N.B. Hams Get DD Exemption

Great news: The New Brunswick government tabled new legislation this week that provides an exemption to that province’s distracted driving law for amateur radio operation.

New Brunswick hams fought long and hard to get this exemption and hams in every province should take note and take similar action.

And before the usual Sparkies get their Depends in knot and figure out how to reply to a blog post, the operation of amateur radio equipment in moving vehicles by the driver has a history going back to the beginning of the automobile.

Unless those who comment have something new to say I won’t be posting replies here.

Amateur radio use while driving a vehicle was never part of the problem of distracted driving especially while using a cell phone to text or dial a number, and the possible banning Amateur Radio use isn’t part of the solution.

Ageing Ham Radio operators still driving their vehicles well beyond the time somebody should have lifted their licenses is more of an issue than the use of Amateur Radio mobile equipment. Now the use of mobile radios by octogenarians who drive is just down right frightening.

I know. I’m a senior and I’m not half the driver I used to be. My time is coming 😦  Meanwhile I can feel free to driver and operate while in New Brunswick.

BTW I got this notice via RAC which credited the efforts of local amateurs and, get this: RAC’s national strategy to address distracted driving legislation.

This from a bunch of guys who can’t agree on what toppings to order on a pizza! I kinda have problems believing this claim as I’ve never heard of a “national strategy” from RAC on anything but maybe I’m out of touch?

FREE Contesting E-Book

It’s snowing heavily in Oakville so today I downloaded Dave K1TTT’s FREE 30th anniversary edition of his 700-page ebook on building a superstation.product_thumbnail.php

If you’ve ever wanted to know the ins and outs of creating a station capable of consistently  scoring in the top 10 (or better even winning) a contest (let alone a category) then Dave’s book is a great introduction.

The downloadable PDF book is available from LuLu.

BTW I foolishly missed being in the Commonwealth Contest last weekend when conditions sounded amazing (again). So this weekend I’m looking at the Russian DX Contest with my fingers crossed.

The Russian DX Contest is different for a couple of reasons. First Russian contesters tend russiato be excellent operators with an uncanny ability to hear weak signals through Aurora flutter.

Honestly I’ve worked Russians who it took me many minutes to piece together their call sign through the flutter, fading and noise only to have the Russian op get all my info (even on QRP) on the first and certainly the second attempt.

But that’s not all. The Russian DX Contest is only 24 hours long and you can work in CW or phone or both. Here’s a link to the rules.

It’s one of my favourite contests. BTW the map comes from EI8IC’s very helpful and informative website.

Getting Ready For Dayton?

Yes we’re planning the annual pilgrimage to Dayton in May. wouxun-kg-uv8d

It’s a 7 1/2 hour drive from Toronto and this year we’ll drive down on the Wednesday so we can take in Four Days In May, which features the day-long series of QRP workshops on Thursday.

Friday is all day at the massive flea market (It takes a healthy mobile ham almost a day to work properly.) followed by dinner out and then Rod, VE3RHF, will probably hunt out some action at the digital forums (And you thought I was talking about going downtown didn’t you?)

Saturday it’s back to the flea market with a smattering of sitting down at the DX and Contesting forums held onsite. Saturday night is the amazing Contesting Dinner sponsored in the past by CQ Magazine and featuring a whole sack of door prizes.

Sunday morning we leave for arrival back in Toronto by late afternoon.

BTW the photo is of the soon-to-be-announced Wouxun KG-UV8D, dual-band VHF/UHF FM handie rumoured to sell for around $150!!!!!!!! That’s just a little more expensive than a new battery and charger for your old WT.

At $180 or so I’ve got my eye out for a Correct Systems CS700 DMR unit that works on the Motorola digital system.

RAC Relevant?

Adult Content Warning: I am actually going to say something nice about RAC!

What? Yes it’s true. I think RAC might be working at becoming vaguely relevant.

And we can thank our new (paid) director (unelected) of communications and fund raising Vincent (Vince) Charron, VA3GX/VE2HHH for the new energy around Facebook and Twitter and now Paul Burggraaf, VO1PRB, chief information and technology officer, who sent all members an electronic link to the electronic version of The Canadian Amateur which actually worked and looks terrific on screen.

Seems eTCS comes in a Flipbook version (which requires Adobe Flash Player) and if your computer can’t handle Flash a full colour Adobe PDF download will pop up.

TCA is a very good publication. Period. I was a group national magazine editor with a bunch of other editors who reported to me. I know magazines and TCA, especially when considering who publishes it (RAC) is hitting way beyond its class. I’d makes some major member-friendly changes but all-in-all it’s still pretty good as is and the colour eTCA version is way better than the old paper edition.

For the last four or five years I’ve produced more online copy about Radio Amateurs of Canada than RAC has posted. Why? Most of the old Sparkies at RAC don’t have a clue about social media, public relations and don’t even mention membership engagement.

Now we’ve got two guys who are coming out of the shadows and are posting stuff online and not just posting some crappy version of an old fashion newsletter which is printed in TCA. Ugh.

RAC still sucks but now we’ve got a couple of guys who are actually doing something new and I for one will get behind these initiatives.

Now if brain-trust at RAC (and I am being ironic) would figure out that no one becomes a RAC member just to get TCA and offer the electronic version for FREE to everyone, everywhere and then drop the awful and boring RAC-reports and write some compelling stories about RAC successes and reasons why readers should join RAC the membership would grow month after month.

BTW membership is still a disaster stuck at around 4,000 members. According to a published report by one of the RAC directors hundreds and hundreds of former members have not renewed.

So we have our membership voting with their feet and they’re voting to go elsewhere (ARRL?) where they perceive more value.

Plus, and even worse, RAC is doing little to nothing to grow the hobby. We have no national program or overall plan to bring more people into Amateur Radio. And don’t mention the word vision!

So Vincent and Paul you have your work cut out for you.

Same with you guys who are directors. It’s time to step up. Start talking to your existing members and start offering services to the overall Canadian Amateur Radio community.

What RAC has been doing for the last five years hasn’t worked.

Let’s get with the program and actually do some membership involvement projects.