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Thank You slide for RAC Canada 2020 Conference and AGM.

Canada 2020 Conference and AGM: Presentations now available on new RAC YouTube Channel

Radio Amateurs of Canada would like to thank all presenters, participants and volunteers for organizing and attending the RAC Canada 2020 Conference and Annual General Meeting.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Note: Unfortunately there was a problem with the recording of the FT8 DXing presentation by Ron Schwartz, VE3VN, and it cut off about halfway through. We are now looking into the problem. Stay tuned. The other presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Please note that the videos are currently  in raw format and we hope to edit them at some time in the future. 

A detailed description of the presentations is provided below. 

Special thanks to all the presenters for rising to the challenge and creating great presentations under tight timelines while learning new technology at the same time. We realize that it was by no means an easy task and we thank you!

  • Tom Schuessler, N5HYP
  • Brian Jackson, VE6JBJ
  • Ron Thompson, VE8RT and Angela Gerbrandt, VY0YL
  • Phil A. McBride, VA3QR/VA3KPJ
  • Ron Schwartz, VE3VN
  • Cary Rubenfeld, VE4EA, Tom Haavisto, VE3CX and Gerry Hull, VE1RM;
  • Allan Boyd, VE3AJB
  • Chris Allingham, VE3FU/VO2AC
  • Kelly Shulman, VE3KLX
  • Guy Richard, VE2QG/VE2XTD
  • Allen Wootton, VY1KX
IARU, ARRL, RSGB and RAC logos

Keynote presentation: “A Fireside Chat” with the Leaders of the IARU, ARRL, RSGB and RAC: “Amateur Radio during the Global Pandemic and other topics”

An informal discussion featuring the following distinguished guests:

  • Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA: President, Radio Amateurs of Canada (Moderator)
  • Tim Ellam, VE6SH: President, International Amateur Radio Union (IARU)
  • Rick Roderick, K5UR: President, American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
  • Steve Thomas, M1ACB: General Manager, Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB)

In these unprecedented times, this was an excellent – and possibly historic opportunity – to engage in a discussion on the challenges we face today and the future of Amateur Radio. Thank you all for participating! 

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Getting Started with Amateur Radio Satellites: 

Tom Schuessler, N5HYP

“I have  been an Amateur Radio operator since 1985 but have only been involved with satellites for the past 10 years. 

I had an awareness of that aspect of Amateur Radio, but never really thought I could participate unless I had a big station and deep pockets.

In 2009, I participated in an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact mentored by the late Keith Pugh, W5IU. He shared his fascination with space communications with me and I got hooked. I bought an Arrow antenna and began working the FM sats, before progressing on to the linear transponder birds.

The Amateur Radio in Space aspect of the hobby is fascinating and challenging. I enjoy communicating with others and getting them interested. I became part of the AMSAT Ambassador Program to help spread the word at club meetings and hamfests. For more information visit:

Professionally, I have been in Broadcast Television for the last 42 years in technical operations. It amazes me as to how advances in technology have democratized both the video industry and Amateur Radio and have dropped the barriers to enjoying working with satellite.

I hope you enjoy the presentation and develop an interest and pursuing this fascinating niche of the Amateur Radio Service. ”

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Cover of July-August 2020 TCAAmateur Radio and Youth:

Brian Jackson, VE6JBJ

“I am a Middle School Teacher in Airdrie, Alberta, a small city about 15 minutes north of Calgary.

The greatest day in my 30‑year teaching career was in early January 2004. The only problem was that I didn’t know it. The day that Ken Oelke, VE6AFO, told me that I had passed my Basic test and I had been granted my Amateur Radio licence, my Alberta teaching career turned in a direction that has made me a better teacher.

I use radio a great deal in my classroom and love showing kids the wonders of Amateur Radio. I primarily use IRLP (I am also the owner of node 1860) and D-Star. I have radios in my classroom at CW Perry School for both of these.

I also have a small ham shack in my garage at home. My hope is to install HF equipment there soon. I hope to hear from you on the air!

Since 2005, I have also been one of the Canadian mentors for the ARISS program, helping coordinate radio contacts between the ISS and schools and youth groups in Canada and around the world.

The presentation will focus on the Youth Education Program as it existed prior to COVID-19 and some of the changes instituted in response to COVID protocols.

I will present a number of new ideas for future YEP initiatives and ask for feedback and ideas for more ways to bring Amateur Radio to youth in our communities.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

Cambridge Bay (Inuinnaqtun: Iqaluktuuttiaq Inuktitut: ᐃᖃᓗᒃᑑᑦᑎᐊᖅ; 2016 population 1,766;[3] population centre 1,619[4]) is a hamlet located on Victoria Island in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, Canada. It is the largest settlement on Victoria Island. Cambridge Bay is named for Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, while the traditional Inuinnaqtun name for the area is Ikaluktutiak (old orthography) or Iqaluktuttiaq (new orthography) meaning “good fishing place”.

Ron Thompson Emergency Communications in Canada's North

Amateur Radio Challenges in Canada’s North

Ron Thompson, VE8RT and Angela Gerbrandt, VY0YL

Ron Thompson, VE8RT, described the challenges facing Canada’s North in his article “Updating Emergency Communications and Amateur Radio Public Service in Canada’s North” which was featured in the November-December 2018 TCA.

Licensed with his Dad (VE3EHT – SK) in 1970 as VE3CZV, Ron has lived and worked in avionics across Canada and St. Pierre et Miquelon (licensed there in 1992 as FP5EK). He currently operates on HF through mode B on satellite from Yellowknife as VE8RT and VE8TEA. He lives with his wife Laura, VE8LT, and youngest son Nathan, VE8TN, and “keeps the heat on by working for Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife”.

Ron also wrote an article for the September-October 2029 TCA about Angela Gerbrandt, VYOYL, and the challenges she faced in becoming an Amateur in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, with Ron’s mentoring and support. 

Angela Gerbrandt Cambridge Bay“Her ‘Certificate of Proficiency in Amateur Radio’ is dated the 24th of April 2019. It’s going on the wall of her station when she gets it set up, and she tells me that a copy is going into a safety deposit box.

Self-taught for the most part, without help online or from a local Amateur Radio club, Angela Gerbrandt kept a study schedule for months in preparation for the Basic exam.”

Ron and Angela and the challenges in Canada’s North were also featured in a CBC News story on April 4, 2020:

“Amid pandemic, Amateur Radio societies across the North are seeking new recruits. Self-isolation is an opportunity to train up ham radio operators.”

This presentation will provide an introduction to the Northwest Territories in the 21st century and discuss the many challenges faced by its residents and the possible solutions:

  • the isolation of communities, with a look at how they’re accessed
  • threats to life, property, and way of life here where Amateur Radio may play a role, and the challenges of emergency communications
  • possible solutions to communications challenges
  • the need for and the potential avenues of growing Amateur Radio, in particular, in smaller communities
  • reaching First Nations communities and learning about projects that may be of interest to schools
  • comments, thoughts on changing the Amateur Radio exam procedures to accommodate isolated candidates who lack access to high speed internet

Join Ron and Angela in their efforts to make a difference in Canada’s North.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

High Altitude Balloons: The Elevation Education 

Kelly Shulman at NASA
Teacher Kelly Shulman, VE3KLX, meeting with astronaut Charles Bolden at NASA.
Kelly Shulman, VE3KLX

Kelly Shulman, VE3KLX, is a Computer Science, Physics and Math Teacher from North Bay, Ontario. She received her Amateur Radio certification in the spring of 2017 through an interest in High Altitude Ballooning and joined the North Bay Amateur Radio Club at that time. She has written several articles about the High Altitude Balloon (HAB) program for The Canadian Amateur magazine.

Her first article in the January-February 2019 TCA was called “High Altitude Ballooning: The Elevation Education”. Here is an excerpt:

“On Monday, October 29, the Grade 11 Physics students of West Ferris Intermediate Secondary School in North Bay, launched a camera-toting high altitude balloon payload to Earth’s stratosphere, under the direction of their teacher Kelly Shulman.

This near space mission had three primary goals: to challenge the students with a real-world engineering problem; to record experimental data that could be used to examine course concepts; and to provide contextual anchors that will help students understand and retain Physics concepts, such as terminal velocity and the conservation of energy in a closed system.”

A follow up article  in the January-February 2020 TCA was called “Going to Goddard: Connecting Space to the Classroom”:

“On October 5, 2019 I had the privilege of delivering a presentation at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland about the stratospheric balloon program that I run at West Ferris Secondary School in North Bay, Ontario. The GSFC is the largest combined organization of scientists and engineers in the United States dedicated to increasing knowledge of the Earth, the Solar System, and the Universe via observations from space. It is also the site of a major US laboratory for developing and operating unmanned scientific spacecraft.

The invitation to the event came about as a result of our school’s most recent high altitude balloon (HAB) mission which we called the ‘Moonshot Mission’ or the ‘Flight of Apollo 19’.” This project was also detailed in the July-August 2019 issue of TCA magazine.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

La proposition d’une classe d’entrée pour les radioamateurs (en français)

Guy Richard, VE2QG/VE2XTD
Guy Richard, VE2QG/VE2XTD

Guy Richard, VE2QG/VE2XTD, est directeur du RAC de la région de Québec depuis mars 2016.

Guy a reçu sa première licence d’amateur en 1990 et son certificat de classe supérieur en 1991. Il est actif sur HF, VHF et UHF et a participé à plusieurs activités communautaires depuis 1992. De 1992 à 2015, il a occupé plusieurs postes au Club Radio Amateur de Québec (CRAQ), incluant celui de directeur et de président pendant trois mandats.

Guy a également été directeur, vice-président et président de Radio Amateur du Québec inc. (RAQI). Guy est membre de Radio Amateurs du Canada depuis 1993 et a occupé le poste de premier vice-président de RAC en 2008. 

La présentation porte sur le projet que RAC a l’intention de présenter à Industrie, Science et Développement Économique du Canada. RAC propose d’établir une troisième classe de radio amateur.

Il s’agit d’une classe d’entrée à la radio amateur. Les exigences requises pour accéder à cette nouvelle classe sont inférieures à celles exigées pour la classe de base. Par contre, les privilèges seraient aussi inférieurs à ceux de la classe actuelle de base.

Dans cette proposition les niveaux de base et supérieur sont maintenus tels quels. Tous les détails incluant la puissance permise, les bandes de fréquences, etc… y seront présentés.

La présentation sera présentée uniquement en français, mais certaines questions pourront être répondues en anglais.

Guy Richard, VE2QG, has served as the RAC Quebec Director since March 2016.

Guy received his first Amateur licence in 1990 and his Advanced certification in 1991. He has been active on HF, VHF and UHF and has been involved in several community activities since 1992. From 1992 to 2015, he held several positions at the Club Radio Amateur de Québec (CRAQ), including that of Director and President for three terms. Guy also served as Director, Vice-President and President at Radio Amateur du Québec inc. (RAQI). Guy has been a member of Radio Amateurs du Canada since 1993 and served as RAC’s Senior Vice-President in 2008.

The presentation is the proposal by Radio Amateurs of Canada to establish a  an Entry-level Amateur Radio class. The requirements for this new class are lower than those for the Basic certification, however, the privileges would also be lower.

All the details including the permitted power, frequency bands, etc. will be discussed at the presentation.

The presentation will be presented in French only, but some questions may be answered in English.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Amateur Radio: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 

Allen Wootton
Allen Wootton, VY1KX
Allen Wootton, VY1KX

“Amateur Radio: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” will provide a personal overview of some of the technical and operational changes that have occurred in Amateur Radio from the mid-1960s to the present and projected into the future. It will focus primarily on HF operation but includes some general material applicable to all Amateurs.  

Allen Wootton, VY1KX, writes the column “QUA – A Topical Digest” for The Canadian Amateur magazine which as the title suggests covers a wide range of topics.

For example, his most recent columns have covered topics such as: Silicon Carbide Electronics; Nano/VNA; Transmission Line Attenuation; A Line Launcher for Raising Antennas; The Whiz Whip Antenna; Vacuum Tube Voltmeters; and Analog and Digital Multimeters.

Allan has been interested in “radio and electronics since I was a teenager and I have held the call VE7BQO since I was 15 in 1964. I retired from my job as a high school teacher in 2007 and I am now enjoying having time to pursue my interests in Amateur Radio, photography, woodworking and outdoor activities.”

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

CY9C II: Day 8 - Panoramic view
Panoramic view of St Paul Island

CY9C St. Paul Island DXpedition

Phil A. McBride, VA3QR/VA3KPJ

In August 2016, RAC Ontario South Director, Phil McBride, VA3QR/VA3KPJ, was part of a team of 11 operators who embarked on a DXpedition to St. Paul Island (IOTA NA-094). Three years later, in August 2019, Phil was a member of a team of eight operators for a return to St. Paul Island from July 31 to August 8.

Here is an excerpt from the official announcement:

“Well, we’re doing it again! Most of the operators of CY9C in 2016 are embarking on another trip to St. Paul Island in less than a couple of weeks.

We plan to be QRV from July 31 through August 8 from 160m-6m, SSB, CW and Digital, along with EME and AMSAT. We’ll be operating from the North-East Point only, and since that part of the island has reliable cellular access, we plan to be live-logging to Clublog.

Phil McBride and his son en route to CY9C II DXpeditionThis is a special trip for me because my eldest son, Connor, will be coming along for the trip. He’s been practising his phonetic alphabet and FT8 in preparation for operating on the island. It’ll be a two-day trip there and then two days back again. Once again, we’ll be ferried to and from the island by Pat, N2IEN. Without him, this expedition would look a lot different that it does right now.

The North-East Point is the best place, RF-wise, on the island, but is only accessible via helicopter. Pat will also be taking point on all the satellite ops. Lee, WW2DX, is going back to make another run and EME. He had a great first night in 2016, but then gale-force winds knocked down and destroyed his EME array.

This time, we’re going to use concrete anchors and tether this stuff right to the rock – if it gets knocked over then, the rest of us will probably be in the ocean 🙂 There are eight of us in total. We’ll be running 4 x IC-7300 transceivers on CW, SSB and Digital – and yes, that means FT8. FT8 frequencies are published on the CY9C website here. I’m hoping the weather is as good this time around as it was in 2016.”

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Ron Schwartz
Ron Schwartz, VE3VN

FT8 DXing

Ron Schwartz, VE3VN

Ron Schwartz, VE3VN, became an ardent DX chaser and contester soon after getting his licence in high school (VE4) many years ago. Six metres appealed to him early on and, despite his primary HF interests, he pursued DX on VHF.

After working the world on 6 during the solar cycle peak of 1989/90 from his new home in Ottawa, he exited the hobby for a time. He is now building his dream contest station in rural eastern Ontario and has resumed his 6 metre activity. 

In his online blog he wrote: “I am declaring the end of the 2020 sporadic E season on 6 metres although there are still occasional DX openings. However those are marginal and deliver few results in my log. Indeed the last wide scale DX openings in this area were during the third week of July.

Other parts of the North America and elsewhere are having better luck, but that doesn’t help me. In retrospect this year’s sporadic E season was very good for DX despite starting late and fading early. There were a handful of spectacular openings and an irregular stream of interesting DX opportunities. My DXCC country count made a significant leap this season, more than I expected.”

Note: Unfortunately there was a problem with the original FT8 DXing presentation and it cut off about half way through. The video has been recreated and is available for viewing now at the RAC YouTube Channel. Thanks Ron and Mike!

Contesting: Remote Operating – “Welcome to the New World!”

Cary Rubenfeld, VE4EA, Tom Haavisto, VE3CX and Gerry Hull, VE1RM

Tom Haavisto columnIn his column,
“The Sports Page”, in the July-August 2020 TCA, Tom Haavisto, VE3CX, wrote “Welcome to the New World!” and discussed the effects that the pandemic is having worldwide and “the side effects it is having on Amateur Radio and Contesting”. Here is an excerpt:

“Welcome to the New World! Now that the effects of COVID-19 are being felt worldwide, and we start to adjust to our ‘new normal’, it is interesting to see some of the side effects it is having on Amateur Radio and contesting. Staying at home means engaging in our hobbies in a more sustained fashion than we have in the past.

As part of the response to COVID-19, a number of contests have adjusted their rules to disallow multi-ops, for at least 2020. Instead of having a multi-op where everyone goes to a central location, we are seeing ‘virtual’ multi-ops, where people stay at home, and use alternate methods to create a multi-op on the air.

Technically, all the pieces (software and hardware) were already in place, it has now become more commonplace as more stations decide to pursue this option. In some cases, multi-single is still allowed, assuming participants live at the same residence.

Some of the state QSO Parties also dropped the Rover category – a class where people move from county to county, and operate from their vehicles. For the Florida QSO Party, Rovers were a big attraction, where you could follow a Rover from county to county over the course of the day. This year, they had virtual rovers, where the county changed by switching to a different station using the same call sign. It was a rather innovative idea!…

In the past, it was always a good idea to at least glance at the rules to see if there were any changes. This year, it has become more important to see if there have been any rule changes. The ARRL rule change is a permanent change going forward. For other contests, the expectation (and hope) is that the rule changes will revert back next year. Granted, we all hope this will be the case, but at this point the best advice is to check the rules.”

This presentation will continue the discussion about “The New World”.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Amateur Radio Hotspots: A Quick Overview

Amateur Radio HotspotsAllan Boyd, VE3AJB

Allan has been an Amateur for over 34 years and has 12 years of experience in digital communications. He is the net controller for the popular Can Net, the Canadian D-Star and multi-digital net that covers coast to coast in Canada. 

“The presentation will describe what hotspots are, what they look like, what can they do, how much they cost, and what modes of communications I use with them. I will discuss DMR, System Fusion, D-Star, NXDN and P25 modes of communication.”

Allan has served as the RAC Director for the Ontario North/East Region since January 2016. He was first licensed as an Amateur in the summer of 1987 with the call sign VE3AJB and he joined both the Canadian Amateur Radio Federation (CARF) and the Canadian Radio Relay League (CRRL).  A year later he obtained his Advanced licence with 20 WPM Morse code endorsement.

Allan was a founding member of the Manitoulin Amateur Radio Club in 1988. He has held many Executive positions in the club and is currently serving as its President. In addition to serving as a RAC Director, he also serves as the Section Manager for Ontario North and he maintains many repeater systems for the Manitoulin area and enjoys HF and VHF/UHF communications. 

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.

Point Amour Lighthouse in Labrador
Point Amour Lighthouse in Labrador

VO2AC: Contest DXpedition to Labrador (CQ Zone 2)

Chris Allingham, VE3FU/VO2AC

In January 2020, a trio of Amateurs – Frank Davis, VO1HP, Dave  Goodwin, VE9CB and Chris Allingham, VE3FU – travelled to the Point Amour Lighthouse in Labrador for the CQ160 CW Contest. 

In his upcoming article “Lighthouse Weekend 2020 – Return to Point Amour” which will be featured in the November-December 2020 TCA, Dave Goodwin, VE9CB, writes:

“The Point Amour Lighthouse in southern Labrador is the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada.  It is 125 feet tall, sitting on a 50 foot cliff overlooking the Strait of Belle Isle, which joins the North Atlantic with the Gulf of St Lawrence.  The lighthouse has been in operation since 1858.  In 1904, a marine radio communications station was established which operated for sixty years.  MPR was the first call sign of that ‘Marconi’ station.  The site now has a permanent Amateur Radio call sign assigned to it, VO2MPR.”

In addition to the contest itself, this presentation will describe previous trips to Point Amour, the setup and the activity before the contest.

Chis was first licensed in 1985 at VO2AC in Churchill Falls, Labrador. He moved to Ontario in 1995 (VA3ZC) and became VE3FU in 1997. He is mainly interested in DXing and Contesting, but recently started operating the AMSAT satellites. His favourite mode is CW but also operate SSB and the digital modes

Chis has operated contests from VE3EJ, VE3JM, WP2Z, TM100VIMY, etc, plus many other contests from home. He has a station in Kemptville, Ontario and a remote station in Happy Valley – Goose Bay, Labrador.

All presentations are now available for viewing on the new RAC YouTube Channel.