VE3s Get 5-Year Extension

Finally RAC has beaten me to a great news story 🙂


This is great news and I don’t care a wit how it came about but let’s all get behind RAC and help our executive officers like president Geoff Bawden and the Ontario directors assemble a volunteer lobbying group here in Ontario.

We can’t wait until the 11th hour to do our due diligence but obviously something happened at the Ministry of Transportation to cause this change and we should find out what it was.

Look IMHO RAC is one the most secret hobby group I’ve have ever heard of. Heck we don’t even know how many members we’ve got and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a state secret.

But while flawed (and perhaps fatally) RAC is the only tool we have right now (unless a group of club presidents in Canada get together and we start something new that works) so let’s try and get the guys at the top to get busy on this issue and many others that are facing ham radio in Canada.

Having said that, and with no information forthcoming from RAC, I am still betting this exemption has a lot to do with the leadership and hard work of North/East Ontario Regional Director Bill Unger, VE3XT.

Thanks Bill. You’ve been one bright light in a very dark time for ham radio in Canada.

This is wonderful news.

RAC: Financial Disaster

With a declining and ageing member base and no well-planned membership campaign underway, Radio Amateurs of Canada is having to face up to the inevitable funding crisis that is lurking on the horizon. (This isn’t news BTW.)

Not that the RAC executive shares readily with the existing membership but we can pan out some nuggets of gold from the usual dross as the result of an online survey sent from RAC to the dwindling membership.

(BTW I’m thrilled to see a survey as many of us former RAC execs and regular members have been advocating doing surveys for a long time.  Of course, if you’re not prepared to listen to the answers it doesn’t make any sense launching surveys but that’s another point.)

Ironically the first words on the survey talk about RAC’s commitment to keep its membership informed through various means and social media.

Well if that was true how about cleaning up the 1980s themed RAC website and finding somebody who can write for the RAC blog which got ripped out of WordPress where it was hosted for free and easily accessed by any executive member of RAC (presupposing of course they could write a post in either official language) and burying it inside the crumbling RAC site where it has been come a dustbin for the depositing of old RAC official bulletins?

This is such a dumb use of the blog site and sure doesn’t constitute keeping the members informed via social media.

Where are we when it comes to Facebook?

(Go have a look for yourself? See any RAC executives on the site? Director Bill Gipps is the only executive member I found listed by searching Facebook. Bill lists several other RAC executive members as friends but I couldn’t readily find them without looking at Bill’s Friend’s List. ) And then there’s Twitter and texting and FourSquare and how about a RAC wiki and the list goes on without RAC.

Folks, the future has passed us by.

Anyway the survey:

First question asks about email. Already we’re in trouble. Email is so 1971.

Next question: Have you been receiving The RAC Report on a regular basis?

Well duh. If you’ve got email and you’ve let RAC know the address and you’re a member you’re getting the report. Of course if you’re running an intelligent email program your spam filter might be catching the report. 🙂

A better question would have been do you find anything useful in the RAC Report or is it just a rehash of old news?

Let’s look at more of the survey. There are lots more questions of no consequence and then we get to the heart of the matter. RAC can’t afford to keep printing 4,500 copies of The Canadian Amateur which is costing each member $17.91 for our six issues annually.

The survey suggest printing only 2250 magazines which I wonder is closer to the actually number of members and if it is we’re in a lot more trouble than we thought. But of course we can’t get accurate membership numbers. You might want to ask yourself why?

The survey states when it comes to RAC “the financial future is dependent upon increasing its membership and making further changes to the production of the paper version of The Canadian Amateur.”

If we want to keep the magazine in print or electronic form, we’re going to need to keep the editor. (Anybody who thinks an association magazine should be run by volunteers is hereby encouraged to start one.)

If we want the online magazine to look nice and work on our new smartphones, IPads and computers we’re going to need to pay for a good graphic artist and web designer.

Then we’re going to have to start a real online membership campaign where we encourage young people (anyone under 50) to join our ranks. (There’s a huge movement within the ranks of the young to do-it-themselves and we’re missing out by not engaging these youngsters via social media.)

Note to RAC:

Email is not social media and the days of spark-gap thinking are over.

60 Meters With Special Experimenter’s License

It’s true. Industry Canada is prepared to license operators in channelized 60M operation today!

A simple email to Industry Canada reveals the band is open now to any licensed amateur radio operator who apply for a special experimenter’s license and pays a fee.

So while the band is not yet open to all licensed amateur radio operators in Canada it is open to anyone who holds a Basic + (with Honours) or the Advanced Certificate and who applies for the special experimenter’s license.

There is a cost involved with the license which is pro-rated based on the month that the applicate applies. Like all things governmental you best check yourself to determine your results 🙂

The experimenter’s license allows us to operate on 5.332, 5.348, 5.3585, 5.373 and 5.405 MHz. There are no antenna or height restrictions but we are limited to 100 watts (PEP).

We can operate on a non-interference and no-protectin basis and we may not cause interference to the fixed and mobile operations domestically or or any other administration and if we do interfere we maybe required to cease operation.

Applications may be submitted to your local district office.

BTW it is the station that is licensed. I asked about the special license for myself and my XYL VE3HEN and I only need the one license. Woohoo

It is likely that the band will be open to all qualified Canadian amateurs later this year without the need of a special license so if you wait a few months you can save yourself a few bucks.

U.S. hams have been active for the last few months. 60 meters will especially give emergency communications groups a new and effective band.

So now the next hurtle is Ontario’s Bill 118 and what we’re doing or not doing about it. Our limited exemption ends in nine months.



60 Meters Legal In Canada?

Is it possible that the 60 meter band is now open to Canadians?

If Russ, VX9GHD/ VE3FI, isn’t pulling my leg and I can’t see why he would as it’s April 4 not April Fool’s Day then 60 meters (the new band at 5 megs) is legal with a special license from Industry Canada.

And if this is true (and again I’ve got no reason not to believe Russ) then where is the RAC announcement?

Can anybody shed some light on this situation.

Here’s Russ’s comment sent to me via email:

Hello Peter, I just recieved the First License Issued in Canada for the new developmental 60 meter 5 meg band VX9GHD.. I have been waiting for 3 years for this new band to open to amateurs who apply to Industry Canada. Later this year you will be able to go back to your original call once the trial period is over.. What puzzles me is RAC new about this but never said anything about, it. I asked Rac recently and they said oh well maybe in September. When I call Industry Canada they told me Rac knows about and go ahead and apply. So last night I got on and made 17 contacs througout the eastern parts of the states, The Us amateurs were glad to have another country, Over the next few weeks more amateurs will be licensed and the band will take off,. This is what we need for emergency coms when 40- and 80 meters will not work out.

73s Russ VX9GHD/ VE3FI

Electronic QSLs?

Who owns an I-Pad? I do 🙂

Got a new IPad 3 on the weekend and I love it!

Got me wondering how many hams own a smartphone or a tablet? Based on the results of a survey on QSL Watch I’m thinking we’re not attracting enough young people who do own smartphones and tablets.

Here’s what I mean. A discussion on about the Intrepid-DX Group‘s plan to end processing QSL cards from their DXpeditions that come via a bureau has got a lot of hams around the world talking.

So the website QSL Watch did an online survey where the question was asked: “Is a QSL Bureau system still relevant?

So far, the results are 72% say QSL Bureaus are still relevant and only 13 per cent say eQSLs and LoftW are the way to go.

Think we’re looking at an issue that involves agism here. Could it be most people who still collect paper QSLs are older (even much older) than the eQSL and LoftW folks?

Paper QSLs are going the way of cassette recordings and CDs. (This might come as shock to some but very very soon we’re going to see online streaming at qualities that hard media can’t match.)

If you really really want a paper QSL you can print out your own from your email

BTW why doesn’t Radio Amateurs of Canada have an I-Pad application? Oh yeah they’re still working on updating the ancient web site. There’s a great pdf article on antennas from the British amateur radio magazine Radio Communications published in March, 1968.

Amazing. BTW here’s a link to the RAC QSL Bureau. See what I mean?