The Canada C3 organizers have kindly permitted a group of enthusiasts under the leadership of Barrie Crampton, VE3BSB, to install a WSPR (pronounced “whisper”) beacon on the Canada C3 vessel. The special event call sign is CG3EXP. This provides a unique opportunity to track the vessel on its 150-day sailing voyage around the Canadian coast – the longest coastline in the world.
Stopping at a different location every day, Canada C3 will visit 50 coastal communities, 36 Indigenous communities, 13 National Parks and 20 Migratory Bird sanctuaries. Canadians are encouraged to join the adventure as a virtual expeditioner, tracking the voyage online via website updates and museum hubs.
The WSPR project will be part of science experiments and research to be carried out on the voyage. The location and frequencies for the WSPR, CG3EXP, may be viewed at: https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map
June 27, 2017 update:
The Polar Prince is currently in Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick and will be making three more ports of call before arriving in Charlottetown on June 29 in preparation for Canada 150th celebrations.
As shown in the above map – which was captured from the tracking website https://www.qrp-labs.com/c3.html – while travelling down the St. Lawrence River, the expedition visited several points of interest including Quebec City, The Saguenay River and Anticosti Island.
The WSPR beacon signal continues to be received by hundreds of stations as evidenced by the screen image shown below that was captured by Jeff Milne, VE3EFF (Iceland, Kuwait, Reunion Island, Australia).
Propagation reports confirm that 40 metres continues to be the dominant band. David Conn, VE3KL ( former TCA “Antennas and Transmission Lines” columnist), had undertaken an antenna analysis of the 46-foot end fed antenna which indicated that this would likely be the case.
The WSPR team has been reaching out to find more WSPR receiver stations along the planned route and we are pleased to report that Ron, VE8TEA, in Yellowknife and Gerry, VE8GER, from his solar-powered trapper cabin in Inuvik, are receiving CG3EXP
The QRP-Labs June newsletter has a feature article on the C3 Expedition at https://www.qrp-labs.com/newsjun2017.html. QRP Labs sponsored the expedition by providing an Ultimate3S kit and accessories (QLG1 GPS receiver kit, relay switched filter board, 20/30/40m Low Pass Filter kits and enclosure kit.
Stay tuned to the RAC website at https://www.rac.ca for further updates as the Polar Prince continues its historic journey.
Canada C3 Links
The 15 planned legs of the expedition may be found at https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/the-legs/
The planned destinations can be found at https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/the-places-of-canada-c3/places-archive/
Live tracking based on Maidenhead sub squares can be found at https://www.qrp-labs.com/c3.html
Stations hearing CG3EXP on the three bands at different time intervals (select the appropriate entry box below the map) at: https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map
Stations with an HF receiver and the WSPR application can receive these signals directly from the ship on 40, 30 or 20 metres and with the WSPR application the location can be gated to the Internet for anyone to see.
WSPR Application: https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wspr.html
Once the signals are decoded and gated to the Internet they can be viewed on the WSPRnet.org map at: https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map
We are looking for Amateurs in radio proximity of the route of the voyage to utilize the WSPR application on their existing equipment to receive the signals and upload the data to the Internet. This can be entirely automated with the WSPR application.
For more information on the Polar Prince visit: https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/the-ship/
June 9, 2017 update:
The Canada C3 Polar Prince is currently in Cornwall, Ontario and will proceed on to Montreal, Quebec for the final stop on the first leg of the journey. CG3EXP has been continuously transmitting on 20, 30 and 40 metres at a 20-minute interval since it left Toronto on June 1. The WSPR signal has been reported as heard on every continent except Asia up until this time.
Based on WSPRnet.org:
- 40 metres: 212 individual stations have received at least one transmission
- 30 metres: 110 individual stations have received at least one transmission
- 20 metres: 115 individual stations have received at least one transmission
- the most distant station to date is VK6LX at 18,266 kilometres
The C3 has stopped for events in Picton, Kingston, Brockville, Prescott and Cornwall in Ontario.
A first day reception by the British Research ship James Clark Ross in the South Atlantic was a historic event and a photo was presented to Captain Stephan Guy (on left) by Barrie Crampton, VE3BSB.
Many of the locations to be visited by Canada C3 lie in areas where radio communication is difficult. Phenomena such as “arctic flutter” and disturbances from the aurora have traditionally been a problem in the north. Very few, if any, of these locations will have a WSPR beacon and are thus, until now, outside the worldwide WSPR network. The gathering of information on radio propagation simultaneously by several receiving stations will be of scientific interest – and it will also be fun. The WSPR network of stations meets this need comprising, as it does, a series of receiving sites and stations capable of reporting, in real time, the reception of, and location, of the beacons.
A tracking link, generated by QRP-labs, the supplier of the tracking hardware, has been activated. It is being hosted in Canada by Jeff Milne, VE3EFF, and can be found online at: https://www.qrp-labs.com/c3.html. The track will be shown on the map by a series of red dots to draw a continuous track line. The location is based on the smallest maidenhead grid square locator code.
The community of people tracking the Canada C3 WSPR beacon are expected to come up with new and innovative ideas for its use. Some ideas already suggested are:
- An “awards” program offering certificates for people copying the beacon at Canada C3’s various stopping points along the way.
- Special maps to complement the maps of WSPR activity being generated continuously on https://wsprnet.org. At the conclusion of the voyage it might be possible to produce a map showing the course of the voyage with a summary at each stop of the numbers and locations of listeners who logged the Canada C3 beacon.
- A software defined radio building project relating specifically to the Canada C3 WSPR.
- Publications, articles and reports such as an article on the propagation of WSPR signals during the voyage.
While this project is associated with the Canada C3 Expedition, results might provide “proof of concept” more generally for remote telemetry applications from Arctic regions. With the impending increase in non-commercial adventurers traversing the Northwest Passage, this low-cost technology might fill a need. Researchers following the Canada C3 “whisper” might wish to compare the experience to other ship-borne uses of WSPR as reported on several Internet sites.