Club Meetings

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

All regular club meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month, 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 48 Oct. 13, 2015 Orca Report 47 Sept. 8, 2015 Orca Report 46 June 9, 2015 Orca Report 45 May 12, 2015 Orca Report 44 Apr. 14, 2015 Orca Report 43 Mar. 10, 2015 Orca Report 42 Feb. 10, 2015 Orca Report 41 Jan. 13, 2015 Orca Report 40 Dec. 9, 2014 Orca Report 39 Nov. 18, 2014 Orca Report 38 Oct. 14, 2014 Orca Report 37 Sept. 16, 2014 Orca Report 36 June 10, 2014 Orca Report 35 May 13, 2014 Orca Report 34 Mar. 11, 2014 Orca Report 33 Feb. 11, 2014 Orca Report 32 Jan. 14, 2014 Older Orca Reports...
The first-ever club meeting was held Oct. 15, 2010.

The Orca Report (No. 48) Oct. 13, 2015

October 13, 2015—The weather turned out great, making the drive to the RiverHouse Restaurant bright and pleasant. But the sun had set by the time dinner was in full swing and presentations began so no one was blinded by the usual blast of sunset glow streaming into the room.

We were a group of 24. The key agenda items were a short video on DXpeditions and a presentation by John VA7JW on 150 years of electricity, magnetism and the Great Experimenters.

The not-so-key announcements—but still worthy of mention, of course—were the PNW Cup and BCQP 2016.


The content season has really only just begun, but keep in mind CQWW SSB (October 23-25, 5pm local start).

As an aside, Mike VE7ACN will be at RW0CN for CQWW SSB, and Dave VE7VR will be at VC3X.

BCQP 2016: Plaque Sponsorship

The formal start of promotion will commence in November. However, pre-promotion emails will go out to clubs in BC to confirm interest from past plaque sponsors and to round up some new interest as well.

The cost to sponsor a plaque will be $50—up $5, due to rising postage and production costs—but this is still an amazingly inexpensive way to promote a club or radio-related business or, perhaps, to remember an elmer who has become an SK. If you know of any clubs, businesses or individuals connected to amateur radio that might benefit through plaque sponsorship, please have a representative get in touch with me. There really is no downside to sponsoring a plaque—they are definitely shack wall worthy and increasingly sought-after reward.

There are many possible plaque categories—more than just those that have already been sponsored (top BC, top US, top Canada outside BC, top YL, top rookie, top DX, top mixed mode, most electoral districts contacted)—and the BCQP Committee will consider any viable idea for a plaque. Maybe something to get more participation from a particular area of BC or another province? Or to narrow down an existing category, emphasizing high-power or low-power or multi-op or club or ....?

DXpedition Planning

We watched an 8-minute video summary of the DX University presentation given by Ralph Fedor K0IR at Visalia in 2015 on the important aspects of DXpedition planning. Ralph, as many of you know, has considerable DXpedition experience—VK0IR, K5D, FT5ZM, K1N and many other major expeditions that delivered world-class results—so he really does know what he’s talking about.

Take a look at the video.

And on the DXpedition theme, remember to check the Orca homepage for upcoming DXpeditions. Bud VA7ST keeps the list nicely updated.

Evening Program: 150 Years of Electricity, Magnetism and the Great Experimenters

John VA7JW presented a history of electricity, magnetism and the great experimenters, a study kindled by the 150th anniversary of James Clerk Maxwell’s presentation of four equations to the Royal Society of Great Britain back in 1865. These rather complicated equations, known as Maxwell’s Equations, describe the world of electromagnetism—how electric and magnet fields propagate and interact and how they are affected by objects—from a mathematical perspective.

Did you know that Maxwell, a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics, was one of the first experimenters to determine that the speed of EM wave propagation was the same as the speed of light? And did you know that while Maxwell’s Equations are essential to understanding antennas and electromagnets, most electrical engineers and physicists really don’t know what they mean?

If you are interested in Maxwell’s Equations, check out the tutorial video. Just scroll down past the Introduction to Maxwell’s Equations. The video is about 11 minutes long and it is very understandable. The emphasis is on intuitive knowledge rather than mathematical manipulation-based knowledge, according to the author. For untechnical me, it actually made sense.

The four equations, by the way, are Gauss’ Law, Gauss’ Magnetism Law, Faraday’s Law and Ampere’s Law. Each of these equations is described on the site. Just click on the laws.

In John’s presentation, he mentioned scientists, physicists, mathematicians and early engineers—some formally schooled and others self-taught—who paved the way for Maxwell’s Equations. Many names are quite familiar to us in the amateur radio hobby.

Stephen Gray, an English dyer by trade, was the first to systematically experiment with electrical conduction.

Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist and chemist, is credited as the inventor of the electrical battery—the Voltaic pile. And yes, the unit for electric potential—volt—was named in his honor.

Hans Oersted, a Danish physicist and chemist, discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields. The standard unit of magnetic H-field strength—the oersted (Oe)—is named after him.

Andre-Marie Ampere a French physicist and mathematician, was a pioneering force in the science of classical electromagnetism. The standard unit of measurement for electric current is, of course, the ampere.

Georg Ohm, a German physicist and mathematician, found a direct proportionality between the potential difference applied across a conductor and the resulting electric current. This relationship is... Ohm’s Law.

James Watt, a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, created the Watt steam engine, which spurred progress during the Industrial Revolution. He developed the concept of horsepower, and the standard unit for power—the watt—is named after him.

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, a French physicist, defined the electrostatic force of attraction and repulsion, under Coulomb’s Law, and the standard unit of electric charge—the coulomb—is named after him.

Michael Faraday, an English scientist, acquired his early learning during apprenticeship as a bookbinder—he read the books he bound—and went on to contribute to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. The standard unit of capacitance—the farad—is taken from his name.

Carl Gauss, a German mathematician, formulated the law relating to the distribution of electric charge to the resulting electric field that is one of Maxwell’s Equations.

Joseph Henry, an American scientist, invented electromagnets. The standard unit of inductance—the henry—is named for him.

Oliver Heaviside, a self-taught English electrical engineer, mathematician and physicist, is credited with various advances in telecommunications, mathematics and sciences.

And that’s it for the recap of the October meeting. Hope to hear you all during CQWW SSB. Perhaps there will be an improvement in CONDX by then.

Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 47) Sept. 8, 2015

September 9, 2015—Regardless of the weather, when the calendar flips to September, we know summer vacation is over. It seems to have been a very busy summer for Orca members, and although CONDX have been truly awful for many months now, some people enjoyed some great radio moments. More on that later.

We had 26 people turn out for the September meeting, which marks the club’s fifth birthday. How time flies! And in this time, we certainly have achieved many milestones.

There were a few announcements and then Keith VE7KW showed a presentation on the 7QAA Malawi DXpedition this past spring (March/April 2015).


The 2015 convention was held in early August in Everett, WA, with the Western Washington DX Club hosting the event. It appears to have been very well attended. Orca DXCC did indeed three-peat, and the traveling PNW Cup remains in our possession. Great work Orca contesters!!

On the WWDXC theme, this club sponsors the Salmon Run, which is coming up very soon—Saturday, September 19 (9:00am to midnight PDT) and Sunday, September 20 (20 Sep 9:00am to 5:00pm PDT). Like our BCQP, the Salmon Run is casual and fun, and the potential for a clean sweep—of all counties—is high, given the smaller size of the state compared with BC and good activity coverage over the whole state. If you do not have leaf-raking duties and find yourself at the radio... consider spending some time in this event. You might end up with a nice package of smoked salmon for your efforts. For details, go to the contest website, from which you will be able to click your way to rules and a list of the county abbreviations.

On the contesting theme, the first of the PNW Cup-eligible contests takes place at the end of September: CQ WW RTTY DX (0000z September 26 to 2359z September 27).

Orca Lunch

Brian VE7JKZ has handled over organizing duties to Margaret VE7TJF. If, in the transition process, you expect to receive a reminder email and not—or conversely, have moved out of the Lower Mainland and cannot or do not want to be on the contact list—please let Margaret know so she can update the mailout.

The schedule and venue remain the same: Fourth Wednesday of the month at the White Spot on the corner of Hwy 10 and 152 Street in Surrey.

Orca Field Day 2015

Don VE7DS spearheaded another fun-filled effort to get VA7ODX on the air. The coast guard at Sea Island again provided the venue, Don’s XYL, Sue, orchestrated another excellent BBQ—so good, in fact, that no one operated the radios during mealtime and probably lost 300 Qs!—and the YLs (Jeanne VA7QLT and Margaret VE7TJF) added SSB Qs, including QRP via solar power, to the CW-heavy log. Good fun, commeraderie and teamwork—facilitated, perhaps, by the dress rehearsal prior to game day—led to a higher score than in 2014. There were 689 Qs on CW and 94 on SSB, for a total score, before bonus points, of 2,944.

The team comprised Don VE7DS, Keith VE7KW, Fred VE7IO, Phil VE7YBH, Jeanne VA7QLT, Margaret VE7TJF and visitor Skip VK3ALR.

What I did last summer?

For the past couple of years, the first meeting after the summer break has been an opportunity to share recent accomplishments, progress on radio-related projects, local travels and other noteworthy activities. No call went out for the September meeting—perhaps for October?—but Don VE7DS did do a quick recap of Field Day 2015 and Mike VE7ACN had some pictures from his station back in Russia and also from a local DXpedition to Thetis Island in August.

Thetis Island (IOTA NA-075) is one of the Gulf Islands, off the southeast side of Vancouver Island. Mike stayed at a B&B for four nights and utilized the trees to hang his antennas. Activity was rather slow at the start, but the last night and following morning delivered a bounty of Qs—1,100—with a final count around 1,700.

Main Presentation: 7QAA Malawi

Back in March, the 7QAA team went QRV from the Ngala Beach Lodge, on the shores of Lake Malawi, 120km—but a 6-hour road trip— from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. This DXpedition, with an original November 2014 start, had the participation of four Orca members—Neil VA7DX, Keith VE7KW and Don VE7DS in Malawi and Dick N7RO as QSL manager.

Keith gave the presentation, with photos and some video, but Neil, Don and Dick were available to add commentary as well.

The 7QAA team was actually two teams, one for CW—March 11-21—and one for SSB—March 22-April 1—with RTTY covered by both. The SSB team was to have 10 people but illness, not related to the DXpedition, slimmed the operator count to just five.

The log had about 67,000 Qs, with far more CW than SSB and RTTY. And Dick has already dealt with about 40,000 Qs!!

Roger ZS6RJ handled all the preparations and he did an awesome job. There were hiccups, like the equipment, which was shipped six weeks in advance, arrived two days late, meaning the operation did not get on the air as intended. And then, the equipment took a very circuitous route back to South Africa, not arriving for three months.

There are some pictures on the DXpedition website that will give you an idea of the antenna setup—particularly the efforts expended to raise four hexbeams on 40-foot gumpoles (like telephone poles) with specially manufactured ground stakes.

Did you know? This DXpedition was dedicated to Frosty K5LBU who became a silent key on February 14, 2015. He organized many DXpeditions in Africa.

So that wraps of this issue of The Orca Report. Our next meeting will be October 13 and the recap will appear within a few days of that date. Until then, this is VA7BEC, signing off.

The Orca Report (No. 46) June 9, 2015

June 9, 2015—This was the last formal meeting before the summer break, and 29 people gathered at the RiverHouse Restaurant.

PNW Cup Standings

Scores compiled by Jim VE7FO put Orca DXCC way ahead on the race for the traveling PNW Cup. The following table shows the standings as of WPX CW 2015. The Orca website has a spreadsheet showing scores by Orca members. As of this writing, the spreadsheet doe not yet show WPX CW scores.

If you participated in an eligible contest, but your callsign row doesn’t show a score, please contact Jim.

The last contest of the season is IARU. The trophy will be presented at the upcoming PNW Convention in Everett, WA, in August, and it looks like Orca will three-peat. Lots of very active contesters in our group. FB to all who have contributed to this amazing result.

Western Washington DXC81,528,778
Willamette Valley DXC89,694,590
Orca DXCC141,464,453

PNW DX Convention in Everett

On the PNW theme... The PNW DX Convention, sponsored and run this year by the Western Washington DX Club, will take place August 7-9 in Everett, WA. If you plan to attend and want to stay at the convention venue—The Holiday Inn—then you should call to make a reservation and request the rate code DXC or ask for the Pacific NW DX Convention rate.

Register for the convention itself.

For information on the program schedule, attendees and other convention-related activities, check the dedicated website.

VA7ODX Field Day

Don VE7DS says preparations are well under way. There will be a dress rehearsal to work out any setup kinks. If you would like to participate, please contact Don.

Field Day is a 24-hour event starting 1800Z Saturday—essentially 11am local time here on the west coast.


Don VE7DS is also involved in the planning of a station that will operate as VE100VIMY for 10 days in April 2017 to mark the centenary of the assault on Vimy Ridge by Canadians. This battle was the first occasion on which all four divisions of the Canadian Corps attacked as a composite formation. The successful and relatively quick capture of Vimy Ridge was achieved because of technical and tactical innovations, powerful artillery preparation and meticulous planning. After the war, France ceded Vimy Ridge to Canada. If you would like more background about the battle and the memorial that stands on the hill, view the online brochure.

So after three years of dealing with various levels of government, including Parks Canada—because Vimy Ridge falls under that agency’s jurisdiction—as well as Veterans Affairs, Industry Canada and others, the callsign VE100VIMY was issued. Normally, a VE prefix is only authorized for use in Canada, but Vimy Ridge is, in effect, a part of Canada—the Canadian National Vimy Memorial is in fact designated as a Canadian National Historic Site—and it is important for radio amateurs around the world to make the connection. No pun intended.


Dave VE7VR is looking for one.

Willis Island DXpedition 2015: VK9WA

Club member Sandro VE7NY will be on an international team going to Willis Island later this year. The operation will be QRV from November 12-21. This location is #34 on Club Log’s most wanted list and has not been activated since 2008.

Steve VE7CT suggested at the meeting last night that Orca make a donation to this DXpedition, as it satisfies—or very nearly satisfies—the club’s criteria for support. Usually, the club focuses on the top 25 entities on the most-wanted list, but the difficulty in getting to Willis Island and the roughing-it aspect of operation, plus the participation of a club member, should warrant consideration. The proposal was put to members in attendance and the majority said “yes.”

Sandro has been on many DXpeditions and he’s always got stories to tell, so he will surely do a presentation for us upon his return from VK9WA.

More info to follow as the departure date grows closer. Until then, check out the DXpedition’s website.

Orca Lunch

The next Orca lunch will be on June 24, the fourth Wednesday of the month, at the usual venue—the White Spot at Hwy 10 and 152nd Street in Surrey.

Brian VE7JKZ will send out an email closer to the date. If anyone from out of town will be local on June 24, contact Brian so that he keeps you in the loop.

Note that this will be the last lunch organized by Brian. After two years, he is looking to hand the duty to someone else. It is not too onerous a task—send a reminder email to Orca members in the Lower Mainland, keep track of who replies, and call the restaurant to reserve a table on lunch day.

Anyone who would like to take over from Brian should contact him for details, like getting the mailout list.

Brian—Thanks for making the lunch option another great way for Orca members to get together.

BCQP 2015 Wrap-Up

The special BCQP Report has been written, and the results for this year’s event have been announced. All the information—report, results and examples of the certificates and plaques—is available for viewing in the BCQP section of the Orca website. As contest coordinator for this event, I encourage you to read the report. Whether you participated on the air or behind the scenes, you will find tidbits of information that may put the BCQP 2015 results and activity into better perspective and help with strategies for next year.

The certificates have been printed and the plaques produced, and since so many Orca members turned in scores that captured certificates and plaques, the June meeting was the perfect opportunity to hand out awards. All other recipients will receive their packages by snail mail.

Certificate winners, with top scores in their respective category of entry, who have an Orca connection are:

(team included VA7XB and VE7GM)
VE7JR (team included VE7XS)
VE7DB (team included VA7GL)
VA7NLF (team included VA7NF and VE7IO)

Plaque winners with an Orca connection are:

included VA7NF and VE7IO)
Top BC
Dave VE7VR Mixed Mode: SOHP
Margaret VE7TJFTop YL
Dick N7RO(Most Federal Electoral Districts: SOLP MIXED

Orca members, on the club roster as of BCQP 2015, who submitted logs with at least 25 QSOs were entered into a draw for $25 gift cards. The box held 21 callsigns, and Dick N7RO picked the following:

Don VE7DDG Home Depot
Bill VE7XS BC Liquor Store
Dino VE7NX White Spot
Brett VE7GM Starbucks

Orca members who were not in attendance will receive their certificate packages and/or gift cards by snail mail.

All certificate recipients receive a small gift. This year, it is a coaster.

Thanks again to Orca members for supporting this club-sponsored event. It continues to gain recognition from near and far and in the process raises the club’s profile.

Promotion for BCQP 2016 will commence in November, although the new multiplier list—due to a change in the federal electoral district map—has been provided to logging program writers who support BCQP. And the software is already updated. Fabulous!

Feature Topic: Radio Remote Control over the Internet

Dave VE7VR demonstrated radio remote control using Remoterig and PC-based control software.

Remoterig units are used in pairs, with one connected to the radio and the other to the control equipment. These systems can be configured to work with almost any equipment currently available from ICOM, Kenwood, Yaesu and Elecraft and are very useful in situations where an operator is not allowed to set up antennas at the operating location, the desired antenna structure is too large for the operating location or maybe the noise level is so high that a normal signal exchange is not discernable. The system, as Dave demonstrated, works very well with traditional remote control scenarios from PC-based control software like Ham Radio Deluxe. But the system will work without a PC, as well.

The delay is hardly noticeable.

Setup is a little bit complicated. An understanding of router and IP addresses is necessary, but once everything is ready, it really is a user-friendly, cost-efficient way to operate remotely.

The Remoterig website explains it all.

And this is it for the June meeting. Our next Tuesday evening meeting will be in September. Until next time, this is VA7BEC, signing off. Have a good summer.

The Orca Report (No. 45) May 12, 2015

May 12, 2015—The restaurant seemed busier than usual, and we shared our usual area with a couple of non-Orca tables. We were a group of 22, again with the noticeable absence of quite a few regulars. Some members are known to be out of town, including president Dave VE7VR. In his stead, vice-president Steve VE7CT led our meeting, which featured a video on the 2014 Amsterdam Island DXpedition (FT5ZM).

PNW Cup Update

Jim VE7FO provided an update on scores. Orca DXCC is well in front, with a year-to-date score of 108,426,189. Western Washington DXC is next, with 81,528,778. Willamette Valley DXC follows fairly closely, at 77,816,641. Spokane DXA has 12,187,361 and BC DXC has 10,863,150. Idaho DXA rounds out the PNW group at 471,258.

Orca Lunch — Change in venue!

The next lunch will be May 27—the fourth Wednesday in May — and as usual, Orca members in the Lower Mainland will get a reminder email from Brian VE7JKZ a few days beforehand to confirm attendance. Of note, the May lunch will be at a different venue — Meadows Restaurant at the Town and Country Inn— this month. You can view the lunch menu online here.

Field Day 2015

Don VE7DS reports that preparations for the Orca Field Day are shaping up. So far, 11 operators have signed on. There will be a rehearsal on June 13 to practice setting up. Field Day is June 27-28. If you want to be involved in the VA7ODX plan, please contact Don.

BCQP 2015

Suitable photos have finally been taken — nice weather finally occurred when I had time to separate myself from work — and production of certificates and plaques has moved into the final stages. The special BCQP report is also nearing completion — lots of number-crunching and analysis involved... takes time. The official announcement of results will be made soon, and certificates and plaques will be sent out thereafter.

At the June meeting, we will do the gift card draw for Orca members who participated at stations for which a log with at least 25 Qs was received by the log submission deadline. There will be 24 names in the draw, and four gift cards will be given out.

Amsterdam Island 2014 — FT5ZM

This DXpedition took place from mid-January to mid-February 2014, and two Orca members —Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX — were part of the 14-man team to this French Antarctic island in the southern Indian Ocean. About half this time was spent on the water, sailing to the island and then back to Fremantle, Australia, aboard the Braveheart, a well-known DXpedition vessel.

The video we saw was made by Bob Allphin K4UEE, and while it showed aspects of the voyage, including radio time while aboard the Braveheart, as well as at-island operations, it also showed food. Deliciously delectable desserts, in particular. Yes, it must have been a tough adventure — so many days at sea, the long uphill walk to the Antonelli site (potential for seal attacks at night meant no walking back to base in the dark), lots of hours at the radio, equipment setup and takedown... — but the amazing meals certainly begs the question “Did the team gain weight?” And Steve’s answer? Temporarily.

The FT5ZM website is still up and provides information about the DXpedition. On this site, you will also find a short video (6:50) by Ralph Fedor K0IR about other DXpeditions that marked the FT5ZM team’s journey toward Amsterdam Island. The FT5ZM team was very experienced, and many members had been on amazing DXpeditions to many of the top-10 most wanted destinations before FT5ZM went QRV.

Also, you might want to check out the presentation that Bob K4UEE made at the Charlotte Hamfest shortly after returning home. It is about one-hour in length. Bob is an entertaining speaker, and his presentation provides lots of details on the whole DXpedition. It includes a nice tour of the Braveheart. Great photos, as well, by Nodir EY8MM, especially around the 46-minute mark.

According to Bob’s Charlotte Hamfest presentation, the team logged 170,140 Qs!! More than half were CW.

Very expensive... biggest component was the Braveheart. About half of all costs were covered by the team, and the rest came from donations.

Steve says this DXpedition was the most fun of any DXpedition he has been on. It was tiring but rewarding. The team was great.

That’s it for this month. 33, 73 and/or 88, as the case may be. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 44) April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015—Turned out to be a very nice evening, albeit colder than expected. We were a group of 25, with the noticeable absence of quite a few regulars. Announcements were kept to a minimum, as our evening presentation was a 59-minute video on WRTC 2014.


PNW Cup Update

Nothing to announce. We’ll just assume that Orca DXCC is still out in front, followed by Willamette Valley DXC and Western Washington DXC, not necessary in that order.

Orca Lunch

The next lunch will be April 22—the fourth Wednesday in April. Note, there are five Wednesdays in April this year, so don’t assume the lunch is necessarily the last Wednesday of the month. Orca members in the Lower Mainland will get a reminder email from Brian VE7JKZ a few days beforehand to confirm attendance.

Field Day 2015

Don VE7DS reports that the coast guard has given the OK for Field Day from the Sea Island base. The current plan calls for two stations set up inside a 10’ x 20’ tent. The goal is to make more Qs than last year. And to have fun, of course.

BCQP 2015

Still aiming for an official announcement of results in May. Stay tuned.

7QAA—Malawi 2015

Welcome home to Orca members Don VE7DS, Keith VE7KW and Neil VA7DX, who were part of Team One. Dick N7RO is the QSL manager.

WRTC 2014

For those who do not know, the World Radiosport Team Championship is an invitation-only event—the Olympics of radiosport—where the world’s top contesters compete against each on a level playing field. All teams use the same antennas and operate from the same geographic area, which essentially eliminates all variables except operating ability. Unofficially, though, all sorts of station-specific variables can, and do, creep in—bad interface between computer and radio, faulty cables, computer or monitor problems, lost radio en route, extreme jetlag, etc.— which may impact team performance and score. But the idea is that no station has the benefit of a salt-water location, a huge antenna farm atop a high hill, perfect weather or anything else that would give one station an edge over another.

Think of WRTC 2014 as an extreme field day.

WRTC 2014—the seventh radio Olympics—was held in the New England area. The event coincide with IARU HF Radiosport Contest 2014 (July 11-12), had 59 teams of two on the air. A look at the list of participants, judges and referees yields a lot of very familiar callsigns.

The official video can be viewed online. It is a James Brooks 9V1YC production, so you know is it very professional.

By the way, WRTC 2018 has been granted to Germany.

The next Orca meeting will be May 12. Steve VE7CT will talk about his trip to Wake Island, following the Kure 2005 DXpedition.

That’s it for this month. 33, 73 and/or 88, as the case may be. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 43) Mar. 10, 2015

March 10, 2015—The fog lifted and 26 people ventured out to the March meeting. Our agenda began with some announcements, and then we moved on two presentations.


PNW Cup Update

The most recent data that Jim VE7FO has is as follows:

Orca DXCC76,804,942
Willamette Valley DXC43,840,336
Western Washington DXC42,094,448

Orca Lunch

The next lunch will be March 25. Orca members in the Lower Mainland will get a reminder email from Brian VE7JKZ a few days beforehand to confirm attendance.

Possible Presentations?

If you have something to present at a future Orca meeting, please contact Dave VE7VR.

BCQP 2015

The log submission deadline has passed. The number of logs reached 90 as of March 11: 26 from BC, if the sponsor station VA7ODX is included, and 64 from outside BC (13 from other provinces, 43 from the US, and eight from outside North America). This is a considerable drop from last year (123), with decreases in the number of logs from both inside and outside BC. For reference, there were 37 in-province logs and 86 out-of-province logs last year, so the downward changes are nine and 22, respectively.

Why? The detailed analysis will come later, but I think poor propagation made the event more challenging than some people could tolerate and they gave up. The draw of K1N was another reason. When band conditions improved, operators who might have participated in BCQP turned their attention—understandably—to the DXpedition.

I will say, though, that anyone who spent time CQing, particularly on PH, ended up with a big log. It is obvious from the large number of out-of-province logs that there was considerable interest in BCQP. On-air comments and post-event emails tell me that operators outside BC were keen to find VE7/VA7s and disappointed that they didn’t hear as many as last year.

A quick look at log content shows a decrease of 20 year-on-year, from 121 to 101, in the number of VE7/VA7s who got on the air, either in teams or on their own. The number of BC stations on the air reached 81.

So... although 81 BC stations got on the air, only 26 sent in logs. There is, of course, no requirement to submit a log, but the more logs there are, the more accurate log-checking can be.

The usual report will be prepared, with a detailed analysis of log content, etc., and the official results will be announced then. Hopefully, in May.

Heard Island

After last month’s video on the 1997 DXpedition—VK0IR— to Heard Island, Elizabeth VE7YL noted that Kirsti Jenkins-Smith VK9NL and OM Jim VK9NS (SK) made a trip to Heard Island in 1983, operating as VK0NL and VK0JS, respectively. Kirsti wrote a great book, Heard Island Odyssey, about the adventure, including the perilous journey home, but that is not her only book or her only DXpedition. Like our very own Elizabeth, Kirsti is a YL with an amazing background.

Did you know that the DXpedition to Heard Island this year—it was postponed from 2014—is dedicated to Kirsti and Jim? See for details.

Also, the video we saw last month, VK0IR Heard Island - Outpost at the Edge, by James Brooks 9V1YC, is now available online for free viewing.

7QAA—Malawi 2015

Orca members Don VE7DS, Keith VE7KW and Neil VA7DX are part of Team One QRV on CW and RTTY from March 11 through March 21. On March 22, Team Two will take over, on SSB and RTTY, until April 1.

The DXpedition will be running in WPX SSB later this month.

Details on this DXpedition are available on the website.

Did you know that Frosty (Charles Frost) K5LBU, who has organized and participated on many DXpeditions in Africa, went silent key on February 14, 2015? The 7QAA operation is dedicated to him.


RSGB - BERU 2015

A couple of years ago, Brian VE7JKZ talked about the RSGB Commonwealth Contest, quite possibly the oldest DX contest around. The first event took place in 1931 as a way to bring amateur radio operators within the Commonwealth together on the air. The contest is commonly referred to as BERU, after the British Empire Radio Union, which was formed by RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain) to address the fact that its membership was scattered throughout the British Empire and its dominions. In the early days, the event lasted a week. Now, it’s just a weekend.

This year’s event will take place from 1000z Mar 14 to 1000z Mar 15. It is CW only and participation is restricted to licensed radio amateurs within the Commonwealth. It is a wonderful opportunity to work some DX that you might not hear during the major contests or be able to catch through the eastern and southeastern walls.

During its 78-year history, BERU seen many changes, some designed to breathe new life into the contest as the old-timers went silent key. A couple approaches to spur participation are teams and 12- and 24-hour operation options in open and restricted power categories.

In recent years, Canada has been well represented in BERU, not only in participation but also in awards. Take a look at the teams registered for the 2015 event. Of the 16 teams listed, nine are Canada-based.

Rules are available here.

Many participants travel to a Commonwealth country to have a holiday and spend the weekend on the air. Brian will not be travelling anywhere. He will be operating VE7RAC as the seventh call area HQ station. A Q with Brian will provide extra bonus points.

Restoration of Antique Radio

John VE7JW stumbled upon an old radio—a farm radio that would have brought programs to a rural household back in the 1920s—at the Horse Barn in Kamloops. Inside the box was a seven-page letter dated August 26, 1926 from C-W Radio Service Co., in Victoria. The address was just a few kilometers from where John grew up. Interesting...

The old radio was in rough shape. The front panel had been scrubbed, destroying the finish. The insides surely needed replacing. But where do you get parts for a piece of equipment so old? Luckily, the letter was like a manual, providing a bit of guidance on parts and assembly. And with modern technology, the search for potential providers of needed components was facilitated. has a huge inventory.

For the faceplate, John was lucky enough to find custom rubdown transfers through

He built the power supply on his own.

The antique radio project was an investment of about $700 and three years of time, but the result is really terrific. Take a look.

The next Orca meeting will be April 14. Our planned presentation will be a video on WRTC 2014 by 9V1YC. By the way, did you know that DXpedition videos by 9V1YC are now available for free online viewing. These are excellent productions. Watch them all here.

That’s it for this month. 33, 73 and/or 88, as the case may be. QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 42) Feb. 10, 2015

February 10, 2015—We were a fairly large group this time: 31. We had a few general announcements and then watched a video about the Heard Island DXpedition by James Brooks 9V1YC back in 1997, as a precursor to the upcoming visit to this QTH later this year.


Membership: If you haven’t paid up for 2015, please do so. To keep your membership status current, you can pay your $24 dues by credit card through PayPal, Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or by 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 electronic and paper-trail methods.

Presentation Presenters: Dave VE7VR has received ideas for presentations. But rather than “Hey, I’ve got an idea for a presentation”, it would be great if someone would say “Hey, I’ve got something to present.”

Amateur radio is really a diverse hobby, and we are a group of diverse talents. If you have something that can be turned into a presentation, please email Dave with your idea and availability.

PNW Cup Update: No specific numbers were given. Instead, a ranking, from “A little bit” to “Tons”. Guess who’s got the latter?

There are various eligible contests under the ARRL and WPX banners. Help keep Orca’s level at “tons”.

Mid-Month Lunch: Next one on February 25 at the White Spot at Hwy 10 and 152nd Street. Brian VE7JKZ is back from his travels and will be sending out emails to confirm attendance. These lunch gatherings are always smaller and make for great conversation.

BCQP 2015

History now. As of this evening, I have received 51 logs. The log submission deadline is March 8, earlier than in previous years. One month from event should be sufficient for submitting a log, even by snail mail. Everyone who submits a log electronically gets a confirmation email. If you or someone you know sent a log to and did not get a confirmation email, please resubmit. Or contact me directly, at .

From comments received on the air and with log-attached emails, it would appear that this year’s event was enjoyable despite challenging band conditions. The day started with solar flux of 143, a sunspot count of 71, an A-index of 9 and a K-index of 4. The bands were noisy in every direction.

Poor conditions may have discouraged some operators, but at VA7ODX, Koji VA7KO on CW, Dave VA7AM on RTTY and me on PH, had to CQ regardless. Dave says RTTY was slow. Koji says CW was tough. I say perseverance pays off. I had a great time. Lots of Qs from every direction. Challenging, yes, to pick out callsigns and exchanges from the mud, but my time at the radio flew by all too fast.

I am disappointed, though, that the VA7ODX log shows very few VE7/VA7s. That is not to say there weren’t a lot of BC operators on the air. I think there were, and a quick peek at logs submitted so far shows different, but not necessarily more, VE7/VA7s making Qs. I guess radiosport like real estate — location, location, location.

But considering all the interest from outside BC, if more BC stations got on the air and actively called CQ for a significant amount of time... wow, the logs would be huge for BC and non-BC stations alike.

As contest coordinator, I extend my thanks to everyone who got on the air and/or helped others get on the air.

Heard Island DXpedition 1997: VK0IR

We watched a video by James Brooks 9V1YC that covered not only the DXpedition VK0IR in 1997 but also the history of the island. In confirming some details about this DXpedition, I found a video on YouTube that focuses more on the radio-related adventure. It is narrated by the EU pilot John Devoldere ON4UN. Might be worth watching even if you saw the 9V1YC video.

The 2015 DXpedition is scheduled for Nov. 10 to Dec. 22, with VK0EK QRV Nov. 22 to Dec. 8. This will be a scientific and communications expedition. The website is full of interesting information, including a very thorough FAQ page.

And that’s it for the February edition of The Orca Report. The next meeting is on March 10.

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

The Orca Report (No. 41) Jan. 13, 2015

January 14, 2015—Happy New Year! Rebecca VA7BEC, with a recap of the January meeting. We were a rather small group—just 22—as some of the regulars are out of town. There were a few announcements, including an update on BCQP preparations, and then a presentation by Neil VA7DX on the VE7SCC Coquitlam superstation.


It is time to renew membership for those of you who have not paid yet. Just $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 electronic and paper-trail methods.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM was essentially the election of officers. Well in advance of the meeting, members interested in taking a position in the executive were asked to email the secretary (me). I received nothing. So the existing executive, with the exception of Ron VE7NS, remains in place. Ron’s position—Director for Vancouver Island North—will be filled by Perry VA7FC.

Your executive is

PresidentDave VE7VR
Vice PresidentSteve VE7CT
Secretary, BCQPRebecca VA7BEC
TreasurerDave VA7AM
PublicationsFred VE7IO
Mainland DirectorRalph VE7XF
South Island DirectorPaul VE7BZ
North Island Director Perry VA7FC
Interior DirectorDwight VE7BV
USA DirectorDick N7RO
Technical AdvisorJohn VA7JW
WebmasterBud VA7ST

PNW Cup Update

Seems like the other PNW clubs are stepping up their contest participation, hoping, perhaps, to prevent an Orca three-peat?

Standings after CQ WW are as follows:

Orca DXCC57,761,095

Mid-Month Lunch

The next lunch will be January 28. Brian VE7JKZ is backpacking (?) in Thailand, so Fred VE7IO will coordinate the lunch. Location: White Spot at Hwy 10 and 152nd Street.

Field Day 2015

Field Day 2014 was so much fun that Don VE7DS intends to put VA7ODX on the air in Field Day 2015, too. As with any event, though, participation is key. Think about joining the Field Day team this year. It’s never too early to start planning. It would be great to have VA7ODX on the air for as many of the 24 hours of this event as possible. (As a participant in 2014, I would have to say the caterer is excellent!) Many Orca members belong to local clubs that get on the air for Field Day. If you like the Field Day experience, why not volunteer a few hours for VA7ODX as well as some hours for your other club(s)?

Coquitlam Tower Project

Back in November 2014, Neil VA7DX talked a bit about a tower project unfolding in the Riverview area of Coquitlam. He made a full-fledged presentation at the meeting last night.

This was quite a massive undertaking by the Coquitlam Amateur Radio Emergency Service Society and required a huge amount of time, effort and money, as well as the assistance of professionals (arborists and others) to put up not one but three 80-foot, self-standing towers. Those involved in the project worked tirelessly, well into the night on many occasions, oblivious (?) to the rain, heat and cold.

Take a look at the photos and slideshow of the project on the VE7SCC website.

BCQP 2015

Get on the air. Stay in the chair. Encourage others to participate. BCQP is as casual or competitive as the operator wants it to be.

This is an Orca DXCC-sponsored event, and with the solid support of a contest-oriented club, BCQP has become a put-on-the-calendar kind of party. Awareness continues to grow, and participation continues to increase. Stations actively hunt for VE7/VA7s, determined to capture a beautiful BC-themed certificate, or better yet, a plaque. BCQP even attracts accidental participants—operators who begin in one of the other same-day events and find enough VE7/VA7s to build a submission-worthy log. In addition, the plaques—and the certificates to a certain degree because they, too, are photo-based and different every year—have spurred a little bit of friendly competition. People want these lovely photo-based awards to grace the shack wall. The photos are taken especially for BCQP so they are unique and... collectible!

The promotion bandwagon has traveled through BC, the rest of Canada, into the US, and across the Pacific and the Atlantic, with a focus on past participants and contesting clubs, blogs and calendars. With some encouragement, same-day event organizers now make mention of BCQP as they promote their own events, so it is easier to trade Qs, if required, with stations in the host states. Contest calendars, including go-to WA7BNM, show BCQP in the February list and have for several months now, and any website that links to these calendars has been indirectly promoting BCQP for a while already. Another indication of BCQP rising profile is logging software support. N1MM was the first to support our party—and made log-checking so much better!—but more and more writers are adding BCQP support to their programs, such as DXlog, SD by EI5DI and QSO party software by N3FJP.

BC stations should listen for JA and EU, as well as the US. BCQP has acquired worldwide exposure. Capitalize on this!


Date/Time1600z Feb 7 - 0400z Feb 8
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
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. EIGHT plaques: Top BC, Top Canada outside BC, Top YL, Top US, Top Rookie, Top DX, Most Federal Electoral Districts Worked and Top Mixed Mode (new!)

Alternate Suggested Frequencies for CW

When NA Sprint starts at 0000z, many CW operators give up on BCQP. The exchange and QSY requirement make it very difficult if not impossible to continue. Therefore, beginning this year, we have alternate suggested frequencies for 80M, 40M and 20M—the NA Sprint bands—between 0000z and 0400z. These are quite high up in the band, very near other mode allocations, so be careful.

CW and PH suggested frequencies are shown in the table below. RTTY and other digital modes... hover around the customary frequencies by mode.

Band Freq. (Khz) Band Freq. (Khz)
160M CW1815 160M PH 1845
80M CW *3585 80M PH 3850
40M CW *7035 40M PH 7230
20M CW *14035 20M PH 14250
15M CW21035 15M PH 21300
10M CW28035 10M PH 28490
* CW after 0000z consider 3570, 7070 and 14050 (due to NA Sprint CW activity)

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.

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? 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.


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.


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 and S&P a joy, which attracts more participants, which expands the potential for more Qs... and on it goes. Let’s keep the snowball rolling.

Orca members in BC 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.

Next Meeting

February 10

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

The Orca Report (No. 40) Dec. 9, 2014

December 9, 2014—Our Christmas gathering brought 33 people together for lots of interesting conversation and some tasty food.

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 mentioned that PNW Cup scores have not been trickling in from the various participating clubs. He had a note about scores but that note mysteriously disappeared, so no update until next meeting.

It’s time to renew membership for 2015. Just $24. If you haven’t paid yet, you can do so by PayPal, Interac transfer, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and snail-mailed to Treasurer Dave VA7AM. Go to the Orca website for details.

BCQP 2015 is just two months away—February 7, 8am - 8pm, local time.

Looking back on 2014, Orca DXCC continued to reinforce its presence in the DX and contesting community. Of note, BCQP 2014 was another success and the momentum keeps building, thanks to solid support from membership and sustained efforts to build a higher profile; the convention was extremely well attended and very enjoyable; and as a contesting club, we were very active, substantiated by highly commendable results among clubs worldwide as well as a second-straight year as the PNW Cup champs.

Just recently, in the CQ WW CW Contest, the multi-multi VC7M team (VE7ACN VE7JH VE7KW VE7MR VE7JKZ VE7YBH VE7UF) @VE7UF placed #1 in CQ Zone 3 with a (raw) score of 18,272,276. FB gentlemen. VY FB.

It is amazing how fast time flies when you’re having DX and contesting fun. This coming weekend is the ARRL 10m contest (Dec. 13-14) and the weekend between Christmas and New Year has the RAC Winter Contest (Dec. 27).

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

Watch for an email in early January about the next Orca meeting.


The Orca Report (No. 39) Nov. 18, 2014

November 19, 2014—The November meeting was postponed a week due to the Canadian statutory holiday Remembrance Day (November 11) falling on the second Tuesday of the month. Whether for this reason or the lure of a different kind of evening presentation (wind power), I don’t know, but 36 people squeezed into what has become “our section” of the RiverHouse.


PNW Cup-related

CQ WW SSB took place at the end of October. If you participated in this contest and uploaded your score to 3830 and selected “Orca DX and Contest Club” from the list of clubs, Jim VE7FO, minder of the PNW Cup spreadsheet, will find your score and add it to the Orca total for the PNW Cup. If you did not post your score or did not select the club from the list but you want your score to count toward the club’s total, please email Jim directly.

The next PNW Cup-eligible contest is CQ WW CW, which takes place over the last weekend of November (local time, 4pm Nov 28 through 4pm Nov 30).

BCQP 2015 Update

The BCQP pages on the Orca site have been updated with the newest information, including suggested CW frequencies after 0000z to avoid chaos of NA Sprint. The promotion bandwagon has therefore rolled out, with the first stop being amateur radio clubs in BC.

All of our plaque sponsors have committed, so we have eight plaques for 2015: Top BC Score, Top YL Score, Top Score Canada Outside BC, Top US Score, Most Electoral Districts Contacted, Top Rookie, Top DX, and Top Mixed Mode (NEW).

Future Meeting Content

If you have any ideas for presentations or the materials to make a presentation, please contact Dave VE7VR (ve7vr [at] davetek [dot] com).

DXpeditions of Note, Club Donation Policy

Did you get in the logbook of Tromelin FT4TK? How about Andaman & Nicobar Islands VU4KV? More DXpeditions are coming up.

As a club emphasizing DX as well as contesting, we often get requests from DXpedition organizers for donations. You may not be aware, but we do have a policy in place regarding financial support. Essentially, funds are provided on a case-by-case basis to support major international DXpeditions to rare, most-wanted entities with priority given to DXpeditions involving Orca members. Typically, rare, most-wanted entities are not vacation spots.

We have recently received requests from the organizers of Navassa Island K1N (January 2015), Iran EP6T (January 2015), and Eritrea E3A (requested) (March 2015). Heard Island VK0EK was originally scheduled for early 2016 but has been pushed up to late 2015 — but still a year off. As a club, we are considering donations for these DXpeditions.

It really goes without saying, but regardless of whether the club makes a donation or not, if you make a Q, or Qs, with any DXpedition—arduous journey or suitcase variety—and the QSL card or alternate confirmation is important to you, always consider adding a bit extra to the usual direct QSL requirement.

Club Log

Don N7BT has taken the position of administrator for our league presence on Club Log. Thank you Don.

Coquitlam ARC Tower Project

Neil VA7DX, in town for a little while, showed some pictures and gave a description of the tower project unfolding in the Riverview area of Coquitlam. It is quite a massive undertaking. The concrete bases for three towers are complete, and the towers will be put into position this month, if all goes according to plan. Two of the towers will have large quad antennas, and one tower will sport a 20M5.

Sounds like we will get a proper presentation in January.

BTW, Neil will be in Botswana for CQ WW CW, so listen for A25??. Hopefully, he and his team will be listening for VE7/VA7s!!

Orca Lunch

The next lunch is scheduled for November 26.

Evening Presentation

Wind Power 101

Mike Meehan, from Endurance Wind Power, gave a presentation on wind turbines, and while the topic is not really radio-related, it was certainly interesting. There is lots of information about the company and wind power in general on the company’s website.

Our next meeting will be December 9. It will be the Christmas gathering, so spouses and significant others are welcome. See you there. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 38) Oct. 14, 2014

October 15, 2014—Tired of turkey leftovers yet?

The October meeting was attended by 26 people. We had a few announcements and comments, and then moved on to our presentation theme—Inside the ICOM IC7700—by Adam VA7OJ.

But before I get into the October meeting, let me backtrack to September for a moment.

Follow-up to “What did you do this summer?”

Last month, our meeting theme was “What did you do last summer?” and Allen VE7BQO sent in some photos and highlights from a canoeing adventure with radio opportunities. I wanted to confirm a few of the place names with him but didn’t get a reply before I had to send the September Orca Report for uploading. The reply I got is worth sharing as it is a terrific example of a local DXpedition.

Here is what Allen wrote:

I am fortunate, living where I do, that large areas of northern BC and the Yukon are accessible without too much driving time. We go often to the Yukon, in particular, because our daughter lives there. We like to fit in a canoe trip at some time during the summer, if possible, especially on the long Yukon rivers. Last summer, just my wife and I went on the Yukon River from Carmacks to Dawson City where our daughter picked us up. This year we were very pleased that she and her friend could accompany us from Mayo to Dawson City. This trip started at Mayo and ended at Dawson City.

We started with a short trip down a 3km stretch of the Mayo River to its junction with the Stewart River. Then we travelled on the Stewart River for about 265km to its junction with the Yukon River about 110 km upriver from Dawson City, so the last part of our trip was a repeat trip on this section of the Yukon River. We took seven days, travelling quite quickly because our daughter had to be at work shortly after the trip ended. It’s easy to cover 60km a day on these rivers because they flow very quickly, but the Yukon, in particular, is absolutely huge so you have to be sure to plan ahead as to where you want to stop—if you are too far off shore for the place you wanted to stop and the river carries you below this point it is generally impossible to paddle back upstream!

There are lots of places to camp along the rivers and I really enjoyed operating my radio from a couple of these places this year. It would have been nice to operate more, but sometimes after a long day paddling I was too tired and at other times we had some very heavy rain and wind which made keeping (relatively) dry a bigger priority.

I carry my Yaesu FT-817ND in a small waterproof case that also holds my Palm mini paddle, an Elecraft T1 antenna tuner, a long wire antenna and an end fed antenna, an extra battery pack and a microphone. I carry the microphone mainly in case of emergency since the Yukon Amateur Radio Association has an extensive 2m repeater system that is probably accessible along at least some parts of these canoe routes. Thankfully, I’ve never had to use it.

I also bring a 12m “Spiderpole” that makes raising an antenna much, much easier than any other way I’ve found. The only disadvantage of this pole is its weight—too heavy for hiking or portaging but great on a trip like this (or for car camping) where it can be loaded into the canoe along with all the other equipment.

I find QRP operation really exciting. A friend of mine likens it to fishing—you make casts and sometimes you catch something and sometimes you don’t. QRP operation from a remote campsite is even better with every contact very special and a real thrill. On this trip, I made a number of contacts with Russia and Japan. I was especially pleased to have a 20 minute QSO with Shin, JA1NUT, with whom I have had quite a few previous and very enjoyable QSOs. During the trip, I used only my 20m end fed vertical dipole.

Perhaps people who are interested in portable operation might like to know more about my experiences with the FT-817ND, the Palm paddles, T1 tuner, antennas and extra battery pack. Briefly, the FT-817ND has worked flawlessly in all sorts of weather conditions from -20 C (but not on canoe trips!) to +40 C. Likewise, the Palm paddles have been great—well worth the $100 or so they cost. Their only weakness is the cable connection, particularly the three prong connector to the back of the paddles. I’ve found the T1 tuner to work well when it works, but if, for some reason it doesn’t work, it is very frustrating because there is no way to override it and tune manually. For this reason, I think a small manual is a better option.

A long wire antenna (I use 85’) with a couple of counterpoises and a tuner seems to work pretty well as a multiband antenna, in general. Lately, I’ve found a 20m end fed vertical dipole to be very satisfactory for the one band. I made this antenna from lightweight stranded wire, and I used a 27:1 transformer wound on a toroid at the feed point and about 30’ of RG-174 for the feed line. The Spiderpole is perfect for this antenna—the antenna and the extended pole are about the same length. No tuner is needed.

Finally, I purchased my extra battery pack from Buddipole. It is a 3-cell rechargeable Lithium-ion nano phosphate pack, and it has worked well from cold (-20 C) to warm temperatures. Between it and the internal battery pack of the 817, I estimate I could operate for about 6-8 hours, enough for me for a week of canoe travel and casual radio operation.

I’m already looking forward to participating in the BC QSO party again in 2015. Also, I plan to operate in the RAC Winter Contest as VE7BQO/VY1 this year, and I hope I will hear you on the air in both contests!

Now back to October...


The contest season is upon us, and the first eligible contest in the PNW Cup was CQWW RTTY at the end of September. For anyone who participated in this contest, if you uploaded your score to 3830 and selected Orca DX and Contest Club from the list of clubs, Jim VE7FO, minder of the spreadsheet, will be able to find your score and add it to the Orca tally. If you did not post to 3830 or did not select Orca DX and Contest Club as your club but wish your score to be counted for the Orca total, please email Jim directly.

The next eligible contest is CQWW SSB, at the end of October—the 25-26 weekend, specifically—starting, of course, at 5pm October 24, local time.

Club Log

This is the second call for someone to take over administrator duties from Paul, W7IV. Some years ago, Paul encouraged Orca DXCC members to join Club Log, a free online database with a suite of useful tools to support active DXers. There is a club league, and Paul felt that league participation by Orca DXCC members—17 callsigns listed—would spur activity. Paul has been the administrator for our league presence on Clug Log, but would like to relinquish this role. The administrator’s duties are not onerous. Every so often, the administrator receives a request from someone who would like to join the Orca DXCC league. If that person is a member of our club, s/he is approved. Sometimes, a request comes in from a non-member—probably, someone who just signs up for anything—and such requests must be denied.

Anyone interested in this position? Please let me (va7bec [at] rac [dot] ca) know, and I will relay the info to the appropriate person.

Upcoming DXpeditions of Particular Note

Tromelin (FT4TK) is QRV October 30 through November 10. Heard Island (VK0EK) will be next, in January 2015. Both these entities are high on the DXCC most-wanted list.

Tromelin is 450km east of Madagascar.

Heard Island is 1,000 nautical miles from Antarctica and 2,000 nautical miles from Australia and Africa. The Heard Island Project has two purposes—radio and exploratory science—and while the team is HUGE (28 people), half will be scientists searching for rare and previously undocumented species of plants and animals while the other half will be radio operators.

Also, this week, Orca members Keith VE7KW and Don VE7DS will leave for the Marquesas Islands. They will join two other operators as TX7G operating from this QTH in French Polynesia, and they will be on the air from October 18 through 26, including the CQWW SSB Contest. Remember, if you make a Q and want a QSL card, do consider adding a little bit extra to the usual direct QSL requirement. If the Q is special, let the team know that by supporting the time, effort and money spent to get on the air from this location. See the website for all DXpedition details.

Future Meeting Content

Our club has an incredibly deep reservoir of experience and knowledge in all things radio. Many members have been on DXpeditions—from major international adventures to small-scale suitcase excursions—and whether the telling of the journey and on-air operation is travelogue or technical, it is bound to be interesting and provide insights for those of us who have not been on a DXpedition... yet. Closer to home, many members have honed skills in building radios and antennas, often gaining expertise through trial and error. Others have established excellent contest stations.

Despite our common interests in DX and contesting, not everyone in our group has reached “expert” stage. If those of us with specific expertise share our knowledge, it can help the rest of us overcome hurdles or, perhaps, prevent conundrums all together.

If you have an idea for the evening presentation and/or materials for a presentation, please contact Dave VE7VR.

Evening Presentation

Also connected to last month’s summer activity theme...

Adam VA7OJ mentioned some of the lab tests he ran on radios during the summer, and he focused on the ICOM 7700 for our evening presentation. Rather than try to summarize everything that I may—or may not—have understood, better for you to go to Adam’s IC-7700 page, as it’s got all the details and accompanying photos.

Adam has actually prepared LOTS of information about ICOM and its products. Check here for more.

BCQP Update:

BCQP 2015 is not really that far off. The promotion bandwagon will roll out in November.

A very welcome development ahead of the official start of promotion is that Bruce Horn has added BCQP to his perpetual calendar. Given that the WA7BNM site is a go-to reference for everyone with an interest in contests, big or small, having BCQP in the perpetual calendar will help operators who like to plan ahead for contest season. It took several years and many emails, but BCQP is finally listed for the next event and beyond. Yeah!

Also, just before the 2014 event, I was asked to do a presentation—background on BCQP and tips on how to participate—for the North Shore ARC. The venue was excellent, and the PowerPoint presentation went rather well, I think. The chance to ask questions of someone with behind-the-scenes knowledge—that would be me—removed some of the unknowns about participation and seems to have prompted more activity from that club.

If anyone has connections to a local club and thinks a presentation like this might help encourage participation, poll the membership on interest. Depending on my work load and schedule, I’d be happy to come talk about BCQP and answer questions.

Next Meetings

The next Orca lunch will be on October 29.

The next meeting is November 18—the third Tuesday rather than the usual second Tuesday—owing to Remembrance Day on the 11th.

The Christmas gathering will be on December 9.

And that’s it for this issue of The Orca Report. See you in CQWW SSB 2014. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 37) Sept. 16, 2014

September 18, 2014 -- With such lovely weather the last few days, it’s hard to believe the summer is winding down. But here we are in September, welcoming Orca DXCC’s fourth birthday!

Our first meeting after the summer break brought 32 people to The RiverHouse. This included a few special guests. There were a few announcements and updates and then we moved into our evening program—“What I did last summer”.

Membership and Financials

Membership currently stands at 103. Treasurer Dave VA7AM was collecting dues ($24) for 2015 at the meeting, but a cheque by snail mail or payment by PayPal is also fine.

The convention in July brought in about $15,000. But associated expenses were about $14,000. Our bank balance is still in the black.


Orca DXCC won the trophy again this year with an incredible score. Obviously, a significant membership base with a keen interest in contesting helped secure this result.

The slate has been wiped clean, and we start amassing points again, beginning with CQWW RTTY over the September 27-28 weekend. The contest starts at 5pm local time. CQWW SSB happens in late October. CQWW CQ is in November.

2014 Convention

What a great weekend! The venue was very nice, with great views of the Fraser River, and the weather was just awesome. With nearly 200 people attending the event, we did get very cozy at dinner and breakfast. This was probably one of the most well-attended conventions, and comments about the venue, presentations and organization were very complimentary.

Club Log

Some years ago, Paul W7IV encouraged Orca DXCC members to join Club Log, a free online database with a suite of useful tools to support active DXers. There is a club league, and Paul felt that the league participation by Orca DXCC members—17 callsigns listed—would spur activity. Paul has been the administrator for our league presence on Clug Log, but would like to relinquish this role. The administrator’s duties are not onerous. Every so often, the administrator receives a request from someone who would like to join the Orca DXCC league. If that person is a member of our club, s/he is approved. Sometimes, a request comes in from a non-member—probably, someone who just signs up for anything—and such requests must be denied.

Is there someone who could take over the administrator’s duty from Paul? Please let me (va7bec [at] rac [dot] ca) know, and I will relay the info to Paul so he can fill you in on the particulars.

Orca Lunch

The next Orca lunch will be on September 24. At the usual location: White Spot at Hwy 10 and 152 Street in Surrey. Anyone in the Lower Mainland will be getting an email from lunch coordinator Brian VE7JKZ soon.

What did you do this summer?

On-site presentations or emailed materials came from Allen VE7BQO, Rick VE7TK, Bud VA7ST, Adam VA7OJ, Jason VE7AG, Dave VE7VR, Ted VE7VIB and Don VE7DS.

Allen VE7BQO paddled 400km on a canoeing adventure that included radio time when camped.

Rick VE7TK received his 5B DXCC plaque, dated June 24, 2014. He is #7,994. A little bit of sleuthing revealed that the number on the plaque that Lee VE7CC received back in 1972 was #134. Lee must have been one of the early recipients of this award. Regardless of how many years it may have taken Rick, it is a goal achieved and well-deserved. FB.

Bud VA7ST planned out his November Shack Project. Walls will be put up to create a real operating “room” rather than just an operating “space”, and there will be an area for special paneling (think awards, like the one Rick received).

Adam VA7OJ ran some lab tests on several radios. If you want to know the details, go to his user reviews and test reports. The newest ones are for software defined radios—Apache ANAN-100D/200D, ELAD FDM-S2—and ID-5100 2m/70cm ICOM.

Jason VE7AG sent in some photos from the BCDX Club’s annual BBQ at the VE7SV contest station site.

Dave VE7VR showed photos of his trip to Utah, the convention in New Westminster and some SteppIR work at his cabin in Ontario. An interesting photo from the convention was of Gary VA7RR receiving a special plaque from Geoff W0CG/PJ2DX. Turns out that many, many years ago, when the now well-known contest station PJ2T got on the air, the very first Q was with Gary. And since Geoff was doing a presentation on PJ2T and Gary was signed up to attend the convention, it seemed appropriate to commemorate that very first Q with a special plaque.

Ted VE7VIB had photos of his Hexbeam installation. Thanks to its a small turning radius, the Hexbeam is a great option when the backyard has trees that are not to be cut down. Lightweight, too.

Don VE7DS described Field Day 2014. This was the first time VA7ODX was heard on a Field Day. The location was right near the water, at the Coast Guard Station on Sea Island. An experienced group of 11operators took turns putting VA7ODX on the air, mostly on CW, but there was a bit of SSB thrown in for good measure. Excellent camaraderie and collaboration expedited setup and teardown. Sue, Don’s XYL, orchestrated a wonderful dinner on the Saturday evening. The VA7ODX team was given a warm welcome by the Coast Guard staff, and the constant waves hello and good-bye throughout the weekend must mean the team was a good guest. Bodes well for future Field Day operations from this site, no doubt. In the end, the two-radio setup and lots of wires in the air delivered 652 Qs and a score of 2,494.

Special guest “Tree” N6TR demonstrated a new project he’s working on. The device looks like a raspberry pi—that credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard and does various electronic tasks, like spreadsheets and games. But Tree’s device can be used to practice CW as if in a contest situation. Just plug it into a keyer and a speaker... and you’re ready to go.

Future Orca Meetings

The next Orca DXCC meeting will be October 14. The November meeting will be moved to the 18th, (third Tuesday of November) because of Remembrance Day falling on the second Tuesday. The December meeting will be on December 9.

The Orca Report (No. 36) June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014—Last meeting before the summer break... how quickly the months fly by.

We were a group of 25 tonight. There were only a few announcements and then we watched a video on the K5K (Kingman Reef) DXpedition.

PNW Cup Update

Scores available to spreadsheet master Jim VE7FO put Orca DXCC very, very, very far out in front, at 130,547,460 points!! There is one eligible contest left—IARU in July. This contest coincides with WRTC 2014, the Olympics of the amateur radio world. BTW, Orca member Lee VE7CC will be at this prestigious event, which takes place near Boston this year.

Convention Next Month!

This event takes place Friday afternoon July 25 through Sunday morning July 27. The Who’s Attending list shows 136 names now. Seating for dinner sort of maxes out around 150, so if you have been procrastinating about registering.... don’t wait much longer!

If you want to book a room at the hotel, there are still rooms available. Mention that you are attending the DX Convention, and this will smooth the reservation process, as rooms have been set aside for people who are attending the convention and there is a special (reduced) room rate.

Presentation topics and the schedule... Please visit the great page that webmaster extraordinaire Bud VA7ST has created.

To summarize, the event kicks off on Friday afternoon with check-in, from 2pm, and a welcome reception, from 5pm to 7pm. On Saturday evening is the big dinner, with a special presentation by Ken Tapping, an astronomer based at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, in Penticton, BC. During the day on Saturday and in the morning on Sunday, there will be various seminars and talks. Topics include Wake Island 2013 (K9W), the PJ2T contest station (W0CG), software defined radio (VE7AB), the VE6JY contest station, suitcase DXpeditions, specifically TX5RV (VE7DS), the Amsterdam DXpedition (VE7CT), and an ARRL update (N0AX).

The content is great and even if a topic is familiar, a different setting and a different audience often change the way a presentation unfolds. Any gathering of like-minded people offers the possibility of gaining new perspectives on an old theme, don’t you think?

Alan K7AR and Dick K7BTW will be doing DXCC card-checking. Includes 160M. If you want cards checked, be sure you have prepared all that is necessary to facilitate the process.

A hospitality suite will be open at specific times during the weekend. It is jointly hosted by BCDXC and Orca DXCC.

VA7ODX Field Day

Field Day is fast approaching. The operating site will be a 1A, but there will be equipment to set up two stations if a sufficient number of operators is on hand.

Of note, the Field Day QTH is the Coast Guard Station on Sea Island, close to the Flying Beaver pub. This is a secure site, which means that only assigned operators will be allowed through the gates. If you are thinking of dropping by, PLEASE contact Don to get on the list. If your name isn’t on the list, you will not be granted entry to the site.

Field Day 2014 will run June 28 and 29, from 1800z Saturday through 2059z Sunday.

BCQP Wrap Up

The final results have been announced. The special BCQP report with lots number-crunching analysis has been uploaded. The report contains a streamlined breakdown of scores, but a more thorough spreadsheets are also a click away for BC and outside-BC scores.

Please visit the BCQP home page and click on the appropriate link. You will also find links to previous year’s reports/analysis and scores on this page, if you want to see how the event has evolved over the last few years.

Certificates are in the process of being distributed, either by snail mail or in person. Plaques will be presented at some point during the DX Convention in July since nearly all recipients will be attending the event.

We did the draw for gift cards. The names of all Orca members—dues-paid as of BCQP 2014 (February 1, 2014)—who submitted logs with at least 25 Qs went into a container, and Elizabeth VE7YL drew four. The lucky winners are Pete VE7CV (Home Depot), Dave VE7GV (now, VE7CN) (Liquor Store), Les VA7OM (Canadian Tire) and Gabor VE7JH (White Spot). Congratulations! These will go out by snail mail.

Orca Lunch

The last lunch, on May 28, brought more than a dozen people to the White Spot at 152nd Street and Hwy 10. The next lunch will be June 25. Brian VE7JKZ will send out an email closer to the date.

K5K: Kingman Reef 2000

Orca member Steve VE7CT was one of the intrepid DXpeditioners to this reef in the North Pacific Ocean, about half-way between Hawaii and American Samoa. The team made more than 80,000 QSOs between October 21 and November 1, 2000,

That was 14 years ago... Back then, there was still enough of the reef above sea level for stations to be set up. Things have apparently changed. According to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service document pertaining to a shipwreck removal effort at Kingman Reef in 2013, little of the rubble islands of the reef remains above sea level at high tide.

The K5K DXpedition might well have be the last from Kingman Reef.

And that is it for the June meeting. Our next Tuesday evening meeting will not be until September. In the meantime, though, there will be lunches and the DX Convention in July, which probably won’t get a write-up but I can’t say for sure right now. Until next time, this is VA7BEC, signing off. Have a good summer.

The Orca Report (No. 35) May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014—Your Orca reporter is back after a little trip. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to a glamorous location but rather down the basement steps and to Emergency. And I had to miss the April meeting. Hope to make up for the lack of an April report with an informative May report.

We were a group of 25 tonight. There were a few announcements and then we watched a rather hilarious episode of Hancock’s Half Hour, from 1961, in which comedian Tony Hancock plays an amateur radio enthusiast.

Interestingly, yesterday (May 12) would have been Tony Hancock’s 90th birthday, and the Coventry Amateur Radio Society celebrated with their own party outside the house where he was born. Watch their radio sketch.


We have 109 paid-up members. If you check the roster and see a red asterisk by your callsign, it means Treasurer Dave VA7AM has not received any funds from you. If you wish to remain on the active roster, please remit funds to Treasurer Dave ASAP.

PNW Cup Update

Situation remains as before: Orca is leading. But don’t forget that there are two more eligible contests still to be counted for the 2014 PNW Cup: CQ WPX CW at the end of May and IARU in July. Let’s keep the momentum going!

BCQP Update

The final results will be announced in early June, once the special BCQP report is ready to upload. Just need to capture the perfect photos for the certificate and plaque.

Here are some noteworthy developments that I can reveal right now, based on info gleaned from submitted logs. More logs submitted -- 123, up 26. More federal electoral districts activated -- 32 out of possible 36, up two. Number of BC operators on the air -- 121, down from 140. (change: -19) Number of BC stations on the air -- 101, down from 109. (change: -8) Number of logs from BC stations -- 37, up from 31. (change: +6) More than half of the BC stations submitting logs had more than 100 Qs -- 20 stations out of 37 (54.1%). More non-BC stations had in excess of 20 Qs -- 15 stations, up from four. SSB Qs comprised the largest slice of the QSO pie -- 72% -- but this percentage is down from 2013 (78%), and it was CW that grew, taking 22% of all Qs, up from 14% in 2013. First-ever logs from Chile, Slovakia and Alberta. Smashing new records for top BC score, top US score, top score Canada outside BC and top DX. New records in many categories of entry, in BC and outside BC. First time a station in Japan surpassed 10-Q mark -- 23 Qs. Most long-time BCQP participants in the US and in Canada outside BC achieved new personal bests. Higher overall Q counts in all modes, in BC and outside BC, except digital (BC).
The support of Orca members continues to give this event huge momentum, and it is this momentum that underpins wider interest in BC and beyond. Great job everyone!

Convention Update

If you haven’t registered for this event—July 25, 26, 27—and want to attend, please do so sooner than later. The Who’s Attending list shows 100 names now.

If you want to book a room at the hotel, there are still rooms available. Mention that you are attending the DX Convention, and this will smooth the reservation process, as rooms have been set aside for people who are attending this event.

On Friday, there will be a welcome reception, probably from mid-afternoon to 7pm. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be various presentations and seminars. Topics include the Wake Island DXpedition (K9W), the PJ2T contest station (W0CG), software defined radio (VE7AB), the VE6JY contest station, suitcase DXpeditions (VE7DS), the Amsterdam DXpedition (VE7CT), and an ARRL update (N0AX).

A hospitality suite will be open at specific times during the weekend. It is jointly hosted by BCDXC and Orca DXCC. Is anyone interested in taking a shift behind the bar? Just to facilitate matters, contact me (va7bec [at] rac [dot] ca and I will tell the appropriate person.

VA7ODX Field Day

Don VE7DS says plans and preparations are well under way. The operating site will be a 1A, but there will be equipment to set up two stations if a sufficient number of operators is on hand. The 80m inverted L, by the way, will be tested out during WPX CW.

Of note, the Field Day QTH is the Coast Guard Station on Sea Island, close to the Flying Beaver pub. This is a secure site, which means that only assigned operators will be allowed through the gates. If you are thinking of dropping by, PLEASE contact Don to get on the list. If your name isn’t on the list, you will not be granted entry to the site.

Field Day 2014 will run June 28 and 29, from 1800z Saturday through 2059z Sunday.

Any interest?

Is anyone interesting in taking on the administrative aspect of our Tuesday meetings? If so, please contact President Dave VE7VR.

Orca Lunch

The next lunch will be May 28. Brian VE7JKZ will send out an email closer to the date.

And that is it for the May meeting. Our June gathering will be the last before our regular summer break. Until next time, this is VA7BEC, signing off.

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”.


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.


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.


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

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 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
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.


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.


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