to which rally organizers will send event related messages. A response receipt will also be sent to this address when you submit your information. These receipts have a tendency to end up in SPAM folders, so please check there if it does not show up in your inbox. In the receipt email there is a button to edit your response should you need to do so later.

    We gather contact and profile information about you so that we can keep you up to date with event plans. Additionally, should there be a safety concern or an emergency, we want to be able to contact you, notify a friend or family member on your behalf, or provide this information to authorities / first responders. Please ensure that contact information you provide is correct. Messages that bounce back at us are not getting the job done!

    If you indicate that you will be driving to the event, then you will be asked questions about your driving skill and the vehicle that you intend to bring to the rally. We use this information to help assign suitable roles. Select the responses that you feel best describe your situation.

    You will be asked if you are a licensed Amateur Radio Operator. Only if you answer YES to this question will you be taken to the Radio Operator Questions section.

    When asked for your callsign, please provide the one government assigned callsign that you intend to use for the rally. If you want to include other callsigns that are registered to you, then please add them to the free form text comments at the end of the registration form.

    There is a question on the form about the radio equipment that you plan to bring to the rally. We use this information to help assign suitable roles. Some areas of the course require more robust radio configurations to reach the repeaters. Please choose the option that most closely describes the equipment that you plan to use. If you are bringing more than one set of equipment, then make your selection based on the configuration that you will rely on most at the event. If you do not have your own radio equipment and need to borrow something, then please indicate this and get in touch with us as soon as possible to make arrangements.

    There is a question on the form about your APRS capabilities. While it is not required for most rally radio operator roles, we increasingly rely on APRS for navigation, positioning, and information distribution. We encourage our operators to deploy an APRS configuration that has a graphical display, as this can show your current location, your assignment location, and the routes you need to use. It will also give you the best access to information that is disseminated with this tool. Some operators have not yet acquired such equipment and use a one-way tracker. This, too, can be helpful if the operator gets lost and needs navigational guidance. Consider using APRS at this event.

    There is a question on the form about your crossband capabilities. If you're not sure what this is, then just respond NO. Certain assignments rely on the ability to be outside of your vehicle while remaining in radio contact. If you have such capabilities and are willing to deploy them at the rally, then please indicate YES.

    As noted earlier, there is a free format question near the end of the form for additional comments. Please provide any information or concerns that you believe were not addressed earlier in the form.

    Once you are done, remember to click on the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the page. You should receive an email receipt shortly after doing so.

    To accommodate feedback that we have received, we will try to keep the number of mass emails to a minimum. We will usually post material in the Rally Radio Recce Blog where everyone can find it at their own discretion. That means it is up to you to check the blog regularly so that you have the latest information. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

    If you click on the URL below it will take you to the volunteer registration form. It works best with a Google Chrome browser, though other modern browsers seem to be adequate.

    https://forms.gle/11zHNTj7hj8M22788

    We hope you'll be joining us for a great time at the Cochrane Winter Rally!


    73,
    Dana, VA6DJH
    Garry, VE6GDS

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