I have been a
licensed Amateur Radio Operator Ham since
May 1959. Prior to
moving to Vancouver
Island with my family in 2006 I was VE4JX. My family and I
10km North of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although like
many Hams, my first
interests were talking to other Hams all over the world on the HF
bands. However, my main interest over these many years has been
building my own VHF and UHF equipment. In 1964 I built a 50, and
144 MHz station from the ground up using a HB 20 meter phasing exciter,
followed by HB transverters. For 432 MHz, I modified an
old tube type Dew Line
which was driven at 50 MHz. The last driver stage before the
big linear was also a modified DEW Line unit using a single
4CX250K capable of putting out in excess of 100 watts. After
hard work building several Yagi antennas, another power amplifier and a
couple of pre-amplifiers, the time was near to try some EME
(Earth-Moon-Earth) or Moon
communication. In September 1975 and with
the assistance of
Barry Malowanchuk VE4MA, we
successfully achieved our first attempt at Moon bouncing
on 432 MHz. We were able to hear our own
echoes off the Moon using my steerable array of 8-13
(K2RIW type) antennas and a 1KW input linear
amplifier, also a K2RIW design. Our first two contacts were with
in Duncan B.C. and Dr. Allen Katz, K2UYH
in New Jersey. The
Yagi had both azimuth and elevation
1st stage pre-amp originally consisted of a MRF901 transistor with
around 1 db noise figure, which in those days was considered not
bad. That was soon replaced by a better lower noise
by Dr. Katz. Stations were worked all over the world
from Japan, Italy
and a some U.S.
too, only to mention a few. Later on I built a
dish, but unlike the Yagi, you had to go outside and manually aim
dish just ahead of the Moon each time you wanted to receive or
transmit. The feed at the focal point consisted of a pair
each switchable from the shack. The reason for having two dipoles
because of the change in the polarization of the signal coming back.
This is caused by what is known as Faraday
rotation. This occurs when a linearly polarized signal passes
ionosphere and the electromagnetic wave interacts with the charged
and the Earth's magnetic field, its plane of polarization is rotated.
rotated signal has been reflected back from the Moon and re-enters the
ionosphere, it will be rotated some more in the same direction -
rotation does not 'un-wind' or cancel out! This means that even your own Moon echoes can
return rotated by 90°, so
you don't hear them. In these conditions, EME communications
between stations anywhere in
Europe with fixed horizontal polarization will be very difficult.
Faraday rotation can not be
predicted in advance, you have to accept
whatever it is at the moment! Although the signal only seems to
arrive at a
polarization angle between +90° and -90°, the wave may in fact
undergone many complete rotations. Faraday rotation is proportional to
electron density, integrated along the path through the ionosphere.
path through the ionosphere is longer, at your local Moon rise and Moon
will be more rotation. Also there is more ionization in daytime.
rotation is about 10 times more severe in daytime than at night, and it
likely to be changing more quickly around sunrise or sunset at either
the EME path.
Communicating with other stations using the Moon
as a passive
reflector was not an easy task as it is easier with two people
the antennas and equipment than one. Barry, VE4MA, use to come
over and assist in working stations and
aiming the dish every few minutes.
The echoes off the Moon using the
20' dish were far better than using the Yagi array with the lower gain,
especially when you
couldn't change polarization with the Yagi.
Within a year, Barry built his own huge array
for his EME station and was soon working
stations all over the world on EME. It wasn't long before
all States and continents on 432 EME, and continued on with all
the higher bands, building
and designing better dish feeds for the microwave bands including 24
and 47 GHz.
has actually worked RW3BP, AD6FP and W5LUA on 47 GHz EME back in April
2005, not an easy task, congratulations to all of them.
In the early
90's I continued to enjoy building my own equipment such
as transverters for 50, 144, 432, 1296, 3456, and 5760 MHz, including
10 GHz, as well
pre-amps for each of those bands.
Now that we have moved to
Campbell River I'm looking forward to getting active on the higher
bands again soon.
2006 and moving to Vancouver Island, I have been experimenting with
a whole different part of the spectrum called LF, (Low Frequency)
which is 135.7-137.8 KHz.
World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-07) in Geneva has approved
2200m as a world-wide amateur band as of December 2009, Canadian
amateurs now have full access to 2200m without the need for special
inspired by people like Steve McDonald, VE7SL,
and the VA7LF
group for the tremendous work they have done in pioneering LF in
Canada. In April of 2006 the VA7LF group (as
the New Zealand station
The ZM2E station positively identified VA7LF but unfortunately the sun
was almost over the horizon on Pender Island and their
path vanished as suddenly as it had appeared. Up
until near the end of 2007
Steve and the VA7LF group were given special experimental license to
operate in the LF band. There has been a limited
LF experimental stations operating in Canada in the last few
years. Another active station is Joeseph Craig, VO1NA
was heard in France by F1AFJ
21st 2008 on 1600 metres (184.005 KHz). Another station in Canada is
John McCreath, VE3EAR
Mitch, VE3OT has
been active since June 2000 and worked VA3LK establishing a Canadian
first for two way QSO on 2200 metre band. Jay Allen,
VY1JA in Whitehorse YT, has been active on LF also.
Following the World
Radiocommunication Conference's (WRC-07) approval of the 2200m band as
a world-wide amateur band, as of DECEMBER 2009, Canadian amateurs now
have full access to 2200m without the need for special operating
permission. Amateurs are limited to 1W E.I.R.P. and narrow-band modes
Hopefully there will be more
interest here in
Canada now that the band has become available to us all.
is also my hope that new
upcoming Hams will be encouraged to try and build and design their own
equipment, as this is one important aspect of Ham radio that is
unfortunately becoming a dying interest.
(DFCW30) and VE7TIL
a trans-pacific QSO on 2200m September 28th, 2010, a first between
Canada and Japan. CN89dk to QM09fl is 7162km.
Congrtaulations to you both!