Simulated Radiogram Night

Last evening, some of the CKARC fellows got together on the air to send radiograms. We had 7 turn out for training and out of those, 4 actually did the on air portion. We also had two “onlookers” that couldn’t make it to the training. Overall, the program went fairly well. I really would have liked to see more club members participating but that’s how these things usually go. We did learn a number of things: a) speak slowly and write quickly b) make sure you actually write your radiogram out before putting it on the air c) have a pencil sharpener ready. Our trainer/coordinator did an excellent job.

You can certainly tell who the dedicated hams are and those that are just hams for some unknown reason. Some never turn out for any event, never hear them on the air and they never respond to correspondence. But, as long as they pay their dues, I suppose who really cares. We have 4 repeaters in the area. One is used “frequently” (as in more than once per day), another is used infrequently (meaning there are two fellows who use it for a half hour every day) and the remaining two are very rarely used. But having said that, last weekend I visited the Toronto area and scanned all the repeaters a lot and heard nobody. Sad.

IRC Chat

Well I finally figured out how to make my IRC chat widget to open in a new tab. Good heavens it was SOOO easy too. Doh! Anyway, if you want to chat on IRC (and who wouldn’t?) you can now open it in a new tab/window and have a web based client. Very handy. If you’re a CKARC member, I’ll be on the #ckarc IRC channel during the Wednesday night net. Just sayin’

BTW, this is a full IRC client. All the usual things work: /nick, /join, /msg nickserv/chanserv, etc. Enjoy!



We recently had a CANWARN “event” here in Chatham-Kent. Yep, high winds and hail. Luckily very little damage. The unfortunate thing was that very few hams in the area knew there was an alert on. One of our local hams sent out an email after the fact, asking how we could be better informed of these alerts. Pagers? An automated message on the repeater? Hmmm.

This set off a chain of events – a “flurry of activity” if you will with several hams independently arriving at basically the same idea. Some way to let the members know what is happening. Some hams took the hardware route trying to tap into the power of a cheap(ish) dedicated weather radio with built in SAME weather alerts and routing that to the repeater. I had a similar thought but of course using software. Realistically, both approaches will probably be needed.

So, after firing up Visual Basic and searching for various solutions, this is what my effort produced: I poll the Environment Canada website looking for an area alert. If I find one, my software alerts various members via email and/or text messaging to the CANWARN event. Next step is to send a specific .wav file to the repeater based on the type of alert. My system does depend on the internet true, but my theory is that this infrastructure will be in place before an actual disaster hits and now everyone will be prepared if the ‘net goes down.

We’re hoping that by using all of these hardware and software alert methods and using our soon to be wide area repeater system, we will have a world class CANWARN system with few rivals.

CKARC Wednesday Night Net

Well well. The Chatham-Kent Amateur Radio Club had an excellent turnout for Wednesday, Feb 12 with 13 check-ins (including yours truly). Even got one check-in from a ham in an 18-wheeler driving down the 401 hiway. Nice 🙂 I had to take over net control due to technical issues at VE3DBA’a QTH. Meh, I don’t mind doing it but, I hope VE3DBA can resolve his radio issues.

VE3MUN sure had a long list of items for the swap-and-shop. He’ll be posting them soon on the CKARC website. Seems VE3DBA was put in charge of an estate sale and there’s quite a bit of odds and ends as well as some fairly decent equipment. Go here for more details as they become available.


Unfortunately, late last night (and continuing this morning) is experiencing a DDoS (distributed denial of service). Although technically not a virus, it sure has played havock withe this IRC network. Generally, the attackers tend to get bored and move on but it’s not pretty whilst it lasts 🙁 And this is probably the worst I have ever seen. By connecting to Freenode there’s no greater chance of getting an infection but you may find channels you usually join are empty… or they may not be.

Here is something to look at in the mean time.

As far as I can tell, most servers are up but they’re just not talking to each other properly. It’s actually the strangest DDoS I’ve personally ever seen. No doubt things will return to their ‘normal’ IRC goodness but it may be a couple days. Stay tuned…

CKARC Net – Nov-20-2013

Another Wednesday night net came and went. Don, VE3DNA, our usual net controller, was having some technical difficulties and Adam, VE3MUN took over the net until Don got sorted out. All in all, a pretty good net with 8 total check-ins. I was going to link in the VE3TOM repeater in Leamington but it was connected to an IRLP reflector that was unusually busy. Later, I did link in to the VE3EOW repeater in Windsor – which I found out later is owned by the Corporation of the City of Windsor – dunno how that works. The link worked out but we didn’t get any takers from there 🙁


CKARC Digital Net

Last night (Sep-18-2013) the CKARC held a digital (actually EasyPal) net following the weekly 2 meter net with a grand total of THREE participants (VE3UGG, VA3OT, VA3TWT and a voice check-in by VE3MUN). I was certainly hoping for a better turnout but there it is. If nothing else, VA3TWT got his setup complete and everyone that DID participate got their signal levels optimized. And it were fun.

It also turns out that VA3FIA has started a new CKARC website due to the fact that it has been problematic for him to get any info on user/passwords for the current website. Hard to update a website when you can’t get into it! In future, these two site will point to the same place. Thanks Fred.


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