Above: Jerome, VE7JAR operates on 40m.

A dozen or so NORAC members headed down to Kin Beach, Vernon to catch some winter sunshine and join in with the 2023 Winter Field Day (WFD). Many new hams were present, checking out equipment and setups for future adventures.

Temperatures were into minus double digits with the wind chill, but thoughtful members brought along warm drinks, Timbits and even hot cinnamon buns for all. The event ran from Saturday through to 11am local time, Sunday 29th January. Jerome, VE7JAR organized the NORAC event and set up a 40m dipole between trees, while Wilf, VE7OHM, set up a multiband vertical for 20/15/10m.

While contesters can operate from a warm home station, operating outdoors definitely has greater challenges, and the rules favour hardy operators by giving generous bonus points.

The WFD Association states:

"We passionately believe that Ham radio operators should practice portable emergency communications in winter environments as the potential for freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and other hazards present unique operational concerns. WFD is formatted to help increase your level of preparedness for disasters and improve your operational skills in subpar conditions."

There was plenty of activity - even on 10m - so things are starting to look good for the peak of cycle 25.

Below: Alex, VE7NOC makes his first HF contacts.

TO ALL RADIO AMATEURS

SUBJECT: Vernon’s 62nd Winter Carnival Parade

You are most welcome to join the NORAC team for the Winter Carnival Parade on the 4th of February.

 GENERAL: Our part of the operation involves setting up space markers (small numbered cones) along 27th Street, the assembly point of the parade. We then marshal the arriving floats into their designated slots and when the parade starts at noon we marshal them in their correct order into the “conga line” of the parade.

As the floats clear their positions, some of the crew retrieves the traffic cones and when that task is complete team members are released to go home or take advantage of snacks provided by carnival organizers.

 EQUIPMENT:

You need only bring a handheld 2m transceiver and spare battery. We will be operating on the 147.380 MHz repeater (+600 kHz offset).

 TIMINGS:

0630 to 0730ish Breakfast at Denny’s Restaurant (This is optional, but many have attended in pre-pandemic years and I would love to reset that tradition).

 0800 Radio operators assemble in the parking lot of Seton Secondary School on 27th St & 41st Ave. (See map here: Vernon Winter Carnival Parade, 62nd Annual – Vernon Winter Carnival

 Instructions & club ‘visi-vests’ are provided to all participants and positions assigned along the assembly route.

 0800 to 1200

For the next few hours as floats arrive, the crew ensures the floats are where they need to be.

1200 Parade starts. Crew members monitor and direct floats as required as the line begins to move.

Any snags are reported via radio and passed to officials. Floats arriving late or “no shows” are dealt with.

The event usually goes quite smoothly.

 1300 -1400 Windup & Dispersal. We are usually finished fairly quickly, traffic cones & vests returned and everyone goes their way.

 

 That’s about it, we always have a space for all hams that wish to help our. It’s fun and friendly. Just reply with a ROGER to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or alternatively: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

73, Bob, VE7EZI

The RAC is offering another on-line advanced license course.   On Sunday or Mondays, starting mid February.   For details visit https://www.rac.ca/rac-advanced-course-for-maple-leaf-operators-winter-spring-2023/

 

Note that a higher RAC membership level is required to attend this course.   Full details on the RAC website.   The course is taught by Dave Goodwin, VE3KG.   Ritchie, VA7RLX highly recommends this course as Dave is an excellent instructor.

December 10, 2022

Mike VE7KPZ was joined by Jane VE7WWJ and nephew Tristan and YL Sam to provide radio support for the Big White Winter Rally.

This year the main action (high-speed rally stages) were squeezed in one really long day, so the Unimog was left at home and the crew drove out in their AWD cars instead.

We rose at 3 AM, left home in Vernon just before 5 AM and drove to the Big White area to be at our first blocker position by 7 AM, ready for the first cars around 8:30 AM.

It was a lovely position (B06) near the middle of the Bullet stage.

Parking the cars behind the safety line was no problem, but getting them back out later likely would be. In anticipation of a quick move to our afternoon location, we dug out our side road to the ground. Shovelling is a great way to keep warm in the middle of winter - LOL!

Once the stage opened, we were treated to some great rally action:

Here Jason Bailey showed us how to utilize snow banks to aid in steering the car:

This was a great spot with great views. It was also great for getting into the repeater. We could communicate with rally net control using a Standard Horizon HX370S HT running 2 watts of RF output power.

After the three Bullet stages completed we packed up and exited the location with ease, thanks to our early morning shovelling efforts.

We stopped by the Westridge warming hut to check in and grab a radio sign, and then proceeded to our next position waaaay in the back corner of the Gem Falcon stage (K01). This stage would require 20 watts and a roof-mounted collinear antenna to make the repeater cleanly so Mike switched to a cross-band repeat setup with his Kenwood TM-D710GA and a Yaesu FT-70D HT.

Doug KE7GKS Heredos ended up joining us at position K01 after his planned blocker location was deemed "too full of snow". Doug has organized the Oregon Trail Rally in previous years and also participates as a driver in many rally events. It was nice to have him join us for the evening and so he was awarded the prize of a fire-cooked steak.

The night rally action was a good show from this blocker position as well. Here's Nick Wood and BWWR organizer Jennifer Daly ripping by:

The event completed somewhere around 8 PM so everyone made their way up to the Happy Valley day lodge for Parc Ferme and the awards. However, there was a lot of "discussion" about scoring and the clock pushed to 10 PM. At this time our crew of four called it and drove back home to Vernon for a midnight bedtime. It was an impressive albeit exhausting 21 hour day for us.

We would like to thank the rally entrants for the great show and of course the other volunteers for helping put the event on. Without volunteers these types of events would not be possible.

We can't wait to see the video covering the event on TSN or YouTube in a couple of months. This article will be updated with a link to that video when it becomes available for viewing. However, in the meantime you can check out the highlights video.

73,
Mike VE7KPZ
Avid rally enthusiast and volunteer radio operator

Ps: if you are interested in volunteering for an event like this in the future, putting your tactical HAM radio skills to good practice, shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can chat about what all is involved.