North of the Malahat Summit members post news of their activities here. Updates, photos and news can be submitted for inclusion. The most active members are in Duncan and Qualicum Beach – and we are hoping to hear from other members in the region. We have a number of special interest topics that we are working on or plan to do in the future. As things develop, we will document our progress here.
Joining the digital revolution, operating FT-8, JS8, WinLink and other digital modes has energized mid island hams to become active on the air. Joseph (VA7YJJ) is encouraging all IHF members to become active on JS8 and WinLink so that we can develop a closer links as a club. As we prove that we can reliably communicate amongst ourselves using HF tools, we will investigating the establishment of “island nets’, as a way to keep in touch and test our technology. [Read More]
Some members of the Group are enthusiastic QRP operators. Working the world on 2 or 3 watts has been extremely rewarding and satisfying. John VA7PX and John VE7JEY participated in the Nanaimo Amateur Radio NVIS Test successfully making voice contact with the NARA crew. In later tests, on a scratch built 80m EFHW antenna contacts as far as North Carolina, Arizona and Utah have been made on SSB. Using a $150 TruSDX with a 12v battery and a home made Linked Dipole for 40, 30 and 20m, from an island off the west coast of North America, where there are only 2 countries within 2000 miles, it is seriously amazing to be able to achieve 21 countries with 2-4 watts on FT-8. Many Youtubers are happy to demonstrate their equipment making FT-8 contacts right across the USA on only 50-100 watts. How far can we stretch the 4 watt limit – we have done over 7000 miles.
Parks on the Air (POTA) is growing to become a popular activity – particularly in good weather. Activations at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park and other locations are starting to build the confidence needed to enable operations further afield. We have some seasoned POTA operators, using CW and voice, but QRP and FT-8 is allowing newer hams to try low power mobile technology to get outside in nice surroundings and make contacts with hams at great distances. We intend to extend our visits to Island Parks over the coming months.
Building equipment and operating it from scratch – some from kits – is a growing focus. For those that are more interested in the technology and the science and the mystic behavior of radio waves, it is very interesting and challenging to take the science and build a practical operational antenna that meets a stated goal, e.g. portable, easy to put together and take down, supports multiple bands, light weight etc. One antenna is never enough and there are hundreds of basic designs to be tested.
Antenna may be a focus for home brewing, but there are so many other examples of equipment that can be made at home and part of the fun is to use items that were “scrap”, or things founds in charity shops, or items that were long buried in the trash and revive or recycle them. HAM Radio seems to lend itself to being able to throw together a bunch of found items and make some “usable” product from them. Hooking up your radio to a piece of old wire fencing and making a contact is an amazing thing to see happen. Building an actual practical radio is likely to be beyond most people, but there are viable radio kits that can be managed. Other parts of the system may be easier, and battery packs are very useful to have available, so we will review some of the projects that have already been completed under this topic.
Can you have too much radio equipment. With the growth of Youtube “how-too” videos and unpacking and testing videos, there is a wealth of material available to “help” you make choices in what to buy and how to set it up and use it. The Island has many experienced hams with some serious collections of equipment. This could be a spot for members to post their stories of using specific equipment to achieve their ham radio goals.