Club Meetings

The Orca DXCC holds regular meetings in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, B.C. area).

NEXT MEETING:

April 15, 2014. (Note that the normal second-Tuesday date has moved to April 15 for this month only.

All regular club meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the RiverHouse Restaurant, 5825 - 60th Ave. in Delta, BC. MAP

Catch up on previous meetings with The Orca Report -- prepared by Rebecca VA7BEC:

Orca Report 34 Mar. 11, 2014 Orca Report 33 Feb. 11, 2014 Orca Report 32 Jan. 14, 2014 Orca Report 31 Dec. 10, 2013 Orca Report 30 Nov. 12, 2013 Orca Report 29 Oct. 8, 2013 Orca Report 28 Sept. 10, 2013 Orca Report 27 June 18, 2013 Orca Report 26 May 12, 2013 Orca Report 25 Apr. 9, 2013 Orca Report 24 Mar. 12, 2013 Orca Report 23 Feb. 12, 2013 Orca Report 22 Jan. 8, 2013 Older Orca Reports...
The first-ever club meeting was held Oct. 15, 2010.

The Orca Report (No. 34) Mar. 11, 2014

March 12, 2014—What a difference an hour makes! Lovely evening ride in daylight to the RiverHouse. We were a group of 29.

Membership Renewal: Last Reminder!

Nearly everyone on the membership list has renewed, but there are a few people who have not submitted funds to Treasurer Dave VA7AM.

If you see a red asterisk by your name on the club roster and you have sent funds, please contact Treasurer Dave to find out why he hasn’t received them. Those who have not paid up will soon be removed from the active roster.

PNW Cup Update

Jim VE7FO provided an update on PNW Cup standings. As usual, a few of the clubs have not provided data, so the current spreadsheet may not reflect actual standings. Perhaps it’s a strategic measure by certain clubs to keep the rest guessing??? Anyway, based on available data, Orca is still out front, with 93,039,648 points.

WVDXC is next, with 59,986,034 points. WWDXC hasn’t updated its scores and so its tally is 38,487,854 points, as of November 2013.

BCDXC could be in fourth place, with 9,345,759 points, pushing SDXA into fifth place, but that reckoning is based on the latter’s last reported score of 7,999,643 points, as of November 2013.

IDXA is sixth, with 1,226,103 points.

The log submission deadline for the recent ARRL DX SSB contest has not passed yet so associated scores have not be factored into this placement.

BCQP Update

As of March 11, 2013, the contest coordinator—that’s me—has received 121 logs, some with hundreds upon hundreds of Qs, some with just a couple of Qs. At this point, the number of logs has already surpassed the total received in 2013 (97) and the number of BC and the number of non-BC logs are, respectively, also higher than in 2013.

The log submission deadline is March 31 so if you or anyone you know is procrastinating about sending in a BCQP log, don’t delay too long.

Convention Update

So far, 77 people have signed up for the convention. Kenwood has stepped up for the first time and will donate a prize. A Kenwood rep may also attend the convention and bring a TS-990S for everyone to drool over. (No, that’s not the prize.) For those who don’t know, this is, according to the Kenwood’s product hype, “the ultimate contest/DX experience”.

FT5ZM

Welcome home Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX.

The amazing adventure is over, except for the paperwork, and all members of the team have returned to their respective homes safely.

A seemingly rested and voyage-recovered Steve was in attendance last night and answered a few questions, but there won’t be a formal presentation until the convention. Some tidbits of information, however, included the fact that the DXpedition log has 170,000+ Qs, and an approaching storm on departure day left the team only a couple of hours to get off the island. Trip back to Freemantle was... well... a rough ride. We’ll hear more about the adventure soon.

VA7ODX Field Day

Preparations are moving ahead. Don VE7DS is looking for operators. Please contact him if you are able to commit to a shift.

Tromelin Island

Although no Orca members are on this DXpedition, the island activation seems to be worthy of a donation. Stay tuned for more details.

Chatham Islands

Sandro VE7NY will be leaving on Sunday for a DXpedition to the Chatham Islands. The team also includes ZS1FJ, OE2SNL and ZL1MBG. Listen for ZL7AAA.

Sandro has been on numerous DXpeditions, including 1A0KM (Sovereign Military Order of Malta) in January 2014 and HV0A (Vatican station) in 2013, and may do presentations about these DXpeditions at future Orca meetings.

Orca Lunch

The last Orca lunch had 11 attendees. The next Orca lunch is scheduled for March 26. Brian VE7JKZ will be sending out a reminder email closer to the lunch date.

Internal DX & Contest Awards Director?

The position is still open. Anyone interested in taking on this duty?

Evening Presentation: ARRL’s Advancing the Art of Amateur Radio

Rather than sum it up, let me give you the YouTube link and you can watch for yourself.

The video is about 25 minutes long. Basic content, perhaps, but the history of the ARRL is interesting especially since the organization plays such a major role in everything amateur radio worldwide.

And that’s what was seen and heard at last night. See you next month. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 33) Feb. 11, 2014

February 12, 2014—On a very soggy night, 29 people gathered at the RiverHouse Restaurant for the February meeting.

Special Welcome

We welcomed Alex IZ7FMM, new to BC but not to local contesting. He’s already participated in BCQP with Surrey ARC (team VE7SAR) and was at VE7UF’s big gun station for the recent WPX RTTY contest.

Membership Renewal

Essentially complete. About 90% of the group has paid up. Time flies so fast when we spend nearly every weekend in a contest or chasing DX that it is easy to think “I’m paid up” when in fact that payment was a year ago! If you are not sure whether you are in good standing or not, check the online roster. If you see a red asterisk beside your callsign, it means Treasurer Dave VA7AM has not received any funds from you recently.

Technical Advisor

A new position in the executive was not mentioned at the AGM last month. John VA7JW is, officially, our technical advisor.

PNW Cup Update

Another month, another update. It is contest season, after all. According to keeper of the spreadsheet Jim VE7FO, Orca maintains its lead with 65,170,421 points, as of the ARRL RTTY Round Up, in January. WVDXC is next, with 40,922,481 points, but only slightly ahead of WWDXC, with 38,487,854 points. SDXA sits in fourth place, with 7,999,643 points, BCDXC is fifth with 4,717,359 points, and IDXA sixth with 1,145,726 points. The log submission deadline for the recent CQ WPX RTTY contest has not passed yet so associated scores have not be factored into this placement.

The next eligible contest—ARRL Int’l DX CW—is this coming weekend, followed by the SSB installment in early March. CQ WPX SSB comes in late March.

Remember, you can email Jim VE7FO with your raw scores or simply post to 3830 and he will glean your contributions and add to Orca’s running PNW total from there. But remember to select “Orca DX and Contest Club” from the list of clubs to ensure that your claimed score is easy to find when he does a search.

BCQP

The number of logs submitted stands at 97, as of Tuesday midnight. I received two on paper at the meeting and there were two in my inbox when I got home. I think we will certainly top 100 this year.

Many of the logs from outside BC show a definite improvement in the number of Qs with BC stations. This may be due to more BC stations calling CQ for longer periods, thereby making it easier for stations outside BC to make contacts, or it may be due to more stations outside BC actively searching for VE7/VA7s to snag a lovely certificate or plaque. Maybe a combination of both factors? Actually, there are all sorts of reasons.

As an aside, when I say a significant improvement, I am not talking in terms of a cut-throat international marathon weekend. A significant improvement from a QSO party perspective might be, for non-BC stations, an increase to 25 Qs from 10 the year before, or perhaps more districts contacted, and for BC stations, an increase of 50 Qs from only 50 the year before or a rate of two Qs per minute instead of one Q every five minutes. That said, anyone who called “CQ” for a few hours at a time will most certainly have logged hundreds of Qs. Take a look at 3830 to see what is possible.

The participation of Orca members in BC has been instrumental to the increasingly higher profile of this event and to sustained interest over the last couple of years. One non-BC participant summed it up this way, “The weekend used to be MNQP only and if ops heard stations in Delaware or Vermont or BC, they’d give ‘em a call, but it was an afterthought. Now, I concentrate on BC, and MN is the afterthought!” Now that is progress.

This would not be possible without a solid contingent of VE7/VA7s on the air, and Orca members in BC have the contesting and HF expertise to be an anchor of support and to enable others to enjoy this baby step to more serious contesting. Orca members outside BC and friends of Orca have also done an excellent job of keeping awareness and activity levels up because all “CQ BCQP” efforts attract attention, which attracts more attention and so on. Awesome job everyone.

The log submission deadline is March 31.

DX Convention

So far, the Who’s Attending list shows 62 people registered.

FT5ZM

The team has probably finished packing up and is now preparing for the nine-day voyage back to Perth. We will certainly hear personal anecdotes from Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX about their adventure but the real DXpedition presentation will be saved for the DX Convention.

VA7ODX Field Day

Don VE7DS is heading up a group that will operate VA7ODX during ARRL Field Day. The location is to be the Coast Guard Station on Sea Island, close to the Flying Beaver pub, and the setup will be a 1A. Don and Keith VE7KW went to tour the site and all looks good. Approval to use an area near the water is pretty much assured, but because this is a coast guard station, security and safety will have to be maintained. That is, the gates will not be left open for any and all. If you plan to visit or take a shift, someone already on site will have to let you in.

If you think you’d like to take a three-hour (or more?) shift, contact Don. He will be coordinating the schedule. Remember, Field Day is the last full weekend in June—the 28th and 29th in 2014—and runs from 1800z Saturday through 2059z Sunday.

Orca Lunch

The January gathering brought 10 people together at the White Spot on the corner of Highway 10 and 152nd Street in Surrey. The next lunch is Wednesday, February 26. Brian VE7JKZ will send out an email to folks in the Lower Mainland as the date draws closer.

Any Interest?

Some random thoughts from the president’s desk... Replace the Orca Yahoo Group with Facebook? Use of BCDXC repeater? Does Orca need/want a general contest coordinator? If so, what would this position entail? And is there anyone who wants to fill the job? Does Orca need/want an internal awards program director? This would be someone who organizes and oversees a program of awards to recognize outstanding achievements within our own organization. Anyone interested in assuming this responsibility?

Evening Presentation: T32RC (Christmas Island)

Last December, Orca members Dean KW7XX and Dick N7RO went to Kiritimati Island (Christmas Island: IOTA OC-024) for a nine-day, bungalow-based DXpedition. They were joined by Tim NL8F, Paula NX1P and David AH6HY. T32RC was QRV from Dec. 4-11 and put 10,722 QSOs in the log.

As Dick explained before we watched a short video, the trip started on a whim, with Tim asking Dick if he’d like to “go to an island”. The next question, logically, was “what island?” The location was, as it turns out, rather appealing, and planning quickly began, with Dean in charge.

Some eagle eyes in the audience noticed when watching the video that the team caps were with T32RRC even though the call used was T32RC. The reason? Initially, Dean had been told by the Kiribati Communications Commission that the team would get the requested callsign T32RRC, which was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Russian Robinson Radio Club. Unfortunately, changes at the official level led to the issue of the two-letter call T32RC. Moral of the story? Don’t get hats printed with a DXpedition callsign until the license is in hand.

The T32RC website is still up. Take a look at the video (duration of 18:24) compiled by Sparky K7YCH from team members’ video and photos. Click on Pictures and then the link indicated under the photo caption. You’ll see what we at the meeting saw last night: radios, antennas, operations, some wine bottle ingenuity (at 11:56), and lots of scenery. There is also a slide show (picture credits by Dave AH6HY) further down the Pictures page.

Pileups were good. Lobster every night for supper. Can’t complain about that!

And that’s what happened at the February meeting. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC, your Orca Report writer/BCQP coordinator/club secretary. See you next month.

The Orca Report (No. 32) Jan. 14, 2014

January 14, 2014—Happy New Year! Rebecca VA7BEC here, with a recap of the January meeting.

A group of 23 gathered for the first meeting of 2014. There were a few announcements, including an update on BCQP preparations and PNW Cup standings, and then we conducted the official, but quick, annual general meeting.

Orca Report

A note to members who cannot get to a meeting due to distance or schedule conflicts. The Orca Report is uploaded within a couple of days of each meeting, so you can read about what took place. In fact, sometimes the Orca Report has extra info (researched background on certain topics, links, etc.), so the Orca Report may provide even more content than members in attendance saw and heard.

Annual General Meeting

Orca is an informal club. Robert’s Rules do not necessarily apply. The club is in its fourth year now, and no one has complained that the structure is too casual and relaxed, so this is how it will stay.

Tonight’s AGM agenda focused on officer status. Last year, the constitution and bylaws were changed to allow executives to retain their positions, if they wish and if membership approves. No one present voiced dissent, so Earl VE7IN made the motion that the current executive remain as is, Don VE7DS seconded the motion, and the rest of us said “yea”. New executives may — or may not — be voted in at the 2015 AGM, depending on the wishes of the current executive and the pleasure of club members.

PNW Cup Update

Jim VE7FO was not at the meeting but he provided Dave VE7VR with an update on scores, current as of the CQ WW CW contest. Orca has an overwhelming lead with 64,581,029 points, well ahead of Western Washington DXC, at 21,797,93 and Willamette Valley DXC, at 19,697,211.

Just because we currently have the lead does not mean we can take it easy. Let’s stay in the lead. The next eligible contest is WPX RTTY in February.

Mid-Month Lunch

It has been a year since the mid-month lunch was launched. Each gathering draws a nice-sized crowd for some good conversation in a casual atmosphere. The location is the White Spot at the corner of Highway 10 and 152nd Street in Surrey. The next get-together will be Wednesday, January 22.

DX Convention

The website is up and 30 people have already registered.

Club Finances

Treasurer Dave VA7AM reports that the club is comfortably in the black. (For the record, he did give a number but I’m not putting in The Orca Report since readership extends beyond club members.) It will be nice to have this cushion going into the convention.

FT5ZM—Amsterdam Island

Steve VE7CT, Neil VA7DX and the rest of the FT5ZM team are preparing to leave Fremantle, Australia, aboard the Braveheart, on the nine-day voyage to Amsterdam Island. The DXpedition will be QRV for 18 days, and you know that the BC contingent will be listening for VE7/VA7s. You may also hear/work the boys en route to the island, as they will be operating maritime mobile to hand out some rare grids along the way.

Track their voyage at www.amsterdamdx.org/follow-the-ft5zm-team-journey-live/

Field Day?

Ralph VE7XF, Don VE7DS and Steve VE7CT are considering a Field Day effort using the club callsign VA7ODX. If anyone else is interested in joining them, give Don a shout.

Random Thoughts

Is anyone interested in taking on the position of Orca Internal DX and Contest Awards Program Director? Or maybe, Monthly Meeting Presentation Director?

Evening Presentation

We watched “Discovering Amateur Radio”, a very thorough description of everything about amateur radio. Watch the presentation online. This is the condensed version. There is a longer version as well. Go to www.radioqrv.com for more information.

BCQP 2014

Two years ago exactly, an article I wrote about QSO parties appeared in The Canadian Amateur. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The article sparked greater awareness of BCQP, and with your support, interest and participation, this event has really grown. I tip my BCQP contest coordinator’s hat to you for your continued support. Part 2 of the insider’s perspective appears in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. I hope it will encourage more operators everywhere to get involved.

BCQP 2014 is in a couple of weeks.

Key details

Date/Time1600z Feb 1 - 0400z Feb 2
Objective:BC stations can contact anyone anywhere, while stations outside BC must work BC stations.
Exchange: For VE7/VA7s: federal electoral district
For non-VE7/VA7s: Province/State/DX (Note: In this party, Hawaii (KH) and Alaska (KL) are NOT DX but states, so use HI and AK, respectively.)
Multipliers:See the list
Rules:Here
Bands:160m to 10m. No WARC
Modes:PH, CW and Digital (PSK, RTTY, etc)
Awards:BC symbol- or lovely scenery-based certificate for all top scores in all modes and all power classes. A nice Orca trinket accompanies each certificate.
Plaques for Top BC, Top Canada outside BC, Top YL, Top US and Most Federal Electoral Districts Worked
NEW in 2014!! Two more plaque categories: Rookie and DX

Where has the promotion bandwagon rolled?

The promotion bandwagon rolled out in late-November and has been making lots of stops: radio-related clubs, associations and blog editors in BC and other provinces, operators of contest calendars in Canada, the U.S., Japan, Sweden and Germany, same-day QSO party organizers, our PNW friends, and past participants.

Many clubs and blog editors have posted the invitation email to their respective websites, forwarded the email to members, included information about BCQP in member newsletters, or have done all three. And they continue to keep the profile of BCQP high.

Same-day QSO party organizers have been contacted so that they can encourage in-state participants to take advantage of Q-trading opportunities.

Contest calendars... All calendar-keepers have updated their sites.

A post to the RAC Bulletin was picked up by Southgate ARC News in the U.K., which is in turn picked up by other clubs and organizations, news feeds, blogs and daily mailouts near and far. It’s amazing where “BCQP” shows up... from clubs in Canada and the U.S. to organizations in the Netherlands and Malaysia. It’s like getting spotted on the cluster during a contest. It’s absolutely delightful!

The rising profile of this event means there may be some surprise DX out there for BC stations. Turn the beam to EU or SA or AS, and call CQ. It is quite possible that you will get some replies.

Resources

An at-a-glance summary of same-day events and respective exchanges can be downloaded from the BCQP section of the Orca website.

A multi-party log sheet (XLS) can be downloaded if you wish to play in several QSO parties at the same time. It is possible that stations in the host states of same-day parties will want to trade a Q with BC stations. The BC mult is as advantageous for them as the state is for BC stations. For Orca members outside BC, multi-party participation may make the day go by more quickly as the activity produced by multi-party support will offset lulls when proximity hinders high-band Qs with BC stations.

Although most Orca members have lots of contesting experience, you may know some newcomers to the hobby who would benefit from helpful hints. If you need a starting point, look at the helpful hints page in the BCQP section of the Orca website.

What’s next?

I will be posting to forums next week, and reminder emails will go out to everyone everywhere at the end of the month.

PNW connection

Close proximity to Washington State could make Qs difficult. But it’s not impossible. Nevertheless, the hours spent by WA and OR operators are only fun and worthwhile if there are a good number of VE7/VA7s on the air to contact. So Orca members in BC, spread the word so that there are lots of BC stations calling CQ in BCQP. The party doesn’t happen without us.

VA7ODX operators

I will take SSB. Dave VA7AM will do RTTY.

Anyone interested in CW? Please contact me, VA7BEC, if you can run with the sponsor callsign on CW.

By the way, you do not need to be local to be on the VA7ODX team. There is no requirement that VA7ODX operators be at one station. In fact, activating VA7ODX from various parts of BC might enable more operators, near and far, to make Qs with the sponsor station. And bonus points with VA7ODX can be — and indeed have been — the little extra that leads to a winning score.

Nevertheless, we cannot have more than one VA7ODX op on the same mode and band at the same time, so I will coordinate a schedule of operators if there are several interested in taking shifts. Please let me know.

Incentive For Orca members, we will again have an in-house draw. Make 25 Qs and submit your log, and your name will go into a draw for a gift card. The number of names drawn will depend on the number of logs submitted by Orca members.

Please...

Talk about the BCQP with radio pals. The more BC stations we get on the air, the more Q potential there is for BC and non-BC stations, which encourages more operators to get on the air and stay in the stay, which makes CQing productive, which attracts more participants, which expands the potential for more Qs... and on it goes. Each year, the snowball effect grows. Let’s keep that snowball rolling.

Orca members outside the Lower Mainland, your federal electoral district will be a most-wanted in the BCQP. If you can’t devote hours in front of the radio, consider listening every so often and drop by if you hear a VE7/VA7.

If you like a challenge, try working all the QSO parties on during BCQP. Call CQ and you could well have a major pileup. Really.

If you have questions about the BCQP, email me. I will try my best to answer or find someone who can if I can’t.

33, 73 and/or 88, as the case may be. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 31) Dec. 10, 2013

December 10, 2013—Our Christmas gathering brought 26 people together for lots of interesting conversation and some tasty food. We missed regulars Dick N7RO and Dean KW7XX, who are working through the pileups as part of the T32RC (Christmas Island) team.

There were no presentations or major announcements, but here’s a bit of what was seen and heard.

Ken VE7BC handed out bureau cards.

Jim VE7FO provided an update on PNW Cup standings. Orca is very much in the lead, but not all clubs have reported their results to Jim, so our standing is not certain.

It’s time to renew membership. Treasurer Dave VA7AM was taking cash at the meeting. Just $24. Alternative payment methods are by PayPal, Interac transfer or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and snail-mailed to Dave. Go to the Orca website for details.

Two events to put on your 2014 calendar: BCQP 2014 and the PNW DX Convention.

BCQP 2014 is scheduled for February 1, 2014. The five original plaque sponsors have pledged their support again for the 2014 event. That means special recognition for Top BC, Top YL, Top Canada outside BC, Most Federal Electoral Districts Contacted and Top US. Any club, business or individual with a radio connection -- ha ha -- can sponsor a plaque. All ideas for plaque categories will be considered, so if you or someone you know is interested and/or has an idea for a sponsor-worthy category, please contact me (va7bec [at] rac [dot] ca).

Webmaster extraordinaire Bud VA7ST has created a great section on our website for the DX Convention. This includes a registration page. Register before April 30, 2014, and you will be entered into a draw for the latest ARRL Handbook—the 100th anniversary edition.

It is amazing how fast time flies when you’re having DXing and contesting fun. This coming weekend is the ARRL 10m contest (Dec. 14-15) and the weekend between Christmas and New Year has the RAC Winter Contest (Dec. 28). As of this writing, solar flux is at 175!! Bodes well for this weekend.

Enjoy DXing and contesting and all the gatherings of family and friends that take place at this time of year.

The next Orca meeting will be January 14, 2014.

QRT de VA7BEC.

The Orca Report (No. 30) Nov. 12, 2013

November 13, 2013—We were a big group—31—and had the whole place to ourselves.

We had a few update-type announcements and then watched a very, very, very old video from ARRL’s Ham Radio Archives.

CQWW SSB

This contest—the second of the 10 PNW Cup-eligible contests—took place Oct 25-27. I think everyone who got on the air will agree that 10m was simply awesome.

On the CQ WW DX Contest website is a page with a list of logs received for the SSB installment. This list can be sorted, so I sorted by club and found that 23 Orca members submitted logs that included the club name in the Cabrillo header. But I found six more Orca members who submitted logs without the club tag.

Of course, no one is required to include club name in a log. But did you know that CQ WW tallies club scores from logs that designate a club affiliation and ranks aggregate club results?

Regardless, Orca was well-represented during CQWW SSB.

Don’t forget CQWW CW is coming up in a couple of weeks: Nov 23-24

PNW Cup Status

Jim VE7FO provided an update on standings. Jim, as you know, is the cup coordinator for Orca. He finds members’ points on 3830—that sorting function is so convenient!—to enter Orca data into the spreadsheet but if you haven’t posted your results there, just email Jim directly and he’ll add your score to the spreadsheet. He also collects scores from cup coordinators at the other PNW clubs, but some cup coordinators are slower than others in forwarding respective club members’ scores to him so we can’t be absolutely sure which club is leading.

But Orca does seem to be doing very well. After CQ WW RTTY, Orca was leading with a bit more than 12 million points but only slightly ahead of Willamette Valley. We added another 19 million points with CQ WW SSB. We are ahead of Western Washington, but Willamette Valley hasn’t provided any scores, so our position might still be No. 1 or maybe we slipped to No. 2.

Membership Renewal

Membership dues for 2014 are just $24. Treasurer Dave VA7AM was taking cash at the meeting. But for those of you who are not able to get to a meeting, you can pay by credit card through PayPal, by Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and snail-mailed to Dave. Go to the Orca website for details.

Financial Report

Treasurer Dave says there is money in the bank. Not as much as there had been, since some funds were used to reserve the hotel for the 2014 DX Convention.

Orca Lunch

The last lunch was attended by nine people. It’s a more casual atmosphere than our evening meeting. No presentations or announcements. Just chatting. Always the fourth Wednesday of the month.

BCQP 2014

The BCQP promotion wagon has rolled out, with last year’s plaque sponsors as the first stop. Three have jumped on board again. The plaques, by the way, were extremely well received by the lucky individuals who got one. If you haven’t seen the design from BCQP 2013, take a look on the Awards page. The certificate design is also on the same page. Every year, the photos are different but they always highlight something special about BC.

Same-day event organizers have been contacted. Contest calendar minders, too. And for those of you who find WA7BNM’s calendar to be the go-to source for contests big and small, and always wonder why BCQP isn’t included there, at least not in a timely manner, I have amazing news. BCQP is listed in the 12-month calendar now. Yes! It’s there! Not five emails later and one week before game day. Amazing.

Over the next few weeks, emails will go out to clubs in BC, our PNW friends, the rest of Canada and beyond, followed by invitations to past participants. I apologize in advance to anyone who becomes inundated with BCQP promotional materials (invitations, emails, updates, etc.). Many Orca members also belong to community radio clubs, inter/national forums, groups and associations, and my aggressive emailing may mean some people get the info twice or more. SRI.

Should anyone ask you about BCQP, suggest a look at the BCQP page on the Orca website. In addition to rules and multiplier lists, there are links to helpful hints for BC stations, a downloadable one-page schedule of same-day events and associated exchange data and an Excel spreadsheet for operating in multiple QSO parties on BCQP weekend, as well as in-depth analysis and commentary on BCQP 2012 and BCQP 2013.

Evening Presentation

We watched “Ham’s Wide World”, off an ARRL film collection narrated and produced by David Bell W6AQ, the famed Hollywood producer and director. The videos in this collection take viewers from ham radio in the late 1950s through the early 21st century. What we watched last night was from around 1969 and produced to lure people into the hobby.

As I was confirming some details about this vintage video, I found a version of it on YouTube. The color is awful, but it’s still an amusing look back at amateur radio.

I found another video—“The World of Amateur Radio”—which you can watch here that is perhaps even more interesting. It does have share some clips with “Ham’s Wide World” but goes into more depth about what ham radio is about. Not as teenager-oriented, let’s-try-ham-radio-everyone! as Ham’s Wide World comes across. A very interesting clip in The World of Amateur Radio features the late King Hussein of Jordan.

The next meeting will be our Christmas gathering. An email will be sent out closer to the date.

And that’s it for this installment of The Orca Report.

73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 29) Oct. 8, 2013

October 9, 2013—It was a lovely October evening in the Lower Mainland for the drive to The RiverHouse—mountains silhouetted against a crisp blue sky and a fiery setting sun. We were a group of 28.

Ken VE7BC dropped by for a short time with bureau cards. As always, Ken, thanks for all the time and effort you spend on this.

There were only couple of announcements and then we watched a 9V1YC production of the VP8THU DXpedition in 2002.

PNW Status
CQ WW RTTY—the first of the 10 contests that count in the PNW Cup competition—took place a couple of weeks ago. Claimed scores are posted on the CQWW RTTY site and the log submission deadline has passed—remember, the deadline for CQ (both WW and WPX) contests is now WITHIN FIVE (5) DAYS after the end of the respective contest—so Jim VE7FO had some statistics to share.

From the CQWW RTTY claimed score page, Orca DXCC is in the PNW lead with a bit more than 12 million points. Willamette Valley is close behind, with 11.6 million, and Western Washington sits in third spot with 8.4 million.

The next eligible contest is CQWW SSB Oct 25-27, local time. Last year, 23 Orca members got on the air, either single-op or as part of a mult-op team. Let’s keep the activity level high.

VP8THU - Thule Island, South Sandwich
The 9V1YC-produced video was provided for our viewing pleasure by Reg VE7IG.

This DXpedition took place back in 2002 with an international team of 12—EI6FR, N5KO, 9V1YC, K4UEE, K0IR, K5TR, PA3FQA, W3WL, HB9ASZ, W7EW, VE3EJ and EI5IQ. Their transportation was the now very famous Braveheart. Back then, this voyage was the ship’s first outside the Pacific Rim.

Unlike most major undertakings, VP8THU was a lightweight, low-power effort. Small radios, small generators, vertical antennas, no pilots, no website, no online logs. This back-to-basics plan paid off big time, given the way the team and their equipment and belongings had to get on and off the Island.

Abridged version of the video Some pictures More info and links
Captain Cook called the South Sandwich Islands the most horrible place on Earth. He was probably referring to the weather—the VP8SSI video highlights this aspect—and difficult access to the island, as well as the remoteness, but from the images in the VP8THU video, I’d say the horrible part is the penguin muck that got tracked into the tents, permeated the air, and required the team to get hosed off once aboard the Braveheart again.

After making 26,698 contacts in 80 hours on Thule, the VP8THU team sailed on to South Georgia Island and worked as VP8GEO, adding another 40,000-some Qs to the DXpedition log.

Trivia: Do you know how the South Sandwich Islands got the name?
To distinguish them from the Sandwich Islands, which Cook had named the Hawaiian Islands in honor of the Fourth Earl of Sandwich.

Overheard
Don VE7DS will be going on a vacation-style DXpedition to the Austral Islands in French Polynesia from October 30 to November 6. The entity is 44th on Club Log’s most wanted list. There will be significant on-the-air time amid the traveling-with-XYL time. Listen for TX5RV. Visit the website.

The Orca lunch is held on the fourth Wednesday of every month. On most occasions, the location has been the White Spot at Panorama Ridge in Surrey. Brian VE7JKZ sends out emails to everyone in the Lower Mainland. If you’re not in the loop and want to be, contact Brian.

This brings the October Orca Report to a close. QRT de VA7BEC. Don’t forget to QRV for CQ WW SSB. Go Orca!!

The Orca Report (No. 28) Sept. 10, 2013

September 11, 2013—School is back in session, and so are Orca meetings at The RiverHouse. We were a group of 22 and had the whole place to ourselves.

Before getting into the presentation theme What I did last summer, there were a few announcements.

Call for Materials

If anyone has something that could be used as presentation material at an upcoming meeting, please let Dave VE7VR know. While we often watch videos on major DXpeditions, presentations are not limited to that topic. We’ve had presentations on building a station, protecting equipment and operators from lightening, and home-brew projects.

If you have a topic or materials but cannot attend a meeting due to distance or schedule conflicts, the information could be provided as a PowerPoint slideshow and someone here will push the “next” button.

Website

Bud VA7ST is our webmaster and he truly is a master of the web. He is fast. He is thorough. Our website has many pages and all are extremely professional-looking. Info is constantly being updated. The homepage alone is a go-to source for DX and contesting information. Awesome job Bud. Thanks so much!

PNW Travelling Trophy

If you haven’t heard, Orca won the travelling trophy this year. Yeah!! Well done Orca!!

Dave VE7VR accepted the trophy at the PNW DX Convention in Spokane this past August when the official results were announced. See the picture on our homepage.

For a club just celebrating its third anniversary, this is a terrific achievement. While contesting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it is part of what we are as a club, and for those of us who contributed points to Orca’s PNW total, the trophy is a wonderful testament to our efforts.

As terrific as winning in 2013 is, we cannot rest on our laurels. Wouldn’t it be great to repeat in 2014, especially since the next PNW DX Convention will be at home?

The tally for 2014 begins with WW DX RTTY September 27-29, followed by SSB October 25-27 and then CW November 22-24. Obviously, every point counts in our pursuit of another win.

PNW DX Convention 2014

At the PNW DX Convention in Spokane this past August, Dave VE7VR made a presentation showcasing the new venue for the convention in 2014 and to invite Spokane attendees, mostly people south of the border, to come north to the 2014 event. The theme will be Remember the magic. This is not meant to be a nostalgic look at the past but rather a spark to reignite activity.

As the agenda firms up, the convention page on our website will be updated. Check back every so often.

What did you do last summer?

There was good feedback to the question “What did you do last summer?” Contributors were Mike RW0CN/VE7ACN, Brent VE7SNC, Dick K6KR, Les VA7OM, Allen VE7BQO, Steve VE7CT, Don VE7DS, Fred VE7IO, Rick VE7WF and Dave VE7VR.
Submissions from Mike and Brent were their certificates for top scores in RAC Winter 2012—first place for Asiatic Russia and first place SOAB PHONE BC, respectively. Yes, RAC Winter is a winter activity but the certificates arrived in the summer. Dick did a lot of tower and antenna work and did some major upgrades to the shack. Les built a 250w MOSFET amplifier. Allen canoed from Carmacks to Dawson City and set up a QRP station on the banks of the Yukon River. Steve put up a couple of phase verticals—4-inch aluminum irrigation pipe on 4x4 posts way up into the air. Don was in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in late June for the 38th International Exhibition for Radio Amateurs—think of it as Europe’s version of Dayton—with four other members of the Campbell Island ZL9HR team, had a party for relocated VE4s, and participated in NAQP from his brother’s cabin in VE4. Fred was at Dayton in May and saw a fellow VE7—Dale VE7SV—inducted into the Contest Hall of Fame, participated in the SARC/SEPAR Field Day team, took part in the IOTA contest from Bowen Island (NA091), and organized a day of radio with Ben DL8UI and YL Claudia DF3AO who were visiting from Germany. Rick went portable with a hamstick for 80m and 20m, starting off with trips to Lac La Hache and the East Kootenays. Dave spent a lot of time on the road this summer and listened to HF along the way, between BC and Ontario, and continued to improve the radio setup at the VE3 cottage on the shores of Lake Huron.
Orca Lunch

Lunch gatherings continued over the summer and had nice-sized turnouts. Brian VE7JKZ sends out reminders to Orca members in the Lower Mainland a few days before the fourth Wednesday of each month, so if you are in the region and not getting notifications, please let Brian know. Or, if you live outside the Lower Mainland but plan to be visiting on a fourth Wednesday, tell someone local so that you can be included in the mailout. It’s a nice alternative to the second Tuesday evening meetings. No agenda. No presentations. Just an opportunity to chat.

And that’s it for September. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 27) June 18, 2013

June 19, 2013—The June meeting—our last until September— was postponed a week from the usual second Tuesday of the month. Nevertheless, 27 people gathered at the RiverHouse Restaurant for a pleasant evening. We had a few announcements and then watched a video on the 3D2C Conway Reef 2012 DXpedition, with a short intro from Steve VE7CT who had been to this QTH on a previous DXpedition many years ago.

But first, a correction to the recap about lightning protection that appeared in the April 2013 issue of The Orca Report. Members of the Yahoo! Group will have already seen the correction posted by John VA7JW. But let’s cover all bases.

I wrote “What is ground rise? It’s side flashing.” This is not correct. As John pointed out to me, “Side flashing has more to do with secondary strikes off the side of the main bolt, either in the air or on the ground due to unpredictable conductive air channels, attractive objects (trees, downspouts, flashings etc), or high voltages developed by high impedance paths that get in the way.” Whereas, “Ground rise describes the high voltage gradient developed all around the strike point on the ground due to the high currents flowing outward through the resistive earth.”

John adds, “the goal is to tie everything together, to earth, as frequently and best as possible to ensure that all equipments and operators essentially “rise” with the ground rise so that equal potentials (voltages) are the same everywhere. This is of course hard to attain but that remains the objective.”

Thanks John for the clarification.

Buro Cards

Ken VE7BC prepared an enormous amount of QSL cards for distribution to Orca members at the meeting last night. Fred VE7IO, however, was the one who handed them out. A lot of time and effort goes into buro tasks. Thanks Ken and Fred.

Field Day

Many local clubs are preparing for Field Day this weekend, June 22-23. Any Orca member, or group of members, who wishes to use the club call—VA7ODX—for Field Day may do so. However, as your Contest Chair and the current keeper of Orca DXCC QSL cards, I would like to know who wants to use which band(s) and mode(s) so that we avoid having the callsign in use by more than one station at any given time on the same band and mode and also to facilitate the QSL card receipt/return process. That said, anyone who uses the callsign on Field Day will be responsible for any and all related tasks (log submission, QSLing, etc). My email is va7bec [at] rac [dot] ca

Financial Report

Dave VA7AM says there is money in the bank, even after a couple of large expenses. One was a deposit to reserve facilities at The Inn at the Quay, in New Westminster, for the 2014 PNW DX Convention. The other was a sizable donation to the Amsterdam Island 2014 DXpedition, with the rationale being that not just one but two (!) Orca members, Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX, are on the FT5ZM team and the added funds might help sway other team members to participate in a presentation at the 2014 PNW DX Convention.

Orca Lunch

There have been two lunches held so far. The next one will be June 26. Brian VE7JKZ will be sending out reminder emails to Orca members in the Lower Mainland soon. The schedule is for lunch every fourth Wednesday of the month. The current plan is to continue these lunches through the summer.

3D2C — Conway Reef 2012

Steve VE7CT received from 3D2C member Alan AD6E a copy of the video shot by another team member, Jim K9JM. The video shows the typical activities of an island operation and captures lots of scenery and changes of clothing.

Conway Reef is about 350 miles southwest of Suva, Fiji—a 36-hour voyage. The DXpedition ran September 24 - October 5 with a team comprising operators from the U.S., Serbia, Brazil, Russia, Bulgaria and Fiji. The total Q count exceeded 71,000, with the highest percentage from EU, at 37.25%, followed by NA, at 33.33% and AS, at 25.21%.

An online slideshow is still available.

An amusing clip in the video was when the team posed for pictures in the various sponsor T-shirts. There were lots of sponsors and thus lots of T-shirts to show.

All in all, the 3D2C adventure was a great experience.

And that wraps of this issue of The Orca Report. Remember the last eligible PNW Cup contest is the IARU event in July. Have a wonderful summer. See you in September.

QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 26) May 14, 2013

May 16, 2013—Sorry for the delay. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day—the week?— to do all that accumulates on my desk(top).

We were a group of 26 on Tuesday. We had a few announcements, including the results of BCQP 2013 and PNW-related items, and then Bill VE7XS—with added commentary from Neil VA7DX—highlighted his adventures on a DXpedition to Lesotho in 2012.

Announcements Let me leave the BCQP-related announcements for last, as there are quite a few.

PNW DX Convention
Starting then with PNW-related topics, the DX Convention, as everyone must now be aware, is in Spokane August 2-4, and as that event nears, preparations are beginning for the 2014 event which Orca DXCC will organize. One of the first tasks was to select a suitable venue, since the location of previous years will apparently be in the middle of a construction zone.

The convention committee has decided on The Inn at the Quay, in New Westminster. Newly renovated, this boutique hotel is on the Fraser River boardwalk. It’s next to the revamped River Market, close to a SkyTrain station and Pier Park, and offers great facilities for conventions. There is a lovely outdoor patio that could be used for the Friday night welcome, weather permitting. It’s a great location.

Dave VE7VR will be making a presentation at the convention in Spokane to entice attendees to put the 2014 event on their calendars.

Details on accommodations, schedule and activities will be announced as details are finalized.

PNW Cup Scores
Jim VE7FO provided an update on club standings in the travelling PNW Cup. Orca DXCC is currently in the lead, with 66,240,088 points, but only about three million points ahead of Western Washington, which hasn’t forwarded scores to Jim since ARRL CW.

The spreadsheet of scores is accessible on the Orca website's PNW Club Challenge page, and Jim has uploaded to the Orca Yahoo! Group, as well.

There are only two contests left—CQ WPX CW, at the end of May, and IARU, in July—and WPX is probably more likely to produce high scores, so if you are proficient in CW and can allocate some time in the last weekend of May, please help boost the club’s score.

***If you participated in a PNW Cup–eligible contest and don’t see a score by your callsign, please contact Jim so that he can apply your score to the Orca DXCC total.

Orca Lunch
The alternate meeting opportunity is organized by Brian VE7JKZ. Only club members in the Lower Mainland are on the e-mailing list. But FYI, the lunch takes place on the fourth Wednesday of the month, midway between the regular, second-Tuesday of the month evening meetings. If you reside outside the Lower Mainland but plan to be in the area on the fourth Wednesday of any given month when a lunch is held, you would surely be welcome to join the lunch crowd. Contact Brian—or me, and I’ll forward the note to Brian—so that you will get details on place and time. Also, if you are in the Lower Mainland and have not received any lunch notifications, but wish to be kept in the lunch loop, contact Brian directly or through me.

Amsterdam Island 2014—FT5ZM
Not only is Steve VE7CT on this major DXpedition, so is Neil VA7DX, recently recruited when a vacancy on the team appeared. This DXpedition will take place in January 2014 but the website is already up so you can follow plans and progress. Check here. The timing and the fact that two Orca DXCC members are on the FT5ZM team might help put a presentation on this DXpedition on the PNW DX Convention agenda for 2014.

BCQP 2013 BCQP Report
A very thorough report on BCQP 2013 is available for viewing and downloading in PDF format.

The report features a behind-the-scenes perspective, soapbox comments, a detailed analysis of data gleaned from submitted logs—which provides an interesting perspective on how this event is evolving—as well as a column by long-time BCQP participants Bill VE7XS and Jeff VE7JR, a selection of questions that get asked a lot and their answers, and of course ... the results!! Plaque winners are revealed on page 3.

Everyone who sent in a log will get an email with a link to the special BCQP report, but if any Orca Report readers know people who participated but didn’t send in a log—or even people who thought of participating but for whatever reason did not—please let them know that the report is up. The number crunching and Q&A sections might be of interest, and the report as a whole might encourage more people to participate in the future.

Results
No point repeating what’s covered in depth in the report. If you are only interested in scores and analysis, look on pages 5-6 for number crunching and pages 11-15 for results. The results section is broken down into BC and outside BC. Scores are listed by category in descending order. Top scores appear first within each category, and it is these top scores that will be recognized with certificates.

A detailed breakdown of scores is also available if you are curious about how totals were arrived at.

Certificates and plaques will go out by mail as soon as they are ready to send.

Noteworthy Developments in 2013
Almost 100 logs received (97, up 31 from 2012) Increase in BC callsigns that appear in submitted logs (140, up 17) First-time logs received from Alaska, Saskatchewan and Germany Increase in activated districts (30, up from 27) Of the 31 BC logs, 19 had more than 50Qs, and 12 had more than 100Qs More YL participation, and three YLs took top scores in their respective categories of entry
Gift Card Draw
The support of Orca DXCC members was awesome, and the many hours spent calling CQ certainly fueled on-air activity, which encouraged more people to get on the air, which kept the activity level high, which... the snowball effect. Thank you.

Again this year, we had an internal draw for three $25 gift cards. To be eligible for the draw, a member in good standing had to submit a log with at least 25 Qs. Fifteen names went into a shiny gold box and Dave VE7VR pulled out three: Elizabeth VE7YL (White Spot), Koji VA7KO (BC Liquor Store) and Pete VE7CV (Tim Hortons). Congratulations!

Lesotho 2012
The Lesotho DXpedition took place in late November–early December 2012. The team comprised members from Canada (Bill VE7XS, Keith VE7MID, Neil (VA7DX), Germany (Jo DJ3CQ, Emil DL8JJ, Chris DL2MDU) and South Africa (Donovan ZS2DL, Mitch ZS2DK, Roger ZS6RJ), plus Frosty, the Texan, K5LBU, whom you might remember was involved in the vacation-style DXpedition to Botswana that Don VE7DS and Keith VE7MID went on back in March 2012. Keith was also on the Lesotho team, along with Neil VA7DX.

Bill divided his presentation into an operations segment, which focused on the team, the setup, the pileups and the teardown, and a travel segment, highlighting the country. Pictures really do tell a 1,000 words. You can see the whole presentation here.

The DXpedition used the callsign 7P8D for the CQWW DX CW—5,408 Qs for 6,727,212 points, according to CQ-announced results—but team members had their own callsigns, as well.

In the end, the 12-day DXpedition made 32,323 Qs.

An interesting VIP to the operation was Gerry EI8CC/7P8CC, the Irish ambassador to Lesotho. As always, DXpeditions create lots of memories and stories to shares.

And this brings the May Orca Report to a close. The next meeting will be June 18—the third Tuesday of June. This will be the last meeting before our summer break.

QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 25) April 9, 2013

April 11, 2013 -- We were a smaller group than usual -- just 25 -- as some of the regulars were unable to attend. Ken VE7BC made a brief appearance to hand out bureau cards. There were a few announcements, and then John VA7JW talked about lightning protection.

PNW Cup Update
No update, really. Technical glitch has prevented Jim VE7FO from updating the spreadsheet. But he reminded us all to get on the air May 25-26 for WPX CW. Very easy to accumulate points since this is one of the anyone-anywhere contests. For those of you who belong to the Yahoo! Group, Jim posted a message on April 10 with more of an exhortation to get on the air. Check the Group if you don’t get automatic updates.

BCQP Update
The log submission deadline has passed, and the final checking of submitted logs is basically done. I will prepare a special Orca Report for BCQP 2013, with scores and analysis, and disclose certificate and plaque winners at that time. Numbers still have to be recrunched, but for now, here are some highlights. 140 BC operators were on the air, either on their own or in teams. 30 of 36 districts were activated. 96 logs were received, with 31 from BC and 65 from outside BC. The year-on-year increase was 31, with three more logs from BC and 28 more from outside BC, including the first logs ever received from operators in Saskatchewan, Germany and Alaska.
Orca Lunch
Some months ago, Dave VE7VR suggested a lunch option for members who are unable to get to the Tuesday night meeting or who simply want another opportunity to meet and chat. His suggestion garnered a positive response, but he doesn’t have the time to organize two monthly meetings. If you are interested in coordinating an Orca lunch -- say, the third Thursday of the month -- please contact Dave for a list of email addresses so that you can send out details to club members.

PNW DX Convention
The next PNW DX convention will be held in Spokane August 2-4. Go to the Spokane DX Association's PNW Convention page to register online, get info on weekend activities and raffle/door prizes, and watch a mini slide show of past events. You’ll spot some familiar faces.

Amsterdam Island 2014 -- FT5ZM
A major DXpedition to Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean has been announced. This island is one of the more remote places in the world, and as a DX entity is ranked in the top 10 most wanted. Some very experienced DXpeditioners are on the team, including our own Steve VE7CT. The DXpedition is scheduled for January 2014, and the website is up so you can already follow preparations and progress.

Feature Presentation: Lightning Protection
John VA7JW experienced a near-hit a couple of years ago that essentially blew up a tree about 500 feet from his house. It was the proverbial wakeup call for John to protect not just his radio equipment but also his home and the people inside. Direct strikes would, of course, be catastrophic, but nearby strikes should not be discounted. They can create voltage and current significant enough to cause equipment failure and injury as well.

Consider, the average stroke of lightning lasts about 50 microseconds, travels at 20,000mph, extends 3km in length, carries 300 million joules of energy and 10 terawatts of power, and it's hot -- 30,000°C.

Lightning has various forms: within a cloud (discharge in a cloud), cloud-to-cloud (discharge between clouds), heat lightning (intracloud, far away; thunder not audible), sheet lightning (intracloud, diffuse), cloud-to-air (bolt from the blue) and -- of most concern to us -- cloud-to-ground (cloud discharge to earth).

Luckily, our area doesn't get a lot of thunderstorms, but HF operators tend to seek out locations -- high, like hills and mountaintops, and close to tall trees for dipoles -- that attract lightning strikes. It only takes one strike to cause serious damage, and preparation is only helpful BEFORE an event. The first goal, then, is to keep destructive lightning current out of your shack. The second goal is to make it easy for that current to exit should it does get in.

Primary protection requires tower grounding, installed at the base of a tower, to direct lightning current to earth as directly as possible and shunt the current and voltage away from the house/shack. Secondary protection, which limits dangerous voltages to nondestructive values, must be placed at cable entrance to the house. Coax, rotor cables and wires of any kind that connect to outdoor antennas are key points for destructive energy to get into the house/shack since the antenna at the top of the tower is generally the highest point of an installation and will therefore attract lightning.

It is essential to establish a good ground system -- a network of interconnected grounds that tie all components together. Multiple unconnected grounds are not good because lightning currents flow differently in each ground system, and dangerous voltages will develop between equipment because of varying ground system impedances. Connecting all grounds together creates an equipotential environment, which helps lower resistance-to-ground and thereby lowers ground rise overall.

What is ground rise? It’s side flashing. Voltage developed in the earth will rise from the ground point. The voltage gradient in the immediate vicinity is highly dangerous. It is therefore important to minimize the difference between ground rise and radios. Should a difference exist and you happen to be holding the microphone or the key during a strike event, you become the path of least impedance to ground.

In an equipotential environment, ground rise will be the same everywhere and differential voltages will be minimal. Note that all grounds and equipment must be electrically connected.

John went through the various arresters that can be used to protect coax. There are spark gap devices, gas tubes and metal oxide varistors (MOV). The latter looks very much like a disc ceramic capacitor but is not. In the final analysis, the A28 spark gap type is OK as a first line of defense, the coaxial gas tube offers superior performance and nanosecond clamp-time, and MOVs are effective for higher voltages but slow and may allow high peak voltage to result relative to the rated clamp voltage.

Another noteworthy point: Voltage is a function of inductance value and current over time. That is, more inductance means more voltage. So make the ground wire -- use #6 -- as straight as possible.

John's presentation file is now on the Orca website as reference material.

View the presentation (3MB PDF)

Notes on coaxial surge arrestors (970kb PDF)

As well, I came across some helpful supplementary sources while confirming my notes from John’s presentation that might be of interest.
A three-part series by Ron Block KB2UYT that appeared in the June, July and August 2002 issues of QST. PolyPhaser Engineering Notes, last reviewed on January 9, 2003, and probably written by Ron Block or his brother, Roger, who founded PolyPhaser Corporation.
And that’s it for this issue of the Orca Report. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 24) March 12, 2013

March 13, 2013 -- Despite the rain, 32 people gathered at the RiverHouse last night. There were a few announcements, and then Don VE7DS provided us with a personal perspective on the DXpedition to Campbell Island (ZL9HR) in December 2012.

PNW Cup
Based on scores as of CQ WPX RTTY 2013, Orca is neck and neck with Willamette Valley, and both clubs are about nine million behind Western Washington. This update does not include ARRL DX CW or ARRL DX SSB because the log submission deadlines have not been reached and PNW Cup standings are not updated until after such deadlines.

The next qualifying contest is CQ WPX SSB at the end of March.

Membership
The current roster shows 96 paid-up members.

BCQP Update
The log tally currently sits at 86, with a great deal more logs from outside BC than from within BC. As contest coordinator, I am not pushing anyone to submit a log. Getting stations on the air is the primary objective, and more than 100 VE7/VA7s did just this. Awesome. Moreover, there is no rule requiring participants to submit a log.

However, if you or someone you know has a log and intended to submit it but just hasn’t gotten around to it, the log submission deadline is March 31, 2013, so “later” shouldn’t be left until “too late”. Electronic format is preferred -- email to bcqp@orcadxcc.org -- but paper is fine. No Q count is too small. And if you prefer that your score not be disclosed, send your log as a checklog and it will be used only by the logcheckers to confirm QSOs in other logs.

ZL9HR -- One Operator’s Perspective
In 2010, Lee ZL2AL, a member of the ZL9CI DXpedition to Campbell Island in 1999, recommended that Don VE7DS view a video about that adventure. Lo and behold, a year later, Don found himself part of the 10-man team to ZL9HR activation of Campbell Island.

Campbell Island was discovered in 1810 by Frederick Hassleborough, captain of the sealing brig Perseverance, which was owned by Robert Campbell, after whom the island is named. The island was a base for seal hunting and whaling in the early 1800s, and then became pastoral, with sheep and cattle, until the island was abandoned in 1931. A coast-watching station was established here during World War II, after which the facilities became part of a meteorological outpost, initially manned, and now remotely operated.

In 1954, the island was officially designated a nature reserve. This meant that non-native species had to be eradicated, starting with the descendents of the sheep and cattle left behind when the people left. Brown rats, which made the island their home from around the time of its discovery by Europeans, were eradicated in 2001 after a multi-year, multi-million dollar program to rid the island of this predator. Since then, native plants as well as bird and animal populations have been recovering. The area is one of five sub-Antarctic island groups designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Because of Campbell Island’s tightly controlled nature reserve status, visitors -- whether they are tourists or scientists or DXpeditioners -- require a rather expensive landing permit and must abide by numerous conditions, including no overnight stays ashore. For the ZL9HR team, the process involved a thorough inspection of all equipment and personal gear to ensure that no seeds, plant matter, insects or rodents were inadvertently carried to the island. Individual containers, boxes, radio cases and tubs were opened for inspection by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation staff, given a thorough vacuuming or a blast from a high-pressure air hose, then repackaged into plastic tubs or sealed in large plastic bags, and put into quarantine until sailing. In addition, a member of the DoC accompanied the team to the island and did another check of everything that was brought ashore.

The DoC-approved boat was the Evohe, and the highly experienced skipper was well-acquainted with the route to the island as well as any necessary detours. Indeed, just after leaving Bluff, New Zealand, the skipper learned of a major storm in the Southern Ocean and headed Port Adventure, on Stewart Island, to safe-anchor during the wild weather and then, after a three-day wait, continue on to Campbell Island. Though the storm was running itself out, the voyage was not at all smooth sailing, and the team was knocked about quite violently. There were injuries but not bad enough to cancel the DXpedition.

On the island, the operators were under the careful watch of not only the DoC officer but also the Hooker sea lions. These guardians of the island made it quite clear whose turf the humans were invading, and while the sea lions did not attack, they were extremely aggressive.

As far as setup is concerned, the Spiderbeams were cumbersome to assemble in the tall grass. The first one rather quickly succumbed to high winds, but a second, heavy-duty model lasted longer. The SteppIR failed towards the end of the expedition, leaving a 40m vertical that performed perfectly and a low-mounted 80m dipole that served well towards North America but not as well toward Europe and Asia. Homebrew monoband 10m and 15m Moxon antennas performed excellently, as did the 12m-17m Optibeam. For 160m, the team used an inverted L on an 18m fiberglass push-up mast. The radios included four Kenwood TS590s with SPE 1K amplifiers and two Elecraft K3s with Elecraft KPA500 amplifiers. There were three generators, plus two spares, and 1,100 liters of gas.

The Evohe crew was great: ensuring safe passage to and from Campbell Island, cooking up good meals, and providing extra hands to move equipment ashore and get the antennas assembled and standing.

Initially, the terms of the permit required the team to return to the Evohe at night, but the DoC officer eased that restriction after the first night to allow half the team to overnight on the island. This enabled ZL9HR to stay on the air around the clock, which was terrific because conditions on the high bands were great well into the night, and on 20m, all night. The special consideration is unlikely to set a precedent, which was a concern when the previous activation, ZL9CI, petitioned unsuccessfully for overnight operations, because ZL9HR may have been the last DXpedition to the island.

The old meteorological building and other structures contain asbestos and are deteriorating, so they may be torn down, and the sea lion presence would make a tent operation impossible. Moreover, DXpeditions are not at the top of the DoC’s list of permit-worthy visits. In fact, six DXpeditions were denied permits in 2012. The ZL9HR DXpedition was lucky to get the green light to put this top-20 most-wanted entity on the air.

The shifts were brutal. There were two teams: On Day 1, beginning at 6am Team A worked 12 hours, took a five-hour break while Team B worked, and then returned for seven more hours. The next day, Team B worked the grueling first 12 hours so that Team A could rest, took a five-hour break while Team A manned the radios, and then came back for another seven hours. This schedule was repeated for the duration.

The DXpedition was active for six full days and two half-days between December 1 to December 9 and ended with nearly 43,000 Qs in the log: 61.5% on CW, 35.6% on SSB and 2.9% on RTTY.

Photos and other information about ZL9HR can be found at the DXpedition website.

The earlier ZL9CI recap is still available online if anyone wants to compare notes.

As Don says, this was the experience of a lifetime. Indeed, the bruises from the voyage may fade, but the memories of this adventure will not.

And that’s it for the March Orca Report. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 23) February 12, 2013

February 13, 2013 -- There was a lot on the agenda last night, but we covered announcements and updates relatively quickly and moved on to our special presentation, an insider’s perspective on CC Cluster packet software by the writer himself, Lee VE7CC.

We were a group of 30.

Announcements and Updates

Dues
If you haven’t paid your dues for 2013, you have various ways to do so. You can pay in cash at a meeting. But if you missed that opportunity last night, you have other options: credit card through PayPal, Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and forwarded to Dave VA7AM, club treasurer. Go to the Orca DXCC website for details on payment methods.

If you are not sure of your membership status, check the roster. Sometimes, time flies so fast that it seems as if you just paid your dues, and lo and behold a whole year has passed. I speak from experience. LOL.

If there is a red asterisk beside your callsign, it means you should pay up. Just $24.

Financial Report
As this meeting was our Annual General Meeting, we had a quick word from Treasurer Dave VA7AM on finances. We are most certainly in the black since we have incurred no major expenses since establishment. It is good to have this monetary cushion ahead of the 2014 DX Convention, which Orca DXCC will host.

The 2013 event, by the way, will take place in Spokane. View details.

PNW Cup
In January, Jim VE7FO -- the minder of the PNW Cup spreadsheet of scores -- announced that Orca was leading, well-ahead of Willamette Valley, the usual leader. But Western Washington had not posted scores, and went it did... yes, that club zoomed right past us, as of the ARRL RTTY Round Up. See the spreadsheet. Perhaps we will have reversed positions with the recent CQ WPX RTTY?

Don’t forget about the ARRL CW and SSB contests and the WPX SSB and CW contest that are coming up over the next few months.

And please remember that you either have to post your score to 3830 or email Jim with the raw total, so that he can apply your scores to our totals. The organizers of the respective contests do not send that data to Jim.

Changes to the Bylaws
Orca members were sent an email back in mid-January pursuant to bylaw changes and asked to vote on three items. Here are the results:

Item #1
Change to B1.7 to allow open-ended terms for the position of Directors and Officers based on members who have, or are prepared to serve, so long as their service is at the pleasure of the membership.
Yes: 92%
No: 8%
Passed

Item #2
B1.8 will be deleted if Item #1 is passed, as the term of office clause is no longer relevant.
Yes: 82%
No: 8%
Passed

Item #3
B10.5 required voting by two-thirds of the membership. Deemed impractical, this item was reworded so that a passing vote requires two-thirds of the votes cast by voting members.
Yes: 100%
No: 0%
Passed

The bylaws will be revised accordingly and the amended version will be posted to the Orca website.

And so, your Board of Directors remains Dave VE7VR as President, Steve VE7CT as Vice President, Rebecca VA7BEC as Secretary (with assistance, as necessary, from former-Secretary John VA7JW), and Dave VA7AM as Treasurer. Regional Directors also remain: Ralph VE7XF for Greater Vancouver–Fraser Valley, Paul VE7BZ for South Island, Ron VE7NS for North Island, Dwight VE7BV for the Interior, and Dick N7RO for the U.S.

Did you know?
Solar flux data for predicting HF propagation comes from the Penticton Solar Flux Receiver. Orca member John VA7JW teamed up with Ken Tapping, an astronomer and Head of the Solar Radio Monitoring Programme at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics at Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, to pen an article featured in the February 2013 issue of QST. That photo on the cover of the magazine... that’s how we listen to the sun. Very nice article John.

HK0NA Malpelo won the DX World – DXpedition of the Year 2012 poll. The results of the survey were announced January 16, 2013. Congratulations to that team, which included, as you all know, Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX, and to all the DXpeditions in the running. A job well done, indeed.

BCQP 2013
Read the following as from the BCQP contest coordinator, not your Orca reporter.

First, a big thank-you to everyone who got on the air February 2 and/or who helped others do so; to Ralph VE7XF and Phil VE7YBH, who both ran with the club call VA7ODX on CW, and to Dave VA7AM, who put VA7ODX out on RTTY frequencies; to Bud VA7ST, for keeping the BCQP page updated; and to many others who spread the word and kept the BCQP profile high.

As of Feb 12, we have received 83 logs. The deadline is March 31. Oodles of time to get a log in if you or someone you know hasn’t done so yet. Electronic logs are preferred, especially if the Q count is in the hundreds. Send here.

Already, it is clear that BCQP 2013 attracted more participation, not only from within BC, with more federal electoral districts activated, but also from outside BC, substantiated by our first logs from Saskatchewan, Alaska and Germany. We also have more logs from stations in areas from which logs have come before, such as Japan and other provinces in Canada.

An in-depth analysis of BCQP 2013 results will be made after the log deadline passes, but from the comments I have received with the logs submitted so far, PH was a blast and the other modes were... hmm... less fun.

There are always challenges, whether they stem from poor propagation, a lack of stations to contact on certain bands or certain modes, or issues associated with same-day contests. Admittedly, the latter could be resolved by switching the date, but inevitably, there will be other same-day events that either take away from the pool of potential participants on certain bands and modes or make CQing difficult. I think some of the challenges faced each year can be minimized with a bit of strategic planning.

Since the BCQP's history is relatively short, the event is really still a work in progress. It has grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years under the Orca DXCC banner and will continue to develop and improve with the support of all of you.

The BCQP has generated incredible interest in Orca DXCC, too. Site stats indicate no more than 300 visits per day on average. On Feb 1, the day before BCQP 2013, our site was visited 770 times, and on Feb 2, an amazing 1,549 times. The day before BCQP 2013, our QRZ count was 909. After BCQP 2013 ended, I checked again: 1,703.

Orca is an awesome group of DXers and contesters, with excellent skills and considerable experience in so many things amateur radio. Your support of BCQP has polished our reputation to an even brighter shine. As contest coordinator, I thank you.

CC Cluster
CC Cluster is the largest in the world with about 1,000 connections. Nearly all of us in attendance last night use CC Cluster, the next generation in DX cluster software, so it was great to have Lee VE7CC reveal some of the hidden gems that make this program so useful. Dave VE7VR had the program running and did all the clicking on-screen so that Lee could focus on explaining what happened -- or didn’t happen -- because of the settings.

Normally, I would try to summarize all the little treasures of insider information we learned last night. But there are just so many great features, from sorting by DX or frequency to filtering by band or mode. You set the parameters to what interests you.

You can include skimmer calls -- they show up in the list with a pound sign (#) -- or see which operators use eQSL and LoTW -- a “+” by the callsign indicates a LoTW user, a “-” for an eQSL user, and a “=” for both. You can get alerts if you are looking/waiting for needed countries or states. You can see the spotter’s node, spotter’s country, DX country’s regular prefix and name, spotter and DX stations’ CQ/ITU zones, grid squares, states/provinces. You can go to QRZ by clicking on the DX or spotter callsign. You can send email. You can click on hypertext. For DX spots, each band has its own color. Bad DX spots (blank or duplicate) are removed.

And on and on and on. Take a look for yourself. CC Cluster does everything you want except maybe help with the dinner menu. !!

Steve VE7CT, on behalf of Orca, presented Lee with a cheque for $250 to offset some of the cost burden that Lee shoulders to operate CC Cluster.

And that wraps up the February issue of The Orca Report. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 22) January 8, 2013

January 9, 2013 -- Happy New Year! Rebecca VA7BEC, with a recap of the January meeting.

A group of 27 braved the inclement weather that marked the first meeting of 2013. There were a few announcements, including an update on BCQP preparations, and then a presentation on the Botswana DXpedition from Don VE7DS and Keith VE7MID.

Membership
Membership stands at 105. It is time to renew membership for those of you who have not paid yet. A mere $24. There are several ways to pay: credit card through PayPal, Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and forwarded to Dave VA7AM, club treasurer. You can also pay in cash at a meeting. Go to the Orca DXCC website for paper-trail methods.

Annual General Meeting
The AGM will take place at the next meeting on February 12. Members will be receiving an email in advance of this meeting pursuant to a change in the wording of the bylaw on the election of officers.

PNW Cup Update
Jim VE7FO provided an update on scores, current as of the CQ WW CW contest. Western Washington has not posted scores. Of the other PNW clubs, Orca is leading, with about 42 million points, well ahead of Willamette Valley, at about 33 million points. The standings will be posted to the PNW page of the Orca website soon.

Mid-Month Lunch
Members will soon receive an email about a mid-month lunch, an added opportunity to meet on a different day and time as well as venue so that members in the Lower Mainland who are unable to attend the regular monthly meeting at the RiverHouse on Tuesday nights can still gather to chat. Watch your inboxes for more information.

Technical Presentations
We tend to focus on DXpeditions at our monthly meetings, but some technical presentations will be planned for the future, interspersed between travel+radio adventures. In fact, Lee VE7CC will be the speaker at our February meeting. He will talk about CC Cluster, which most -- if not all of us -- use.

Club Finances
Treasurer Dave VA7AM reports that the club is comfortably in the black. (For the record, he did give a number but I’m not putting in The Orca Report since readership extends beyond club members.) It will be nice to have this cushion going into the planning year for the PNW Convention in our neck of the woods in 2014.

DXpedition of the Year 2012
Vote for the DXpedition that you feel was the best of 2012. Go to the DX World site and click on “DXpedition of the Year 2012” on the left side. Voting continues until January 15, 2013. The problem that caused a crimp in the registration process seems to have been solved.

Botswana 2012
Orca members Don VE7DS and Keith VE7MID were part of a vacation-style DXpedition to Botswana in March 2012. The team also included Joel N5JR and Frosty K5LBU. This was a determined effort, culminating in 11,000+ Qs in the log, but also had some excursions, like a visit to Victoria Falls on the border between southwestern Zambia and northwestern Zimbabwe.

As an aside, the falls, named after Queen Victoria by David Livingstone, is almost exactly half-way along the Zambezi River’s 2,700km journey from its source to the sea. The river plunges into a 100m vertical chasm stretching across the width of the river -- about 1.5km -- to create the biggest curtain of falling water in the world. It is, in fact, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Back to Botswana.

This is an extremely safe, very peaceful African nation, where the proceeds of industry, particularly diamonds, have gone into infrastructure and education. From a radio perspective, it doesn’t break the top-100 most wanted, but it will attract sufficient attention for good-sized pileups.

Frosty was the logistics guy, having lived and traveled in Africa. He had gear stashed locally for DXpedition use. He found a game lodge -- very nice accommodations with game parks all around. Aside from the anticipated sightings of giraffes and elephants, Don’s XYL Sue had a wildlife encounter of the python type. The snake decided on squirrel for lunch and dropped out of a nearby tree with its take-out for leisurely consumption at ground level before slithering off.

Each of the team members had a callsign -- A25DS for Don, A25KW for Keith, A25JR for Joel and A25CF for Frosty. If you had a QSO with any of these four operators and you want a QSL card, send your request to the operator you worked. Look at the QRZ.com info for specific QSLing instructions. The team was active during CQ WPX SSB with the callsign A25HQ. Frosty K5LBU is QSL manager for that callsign.

The team’s antenna collection featured a Tennadyne T6 Log Periodic at about 30 feet, a Cushcraft R-7 Vertical, a Butternut HF2V Vertical and a low inverted L for 160m. The rigs were an Icom 746 Pro, Yaesu FT-450 and two Elecraft K3s. Unfortunately, conditions were not ideal, mainly due to magnetic storms. Keith says, “160m was a total bust, 80m was a no show, 40m was good for the night owls, 20-10m was very dependent on band conditions, and 6m was a disappointment.”

Regardless of band conditions, the pileups were large and the team had a great time. Keith and Don both recommend this QTH for a get-a-way DXpedition.

BCQP 2013
This is an Orca DXCC-sponsored event. BCQP 2012 was well attended and post-QP comments as well as replies to my BCQP 2013 invitation emails have been very positive so we can assume that the 2013 event will be an active 12 hours as well.

First, event details. And then, an update on promotion. Helpful hints for operators who don’t regularly dabble in contests have been posted as a separate document within the BCQP section of the Orca website.

Date/Time1600z Feb 2 - 0400z Feb 3
Objective:For VE7/VA7s: federal electoral district
For non-VE7/VA7s: Province/State/DX (Note: In this party, Hawaii (KH) and Alaska (KL) are NOT DX but states, so use HI and AK, respectively.)
Multipliers:See the list.
Rules:Here.
Bands:160m to 10m. No WARC.
Modes:PH, CW and Digital (PSK, RTTY, etc)
Awards:BC symbol- or lovely scenery-based certificate for all top scores in all modes and all power classes. A nice Orca trinket accompanies each certificate.
NEW in 2013!! Plaques for Top BC, Top Canada outside BC, Top YL, Top US and Most Federal Electoral Districts Worked

From a promotion perspective, timing is key. Contacting clubs, organizations, associations and past and potential participants too early, and people forget by game day. Wait too long, and the opportunity to get the info to the people who make announcements at once-a-month meetings is lost. Emailing and forum posts have therefore been staggered to achieve the most effective coverage.

Who’s been contacted so far?
Radio-related clubs, associations and blog editors in BC and other provinces, operators of contest calendars in Canada, the U.S., Japan and Germany, same-day QSO party organizers, our PNW friends, and past participants have been contacted.

Many clubs and blog editors have posted the invitation email to their respective websites, forwarded the email to members, included information about the BCQP in member newsletters, or have done all three. And they continue to keep the profile of the BCQP high.

Same-day QSO party organizers were contacted so that they can encourage in-state participants to take advantage of Q-trading opportunities.

As an aside... Like BC stations, in-state participants in the Minnesota (MN), Delaware (DE) and Vermont (VT) QSO parties will be looking for anyone anywhere. If you are CQing and you get an MN station -- clue is that you get MN in the exchange or the op gives you way too much information than you need -- offer to give the op the info s/he needs for his/her MNQP log. If you hear an MN station CQing for the MNQP, drop by, give the guy/gal a point and ask if s/he’d be willing to reciprocate. Note: This technique will not work, however, if you get a VE3 who is participating in one of the other QSO parties. Out-of-state operators do not get a point for contacting stations outside the host state.

Contest calendars... All calendar-keepers except WA7BNM have updated their sites. (Jeff VE7JR emailed WA7BNM to ask why BCQP doesn’t appear in the Feb 2013 list and was told that other updates are more of a priority. !!)

Luckily, not everyone relies on WA7BNM’s calendar, and some calendars are QSO party-specific, so any clubs that have a permanent link to such calendars are aware of the BCQP.

Check out ARRL’s Contest Corral for February 2013. It’s very thorough and includes info on the required exchange for each event. I made an at-a-glance summary of same-weekend events for myself for easy reference on game day. I will upload this to the Orca Yahoo Group. If you don’t belong to the Yahoo Group and want a copy of this summary, email me. I’ll send it to you directly.

My post to the RAC Bulletin was picked up by Southgate ARC News in the U.K., which is in turn picked up by other clubs and organizations, news feeds, blogs and daily mailouts near and far. It’s amazing where “BCQP” shows up... from clubs in Canada and the U.S. to organizations in the Netherlands and South Africa. It’s like getting spotted on the cluster during a contest. It’s absolutely delightful!

What’s next?
I will be posting to forums next week, and reminder emails will go out to everyone everywhere at the end of the month.

New in 2013
A new development for BCQP 2013 that could draw more participation is the plaque program. We now have five sponsored plaques: Top BC (sponsored by Fleetwood Digital Products), Top Canada outside BC (Cowichan Valley ARS), Top YL (Burnaby ARC), Top US (Orca DXCC) and Most Federal Electoral Districts Contacted (Surrey ARC and SEPAR).

WA Connection
Close proximity to Washington State could make Qs difficult. But it’s not impossible. Nevertheless, the hours spent by a WA operator are only fun and worthwhile if there are a good number of VE7/VA7s on the air to contact. So Orca members -- spread the word so that there are lots of BC stations calling CQ in BCQP. The party doesn’t happen without us.

VA7ODX operators
I will take SSB. Anyone interested in CW or RTTY shifts? A couple of hours...? What say?

Please contact me, VA7BEC, if you can run with the sponsor callsign for a bit. I’ll set up a schedule.

Incentive
For Orca members, we will again have an in-house draw. Make 25 Qs and submit your log, and your name will go into a draw for a prize. Something nice but not extravagant. The number of names drawn will depend on the number of logs submitted by Orca members.

Please...
Talk about the BCQP with radio pals. The more BC stations we get on the air, the more Q potential there is for BC and non-BC stations, which draws more participants and fuels the Q count, which makes CQing productive, which attracts more participants, which expands the potential for more Qs... and on it goes. We got some of that snowball effect in 2012. Let’s keep it rolling.

Orca members outside the Lower Mainland, your federal electoral district will be a most-wanted in the BCQP. If you can’t devote hours in front of the radio, consider listening every so often and drop by if you hear a VE7/VA7.

If you have questions about the BCQP, email me. I will try my best to answer or find someone who can if I can’t.

33, 73 and/or 88, as the case may be. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC