Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet: January 14, 2017
Once again several volunteers from SARC gathered at the Larch Hills ski chalet in preparation to assist with radio communications for the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet. The temperature at 0800 hours was a crisp -20 and not a cloud in the sky, promising a great day for a Loppet. After a short briefing, transport out to the various stations around the course began. Celia/NIA and Wayne/VT were going to South Hub as First Responders where they would provide medical help if required, Tim/TMK took up Ron’s/RLE old station at Baby Moonwalk, Al/AN was stationed at the bottom of Stig’s Loop and Rob/ALY was at the bottom of Hot Shot. Each station had a supply of firewood and the makings to start a fire to help keep warm. While the outdoor crews were getting their fires going Daryl/DBC and Dave/HDY got the base station set up in the loft of the chalet. Peter/RZZ provided a radio in a “lunch box” for this year’s operation that was much more compact than the regular Club radio used previously. Communications were good this year, even out of the South Hub. Our portable radios performed well when the base radio stopped transmitting late in the morning. We suspect a power supply issue was the problem here but we worked around it. At 1100 net control got a request from Rob for food as he was burning so much energy he was now “starving”. Ten minutes later a beef on a bun was delivered by skidoo. This could be the start of a new trend on the course. Could it be drones delivering food??
Chilly, wet weather deterred the first intentions of the adhoc trailer maintenance crew, namely Ron/RLE, Simon/SLG and Dave/HDY, in getting the SARC trailer tarped for the winter. Today, with bright sunny skies, we gathered at Peter/RZZ and Ann’s, where the trailer is stored, and got a tarp over the top of our trailer to offer some protection from the winter snow. We just hope that there isn’t so much snow that we have to get up on top to shovel snow off of the roof. Thanks to Ann for doing that last winter after we had forgotten all about the trailer. We will be more diligent this winter. A summary of the job was completed over a hot drink and snack at Timmy’s.
RNH Service August 23, 2015
The West parking lot at Piccadilly Mall was the meeting point for a small army of SARC members at 1000 hours on Sunday, August 23rd. Nine of us – Robin/HMN, Phil/BPU, Mike/LOG, Ron/RLE, Simon/SLG, Dave/HDY, Darrell/IU, Patrick/FAT, Bill/WTT – two Ford 350 crew cabs and a small Jeep assembled in preparation to mounting an expeditionary force to the RNH site on Granite Peak to re-install the radio equipment that had been damaged in the break in last fall and repair the recent round of vandalism. The drive to the site took about an hour, over some rough gravel sections of road going up the face of the Fly Hills. Once we were at the site we set up two Honda generators to provide power for lights and electric hand tools. A plywood panel had to be removed from the porch wall so that we could move the radio equipment in as the stairs were unsafe. Robin took charge of getting the radio equipment back in place while Phil and Patrick got on with putting up the new UHF antenna and running of the co-axial cable. While the technical aspects were being taken care of the remaining crew got on with putting up a steel plate over the new hole in the wall and tearing out the wreckage of the old stairs. Using scrap lumber, that Ron was only too anxious to get rid of, we rebuilt the outside stairs and repaired the interior stairs. Repairs to the framing around the door and the door frame itself were also necessary in order for the door to be closed. As an added touch we crafted a new locking mechanism to keep the door closed. (See attached pictures) It is important to note that none of this carpentry work would be featured in a Homes and Garden magazine, nor would it meet the building code.
Normally aligning the UHF antenna with the AHR site would be a simple visual effort but due to the heavy smoke haze I understand that Phil had to do some guessing and used marks from the previous antenna on the mast to make the alignment. Other technical work involved re-installing the Daniels radios, duplexer, a new SRMT 2430 charge controller, a new UHF antenna and new co-axial cable from the antennas to the radio equipment. The equipment was then calibrated, battery voltages checked and batteries topped up with water. RNH is once again operational and went through an inaugural test for the Sunday night net. Unfortunately there is some variable background “noise” that seems to be linked to the UHF antenna. This is causing some head scratching and discussion as to the reason for the noise which, hopefully, will lead to a quick solution.
Well, what a scorcher of a Field Day 2015. Temperatures reached 36 degrees late Saturday afternoon and Simon and Patrick were sweltering at their rigs, one in the trailer and one in the tent. I suspect that these conditions would meet the ARRL’s objective of learning how to operate in abnormal and less than optimal conditions. The setup crew, consisting of Simon/VE7SHG, Tom/VE7AMM, Eddie/VE7ETE, Bill/VE7KDK and Dave/VA7HDY, got the trailer parked on the service road behind the gazebo and the antennas up. Bill proved a stellar marksman with his compressed air gun to launch the line over the tree tops so that we could pull the antennas up. We put up the 80 metre and 40 metre antennas on Friday afternoon but the 80 metre was swapped out for a G5RV on Saturday morning. The tent, generator and radios were deployed Saturday morning by Robin/ VE7HMN, Mary/VA7MCH, Patrick/VE7FAT, Tom/VE7AMM, Simon/VE7SHG, Bill/VE7KDK and Winston/VA7WLH. Fortunately there was a tree handy to provide shade for the tent but as the sun moves so did the shade and so did the tent on a couple of occasions. Saturday night security was provided by Robin and Mary, secured in Bruno their trusty Winnebago LeSharo motorhome. Overall, the site at the Marine Park in Salmon Arm worked well. Thanks to the City of Salmon Arm, the Salmon Arm Recreation Society and Twin Anchors houseboats for their support and cooperation. Thanks also to Robin for stick handling the complicated process to get permission to use this site.
Taller trees would have helped to get the antennas higher but the Club did get good public exposure. Although there weren’t a lot of people using the park over the weekend, due to the heat, we did meet a few of the early Sunday morning dog walkers at least. The Yaesu FT900and FT920 radios were used for this event. Operators were Tym/VA7GE, Tom/VE7AMM, Simon/VE7SHG, Patrick/VE7FAT, Robin/VE7HMN, Darrell/VE7IU and, very briefly, Dave/VA7HDY. From the dupe sheets at the two rigs I counted six contacts made on 15 metres, nineteen contacts on 20 metres and sixty-seven contacts made on the 40 metre band. More operators would have enabled us to extend our operating time and more contacts could have been made. Band conditions were good considering the recent solar activities.
Six of the Club’s members met at the Fas Gas station at the north end of the Squilax bridge at 1100 hours on Saturday, May23rd before heading up to our AHR repeater on the nearby Adams Hill. Phil/VE7BPH, Dave/VA7HDY, Mike/VA7MK, Bill/VA7WTT, Darrell/VE7IU, Richard/VE6DSF departed the service station for the trail head located at the intersection of the Loakin Bear Creek Road and Holding Road. We unloaded the quads, three of which were generously provided by Bill, and once all gear was loaded up we were on our way up the mountain. The ride was on an old, unmaintained access road so progress was cautious and took nearly an hour to reach the repeater at the top. We saw reasonably fresh bear tracks and scat on the way but felt we had safety in numbers.
I completed teaching the ROC(M) course 02 March to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – RCM-SAR – group in Sicamous. Twenty one took and passed the course that is provided by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons. We are coming closer to providing monitoring on Channel 16 for boaters on the Shuswap and Mara Lakes with VHF radios in their boats. While cell phone service is improving on the lake, cell phone batteries can die and a cell phone call is only to one person whereas a distress call on a VHF radio is heard by all listening. All the more reason to put a VHF radio in your boat.