National Contest Journal

Got my January/February copy of the National Contest Journal (NCJ).  In this issue is a horrific story of what N3HBX went through to get his towers up. Makes my little tiff with my neighbour seem like a walk in the park.

On a sadder note, is a tribute to Paolo Cortese, I2UIY who died four months after being formally inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame. We were there in Dayton last year when Paolo stood up in his formal suit and thanked the organizers. An aneurysm took him at 48.

This changes everything

Seems Google is expected to launch an online hard drive. What this means is you may never need to buy another computer again. All you’ll need is an Web-able cell phone. Scary at some level.

This could kill Microsoft’s software like Windows and Office. God only knows what will happen to MAC. Will I never need another terabyte backup drive to store my photos?

Could it be that Google is really Big Brother and we’ve gone back to 1984?

How relevant is ham radio?

That’s the question emailed to me from my compatriot, Allen W!AGP, the media and public relations manager for the American Radio Relay League.

Allen was forwarding me an email sent to him from someone interested in ham radio who lives in Laval. Seems the sender wanted to become a ham but wasn’t sure of the relevance of the hobby in this day and age of Internet and Twitter (by the way I’m on Twitter as VE3HG).

I replied that there has never been a more exciting time to be a ham.

(Of course I wasn’t referring to the propagation conditions for DXing or contesting as they suck and aren’t likely to get much better for another year or so. But after that 🙂 )

You can get your ticket by passing a simple question and multiple answer exam administered by a licensed ham radio volunteer. How simple is it? A few hours of study or even just hanging around a local ham should give you enough information to pass.

Radio Amateurs of Canada has a new study guide which is just coming off the presses.

Better yet, do what my wife Marion did. She took lessons from the Oakville Amateur Radio Club and she’s now VE3HEN. (Don’t ask about the call sign. It was her decision. It’s at least memorable.)

With a little help from local hams and a visit or two to upcoming flea markets you can easily get on the air for next to nothing. And I mean it. There is some old tube equipment out there that goes for well under a $100 that works just fine for casual contacts.

If you’ve won the lottery, the best equipment in the world is available for the price of a good camera (I know as I teach photography. Makes ham radio look downright affordable.)

Welcome to the VE3HG Blog

Welcome to my new blog about amateur radio in Canada.VE3HG

I am federally licensed “ham” radio operator located in Oakville, Ontario. I’ve been involved in ham radio since my teenage years back in the 1960s and finally got around to getting my ticket in 1980. My father Leo, got his ticket back in the early days and was first licensed as VE3FWR. A long time member of the Skywide Club in Etobicoke (which was part of Toronto) he later applied for and received the call sign VE3HG. Once my dad became a silent key (this is what hams are called once they’ve died) I applied for, and in due time, received his call sign to use as my own. I was first licensed as VE3MAS but I doubt anybody remembers that but me.

Currently I am an active member of Contest Club Ontario and I currently serve as the vice-president, public relations for Radio Amateurs of Canada.

There will be lots more added to this blog in days ahead so please drop by and see what’s new.