Orca Reports

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

Orca Report 60 Dec. 13, 2016 Orca Report 59 Nov. 8, 2016 Orca Report 58 Oct. 11, 2016 Orca Report 57 Sept. 13, 2016 Orca Report 56 June 14, 2016 Orca Report 55 May 10, 2016 Orca Report 54 Apr. 12, 2016 Orca Report 53 Mar. 8, 2016 Orca Report 52 Feb. 9, 2016 Orca Report 51 Jan. 12, 2016 Orca Report 50 Dec. 8, 2015 Orca Report 49 Nov. 10, 2015 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 Orca Report 31 Dec. 10, 2013 Orca Report 30 Nov. 12, 2013 Orca Report 29 Oct. 8, 2013 Orca Report 28 Sept. 10, 2013 Orca Report 27 June 18, 2013 Orca Report 26 May 12, 2013 Orca Report 25 Apr. 9, 2013 Orca Report 24 Mar. 12, 2013 Orca Report 23 Feb. 12, 2013 Orca Report 22 Jan. 8, 2013 Orca Report 21 Dec. 11, 2012 Orca Report 20 Nov. 13, 2012 Orca Report 19 Oct. 9, 2012 Orca Report 18 Sep. 11, 2012 Orca Report 17 June 12, 2012 Orca Report 16 May 15, 2012 Orca Report 15 Apr. 10, 2012 Orca Report 14 Mar. 13, 2012 Orca Report 13 Feb. 15, 2012 Orca Report 12 Jan. 11, 2012 Orca Report 11 Dec. 13, 2011 Orca Report 10 Nov. 8, 2011 Orca Report 9 Sep. 13, 2011 Orca Report 8 June 14, 2011 Orca Report 7 May 10, 2011 Orca Report 6 Apr. 12, 2011 Orca Report 5 Mar. 8, 2011 Orca Report 4 Feb. 8, 2011 Orca Report 3 Jan. 12, 2011 (first annual general meeting) Orca Report 2 Dec. 14, 2010 (Christmas meeting) Orca Report 1 Nov. 9, 2010
The first-ever club meeting was held Oct. 15, 2010.

The Orca Report (No. 60) December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016—The December meeting is not so much a meeting as it is a time to gather as a group with significant others and chat about all sorts of things, from radio to travel. And this we did. There were, however, a number of the regular folks not in attendance. We missed you!

We were an eventual group of 28, with some late arrivals from the Tsawwassen ferry because a semi-truck flipped at a new, key intersection near the Tsawwassen Mills complex and blocked Hwy 17.

Ken VE7BC handed out bureau cards.

From a radio perspective, 2016 brought a challenging mix of CONDX. But BCQP still delivered some outstanding results. Field Day continued to raise the VA7ODX profile higher and provided some great practice for the Vimy team. And while the big weekend marathons were grueling, especially for us in the PNW black hole, it was a tough slog for most operators everywhere who generally lamented on 3830 that logs lacked certain geographical components they have come to expect.

(That said, there are always Qs to be made. If you have the time and the perseverance, of course, to wait for lucrative openings in the desired direction.)

Contesting has definitely been more difficult lately, but Orca DXCC maintains an enviable position among the PNW clubs, substantiated by a fourth consecutive PNW Cup win this year.

Orca members travelled far and wide in 2016, many times to put a DX entity on the air, but also for interest-sake.

Speaking of travel, Dave VA7AM showed some photos of a recent trip to five “stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) and provided commentary—with some assistance from XYL Gillian. A great presentation. TU

Looking ahead, there is the RAC Winter Contest coming up this weekend. And... before you know it, BCQP will be here. Mark the date: February 4, 8am to 8pm local time. A number of the regular participants from our pod have moved to Vancouver Island so we can hope for some additional districts being activated.

Enjoy DXing and contesting and all holiday-inspired activities that December brings. Be well. Be warm. All the best for 2017.

QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 59) November 8, 2016

November 9, 2016—We were a cozy group of 19 last night. It was nice to see a few of the usually regular attendees who have not been able to come to a meeting for several months. It was sad, though, that Doug VE7WLF — a recent regular — was not there. He became a SK at the end of October.

We had a few announcements, and then a medley of very cool presentations.

BCQP 2017

Past plaque sponsors have been contacted, and the response is terrific. Eight of the nine categories are confirmed. Just waiting to hear back with an official yea or nay from one sponsor.

The promotion bandwagon has rolled out, with emails to clubs in BC. A couple of clubs have asked for pre-event presentations. This is a great way to help potential operators see BCQP as an opportunity to learn and practice their on-air skills in a low-stress event.

Doug VE7WLF: SK

Doug, member of Orca DXCC and president of Delta ARS, was involved in many pursuits, some connected to his career as an air traffic controller, some related to radio, almost all involving community. He was an excellent photographer. Doug was so looking forward to the VE100VIMY project — he will certainly be there in spirit.

From the Delta ARS website:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Doug Barry VE7WLF/VE7TP, the President of Delta Amateur Radio Society. Doug has been a long-time and very active member of the club in various roles, most notably in leading the Emergency Radio Communications group for many years. He is well known in aviation from his distinguished career as an air traffic controller at YVR and continued active involvement in Civil Air Search and Rescue Association.

Today, Doug finally lost a long but valiant battle with cancer. His health issues over the last few years did not prevent him from remaining upbeat. He was a very private person who did not want to bother others with his troubles. Doug continued to take on new responsibilities such as society President and working with the BC Government on distracted driving legislation.

Doug has left large shoes to fill and Amateur Radio in BC lost a great volunteer. He may be gone, but never forgotten. A true gentleman and an outstanding member of our community.”

QSL Bureau: Incoming

Ken VE7BC sent a note that a new shipload of bureau cards arrived. He always brings cards to the Orca Lunch, so if you are local or just in town on a visit that coincides with the Orca Lunch and can thus join in, please let Ken know so that he will bring your cards. The Orca Lunch is always the fourth Wednesday of the month. Emails go out about a week in advance to see who is available. The lunch tends to be a small group — about 10 people — so it's easy for everyone to be involved in the conversations.

PNW Updates

First, score update from Jim VE7FO. So far, it's just the results for CQ WW RTTY. Gleaned from 3830, Orca DXCC mustered 5,171,788 points. CQ WW SSB took place at the end of October, so claimed scores are still filtering in. The next eligible contest under the PNW Challenge is CQ WW CW at the end of November. Hopefully conditions will be better than they were for the SSB portion, but that said, even when conditions are terrible, the potential for Qs and smile-inducing moments does exist. Just not necessarily from the intended directions.

Next, an idea for awards to recognize great contest results within the PNW DX/contesting club network. Dink N7WA, from the Western Washington DX Club, wonders about creating some awards for individuals who do really well in certain contests. These awards — probably nicely designed certificates — would be handled out at each convention along with the long-running travelling PNW Cup. At this stage, it sounds like Dink's idea is just that — an idea. It requires more than just one person to make it work, though, so if you are interested in helping, particularly with regard to certificate design, give Dink a shout at n7wa@arrl.net

Recent Results

Jim showed his First Place Canada certificate under the ARRL Centennial Points Challenge Award. He made 29,590 points during the 2015 centennial year.

Dave VE7VR compared his CQ WW SSB results for 2015 and 2016. Typically, he is at his Ontario QTH for this contest, and Europe is within easy reach. This year, however, was very different. The Q count could still be considered very good — 2,237, down from 2,736 — and zones were OK — 89, down from 114 — but the country column... slumped to 209 from 347 a year earlier. The A-index was incredibly high, crushing EU potential and leaving Dave to persevere in a glorified NAQP, substantiated by a log with 82% US Qs.

Jeanne VA7QD and Christine VA7NLF put in about 18 hours during CQ WW SSB from Fred's station. It was very tough but the YLs did an outstanding job, says Fred, and it was great practice ahead of the Vimy operation. The gals logged 1,593 Qs, 56 zones and 104 countries. And despite the terrible conditions, there were some smile-inducing moments, as caught on video which Fred shared with us at the meeting.

VE100VIMY/ Update

Keith VE7KW says that all provinces and territories have expressed interest in hosting VE100VIMY portable for a week, beginning in January. The schedule will probably start with VE1 and move west, I guess. Fred VE7IO will coordinate participation from British Columbia. If you would like to run VE100VIMY/VE7 — that's gonna be tough on CW!! — please contact Fred.

Contest Super Simulator w/WriteLog

If you are an active contester, with tons of experience, then you know how to maintain control of a pileup, sweep through it and deal with QRM/QRN. But if you are not particularly active or maybe just rusty in a certain mode, or if you are new to contesting and lack the skills to pick callsigns out of the mud or from amid a flurry of responses to your “CQ CQ Contest,” how do you practice without embarrassing yourself? Well, you can start with low-stress contests like BCQP. Or, you can try simulations.

Dave VE7VR showed how Contest Super Simulator works. It is a simulation package designed by Wayne W5XD and distributed by WriteLog Contesting Software, LLC. It extends the function of WriteLog to create a virtual contest in progress. It supports CW, SSB and RTTY contest simulation. It can be set up for one radio or two. It will simulate contest exchanges in four contests (WPX, IARU, ARRL November Sweepstakes and simple contests with RST only).

There are other simulation programs available that do not require WriteLog and are free. Morse Runner, in fact, simulates a contest situation, with pileups, other ops grabbing your frequency, QRM/QRN, and LIDs mode.

Evening Presentation: Remote Amateur Radio

Guy VA7GI has been experimenting with remote operations from Lasqueti Island, which is located southwest of Texada Island in the Georgia Strait. It's about the size of Manhattan. Several hundred people call the island home, but the roads are unpaved — since there are no cars — and there is no public transportation. The island is accessible by ferry — foot passenger service only — or by private boat or plane. Lasqueti is not on the BC Hydro grid, so residents either live without electricity or utilize alternate sources of power such as solar or micro-hydro.

It is here that Guy has put up a 60-foot tower, at an elevation of 450 feet. While the tower and elevation are lower at his Vancouver QTH, the equipment is the same. The Lasqueti location, however, offers signals 10x better than the Vancouver location. Fantastic!

Guy mentioned WebSDR — a software-defined radio receiver connected to the Internet. The site shows 150+ servers around the world. Just click on a link. An interesting use of an SDR site is to check your own signal.

Along with the fabulous are some not-so-fabulous aspects of the Lasqueti QTH. SDR and Internet, for example, present latency for CW, cutting off vital dits and dahs. Also, ARRL doesn't allow a remote receiver for contests and awards.

An ARRL-permitted solution is RemoteHamRadio. This gets you on the air from anywhere. DX is within reach! Yes, it costs, but you'd be paying to put up a tower and antennas, so this is a great alternative if you are tired of climbing or throwing rope into trees or just don't have the luxury of acres of land on which to grow an antenna farm. RemoteHamRadio has towers on the east and west coast.

Relevance

DX, contesting, Orca DXCC. All relevant. We have a lot of DX and contesting experience and expertise in our group. Let's build on this. Stay in the loop whether you are near or far. Invite others to join. Get on HF. Chase DX. Dabble in contests. Have fun!

This is Rebecca VA7BEC, signing off.

The Orca Report (No. 58) October 11, 2016

October 16, 2016 -- Tuesdays are still OK for us at the RiverHouse, and 22 people gathered for the October meeting.

There were a few announcements and then we watched the South Sudan DXpedition video. It was one that had been shown before, but given the state of South Sudan these days, it was good to remind ourselves of the hope and promise new nationhood held at the time and the excitement of getting that new entity on the air.

But before I get into a recap of the evening's topics, I'd like to revisit the reason why the Orca Report exists. Is it just a glorified version of meeting minutes? Or is it more?

The Orca Report

The most basic function of the Orca Report is, indeed, to keep a record of what happened at each monthly meeting. At the same time, it is more detailed than minutes to give people who were not in attendance a sense of being there, and the commentary typically contains researched details, often with links, so that everyone, whether at the meeting or not, can simply click for more information. Moreover, in its digital form, the Orca Report can easily be printed out or forwarded to friends in the hobby who might find certain topics of interest, such as BCQP results or DXpeditions with VE7 participation.

With very rare exception, the Orca Report is available for viewing within a few days of a meeting. If you are reading this, you know how simple it is to find it. Right on the Orca DXCC homepage.

BCQP 2017

The next running of BCQP will be February 4-5, 2017 16:00 - 04:00 UTC. That's Saturday, February 4, 2017, 8am to 8pm local time.

The formal start of promotion will commence in November. However, pre-promotion emails will go out soon 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 is $50 -- 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 an increasingly sought-after reward.

There are many possible plaque categories -- more than just those that were sponsored in 2016 (top BC multi-op, top BC single-op, top US, top Canada outside BC, top YL, top DX, top mixed mode, most electoral districts contacted, top BC club) -- and the BCQP Committee will consider any viable suggestion. Maybe something to get more participation from a particular area of BC or another province? Or to narrow down an existing category, emphasizing a particular power class or mode?

Orca Field Day

Don VE7DS gave a summary of VA7ODX's results in Field Day 2016.

This was the third year that Don orchestrated a dedicated operation — this year with a team of 10 -- to put VA7ODX on the air for Field Day. The two chairs were filled 24/7. Keith VE7KW networked the rigs and everything worked flawlessly. Jeanne VA7QT was key in setting up the operating tent. Sue, VE7DS's XYL, orchestrated a delicious Saturday evening meal. The bands were poor, with 15m being particularly awful, but the team ended up with a score of 2,676, including 100pts for safety measures, such as orange rope for the guywires. The QSO count was heavy on CW (579) but complemented nicely by PH (180). One of the best aspects of this event was the camaraderie of everyone involved.

The QTH was the coast guard station at Sea Island, but instead of being on the water side, the team set up on the other side of the road. Coast guard personnel came over to visit, but left the team alone to operate.

2017 is a possibility, depending on how much time and energy Don has after VE100VIMY.

VE100VIMY



The actual DXpedition to Vimy is not too far off -- April 1-9, 2017. But in the meantime, there will be a pre-event.

Industry Canada has allowed the callsign to be used as a portable VE?/VE100VIMY -- quite a lot of dits and dahs in CW!! -- from January through March 2017 to promote interest, raise awareness, get people stoked for the main show in April 2017.

How will this pre-event work? Remember the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? Before and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in February and March 2010, a series of special event callsigns were put on the air by VE7/VA7s who signed up for a shift. In a similar fashion, VE100VIMY will be QRV within Canada.

So far, the Vimy Commemorative Station Society has secured interest from all but three of the provinces and territories, and word only went out very recently. A schedule will be worked out, so if you would like to be involved in the pre-event, let the organizers know.

Yahoo! Group Update

The Yahoo! Group is a powerful tool but only if lots of people sign up and utilize it. We're going to give it another try, hopefully attracting more participation. There are currently 68 members signed up.

Our Yahoo! Group is restricted. That is, only members of Orca DXCC can join this group. No one in our group is the kind who would send inappropriate messages, and no one will be inundated with spam. Moreover, when you sign up, you can choose to be notified immediately when someone posts a message or you can receive a daily digest or you can select an no-notification option and then you would check the site on your own (but you might miss time-sensitive information).

The great thing about the Yahoo! Group is that it facilitates inter-member communication and does not rely on any one particular person to distribute messages. So, if you hear a much-anticipated ATNO on 20m when that band is theoretically closed and you think others would be delighted to have such information, you can post it to the Yahoo! Group. Anyone who has opted for immediate notification will get pinged right away. Or post requests for help with equipment or software. Maybe someone has an idea or knows someone who knows someone who has an idea. Or gather people together when an out-of-town radio pal is coming to visit. So many possibilities. So much potential.

And so easy to sign up. Go here.

Other Stuff

Orca Lunch: Ken VE7BC sends out notices for the Orca Lunch about a week in advance. The lunches are always held every fourth Wednesday. Anyone who is visiting from out-of-town is welcome to join. Location: White Spot at Hwy 10 and 152nd Street in Surrey.

Contests: The next PNW-eligible contest is CQ Worldwide, 0000Z, Oct 29 to 2400Z, Oct 30.

And did you know... Makrothen RTTY Contest was discontinued? But that didn't stop a lot of people from working it as if it was still on the official calendar. Hopefully, someone else will pick it up. I heard rumors, but, well, just rumors. Makrothen was one of the best contests in terms of scoring, as it was distance-calculated and thereby offset the usual disadvantage of operating from the PNW black hole.

Evening Presentation: South Sudan ST0R

Back in July 2011, a new nation was born -- South Sudan -- under an agreement that ended Africa's longest-running civil war. Independence held such promise. It was a peaceful and hopeful time. And then all hell broke loose.

We revisited ST0R, a joint effort between the Intrepid-DX Group and the DX Friends, that ran from July 22 - August 10, 2011. The team made 121,286 QSOs! The DXpedition was a great success and honored as DXpedition of the Year by the membership of the Northern California DX Club. Given the current situation in South Sudan, another DXpedition there is extremely unlikely.

And last but certainly not least...

Thank you for reading the October issue of The Orca Report. Now, send me an email -- va7bec@rac.ca -- with your callsign and shoe size. Yes, that's right. Shoe size. The first three people to do so will be rewarded.

This is Rebecca VA7BEC, signing off.

The Orca Report (No. 57) September 13, 2016

September 14, 2016 -- As students return to school, members of Orca return to the RiverHouse. We were a group of 23 last night.

There were a few announcements, followed by "What did you do this summer?" and then a presentation by Mike VE7ACN about his contest station RT0C - RW0CN.

Change in meeting day

The RiverHouse has asked if Orca would consider switching its meeting night to a Wednesday from the current Tuesday. Members at the September meeting felt that Wednesdays would be OK, so President Dave VE7VR will be speaking with the restaurant manager. A firm decision will be announced once Dave has confirmed the switchover month, possibly as early as the October meeting. Stay tuned!

Club coffers

Treasurer Dave VA7AM was not at the meeting but sent word that Orca is well in the black.

Orca Yahoo Group

Fred VE7IO, one of the administrators of the Orca Yahoo Group, wondered if the site should be closed because it hasn't attracted many postings in the last year. A quick look reveals that the last message posted was actually from me, back in June, when BCQP results were announced.

Bouvet DXpedition

Two Orca members, Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX, are on the 2018 DXpedition team to Bouvet Island, so we will have great insider information. But since the DXpedition is planned for early 2018 and the PNW DX Convention that year comes to Vancouver, 3Y0Z may become a cornerstone presentation for our event.

A donation will be made to this DXpedition, but the exact amount is still being considered.

2016 PNW DX Convention

On the convention topic...

The 2016 convention was hosted by the Willamette Valley DX Club, in Portland, OR, August 5-7. Steve VE7CT attended the convention. He was the only person from BC. Lonely. Not only that, attendance from BC at the conventions hosted by our PNW friends helps reciprocally to bring people to the convention when it's our turn to host. So there were a few grumblings about the obvious absence of attendees from BC.

That said, Orca members are not the only amateur radio operators in BC, so perhaps convention promotion didn't get to all potential attendees. We can learn from this, too. As with BCQP promotion, it is vital to reach as many potential participants as possible.

The exchange rate, driving distance and conflicting activities for BC residents over the BC Day long weekend might also have prompted potential attendees from BC to forego the trip to Oregon.

PNW Cup

The traveling PNW Cup was presented to... Orca DXCC. Fourth straight year!

Orca Field Day 2016

It was a good time, again. Don VE7DS will do a recap of Field Day 2016 at the October meeting.

What I did last summer

Margaret VA7VF and Ralph VE7XF and several helpers worked on tower and antenna preparations at their new QTH on Vancouver Island.

Bud VA7ST got his new hamshack set up. Looks awesome! Well-laid out and comfortable.

Dave VE7VR visited Rome, pinpointed the location of HV0A, and had lunch with Sergio IK0FTA and Tony I0JX.

Not mentioned but worth knowing about...

Salmon Run: Like our BCQP, this event is casual and fun. If you are not otherwise occupied this coming weekend (Saturday, Sept 17, 9am - midnight PDT and Sunday, Sept 18, 9am to 5pm PDT), consider spending some time in the Salmon Run. You might win some smoked salmon for your efforts. For details, go to the contest website, from which you will be able to click your way to rules, county abbreviations and more.

Orca Lunch: Ken VE7BC is handling organizing duties. He sends out notices about a week before each lunch, which is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Anyone visiting the Lower Mainland on lunch day is welcome to join the more local participants.

Evening Presentation: RT0C - RW0CN

Mike VE7ACN provided photos and commentary on "the contest station at his farm" -- not "his contest station” -- as he feels the dedicated efforts of the operators who built this station with him make it theirs, too. It just happens to be on his farm.

Located an hour's drive north of Khabarovsk, the station truly is a marvel of ingenuity, teamwork and dedication to contesting. So much was built from scratch. Lots of military surplus equipment and components. But all the effort has been worthwhile, substantiated by several consecutive years' worth of ARRL International DX Contest plaques on the shack wall.

There is a video on YouTube showing the GP 160M vertical going up. Double falling derrick technique. If you watch the video and wonder what is burning... the smoke is to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

And on a contesting note, the first eligible contest in the PNW Cup Challenge is CQ WW RTTY DX, September 24-25, 2016.

QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 56) June 14, 2016

June 14, 2016 -- June already! This was the last meeting before our summer break. We were a group of 27.

There were a few announcements, followed by a BCQP 2016 wrap-up and then a presentation by Brian VE7JKZ on the much-maligned-but-really-not-bad-at-all G5RV antenna.

PNW Cup Standings

Although the exact numbers were not available, it appears that Orca DXCC is in the lead. There is still one more eligible contest -- IARU -- and then the trophy will be presented at the upcoming PNW Convention in Portland, OR, in August.

PNW Convention

This year, the convention is hosted by the Willamette Valley DX Club, in Portland, OR, August 5-7. The convention website has links to all the important stuff, such as online registration, program schedule and a list of attendees.

An email from the convention chairman, Al K7AR, just last week indicated that the special rate for staying at the Monarch Hotel expires on July 8. I took a quick look at the convention website this morning (June 15) and there is a note that the block of rooms set aside at the hotel has been filled � sold out for the convention weekend � so if you were considering a last-minute reservation, you�ll have to look into alternate accommodations. View the list. Please note that the convention committee has NOT negotiated special rates at these locations.

Orca Membership

Some people on the club mailout list were sent a reminder email on June 9, 2016, regarding membership renewal. It's very easy to lose track of time and think you've paid up when in fact it was a year ago or more! Or perhaps you intended to give Treasurer Dave VA7AM cash or a cheque at a meeting and for whatever reason, that mission was not accomplished. Easily remedied.

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 Treasurer Dave. Go to the Orca DXCC website for electronic and paper-trail methods.

Anyone on the non-current list who does not remit funds to Treasurer Dave by the end of August will be removed from the roster.

BTW, the Orca Report provides a thorough recap of what was said and seen at every meeting, uploaded to the Orca website within a couple of days, so any paid-up member who is unable to attend a meeting can stay in the loop. The report is much, much more than the minutes of a meeting, offering background details that I find when confirming what was said and seen, links to websites where more info is available, and sometimes YouTube videos of presentation content.

Field Day

Don VE7DS says preparations are moving along well.

BCQP 2016 Wrap-up

The special BCQP Report has been written, and the results for this year�s event have been announced. Everything � 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 2016 results and activity into better perspective and help with strategies for next year.

By the June meeting, it seems, certificates are printed and plaques produced, and since BCQP always has tremendous support from Orca members and these operators tend to capture certificates and plaques, this is the perfect opportunity to hand out awards. All other recipients will receive their packages by snail mail.

This year, BCQP offered certificates for top scores in each category of entry, special certificates to recognize particularly deserving results that were not top-of-category, new district awards, and nine plaques.

Certificate and plaque winners with an Orca connection (three-letter codes below, like �PMC,� represent electoral districts) N7RO (SOLP MIXED outside BC - certificate and plaque) - 81 Qs ⇨ 16,548 points VA7JW (PMC) - 136 Qs ⇨ 12,804 points VA7ST (KEL, SOHP CW) - 86 Qs ⇨ 20,650 points VA7VF (DEL, SOLP SSB, Top YL) - 233 Qs ⇨ 40,116 points VE7ACN (BNS) - 116 Qs ⇨ 10,756 points VE7AX (COA) - 55 Qs ⇨ 5,200 points VE7CV (KTC) - 38 Qs ⇨ 6,160 points VE7DDG (RIC, SOLP CW, Top BC single-op) - 193 Qs ⇨ 94,976 points VE7IO (SWR multi, MOHP MIXED, Top BC multi-op) - 798 Qs ⇨ 576,924 points VE7CVA (VE7JH) (CLM, MOLP MIXED - certificate and plaque) - 426 Qs ⇨ 181,500 points VE7JKZ (SOLP CW 2nd place) - 115 Qs ⇨ 43,720 points VE7TK (SGI, SOHP SSB) - 263 Qs ⇨ 45,782 points VE7VR (BUS, SOHP MIXED) - 99 Qs ⇨ 26,760 points All log-submitting Orca participants (Top Club BC)* (904,642 points) *does NOT include sponsor station results

Orca members, on the club roster as of BCQP 2016, who submitted logs with at least 25 QSOs were entered into a draw for $25 gift cards. The box held 18 callsigns, and Rand VE7HRA picked the following:

Margaret VA7VF BC Liquor Store
Elizabeth VE7YL White Spot
Fred VE7IOLondon Drugs


2016 Post-It 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 block of Post-it notes.

All photos (top-score certificates, district certificates, plaque and Post-it notes) are unique and taken specifically for BCQP 2016. (That means they�re collectible...)

Although conditions were rather terrible for BCQP 2016 and challenges seemed to outweigh opportunities for some people, several very commendable results were achieved. To name just a few � and, really, there are so many results worth mentioning for as many reasons as there were participants: Dave VE7VR worked remote from Arizona (transmitter in Burnaby) and picked up a district award as well as top BC score in the SOHP Mixed category; Dick N7RO picked up his FOURTH plaque!; the VE7IO station delivered a fifth year of award-winning results; Margaret VA7VF three-peated as top YL; and Don VE7DS, using his more CW-decipherable call VE7DDG, had the top single-op result in BC but what is particularly amazing is that he worked CW only.

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 2017 will commence in November.

Evening Presentation: G5RV Antenna

Although Brian VE7JKZ was essentially packed and ready to ride the ferry to his new home on Vancouver Island, he stayed an extra night so that he could provide us with an in-depth perspective on the G5RV antenna. It seems everyone has heard of the G5RV, many times in unfavorable terms, but the negative comments often come from people who haven�t set it up properly. It does have some limitations, but for a single element multiband antenna, it�s pretty darn good. It�s relatively small (measures 102 feet across the top), low cost, simple and versatile. It provides dipole equivalent coverage on 80m and 40m, and from 20m on, it�s great for DX with four to six low angle lobes reaching out in all directions.

Designed by Louis Varney, whose callsign was G5RV, this center-fed antenna was intended to provide efficient operation on all HF bands, from 3.5-28MHz. But remember, the G5RV debuted in 1946, when HF bands were 80/75, 40, 20, 15 and 10, so it�s not necessarily ideal for today�s HF range. Indeed, the antenna is poor on 30m and 17m, and SWR is high on 10m with a considerable dB loss as well.

Some issues are resolved or at least mitigated with the use of an antenna tuner � not the one in the rig.

Brian noted comments from W8JI who conducted some comparison tests. In blind tests (�this is antenna A, this is antenna B�), the G5RV got great signal reports, either equal to or better than the other antenna. In announced tests (�this is the G5RV, this is the dipole�), the G5RV almost always got a negative comment, even when W8JI purposely called each antenna by the opposite name!! It therefore seems that the G5RV is assumed to be an inferior antenna. But if set up properly, with good height � 34 feet � and an antenna tuner, it works quite wonderfully.

Recommendations? Brian suggests a G5RV fed with open wire lines all the way from the antenna feed point to a link-coupled ATU (homebrew, of course) at the radio. Highly serviceable.

Brian concluded his presentation with a QSL card received from G5RV himself, albeit as CX5RV, in 1978 for a QSO on 20m. The fact that Brian was using the G5RV, which he mentioned, undoubtedly brought a smile to the inventor�s face.

And this brings me to the end of the June meeting recap. See you in September. Have a good summer.
de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 55) May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016 -- The weather was great, making the evening drive rather enjoyable. We were a group of 27. Some of our regulars were not in attendance due to relocation, and a couple more will also be moving as of month-end. Brian VE7JKZ and XYL Neomi are moving to the Island, as are Ralph VE7XF and Margaret VA7VF. Brian, Neomi, Ralph and Margaret�You will be missed. We wish you well in your new homes and hope you�ll drop by to join the crowd at the RiverHouse if you�re in the area on an Orca Tuesday. Brian will, in fact, be back at the June meeting for a presentation.

This and That

BCQP: The special Orca Report is 99% complete. Just needs some proof-reading by another set of eyes. Photos for plaques, certificates and special district awards have been narrowed down and production is in full-swing. Once all the administrative tasks are done, the results will be announced. Plaques and certificates for Orca members�yes, there are a lot of you�will be presented at the June meeting. Those who can�t be there in person will receive certificates and/or plaques by snail mail. Gift card draw will be done at this meeting, too, for participants who were members of Orca as of Feb 6, 2016, and submitted a log with at least 25 Qs.

Orca Lunch: Due to relocation, Margaret VA7VF had to give up her Orca Lunch coordinator�s job. Ken VE7BC has kindly stepped in. All the relevant email addresses were passed along, but if you are not getting notifications of an upcoming lunch � always the fourth Wednesday of the month � please contact Ken. Everyone is welcome, so if you don�t live in the Lower Mainland but happen to be visiting on a lunch day, please let Ken know and he�ll include you in the mailout.

PNW Cup Update: No update. Spreadsheet-minder Jim VE7FO has been preoccupied with other matters and has not updated the spreadsheet that is posted to the Orca site. That doesn�t mean you don�t have to participate in eligible contests and post your score on 3830 or send Jim your raw score(s). The traveling PNW Cup will be awarded at the upcoming convention in Portland, OR, hosted by the Willamette Valley DX Club August 5-7, 2016, so the details will have to be sorted by then.

Field Day: Don VE7DS is organizing the VA7ODX operation for Field Day 2016, June 25-26. If you are interested in spending a few hours in the chair calling CQ or helping with logistics, please get in touch with Don.

Evening Program Ideas: Evening Program Ideas: If you have a topic to present � even if only loosely tied to ham radio � please contact Dave VE7VR. Orca membership is very diversified, with expertise and interests in a wide variety of fields. Do you have expert knowledge you can share with the group? A DXpedition, near or far? A tower rebuild? A radio project? Interesting travels with or without radio? We�re ready to listen.

Looking ahead, Mike VE7ACN is penciled in for the September meeting to talk about his IOTA activities.

VE100VIMY: Tonight, Don VE7DS gave a more in-depth presentation about the VE100VIMY project. The idea was actually kindled at an Orca meeting back in the fall of 2011.

Don started off with some history about Vimy Ridge and how the battle to retake the area in April 1917 marked a change in the way Canadians were seen by the world and how Canadians saw themselves. Vimy Ridge had been captured by the Germans at the beginning of WWI (1914) and attempts by the British and the French to regain control were met with huge casualties, followed by repeated gain-a-little-ground-then-lose-it kind of progress. In 1917, the Canadians were given a chance, and applying lessons learned from previous mistakes, four divisions took the main part of the Ridge on the first day and completely occupied the area in four days. Vimy Ridge then remained in Allied hands for the rest of the war and served as a base for the wireless operations of the Canadian Corps of Signals. There were lives lost, of course, but the resounding success by the Canadians elicited a new sense of national pride that some historians call the moment when Canada changed from a colony to a nation.

With this history in mind, the 100th anniversary of the Battle at Vimy Ridge coinciding with Canada�s 150th birthday, will make 2017 a very special year.

The VE100VIMY project will operate between April 1-9, 2017, about 2km away from the monument where official ceremonies are to take place. There will be two stations set up inside the Commonwealth War Grave Commission Maintenance Building, with appropriate antennas outside to run 24 hours a day. For security reasons, the shack will be off limits to the public, including radio amateurs who are not involved in the project, so anyone who wishes to make contact will have to do so by SSB, CW and/or RTTY.

In 1922, France ceded 250 acres at the summit of Vimy Ridge to Canada. This is where the huge monument stands. Because the area is considered part of Canada � a Parks Canada National Historic Site administered by Veterans Affairs � and for a bunch of other reasons, VE100VIMY does not qualify as a DXCC entity, special or otherwise

Don also touched upon a lot of interesting threads that tie people, past and present, to radio and the VE100VIMY project. For instance, Hiram Stevens Maxim invented the Maxim gun, the first portable, fully automatic machine gun, which was used on both sides of the Western Front in WWI. His son, Hiram Percy Maxim was an American radio pioneer and co-founder of the ARRL, eventually taking the callsign W1AW, now the ARRL Headquarters club station callsign. One of the machine guns from actual battle was packed up as a war souvenir by Major Thain W. MacDowell, and later gifted to the University of Toronto, where many years later, Don too ended up. He walked past the piece of history often on his way to Hart House Amateur Radio Club meetings. The major�s son, Thain Jr. (VE2NI), now SK, was a member of this club, too, and was involved in the early planning for VE100VIMY.

There are many interesting background facts, but I�ll leave them for another time. We�re sure to be getting regular updates from Don as April 2017 approaches.

And that�s it for the May report.

73,
Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 54) April 12, 2016

April 12, 2016 -- There were 26 Orca members and guests at the April meeting. Quite a few of the regulars were out of town, but quite a few of the out-of-towners�that is, those who must travel a considerable distance to the RiverHouse�were able to make this meeting. Great to see you all!

This and That

PNW Cup Update: No update, actually, as Jim VE7FO, minder of the spreadsheet, wasn�t at the meeting. There are still two more qualifying contests: WPX CW and IARU. If you like contests and want to contribute to the overall score of Orca DXCC, please participate and either forward your raw score to Jim or post to 3830 and Jim will glean the details from there.

BCQP: Still working on the report and still searching for photo opportunities that will deliver a beautiful BC moment for certificates/plaques. Detailed analysis of log content and contest coordinator�s thoughts�mine�on the 2016 running will be provided in the special Orca Report to be released within the next couple of months. Once the report and photos are finalized, results will be announced.

VE100VIMY: Now that�s going to be a lot of dits and dahs in CW...

Don VE7DS gave a brief update on plans for the VE100VIMY operation, which will take place in April 2017. There are lots of details still to be worked out, and Keith VE7KW is winging his way to France at this very moment for discussions with officials there. Don will join him next week.

Last week, Don received a letter from the Minister of Veterans� Affairs, commending him and the team for this initiative, which marks the centenary of a tremendous WWI battle success by Canadian soldiers, under Canadian rather than British command, in capturing key ground in during WWI.

You can get some background on Vimy Ridge and its importance in Canadian history in the government-produced brochure �Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada�. For specific information about VE100VIMY, look at the article that Don wrote for The Canadian Amateur (Jan/Feb 2016 edition) or check out the VE100VIMY website (ve100vimy.ca), which gets updated regularly with project news.

Don presented Dave VE7VR with a special poster, featuring a photo of the Ridge, as a thank you for a donation to the project.

Field Day 2016: Don is also spearheading VA7ODX participation in Field Day 2016. The goal is to have someone seated in the station�s two radio positions throughout the event, to capture top spot in-class and, of course, to have fun.

Willis Island VK9WA: At last, Sandro VE7NY, with back-of-the-room confirmation from Allan VE7SZ, presented photos and video of the Willis Island DXpedition that took place November 14-24, 2015. The slides/video were prepared by Rob N7QT, team leader.

Actually, Willis is a group of three islands 450km off the east of Australia. As with many remote island operations with any kind of ecological or environmental significance, a special permit was required from the authorities, and as part of the deal, the team executed an island cleanup and debris inventory.

The goal was to log 60,000 Qs, and the team exceeded the goal, entering 61,734 Qs in approximately 225-and-a-half hours of operating time. Of this, there were 17,025 unique callsigns and 1,576 dupes. Of all the bands, 12m delivered the most Qs (11,405), and CW was the most productive mode (31,117 Qs). There was an RTTY presence, but at 3,353 Qs, it was way behind CW and SSB (27,264 Qs). In the breakdown of QSOs by continent, the top three were North America (32.8%), Europe (32.1%) and Asia (30.2%).

Willis was at #32 on Club Log�s most wanted list after the previous activation, in 2008, and apparently remains at #32 even after the most recent visit.

The journey to Middle Cay was in good weather and comparatively short for a remote island DXpedition � just a day and a half�and the location obviated the need for armed chaperons to protect the team from pirates. No typhoon blew through to soak operators and equipment, and while it was tropical and warm, maybe even edging toward uncomfortably hot, and safe, there were, as with all DXpeditions, issues to contend with. Some of the major problems were the big birds, which liked to sit on the beam antennas and soak up signals; the very large turtles, which pulled at radials and sometimes coax (w/radio!) in their path as they moved along the beach; and the wind, oh that wind... For several days, someone from the boat had to swim to the islet with meals because the wind and big waves prevented the dinghy from getting to shore!

There is sunny-day drone footage by Captain Pete of Bianca Charters and lots of DXpedition details still available on the VK9WA website.

That�s it for the April recap.

QRT de Rebecca VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 53) Mar. 9, 2016

March 8, 2016 -- We were a cozy group of 24.

This and That

PNW Cup Update: Still no update, as Jim VE7FO was not at the meeting. But you can assume Orca DXCC is doing well. We are well into contest season: ARRL CW and SSB are done. So is WPX RTTY. The SSB and CW installments of WPX are coming up at the end of March and of May, respectively.

A35T: Tonga escaped the wrath tropical cyclone Winston, which hit Fiji full-force and left a trail of destruction in its wake. Orca members Dave VA7AM, Keith VE7KW and Neil VA7DX, along with the rest of the A35T team experienced some issues with intermittent Internet connection and high winds due to the superstorm, but other than that all was fine.

Willis Island Presentation: Postponed again � to April � because main presenter Sandro VE7NY is in Cuba. However, we saw a short clip, filmed by drone, that shows the island on a clear, sunny day.

Field Day 2016: Don VE7DS is still looking for operators, particularly anyone who will do a night shift. He would like to fill the two operating chairs for 24 hours. Please contact Don if you are interested in being part of the Orca Field Day team.

Orca � The Future: At the AGM, Dave VE7VR posed a few questions regarding future activities under the Orca DXCC banner. It seems as if everyone is happy with the current structure of our club and the activities that we are involved in, namely, BCQP, Field Day and DXpedition support/participation. But if you have an idea for something else, please contact Dave with your suggestions, especially those that you yourself, or with help, can implement.

Would anyone like to be a DX manager, keeping track of DX activities? Or a contest manager, keeping track of contests? Would anyone like the job of a club awards manager, compiling info and coordinating internal awards that recognize special achievements by Orca members? How about a two-hour OrcaSprint, with a Worked-All-Orca Award?

BCQP 2016

The log deadline has passed. The number of logs hit 63, a considerable decrease from the 91 received a year ago. Interestingly, the BC/non-BC split evened out, with 29 from BC (up three) and 34 from outside BC (down 30). A detailed analysis of log content will be provided in the special Orca Report to be released by early summer.

Kingman Reef: K5K

K5K Kingman Reef We watched a 30-minute video about K5K, the Kingman Reef DXpedition, back in 2000. Steve VE7CT was on the team, which operated on all bands and logged more than 80,000 QSOs during its October 21 to November 1 run.

There had been previous DXpeditions, in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1999 and 1993. The K5K visit in 2000 was the last, and it would seem unlikely that the QTH will welcome another DXpedition again since the reef is essentially under water now. A 2014 survey by U.S. Fish & Wildlife, following difficulties encountered in removing a fishing vessel from the reef, indicated that the only land masses at Kingman Reef were just three feet above sea level at low tide and under water at high tide.

And that�s it for the March meeting.

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

The Orca Report (No. 52) Feb. 9, 2016

February 9, 2016�Your Orca Report did double-duty, leading the meeting in Dave VE7VR�s absence. We were a fairly large group: 28. After a few BCQP-related announcements, we went right into our evening presentation: K5D, the DXpedition to Desecheo Island.

This and That

Membership: If you haven�t paid up for 2016, 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.

PNW Cup Update: No update, actually, but you can assume Orca DXCC is doing well. Remember, it�s now contest season: eligible ARRL and WPX contests begin this month, with WPX RTTY (Feb 13-14).

BCQP 2016

History. As of this evening, I have received 37 logs, down from the pace of last year�s 51 logs, but it�s only been a few days since game day. The log submission deadline is March 7. Everyone who submits a log electronically gets a confirmation email. If you or someone you know sent a log to bcqp@orcadxcc.org and did not get a confirmation email, please resubmit. Or contact me directly, at va7bec@rac.ca

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 120, a sunspot count of 113, an A-index of 8 and a K-index of 2. The aurora stat was 4.8 but increased throughout the day, making over-the-pole Qs rather difficult. The geomag stat was �quiet�, but the bands seemed to be noisy in every direction and were rated �fair� or �poor� for most of the day. I think 20m got a �normal� at some point but the going was tough.

In writing up the 3830 blurb for VA7ODX, I felt a sense of d�j� vu. Many factors that characterized last year�s event were the same this year, presenting both positive and negative impacts and thus opportunities as well as challenges.

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 better than last year. Koji says CW was tough. I found SSB a challenge, too, with 10m a complete write-off, 15m and 20m providing steady activity though it was very hard to catch callsigns on the first try and many signals were like whispers in a storm. The low bands were very noisy.

A friend sent me a link to a very cute video, which captures the whisper imagery perfectly. You�ll hear a 59+ and a solid 59, and then a gradual deterioration toward a 43 or so, and finally, a barely audible 33.

A quick perusal of logs submitted so far shows a few new callsigns in the mix and a few callsigns that were missed last year. But some of the regular crowd doesn�t seem to have been on the air. At VA7ODX, all three modes had mini-JA pileups and a pretty good pipeline to the east coast. There were a few surprise DX�EU, Caribbean, South Africa, South America, mostly�and a lot more AK than usual.

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

Desecheo: K5D

Dave VE7VR provided me with a video on the K5D DXpedition to Desecheo in 2009 to show tonight. Two members of Orca DXCC�prior to the club�s establishment, though�were on the team: Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX. They were joined by many very familiar and experienced DXpeditioners.

The video is heavy on station setup and operation, not the usual half-travelogue/half-radio content.

The website is still up, and it has links to lots of info and pictures about the KP1-5 Project and the DXpedition.

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



The Orca Report (No. 51) Jan. 12, 2016

January 13, 2016�Happy New Year!

Our first meeting of the new year was attended by 28 people, quite a good turnout considering the torrential rain and terrible traffic across the bridges and through the tunnel. This was our Annual General Meeting. After the most minimal of administrative necessities, there were a few announcements and then a video presentation of the K1N DXpedition to Navassa.

Membership

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. The existing officers agreed to stay on, so the executive team is

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

The Future

Just because the executive remains the same, does not necessarily mean that Orca DXCC eschews change. The structure of our club hinges on DX and contesting, and maintaining this focus would seem to be appropriate. But the executive welcomes suggestions for activities, especially if the individuals offering suggestions are willing to implement and oversee the associated activities.

Would anyone be interested in the position of, say, club awards manager (to oversee a program to present awards to members of Orca DXCC for notable achievements in any given year) or expedition funding manager (to respond to DXpedition donation requests)?

What do you think of an OrcaSprint event, where we all try to contact as many members of the club as we can in a couple of hours?

And there�s always Field Day.

If you would like to be more involved in the club, email me (va7bec [at] rac [dot] ca) and I�ll pass on your name and activity of interest to the executive.

PNW Cup Update

Jim VE7FO, Keeper of the Spreadsheet, was unable to attend the meeting, but suffice it to say, Orca is leading in the announced point tally.

DXpeditions

On the Orca DXCC homepage, you will find a list of upcoming DXpeditions. Webmaster Bud VA7ST includes links for each DXpedition, so you can quickly get details.

Some photos from the VK9WA, the Willis Island DXpedition, flashed on the screen as we had dinner. Two members of Orca�Allan VE7SZ and Sandro VE7NY�were on the team, and Sandro will provide commentary with photos at the February meeting.

Evening Presentation: K1N

K1N, the Navassa Island Dxpedition 2015, was quite the undertaking, as most DXpeditions to top-10 DXCC entities generally are. This QTH, nestled between Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, was not always so rare, and an OK from the U.S. Coast Guard was fairly easy to acquire. But in 1997, the lighthouse was deactivated and the island was declared a National Wildlife Refuge, which required a special-use permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to gain limited access. It took 13 years and many meetings to get approval. When Glenn Johnson W0GJ, co-team leader, stepped out of the helicopter and on to the island, he was the first radio amateur to do so in 22 years.

The K1N website is still up and you can see photos and get background on the project, the island and the team.

Also check out a great article by Glenn that appeared in �The GrayLine Report� (March 2015). It�s a very long article but definitely worth the time to read.

BCQP 2016

DateFebruary 6, 8am to 8pm local time (UTC 1600z Feb 6 to 0400z Feb 7)
Exchange: BC stations: RS(T) + BC federal electoral district
Stations outside BC: give RS(T) + state/province/"DX"

BCQP 2016 marks the fifth event under the Orca DXCC banner. The profile is high�high enough that any BC operator on the air should listen in various directions to capitalize on Q potential. Poor conditions may hamper efforts, but there are operators in Europe, Japan, across Canada and the U.S., and even South America, who are keen to have QSOs with BC stations and capture a certificate or plaque.

If you yourself are unable to get on the air, tell others who might be able to call CQ for an hour or two during the day. There is incredible interest from outside the province, but that enthusiasm will quickly evaporate if the pool of VE7/VA7s is too shallow to sustain interest.

What's New

The BC federal electoral map was redrawn for the recent election, resulting in six more ridings for BC -- to 42 -- and nearly all ridings were renamed. Consequently, the three-letter combinations used as multipliers for BCQP purposes have been revised. The updated multiplier list for 2016 can be found at http://www.orcadxcc.org/bcqp_districts.html

BCQP is fully supported by N1MM Logger+ and N3FJP software. The writers have updated their respective programs with the latest BCQP multiplier list. Anyone still using N1MM Classic, however, MUST edit the section list, as the old version of N1MM is no longer supported. Here is the page that describes how to edit QSO party sections. Or google �modifying and importing the QSO party county abbreviations�.

For N3FJP, existing users of this program for QSO parties need only click File > Download County List File, and restart the BCQP software to update. No need to uninstall and reinstall.

Note: You can use any software that creates a Cabrillo log. You can also send in a paper if you have less than 100 Qs. But N1MM Logger+ (and Classic w/appropriate section list edit) and N3FJP (and CQ/X for mobile contesting) are the only programs that score accurately.

PLEASE BE AWARE: Whether you use logging software or paper-log, you must use the latest multiplier list. Any log showing the old three-letter abbreviations will make the submission ineligible for certificates and/or plaques.

Tangible rewards

BC stations have more chances than ever to capture wallpaper.

We still have top-score certificates as well as the plaque program, which has expanded yet again, but new this year is a top district category to encourage wider participation throughout the province. Only 10 Qs are needed to qualify but any BC operator who starts calling CQ is sure to exceed that by a long shot.

*Note: Anyone unsure of his/her new electoral district or the electoral district in which operations will take place should go to http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx, scroll down a bit and plug a postal code into the space provided. Compare against the BCQP multiplier list to find the appropriate three-letter code.

The plaque program now has nine categories, a net increase of one. (We lost �Top Rookie�) Sponsored categories: Top BC Score, Top YL Score, Top Score Canada Outside BC, Top US Score, Most Electoral Districts Contacted, Top DX, Top Mixed Mode, Top Club* BC (new) and Top Multi-Op (new).

*Note: For a score to count toward an aggregate club score, whether that is Orca or a local club, the log MUST indicate club name in the Cabrillo header.

Resources

FAQ, rules, tools as well as in-depth event analysis/reports and scores from past years ... all available for viewing from links on the BCQP page of the Orca DXCC website.

Alternate CW suggested frequencies

If anyone is in the mood for CW after 0000z and is not participating in NA Sprint, try the alternate suggested frequencies for CW during the last four hours of BCQP. Last year, the alternate suggested frequencies seemed to mitigate some of the issues caused by NA Sprint. Check the BCQP homepage. These frequencies are quite high up in the respective bands, encroaching on other mode allocations so, if necessary (and goes without saying, right?), operators should move up or down a bit to avoid QRMing others. I didn�t hear of any game-day problems, so everyone must have behaved properly last year.

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.

Koji VA7KO has handled CW for several years, but he doesn�t necessarily have a claim on it. If someone else would like to run with the sponsor call on CW, please contact me. The sponsor station is the only operation that need not be in a single location so if you were to take CW, you could work from your own station. The ideal CW operator would be proficient in CW and be able to run for hours at a time and making Qs with operators near and far.

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 gift cards. The number of names drawn will depend on the number of logs submitted by Orca members.

Please...

Talk about the BCQP with radio pals. The more BC stations we get on the air, the more Q potential there is for BC and non-BC stations, which draws more participants and fuels the Q count, which makes CQing productive and S&P a joy, which makes BCQP fun and attracts more participants, which expands the potential for more Qs... and on it goes. Let�s keep the snowball rolling.

TCA

On �The Sports Page� of the January/February 2016 issue of The Canadian Amateur, Bob VE3KZ mentions the post-event analysis written for BCQP 2015, and this has piqued more interest in our event.

Also, for some strange reason, the list of Canadian operators in BCQP 2015 shows only stations outside BC. I queried this and Bob answered that his assistant inadvertently missed some entries. All Canadian scores in BCQP 2015 will be printed in the next issue.

Next Meeting

February 9

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



The Orca Report (No. 50) Dec. 8, 2015

December 10, 2015 -- The December meeting was not so much a meeting as it was a gathering of club members and significant others. We were a group of 27.

A number of the usual attendees were not in attendance, as they were on DXpeditions. Dean KW7XX, Dick N7RO and Steve VE7CT were on Tuvalu (T2TT), Nov 24 - Dec 2, and Fiji (3D2RJ), Dec 3 - Dec 10. Don N7BT was the team�s NA pilot. Paul W7IV, an Orca DXCC member now based in California and therefore unable to make RiverHouse meetings anymore, was also on this team. Have a safe trip home!

There were no presentations or major announcements, but here�s what was seen and heard.

Ken VE7BC handed out bureau cards.

Looking back over 2015, it was a challenging year CONDX-wise, but as a contesting/DX club, we were very active, at home and also abroad. From Africa to ocean islands, from lakeside cottages to farmers� fields�Orca DXCC members were on the air, involved in DXpeditions and contests, major and up-and-coming (read: BCQP). As individuals, we acquired a lot of wallpaper for the shack, and as a club, we maintained a high profile not only in specific contests but also in capturing the PNW Cup for the third year in a row.

VA7ODX was also heard near and far, in BCQP and Field Day.

Looking ahead, Orca DXCC members are bound to be busy again, either participating in DXpeditions in 2016 or planning adventures for 2017 and beyond. BCQP 2016 is less than two months away, and there�s a new sponsored plaque (Top Club in BC), so Orca DXCC members, get on the air and capture this one! And even before the new year starts, there are still a few contests to tackle: ARRL 10m this weekend, Dec 12-13 0000z start, and RAC Winter, Dec 19 0000z start.

Enjoy DXing and contesting and all the family-and-friend activities that December typically brings. All the best for 2016.

QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 49) Nov. 10, 2015

November 28, 2015 -- Your Orca Report was delayed by your reporter's absence from the meeting. This report is based on notes from Dave VE7VR, with additional info gleaned from available materials.

There was a pretty good turnout at the RiverHouse Restaurant, with 28 in the group.

Contest News

VA7ODX at Field Day 2015: Results

In Field Day 2015, VA7ODX, an eight-member team led by Don VE7DS, achieved No.1 status in the 2A category under power mult 2 in BC, with a score of 3,494.

CQ WW 2014 CW: New VE7 Record

In last year's CQ WW DX Contest CW edition, the multi-multi operation at VE7UF achieved a new VE7 record with a score of 17,091,528. The team comprised VE7ACN VE7JH VE7JKZ VE7KW VE7MR VE7YBH and station owner VE7UF. Well done!

BCQP 2016: February 6, local time

Pre-promotion emails to clubs in BC -- and some encouragement (thank you!) from Orca DXCC members who belong to other clubs -- led to two more plaque sponsors. The additional categories are Top Club in BC and Top Multi-Op Score. Past plaque sponsors stepped up again, but a two-category sponsor had to scale back to one category, so at this point in time BCQP 2016 will have nine plaques: Top BC (single-op), Top YL, Top Canada outside BC, Top US, Top Mixed Mode, Most Federal Districts Contacted, Top DX, Top Club in BC and Top Multi-Op Score.

Along with the two new plaques will be some special certificates to encourage wider participation from BC's expanded federal electoral map. BC now has 42 districts -- up from the previous 36 -- with six new districts and nearly all the old districts redrawn and renamed. The multiplier list has been revised accordingly. (See the BCQP pages of our website.) The special certificates will be awarded to top scores in all activated districts, with qualification based on 10 valid QSOs.

Regular invitation emails to clubs in BC have gone out and are already generating some interest.

Contest calendars will be contacted, but BCQP is increasingly listed without anyone having to send reminders. A key indicator of heightened profile!

All known logging program writers who support BCQP have been alerted about the revised multiplier list for BC districts, and the respective software is already updated. Scott N3FJP has told me that existing users of his program for QSO parties will only have to click File > Download County List File, and restart the BCQP software to update. No need to uninstall and reinstall. N1MM* users probably do a regular update before every big contest, so you�re set.

* N1MM's legacy program is no longer supported by the development team, so the updated multiplier list is only available with Logger+. Anyone using the legacy -- classic -- version will have to use Logger+ for BCQP or "edit" the existing list. DON'T MAKE ANY TYPOS!!

DXpeditions: VK9WA

It's history, now, but Willis Island VK9WA had two Orca DXCC members on the team: Allan VE7SZ and Sandro VE7NY. Check the DXpedition website for post-adventure updates or to see if your QSO is in the log.

Evening program: "Life is too Short for QRP - high power amplifiers!"

Brian VE7JKZ had everyone's attention.

And that's a recap of the meeting your reporter did not attend. The next meeting is our Christmas gathering. I expect to be there.

Rebecca VA7BEC

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.

PNW Cup

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.

73,
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).

PNW-related

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.

BCDXC16,626,847
IDXA471,258
Western Washington DXC81,528,778
Willamette Valley DXC89,694,590
SDXA16,332,633
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.

VE100VIMY

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.

Spare ICOM IC706MKIIG?

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:

Allen VE7BQO (SO QRP MIXED)
Don VE7DDG (SOLP CW)
Margaret VE7TJF(SOLP SSB)
Gabor VE7JH(SOLP MIXED)
Mike VE7ACN (SOHP SSB)
VE7SAR
(team included VA7XB and VE7GM)
(MOLP SSB)
VE7JR (team included VE7XS)
VE7DB (team included VA7GL)
VA7NLF (team included VA7NF and VE7IO)
Dick N7RO (SOLP MIXED)

Plaque winners with an Orca connection are:

Team VA7NLF
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.

Announcements

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.

Announcements

PNW Cup Update

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

BCDXC8,947,419
Orca DXCC76,804,942
SDXA8,189,371
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 http://www.heardisland.org/HD_team/HD_VK9NS.html 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.

Presentations

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. www.oldradioparts.com has a huge inventory.

For the faceplate, John was lucky enough to find custom rubdown transfers through www.allout-graphics.com.

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.

Announcements

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 bcqp@orcadxcc.org and did not get a confirmation email, please resubmit. Or contact me directly, at va7bec@rac.ca .

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.

Membership

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:

BCDXC3,686,024
WWDXC42,094,448
WVDXC37,956,967
IDXA--
SDXA8,189,371
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!

Details

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
Rules:Here
Bands:160m to 10m. No WARC
Modes:PH, CW and Digital (PSK, RTTY, etc)
Awards:BC symbol- or lovely scenery-based certificate for all top scores in all modes and all power classes. 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.

Incentive

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

Please...

Talk about the BCQP with radio pals. The more BC stations we get on the air, the more Q potential there is for BC and non-BC stations, which draws more participants and fuels the Q count, which makes CQing productive 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.

QRT de VA7BEC

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.

Announcements

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...

PNW Cup

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.

PNW Cup

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.

Membership

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�.

FT5ZM

Welcome home Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX.

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

A seemingly rested and voyage-recovered Steve was in attendance last night and answered a few questions, but there won�t be a formal presentation until the convention. Some tidbits of information, however, included the fact that the DXpedition log has 170,000+ Qs, and an approaching storm on departure day left the team only a couple of hours to get off the island. Trip back to Freemantle was... well... a rough ride. We�ll hear more about the adventure soon.

VA7ODX Field Day

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

Tromelin Island

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

Chatham Islands

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

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

Orca Lunch

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

Internal DX & Contest Awards Director?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Welcome

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

Membership Renewal

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

Technical Advisor

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

PNW Cup Update

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

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

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

BCQP

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

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

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

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

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

The log submission deadline is March 31.

DX Convention

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

FT5ZM

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

VA7ODX Field Day

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

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

Orca Lunch

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

Any Interest?

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

Evening Presentation: T32RC (Christmas Island)

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

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

Some eagle eyes in the audience noticed when watching the video that the team caps were with T32RRC even though the call used was T32RC. The reason? Initially, Dean had been told by the Kiribati Communications Commission that the team would get the requested callsign T32RRC, which was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Russian Robinson Radio Club. Unfortunately, changes at the official level led to the issue of the two-letter call T32RC. Moral of the story? Don�t get hats printed with a DXpedition callsign until the license is in hand.

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

Pileups were good. Lobster every night for supper. Can�t complain about that!

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

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

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

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

Orca Report

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

Annual General Meeting

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

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

PNW Cup Update

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

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

Mid-Month Lunch

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

DX Convention

The website is up and 30 people have already registered.

Club Finances

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

FT5ZM�Amsterdam Island

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

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

Field Day?

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

Random Thoughts

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

Evening Presentation

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

BCQP 2014

Two years ago exactly, an article I wrote about QSO parties appeared in The Canadian Amateur. The timing couldn�t have been more perfect. The article sparked greater awareness of BCQP, and with your support, interest and participation, this event has really grown. I tip my BCQP contest coordinator�s hat to you for your continued support. Part 2 of the insider�s perspective appears in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. I hope it will encourage more operators everywhere to get involved.

BCQP 2014 is in a couple of weeks.

Key details

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

Where has the promotion bandwagon rolled?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources

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

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

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

What�s next?

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

PNW connection

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

VA7ODX operators

I will take SSB. Dave VA7AM will do RTTY.

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

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

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

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

Please...

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

Orca members outside the Lower Mainland, your federal electoral district will be a most-wanted in the BCQP. If you can�t devote hours in front of the radio, consider listening every so often and drop by if you hear a VE7/VA7.

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

If you have questions about the BCQP, email me. I will try my best to answer or find someone who can if I can�t.

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

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

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

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

Ken VE7BC handed out bureau cards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next Orca meeting will be January 14, 2014.

QRT de VA7BEC.

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

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

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

CQWW SSB

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

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

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

Regardless, Orca was well-represented during CQWW SSB.

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

PNW Cup Status

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

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

Membership Renewal

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

Financial Report

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

Orca Lunch

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

BCQP 2014

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

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

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

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

Evening Presentation

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

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

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

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

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

73 QRT de VA7BEC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call for Materials

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

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

Website

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

PNW Travelling Trophy

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

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

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

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

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

PNW DX Convention 2014

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

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

What did you do last summer?

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

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

And that’s it for September. QRT de VA7BEC

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks John for the clarification.

Buro Cards

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

Field Day

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

Financial Report

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

Orca Lunch

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

3D2C — Conway Reef 2012

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

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

An online slideshow is still available.

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

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

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

QRT de VA7BEC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QRT de VA7BEC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the presentation (3MB PDF)

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

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

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

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

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

Membership
The current roster shows 96 paid-up members.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We were a group of 30.

Announcements and Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Botswana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Orca Report (No. 21) Christmas meeting -- December 11, 2012

December 12, 2012 -- Rebecca VA7BEC, with the last Orca Report for 2012. The meeting was a Christmas-themed gathering of Orca DXCC members and significant others. We were a group of 35.

Ken VE7BC was there -- momentarily, it seemed -- like a QSL Santa to hand out bureau cards.

We had a few announcements and a few seen-and-heard items, at least to my eyes and ears.

Email from VE7DS
Don VE7DS should be winging his way back home now. The Campbell Island DXpedition (ZL9HR) wrapped up with 45,000+ Qs in the log. As of December 11, 2012, OQRS is active and LoTW is pending. We can expect to hear about this adventure from Don in the new year.

PNW Cup Jim VE7FO announced that after the first eligible contests of the PNW Challenge, Orca DXCC is leading by about four million points, but one club has yet to submit data. Could this be a strategy to lull the rest of the clubs into believing they are in a better position than they really are?

Membership Dues
If you haven’t paid up for 2013, please do. Just $24 for the year. You can pay by credit card through PayPal, Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and forwarded to Dave VA7AM, club treasurer. Go to the Orca website for details.

CQ Serenade
After I mentioned “The Contest” by The Ham Band in the November issue of the Orca Report, Brian VE7JKZ brought to my attention “CQ Serenade”, a jazzy big-band tune. I did a bit of research and found that CQ Serenade was composed by Maurice Durieux VE2QS who was an orchestra conductor employed by Radio Canada. CQ Serenade was first recorded in French and later in English. The Zerobeat source puts the date somewhere between 1965 and 1970, but I believe this is incorrect since the English-version 45 RPM recorded by VE2QS and his orchestra was a souvenir at Dayton Hamvention in 1960! I hate inconsistencies, so I researched some more. I think the more accurate dates are 1950 for the French version and 1951 for the English version.

Many people have used CQ Serenade a background music for YouTube productions, so you can do a search on YouTube with ease. But if you’re just interested in the audio, go to Zerobeat and you’ll find three renditions in MP3 format: the English version sung by Joyce Hahn, the French version sung by Raymond Girerd, and an instrumental version.

BCQP 2013
The promotion wagon is still rolling, moving along even as I sleep. Well, it sometimes seems that way when I get emails from people I didn’t contact and contest calendars get updated without me contacting the people who do the updating.

Just FYI, for those of you who go to the mecca of online calendars -- WA7BNM -- and wonder why BCQP isn’t listed in the February 2013 list, you’ll have to ask Bruce Horn. I have emailed him several times and provided corrections to the info he has in the historical section, but as yet I see no changes to the 2013 calendar.

As more emails go out, Orca members may be inundated with BCQP promotional materials (invitations, updates, etc.). Some Orca members also belong to community radio clubs, inter/national forums, online groups and other associations, and my aggressive emailing may mean some of you get the info twice or more from various sources. I apologize in advance.

Some clubs have put the BCQP invitation and/or information about the event in their newsletters and on their websites. This is just fabulous. Keeps the profile high for BCQP and also draws attention to respective club websites every time someone googles “BCQP”. Win-win situation.

But we can do even more.

If any of you meet up with ham friends who do not belong to amateur radio organizations and might not know about the BCQP, please mention it. If you belong to other groups that may not have received the official invitation, or if the email was received but the content didn’t reach everyone in that group, please point them in the direction of the Orca website. The BCQP section can be accessed from the Orca home page or directly. You’ll find the rules, multiplier lists, background info and a list of plaque sponsors and available categories for sponsorship, should a club or group of individuals or a radio-related business wish to sponsor a plaque.

Yes, we have a plaque program now. Two categories have been locked up -- Top Score BC and Top YL Score -- and as of December 11, a third is reserved, pending payment. This is a great PR opportunity for sponsors AND helps recognize outstanding results by BCQP participants.

BCQP 2012 was the first under Orca sponsorship and was, by all accounts, a tremendous success. The most encouraging indicator of progress, to me, was the huge increase in VE7/VA7s on the air -- tripling year-on year, to more than 120 -- as well as more electoral districts activated, 26 of 36. With more BC operators on the air and a deeper reservoir of multipliers to tap, the time really flew by. It was a great day in front of the radio. :)

If the 120+ operators who took to the mic, key and/or keyboard in 2012 can encourage even just one radio pal to get involved in BCQP 2013, imagine what an incredible party it will be. This will make it a lot easier for out-of-BC participants to find BC stations -- remember, non-BC stations can only work BC stations, while BC stations can work anyone anywhere -- and the party is a whole lot more enjoyable when there are contacts to be made.

There will be other QSO parties on that weekend -- MNQP, VTQP, DEQP -- as well as 10-10 International Phone and Mexico RTTY and CW Sprint. Lots of activity that we, in BC, can maximize. I realize it is a tougher task for WA stations because the stateside QSO parties are not of help to you in the BCQP. But if you are on the radio, perhaps doing one or more of the stateside QSO parties, listen for BC, too. I know BC stations will be happy to hear you answer their CQs. Plus, you could do well enough to capture top spot outside BC in your category of entry.

It’s December now. No doubt, you are all hanging new calendars on the wall. Orca members, please pencil in BCQP on February 2.

BCQP 2013 will run for 12 hours, from 1600z Feb. 2 to 0400z Feb. 3 (Feb. 2 local time 8am to 8pm).

And now it’s time for a toast. Enjoy all the wonderful moments that this time of year brings. Be well. Be happy. All the best for 2013.

Cheers!

QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 20) November 13, 2012

November 14, 2012 -- Rebecca VA7BEC, your Orca Reporter, with a recap of the last night’s meeting.

We were a good-sized group -- 34 -- and had the place to ourselves. We had a very nice presentation from Brian VE7JKZ about his Pic-a-STAR SDR project, preceded by a few announcements and a short video.

Announcements

CQ WW Contests
CQ WW SSB took place at the end of October. Generally, conditions were good and 3830 shows some boastable scores, even from our neck of the woods. The CW section takes place at the end of this month. If you didn’t see the Yahoo Group post and ignored the various did-you-know? emails because SSB isn’t your thing, please note that logs for CQ WW contests must be submitted within five (5) days after the contest ends. That means November 30, 2012, for the CQ section.

QSL Bureau
Ken VE7BC, who handles bureau-routed QSL cards for BC/Yukon, was unable to get to the meeting last night but has received a shipment of cards. If you are expecting cards, give him a shout. And by the way, Ken does an excellent job with the very time-consuming task of sorting cards and getting them to the right people often through some very helpful individuals. TU to all involved.

On the Admin Front
Membership. It’s time to pay up for 2013. Annual membership is just $24. You can pay by credit card through PayPal, Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and forwarded to Dave VA7AM, club treasurer. Go to the Orca DXCC website for details.

Greetings from Afar
Neil VA7DX sends greetings from Africa. !!

Bon Voyage
Don VE7DS will soon be on his way to Campbell Island, in the South Pacific, 600km south of New Zealand. He is part of a DXpedition organized by the Hellenic Amateur Radio of Association of Australia. Listen for ZL9HR, Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.

Lunch Meetings
Dave VE7VR broached the idea of lunch meetings that would take place between RiverHouse meetings. This would provide members with an extra opportunity to chat in a different setting and also offer those who cannot make a Tuesday evening meeting with a non-Tuesday daytime alternative. If you like the idea, drop Dave an email so he can ascertain interest in the idea.

BCQP 2013
The BCQP promotion wagon has rolled out, with BC amateur radio clubs and same-day QSO party sponsors as its first stop. Several clubs have already added a link to our BCQP page, and there has been some interest from within BC about sponsoring plaques for particularly awesome results.

Managers of contest calendars have been contacted. Most have updated their online sites. Will give the last one another week or so before I send a polite reminder.

I will be emailing clubs and organizations outside BC within the next couple of weeks, followed by invitations to past participants. I apologize in advance to anyone who becomes inundated with BCQP promotional materials (invitations, emails, updates, etc.). Some Orca members also belong to community radio clubs, inter/national forums, groups and associations, and my aggressive emailing may mean some people get the info twice or more. SRI.

BCQP Sprint
An after-party event. For 30 minutes after BCQP ends -- 8pm local time -- Orca members would go to, let’s say, 80m, and try to pick up as many Orca friends as possible over a specified frequency range. I would defer to experts in sprint procedure, but I believe no one holds a CQ frequency but rather turns the CQ frequency over after a completed QSO and moves up a kilohertz, if that frequency is clear, or makes a Q on the up-1 frequency, inherits it for one Q, and then moves on, continuously.

Would someone like to organize the BCQP Sprint? Let me know and I’ll fill you in on what’s involved.

Short Video: DIY Magic of Amateur Radio
ARRL released a video back in December 2011 that highlights some of the imaginative and fun ways that radio amateurs use radio technology. The eight-minute presentation is geared toward the do-it-yourself movement, which ARRL says is “inspiring a new generation of creators, hackers and innovators.” Click through the official ARRL site here or just view it on YouTube.

Aside from the video, you can enjoy the catchy “Join Us on the Airwaves” by The Ham Band. If you have some time to spare, watch the YouTube videos of the group’s songs. Quite good, really, especially “The Contest.”

Pic-A-STAR: 100% homebrew HF SSB/CW transceiver
Brian VE7JKZ gave us an overview of his 100% homebrew HF SSB/CW transceiver. The Pic-A-STAR (Programable Intelligent Computer Software Transmitter And Receiver) is a software-defined radio designed by Peter Rhodes G3XJP.

It is not an easy project. Several sources I visited to confirm the technical details that Brian touched upon -- because I got lost after the acronym ;) -- noted the designer’s own words: “This is a detailed construction project aimed at those of modest experience who would like to enhance both their craft and technology skills. At the outset -- like me -- it may well be that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to build this project. By the end, you will have. That is, as I see it, the whole idea.” A very thorough article by Peter G3XJP can be found here. It is very comprehensive and includes many of the diagrams that Brian used in his presentation as well.

As Brian knows first hand, this project requires the builder to do everything: make circuit boards, source components, solder parts, run tests and do requisite troubleshooting. Quite a lot of effort. So why go through all the bother? Because you can improve your technical know-how and develop new skills, it’s challenging and there’s satisfaction in a job well done, and you can customize the radio to your needs. Most importantly, however, if you build it, you can fix it.

December meeting
The next meeting will be our Christmas-themed dinner on December 11.

And that’s it for this installment of The Orca Report.
73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 19) October 9, 2012

October 10, 2012 -- Another meeting, another report. But no major announcements.

We were a group of 26.

Malpelo Official Video
Our main presentation was the official video for the Malpelo DXpedition (HK0NA) that took place back in late January/early February 2012. Steve VE7CT did a slide show and commentary in March and spoke at the DX Convention in Portland in August, but the video provides still another glimpse into this amazing DXpedition. The views from the top of the island -- at Op A -- are breath-taking, in more ways than one. What a climb! But also, what an accomplishment.

The video includes a very informative interview with Reggie, an amicable representative from the island’s Booby population.

For those of you who missed the video, the Malpelo website has lots of pictures from various stages of the DXpedition -- On the Way, Camp Setup, Operating, Breaking Down and Heading Home -- that will give you a good idea of the challenges the team faced. If you like collecting DXpedition videos, go here for details on how to add the NK0NA DVD to your collection.

Coming Soon
For you contesters -- avid and casual -- don’t forget about CQ WW SSB the last full weekend of October. This is the second of the 10 eligible contests in the PNW Cup. If you do get on the air, upload your score to 3830 or send the raw result to Jim VE7FO so that he can add your contribution to the Orca tally.

And that’s it for the October meeting recap. 73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 18) September 11, 2012

September 12, 2012 -- Hard to believe it’s September. The summer break went by far too quickly. This time of year always reminds me of new beginnings rather than an end -- as in the end of summer and the approaching end of the year -- maybe because of the back-to-school atmosphere.

September also marks Orca’s birthday, and I see great things in store for the club as we start of our third year. Our membership -- now at 103 -- is active in so many different aspects of our hobby and boasts considerable depth in radio-related expertise and experience.

Last night, 27 of us gathered at the RiverHouse Restaurant for a eating, drinking and catching up.

What did you do over the summer?

Dave VE7VR had good feedback to his question “What did you do this summer?”. Contributors were Don VE7DS, John VA7XB, Jim VE7FO, Hew VA7HU, Bill VE7XS, Dick K6KR, Eric VA7DZ, Don VE7DJ, Paul VE7BZ, Dave VE7VR/M and Rick VE7WF. Most pictures highlighted antenna or tower projects.

View the presentation (PDF 1.9MB).

Show and Tell

Show and tell featured two new items from Elecraft: a KX3 transceiver and a soon-to-ship antenna tuner, courtesy of Orca member and Elecraft representative Dick K6KR.

PNW DX Convention 2012

The convention was held near Portland, OR, August 3-5. It was apparently well-attended, and the programs were interesting. The traveling PNW Challenge Cup stayed with the Willamette Valley DX Club, with Orca again securing a respectable No. 2 position. Spokane DX Association will play host in 2013, and then the venue shifts north to our neck of the woods in 2014.

Feature Presentation

Our presentation for the evening was from Heinz VA7AQ who talked us through a slideshow on his August 17-19 adventure to activate Pleasant Island, Alaska (NA-161) with Doc KL7XK and Frank VE7DP. As with all radio-purposed forays into the wilderness, the men endured the requisite multiple modes of transportation to get to their intended QTH and some inclement weather. The weekend effort put about 2,000 Qs -- CW and SSB -- on 30/20/17/15 meters into the log.

Alaska in midsummer is mosquito-central. However, that particular predator was not particularly interested in radio or radio operators. The bears stayed away as well.

The scenery is gorgeous up there. The island lies about an hour’s boat ride from Gustavus, on the mainland, which is itself just a short flight from Juneau. My question is always “Would you go again?”, and Heinz’s answer is a “yes” but for longer than the weekend to make it worth the cost.

VE7CC Cluster

Speaking of costs, Steve VE7CT proposed that Orca, as a club, might consider a contribution to Lee VE7CC to offset the cost of the VE7CC DX Cluster as nearly all of us utilize the program. Members in attendance wholehearted agreed to this proposal and have allowed the executive to determine an appropriate amount.

And that wraps things up for this issue of The Orca Report. 73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 17) June 12, 2012

June 14, 2012 -- Rebecca VA7BEC here with your Orca Repor. Sorry for the delay. Was trying to confirm some of the overheard comments from the meeting. Will have to go with what I’ve got, and I’ll add something to the Yahoo! Group later if/when I get details.

So here’s a quick summary of the June 12 meeting.

We were a group of 30. There was no special feature presentation -- just a casual evening of conversation and a few announcements.

Pacific Northwest DX Convention

Hosted this year by the Willamette Valley DX Club, the 2012 Pacific Northwest DX Convention will be held near Portland, OR, August 3-5. Register before June 15 and you will receive two free grand prize tickets.

Did you know that Steve VE7CT will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday dinner banquet? He has many worthwhile topics to present but will highlight his most recent adventure -- Malpelo.

FYI, Spokane DX Association will play host in 2013, and then the venue shifts north to our neck of the woods in 2014.

IOTA Contest

Don VE7DS will be active from Pender Island (NA-075) in the RSGB-sponsored Islands on the Air (IOTA) Contest 2012 taking place 1200Z Saturday July 28 to 1200Z Sunday July 29. He’ll be portable LP CW only near the top of Mount Menzies.

If this a contest you have been in before, please note that there are some changes for 2012. View the rules.

Overheard

Don VE7DS is on the ZL9HR team that heads to Campbell Island for operation November 17-30, 2012. ZL9 is No. 15 on the current DXCC most wanted list. The team will be active during the CW segment of CQ WW DX 2012 (November 24-25, 2012).

The BCQP continues to generate positive feedback, most recently for the special Orca Report, the classy certificates and cool orca trinkets. Canadian scores have been sent to the score-minder at The Canadian Amateur for inclusion in the Sports Pages in an upcoming issue. Dayton was, as always, a lot of fun.

A bit of sad news. Orca member Jerry VE7NX became a silent key on May 21, 2012. As of this writing, I have not been able to confirm any details, including where to send a condolence card. Stay tuned.

And that’s it for this installment of the Orca Report. Remember that we will be taking a break for July and August. The next meeting and follow-up report will be in September. Have a great summer. Lots of on-air activities to keep you busy, including IARU HF World Championship, 1200Z, July 14 to 1200Z, July 15 -- the last qualifying contest of the PNW Challenge.

73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 16) May 15, 2012

May 16, 2012 -- Rebecca VA7BEC, here with your Orca Report for the May meeting.

We were a good-sized group -- 25 -- and had the place more or less to ourselves.

Membership stands at 98 active members, that is, people who have paid their $24 for the year.

The two main events at the meeting last night were 1) the presentation of certificates to BCQP 2012 category winners in attendance and the prize draw for Orca DXCC members who submitted logs with at least 25 QSOs, and 2) a look back at the FP/VE7SV DXpedition to Saint Pierre & Miquelon in October 2004.

BCQP 2012

Results and Certificates
Top scores in all classes, BC and outside BC, receive certificates and a little something -- a really cool Orca pen. Dave VE7VR, Dick N7RO and Jeff VE7JR picked up their certificates and pens at the meeting. All remaining certificates and pens will be sent out by Canada Post as soon as the envelopes are stuffed and addressed.

If you participated in the event and are curious about where you placed -- or, you just want to compare our event to other QSO parties from a results’ perspective -- please go to the results page. Entries are listed by category and by score, with the winning stations listed first in each category.

Alternatively, you can view the special Orca Report, which includes results as well as in-depth, post-QP discussion and analysis.

Prize Draw
The idea behind the prize draw was to encourage Orca DXCC members to get on the air, which many would have done anyway to support a club activity, as well as to boost the log count, which is a tangible indicator of event success (and it helps to have more logs on hand to facilitate the log-checking process).

Fourteen eligible callsigns went into a box, and Bill VE7XS drew out three: VE7CV, VE7SNC and VE7JR. Pete VE7CV and Brent VE7SNC will receive gift cards for London Drugs and The Liquor Store, respectively. Jeff VE7JR got the Home Depot gift card, which I’m sure will be put toward something for use at “the project”.

FP/VE7SV

Some very familiar callsigns were involved in a DXpedition October 23 to November 2, 2004, to Miquelon -- an island in the archipelago of Saint-Pierre & Miquelon just a stone’s throw from Newfoundland’s southern end. These islands represent the last foothold of France in North America.

The FP/VE7SV operating team comprised Dale VE7SV (team leader), Paul VA7NT, Andy VE7AHA, Lee VE7CC, Allan VE7SZ, Dave VE7VR, Dick N7RO and Ramon XE1KK. Last night, Dave and Dick provided some insider commentary to go along with photos and a video from the DXpedition.

I won’t go into great detail since information about this adventure is still available online, including a very thorough article written by Paul VE7BZ, and photos and the usual DXpedition data can be accessed from here.

The presentation last night, though, really brought home the fact that DXpeditions don’t always have to be far from home to be adventures or create interest from around the world. Regardless of location, DXpeditions require planning and packing, setting up and taking down -- sometimes, Mother Nature helps with that latter! -- and of course, operation, and the inevitable QSLing, plus behind-the-scenes support. A DXpedition will attract attention simply because it is a DXpedition, and if run right, it will be in constant pileup mode.

In the end, the team logged just shy of 60,000 Qs, and Dick, as QSL manager, was kept busy sending out QSL cards -- more than 50,000!

And this wraps up the May 2012 issue of the Orca Report. Until next time, QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 15) April 10, 2012

April 11, 2012 -- Rebecca VA7BEC here with a recap of last night’s meeting.

We were a group of 22 plus a couple tables of accidental DX/contesters who stuck around until the South Sudan presentation.

Other items on the agenda were updates on the PNW Cup standings and BCQP results, a reminder about members-only QSL cards, an introduction to Gmail Tap and a few other announcements.

PNW Cup

Spreadsheet-minder Jim VE7FO says the newest batch of scores -- up to and including ARRL DX SSB 2012 -- will be posted to the Orca website very soon (UPDATE: now online) even though a couple of the participating clubs are falling way behind in providing data. Orca DXCC is nicely up to date and shows a solid score of nearly 77 million points. Members need only post to 3830 or send a raw score to Jim directly for applicable data to be included in the spreadsheet.

A couple of things to remember though: If you post to 3830 and want your score to go toward the Orca DXCC total, you have to select “Orca DX and Contest Club” from the list of clubs so that Jim knows which club the score is supposed to benefit. Also, Jim waits until the log submission deadline for each applicable contest before updating the spreadsheet.

BCQP 2012 Results

The log submission deadline has passed, and final results for BC and non-BC stations have been posted on the BCQP results page. A special Orca Report will be uploaded within a few weeks, I hope, with some discussion and analysis of the numbers.

Suffice to say, this was THE BEST BCQP EVER!!! From the number of logs received to the number of Qs in those logs. From pre-QP interest to actual game day participation to extremely positive post-QP comments. This was a great event for amateur radio in BC and a wonderful opportunity to put Orca DXCC in the spotlight. FB everyone. VY FB.

Certificates for category winners are at the design stage.

The internal prize draw for Orca DXCC members who submitted logs with at least 25 QSOs will be made at the May meeting.

QSL Cards

As announced at the March meeting, members of Orca DXCC may order QSL cards showcasing our namesake. The first orders are already arriving. For a variety of reasons -- see the March issue of The Orca Report -- printing is being done by LZ1JZ and Dick N7RO is handling orders on behalf of club members.

There are two front styles and four back styles. Bud VA7ST has created an order form that you can download from the Orca DXCC website. Just print out the form, fill in the required details, and send it to Dick with the appropriate funds. Easy.

Morse code texting?!

Have you heard about Gmail Tap? Very impressive. Google certainly goes to great lengths to be on the cutting edge of technology trends. And the fact that this marvelous approach to texting -- one that has the power to attract a whole new generation to CW -- debuted on April 1... just a odd timing, right? ;) Too bad... I wouldn’t mind an app like that.

Other Announcements

Look for an email to be posted to the Orca Group via Dave VE7VR from Dave VA7AM regarding the potential of an alliance with G6PZ.

Membership status. If you go to the current roster on the Orca DXCC website, you’ll see red asterisks beside a few callsigns. This is not the equivalent of a gold star but rather an indicator that dues for 2012 have not been paid. Three payment options are available: cheque/check, Interac email money transfer and PayPal. Go to Join the club! on the Orca DXCC website.

Feature Presentation: South Sudan, ST0R

The South Sudan 2011 DXpedition, July 22 to Aug 10, 2011, was a joint effort between the Intrepid-DX Group and DX Friends. Orca DXCC provided some support and received a copy of the ST0R video as a thank you. The production is a far cry from the extremely professional videos made by James Brooks, 9V1YC but it still tells a good story, particularly the rather amusing difference between CW pileups and RTTY pileups that you really to have to see to appreciate.

The ST0R team put 121,286 QSOs in the log and worked 175 DXCC and 40 CQ zones. The statistics page on the DXpedition website is quite interesting. It appears that CW was the top mode, but the team set a new world record for RTTY contacts during a new country activation. If you like following DXpedition adventures and feel you might have missed out by not seeing the video, check out the very detailed article by Paul Ewing, N6PSE.

And this wraps up the April 2012 Orca Report. Bye for now. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 14) March 13, 2012

March 14, 2012 -- Rebecca VA7BEC, here with your Orca Report for last night’s meeting. We were back to the old Tuesday schedule, and 31 people came out to eat, drink, chat about radio and (drum roll, please) be the first to see the new Orca DXCC QSL card. We also had a great presentation from Steve VE7CT about the Malpelo DXpedition (HK0NA).

QSL Cards

The need for a club QSL card took on some urgency because of BCQP 2012. Inevitably, a few cards will trickle in from operators who worked VA7ODX in the party and they deserve replies. But from an organizing perspective, a general sendout to all stations that worked VA7ODX would provide a tangible thank you for supporting the Orca DXCC-sponsored event and keep the profile of the party and the club high. Fred VE7IO quickly designed a simple but practical card and off to the printer’s it went.

Meanwhile, Dave VE7VR was working on a design that would have impact... something showcasing our namesake in a way that would evoke the quasi-aggressive nature of contesting and DXing and maybe also the image of a smooth operator, in a radio sense of course, sweeping through pileups like an orca glides through the water. So instead of a cartoonish drawing or a passive picture of a killer whale, the front of the card features a breaching orca. Dynamic. Impressive. Pile-up crashing.

As you might expect, the chosen photograph is copyrighted. After some back-and-forth emails with the photographer and his agent, Dave secured a very reasonable deal for the club.

To cut costs and, since this card is for members'-use only, to control access and keep track of usage to comply with the royalty agreement, printing will be done by LZ1JZ, one of the world’s biggest QSL card companies.

There are two front styles and four back styles. Go to the clubcard page on the Orca DXCC website for a look.

Note that the examples were created for VA7ODX. For individuals, that is, member stations, the front will show your callsign not "VA7ODX" and “Member Station” not "Club Station" and the back will show your information details not those of Orca DXCC. What will remain, of course, is the affiliation to Orca DXCC.

Dick N7RO will handle ordering on behalf of club members to facilitate the process and also to ensure exclusivity to club members.

Bud VA7ST has created an order form that you can download from our website. Just print out the form, fill in the required details, and send it to Dick with the appropriate funds. Easy.

BCQP 2012

A few more logs have come in since the last update. The deadline is March 31, 2012. I’ll have final results to disclose at the April meeting.

Malpelo DXpedition

As most of you know, Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX were part of the DXpedition to Malpelo, a sheer and barren rock rising out of the ocean on Colombia’s Pacific side. It is uninhabited, except for a small military post manned by the Colombian army to assert the country’s sovereignty over the island. Of course, there are the usual island companions that keep DXpeditions entertained when not on shift: birds, crabs and sharks. Did you know that Malpelo is home to a unique shark population? Hammerheads. That’s why the marine predator gets star treatment in the DXpedition logo.

HK0NA was QRV Jan. 21 through Feb 5. From the pictures Steve showed us, it is very clear that this was an extremely physically demanding DXpedition. Sort of an ironman competition for amateur radio operators. Those who made the climb up to Op A... wow. But because of Op A, near the summit of the island, areas of the world that had been blocked from contact in previous DXpedition were covered this time.

A lot of preparation was involved before the full complement of operators arrived, and the efforts of the advance crew -- the Fabulous Four (Jaime HK1N, Sal HK1T, Bolmar HK1MW and Faber HK6F) -- in building the infrastructure and setting up the antennas for HK0NA meant the team could get on the air almost immediately upon arrival at the rock.

In the end, HK0NA logged more than 190,000 QSOs, breaking by a considerable margin the previous “tent and generator” record for DXpeditions to locations where the terrain prevents arrival by plane and where the team is essentially roughing it the whole time.

This was a brutally tiring adventure for the 20-man on-island team, but it probably would have been a whole lot more exhausting and more dangerous and therefore perhaps not as successful if it weren’t for the Colombian navy and the crew of the Seawolf who did a lot of the heavy lifting.

The DXpedition site is full of background, commentary and pictures about the island and the operation. It’s worth a look.

And that’s it for this issue of The Orca Report. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 13) February 16, 2012

February 16, 2012 -- The regular second-Tuesday-of-the-month meeting was bumped because of Valentine's Day. Maybe Wednesday worked better for more people. Maybe the credentials' of the guest speaker piqued interest. Maybe the opportunity to meet a recently arrived contester from Russia was the draw. Whatever the reason, this irregularly scheduled Wednesday meeting had incredibly good attendance: 36.

A lot transpired.

Welcome Home!
Steve VE7CT and Neil VA7DX have returned from Malpelo HK0NA. I'm sure they will recount their DXpedition stories in a presentation for us soon.

BCQP 2012 Update
A Henry 4K-amplified TU to everyone who got on the air on February 4 for BCQP 2012. Initial indications are that BCQP 2012 was indeed a whale of a good time -- a bit more of a challenge on CW and DIGI than on PH -- but the best run ever.

As of February 15, 2012, a total of 58 logs have been received -- 32 non-BC and 26 BC -- and I know there are still a few more to come in. The deadline is March 31, 2012.

Compared with the well-established QSO parties, the log tally so far may seem rather small but it is in no way insignificant. In no way whatsoever.

Consider: The number of BC logs is already twice that of last year and includes a couple from JA -- a first. There are more Qs in BC operators' logs and more logs with Qs in excess of 100. There are more Qs in the logs of non-BC stations, as well, substantiating the fact that there were more BC stations on the air for the non-BC stations to contact. And there have been numerous comments in the soapbox section of logs and in separate emails of "That was fun".

Excellent progress!!

What makes me over-the-moon happy, though, is the number of VE7/VA7s on the air. Perusing the submitted logs, I count about 120 BC callsigns -- operators who participated on their own and appear more than once in submitted logs as well as operators on teams. This is a three-fold jump over the 2011 event.

Since the goal of the BCQP is to get BC operators on the air, I think it's fair to say that BCQP 2012 was a success.

In addition, it seems that BCQP 2012 was used as an opportunity to show new operators the fun of HF and contesting, albeit casual contesting, and to gain familiarity with radios, antennas and logging software. Not everything went smoothly at every station, but that's radio. We have to learn how to deal with glitches and broken equipment and software that doesn't do what we want no matter how much we curse it. ; )

Now the challenge -- if the 120 operators can encourage even just one radio pal to join us in BCQP 2013, what an incredible party it will be.

If you have a log and haven't submitted it yet, please do. Don't let a small score stop you. Or paper.

You have several log-submission options. The preferred way is a Cabrillo log to bcqp@orcadxcc.org (or bcqp@va7st.ca), especially if you made hundreds of Qs, because it's easier to check and easier to store. But I'll take paper logs, if that's what you've got. If you have just a few QSOs, you can enter them into the Web-to-Cabrillo form online and the file will be sent to the log submission address automatically. If you have too many Qs to enter into the online form, you can send the paper log to the official Orca DXCC address at 105A-8988 Fraserton Court, Burnaby, BC V5J 5H8, or you can give it to me at the next meeting.

AGM
Not a lot to discuss. The constitution is set -- thank you John VA7JW -- and was accepted, as written, by everyone present. The by-laws and organization therein provide the necessary structure to direct the club's growth into the future.

The executive is more or less the same as it was last year, as the positions taken last year are two-year terms. The only change is that John VA7JW has stepped down as secretary and I have assumed this position. Dave VE7VR is president. Steve VE7CT is vice-president. Dave VA7AM is treasurer. Directors and chairs for specific tasks are listed on the Current executive page under Club Info.

President's Random Thoughts
Why just sit and do nothing when lists can be made? Some random thoughts from the president on activities and topics to pursue at a future date:

A meeting in Bellingham some Saturday? We could take in a tour of the radio museum. Other regional meetings? Awards program? "Contester of the year" or maybe "Most new entities confirmed". To be given out at the next AGM. A raffle? RAC insurance? Show-and-tell or contester/DXer hints? Just 10 minutes of meeting time to start a conversation. Meeting frequency? The question was put forth and it seems everyone is happy with the once-a-month meeting schedule. Technical presentations? Orca Convention? Perhaps it could take place every two years but not in a year when the PNWDX Convention takes place. VA7ODX* expedition: IOTA location? VA7ODX* Field Day? VA7ODX QSL cards? A generic card with the VA7ODX logo and respective member's callsign. Orca Yahoo! Group: Please participate. Use this communication conduit. Membership has topped 100!
*If/when the Orca DXCC callsign is to be used in an event, the Contest Coordinator -- that's me -- has to be told before the event because, well, the callsign shouldn't be in use by more than one group at any given time.

Dave VE7VR's list has a lot of great ideas. But please do not assume he will be the one to implement them all. For instance, if a group of Orca DXCC members wants to use VA7ODX for Field Day, no problem. But Dave is not going to be the one to organize the event. If you'd like to handle an activity, please put your name forward.

PNW Cup
Willamette Valley is not very forthcoming with scores. Given that this club has won the PNW Cup several times in a row, the lack of numerical data leaves the other clubs guessing as to the real leader. Suffice it to say, Orca DXCC is doing well in the rankings but it would be nice to know where WVDXC stands.

Welcome
Mike RW0CN, who just got the callsign VE7ACN, may be new to Vancouver but he's most certainly not new to contesting and has already had some local on-air time as a member of VE7JR's team in the BCQP and then trying out some RTTY with the VB7R team in last weekend's WPX RTTY.

Feature Presentation: VE7YL's Life in Ham Radio
Many adjectives can be used to describe Elizabeth VE7YL. Petite. Soft-spoken. Unassuming. But they do not speak to her indomitable spirit of adventure and determination. What a life she has led! And radio has played an integral part.

Perhaps you already know her background. Perhaps not. Regardless, I think it's worth telling (again).

She graduated from Sprott Shaw Radio School in Vancouver in 1944 with a second class radio license. Although keen to be a radio operator aboard a Norwegian ship plying the waters of the Atlantic or Pacific, her parents were not as keen, so Elizabeth took a job with the Canadian government, first at the Point Grey wireless station, as an interceptor operator and then, after VE Day, a position just outside Victoria.

But when the chance came again to go to sea, Elizabeth was not about to pass it up. Her roommate was also interested in the job, but with a lucky cut of the cards, Elizabeth soon found herself aboard the Norwegian sailing ship MV Vito. It was 1947.

In 1949, she joined the MV Skauvann.

If there was ever a problem with the radio equipment, she fixed it. Resourceful. Capable.

When Elizabeth signed off on Skauvann in early 1951, she embarked on a new journey -- married life -- but continued her travels. Husband Reg was a chemical engineer working for Shell Oil, which sent him around the world.

Radio moved out of the spotlight. But when Elizabeth and Reg moved to Calgary, they visited a friend who was a radio amateur, and Elizabeth had the opportunity to try her CW again. And she was hooked -- this time on amateur radio. She got the call VE6ALE in 1971. Then Reg was sent to Abadan, Iran, and she got the call EP2EA, in 1972. Then the Netherlands-PA9ELA and VE7BIP/PA, in 1977, and Jakarta, Indonesia-YB0ADT, in 1978.

Can't forget to mention the two-week operation as PJ2CC in Curacao in 1980.

And YL DXpeditions... to the British Virgin Islands-VP2V/VE7YL and Grenada-J37EA/J37YL, in 1990, and St. Pierre and Miquelon-FP/VE7YL in 1992. In 2000, there was Norfolk Island-AX9YL. Lord Howe and South Cook Islands-VK9YL and ZK1XYL, in 2002. Christmas Island-VK9XYL and Cocos (Keeling)-VK9CYL in 2003. Vanuatu and Tonga-YJ0YL and A35YL, in 2005.

More locally, she was involved in the Canadian Islands Program and helped activate Fraser River islands in the Vancouver area. She put 33 islands on the air.

VY FB Accomplishments:

IOTA Honor Roll, 1,023 as of January 2012 (second YL in the world to get more than 1,000 islands) ARRL Honor Roll, all entities listed Mixed ARRL A-1 Operators Club, as of March 22, 2004 WAS, WAZ and "enough paper to cover most of the house," she said matter-of-factly. The best? First prize at the CLARA Gala in Toronto in 1997 for copying CW at 50 wpm.
Inspiration (to YLs, certainly; and OMs, too, I'd imagine).

Whether radio was for work or play, it seems to have always provided adventure, friendship and good memories. And undoubtedly continues to do so.

Last night, Elizabeth could only summarize the highlights of her life in radio -- as an interceptor, as a ship operator and in amateur radio, and throw in a few details. There are surely fascinating side-stories to be told from her time on board the ships and from the various DXpeditions as well as from her time in all the countries she's lived in. I hope we'll have the opportunity to hear them some other evening.

The best word to describe Elizabeth? Amazing.

Next Meeting
In March, we'll be back to the Tuesday schedule. Hope to see you there. Or catch up later with the Orca Report. QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 12) January 11, 2012

January 12, 2012 -- Happy New Year! Rebecca VA7BEC, with what will be a very long Orca Report. So grab a beverage, maybe a snack, too, and get comfy.

We were bumped from our regular Tuesday spot because the RiverHouse couldn't accommodate us. This will be the case next month, too, since the second Tuesday of February is Valentine's Day. Not only is the restaurant booked already, but those of you who make the trek to the RiverHouse may be as well, whether you know it now or not. : )

We were a group of 24 for the first meeting of 2012.

Membership
Membership is creeping ever closer to the 100 mark. But this includes members in limbo -- people who haven't paid dues for 2012 yet. Only a few lagging behind the rest of the pod. Please renew if you haven't yet. A mere $24. This includes hot-of-the-press home page access to the delightfully informative Orca Report. ; )

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. I suppose you can also pay in cash at a meeting, but there would be no paper trail if you are the type who likes that sort of confirmation of payment. Go to the Orca DXCC website for paper-trail methods.

PNW Cup Challenge Update
Still being updated, I'm afraid. Not all the participating clubs have forwarded scores to Jim VE7FO, master of the PNW Cup Challenge spreadsheet. Stay tuned.

PJ2T
The Curacao station is looking for ops to play in ARRL and WPX contests. Please contact Dave VA7AM if you are interested.

Malpelo Update
Not only will our own Steve VE7CT be heading to Malpelo later this week, so will Neil VA7DX. Bon voyage my dear OMs. Safe travels and come back with lots of good stories to tell us.

The DXpedition is officially QRV Jan 21 to Feb 8. See HK0NA for lots of DXpedition details. But an advance team -- the "Fabulous Four" -- is already there, building the infrastructure and making some QSOs in their spare time.

Annual General Meeting
The AGM will be held at the February meeting. It is really just a formality because executive positions are two-year terms and the current executive still has one more year to go, if the individuals so wish.

Feature Presentation: BS7H
Another excellent production by James Brooks 9V1YC, this time showcasing the Scarborough Reef DXpedition in 2007. The team faced enormous operating challenges -- environmental and logistical -- along with more political wrangling than most DXpeditions encounter and considerable controversy surrounding the location's acceptance for DXCC. What really boggles the mind is the vehemence of some people who emailed downright nasty, nasty comments without any thought to what the team had to deal with. Had some of those I-want-a-QSO-now! operators known what was going on behind-the-scenes, maybe they wouldn't have been so, well, nasty. This DXpedition puts a new slant on the saying “No man is an island”.

BCQP 2012
As contest coordinator of this event, I gave an update on what has been going on behind the scenes with preparations for this year's British Columbia QSO Party. Also known as the BC QSO Party, and the BCQP.

Whichever name you know it by, this local on-air event spotlighting amateur radio in BC will take place 1600z Feb 4 to 0400z Feb 5. That's 8am to 8pm local time, Saturday, February 4, 2010.

Specifics:
Exchange: For VE7/VA7s: federal electoral district
For non-VE7/VA7s: Province/State/DX (Note: In this party, Hawaii (KH) and Alaska (KL) are NOT DX but states, so use HI and AK, respectively.)
Multipliers: See the list.
Rules: Here.
Bands: 160m to 10m. No WARC.
Modes: PH, CW and Digital (PSK, RTTY, etc)
Awards: Lovely scenery-based certificate for top scores in all modes and power classes.
Some Background:
I'm sure by now, Orca members know that the BCQP has come under the Orca banner. I posted a rather long message to the Orca Yahoo! Group back in November, but for those of you who are not able to -- or simply do not want to join the Yahoo! Group -- let me recap the most salient points of that message so that everyone is on the same page.

The BCQP started off with the Delta Amateur Radio Society. But DARS is not a particularly contest-oriented group -- members' interest lie elsewhere in this vast hobby -- and in 2011 the event actually garnered more participation from DARS members with an Orca connection than from DARS members in general. I was involved behind the scenes with DARS and I knew the BCQP was stalling. I asked the Orca executive if the event was something the club could take on, since a contest is in line with our objectives as a DX and contest club. AND if the Western Washington DX Club can sponsor the Salmon Run, why can't we sponsor the BCQP?

I fully expected my suggestion to be shot down. But it wasn't. And wings have been flapping madly. At least behind the scenes. Mine. I'm doing everything I can to promote the contest -- and I'm getting some great feedback -- but the contest will not fly without the participation of operators in BC.

Raising Awareness:
I have posted to various groups and reflectors. I have sent out invitations to radio-related associations, clubs and societies in BC and outside BC, including the Ontario and Maritime contesting clubs, which have parties of their own and appreciate reciprocal support, and sponsors of US QSO parties that will take place the same weekend as BCQP because a heads-up for them means less exchange overload for us on game day.

I have also contacted the managers of various printed and online calendars, including the most well-known -- WA7BNM. (Unfortunately, Bruce Horn hasn't gotten around to updating his February calendar yet. I have this straight from the man himself. As of early January 2012. He has my emails. He just hasn't updated his site.) I have confirmation from contest calendar managers in Japan and Germany. So you might want to listen for some DX, too, especially since high band CONDX is pretty good these days. In previous years, I've caught the attention of Japan, Brazil, Antarctica and Mexico.

Some of my emails have been picked up and posted on websites and in newsletters. The BCQP is definitely gaining a higher profile. I had an email just yesterday from an OM in Sweden who seemed keen to listen for VE7/VA7s and support the BCQP.

About the US state QSO party sponsors. I didn't contact them to get ops to participate in the BCQP. They'll all be busy in their own parties. But a large percentage of Qs in logs submitted in previous years has come by trading Qs with ops in other parties due to the shortage of BC ops on the air. Experienced contesters know what to do but not everyone in a party is experienced. If the ops in other parties know that the BCQP coincides with their specific party, then they won't be so confused by the three-letter federal electoral district exchange they get from a BC station.

It also helps if we know the various party exchanges so that we can be prepared to trade a Q or coach someone through the process. And here, for those of you who weren't at the meeting last night, I must relate my experience from a couple of years ago, when I hadn't done the required homework and encountered a number of ops who ended their Qs with “Well, thanks Dre. Enjoy the contest.” I had been CQing and I gave the exchange for my contest: 59 DRE as in Delta-Richmond East, my federal electoral district. Obviously, I eventually realized, the other guy assumed I was in his contest, which required RS(T) + name.

Coinciding On-Air Activity:
So check out ARRL's Contest Corral for February 2012. This calendar shows dates, start/end times, bands, modes, exchanges and sponsor websites for each contest. (You will see that the BCQP is listed.) For most of the contests, you can probably wing it. But the FYBO (Freeze Your B___ Off) Winter QRP Field Day asks for a lot of info, including temperature in Fahrenheit. It's just good to know what you might be asked for. Contest Corral, at least at the moment, is more up-to-date than the usually go-to source of WA7BNM.

Timeframe:
The BCQP will totally overlap with the Vermont QSO Party and the Ten-Ten Winter Phone QSO Party, which run the whole weekend, from 0000z Feb 4 to 2400z Feb 5. Actually, 10-10 (only 10m, PH) starts one minute later and ends one minute earlier, it looks like, but that start/end is irrelevant to our contest timeframe anyway.

We overlap partially with FYBO and the Minnesota QSO Party, which run from 1400z Feb 4 to 2400z Feb 4, with Straight Key (only on 80m, CW) 1600z Feb 4 to 1900z Feb 4, Delaware QSO Party 1700z Feb 4 to 2359z Feb 5, Mexico RTTY 1800z Feb 4 to 1959 Feb 5, and NA Sprint CW 0000z Feb 5 to 0400z Feb 5.




If you can't spend the whole 12 hours of the contest on the air, try to get on for a few hours when Q potential is highest, with VTQP, 10-10, FYOB and MNQP all in progress: 1600z to 2400z Feb 4.

WA Connection:
Close proximity to Washington State could make Qs difficult. I know. But it's not impossible. As an experiment and to show support for a fellow PNW club, Koji VA7KO and I gave the Salmon Run a try last fall and it would seem that our efforts were good enough to earn some smoked salmon in our entry class.

The Salmon Run has good WA participation, which boosts the chances of Qs with WA and non-WA stations.

I know WA members of Orca would be happy to answer BC ops' CQs, so let's give them lots of opportunities. It is essential that there are a good number of VE7/VA7s on the air during the BCQP for WA stations to contact. I'll say it again and again: The party doesn't happen without us.

Logging Software:
N1MM supports the BCQP. But any software that creates a Cabrillo file is fine. See the rules for an example of how your log should look.

Tools:
A casual op in BC may want to give you a point but doesn't know his/her federal electoral district. It may take an extra minute to complete the Q but either you or the other op can go to Elections Canada online and find the district by typing in the op's postal code.

VA7ODX Operators:
I am doing PH. Ralph VE7XF has graciously agreed to do CW, since the radio room I share with Koji is not equipped with a YL filter and I tend to cause too much in-house QRM when we're running pileups at the same time. Sorry dear.

Is anyone interested in doing digital and raise the profile of VA7ODX a bit higher? Please let me know.

Incentives:
For Orca members, I would like to institute a little in-house competition. 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.

Following the log submission deadline, everyone who submitted a log -- Orca member or not -- will receive a BCQP bingo card featuring some of the most commonly logged multipliers instead of numbers. More details will be available when logs start coming in.

Final Word:
Talk about the BCQP with your radio pals. The more BC stations we get on the air, the more Q potential there is for BC and non-BC stations, which draws more participants and fuels the Q count, which makes CQing productive, which attracts more participants, which expands the potential for more Qs... and on it goes. We need that snowball effect.

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

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

The Orca Report (No. 11) December 13, 2011

December 14, 2011 -- Rebecca, VA7BEC with the last Orca Report for 2011. Last night's meeting was not so much a meeting as a convivial gathering of radio-minded friends and significant others who didn't mind hearing about radio. There were no announcements or presentations. Just friendly conversation.

We were a group of 32 and thank goodness we were NOT relegated to the narrow room with the sliding glass doors that we had last year. We essentially took over the big dining area, which made it possible to move around the room and mingle if so inclined.

The RiverHouse menu has changed, by the way, with a wider selection of burgers and sandwiches -- more of the pub menu on the fine-dining menu, I think.

One of the most common topics of conversation was the ARRL 10m Contest just this past weekend. The WOW factor that characterized CQWW SSB and CQWW CW in October and November, respectively, was downgraded to wow (lower case), because the EU component in most logs was slimmer. The overall consensus was that the contest had been challenging in various aspects -- such as short openings to EU at strange times and more or less limited to the west coast -- as well as odd -- lots of skewed path contacts and an unusually high number of dupes -- but fun nonetheless. I think anyone who tried had some great run rates. At times, I felt like I was in a wild NA QSO party -- indeed, I've never had so many MN, MO, IL, FL and TX contacts -- but in the unbelievably huge number of posts to 3830, there is significant representation from outside NA as well. At VA7BEC, we worked a good number of SA and AS stations but not many EU stations. Never heard ‘em, or they didn't hear us. Oh well, that's the magic of radio, especially 10m. The pileups were immensely fun and good practice for RAC Winter this coming weekend, so I won't complain too much. ;-)

I digressed. The previous paragraph would probably be better posted to the Orca Yahoo! Group. Do sign up if you haven't. It's very easy and you won't be bombarded with emails.

At the end of the evening, Santa Dave (VE7VR) and his darling elf, Marcia, handed out goodies to all.

Let me close with good wishes to you and yours. Be well. Be happy.

(Where's my glass?) Cheers!

73 MC HNY
QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 10) November 8, 2011

November 9, 2011 -- Rebecca VA7BEC, your Orca Reporter, is back. Anyone miss me?

Here's a quick recap of last night's meeting.

We were a group of 20. The conversation inevitably dwelled on the recent WOW factor of CQWW SSB 2011. Great high-band conditions, particularly 10 meters. Will they continue for CQWW CW?

Membership Renewal
It's time to pay up for 2012. Annual membership is just $24. You can pay by credit card through PayPal, Interac transfer if you use online banking in Canada, or cheque/check payable to Orca DX and Contest Club and forwarded to Dave VA7AM, club treasurer. Go to the Orca DXCC membership renewal page for details.

Yahoo! Group
The OrcaDXCC Yahoo! Group now has 42 members. All club members are encouraged to join. It really does facilitate communication, whether the topic is an interesting contest- or DX-related article, questions that don't need immediate answers, an upcoming event or boastable results in the last contest. Any time-sensitive announcements are sent out by regular email, but the Yahoo! Group is great for general information.

It's easy to register -- you just need to set up a Yahoo! address -- and you can choose how to receive posted messages -- as they are posted or as a daily digest -- so you won't necessarily be bombarded with emails that clutter your inbox. If you want to reply to a post, it's just a click away, and you can choose whether the comment is seen by the whole Group or just the person who made the original post.

Banner and Eyeball QSLs
Fred VE7IO has a banner and eyeball QSLs that can be used for promotional activities.

Malpelo DXpedition Update
Great website with news, photos and more. Lots of big DXpedition names on the team, including our own Steve, VE7CT. This DXpedition will undoubtedly require immeasurable amounts of strength and stamina, not just to sweep the inevitable pileups but to get off the boat, climb to the camp and then climb some more to the operating sites. What an adventure awaits!

Next Meeting
Christmas gathering. More details will be provided closer to the date, December 13th.

And that wraps up this installment of The Orca Report.

73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 9) September 13, 2011

September 14, 2011 -- How time flies! Summer is coming to an end -- at least by the calendar; temperature-wise, the past few months haven't felt all that summery except for a few days here and there -- and... Orca DXCC has just celebrated its first anniversary! Currently, membership stands at 89.

The meeting on September 12 drew a group of 21. Here's what was seen and heard.

PNW-related

The PNW DX Convention was held in Everett, Washington, in August and the Traveling Trophy -- otherwise known as the PNW Cup -- didn't actually travel very far. It was awarded to Willamette Valley DXC again.

Orca DXCC achieved a very commendable result considering the club was at a two-contest disadvantage. Remember, the Challenge wasn't open to Orca DXCC until CQWW CW 2010, so some very solid scores in CQWW RTTY and CQWW SSB were excluded from our tally.

Orca DXCC could certainly be a force to reckon with, especially if more members were to get involved to boost the overall score. To encourage greater activity in eligible contests, Ralph VE7XF suggested a club-oriented incentive -- a friendly competition, if you will. Make at least, let's say, 50 Qs, and your name will go into a draw for a prize -- no, not an ACOM 1000; something smaller and probably exchangeable for food or drink -- after every eligible contest. Details still have to be worked out but -- and I hesitate to say this because I might get volunteered -- the idea has merit. Stay tuned for more details.

Also on the PNW Cup front -- possible rule changes are being considered by the participating clubs. Our point of contact for PNW Cup information is Jim VE7FO, and he will provide further details down the road.

Yahoo! Groups

Dave VE7VR often receives emails from Orca DXCC members and maybe elsewhere, too, asking that the content of the respective emails be passed along to the general membership. To facilitate communication, Dave presented the idea of a Yahoo! Group for Orca DXCC where pertinent emails could be posted for members to view as they wish. No one would be bombarded with messages; each user sets up how often messages are to be received and the message format that they are to be delivered in. Is this a format you would be interested in? Or would you prefer to check the forum page on the Orca DXCC website? If you feel strongly one way or the other, let me know (va7bec@rac.ca) and I'll compile whatever responses I get for Dave.

WRTC 2014

The World Radiosport Team Championship is sort of like the Olympics for amateur radio operators. Coinciding with the 24-hour Worldwide IARU HF Championship, it is a contest within a contest that takes place every four years. It brings together the very best in the global contesting community, pitting two-person teams against each other on a level playing field -- same antennas and same geographic region to neutralize potential QTH advantages, such as time zone and weather. The key to winning this game is operator experience and expertise.

The next event will take place in July 2014, and hosting rights have been awarded to the New England WRTC2014 Organizing Committee. Check out the promo for some background.

Hosting this kind of event requires considerable financial support. The Spokane DX Association has asked other PNW clubs, including Orca DXCC, about a possible joint effort to share the cost of a sponsored tent ($1,000). Split among four or all five clubs, this would not be too much of a strain on individual club finances. A final decision will depend on what the other PNW clubs decide.

Feature Presentation: A52A

Back in 2000, Bhutan implemented a new telecommunications act that authorized amateur radio and facilitated a very much-anticipated DXpedition to a country that was #2 on the most wanted list for decades. While many DXpeditions have months and sometimes years to prepare, or perhaps that should be hurry up and wait for months or years, the A52A team, led by Glenn Johnson, W0GJ, had only a couple of weeks to get their paperwork in order and then their equipment and themselves in place and ready to go.

This operation was the first officially recognized DXpedition to Bhutan. It was QRV from May 3-12, 2000, and while limited to 100 watts, managed to log more than 82,000 QSOs.

The video, edited by James Brooks 9V1YC, is very professional: part travelogue, part DX operation and interesting for anyone and everyone, DX enthusiast or not. It provides wonderful shots of the operators in pileups and setting up equipment, interspersed with facts about Bhutanese history, religion and geography.

The DXpedition took place more than a decade ago but its impact continues to be felt, not only by those who participated and those who got that sought-after entity but for amateur radio in Bhutan as well.

Other News

Neil VA7DX is on an extended contract in Mongolia and has acquired the callsign JT1RF.

CQWW RTTY is coming up at the end of September. It's the first of the 10 contests in the PNW Cup. Good luck to everyone who participates. Maybe our little incentive program will be in place by then.

And don't forget the Washington State Salmon Run, Sept 17-18, 2011 -- that's this weekend! See the website for all the details.

Next Time

Rumor has it that Dick N7RO will talk about his radio/travel journeys in Greece and Bulgaria early in the year.

73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 8) June 14, 2011

June 15, 2011 -- Rebecca VA7BEC with the latest Orca news.

We were back to being a good-sized group -- 27 club members and eight accidental DX/contesters at the back of the room. As always, it was an enjoyable evening.

Membership
Orca DXCC now has 87 members: 13 from the Interior, 14 from the Island, 12 from the U.S., 46 from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area, and two from Alberta. With an active push to attract more members, the number could easily hit 100 by year-end.

PNW DX Convention
The 56th Annual Pacific Northwest DX Convention takes place August 12-14, 2011, at the Holiday Inn in Everett, Washington. Go to the Western Washington DX Club website to register.

PNW Cup Challenge
Jim VE7FO provided an update on scores. Up to and including WPX SSB 2011, Willamette Valley is in the lead with about 60 million points. Orca is next, with about 55 million, despite being at a two-contest disadvantage. BCDX is close behind, with about 53 million points. Western Washington sits in fourth place, with 49 million points. Spokane doesn't seem to have as many active contesters as the other clubs and lags quite a bit behind, with about two million points.

If you participated in Challenge-applicable contests, please check to make sure your contributions are properly reflected. But please note that Jim always waits until a log deadline has passed before adding claimed scores for that contest to the spreadsheet. WPX CW 2011 is over but the log deadline hasn't passed yet, so if you are keeping track of your point contributions, check again until after the deadline.

The last applicable contest is the IARU HF World Championship, July 9 1200Z to July 10 1200Z. The rules are online.

Morse Code vs. Text Messaging
Remember that Jay Leno show back in May 2005 when the host put old-fashioned Morse code up against modern text-messaging. Representing CW, two veteran CW contest ops Chip Margelli K7JA and Ken Miller K6CTW. On the text-messaging side, world text-messaging champ at the time Ben Cook and his friend Jason Miller. We all know which side won. If you want to relive the moment, search in YouTube. One non-YouTube site I found with a download link -- and there are many. Click on Leno CW Test.

Time and technology have marched on since that Tonight Show episode, and entering letters, numbers and punctuation on today's Blackberrys with full keyboards is quite different from the old process used on flip phones. So two journalism students at Indiana University did an experiment, a duel of paddle and text-message device. In this case, the latter won. But it is important to note that the conditions were not the same as on the Tonight Show. The biggest differences were that Paul, on CW, was not very proficient in CW -- he admitted this himself -- and his objective in sending CW when he happens to be at the radio was, and probably still is, not necessarily speed. Meanwhile, Michael, on the Blackberry, was very proficient -- let's say, “practiced” -- at text-messaging because he sent texts several times a day and the goal with text-messaging is to be as quick as possible. Also, as was noted in the video, the times were for sending only, not for receiving and reading. If these factors were also considered, perhaps CW would still have been faster than text-messaging.

The video does give a nice overview of Morse code for the uninitiated. Paul has a very nice documentary-type voice, but after a while, his pronunciation of Morse -- as “Morris” -- really got on my nerves.

Island-Hopping in the Caribbean
Back in October 2010, Orca members Steve VE7CT and Ralph VE7XF were part of a team that activated the new entity of Saba as PJ6A. We had a couple presentations on this rather civilized DXpedition -- by that I mean the team had modern conveniences and didn't have to make do like Survivorman.

Steve had such a great time, he went back in February for ARRL CW 2011, joined by Saba 2010 teammates Bob K4UEE and Gregg W6IZT. The trio did very well, posting a claimed score of 5,699,328 on 5,792 Qs and 328 mults and placing (unofficially, for now) No. 3 in the world in the non-US/VE M/S HP category.

After the contest, Steve and Bob decided to island hop in pursuit of DXFC. No, that is not a typo. The “F” is for “feet”: countries in which a DXer has actually set foot. Essentially, it's a fun version of DXCC for licensed radio amateurs who like to travel. It works the same as DXCC in that there are entities and a century club. The only rules are that you must physically set foot in the DXCC entity (current at the time of visit), even if that is only onto a tarmac or a jetty. Bob was already a member of the DXFC Century Club but wanted a few more, and Steve was easily persuaded to join him in this pursuit. They went to St. Barthelemy, Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.

Setting foot in a DXCC entity is worth one DXFC point. Extra points can be earned by being active in that location. A single Q is sufficient. On St. Barts, the radio was powered through the cigarette lighter socket and the antenna was just a wire. Good for a couple Qs. On Martinique, Bob's friend Michel FM5CD provided a full-fledged shack with a top-of-the-mountain view from which to make a couple of Qs.

Steve's presentation was interesting, as usual -- part travelogue, part DXpedition -- and held everyone's attention. even the accidental DXers.

Next Meeting
Not until September.

On that note, let me wish everyone a great summer. Play radio all you can because I saw an article today that predicted things may get very dull on the sun. Cycle 24 certainly isn't turning out to be all that great and Cycle 25 may not happen at all. Sigh...

So when you get a break from indoor and/or outdoor chores, consider some on-air activity. Lots of contests, big and small, including Field Day, RAC Canada Day and IARU, plus a few DX to watch for. If you have reached this issue of The Orca Report through the Orca website, then you probably saw the DX watchlist prepared by Bud VA7ST on our home page. Excellent at-a-glance resource.

73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 7) May 10, 2011

May 11, 2011 -- Rebecca VA7BEC with your recap of the May 10 meeting.

This was a rather quiet meeting. The turnout (22) was good, considering quite a few regulars were out of town, but the smaller group meant a lot less QRM in the room.

There weren't many announcements, either. So we ate and drank and talked until it was time for the feature film.

The main event on the agenda last night was a rerun of the DXpedition to Peter I Island (3Y0X) back in February 2006. Anyone who was at the Pacific Northwest DX Convention in Vancouver that year would have heard all about this incredible adventure from team leader, Bob Allphin K4UEE. I was there -- at the dinner and presentation, not Antarctica ;) -- and I seem to recall a slide show and commentary, as opposed to a video, so the DVD content we saw last night was familiar but different at the same time. Regardless, the story was just as riveting and really gives the uninitiated a good idea about all the planning that goes into executing a DXpedition as logistically challenging and time-, energy- and capital-intensive as 3Y0X was.

The 3Y0X DXpedition website is still up, with photos and videos and news (last updated May 20, 2008), if you haven't seen the DVD or had the good fortune to hear a team member in person.

By the way, Steve VE7CT will recount his island-hopping radio adventures in the Caribbean at the June meeting.

A few reminders...

WPX CW is coming up at the end of the month. This is one of the contests in the PNW Challenge, so I heartily encourage CW-inclined contesters to take part and contribute a few million points ;) to the Orca DXCC tally.

Our next meeting is June 14. Then we'll take a break in July and August and resume the meeting schedule in September.

And that's it for No. 7.



73 CUL QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 6) Apr. 12, 2011

April 12, 2011 -- Rebecca VA7BEC here with a recap of last night's meeting.

This meeting seemed different somehow. Maybe it was that we could look outside and enjoy the scenery instead of our own reflections in the windows since darkness didn't set in until after 8pm. Or maybe it was that we had the place all to ourselves, with no accidental DX/contesters in the room. Then again, it might have been the absence of several regulars, some of whom are on radio-related adventures that we will undoubtedly hear about at later meetings.

On that note, has anyone worked Dick N7RO or Paul W7IV in the Greek Islands? The callsign is SV8/N7RO/P.

PNW Challenge Update
Jim VE7FO gave us an update on the new spreadsheet and scoring status for participating clubs in the Pacific Northwest Club Challenge. The major changes in presentation format deal with M/O scores. Essentially, the callsign used in a contest gets an “M/O” instead of a score in the table, and the operators at that station get an “@(station)” instead of a score. A detailed breakdown of M/O scores and allocation by operator is provided separately and added into the final tally for each club.

A full description of how the new spreadsheet works is available on the Orca website. Go to the PNW Cup page.

As for scores, if you were in one of the applicable contests, you can check to see if your score has been reflected properly on the respective club page in the PDF file. Remember that scores are not added to the spreadsheet until after the log-submission deadline of each applicable contest.

Naturally, you can also track the status of the club, or clubs, to which you have contributed your score(s). Note that Orca is at a two-contest disadvantage, since we weren't officially included in the Challenge until CQ WW CW in November 2010.

Recent IOTApeditions by Yuri N3QQ
DXpeditions to activate rare islands -- let's call them IOTApeditions -- require resilience, persistence and a certain degree of flexibility because nothing ever seems to go as planned. It would seem that Yuri N3QQ runs hot and cold when it comes to IOTApeditions. It's not that sometimes he likes them and sometimes he doesn't -- because it's quite clear from his multiple adventures that IOTA-activation bug has bitten him bad -- but that he goes from cold locations to hot ones.

As a member of the Russian Robinson Club, he's been involved in a number of IOTApeditions near and far to put rare islands on the air. Most recently, he was on Chirikof (KL7RCC, NA-235) up north in July 2010, and then several stops in the Marshall Islands -- Majuro (OC-029), Enewetak Atoll (OC-087) and Ujelang Atoll (OC-278) -- down south in October and then again in late-November/early-December 2010. The calls used in the Marshall Islands were V73RRC, V73QQ and V73TM.

Navigate your way through the website for Chirikof Island (www.na-234.com) and Marshall Islands (www.oc-278.ucoz.com) for pictures and info on team members.

Yuri also showed us an excellent short movie about another RRC IOTApedition in late-September/early-October 2009 to activate three Vietnamese islands: Hon Ngu, Cu Lao Cham and Hon Tam.

In the realm of DXpeditions, getting to a destination and getting on the air is so dependent on weather, and the Vietnam IOTApedition was no exception. A wild typhoon prevented the team from landing at Hon Ngu (AS-185) and activating as XV6RRC as planned, but Cu Lao Cham (XV7RRC, AS-162) and Hon Tam (XV3RRC, AS-157) did go QRV with good results. The expedition website (http://xv6rrc.com) has island info and lots of photos.

I never got a chance to ask Yuri if he prefers hot or cold climates for his IOTApeditions, but it's clear that wherever he goes, it will be an adventure with lots of stories to tell.

By the way, if you're curious about the “Robinson” in RRC, it refers to the famous literary castaway Robinson Crusoe.

Other News
Membership is now at 85. Meetings tend to attract only 30% or so of the membership, so I will hazard a guess that many members do not live within an easy drive to the RiverHouse or have other commitments on Tuesday evenings. I hope you are able to keep up with what is going on through the Orca Report.

Next Meeting
May 10. Usual time. Usual place.

73 CUL QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 5) Mar. 8, 2011

March 9, 2011 -- Rebecca VA7BEC with the latest Orca Report.

We were a good-sized group last night, perhaps the biggest so far -- 34, or 36 if you count the accidental DX/contesters in the booth at the back. Our presentations coincided with the couple's dessert, and I got the impression that BERU 2011 and the two-part “Belize from a Ham Radio Perspective” and “Building a Contest Station” weren't topics that added that je ne sais quoi to their dining experience. The rest of us, on the other hand, found the presentations quite interesting.

BERU 2011
Brian VE7JKZ gave us some background on 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 the 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.

This year's event is coming up fast -- this weekend! It runs from 1000z Mar 12 to 1000z Mar 13. 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.

History on the Commonwealth Contest | Rules

Belize 2008
Back in 2008, Bill VE7XS was desperately in need of a break from an exhausting management consulting project. He decided a trip to Belize for some RRR -- that's “radio rest and relaxation,” although “roger roger roger” is equally appropriate in this case. He found the V31MD Ham Shack at the Palmetto Place Guesthouse online.

Bill's goals, aside from a well-deserved rest, would be to have fun on a one-man DXpedition, working as many stations as possible during an eight-day stay and working them well. His CQ emphasis would be on the “little pistols,” as he called them, not the big guns, and he planned to prioritize QRP, portable and mobile stations. He wasn't going for a big contest and figured he'd make a couple hundred Qs. Things turned out a little differently than expected.

Pointing the beam north, he called CQ. And the whole world answered. The biggest day was 756 Qs, and the eight-day Qfest ended with 4,200 Qs in the log. Considerably higher than the target. Outstanding!

At Belize, with no noise floor, even whispering JAs were heard, at least when the pileup complied with Bill's request to shush for a moment.

The Belize DXpedition produced many memorable moments, including an aeronautical mobile at 39,000 feet, 300 miles west of Casablanca, as well as lessons to be learned, especially the importance of making a plan for working pileups and bringing along a buddy/assistant, at least for making meal runs if not taking a turn at the radio.

Bill commented on the rude behaviour of some operators, and emphasized that he would not let those individuals spoil the fun. It's a policy that I would advocate as well, especially after last weekend's ARRL DX SSB. The lesson: if you are CQing, you are in control. If you want to work that whisper at 301 degrees and some lid keeps calling no matter how many times you say “only (partial call),” stick to your guns. Make the pile wait until you get that whisper.

Sure, in a contest, run rate is important. But so is listening before calling and showing courtesy and respect to other participants. Radio etiquette seems to be going the way of common sense. Increasingly rare.

More info on Bill's Belize DXpedition

The Project
The Project began upon Bill's return from Belize. The DX/contest bug really bit him hard. He wanted a tall tower. But that wasn't going to happen where he lived. He had to find another location, and that turned out to be a farm.

The station is made out of two shipping containers, welded together. It's toasty warm inside even when it's cold outside, has a permanent station, a guest station and two temporary stations, makes its own power, and is gradually getting all the comforts of home.

Here, like in Belize, there are no noise issues. It's a great multi-multi contest station that has allowed Bill and regular guest operator Jeff VE7JR to introduce many people to the fun of DXing and contesting.

Photos and more details about the Project

Membership
Orca DXCC membership now stands as 83.

Several clubs in the Lower Mainland, most recently North Shore Amateur Radio Club, have run basic radio courses with a very fine success rate. Maybe there are some potential DX/contesters among the newly licensed? Orca members to be?

PNW Challenge
You may have noticed that scores have not been posted to the website, even though applicable contests are over and score-submission deadlines long passed. The existing score report layout didn't provide any way for operators at multi-op stations to see which club their points went to. The layout has been revised accordingly, and Jim VE7FO, who collects and manages score data, was waiting for the OK from all participating clubs -- BC DX Club, Western Washington DX Club, Willamette Valley DX Club, Spokane DX Association and Orca DXCC. Once points have been appropriately allocated, the data will be posted. Stay tuned.

CQ WPX SSB at W7IV
Paul W7IV is looking for people to work the world with him from his QTH just south of the border in CQ WPX SSB, taking place Mar. 26-27 (starts 0000z Mar. 26). Contact him directly (w7iv@arrl.org) if you can take a shift.

Next Meeting
April 12. Usual time. Usual place.

73 CUL QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 4) Feb. 8, 2011 Annual General Meeting

February 9, 2011 -- Amazing how a month seems to fly by when weekends are spent in contests and/or trying to catch the attention of DXpeditions. Another Orca meeting has come and gone, and here I sit here preparing The Orca Report. Rebecca, VA7BEC with a recap of last night's meeting.

As usual, everyone who was going to be at the RiverHouse was there well before 7 p.m. I arrived at 6:45 p.m., sure of securing a prime location. Not to be. Food and beverages were already on many tables, and people were deep in conversation. This meeting drew 29 people.

Announcements and presentations commenced around 8 p.m.

YLRADIO Website
Elizabeth VE7TLK/VA7TK created a PowerPoint PDF presentation -- YL Amateur Radio Operators "Their Struggles and Achievements!" -- which can be viewed on the YL Radio website. Click on the slideshow link and then on the top item in the YL Stories Archive Directory that pops up.

VE7IO in the QSL Card Business
Fred VE7IO has started a QSL card business. Orca itself may soon utilize this service since Ralph VE7XF took the club call -- VA7ODX -- for a spin in the British Columbia QSO Party this past weekend.

BCQP
For those who read last month's Orca Report, you'll remember that I gave the BCQP a lot of space.

The objective of this QP has always been to get BC stations on the air, and it can only be successful if operators in BC get firmly behind it. Simply put, there have to be enough VE7s CQing for other VE7s to do S&P. Since VE7s can contact anyone anywhere, we can capitalize on QPs going on in the US, but any US operators who want to play in our QP are going to get fed up pretty fast if VE7s are too few and far between. I know the BCQP is gaining a higher profile. I believe there is interest, but sadly, it seems to be more passive than active. Or maybe it is latent and the question is, How can more VE7s be encouraged to participate?

I can imagine all sort of reasons why the BCQP doesn't attract more participants, including the possibility that high run rate contesters feel QPs are too slow, with exchanges agonizingly prolonged by unnecessary chitchat; that HF doesn't seem to interest a lot of newcomers to the hobby and they'd rather ragchew on 2m; and that there aren't enough BC stations CQing to make S&P any fun, and those who are CQing aren't getting a good run rate, so they quit. I've been there. I know.

So from my very involved standpoint -- as a member of the Delta Amateur Radio Society, which sponsors the BCQP; a wearing-too-many-hats member of the BCQP organizing committee; and a member of Orca DXCC, which is a special interest club not only for DX but also HF contesting -- I have to say a big, big thank you to everyone who got on the air, whether it was a full-time effort or just an hour or so to listen for VE7s and boost the Q counts and spirits of lonely ops calling CQ, CQ, CQ...

If you have a log, don't forget to submit it. Cabrillo, please, with CALLSIGN.LOG as the file name. Send to bcqsoparty@deltaamateurradio.com and make sure you put your callsign in the Subject field.

Personally, I had a great time with the VE7SUN sponsor station call on PH. My better half, Koji VA7KO, handled CW and RTTY, which became rather tough when NA Sprint CW and XE-RTTY started up. No place to CQ! And our radio room isn't equipped with a YL filter so I caused my dear OM some in-house QRM. But how could I be ruthless and tell an operator good-bye when he's trying to be friendly and there's no pile to sweep :) Overall, activity was steady and our log shows 400 Qs. Not bad for a QP. To everyone we worked, thanks for dropping by.

Membership
Orca DXCC membership currently stands at 81.

BCDX Repeater
Not a whole lot of interest, it seems. We'll revisit the topic at another time.

Orcawear
It only takes an hour for the embroidering to be done.

Visalia and Dayton
A few people have these events on their calendars.

T32C Support
This month-long DXpedition to Christmas Island -- taking place in autumn 2011 -- will be a mammoth undertaking by the Five Star DXers Association. Check out the very detailed website at www.t32c.com. According to a press bulletin issued in October 2010, this DXpedition will have 40 operators, 30 of whom will be on site at any one time. To help defray significant logistics costs, FSDXA is seeking contributions from sponsors. All donations will be acknowledged, with the logos of all DX clubs that have provided financial support -- of a certain minimum amount -- shown on the QSL card.

The question at our meeting last night was, Should Orca DXCC support this DXpedition? And if so, we should have a set of criteria in place to facilitate decisions on similar contributions in the future. An executive-level meeting will be held to determine said criteria.

Publications of Interest
Do you know about the National Contest Journal? The NCJ is a bimonthly publication featuring articles by top contesters, in addition to letters, hints, statistics and scores. It's a valuable source of information for anyone keen on radiosport. You can subscribe online at www.arrl.org/ncj.

How about the Weekly DX? And for those who must have more timely news, there's the Daily DX. These bulletins are delivered as PDF files. It appears you can try these services free for two weeks.

Presentations
We had two presentations. They were interesting for their content as well as for the way in which they were delivered.

First, ICOM Radio News Number 5. The topic for this 2007 video is the K3LR superstation. Serious antenna farm. The video is available on YouTube in two parts (Part 1 | Part 2).

And then a webinar hosted by the Potomac Valley Radio Club. We saw the August 22, 2010 presentation “Contesting in Africa,” which highlighted the DX adventures of the VooDoo Contest Group. Co-leaders Mike KC7V and Roger G3SXW describe the challenges and excitement of operating the CQWW DX Contest from various West Africa countries. It is very interesting but quite long, so if you decide to watch, grab a beverage and some snacks.

PVRC has hosted a lot of webinars since the club launched the format in June 2009. The most recent was “Contest University 2011” by K3LR on February 7, 2011. I won't go into the details of webinar technology/usage. Suffice it to say, a live webinar allows people anywhere in the world to view a presentation. A moderator does the introductions, asks questions, relays online questions to the guest speakers, and guides the presentation to its conclusion. It appears that the live events can be viewed at no charge, but registration is required. Go to www.pvrc.org and click on the PVRC Webinars link and then the specific webinar. Otherwise, the recorded versions are available whenever you are.

And that's it for this month's Orca Report. 73 CUL QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 3) Jan. 12, 2011 Annual General Meeting

January 13, 2010 -- Happy New Year! Rebecca, VA7BEC here with the third installment of The Orca Report.

The first meeting of 2011 -- originally planned for January 11 -- was postponed a day due to a snowfall warning in the Metro Vancouver area. Yes, yes, I hear the chuckling -- maybe, snickers -- from people who regularly shovel their way through the winter months and wonder why we in Lotus Land can't deal with a bit of snow on the roads. Well, seeing as we don't get much snow that actually sticks and an awful lot of people on the roads don't know how to drive in the white, often-slushy stuff, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Despite the sudden change in date, the meeting still drew 22 people.

This was also the club's first annual general meeting, so there was some official business to address, then some thoughts for the future and a couple of announcements.

The Constitution

Written by John VA7JW with input from several founding members, this document is now set in stone and will guide Orca DXCC for the next year at least. The constitution will soon be available on the Orca website.

Election of Officers

Kind of a done deal. Dave VE7VR, interim president, suggested that the people who got Orca DXCC up and running back in September 2010 should continue in their respective positions, with the addition of one other -- me. The proposal passed without further discussion.

Let me officially introduce your Orca DXCC Board of Directors.

President Dave VE7VR Vice President Steve VE7CT Secretary John VA7JW Treasurer Dave VA7AM Directors South Vancouver Island Paul VE7BZ North Vancouver Island Ron VE7NS USA Dick N7RO Interior of BC Dwight VE7BV Lower Mainland Rebecca VA7BEC Lower Mainland Fred VE7IO Lower Mainland Ralph VE7XF Webmaster Bud VA7ST
The Board will meet remotely, by conference call, as necessary, and regional meetings organized by the assigned director and area members may take place in the summer months (July and August) when Orca DXCC does not maintain a regular meeting schedule. But you don't have to wait for a special meeting. You are always welcome to contact the director(s) for your region with comments and suggestions to be passed along to the rest of the Board.

Meetings

In regard to meetings, the day -- normally, a Tuesday -- and the location are likely to stay the same. It really comes down to the fact that the RiverHouse Restaurant is fairly central for the majority of members in the Lower Mainland who have attended meetings, and the restaurant can accommodate a large group on a weekday evening more so than a Friday. The meeting format -- that is, the casual style -- appears to be well-liked. No plans to change to rows of chairs and tables under unflattering fluorescent lighting.

By the way, the next meeting is February 8.

Presentations

Orca DXCC is a special interest club for DX and HF contesting, and with 77 members, this group has a wealth of DX and contesting expertise on which to draw for some excellent presentations.

We had a great one last night on the Saba DXpedition (PJ6A). We watched the official video by team leader Bob Allphin K4UEE and then Ralph VE7XF took us through his photos. Steve VE7CT added some commentary as well. There is also a 15-minute video on YouTube for anyone who is interested.

Some topics that may be covered at future meetings include DX packet cluster software by Lee VE7CC, crimp coax connectors by VE7BZ, the 2004 DXpedition to St. Pierre/Miquelon (FP/VE7SV), remote operating demonstration and discussion, and Botswana from the perspective of a teenaged radio enthusiast -- all by Dave VE7VR -- as well as member bios. Maybe even a How to RTTY presentation and an Ask the Experts session. Orca DXCC is a wonderful resource for the avid DX/contester and I, for one, can hardly wait to mine its riches.

Have you got any other ideas? Let me -- or someone else on the Board -- know.

On to other announcements.

2m Repeater

The BCDX Club has a 2m repeater that Orca DXCC may be able to use as well. Watch for more details to be posted on this subject.

Club Call

Did you know Orca DXCC has a callsign? VA7ODX. Possible uses? A club-associated DXpedition or for Field Day.

BCQP

The last item for this installment of The Orca Report is about the BC QSO Party, sponsored by the Delta Amateur Radio Society (DARS). And I'm going to give this a major plug because, well, as your Orca Reporter, I can. But seriously, it's a contest -- an opportunity for pileups!

The 2011 event will take place 1600z Saturday, February 5 to 0800z Sunday, Feb. 6. Essentially, that's all day Saturday, Feb. 5, local time, from 8am to midnight. The bands are 160m to 10m, no WARC, and the modes are phone, CW and digital.

This isn't a high-stakes, cut-throat, gotta-beat-the-world kind of contest. It's small scale, at least for now, and less intense. It presents different challenges and requires a different approach to the big contests. It also presents opportunities.

If your CW is rusty, this is a great way to practice.

Want to try out a new mode, like RTTY or PSK, without the stress associated with a major international contest? Perfect chance.

Or maybe you know some people new to the hobby. Wouldn't this be a great time to polish your elmering skills?

There are several QPs taking place in the United States on the same weekend, so Q potential is high. What I mean is, anyone on the air is fair game. But there's a format to follow.

Experienced contesters know the etiquette, like how to listen before calling and who's in charge of a QSO, but newbies may not. So let me digress slightly because the BCQP is a contest for everyone and The Orca Report is not exclusive to Orca DXCC members.

The guys and gals in the FYBO (Freeze Your B___ Off) Winter QRP Sprint -- in Arizona -- may not be in the BCQP but you can still trade Qs. Same goes for stations in the Vermont and Minnesota QPs. Give the op the exchange required in his/her contest and ask for a reciprocal Q. He/she should return the favor.

The BCQP is supported by N1MM. Any software that generates a Cabrillo file is fine, but thanks in large part to Jim VE7FO, N1MM has been fine-tuned to BCQP rules. Select contest log type -- QSO Party -- and then BCQP from the list and you're ready to go.

DARS gives awards for top scores in all modes and power classes, and the certificate is always a nice scenic shot typical of the Delta landscape. It's something different to hang on your shack wall.

The exchange is signal report and federal electoral district/province/state, depending on your QTH. The multiplier list as well as all other pertinent information, including the rules, is available on the DARS website (www.deltaamateurradio.com).

The object is for BC stations to work anyone anywhere and for non-BC stations to work us. So... the more BC stations on the air, the more fun this will be for everyone. It's a contest, after all.

I will be running, probably with the sponsor callsign VE7SUN. Drop by if you hear me CQing. GL.

73 QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 2) Dec. 14, 2010 Christmas meeting



December 15, 2010 -- Rebecca, VA7BEC here again with The Orca Report.

This will be a short and sweet recap of last night's meeting as it was the Christmas get-together at the RiverHouse Restaurant with significant others invited. It was an opportunity for friendly banter. No presentations. No major announcements.

Anticipating that this meeting, like the other two, would draw early-birds, I got to the RiverHouse Restaurant well before the supposed 7 p.m. start to get a good spot. First one there, for sure, I thought. Not so. Nearly every chair was occupied.

We were in a smallish room, just off to the side of the main area which we had had more or less to ourselves the past two times. This room has sliding glass doors, probably meant to give large groups a sense of privacy and coziness. Then again, the doors might be to keep the noise from a boisterous crowd muffled so as not to disturb other customers.

Doors notwithstanding, we were such a big group -- at least 28 -- that we extended beyond the closable confines of the room. We were packed in like sardines. Yes, it was warm and cozy, but not necessarily conducive to chatting with anyone further than two or three chairs down the table and a bit hard to maneuver out of position to get up and talk with another section of the table. My chair, unfortunately, had armrests, so once ensconced, I was essentially stuck for the evening. But I would surmise that conversation revolved around contest results, new entities worked/confirmed and radio-related wish lists.

Santa Dave, VE7VR and his darling elf, Marcia, handed out presents to all. No radios, unless someone with a scratch-n-win actually won an amount big enough for such a purchase.

So that's the short. Here's the sweet.

All the very best to you and yours at this special time of year. Health and happiness in 2011. Good DX. And may every contest bring personal-bests, new stories to tell and most of all be fun. (Where's my glass?) Cheers!

73 HNY QRT de VA7BEC

The Orca Report (No. 1) Nov. 9, 2010 meeting

November 10, 2010 -- Rebecca, VA7BEC here, with the first Orca Report. Too bad I'm not live or else you'd be getting a podcast. (Group of whales... a pod... J)

Let me take you through last night's meeting.

Good turnout -- 28 -- at the RiverHouse Restaurant for the club's second meeting. I got there about 6:50 p.m. and there weren't many seats left open. It looked as though the crowd had been sitting around for a while already. Same thing at the first meeting. Either everyone is eager to chat about DX and contesting with a captive group, or we all give ourselves extra travel time and traffic isn't as bad as we expect. Maybe both.

This time, we had the room to ourselves, and the tables were in regular restaurant-style formation not grouped into one enormous "L" with a few satellite tables. Dave, VE7VR had set up a big screen, which was already showing slides from his recent cabin DXpedition to Kensington Point on Lake Huron, an enviable QTH from which to CQ with a steady response from Europe and Africa.

Before dinner, a few updates, including membership. As of the Nov. 9 meeting, Orca has 72 members. And that's just through word of mouth over about 10 weeks. Obviously, the timing was very right for this club to make its debut -- a whale of an idea, indeed.

Dave, VE7VR went through some of the comments from the questionnaire handed out at the Oct. 15 meeting.

To summarize...

Presentations on DXpeditions? Definitely.

In fact, after dinner, Steve, VE7CT talked a bit about the Saba activation -- PJ6A -- that he and Ralph, VE7XF were part of. The activation marked changes to the DXCC list, following dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, wherein the two existing Netherlands Antilles DXCC entities (Curacao and Bonaire; and Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius) were deleted and four new entities added: Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, and Bonaire.

The activation was undertaken in relative comfort -- no crabs attacking coax, no gale-force winds knocking down wires or ripping holes in tents, no freezing to the toilet seat. But it was exciting in its own way: The island's airport is No. 9 on the world's top 10 most dangerous aircraft landings list.

Check out www.saba2010.com for all the Saba activation details.

Back to questionnaire results.

What to do before and after a contest? Aside from the obvious, like making sure the hardware and software work before 00:00z and sending in your log before the deadline, there are other useful before-and-after tips.

One "after" brought up as an example was 3830, where you can brag about your score or simply say thanks to all the ops who gave you a shout when you were CQing or pulled your call out of the mud. It's also a great place to find out how other ops deal with difficulties, like sudden equipment failures and weather-related antenna problems, and how CONDX affected stations and scores.

HF antennas? We've got lots of expertise in our midst for a presentation or two.

A summer picnic? Perhaps.

Field Day? Another perhaps, but maybe as a few individuals forming their own group rather than as a club.

Propagation presentation? That'll be one that disappears and reappears on the agenda like magic, right? While waiting, take a look at the propagation link on our website.

Online recaps of club meetings for those who can't attend? I recall writing something to that effect. Guess that's how I got this job. :)

A Christmas party? Well, that would be the next meeting, Dec. 14. At the RiverHouse. Bring your significant other. Details on menu and cost to be announced later.

Orcawear? Yes. You can put the club logo on clothing. Just in Stitches on Granville Island in Vancouver will do embroidering. Details are on our website, home page. Scroll to the bottom of the page. A group order of, say, golf shirts, may take place if there's enough interest.

The website. FB for sure. An excellent go-to source for anything and everything a DX/contester needs. Bud, VA7ST, Thank you!!!

And that's about it for questionnaire results.

Another topic brought up was Pacific Northwest Club Challenge. Jim Smith, VE7FO, who did an overview for us last month, says the existing clubs are amenable to Orca's participation in the Challenge. But should the Orca scores be added to the BCDX scores for a combined BC tally? Yes, says BCDX. No, say the other clubs, who probably see an unfair advantage from a two-club total above the 49th parallel.

On a related note, bringing Orca into the Challenge might present an opportunity to introduce more prize categories into the Challenge. Consider that some VE7 contest stations turn in great scores but simply cannot top the results of contest stations to the east, not in North America and not even in Canada. Maybe the Challenge could recognize the commendable efforts of stations here in the Pacific Northwest?

Well, this wraps up the first installment of The Orca Report. I'll try to have summaries ready to upload within a few days of every meeting, workload permitting. VA7BEC QRT