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Cover of the September-October 2017 TCA

Update: September 1 | Update: August 25 | Background Information | QSL card update

The Canada C3 Expedition CG3EXP is the cover story of the September-October 2017 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine which is now available online to members of Radio Amateurs of Canada. The feature article by organizers Barrie Crampton, VE3BSB and John Gilbert, VE3CXL, provides a great overview of the project from conception to reality. For more information about Radio Amateurs of Canada visit https://www.rac.ca/about-rac/.

Canada C3 logoA Canada 150 Signature project, Canada C3 is a 150-day expedition (June 1 to October 28) from Toronto, Ontario to Victoria, British Columbia via the Northwest Passage. The journey is divided into 15 legs and as of September 1, the Polar Prince is on Leg 10 and is currently travelling along the Nunavut coastline heading towards Kugluktuk, formerly called Coppermine.

The Nunavut Tourism website describes it as follows:

Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. It is located north of the Arctic Circle on the Canadian mainland at the mouth of the Coppermine River where it feeds into Coronation Gulf, which is part of the Northwest Passage. Situated near the border with the Northwest Territories, the scenic valley of the Coppermine River was an ancient source of copper for the Inuit people. It has a unique microclimate that extends a narrow band of stunted boreal forest trees northwards toward the Arctic Ocean. ‘Kugluktuk’ means ‘place of moving water’ and the root word ‘kugluk’ means ‘waterfall.’ Upriver from this hospitable hamlet is the beautiful Kugluk cascade, also known as Bloody Falls, an ancient fishing and hunting location that is now a territorial park of historic cultural importance.” For more information visit: https://nunavuttourism.com/regions-communities/kugluktuk

Below is the online route map as of September 1 that is produced from the position reports provided by the network Amateur Radio receivers (see https://www.qrp-labs.com/c3.html).

The Polar Prince tracking map on September 1.
The Polar Prince tracking map on September 1.

The total distance travelled from the start of the journey on June 1 is 15,812 kilometres. The daytime reception reports increasingly rely on the Western Stations for uploading spots to WSPRnet.org. As described in the background information below the location and frequencies for the WSPR, CG3EXP, may be viewed online at: https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map

On June 29, the CG3EXP beacon was received in Japan, the first Asian continent report (see below).

Canada C3 Event WSPRnet August 31

Graham, VE3GTC, has undertaken a detailed report on the CG3EXP beacon reception characteristics and reporter stations. A full report will be published towards the end of the Expedition.

As of August 31, 2017, there have been a total number of 1,899 unique reporters reporting on CG3EXP WSPR contributing to a running of 319,000 spots since the Polar Prince departed Toronto.

BandReporter Distance in kilometres Distance in miles
40mVK6JI18,58011,545
30mVK2CBD17,76811,041
20mVK2XN16,71810,388

Interestingly, 40 metres still wins out as the band having the maximum distance and is still the workhorse band for CG3EXP even though the total number of spots per day has dropped off as the ship has been further north and further away from the larger populations of Amateur Radio stations.

WSPR spot count by band:

Band Count
40m195,900
30m86,997
20m35,699

Top 10 reporters all bands:

  • K9AN: 15,997
  • N4TVC: 6,212
  • GM4SFW: 6,041
  • KN8DMK 5,896
  • KK1D: 5,854
  • VE6JY: 5,738
  • KD6RF: 4,792
  • VE3GTC: 4,790
  • WB3DZC: 3,496
  • VE3YX: 3,373

Lastly, TCA columnist Robert Mazur, VA3ROMhas completed an exquisite design of the Canada C3 Expedition Award certificate. Stay tuned to this website for more information.


Canada C3 Expedition update: August 25, 2017

Canada C3 logoThe Polar Prince is currently midway through the famed Northwest Passage and is due to arrive in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut tomorrow on Saturday, August 26.

As the ship traversed the most northern leg of the expedition at latitude 74.6 degrees, CG3EXP daytime beacon receptions at times were achieved only by stations such as Bob, VE3YX, Don, VE8JY and northern stations Gerry, VE8GER and Ron, VE8TEA.

Rich, VE3KI, had noted in an email exchange that HF propagation should improve with a decrease in the K-Index. Such was the case in the August 24-25 period as shown in the following Planetary K-index chart provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/planetary-k-index.

Planetary K-index chart provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Planetary K-index chart provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

John, VE3CXL, is in contact with the National Resources Canada Geomagnetic Laboratory (https://geomag.nrcan.gc.ca/lab/default-en.php) who have expressed a keen interest in the HF Propagation data from CG3EXP. An invitation to the Ottawa Laboratory has been extended for late September.

Barrie, VE3BSB, with technical assistance from Jeff, VE3EFF, has assembled a QRP-Labs Kit receiver and a Raspberry Pi3 running WSJT-X. This small fun-to-build package is receiving CG3EXP 30 metre beacons.

John Scott, VE1JS, RAC Awards Manager, and TCA columnist Robert Mazur, VA3ROM, are finalizing the design of the certificate which is based on current spectacular imagery of the Polar Prince in Arctic waters.

You can watch the live camera feed from the Polar Prince at: https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/live-feed/

Note: at the time of posting the live camera feed was not working.

As shown below, the location and frequencies for the WSPR, CG3EXP, may be viewed online at: https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map

WSPRnet for the Polar Prince CG3EXP as of August 25
WSPRnet for the Polar Prince CG3EXP as of August 25

Below is the online route map as of August 25 that is produced from the position reports provided by the network Amateur Radio receivers (see https://www.qrp-labs.com/c3.html).

The Polar Prince tracking map on August 25
The Polar Prince tracking map on August 25

Background information:

Note: The following is some background information about the Canada C3 Expedition. If you need additional information please contact Canada C3 organizer Barrie Crampton, VE3BSB, at  or Alan Griffin, RAC MarCom Director at .

The CG3EXP Radio beacon
The CG3EXP Radio beacon

Amateur Radio operators around the world have been following the CG3EXP Radio beacon that we were privileged to have installed on the Polar Prince. This small very low power radio unit, connected to a wire antenna atop the Polar Prince, transmits a position report every 20 minutes and has been picked up on all continents except Asia and Antarctica. The greatest distance from the ship was reported by a radio operator in Australia a distance of 18,850 kilometres

The total number of reports of signal receptions now total over 301,000.

The Canada C3 Expedition is being publicized and regularly updated by the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) on its website and by associated international organizations.

As an incentive to the Amateur Radio operators to know about the Canada C3 Expedition and to learn more about our County’s coastlines, RAC has introduced a point-based awards program for those operators that submit their tracking reports at the end of the voyage.

The purpose of the award is to track the voyage of the Polar Prince as she travels from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage and to study radio propagation in the Arctic regions of Canada. The Polar Prince has a radio on board which transmits her progress using the WSPR mode. The special event call sign CG3EXP is being used on the 40, 30 and 20 metre bands.

Note: WSPR (pronounced “whisper”) stands for “Weak Signal Propagation Reporter”. It is a computer program used for weak-signal radio communication between Amateur Radio operators. Additional information is provided below.

Stations will listen for WSPR signals from CG3EXP and record the 6-character Maidenhead Grid Square transmitted and the location of the ship at the time of the reception.

In addition, an attractive confirmation card (QSL card; see below) can be provided to operators that acknowledge their individual receptions of the tracking beacon.

The location and frequencies for the WSPR, CG3EXP, may be viewed online at: https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map

Some helpful links are listed below:

WSPR net map (use the Polar Prince radio call sign CG3EXP):

https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map

Tracking map:

https://www.qrp-labs.com/c3.html

News release announcing Canada c3 Expedition:

https://www.rac.ca/a-whisper-for-canada-c3/

Canada C3 Expedition Award webpage:

https://www.rac.ca/operating/rac-awards/canada-c3-expedition-award/

Additional Information

QSL Card Information

TCA columnist Robert Mazur, VA3ROM, has volunteered to be the CG3EXP eQSL Manager. Robert has designed an attractive eQSL card which is available via the online eQSL service or on request via direct email sent to: . For more information please see the text provided by Robert below.

To join the stations that are using WSPR to track the Canada C3 Expedition during its voyage, you only need a standard SSB HF receiver, an inexpensive ($10) USB sound adapter and a PC running the WSPR 2.0 software. You can download the software from https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html.

We particularly need more northern stations to join the project.

Chip Chapman, VA3KGB, has refined the CG3EXP Award logging spreadsheet and we have posted an updated version on the Canada C3 Expedition Award webpage at https://www.rac.ca/operating/rac-awards/canada-c3-expedition-award/

eQSL Instructions

Robert Mazur, VA3ROM, has volunteered to be the CG3EXP eQSL Manager. He has designed an attractive e-QSL which is available via the online eQSL service or on request via direct email sent to:

Robert has provided the following simple instructions:

A) If you have an eQSL.cc account, please send your report to CG3EXP as per the usual method (eQSL.cc users know how to do this).  eQSL accounts are free for the basic version which is sufficient for most casual users.

B) If you don’t have an eQSL.cc account (most non-Amateurs do not), please send your report via email to . I will accept either a screen capture of the WSPR or WJST-X decoding programs showing the CG3EXP decoded beacon (attached to the email) or a regular text report with the beacon details listed from either of those two programs. The subject line can be “CG3EXP QSL Request”, but I’m not particular since the account is only used for CG3EXP QSLs and I’ll go through all received emails to see what they are requesting.

C) You can also submit the same report using both methods since the direct email QSL has the complete front (which I personalized) and back of the QSL card with the CG3EXP WSPR C3 Expedition details. CG3EXP has eQSL.cc “AG” (authenticity guaranteed) so eQSL users can count those towards the various eQSL eAwards.

73, Robert Mazur, VA3ROM


Background information

A Canada 150 Signature project, Canada C3 is a 150-day expedition (June 1 to October 28) from Toronto, Ontario to Victoria, British Columbia via the Northwest Passage. It will bring awareness to Canada’s coastline and inspire a deeper understanding of Canada’s coastline our land, our peoples and our country.

The purpose of the award is to track the voyage of the Polar Prince as she travels from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage and to study radio propagation in the Arctic regions of Canada. The Polar Prince has a radio on board which transmits her progress using the WSPR mode. The special event call sign CG3EXP is being used on the 40, 30 and 20 metre bands.

Note: WSPR (pronounced “whisper”) stands for “Weak Signal Propagation Reporter”. It is a computer program used for weak-signal radio communication between Amateur Radio operators. Additional information is provided below.

Stations will listen for WSPR signals from CG3EXP and record the 6-character Maidenhead Grid Square transmitted and the location of the ship at the time of the reception.

Alan Griffin
RAC MarCom Director

rac.ca

720 Belfast Road, #217
Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5

613-244-4367, 1- 877-273-8304