January 2005


Amateur Radio Society of Dryden

 January 12, 2005 Meeting Minutes

Dryden Fire Service Training Centre


President Bob, VA3GUN introduced Bill Laidlaw, owner of Signal Weather Services.  Bill demonstrated the Davis Instruments weather station for the members, and explained its features and operation.

The model on display was receiving data from the Fire Department's roof-top sensor, and displays wind direction and speed, temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and precipitation accumulation.  It is available either as wireless or hardwire (from sensors to console) and USB or Serial communications between console and computer.  If needed, the unit has the ability to stream data for APRS.  Cameo or Aloha Software are available for Emergency Services Users.  A module is available that will either email or dial a phone to alert the operator of certain alarm parameters.

The Fire Department has 2 display consoles in their offices.  Fire Chief Darryl Herbert advised Bill Laidlaw to order a third console to install in the E.O.C. (Emergency Operations Centre).  This will enhance the operation by allowing the amateur manning the ham radio to relay current weather data to Emergency Officials in the field.  Bob, VE3YDN and Scott, VA3EXT, will interface the console with our computer which will allow field operators (or anyone for that matter) to use the club's web site to access the weather output from the console.

President Bob, VA3GUN, thanked Bill for his presentation, and then brought the business portion of the meeting to order.  He introduced and welcomed Warren, VE3FYN from Atikokan.

M.S. Neil, VE3VNM, and Kim,VA3KMM, the minutes of the November 10, 2004 be adopted as read.  Carried.



ARES Emergency Coordinator's Report

Rick, VA3RGA, read a letter from Police Chief Shane MacKinnon, thanking the members for their participation in Pumpkin Patrol.  "This year has been one of our quietest in terms of incidents and I firmly believe this is a direct result of the efforts of your group and Bell Canada," wrote Chief MacKinnon.

Rick reported that the ID cards have been laminated and distributed.  Although the club didn't enter a float, eleven hams helped with the Christmas Parade, helping to maintain spacing between floats and, fortunately, not neededcommunications to assist/tow stalled floats.  Radio Amateurs of Canada and Industry Canada were successful in asking the CBC to not charge amateur clubs for repeater/antenna space on their broadcast towers, because of the voluntary resource hams provide in emergency situations.  The action to assess fees would have financially crippled those amateur radio clubs that have repeaters and antennas on CBC towers.  This in turn would have meant the loss of a valuable resource to Emergency Service organizations across the country.


Technical Committee Report

Scott, VA3EXT, reviewed the committee's 2004 progress.  He thanked everyone who helped.


                -VE3DRY - install UPS for emergency power backup, fixed/tweaked link antennas, installed a weather station (interfacing to repeater will be finished in 2005 to allow keypad                                      access),set up radio and TNC for APRS digipeater (installed on VA3EXT's tower)

-VE3RBK (Black Hawk Lake repeater) - replaced antenna

                -VE3RMU (Sioux Narrows) - set up and installed radio, antenna and TNC for APRS digipeater

                -Repeater buildings - erected at Crow Lake and Flanders for Kenora Mobile Communications

                -VA3DIS (Dryden Echo-link Repeater) - erect tower and install controller and repeater

                -VA3EOD (Emergency Operations Centre) -  relocate tower from Pickle Lake to Dryden; move radios and antennas from the Town Offices to the new Fire Service Building                                                  on Colonization Ave.                                                    

                -VE3YXL (Sioux Lookout) and VE3RSN (Sioux Narrows) procured and tuned linking radios and duplexers

                -VE3JJH (Kenora) - set up radio and TNC for APRS digipeater


Radio Classes 

Dave VE3LMU reported that the Basic class is over half-way through the course and going well.  He expects the students to write their Basic Test at the end of February.  He asked if any members wished to take an Advanced Class.  This would begin right after the Basic Class finishes, and run until the end of June.  There are presently 2 amateurs interested.  Rick pointed out that hams who pass their Advanced Test would be grandfathered under the proposed new regulations.  This means they would have access to the High Frequency Bands without having to either rewrite the Basic Test (and getting an 80% Pass Mark) or doing the 5 Wpm Morse Code test.


New Business 

Warren, VE3FYN, mentioned that the Thunder Bay Signal Corps were planning a communications exercise in Atikokan in mid-February.  He will pass the dates on to Scott, who in turn will advise the members.

 The 2004 Executive have offered to continue their offices for 2005.

 M.S. Neil, VE3VNM and Arnie, VA3NOL to appoint Bob, VE3YDN and Rick, VA3RGA to the Executive Committee.  Carried.

 The theme for 2005 will be a continuation of 2004's theme:  Emergency Planning and Preparedness.  Bob thanked the individuals who have been working on the theme over the past year.

 Bob VA3GUN, distributed a list of projects the Club will sponsor over the coming year:


                          Project                                                            Action by:                                        Target Date


Establish 4-5 assistant EC's for training and certification                                            Bob, VA3GUN                                                                                Jan 31

                                                                                                                                               Rick, VA3RGA



Emergency Operations Centre:

Build partition and shelves                                                                                              City of Dryden                     

Install speaker, switches, etc, locate radio equipment,                                                Bob, VE3YDN                                                                                 Jan 31

install computer, interface with Davis Weather console                                             Scott, VA3EXT


Transfer all related documents, manuals, files, etc                                                       Rick, VA3RGA


Develop Operations Manual for E.O.C., including call-                                                          

out tree; members, equipment lists, antenna locations and                                       Rick, VA3RGA                                                                                Mar 31

respective contact individuals for those locations, radiograms


Develop and provide training on operation of E.O.C. equipment                             Rick, VA3RGA                                                                               ongoing


CanWarn Training (If Environment Canada is able to provide                                 Rick, VA3RGA                                                                                 June 30

a course in Dryden this year) 



The club will be holding training sessions (not only on planning/preparedness, but also the operation of the equipment in the Emergency Operations Centre).  Members need to realize it is not enough for hams to simply operate radios.  They need to know how to handle/relay messages.  It may be enough to have 3 or 4 hams involved in a short term emergency, however, if a long term situation develops, those hams will need to be relieved by fresh amateurs.


Rick, VA3RGA reminded members that if they hear the repeater broadcast "ARES Emergency" they need to press their PTT and key in "Zero" on the key pad, get the information and then call other amateurs for assistance.  Dryden Emergency officials will use their phone call out tree first.  If they are unable to contact Rick, Joy or Gary, they will then call the repeater and input a code which will instruct the repeater to make the above broadcast.


Bob, VA3GUN, asked how many hams have their call-out kits together.


Ideas for future meetings include:  comparing call-out kits to exchange ideas on how to develop them and what to include; APRS demonstration and introduction; new digital communication modes can also spark new interest.


Because of the increased activity that will be taking place in the Emergency Operations Centre, whether it be working on equipment or training, we need to check with Shannon, the Secretary at the Fire Service, to ensure the room is available and not being used by other groups.  (As an example, the Fire Service needed the Training Centre on Jan 10th, so Dave relocated the Basic Class to his living room, and the Executive Meeting was moved to the E.O.C.)


In addition to this, Bob reminded the members that the Club is just one of many stake-holders that Fire Chief Darryl Herbert coordinates with in conducting his responsibilities.  As such, any discussions or requests between the club and the Fire Service should be actioned by either the President, or Bob, VE3YDN.  Matters involving A.R.E.S. should be actioned by Rick, VA3RGA.


Several members of the Executive Committee have already indicated their willingness to become Emergency Coordinators:  Bob, VE3YDN; Bryan, VA3BRY; Arnie, VA3NOL; Adrian, VA3ALC.


The Executive felt it would be wise to split up the responsibilities of the various activities the club is involved in between the EC's.  For example, Adrian, VA3ALC agreed to oversee the Christmas Parade.  One of the other EC's would coordinate the coverage for the Dog Sled Races, and another EC coordinate Pumpkin Patrol.  This will enhance the skills of the EC, with the view that he will then be better able to coordinate a portion of an emergency situation, should one occur.  As well, not all the responsibility falls on one EC's shoulders....to the point that he is overwhelmed.


R.A.C. Assistant Director's Report


Rick, VA3RGA advised us that the R.A.C. Regional Director as well as the name of the Region has changed:


Our Regional Director is now Ben Price, VE3CDA of Ottawa.  The Region becomes Ontario North/Eastand covers all of northern Ontario as well as the East side.


Rick reviewed some of the topics covered in the January-February 2005 Issue of TCA.  R.A.C. membership dues have increased to $49.95.  R.A.C. now provides paid up members a significant benefit in the form of $5 million Liability Insurance (no additional premium-cost is included in the membership fee).  Costs have increased to R.A.C. to provide representation to Government and Industry, clerical and office overheads, international representation, defense of the Amateur spectrum and the other expenses that occur to provide services to Canadian amateurs.  Another change is the separation of R.A.C. membership and the subscription to TCA...one can now subscribe to TCA without being a member.  Rick also mentioned Peter DeWolfs column "29 MHz and Up".  Peter, VE3YYY spent last summer traveling across Canada, and has been sharing his experiences with readers.  In a future issue, we can expect a write-up about Peter's experience in Northwestern Ontario.


Rick also pointed out coverage of the Manitoba Repeater Society Meeting; notes from the October CARAB meeting; FAQs on the testing that is being done at 5 MHz; and George Samson's Public Service/ARES column.



Linking to Red Lake


VE3RLD (147.000 +), the Repeater at Red Lake has not been linked into the Interprovincial Pine Tree Intertie system because of the distance and cost.  Amateurs at Red Lake and Dryden are now looking at the possibility of using Echolink to overcome this.  Echolink would be easier, more reliable and cost effective than a UHF link.  Ignace is also considering Echolink.  This will help close the gap in the network between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.





Gary, VE3MOR suggested the Club Meeting Minutes be posted on the Club's Web Site.


Dave, VE3LMU won the 50/50 Draw.


M.S. Arnie, VA3NOL, and Neil, VE3VNM the meeting adjourn.  Carried.



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