Island Lake Recreation Site - June 23-26, 2022

For the second year in a row, NORAC members chose to do ARRL Field Day at the Island Lake Recreation Site up on the Aberdeen Plateau.

Island Lake is an operator-run forestry recreation site that resembles a provincial park, but with slightly relaxed rules (allowing for unlimited vehicles per campsite - exactly what we need for a NORAC event). The location is at 1400 meters ASL (4600 ft) atop the Aberdeen Plateau - a perfect spot for great 20m take-off angle with a S0 RF noise floor on all bands.

Mike VE7KPZ and Jane VE7WWJ drove out to the location on the Thursday before the event in order to "get" the preferred sites: 21, 22 and 23 for the group.

Friday morning Ritchie VA7RLX and YL Rose dropped off Cranky, NORAC's affectionately-named mobile crank-up tower. Unfortunately they could not stay for the full event due to visiting family but we thank them greatly for both towing in (and later towing out Cranky) as all other vehicles with tow hitches already had trailers attached.

Friday early afternoon David VA7SZ stopped by on his Suzuki DR-650 to check out the site and chat.

Friday afternoon the campers rolled in after work. First to arrive was Brad VE7WBM with YL Jennifer, son Byron and daughter Josie. Then Jerome VE7JAR with sons Elijah, Reuben and Isaiah plus puppy Ginger. Jake VE7WEA rolled in to claim a nice shady spot and finally Kevin VE7XY arrived to round out the group.

Mike and Jane had some non-HAM friends Adam and Andrea surprise stop by for a paddle and fire BBQ. The visitors generously sponsored a wheelbarrow of wood for Friday night's fire. This plus Jake's massive wood supply kept the fire going late into the night.

Friday night's good fire and BBQ was enjoyed by all, pushing Cranky setup to Saturday morning.

Saturday morning started early (6 AM) to try and have Cranky up for the 11 AM Field Day event start. Greg VE7CD plus Michal VE7TMZ and son Alex arrived early to assist with the setup. Cranky's 3-element 20/15/10m beam was assembled and mounted to the mast, and then Kevin's long 2m beam attached stacked on top of that. Coax was run. Guylines attached. And finally the tower raised to vertical and cranked up for the first of three crankings.

The first challenge the team had to sort was the tower brake. It was just not catching the tower when in the braked position. So, down came the tower and Jerome got it to almost perfect. Up went the tower, brake applied but it was still off by just 1 mm. So down the tower came, a bit more adjustment and up again for what we thought would be the final time.

The second challenge the team had to sort was the resonance of the beam. Mike had just rebuilt the feed point so that was not the issue. Jerome, having the same antenna at his QTH, suggested that the issue was the anti-corrosion paste used in the element joints. We had two options: 1, bring it all down, disassemble the beam and re-do all of the joints, or 2, run a bunch of RF power through it. Plugging in a radio and running 100w SSB TX did the trick! Scans with multiple RigExpert antenna analyzers afterwards showed a lovely SWR plot right across the entire 20m band. Jerome for the win!

So now all was good except for that we forgot to attach a pulley and rope to hoist the Jerome's (previously Mel VE7STR Stratton's) 40/80m trapped dipole wire antenna. So, down came the tower again for the third time and back up to finally get to work.

Michal and son Alex jumped on the HF beam first to start off. It was tough going with sooooo many stations on the band but QSOs were made and logged. The early hours of Field Day are often like this with everyone raring to go and really just creating a lot of QRM in the small 20m band. Most of the early work was S+P as finding a clear frequency to call on was tough.

Brad was next on 20m, starting S+P and then finally finding a clear frequency to do some calling. Brad did not use his voice keyer, if you can believe it, and started to get a really good QSO rate going. Brad was logging to paper as he somehow forgot his laptop at home so exact QSO rate cannot be confirmed, but he was working fast.

Meanwhile, Mike jumped on 40m and somehow was able to work at the same time as Brad. The dipole was 90 degrees offset from the beam. 40m was packed as well but Mike finally found a clear frequency as well and could so some calling. Mike ran a mellow 40 QSO/hr rate on 40m.

While all this was happening, many visitors showed up. Here is a list of our Saturday day visitors (in no particular order):

Greg VE7CD
Michal VE7TMZ and son Alex
Doug VE7VZ
Peter VE7PAE (all the way from Salmon Arm with both drinks and food for the group - thanks Peter!)
Shawn VA7TBD (on his KLR-650)
Doug VA7CPS with YL Joyce
Wilf VE7OHM and son Alex (with donuts for the group - thanks Wilf!)
Lorne VE7LWK (with firewood for the Saturday night fire - thanks Lorne!)

After chatting with other HAMs, Wilf began to dream of a bit of contest operation himself and given that his son Alex was wearing a Yaesu hat, asked Brad if he could borrow Brad's FT-991a rig. Brad graciously agreed and off went Wilf operating and Alex logging (via Mike's tablet N3FJP software) for a good hour and a half. Wilf started S+P but quickly found a clear spot on 20m and started to call. Things went well and he held a very impressive 80+ QSO/hr rate for about an hour. In the end, 100 contacts were in the log. Alex was also able grab the mic and make a couple of contacts first-handedly as well.

Unfortunately Jake had to leave for a wedding (not his) but the rest of the operators kept the station fairly active for the rest of the day.

Around dinner time Saturday evening Jerome fired up the deep frier and fried up a bunch of chicken and sweet potato fries for the group. Mike brought some Maritime Madness Carolina reaper hot sauce that was enjoyed by many including some visitors who joined us for dinner. Jane's home-made chipotle ranch dressing was really nice on the fries as well.

Over the day we also had several other campers come by to check out the action. Each were given a tour of the site and all had their questions answered.

Kevin was able to get a 6m phone contact in the log in the late evening.

Radio operations finished around 10:30 PM Saturday night with a proposed early start the next day.

Brad started again on 20m Sunday morning, then Jerome for some 20m action as well. Mike slept in until 8 AM and then attempted both 2m FT8 and 6m FT8 with no luck. Mike tried switching to 40m to make some FT8 digital contacts, but Sunday was not like Saturday and the TX of both radios interfered with each other so 20m phone took priority.

Jerome had to leave the HF station at 10 AM to run the NORAC weekly VE7RSS net so in the last hour of the event Mike got a bit of time with the 20m beam. Mike found a clean frequency on the left-hand side of the band (American extras and Canadians only) and proceeded to sustain a record (for Mike) QSO rate of 120 QSOs/hr for about half an hour to finish out the event. Mike could barely speak after so much operating.

A quick breakfast was had at 11 AM and then everyone pitched in to bring Cranky down. Disassembly was much quicker than assembly and all were on the road home soon afterwards.

Mike, Jane and Kevin stuck around for some nice conversation while waiting for Ritchie to come pick up Cranky for the tow back home. Waiting was a blessing because the drive home was much more enjoyable later in the day without air conditioning in Mike's Unimog.

Weather during the event was all sun during the daytime, but overnight temps were down close to 0C/32F and there was a bit of rain overnight Thursday to Friday. Daytime temps on Sunday were up into the mid 20s Celsius.

Lots of fun was had by all.

Please check out the photo gallery of this event. Big thanks to our official photographer Jane VE7WWJ and our contributing photographers as well.

Now let's take a movement to give big thanks to Ritchie, who was unable to actually attend the event and operate, but was gracious enough to tow Cranky into (on Friday) and out of (on Sunday) the site for everyone to enjoy. We should also recognize the efforts of Paul VE7PDE and Paul VE7KWA leading up to the event - the Pauls did an incredible amount of maintenance on Cranky to get it skookumed up for towing. And lastly we also thank Jake VE7WEA for getting Cranky a new spare tire to match the two running tires we replaced last year.

Fun and 73s,
Mike VE7KPZ
NORAC FD2022 Coordinator

Ps: all NORAC FD2022 operators (at Island Lake or wherever you were) please submit your log directly to ARRL (with the exception of Wilf, whose log I will submit on his behalf) and ensure that you put "North Okanagan RAC" as your club. Ensure it is spelled exactly like that so that all of our points get grouped together by club.

A big thank you to all who turned out to volunteer at the Falkland Stampede Parade on May 22nd.   Perfect weather brought record breaking crowds out to the first stampede at Falkland since COVID arrived.

 

The parade went smoothly thanks to the efforts of our organizer Mike Dennison VA7XDM and his partner Marilyn, and all who were there to assist:

Roy Warner VA7PGW and partner Gaylene Warner

Bud Kuzenko VE7KBK

Ritchie Leslie VA7RLX and partner Rose Harryman

Bob Byrne VE7EZI

Grace Byrne VE7IGB

Paul Elmont VE7PDE

Doug Stewart VA7CPS

Michael Van Kuyk VE7KPZ

Jane Weitzel VE7WWJ

Nicholas Rudersdorfer VA7AZZ

 

It was a great day and I certainly had a lot of fun.   73 & thanks to all who helped out Ritchie, VA7RLX

 

Ps: VE7KPZ would also like to note that this works out to be: 14 x 2.5 hours service on parade day + 8 hours preparation and coordination = 43 hours of community service time.

 

 

For those of you who are RAC members, check out the great article by NORAC's VE7OHM and several Calgary area amateurs on the rapid set up of a UHF repeater in Lakeview Estates to help with fire prevention efforts during the White Rock Lake fire last year.  The article is on page 32 of the May-June The Canadian Amateur magazine.

 

And for those members who aren't RAC members, I encourage you to give a subscription a try.  Content in the magazine is improving noticeably and the RAC works hard to promote the hobby nationally and to protect our interests with ISED and international frequency allocation organizations.

 

Great work on the article Wilf!

73 de VA7RLX

Field Day 2022 “The Big List” - June 24, 25 & 36

This working document last updated: June 22, 2022

If you see something requiring correction or needing an update, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. immediately. Thanks!

 

Last Minute Thoughts

We have confirmation of a decent number of campers coming, but many club members have expressed intent to visit just for the day on Saturday. Join us to check out the action, operate or just hang out on any of the three days.

This will be the last update Mike VE7KPZ does to this big list as he will be heading out to the site on Thursday to "reserve" the sites we want. If you are wondering what site we are in, look for Mike's Unimog or Cranky. We won't be hard to find.

 

Get Your Field Day Stoke On!

Check out the article summarizing last year's unofficial event:

https://norac.bc.ca/index.php/news/1004-event-report-field-day-2021

and the photo gallery:

https://norac.bc.ca/index.php/photos/gallery-2021-field-day

This year will be similar to last year, but will be an official NORAC event.

For details on the event and official rules, please visit: http://www.arrl.org/field-day

"What Is Field Day" (Printable PDF Flier)

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Field-Day/2022/2022%20Field%20Day%20Packet%20v2.pdf

 

Get Your Schwag

Visit the ARRL shop to purchase Field Day apparel, hats, patches, stickers, mugs, etc. Yes, shipping to Canada is an expensive endeavour - group your order with a friend and split the shipping cost and order early.

 

Dates & Schedule

NORAC Club Meeting & Field Day Planning Thursday May 19th. on Skype as usual, starting at 7:30pm.

Setup Friday June 24th. Starting around 5pm local time, but we will be holding the camp sites from Thursday June 23rd afternoon so come earlier if you like

Field Day Event - Saturday June 25th - Sunday June 26th (24 hour radio contest)

Group Supper - 5pm on Saturday June 25th - bring your own meat for the deep frier

Teardown Sunday June 25th after 11 AM when the event ends

 

Location

At the April 2022 NORAC club meeting it was decided that we would again do Field Day at the Island Lake Recreation Site up on the Aberdeen plateau where the air is clear and the QRM non-existent.

There are various access methods to get to the site, all over dirt roads. The route in from Lavington is a bit rough. The route in from Lake Country is quite smooth (as a large grant was awarded in 2021 to improve that road immensely).

Any vehicle can make it in to this site ranging from 2wd compact cars to diesel-pusher motorhomes and large trailers. If you do come in from Lavington, it would be recommended to air your tires down a bit, else it will be slow going over the bumpy road. Coming in from Lake Country is like driving on a primary road. We highly recommend coming in from Lake Country.

Here's the Google Maps link to the location. Route yourself in from your QTH.

This site is very family friendly with lots of other activities to do besides radio (fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, etc.). Rules of the campsite approach that of a Provincial Park... so that means no bang-bangs on site and there are quiet-ish hours. Generator hours are stated at the site... and chainsaws are banned. It is pretty peaceful... but it also means we will be running primarily on solar power for all stations.

The plan for the organizers is to get there early on Thursday afternoon and hold a large number of sites in the upper (away from the lake) area. This will then become an ad-hoc "group" site for us and rules can be bent a bit.

There is a site operator and fees will need to be paid for each party camping. Bring a bit of cash is staying over.

There are many clean outhouses on site, but no running water. All campers need to take care of their own garbage.

Note that this campsite is at 1360 meters in elevation, up on the Aberdeen plateau. That means insects (bugs) may still exist, it may be colder than the valley, etc.

 

Contact Information

Email me, the official event coordinator, with all of your updates and questions:

Mike VE7KPZ at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Bands and Modes

Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 Meter HF bands, as well as all bands 50 MHz and above.

All modes.

Band plans (click on thumbnail for a high-resolution printable PDF):

The plan is to run a bunch of independent stations again this year. Ensure that you log all QSOs and when submitting your log to the ARRL, ensure that our club name (North Okanagan RAC) is indicated with your submission.

 

Tasks

Task Who
Cranky - Insurance Grace VE7IGB - done
Cranky - Transport Ritchie
Cranky - Setup and/or Teardown VE7KPZ, VE7WWJ, VE7XY, VE7WEA, VE7WBM, VE7JAR...
Generator Fuel Mike VE7KPZ
Tools Best practice is for everyone to bring what you can, come prepared and keep track of your tools.
Radios This will be BYOR (bring your own radio)... but we are sure that if you can't bring a radio, you'll be able to have a go on someone else's. And this is kind of the point - to see and try out other radios.

Primary HF antenna 20/15/10M beam on rotator atop Cranky
Plug your radio into Cranky's coax and have a go with the beam.
Secondary wire antenna for 40m and 80m

We think there's a dipole in Cranky's storage box that might work.


Mike VE7KPZ will bring his 6 through 80m EFHW if there are no other options.


Bring your favourite wire antenna. 

Tuner for 40m and 80m Do we need one? Not with an EFHW.
Primary VHF/UHF antenna colinear vertical atop Cranky - FT8 on 2m anyone? We probably won't run this one.
6M beam antenna
for FT8
Note: FT8 via Sporadic E is not uncommon at the end of June. This may get us anywhere from a couple of contacts up to a hundred if we catch the right band opening.
 
VE7XY's 6m Moxon

Logging

Bring your own logging solution.

A good one to recommend if N3FJP. see: http://www.n3fjp.com/fieldday.html

Note that there is no cellular service in the area so this will be offline. N3FJP has a local contact DB that needs no internet to use - very attractive when working offline.

Internet feed, WiFi bridge + campsite AP

 

N/A - there is no internet or cellular service in the area
Contest Points Submission Each operator to submit their own individual log citing club name as "North Okanagan RAC". Spell it exactly like that so all points are aggregated under our club.
Shelter VE7KPZ will bring the same hexa tarp as last year to provide shade and rain protection for approx 6 (or more to make a real party) people and cover his station
VE7JAR will bring his 10'x10' EZ-UP to cover his station
Station Chairs

BYOC - bring your own chair

Extra Points Considerations

 

Bring your solar panels to keep your radio batteries charged up.

All operators please read the rules to find out when bulletins to copy are being transmitted.

Official Photographers Jane VE7WWJ
Official Videographer TBD
Backup Generator Mike VE7KPZ

 

Camping

RVs and tenters are welcome. Please contact Mike VE7KPZ with details on what RV/tent you are bringing so we can organize where everyone will go. Some folks have large vehicles and space is limited considering antennae, guy lines, etc. If you have a special request, like "I have to leave early Sunday morning", let Mike know so we can put you in a perfect spot.

Note that there are no hookups available for campers. You need to be self sufficient in regards to power, water, waste, garbage, etc... the site needs to be left with no trace of our presence. Although the site has plenty of clean outhouses, it would still be advised to use your RV toilet if equipped.

Here are the campers confirmed so far:

Mike VE7KPZ and Jane VE7WWJ - Unimog with home-built camper (ask Jane or Mike for a tour) (arriving Thursday afternoon) coming in via Lavington
Jerome VE7JAR (and family) - SUV with trailer (arriving Friday evening)
Jake VE7WEA - vanlife (arriving Friday evening, sneaking out Saturday but back Sunday)
Richard VE7NT (and YL) - truck with 11' vintage trailer (arriving Thursday?) coming in via Lake Country
Brad VE7WBM (and family) - truck with 23' trailer (arriving Friday afternoon) coming in via Lake Country 
Kevin VE7XY - pickup truck (arriving Friday) coming in via Lake Country

 

Events

24 Hour ARRL Field Day Contest - the informal "contest" aspect of Field Day from 11 AM Saturday to 11 AM Sunday

Saturday Club Dinner & Social - Saturday 5 PM for club members and guests. Deep fryer graciously provided and operated by Jerome VE7JAR, with oil and propane provided by the club. Bring your own meat for the deep frier, bring your own food to accompany your fried meat. Bring a selection of your favourite hot sauces if doing chicken.

Camp fire every night, bring wood or we can buy some from the operator

Educational activities for youth ages 4-94 - come see all of the stations, check out their gear, talk to the operators and potentially jump on a station you are interested in and have a go.

 

Learn The Software

If you plan to run N3FJP's Field Day logging software, try it out at home before you arrive.

You may want to get to know WSJT-X before the event as the FT8 mode is very popular for FD.

You may want to get to know FLDigi before the event as you might need to to copy the RTTY or PSK31 broadcasts.