The VE100VIMY project began in 2012 when Don Studney, VE7DS, led the formation of the Richmond BC based Vimy Commemorative Station Society. Since then planning and preparation has been done in Canada with support from Amateur Radio clubs, Radio Amateurs of Canada, Hammond Radio, Radioworld (Calgary and Toronto) and Spiderbeam (Germany).
In the lead-up to the operations in Vimy from April 1 to 9, the planning group challenged individuals and clubs across Canada to activate VE100VIMY/VEn. The overwhelming response to this invitation has been an energizing experience for all involved. Starting on January 1 operators in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island activated VE100VIMY/VE1 and VE100VIMY/VY2. They logged more than 8,000 contacts in their one-week activation and passed the torch for one week each to VE2, VE3, VE4, VE5 and currently VE6, VE7, VY0, VE9, VO1, VY1, VE8 and VO2 are yet to come as of today's date.
Since the first of the year there have been more than 18,000 contacts made in over 100 countries, 32 zones and all six continents using 160 through 2 metres. 20 metres was used for 65% of all contacts and the QSO count in Canada will continue until the end of March. Many Amateurs are seeking certificates offered for working VE100VIMY in as many of its activations as possible. Details for the certificates and photos of many of the activating operators may be found at https://ve100vimy.ca/.
So far more than 90 operators have been involved in the Canadian activations. Boyd, VO1CBS, has created a very active VE100VIMY Facebook page with photos and activation information. Spotting can also be done using new.dxsummit.fi.
VE100VIMY on-air activity will culminate with a 24-hours-a-day operation for nine consecutive days from the actual Vimy battle site in France. The call sign used in France will be TM100VIMY.
Canadian Amateurs in the past have used special event prefixes for various events, centennials and currently Canada 150. Never has one call sign been used by all Canadian call sign areas in a coordinated special event like the Vimy Centennial commemoration. Truly, the Vimy activators and their contacts are making Canadian Amateur Radio history.
The centenary of the Battle will be marked in April by formal ceremonies to be held at the base of the monument which will be attended by Heads of State. Approximately two kilometres away, but still at summit level, a commemorative Amateur Radio station with the call sign TM100VIMY, will operate from April 1 to April 9. There will be two stations and appropriate antennas working on a 24-hour basis. The event is being organized by the Vimy Commemorative Station Society, a registered in British Columbia Society, in coordination with a number of leading Canadian Amateurs.
The Vimy site has been visited on three recent occasions by members of the Vimy Commemorative Station Society Executive for purposes of logistics planning and antenna siting. Radio noise levels were assessed in April of 2015 and found to be low. Present plans are to cover 160-10 metres using CW, RTTY and SSB. Special efforts will be made to aim good signals at Canada which lies at a somewhat unfavorable bearing from the QTH.
For security reasons the shack will not be open to the public nor to visiting Amateurs. Contact will have to be made the hard way – on HF.
Stay tuned for more information on VE100VIMY in the next two issues of The Canadian Amateur magazine.