POTA Happenings: June 9, 2022

Link: VE-5620 Yarmouth Heritage Site

On June 9, 2022, I operated from VE-5620 Yarmouth Natural Heritage Site, located southeast of St Thomas, ON. Conditions seemed to be marginal, although I did make 23 contacts, 3 P2Ps, the most notable contact was with NL7V from North Pole, Alaska. I was very pleased to make an activation of a new park on the POTA system.

Next I hope to activate VE-5617 Calton Swamp Wetland System and VE-5616 Hawkins Tract.

73, Al ve3gam

POTA Happenings: May 28, 2022

VE-5618 Archie Coulter Conservation Area was just recently added to the POTA system. It is located about 12 km east of my QTH here in St Thomas, ON, Canada, because the Trans-Canada Trail VE-5082 goes along Brouwers Line, the road that the conservation area is on, operation from this entity qualifies it as a 2-fer.

On May 28, 2022, I planned to operate from this new POTA park, and claim 2-fer contacts for both VE-5618 and VE-5082.

I used my Kenwood TS-50 radio, running 100w, from a Bioenno 20ah battery, and used my old 40m and 20m hamsticks on a mag-mount for an antenna. I managed to make 18 contacts during this activation, band conditions did not seem to be very good.

As you can tell, I took the picture of the parking lot at the conservation area back in the winter, then I was just hoping that it would eventually be added to the POTA system. I knew then that if it was, that as an activator, you can do a 2-fer if and when it was added to POTA, this made it an attractive destination park for me. An added bonus to me is that I would be the first activator of this entity.

The log of my contacts that day follows:


POTA Happenings: May 25, 2022

Activation of VE-1688 Ward McKenna Conservation Area

First time activation of this conservation area tucked into the south end of Aylmer, ON, made 42 contacts, best contact of the day was with EA1GIB in Spain, 7 park to park stations.

POTA Happenings: May 23, 2022

Activation of VE-5541 EM Warwick Conservation Area:

First POTA activation of VE-5541 EM Warwick Conservation Area, made 13 contacts, on 20m and 40m

POTA Activation of VE-4888 and VE-5082

Brian VE3KLT and I (VE3GAM) activated the Southwold Earthworks VE-4888 and the Trans-Canada Trail VE-5082 on October 7th. We set up our station just inside the fence, so that we would be no more than 100 feet from the road along which the Trans-Canada Trails runs. Thus, we set up for a 2-fer, activate 2 parks for one contact.

Our station setup was a Yaesu FT891 running 90 watts, powered by a 20 ah Bioenno battery, and feeding a Wolf River Coils vertical. We managed to make 22 contacts, 2 on 20m and 20 on 40m, these we shared as contacts. Our logs were submitted to POTA later that day. This was my first activation for POTA, Brian’s second. Really good results, we do plan to do this again sometime.

For more information about the Parks on the Air program, check out this link to the Parks on the Air website.

KM4ACK 49:1 End Fed Antenna Kit

KM4ACK produces a 49:1 EFHW antenna kit available at his website, for a price of $39 US plus shipping. He has done an assembly video available on Youtube.

I purchased one of the kits and the images below show the completed product.

Ham Pi

Donated an old laptop to the Steam Centre here in St Thomas today, and mentioned that I was interested in looking at a distribution called “Ham Pi” by W3DJS Dave Slotter for the Raspberry Pi. I knew that the Steam Centre had done some work with the Raspberry Pi, and I first saw this distro mentioned in one of the videos on youtube by “Kevin Loughin” Ham Radio – HamPI, possibly the best general ham radio image for the raspberry pi.. When it was suggested that I could take one of the units home to play with, then I immediately accepted the offer. I was given a Raspberry Pi 3 model B, a display monitor, a mouse and keyboard. It was easy to set up and get running at home. Once that happened, I did have to get out to Walmart and pick up a 32 GB SD micro card, on which the Ham Pi distro was to be loaded. This has now been loaded and booted successfully. Now it is time to play with the new toy…


Note: Audio output from Pulseaudio is muted. Unmute this setting if you want to hear audio from youtube videos, etc.

Field Day Report

Always look for a field day report from this guy on Youtube, this is a video of his field day station this year:

Neophyte Receiver

Working on this receiver:

Neophyte Two Chip Direct Conversion Receiver – VE3OT Version

The original Neophyte Receiver was published in OST, February 1988, and used the new Signetics Si602 oscillator-mixer chip to directly convert radio frequency signals to DSB audio and the National Semiconductor LM386 audio amplifier chip to provide sufficient signal gain to drive headphones or even a small speaker. This receiver uses an improved mixer chip, NE612, which is a direct substitution.

Mitch Powell, VE3OT, modified the Neophyte using parts on hand so that his Fanshawe students could build a simple receiver, gaining circuit building skills while being exposed to the hobby of Ham Radio.

Two 10.7MHz IF transformers are used as an RF pre-selector, tuned down into the 40m ham band by placing about 100pF of capacitance across the main coil winding. A third IF transformer is used as the Local Oscillator coil, suitably tuned by additional capacitance and a variable capacitance diode, or Varicap, biased by a DC voltage from the 10kW tuning potentiometer. Mitch used two common power rectifier diodes, 1N4005, in parallel as a varicap. Audio from the NE612 is bandwidth limited by a simple C-R-C low pass filter, fed into the 50kW volume control, and then applied to the inverting input of the LM386N audio amplifier. The original Neophyte design used both outputs of the mixer and both inputs of the audio amplifier for improved dynamic range and lower noise, but lacked a volume control.

Component Side Printed Circuit Board View with component layout.

Note that a 0.1uF cap has been added to the LM386 power pin (6) for improved stability. The Tuning Potentiometer can be a 50K linear for slightly reduced power draw.

Dave, VE3EI

Link to original document.

CQ WW 2016 SSB Contest

2016 CQ WW SSB Contest

We moved in 2013 and I had not set up any kind of station at the new place since. Before the 2016 CQ WW SSB Contest, I decided to try to make some contacts during the contest so I needed to set up a station with some kind of antenna. I dug the TS50 out of the dust bin and used it. I resurrected 2 20M mobile whips, stuck them up on a pole in a dipole configuration and was on the air. As you can see in the log, I did make some interesting contacts on Sunday afternoon. I did not realize that TM4L was in France until I looked up the call after I shutdown. Nice one, considering there were no signals to be heard on Friday night at the beginning of the contest. Nice restart to a hobby I have enjoyed since 1965.