Since my last update York Region has been in lockdown twice and has only recently emerged from the second one, but we're still in "Red" status. I may have to finally relent and let the XYL trim my hair. The nightly health & welfare net we're holding on VE3YRA & VE3YRC/UHF at 8:30 pm (except club meeting nights) has been a great way to keep in touch with other members and meet new people without having to leave the house. If you haven't checked-in please give it a try. The net has now seen 195 unique call signs check-in, and the average number checking in per night has grown from 20-25 to 25-30.
With spring around the corner I'm looking forward to getting my tower up, although I've done surprisingly well with my hastily and improperly installed summer Field Day G5RV with its apex at only about 22'. This has mostly been used on 80 metres to log another 20+ DX entities plus a small number on 40m. I've also been working on my Morse code speed by having a rag chew after the H&W net 3 or 4 nights a week and participating in the K1USN 1 hour long slow speed CW contest every Sunday evening so far this year. Slow speed in this case means less than 20 WPM. I've now taken the plunge and signed up for the CWops advanced CW course to try and break the 18 WPM barrier. They also have beginner courses if you're interested. It takes some dedication to be proficient in CW but it is also a lot of fun and will get you lots of DX contacts especially during contests and DXpeditions.
Coming up in April we are pleased to welcome the always-popular Professor Paul Delaney from York University to speak to our club on astronomy topics. We haven't had him at a meeting for a while and I know he's been missed.
Also in April is the Ontario QSO party. This contest overlaps World Amateur Radio Day and you can receive a certificate from RAC if you work one RAC station during the day (in UTC time so 8PM Saturday to 8PM Sunday). This shouldn't be too hard on HF during the QSO party. I'll be operating CW and SSB (no digital on this contest) on HF, and FM (and maybe CW/SSB) on 2m and 70cm at the same time. The 2m calling frequency 146.52 should be avoided during the contest so I'll probably be parked on 146.55 or somewhere nearby for most of the time I'm in the shack.
We are hoping to have a real Field Day this year. It still looks a bit dicey and ARRL has already announced that pandemic rules will apply again this year. There's still plenty of time to decide and we'll keep you posted.
If you haven't seen my article in the Mar/Apr edition of the Canadian Amateur (TCA) please take a look. Robert VA3BXG also has an article in the same edition on the recent SET exercise. Thanks again to the net controllers and the net regulars who have kept things going for now almost a full year.
President, York Region Amateur Radio Club