OSCARC Newsletter for November 2010
The regular monthly meeting was called to order at 1934EDT on Nov/02/2010.
Members Present: Neil VE3NGS (president), David VE3RER, Dave VA3ETE, Alex VA3XLO, Jean VE3WAD, Jay VE3EMP, Tim VE3IXN, Bill VA3WTT (treasurer), Jeff VE3PRX (secretary), John VA3JE (chairman), Ward VE3WGK, Peter VE3EYI, Bill VA3PPC
Visitors: Ted Cowie, VE3AAP, Andrew Jones, VE3GTU
The Minutes of last meeting were presented by the Secretary. No changes or amendments were required. A Motion to approve the Minutes as tabled was made by Neil NGS, seconded by Jay EMP. Carried.
Business arising from the Minutes:
-The quest for a new VE3OSC logo is still in the works with Jeff PRX and Jay EMP leading the charge.
-Tim IXN had prepared a list of options for our December 7 social which will take place instead of the usual club meeting. After discussion it was agreed that the dinner would be at the Mongolian Grill. Tim will contact all members to find out who is coming and will make the reservation. See the website for more information.
-There was further discussion around the various GPS/VLF/internet-based clock options available in the universe… tabled for now.
-There are still no VE3OSC QSL cards due to a backlog in Science Center graphics department.
-Neil presented a slideshow on the reach of OSCARC and how the Club is extending its online presence. He demonstrated the various features of our website and encouraged member to get into the habit of checking it regularly to stay on top of current news at VE3OSC. The site belongs to all of us, and all members are welcome to post comments on it, or to write articles, submit photos, suggest videos, etc.
Please contact Neil for info if you’re not sure how to do these things.
-He updated those present on his productive meeting with Catherine Paisley, a VP at the Science Center. She agreed in principle with our take on the volunteer situation, both the shift requirements and process difficulties. On the noise issue, she is referring it to the correct people with a view to seeking a long overdue resolution to the problem.
Neil will continue to interface with the Science Center on these and any other areas of concern as they affect our presence as a public exhibit.
Secretary’s Report: – Jeff PRX said that a state of zen-like calm prevailed in his universe.
Treasury Report: – Bill WTT reports no change to our balance sheet.
-Ward WGK reported that antenna work on the roof was imminent and would be underway before the slippery season
arrived. The tentative plan is to work with John JE on a Sunday to recalibrate the satellite antenna.
- John JE added that the building management has hired electronic/consulting engineers to look into the noise issue in depth. Grounding and bandpass filters are (and have been for some time) recommended.
-Peter EYI gave an update on recent activity at RAC. Representatives from RAC recently attended an ITU (International Telecommunications Union) meeting to monitor any changes in global radio band policy which might affect the Amateur service. RAC subsequently met with Industry Canada in Ottawa to discuss the position of the Amateur community on IC’s arbitrary authorization of unlicensed users in our frequency allocations. He also stated that the frequency and usefulness of bulletins from RAC seems to have improved recently.
-There were reports that the 20 meter band has been up and down in terms of propagation predictability. However more activity has been detected on 15m and 10m as we progress further towards solar maximum in a few years time.
- Bill WTT said that due to malicious interference on the VE3JOP repeater IRL node the owner has modified the log on/off codes. In order not to compromise security the changes are not detailed here. Please contact Bill WTT or Neil NGS for the specifics of the change if you are an IRLP user.
-John JE and Jean WAD reported that Jack W8KBQ recently visited the shack. It turned out that Jack is a teacher who is very familiar with industrial motors and RF drive technology. He and John had a lengthy discussion about our in-house noise problem and Jack made several suggestions. John will make an effort to stay in touch with our new resource.
Floobie Dust and interesting URLs:
-Remember to periodically check for RAC Bulletins: http://rac.ca/en/news/bulletins/2010/
-Check out what our fellow Hams in Japan are up to http://www.jarl.or.jp/English/
-If you have driven in the USA you may have run into gas pumps which ask for a ZIP code after you swipe your credit card. Without a valid ZIP your Canadian card won’t work. The solution is to use the three digits in your Canadian postcode followed by two zeros. Peter EYI has personally tested this, as have two of his acquaintances, and it has worked every time.
December/07: Pre-Christmas social dinner in lieu of meeting. See website for details.
TBA = Aron VA3UMA on his portable military HF rig.
TBA = Neil VE3NGS reminiscences of the original VE3OSC
TBA = Ian VE3IJS on Echolink
TBA = John Hansen on EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility)
Contact John VA3JE if you can do a presentation at any future meeting.
Break: called at 20:30 Return at 20:48
After the break we were treated to an in depth review and demonstration of D-STAR by Eric Meth VE3EI of ICOM Canada. Eric’s experience with radio systems and repeaters is extensive. Check his listing at QRZ.com for the details. Eric said that the original concept for D-STAR was developed by the Japan Amateur Radio League (equivalent to the ARRL). They offered the system to various Japanese radio manufacturers but only ICOM picked it up. Essentially D-STAR is modulation format which allows for simultaneous voice and data transmission at up to 128kb/s in a bandwidth of only 6.4 Khz.
Although the hardware codecs are proprietary the software protocol is open source and supports internet connection of two widely separated D-STAR systems. Unlike IRLP, D-STAR’s addressing scheme is address specific, meaning that messages can be directed to an individual user without knowing their approximate location in advance. Additionally, D-STAR has a GPS function which, unlike APRS, allows the same radio to be used simultaneously for voice transmission. He described the D-STAR equipment available from ICOM and showed some third party solutions which allow D-STAR interfacing with equipment from other manufacturers.
Eric recommended the following links if you want to delve more into the D-STAR universe
Afterwards the chairman thanked Eric for his excellent talk and conducted a draw for a computer printer which was donated by Eric as a door prize. The winner was our visitor Ted VE3AAP.
At 2159EDT a Motion to adjourn was made by Neil, NGS, seconded by John JE. Carried.
The OSCARC meets at 1930 local on the first Tuesday of the month, unless it is a holiday, in which case the second Tuesday. Check in with Security from the lower parking lot down the hill on the south end of the building. Keep an ear on VE3TWR 145.410/r on the drive in. Visitors are welcome.