Calgary Amateur Radio Association

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  • 12 Nov 2020 8:27 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    This year has proven to be a real challenge for the Rocky Mountain Rally. The organizing team had to move the event back to Alberta from BC, then later cancel it due to pandemic concerns. We did manage to pull off a smaller Test Day event last Saturday, though. While it was not what we were originally gearing up for, it was great just to get out of town and key up the radio out in the woods!

    A Test Day is a more modest undertaking than a full rally. It typically involves fewer rally cars, a shorter route, fewer radio operators, and less formal radio protocols. These events are opportunities for rally drivers to test their cars, work on technique, and practice with the co-drivers. While the atmosphere is a little more relaxed than what one would find at a competitive event, safety is still a priority.

    Our radio operators did a solid job of keeping the course under control and ensuring that the Rallymaster was kept up to date with what was happening around the venue. In all, we had 72 test runs made by 6 different rally teams over about a six hour timeframe on the JumpingPound Demonstration Loop. Bob, VA6BM did a great job of coordinating the radio exchanges as the rally cars moved through the course. The rest of us rotated through different roles as blockers and Finish point operators.

    The radio team included: 

    Tim, VA6RLY
    Art, VE6ACF
    Bob, VA6BM
    Bruce, VA6BRM
    Max, VE6MAD
    Garry, VE6GDS
    Ken, VE6DXM

    Peter, VA6RPL had to send his regrets. We hope you can join us for Cochrane, Peter.

    While we were on the alert for bad weather, the timing turned out almost perfectly. It was a chilly -2 degrees for much of the day, with moderate winds and a little light snow. However those brutal winds and the heavier snowfall held off until after the event was complete. I was just coming back into Calgary as the front moved in from the north.

    We had an interesting take-away from this event. In the past, radio operators have not been requested for Test Days. However, radio operations were so successful that the Rallymaster asked if we might be interested in participating in future Test Day events. These smaller, less complex events are much easier to prepare for than a full rally, but still make a great chance to get out of town for a day and have some fun. They could also be opportunities for people who are interested in rally radio operations and would like to get some experience with the rally scene before taking on the challenges of a regional or national level event. Please give this some consideration and let Dana (VA6DJH) or me know your thoughts.

    Thanks to everyone who came out. I hope that we can get the pandemic under control before it's time for the Cochrane Winter Rally. Watch this blog for details about upcoming rally events.

    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 06 Nov 2020 9:15 AM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    For those of you who have signed up to help with the Rocky Test Day on Saturday, here are a few details:

    Rallymaster would like us to activate by 08:30hrs. I suggest being on site by 08:00 so that we have time to do radio checks and such before things get started.

    I suggest that radio operators connect on the VE6AUY repeater (147.060- T110.9). I'll be monitoring that channel on approach.

    We'll be using 146.55Mhz simplex for the event. I suggest that all operators check that they have programmed this frequency correctly.

    Here is a .kml file of the reduced venue. It should have enough information to keep you on track:

    For those of you using APRSIS32, or something similar, here is the equivalent .gpx file:

    Please keep in mind that we must follow the Pandemic Protocol guidelines, as posted earlier in this blog. Let's keep the vast majority of our interaction "over the air" and minimize in-person contact. Don't forget to bring a mask and some hand sanitizer!

    Additionally, be aware that the weather forecast is calling for a significant change over the next 24 hours. The temperature is likely to drop and it looks like we'll get snow. Conditions can chance quickly in the mountains, so please come prepared.

    Thanks to everyone who signed up to help with this event. While it's not what we were all hoping for, a reduced event is still a great chance to get out of town for a day and have some fun!

    See you there,
    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 30 Oct 2020 11:25 PM | Dana Harding (Administrator)

    Hello Radio Operators,  

    The Organizing committee of the Rocky Mountain Rally regrets that we have to announce the cancellation of the 2020 Rocky Mountain Rally.

    COVID-19 current and daily new infection rates are at record high levels and we don’t feel it would be socially responsible to continue with the event and potentially put our volunteers, competitors, and other participants at risk.

    Official bulletin is here:

    We thank all the volunteers for your interest. There was a very strong showing for radio operator volunteers - which was exciting to see.  I look forward to trying to do the same for CWR!

    Dana Harding, VA6DJH

    Garry Spicer, VE6GDS

  • 30 Oct 2020 2:05 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Here is a link to the Radio Configuration and Operation Guide for the upcoming rally. This document lists the operating frequencies for the event, presents key radio procedures, and provides recommendations for effective communication practices.

    Powderface Trail can be a challenging environment for radio operations. This guide describes means of managing the difficulties that operators may encounter.  Please review the related recommendations.

    Please take careful note of the guidance for minimizing interference!   We will have a large number of radio operators involved in this event. So, it is very important that we minimize interference issues. The sections in this guide that pertain to cross-band configurations and digital operations are especially important.

    A copy of the guide can be found here:

    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 25 Oct 2020 10:18 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Hello Rally Radio Operators;

    This post is to confirm details of the Pre-Op Briefing. Please note that the date has changed since the original schedule was announced.

    The current particulars are:

    Radio Operator Pre-Op Briefing
    04 November 2020
    19:00hrs (07:00pm)

    The entry on the CARA calendar is correct:

    The briefing should take a little over an hour. The Zoom link will be emailed out to radio operators who have registered. So, if you have not already done so, please register!

    Instructions for signing up can be found here:

    Dana, VA6DJH
    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 24 Oct 2020 2:23 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Maps are important for events like this. There will be dozens of volunteers spread across dozens of kilometers. Radio operators will need to navigate during twilight and darkness in areas where signage is sparse. The maps we make for these events are intended to help you find your way, whether you are an experienced rally radio operator, or this is your very first rally event.

    In recent years, we've been moving toward electronic maps that can be imported into your favourite GPS device or APRS application. You can also import these files into most map software and print your own maps, if you prefer carbon based technology to silicon.

    The link below is for a .kml file. If you need a .gpx file or another format, there are various free online conversion tools available - a quick web search will find one that suits your needs.

    This file contains only a context map, and is for general navigation purposes only. It shows routes to/from the venue, key event facilities, and some of the areas where extra caution may be needed. The file with the blocker and control point locations is pending and will be made available soon.

    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 22 Oct 2020 11:08 AM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    It's going to be great to get out and enjoy radio operations in the mountains for rally day! It's just a couple of weeks away, so I hope that you're getting prepared.

    Given the pandemic that continues to affect our daily lives, we do need to take steps to ensure everyone's safety while participating in this fun event. The organizers have developed this pandemic protocol to guide how we do things, so that we're all implementing appropriate precautions. It's important that we protect ourselves, and each other, from the spread of this 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:

    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 28 Sep 2020 9:53 PM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    The Rocky Mountain Rally is less than six weeks away! 

    Radio Operator Meeting Wednesday 4 November 2020, 19:00 (Date Changed)

    To help you get ready, here is a link to the 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.

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


    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 11 Sep 2020 8:57 PM | Garry Spicer (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:

    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.

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

    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:

    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. Each time you click on that registration link the system gives you a unique tag, so we can't give you a shortcut here. 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!

    Dana, VA6DJH
    Garry, VE6GDS

  • 03 Sep 2020 11:57 AM | Garry Spicer (Administrator)

    Rally '101' Guide

    To ensure that our radio operators are comfortable with common rally terminology, everyone who is considering participation in the upcoming rally event is encouraged to take a few minutes to review the '101' guide, linked below.

    This document is intended to provide rally radio operators with a foundational understanding of what happens at a rally, who is involved, and where to find more information. Key terms are explained, roles are described, and some important practices are presented.

    Please take the time to download a copy and read it prior to the event. 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. While specific questions about the '101' material will be addressed, we will not be presenting these basics during the briefing.


    Garry, VE6GDS

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