Every weekend, rain or shine, there is a great opportunity to be active on ham radio! Participate in a net, in a contest, call CQ on shortwaves or VHF, or just talk to somebody on a linked repeater – there is always an opportunity to meet a ham operator, exchange knowledge, promote fraternalism, and improve operators efficiency.
Many hams actively monitor repeaters activity so you can enjoy a quick chat, road or emergency assistance, or address a technical question.
If you’re new to repeaters – RAC has a good page on procedures and etiquette: https://www.rac.ca/en/amateur-ra
RepeaterBook has an up-to-date list of GTA repeaters: https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/location_search.php?state_id=CA08&type=city&loc=Toronto
There are several daily ARES nets running in GTA / Ontario area. For some hams, this is the only opportunity to be radio-active so join the nets and keep the nets active! There is no centralized list and all info is usually scattered along clubs websites here is the ARES list:
Contests are a great opportunity to hone your operating skills and meet many great stations and operators on the air. These are sporting competitions between amateur stations on specific bands and modes according to simple published rules.
If you are new to HF or the contests, please make sure to read Ethics and Operating Procedures by IARU and check this introduction here.
Many contests are informal and easy-going. The QRP (low power) contests can even be participated in from a park or camping setting. They are a great way to improve your CW skills - check out SKCC, Run for the beacon QRP contests
There are also several annual Canadian contests:
- Ontario QSO Party is held on the third full weekend of April and is sponspored by Contest Club Ontario (CCO)
- RAC Canada Day Contest is held on July 1st and is organized by Radio Amateurs of Canada
To find up-to-date information on more contests, special event stations, and state/provincial QSO parties, check these resources:
- WA7BNM Contest Calendar
- State & province QSO party calendar
- ARRL contest calendar
- ARRLSpecial Event Stations
RAC has also lots of good links to contesting resources - https://www.rac.ca/en/rac/progra
- American Radio Relay League (national organization of US radio amateurs)
- eham.net (general amateur radio resources, including user reviews of equipment)
- Emergency Communications Ontario Association Inc
- Fox-Tango International (for users of Yaesu equipment, e.g. the FT-101)
- Long-Delayed Echoes (historical look at some Canadian amateur radio organizations)
- Industry Canada (regulator of the Amateur Radio service in Canada)
- Ontario Swap Shop (buy/sell/swap amateur radio equipment)
- QRP Amateur Radio Club International (club for low-power enthusiasts)
- QRZ.com (callsign lookup and general amateur resources)
- Radio Amateurs of Canada (national organization of Canadian radio amateurs)
- Setting Up a Station (from the ARRL)
- Toronto Amateur Radio Emergency Service Group
- Toronto FM Communications Society (operator of VHF and UHF repeaters)
- Toronto VA3XPR repeater