Kelowna Capital News Column
The future of Weather Radio Canada transmitters
 

https://www.kelownacapnews.com/opinion/column-the-future-of-weather-radio-canada-transmitters/


The entire Okanagan VHF weather transmitter network is on a potential list to be decommissioned

If you do not operate a VHF radio, most often found in marine applications, chances are this report will be of little concern.

For those who do operate a VHF radio you will no doubt be well aware that for many decades now, Environment Canada has broadcast active weather reports to VHF radio users 24/7 365 days a year.

These reports can all include severe weather warnings including small craft advisories.

Here in the Okanagan region, there are transmitters that ensure Penticton, Summerland, Lake Country, Vernon, Peachland, Kelowna, Lumby and Douglas Lake can receive these VHF radio reports.

Our local Vernon Weather Radio is currently available on the Marine Band Channel WX 3, or VHF 162.475 MHz.

This service is also provided across Canada via 230 Weather Radio Canada transmitters.

Currently, Environment and Climate Change Canada is soliciting feedback on the possible decommissioning of 48 of these 230 transmitters.

The entire Okanagan VHF weather transmitter network is on the list of the potential 48 to be decommissioned, meaning this service would no longer be available in our region.

Other regions in B.C. potentially losing the same VHF weather service include Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley region along with the Kamloops area and will also affect people in Logan Lake.

Obviously much of this weather information can also be obtained through a smart phone, however, it should be noted that there are still many areas in our region that do not have a wireless signal available.

I am told this is also a concern for outdoor enthusiasts who use this VHF weather information when engaging in backcountry activities.

Currently, this potential decommissioning proposal is one that Environment Canada is seeking input on.

For those impacted by this potential policy, you can contact Environment Canada directly by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone 1-877-789-7733.

My question this week: Are you concerned over the potential loss of VHF active weather service in the interior of B.C.?

This from a Kelowna column by local MP, Dan Albas.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.
Thursday, September 17th is our next scheduled NORAC club meeting. September is the last regular club meeting of the year before our Club AGM in October. So over the next two months are the last two meetings of our club's operating year.

As current club president, I think it’s important to try and hold these meetings as normally as possible even if that means doing it online on Skype. I know from the last ham classes in the spring we did well converting quickly from in-person classes to online classes on Skype. The club Executive also jumped on Skype to hold a couple of emergency meetings on behalf of the club.
 
As we already have Skype tested and working with all of the executive and many new members from the classes, I propose that all other members consider testing their Skype and getting ready to attend these next two important meetings of our year-end starting in 3 weeks time.

I will volunteer to organize people on Skype as well as testing and some instruction if required. If anyone else is Skype proficient and wants to help others with remote Skype setup and testing please let me know. Skype is available for almost every device, you can do it from your Android or Apple smartphones or tablets, Windows 10 has Skype built-in from Microsoft, and Skype of Apple is also available for iMac’s and Mac laptops.

My skype ID is aarenj , if you already have a Skype ID and want to join the meetings please find me on Skype and I’ll add you to the meeting group I’ve started.

If you need help with getting Skype working please reach out to me by phone or email and we’ll schedule some time to work on it. My home phone is 250-547-9672 and my email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  
 

 

73 and Stay Safe
 
Aaren Jensen VA7AEJ ...-  .-  --...  .-  .  .---
°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸,ø¤°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤

In the category of "I had no idea, and just heard about this the other day".

Main websitehttps://hamshackhotline.com/

HelpDesk Ticket websitehttps://apps.wizworks.net:9090/

From their website...

About Hamshack Hotline

Hamshack Hotline (HH) is a FREE dedicated VoIP telecom service for the Ham Radio community. Typically, phones are established in personal hamshacks, EOCs, Clubs & club members, ARES, and other Ham related areas and functions. It is not the intention of HH to replace traffic carried over the radio in an emergency or other tactical operation, but rather to augment it, by offloading managerial tactical operations and providing a full-duplex path for such communications when spectrum is occupied, conditions diminished, or otherwise unavailable. HH also supports FAXing of information (with appropriate equipment) which allows tactical offices to share documents & data between tactical locations. In a non-tactical use, HH is an effective resource for off-air troubleshooting when you need to coordinate a troubleshoot of a radio circuit off-air and between multiple SMEs. In addition to all this, conference bridges on the HH network allow large groups of Hams to coordinate & meet in real-time anywhere in the world.

Getting on board HH is easy! Just acquire a supported SIP capable phone (our network prefers to register hardware phones first), and open a ticket once you have your phone. If you have one of the phones on HH Supported Endpoints 1-7-19, then also include a picture of the Phone’s MAC address for super easy provisioning. Before joining HH, please read and understand our HH Covenant If you have any questions, our FAQ’s in the knowledge base area on our help desk may help, if not – feel free to open a ticket on our help desk.

Ham Shack Hotline now has regional linked servers covering North Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific regions. Areas not served by their own regional servers can still be hooked into the network.

So to summarize

Pick up a used SIP compatible Cisco VoIP office style desktop handset off eBay or elsewhere, your cost should be $20 - $100 max. They maintain a list of the exact models you need to search for.

Submit a ticket to register your phone on their network. They'll send you a registration confirmation and a unique private phone extension in the system.

Follow their model by model published instructions to activate your phone over the Internet with your personal extension.

You may need to make a couple of port forwarding rules in your home router to facilitate the flow of voice data in and out of your home network.

Boom your done. You now have a working phone and a personal extension in the global Ham Shack Hotline network.

Call other extensions around the world (Ham to Ham only). Chat, organize, troubleshoot, etc.

Features include;

  • Global toll-free calling from extension to extension within this closed system.
  • All Amateur volunteer admins and staff running the system around the world.
  • Bridge rooms all over the world for group calls
  • Voicemail
  • Speed dials
  • DND, Do not disturb on/off
  • Blacklist extensions on/off
  • Wake up calls
  • Echo test
  • System clock
  • Web-based searchable global address book 

NOTE - This is not an open phone network for local or long-distance calling over traditional phone networks to traditional numbers. This is a closed Amateur Radio network only. 

Currently, there are only a few Western Canadian HH extensions activated. My activation is in process with the HHUS North American team. Overall in Canada, there are 39 extensions activated, globally there are over 2000 and growing daily.

Check it out

 

Update 8/29/2020

I'm all hooked up. I have my extension and handset deployed at home in the shack.

I setup my personal greeting and voicemail as well. I even geeked out and replaced the phone's ringtone with 'CQ CQ CQ' in CW. 

There are officially 40 Canadian operators on HamShack Hotline as of now.

73

Aaren

VA7AEJ

 

August 24, 2020

As announced in The Canadian Amateur magazine, the RAC Band Planning Committee has completed the new proposed 2m band plan.

Radio Amateurs of Canada band planning committees coordinate the development of National Band Plans to provide guidance for the usage of the Canadian Amateur bands. These committees are made up of representatives from all regions of Canada.

The committees prepare interim band plans after consulting with Amateurs across the country. These plans not only take into account the wishes of Canadian Amateurs, but are also coordinated with band usage in other countries through membership in the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).

The RAC Board of Directors extends thanks to the members of the RAC Band Planning Committee for undertaking the task of reviewing and updating the VHF and UHF band plans over the next year.

A draft of the band plans is provided on the RAC website at the link provided below for final input before it is submitted to the RAC Board of Directors for approval. 


Draft plan: https://www.rac.ca/proposed-two-metre-2m-band-plan/

If you have any comments or suggestions please send them to Serge, Bertuzzo, VA3SB, RAC International Affairs Officer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

RAC Band Planning Committee

Chair: Al Penney, VO1NO

Members:

  • Bill Elliott, VE1MR
  • Don Falle, VE2DFO
  • Stuart Truba, VE2XX
  • Dana Shtun, VE3DS
  • Derek Hay, VE4HAY
  • Ken Oelke, VE6AFO
  • Skip MacAulay, VE6BGT
  • Ernest Clintberg, VE6EC
  • Don Moman, VE6JY
  • Mitchell Goodjohn, VE6SM
  • Grant Furnald, VE6TA
  • Ed Frazer, VE7EF
  • George Merchant, VE7GM
  • Dave Miller, VE7HR

 

Serge, Bertuzzo, VA3SB
RAC International Affairs Officer

The amateur radio VHF FM repeater VE7RBG needed to be replaced as it was becoming "deaf" at times.

Chris VE7EQN and John VE7JWS drove to the top of the Gem Lake chairlift at the Big White Mountain Resort above Kelowna B.C. to do the swap.

You can check out their trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz-FYJTUJKk

The repeater is owned by the Orchard City Amateur Radio Club.

This repeater is used heavily in support of the Big White Winter Rally performance rally event in December of each year. NORAC and OCARC members plus other HAMs from the surrounding provinces and states often volunteer their skills. This year will require more local HAMs so please consider volunteering.

FYI and 73,
Mike VE7KPZ