Manitoulin Amateur Radio Club wins major competition

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Amateur Radio Club are the winners of the annual Ontario QSO Party 2012 ham radio competition.

“For members of our club, this type of event is part of club activity and kin to our emergency radio service training,” said Jim McLean, vice president of the Manitoulin club, last week. “Our guys don’t go out in the freezing cold because they like to, and on the day the contest took place it was bitter cold and windy. But they enjoyed it.”

“It’s part of our ongoing training for amateur radio emergency services,” said Mr. McLean. “In this contest the team that represented us competed against amateur radio clubs from all over Ontario, made up of hundreds of clubs.”

A release written by Igor Slakva (VE3ZF) of the Manitoulin club, states, “On April 21, 2012, a team from the Manitoulin Amateur Radio Club entered into the annual ham radio competition Ontario QSO Party at Twilight Isle located on the West End of Manitoulin Island. At this time the team got a privilege to use the call sign of the headquarters of Radio Amateur Radio Club of Canada ‘VA3RAC’.”

Mr. Slakva explained, “first the team erected a 13-metre heavy duty tower with an antenna on top on the beach of the island. The antenna looked very impressive when erected on the beach of Lake Huron and turned for the first time toward Europe. Its elements were big enough to cover nearly half of the sky of this tiny island! It was a spectacular view.”

“As usual, the weather was quite unpredictable,” wrote Mr. Slakva. “It changed from sunny and calm to a snow storm with winds gusting up to 70 kilometres per hour. To prepare for the contest and despite the weather, the team had to successfully complete the tower installation.”

“The next step was to make as many radio contacts as possible, but radio wave conditions in Northern Ontario at that time were far from being perfect. As a result, many European stations were coming in with strong aurora reverberation that interfered with the signals,” explained Mr. Slakva. “However, by the end of the Ontario QSO party, the Manitoulin Radio Club team had made more than 1,000 radio contacts across the globe and (garnered) 482,130 points.

At the recent annual Contest Club Ontario conference the trophy for overall first place was presented to team VA3RAC, which had also set a new Canadian record.

“There are currently 83 members in our club,” said Mr. McLean.

The 15th annual Ontario QSO Party 2012 was held on the third full weekend of April (21-22). Beginning in 1998 under the thoughtful guidance of Bob Chandler (VE3SRE) it quickly became a popular event among Ontario ham radio clubs and beyond. In 2006, the organization of the party was turned over to Contest Club Ontario (CCO), which now manages the event.

In the contest, stations outside Ontario make as many contacts with Ontario amateur radio stations as possible. Ontario stations contact as many amateur radio stations as possible, both in Ontario and world-wide.

 Tom Sasvari