Club History
 

Early Amateur Radio Activity in the

Almonte and Carleton Place Area


- Bill Barrie VE3AAS -

1958


Joe Norton, VE3PK, in Pakenham was my first radio contact in this area.  We QSO’d on 75 meters from St. Lambert at a time when VE3AAS was temporarily VE2IK.


1961


VE3AAS moved to Almonte.  The HF bands were much in use at this period and there were big beam antennas sprouting up in the back yards of Tom Howe VE3AAT, Syd Bateman VE3FSH, Larry Schweizer VE3IHZ, VE3AAS, and others.  Don Stewart VE3PDF was moving around the globe and made many contacts with Almonte on 20 meters.  Weekly skeds with VE2AGM / W4 found VE3AAS unexpectedly participating in Sunday Mass across the street at St. Mary’s, and also through the PA system of the United Church off the back of the beam.


The monitoring station of the federal Department of Communications on Highway 29, not far from town, employed three active hams, two living in Almonte:  Ron VE3FIN and Ross VE3DIW.  When VE3FIN later moved to Ottawa, we gained the Ainsworth family, Louise VE3LJA, Terry VE3TLC, Colleen VE3YAW, and Sean VE3SMA.

History of the Almonte Amateur Radio Club


last updated May 22, 2010


Bill Barrie VE3AAS

Neil Carleton VE3NCE

1970s


The mini-net on repeater VE3STP was the meeting place for the earliest radio enthusiasts in the Ottawa Valley from Hawkesbury to Deep River.  Radio activity built up after Japanese equipment came on the market with sold state 10 watt transceivers capable of frequency switching with crystals and synthesizers.  Commuters to Ottawa used repeater VE2CRA, while it was VE3STP for mobiling in the upper part of the Ottawa Valley.


By general agreement, 146.52 MHz simplex was the local frequency.  It was here that the Goblin Patrol in Almonte operated on a number of Halloween nights.


1990s


In the 1990s, hams in the Carleton Place area joined with the Almonte Radio Repeater League (ARRL).  Both the HF and VHF bands enjoyed a big increase in ragchew, contest, packet, and the present digital revolution.

It was during this period we determined that the ARRL would be an unorganized organization with no constitution, no dues, and no meetings, except by chance at the post office.


At a meeting in Ottawa, the well known VE3HC discussed the existence of the Canadian ARRL with the President of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and had a good chuckle.

Year – By – Year


from the archives of the Almonte Radio Repeater League (1984-2004)

and the Almonte Amateur Radio Club (2005-2009)

- Neil Carleton VE3NCE -

1984


GOBLIN PATROL


Although a formal club had not yet been established in the area, Almonte radio amateurs were actively performing community service in 1984. 


Assisting the Ontario Provincial Police, they provided a volunteer Goblin Patrol on Halloween night with mobile amateur radio stations monitoring activities in town at Blackburn’s garage, Peterson’s ice cream plant, the Royal Bank, library, and the IGA grocery store.  The amateur radio control station was also assisted by other mobile volunteers who visited the neighbourhoods of seniors and schools.


Almonte and area radio amateurs who helped out included:


Terry Ainsworth VE3TLC

Bill Barrie VE3AAS

Syd Bateman VE3FSH

Brian Hick VE3BRT

Tom Howe VE3AAT

Larry Schweizer VE3IHZ

Don Stewart VE3PDF

Al Wrenshall, VE3PAW

John Newman VE3DDN

Mark Penney VE3MSP

Art Childerhose  VE3CGD

Ron Power VE3FIN

Brian VE3ELQ


1986


This 1986 photo from the weekly Almonte Gazette newspaper is the earliest shot in the AARC archives.


I remember stopping at the amateur radio station that was set up outside the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Almonte, on Bay Hill.  I met  Larry VE3IHZ, and learned that it was a JOTA operation with the second Almonte scouts.  The group was having fun at the microphone, and I stayed to see what amateur radio was all about.


1992


CLUB ESTABLISHED


An amateur radio club was formed on May 1, 1992, for the Almonte area of eastern Ontario, including Pakenham, Carleton Place, Corkery, Blakeney, and Carp.  In a news release dated May 9th, it was announced that the Almonte Radio Repeater League (ARRL) had been established, and a meeting was planned for later in the month.


The inaugural meeting of the ARRL was held at the Superior Restaurant in Almonte at 7:00 p.m. on May 24th.  The meeting was convened and chaired by Tom Howe VE3AAT, and attended by Bill Barrie VE3AAS,  John Kirkwood VE3KLY,  Tim Ray VE3XV,  Kieran Shepherd VE3OSQ,  Peter Williams VE3TFP, and Al Wrenshall VE3PAW.


The need for a club, and the purpose of the meeting, was stated to be (i) the relocation of the VE3AAT repeater to the Highway 15 property of Tim VE3XV, and (ii) the operation of a repeater with better coverage and an auto-patch.  Membership was to be open to all interested radio amateurs.


The original SCR1000 30WT VHF repeater, #641 duplexer, VHF duplexer cables, FL-6 filter, lightning protection, and phone patch, was originally purchased in 1984 for $3273.95 by Larry Schweizer VE3IHZ.


The inaugural officers established at the May 24th meeting were President - Tom Howe VE3AAT, Vice President - Tim Ray VE3XV, Treasurer - Bill Barrie VE3AAS, Secretary - Al Wrensall VE3PAW.


The first year of operation was funded by a $20.00 contribution from each member:


Terry Ainsworth VE3TLC

Bill BarrieVE3AAS

Al Hepburn VE3GFZ

Brian Hick VE3BRT

Tom Howe VE3AAT

John Kirkwood VE3KLY

Tim Ray VE3XV

Al Ross VE3DMR

Kieran Shepherd VE3OSQ

Don Smith VE3SPM

Don Stewart VE3PDF

Peter Williams VE3TFP

Bob Ward VE3ZXV

Al Wrenshall VE3PAW


REPEATER RELOCATED


The relocated VE3AAT repeater began operation in July 1992 on a frequency of 147.27 MHz (147.870 output), with a power of 30 watts at 13.8 V, using a Telrex V-2S antenna with two stacked 5/8 sections.  The site was provided by Tim Ray VE3XV, and the shack was built by Al Wrenshall VE3PAW and Bill Barrie VE3AAS.  John Kirkwood VE3EEV (KLY) supplied the feed line, and Al Ross VE3DMR re-activated the battery and solved the intermod problems.


1993


FIELD DAY


On the weekend of June 26-27, members of the Almonte Radio Repeater League and the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club took part in a 24 hour field day operation, coordinated by Peter Williams VE3TFP, to test their emergency communications skills.  Other volunteers at the event were:


Bill Barrie VE3AAS

Dave Burniston VE3LFQ

Brian Crook VE3CRG

Gord Dey VE3PPE

Al Hepburn VE3GFZ

Ken Holt VE3VC

Tom Howe VE3AAT

Vickie Howe VE3VVH

John Kirkwood VE3EEV

Tim Ray VE3XV

Al Ross VE3DMR

Larry Schweizer VE3IHZ

Kieran Shepherd VE3OSQ

Rob Webb VE3UIX

This 1986 photo from the weekly Almonte Gazette newspaper is the earliest shot in the AARC archives.

“The group was having fun at the microphone, and I stayed to see what amateur radio was all about.”

Neil Carleton VE3NCE

1994


REPEATER PURCHASE


The repeater was purchased in January 1994 from Tom Howe VE3AAT, who moved to Calgary, for $500 with funds provided by 10 trustees:


Terry Ainsworth VE3TLC

Bill Barrie VE3AAS

Brian Hick VE3BRT

Dietor Jeschor VE3AVJ

John Kirkwood VE3EEV

Tim Ray VE3XV

Al Ross VE3DMR

Don Smith VE3SPM

Don Stewart VE3PDF

Al Wrenshall VE3PAW.



NEW CALL SIGN


The new call sign of VA3AAR (Almonte Amateur Radio) replaced VE3AAT.


The antenna was raised about 15 feet on masting provided by Larry Schweizer VE3IHZ.  Lightning proofing was installed by Darwin Thom VE3DXR and Al Wrenshall VE3PAW.


A phone patch was operational with access to Almonte, Carleton Place, Pakenham, Ottawa, and Hull.



MEMBERSHIP GROWING


In September 1994, the ARRL had 17 members: 


Terry Ainsworth  VE3TLC

Bill Barrie  VE3AAS    Treasurer

Tom Bartello  VE3ELM   

Jim Griffith  VE3KJG

Brian Hick  VE3BRT

Vicki Howe  VE3VVH

Dieter Jeschor  VE3AVJ

John Kirkwood  VE3EEV

Clive Oakes  VE3YB

Tim Ray  VE3XV    President

Al Ross  VE3DMR    Vice President

Larry Schweiser  VE3IHZ

Don Smith  VE3SPM

Don Stewart  VE3PDF

Peter Williams  VE3TFP

Bob Wilson  VE3RAJ

Al Wrenshall  VE3PAW    Secretary



GOBLIN PATROL


In partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police, members of the ARRL continued to provide a successful Goblin Patrol in Almonte on Halloween night.



1995


NEW MEMBERS and CALL SIGN CHANGES *


Colleen Ainsworth  VE3YAW - Almonte

Louise Ainsworth  VE3LJA - Almonte

Sean Ainsworth  VA3SMA - Almonte

Don Fraser  VE3CDF - Ottawa

John Kirkwood  VE3CN *

Russ Kirkwood  VE3RKB - Richmond  

Charles Lawrence  VE3FEJ - Almonte

Darwin Thom  VE3DXR - Carleton Place

Lynn Thom  VE3DCQ - Carleton Place



WEDNESDAY NIGHT NETS


During the past year, Andy Webb VE3UIY conducted a net at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.


FIELD DAY


For the 4th year at the Mill of Kintail, members of the Almonte Radio Repeater League and the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club took part in a 24 hour field day operation to test their emergency communications skills.  From a handful of radio amateurs in the first year, 35 volunteers took part on the weekend of June 24-25 in 1995.  Visitors were encouraged to see what was going on, and even try their hand at the controls of one of the demonstration HF, satellite, and VHF stations.  The weekly Almonte Gazette newspaper included a feature with accompanying photo about the field day in the July 5th edition.

GOBLIN PATROL


ARRL volunteers continued to operate a successful Goblin Patrol in Almonte on Halloween night.  The club received a thank you letter from the OPP Detachment Commander acknowledging the valuable service.


GOBLIN PATROL


The Goblin Patrol in Almonte was an annual event for the ARRL with volunteer members assisting the Ontario Provincial Police in patrolling the town.


1997


CLUB ACTIVITIES


In the July annual report, ARRL activities during the year included (1)

Wednesday night nets with net control Les VA3BZQ; (2) doughnut or coffee gatherings at 9:30 a.m. on the 4th Saturday of the month, at the Country Style doughnut shop on Highway 7 in Carleton Place; and (3) the successful Goblin Patrol on Halloween night.



REPEATER REFURBISHING


Extensive work on the repeater was carried out by Al Ross VE3DMR and Phil St. Germain VE3CIQ.  Medals were to be handed out at a later date.



NEW ARRL SECRETARY


When  Al Wrenshall VE3PAW relocated to Rideau Ferry, Louise Ainsworth VE3LJA assumed the duties of Secretary.


DONATED EQUIPMENT


The sale of items donated to the ARRL by the wife of the late Larry Schweizer VE3IHZ brought in $715.00 by September.  With $250.00 received in membership fees, the club’s account totaled $965.00 with all expenses paid in full.


1998


ICE STORM OF THE CENTURY


During the ice storm of the century, AARC volunteers provided valuable communications assistance from the emergency post at the Almonte town hall.  A Certificate of Appreciation was received from the Town of Mississippi Mills to recognize the club’s contribution.  



NEW REPEATER


Al Ross VE3DMR and Phil St. Germain VE3CIQ continued with the refurbishment of the old VHF repeater to keep it running.  A new repeater was generously donated by Manfred Kahle VA3MWK.



JUNE MEMBERSHIP


In June 1998, the membership list of the ARRL was 32 names long with many returning members as well as new supporters.


1999


JULY MEMBERSHIP


In June 1999, the membership list of the ARRL was 35 names long.


2000


CLUB ACTIVITIES


The popular Wednesday night nets continued during the year at 9:00 p.m. on 147.27 MHz with net control Les VA3BZQ.  The doughnut or coffee meetings were now held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, at 9:30 a.m.  Nipperkins coffee shop in Almonte was the new gathering place, with some meeting held at the Country Style doughnut shop on Highway 7 in Carleton Place.  Volunteers continued to help with the annual Goblin Partol on Halloween night to help local Almonte authorities keep the streets safe.


REPEATER OPERATION


A new repeater battery and charge controller were purchased in 2000.  The main operating expense of the club was the monthly cost of a telephone line for the auto-patch service on the repeater.


Site Latitude North:  45* 11’ 51”

Site Latitude West:  76* 10’ 36”

Grid:  FN15ve

Elevation:  141 m

Transmit:  147.270 MHz

Receive:  147.870 MHz

Antenna:  4 element folded dipole vertical colinear

Antenna Gain:  8dBi

Antenna Polarization:  vertical

Antenna Power:  12 watts to the antenna

Antenna Height:  17 m



MEMBERSHIP


In 2000 the ARRL had 39 members from across the greater Almonte area.


2001


CLUB ACTIVITIES


Early in the year a new slate of officers was established for the ARRL.


President    Tim Ray VE3XV


Treasurer    Bill Barrie VE3AAS


Secretary    Tammy Bahry VA3DIY


Membership    Don Scott VE3QLQ


Head of Engineering    Al Ross VE3DMR


Head of Repeater Operations    Fred Chamberlain VE3CFZ


Head of Emergency Services    S. Mark Ritchie VE3DIX


Net Manager    Les McCready VA3BZQ


Web Master    Bob Clermont VE3AKV


Breakfast gatherings were held every two weeks, alternating on Saturday and Sunday at 9:15 a.m., at the Angus Barn on Highway 15 between Almonte and Carleton Place.


A contingent of the ARRL was involved with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), and a bi-weekly ARES net was initiated on VA3AAR.