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Meet the RAC Contest Management Team:

Sam Ferris, VE5SF, and Bart Ritchie, VE5CPU

Sam Ferris, VE5SF and Bart Ritchie, VE5CPU, were approached by the RAC Executive in charge of contesting, Bob Nash, VE3KZ, in 2003 to become part of the RAC Contest Management team. We have been responsible for both RAC contests since 2004 although our first job was to handle the 2003 RAC Canada Winter Contest results. 

Bart has developed log checking software to aid in checking and confirming the log entries as well as modernizing the RAC Cabrillo log definition to keep apace with the main standard. As time permits, he continues to enhance the software and extend its functions. With the aid of this software we have been able to publish contest results in a consistent and timely manner while reducing the amount of effort in that process. 

Both Sam and Bart are on the Canadian Contest Advisory Committee and use that group and our participation in the contesting community at large to take guidance in modernizing the rules for the RAC contests. We also take input from the Canadian contest community at large. As a result of this input, we added two new categories for Phone and CW only categories for single operators to the contests and arrange for sponsorship of the plaques.  These were implemented in 2006.

Next up: RAC Canada Winter Contest on December 30, 2023

Sam Ferris, VE5SF
RAC Canada Winter Contest Manager

 My roots are in the Prairies. I was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. I obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology from the University of Regina in 1976 and have been employed with Saskatchewan Environment since 1978, starting as an Engineering Assistant and presently serving as Executive Director, of the Municipal Branch. Prior to that, I was employed in the electrical business as an apprentice electrician and as a researcher for the University of Regina.

I was first introduced to Amateur Radio as a child by my uncle VE5GP. I have been a shortwave listener for many years and still enjoy that activity. My first receiver was home-built at age 14 and was a 9V DC regenerative set constructed after plans offered by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). I obtained my radio certificate and 12 WPM endorsement in July 1990 after taking the “self-study” program. Upgrades to the certificate followed. In the past I have been active with the Regina Amateur Radio Association, serving as President and Vice-President as well as having made significant efforts in supporting or organizing events such as Field Day.

I am an active contester and DXer. I presently have over 200 DX countries to my credit. I enter most major DX and North American contests every year and have been fortunate to amass numerous certificates and a few plaques. Notable achievements in contesting include low power plaques for the RAC Canada Day Contest (95, 97, 98, 99, 01), RAC Canada Winter Contest (95, 97, 99, 00, 01, 02), Sweepstakes Low Power Phone – Canada (99, 00, 01), Sweepstakes Low Power CW – Canada (95), more recently a significant number of plaques as well as several top 10 placing in some of the major contests. I have also had the opportunity to guest operate at a few multi-operator efforts. My preferred mode for contesting and DXing is CW.

My home station consists of Yaesu FT-1000 MP, FT1000D, FTdx9000 and Kenwood TS940SAT HF transceivers feeding stacked tribanders on a 72-foot Trylon and a 4-element tribander on a 48-foot Delhi. A 2-element 40 metre beam sits at 76 feet and wires and an HF2V vertical are also employed on 40 and 80 metres. I use a 1/4 sloper on 160 metres. Although I own amplifiers, I contest in the low power categories.

I have contributed to contesting in Canada through service to Radio Amateurs of Canada as a Manager for the RAC Canada Winter Contest since 2003.

Bart Ritchie, VE5CPU
RAC Canada Day Contest Manager

Originally from the small town of Smiths Falls, Ontario, I spent my developing years travelling Canada with my military family. After completing my education and taking up my early work years in Toronto, Ottawa and Oshawa I moved west to Regina, Saskatchewan where I live today and have happily spend the majority of my adult working life.

I have been working in the computer field for the past 30 years and I have been employed with IBM Canada for the last 17 years in a variety of technical, operations management and business development positions. For the 10 years prior to that, I owned and operated my own businesses in the computer field in the areas of sales, service, technical support, installation and operations management of the then emerging desktop computer environment. One of our specialties included business and educational networking of these systems using the UNIX and Novel Netware operating system environments of the time. 

The multi-faceted computer environment is still one of my long-running list of hobbies where I not only enjoy the various technologies from a hardware perspective, but take a hand at programming in various environments including in the emerging tablet and smartphone areas.

Although exposed to radio communications systems by my father, who was a member of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RC Sigs as it was mostly known back then) and an early introduction by a close friend to Amateur Radio in my preteen years, I did not take up the service until the fall of 1989. The local club was between classes, so via self-study and mentoring by Tom Hill, VE5TH (SK) I became a licensed Amateur Radio operator on August 3, 1990 with the issuance of my Amateur Radio Operators Certificate and the 12 WPM Morse code endorsement. I went on to claim my Advanced certificate status later that year.  Reflecting my computer interest I requested and was granted the call sign VE5CPU.

From the first issuance of my licence to the present day, I have been a very active member of the local Amateur Radio community. I have held numerous positions within the Regina Amateur Radio Association including that of President, Vice-President, Newsletter Editor, Packet Committee Chair, Field Day organizer and Fleamarket Coordinator, being active in each of these activities or positions for several years each. My most active role in the club today is at its webmaster for the website

I have been a member of the Executive committee on two provincial Hamfests and was the Program Chairman for each of those events. In addition, in the first event I was part of the raffle committee and produced the Callbook in the second event. I have participated in over 200 public service events in support of ARES activities, as well as numerous training and community development sessions and events to promote the Amateur Radio Service to our community.

From the very beginning, starting with a barefoot FT101B and a vertical antenna, until today with a computer controlled Yaesu FT-1000 MP Mark V Field and a 60-foot tower with a handful of antennas, my passions have been Radiosport/Contesting and DXing. I have been an active contester and DXer right from the beginning and have logged tens of thousands of contacts on phone, CW and RTTY over the last 22 years. With the marriage of computer, software and radio, RTTY is my favourite mode of operation; it just seems to bring together all my interests into that one mode.

Although I do not formally chase the ARRL’s DXCC award, I have worked over 200 countries and have some 175 or more confirmed with QSL cards. I have taken great pleasure at working many of the rare DXpeditions on phone, CW and RTTY.  I have been fortunate to be a regular certificate winner in numerous contests – domestic and overseas, and have finished in the top 10 several times in the Canadian Contest Championship awards.

I have been fortunate to win the 2005 RAC Canada Day Contest plaque for SOABHP and twice won country plagues in the CQ/RJ WW RTTY WPX Contest in both 2000 and 2001. Work keeps me way too busy the last decade, but Amateur Radio is one of the things that I make time to enjoy the many aspects of the hobby, its public service and the fellowship of the many Amateurs I have met in Canada and abroade