April 18, 2020

Jane VE7WWJ and Mike VE7KPZ knew they needed to be "on the air" for World Amateur Radio Day, 2020.

With COVID-19 in full swing and limited time to get out to the S0-noise woods, the duo decided to work the event from home. S5 noise? No worries, we'll make it work... maybe.

The team quickly assembled 7 meters of military fibreglass pole and mounted that to the side of the Unimog camper. To the end of the pole was attached a pulley with rope to match.

To one end of the rope was attached the end of Mike's brand new HyEndFed Portable 3 Band Mini 100 watt. This is the super-portable SOTA/backpacking multi-band EFHW antenna, at just 11.8 meters in length.

The other end of the antenna was attached to the balcony railing of the house. Coax was installed to the line isolator, static arrestor/grounding post and then into a window of the house and over to the kitchen table.

The pulley rope was pulled and up went the EFHW antenna in a beautiful sloper configuration.

Mike's Yaesu FT-891 was configured for phone operation and Mike gave it a good go. No luck. Voice was out of the question with S5 noise on 20m (noisy electronics at the house) and really poor HF conditions.

"But what about the pretty certificate?" said Mike. He really wanted one of those beauties for the collection.

"Are digital modes allowed?" asked Jane. Bingpot! We now had the solution.

A quick reconfiguration of the radio for FT8 with WSJT-X on the laptop and we were back in business.

Mike started off demoing a single FT8 QSO for Jane, and then Jane took over for the long haul. Soon there was a VE8RAC (North West Territories) in the log. We heard them at a lovely -04 dB below the noise floor... and they heard us at -16 dB. We just made it into their log - phew! But that was just what we needed to get the certificate.

We continued on (mostly Jane operating with Mike logging) for the next 4 hours, making a total of 27 FT8 contacts running 30 watts, all on the 20m band. Not bad for when HF conditions are terrible. While most of the signals were in the single digit + or - dB levels... we did work a -17, -18 and a -22. On the other end, we were worked at as low as -20 dB below the noise floor.

Jane very much enjoyed the easy-going but also still contest-y nature of FT8, so we may employ this mode again for Field Day 2020.

It was fun,



Please check out:


Thanks to the author Kelvin Gawley for publishing and Paul Judd VA7XQ for being the subject of the article.

Doug VE7VZ


April 8, 2020

We are proud to have 8 new HAMs on the air with the recent completion of NORAC's spring 2020 HAM Basic course. All who wrote the accreditation exam passed, many with honours.

Please listen on the local repeaters for new callsigns and welcome them to the fantastic world of amateur radio.

Big thanks to both the NORAC education team and our accredited examiner Terry VE7TRZ. Special thanks to Ray VE7JJC for his support as well.

A second exam will be scheduled in the future for the other half of the course attendees who were unable to attend the first writing.

Nicholas VA7AZZ
NORAC Secretary and Education Coordinator



Sunday, March 15th, 2020

During and after the Sunday Net this morning a majority of the members who attend our regular meetings expressed that they will not be attending club meetings in the near future.

Based on that information NORAC will not be having an in-person meeting this coming Thursday at The People Place.

In place of the onsite meet-up, we will have a repeater meeting on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm so please tune into the VE7RSS Silver Star repeater:

2M Duplex Repeater
Frequency 146.880
Offset = - (minus)
Tone = n/a
Location - Silver Star Mtn.
On a side note, the Ham Basic Classes that NORAC is currently running will be stopping in-person classes effective immediately. Going forward, classes will proceed with the instructor and students coming together via Skype for online training sessions.
Aaren Jensen VA7AEJ ...-  .-  --...  .-  .  .---

Sunday, March 8, 2020 - Aberdeen Plateau, North Okanagan, BC

Jerome VE7JAR + kids + Dad, Jake VE7WEA + friend, Kevin VE7XY, Ted VE7UIH and Mike VE7KPZ spent this last Sunday in the woods playing radio, hanging by the campfire and eating very well.

The group headed up to the end of Bluenose Road in Lavington for the day.

First orders of business were antenna raising and fire building. Jerome and kids, Kevin and Mike strung up Jerome's new home-built 20m dipole. A variety of line-setting devices were used and the antenna was raised to approximately 40' above ground level. A check with Mike's RigExpert AA-230 Zoom antenna analyzer showed low SWR across the entire 20m band, so we were good to go.

Meanwhile, Jake and friend went on a pallet collection run and soon returned with enough firewood for the entire day. A fire was started and Kevin and Jake's specially selected smokies were soon roasting. To make things even better, Jerome brought out a pot of home-made chipotle chili with 3 lbs of bacon mixed in. A massive array of condiments and the opportunity to make chili dogs guaranteed nobody was hungry.

Jerome's Dad brought his snowmobile and a sleigh so the kids jumped in and went for a scenic tour of the area.

Weather consisted of a mix of snow and sun. Here's Jerome working hard at the station with a dry radio: