For over five years David, VE3BBN and myself with NPARC members and non-members have been experimenting with ground wave communications to see if it is viable for emergency communications. Results have been positive and can be found on the www.gwen-emcomm.ca website.
We have proof of concept. Now it was time to inform the masses. David, VE3BBN came to me in January 2013 and suggested it would be nice to have a website to inform the amateur radio community about ground wave communications. The website design work began in early January 2013. Kevin VA3KGS, NPARC president set to work to obtain the domain name. NPARC membership voted to sponsor the website. After feedback from David, VE3BBN, David, VA3ORP, the NPARC executive and numerous others, the www.gwen-emcomm.ca was on the air. Thank-you to everyone who contributed.
This February marks the first anniversary of the www.gwen-emcomm.ca website. Thanks to the website, a growing number of amateur radio operators have joined the group and have learned about ground wave communications and its use in emergency communications. Nets have been taking place this past year on the first and third Monday of the month at 7:00 pm local on 3607 kHz lower sideband. This spring 2014, the GWEN Net is moving to 7:30 pm local to reduce conflict with other local nets. We hope to hear you then. Everyone is welcome whether you have a vertical or dipole antenna.
It is the goal of the website to inform fellow amateurs that their vertical antenna is not only good for DX but also 100% useful for local communications out to 100 plus kilometers in all directions with less than 100 watts. Ground wave communications is not affected by time of day, solar or seasonal conditions. Ground wave is not limited by line-of-site. You do not need a tower. This makes it ideal for base and portable emergency communications. All you need is an eighty metre vertical antenna with a good radial system of eight plus radials (preferably elevated) at least one eighth wavelength (one quarter is ideal) in length to get out.
The GWEN group continues to experiment with phone, cw and psk-31, power levels and antenna configurations to find the best way to communicate via ground wave. Feel free to join the fun. Check-out the website. Cheers.
We are looking at having the net the same 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month with a change of time from 1900 hrs (7pm) to 1930 hrs so there is no conflict with the NRS net at 1900 hrs. This will give members of both the time to check into each net.
If any members have any happenings or info they would like to pass onto the group, Peter, va3wet has some free time while he is on vacation in Brazil, so we can put him to work.
Well we are looking for a nice dry spring so we can get out and get PSK-31 up and running.
My recommendation for software is FLdigi. The reason being is it's ability to handle traffic and placing the received document right on the NTS form. It saves a lot of typing for those like me who are typing impaired.
Don't forget the hamfest in St. Catharines on February 1st at 9am. You can get info at www.nparc.on.ca.
David ve3bbn ncs GWEN Niagara
Greetings all, this morning Ian, va3um and myself David, ve3bbn performed a ground wave test between the two of us, a distance of 80 km using SSB and psk-31.
I started off by using 200w to see if GW was possible, it was. I then dropped power to 100w then 50w with the same results. There was 100% copy on Ian's end without a dropped character. Ian was running his normal 25w during the test and 100% copy from his QTH in Brampton, Ontario.
This test was implemented to verify that the increase of power on GW is a move in the positive direction to guarantee communications.
Both stations ran carriers for 10 seconds at each power level for "S" meter checks. There was no variation during the tests.
Thanks to Ian, va3um for verifying another nail in the plank for ground wave.
Cheers David, ve3bbn GWEN Niagara
Emergencies do not wait for good weather to cause grief and neither did our Simulated Emergency Test. A steady rain fell in Simcoe, Ontario just as we finished putting up the antenna. The two stroke generator operated flawlessly in the rain. In an earlier test, the generator generated S-9 noise. A toroid was added to the 75 foot extension cord with 8 turns running through it. A couple toroids were also placed on the spark plug wire. The electrical noise came down to an S-6.
When the radio was connected and tuned to 3607 kHz the GWEN Niagara out-station (VA3WET and VE3RNF) could hear some PSK-31 chatter. The out-station made a call out to the Simcoe Group and they were received with no problem.
The Simcoe group (VE3GCK and VE3DYY) was stationed at the Elgin Avenue Public School beside the Norfolk General Hospital. They were received at 60db over 9. David, VE3BBN in St. Davids came back on SSB voice and was received with no problem at an S-7. David was using 40 watts and the out-station was at 80 watts. The out-station went down to 50 watts and copy was still achieved in both directions. The out-station sent a tone and the signal (an S-7) did not vary into St. Davids indicating ground wave propagation. The out-station then connected the computer and started running PSK-31.
Kevin, VA3KGS in Fonthill was able to copy David, VE3BBN in St. Davids; Gary, VE3GCK and Gerry, VE3DYY in downtown Simcoe and the GWEN Niagara out station with Peter, VA3WET and David, VE3RNF on the eastern edge of Simcoe.
David, VE3BBN in St. Davids could just make out the Simcoe group and the tone they sent. The signal was too light to be of any use. David had no problem copying the GWEN Niagara out station. The Simcoe Group did not have PSK-31 and had difficulty getting a low SWR on their antenna.
When using PSK-31, the signals were rock solid at 40 watts between St. Davids and Simcoe a distance of 107 km. Transmitter drift on the St. Davids station proved challenging. It was difficult to keep an eye on the waterfall and make adjustments due to ambient light levels. An agreed protocol to send a carrier for five seconds before sending data was neglected in the beginning due to a brain freeze at the out-station. Other stations attempting to listen to the PSK-31 exercise had difficulty as the GWEN Group was on lower side band while software limited some listeners to upper side band on PSK-31. The GWEN Group was unaware of the protocol to use upper side band on PSK-31. This unexpected turn of events worked to the GWEN Group benefit as setting the radio once to lower side band permitted quick change from phone to PSK-31 and back. In addition, lower side band filtered out any unwanted PSK-31 transmissions on upper side band. It was also discovered that PSK-31 can be used simultaniously with phone on the same frequency as David, VE3BBN was texting with David, VA3ORP in Kingston while Peter, VA3WET was chatting with Gary, VE3GCK in Simcoe.
Ground wave communications still works. There were no problems sending and receiving with 80 meter phone. There was some brief signal drop off which may have been due to very heavy rain in the path between the St. Davids and Simcoe stations. This has not been witnessed before.
PSK-31 can be useful in an emergency. PSK-31 may be used to extend range greater than 100 km. Net procedures need to be cleaned up. This is a controlled net and as such all communications are to be turned back to the NCS. No communications are allowed without first requesting same from the NCS. We must stay on track to make things run smoothly. Operators need to be vigilant and look for their call sign and use call signs at all times at the beginning and end of their transmission. Future protocol may indicate one outstation communicates only with it's mating station. All other communications will be done on an adjacent frequency.
Thank-you to everyone that participated and to Elgin Avenue Public School and Calvary Church for giving permission to use their property in Simcoe. Thank-you to David, VE3BBN in St. Davids; Kevin, VA3KGS in Fonthill; Peter, VA3WET and David, VE3RNF at the GWEN Niagara out-station in Simcoe and thank-you to Gary, VE3GCK and Gerry, VE3DYY in downtown Simcoe and Ian, VA3UM in Brampton.
David, VE3BBN and Peter, VA3WET
Greetings all, this morning at 1120 Local EDT or 1020 Romeo or 1520 Zulu, Ian, va3um and I, David, ve3bbn had a sked in which PSK-31 was used exclusively. The distance between stations was 107 km. Power used was variable between 5 and 40 watts. On the lower power range there were some characters missing in the communication but this was resolved by upping the power to 30 watts. I was using both dipole and vertical in tandem and this proved to be detrimental in this case as NVIS came into the picture and fluctuations in the received signals was noted. Upon running verticals only and with preamp on receive I could only discern about 1dB of variation in sending and receiving the messages.
The exercise proved to be a big success and thank-you Ian for participating.
The SET (Simulated Emergency Test) on this coming Saturday (OCT.19) will be run using PSK-31 and phone. Tune your receiver to 3607 khz at 11:30 local. Peter, va3wet and David, ve3rnf will be in Simcoe (weather permitting) for the SET and will also be 107km from this N-O-T-L station. Looking forward to a great day weather permitting.
Thanks again and see you in the SET.
Cheers David, ve3bbn GWEN Niagara.
Net started at 2300Z (7pm local) 1800R
Check-ins included the following:
|David (NCS)||VE3BBN||St. Davids||Vertical|
Peter presented the group with some traffic by NTS form and a very fruitful discussion followed on the various nuances of using this type of communication which is the standard for all ARRL emergency traffic.
Net concluded at 2335Z (7:35pm local) 1835R with thanks to all that checked into the net.
See you all next net on Monday October 7 @ 2300Z (7pm local) 1800R
Cheers David, ve3bbn ncs GWEN Niagara.
An improvement in the rank and file this time around. check-ins were:
|David (NCS)||VE3BBN||St. Davids||Vertical|
All stations good copy into Niagara-on-the-Lake station.
Meeting started off with Robert, VE3HNH sending the group an NTS Radiogram with all stations receiving a good copy. Well done. I will not downplay the importance of passing traffic via the NTS format as this is what emergency traffic is all about. We will be sending a single message at the beginning of each net to keep the group sharp.
Routine questions about the weekly routines were offered by each station with a few questions being asked and answered.
Final comments were asked for and the net shut down at 1940 Z.
Tnx fer de QNI and we will cu next net on Monday Sept. 16 at 1900Z
Cheers David, ve3bbn NCS GWEN Niagara
The next scheduled GWEN Niagara Nets to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Monday, September 2nd and 16th, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 kHz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 MHz +107.2Hz) repeater. All amateurs with a vertical antenna are encouraged to listen in and check-in with a signal report, your QTH(location) and antenna type when called. Down-load a National Traffic System Form to record the Monday Message. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
The EARL System for decyphering Morse Code was tested to see if it can be included in the Ground Wave Emergency Network tool box. Morse Code gets through noise better than phone and has a better range. The EARL System groups dots and dashes together on a chart for quick reference. To test the EARL System David, ve3bbn in St. Davids and Peter, va3wet in St. Catharines used less than 5 watts on 3607 kHz LSB and ground wave. David, a well versed CW operator sent Morse Code to Peter an amateur with limited CW experience. Through trial and error, CW letters were sent with 100% copy. The test was a success. Letters were sent individually and slow three times which proved to be enough time to look up the letter. After a word was sent, David sent a series of dots and dashes. Sending letters twice was also tested and proved to work but this could be due to some knowledge of CW by Peter.
GWEN would like to test the EARL System with someone with no CW experience. This could prove useful in an emergency when Morse Code is necessary to bridge distances and when there are not enough amateurs to maintain the network due to burn out or health. Go to the GWEN EARL page to down-load an EARL System Chart.
From the Radio Amateurs of Canada website:
The Simulated Emergency Test is a North America-wide exercise in emergency communications, administered by the ARRL and the RAC Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers. Both the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS) are involved. The SET weekend gives communicators the opportunity to focus on the emergency-communications capability within your community, while interacting with NTS nets.
RAC administers our Canadian SETs. Among other objectives we aim to strengthen the relationship between ARES and served municipalities and relief agencies. It is vitally important that this be done at the local EC level.
Purpose of the S.E.T. or Simulated Emergency Test
1. To find out the strengths and weaknesses of the ARES, NTS and other groups providing emergency communications.
2. To provide a public demonstration -- to served agencies such as Red Cross, Emergency Preparedness and, through the news media, of the value to the public that Amateur Radio provides, particularly in time of need.
3. To help radio amateurs gain experience in communications using standard procedures and a variety of modes under simulated-emergency conditions.
For more information click here.
Greetings all, The Monday net opened with a National Traffic Form (NTF) message passed to the the two checkins Bob ve3hnh and Ian va3um with 100% copy.
The net meetings will start with one member sending a message to the group and every net night we will have another member do the same giving every one a chance to make up some traffic.
Thanks for the QNI, and see you in two weeks.
Cheers David, ve3bbn ncs GWEN Niagara
Greetings all, well a small but energetic turn out last night.
|David (NCS)||VE3BBN||St. Davids||Vertical|
The issue about using the National Traffic System (NTS) form for handling traffic was brought up and discussed. Recommendation is that all interested stations in emergency work should download the form from the website and make 30 or more copies to keep on hand for emergencies and tests.
At this time on the 2000 hrs net (CW) we are using the forms to pass traffic back and forth between the members of the WS19 group.
"Practice makes perfect"
See you all in two weeks.
David, ve3bbn NCS GWEN Niagara
On 18 Jul '13, the Frontenac EmComm Group conducted some field tests to evaluate the efficiency of various portable antenna configurations. For this test, an 80 metre mobile station (100 W to 8-ft mobile whip) was deployed to a distance of 6.3 km from the other stations. The propagation path included 1 km of open water (Collins Bay) and a 2 km built-up area (Amherstview). The remained was typical of Frontenac County with generally shallow, poor soil over limestone. Go to the GWEN TEST 2013-07-18 page to see their observations and findings.
On Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, GWEN Niagara conducted propagation experiments using vertical polarized HF Ground Waves at 3607 kHz LSB with radials elevated above ground, radials sloping to ground, radials at different directions and with radials of different numbers to find out their affect on reception and directivity.
A portable station was established near York, Ontario at a distance of 70 km from St. Davids, Ontario. Signal reports were recorded at York and St. Davids for various power levels. From the observations eight short radials elevated at the antenna and sloping to ground showed the best results. Again, ground wave range exceeded UHF/VHF range when repeaters are not used. Go to the GWEN TEST 2013-07-17 page to see the observations, photographs and station layout.
On Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, GWEN Niagara will conduct propagation experiments using HF Ground Wave and record results to see if radial elevation above ground, radial positions and the number of radials have any affect on reception and directivity.
A portable vertical HF 80 metre out station will be established in Cayuga, Ontario at a distance of 66 Km from St. Davids, Ontario. Signal reports will be recorded at Cayuga and St. Davids for various power levels. The results will be used to compare signal reports as the no. of radials are reduced and their positions are changed. Go to the GWEN TEST 2013-07-17 page for more information.
The next scheduled GWEN Niagara Nets to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Monday, July 1st and 15th, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 KHz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 MHz +107.2Hz) repeater. All amateurs with a vertical antenna are encouraged to listen in and check-in with a signal report, QTH and antenna type when called. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
Dave, VA3ORP from GWEN Frontenac and David, VE3BBN from GWEN Niagara will be doing a ground wave test on Friday, June 7th at 8pm and Saturday morning at 11am. Dave, VA3ORP will be in Oshawa at the Military and Industrial Museum setting up a display. David, VE3BBN will be in St. Davids, Ontario. They will be at a distance of approximately 85 to 90 kilometres and mostly across Lake Ontario. They will do the exercise in CW to see how low in power they can go and still have a ground wave contact. If they establish contact they will go to SSB and have a chat there. Mapping ground wave propagation between these locations could be instrumental in the formation of a GWEN Ontario chapter in the Oshawa area. Amateurs with vertical antennas tuned to 3607 KHz +/- QRM are encouraged to listen in, take notes and make comments after testing is complete.
The next scheduled GWEN Niagara Nets to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Monday, June 3rd and 17th, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 KHz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 MHz +107.2Hz) repeater. All amateurs with a vertical antenna are encouraged to listen in and check-in with a signal report, QTH and antenna type when called. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
Greetings all, not the best night for a net. We had a holiday and a terrible storm with S9 QRN.
A terrible storm came through Texas and parts of the mid-west causing great damage and deaths. The noise (qrn) from it caused continuous lightning noise up here in Southern Ontario.
Checkins were Mike, VE3CKO; Mardee, VE3QEE; Dave, VA3ORP; Rick, VE3ROC and David, VE3BBN(ncs). The net started promptly at 1900 Z (7pm). Checkins were sparse for many reasons I'm sure. Signals were exchanged and the net closed at 1920 Z (7:20 pm).
Cheers David, ve3bbn NCS GWEN Niagara.
The net was called to order at 19:00 hrs and the following checked it:
|David (NCS)||VE3BBN||St. Davids||Vertical|
|Rick||VE3ROC||St. Catharines||Mobile Vertical|
The next scheduled GWEN net to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Monday, May 20th, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 KHz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 MHz +107.2Hz) repeater. All amateurs with a vertical antenna are encouraged to listen in and check-in with a signal report, QTH and antenna type when called. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
The GWEN net will move to the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month starting in May. Time and frequency remain the same (7 pm. 3.607 MHz LSB, vertical polarization).
Net Report - GWEN 18 Apr '13
1. The net opened on 3.607 MHz LSB at 2300Z with VA3ORP (Dave, Kingston) acting as NCS. Propagation was less than ideal due to severe lightning crashes. There were 12 check-ins (VA3ORP, Dave; VE3BBN, David; VE3SE, Joe; VA3KGS, Kevin; VA3WET, Peter; VA3NP, Roy; VE3CKO, Mike; VA3DTP, Dennis; VA3UM, Ian; VE3ROC, Rick; VA3BOZ, John and VE3ALS, Al).
2. VE3BBN encouraged outstations to add their information to the GWEN website database. This is necessary to allow distance calculations to be made.
3. VE3BBN advised that the net will move to the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month starting in May. Time and frequency remain the same (7 pm. 3.607 MHz LSB, vertical polarization).
4. VA3ORP outlined the ongoing issues in Frontenac County. The 28 April exercise has been changed to a workshop with the objective being to settle on an appropriate layout for the VHF Packet network. It was noted that to deploy a 100 km VHF link will require a total of five stations. If this were done by HF ground-wave, only two stations would be required. Nonetheless, the packet system with digipeaters, nodes and email gateways offers many useful EmComm features.
5. VE3BBN and VA3UM conducted an on-air ground wave test (St. David's to Brampton). The distance is in the order of 65 km with 45 of that being over Lake Ontario. This link was workable but degraded by the high QRN. When conducting these propagation tests it is important to transmit a steady CW carrier for 10 - 15 seconds so that the other stations can assess the stability of the signal and thereby confirm that the propagation mode is, in fact, by ground-wave. In addition, the transmitting station must ensure that their signal will be in the bandpass of stations listening on LSB.
6. VA3ORP closed the net at 2335Z.
The next scheduled GWEN net to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 KHz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 MHz +offset 107.2 Hz tone) repeater. All amateurs are encouraged to listen and check-in with a signal report, QTH and antenna type when called. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
Greetings all, The net was called to order at 19:00 hrs and the following checked it:
David, VE3BBN in St. Davids used a dipole to facilitate contact between stations outside of the GWave. A mention was for the group to print out copies of the NTS form found on our website. These will be used in the near future for taking traffic from various stations in the net. This net is an emergency traffic net, its sole reason for existence is to be able to pass traffic in the event of an emergency.
A discussion was held to see what night would be the best for the group, and the pole suggested that Monday would be the preferred night. Other stations that were not present on the net can send me an email to vote on their preference. The date will be fixed for the first net of next month on May 2nd by email.
Dave VA3ORP will take the next net on the 3rd Thursday of this month on the 18th. If you have any questions or suggestions for the GWEN Olympics please send them to me and we can sort it out at the next meeting.
Thanks to those that checked in and see you at the monthly meeting on Thursday.
Cheers David ve3bbn ncs GWEN Niagara
Greetings all, over the past couple of weeks Dave, VA3ORP; Chris, VE3CBK and myself, David, VE3BBN have put together a program of competition between our group (GWEN Niagara) and theirs (GWEN Frontenac) to produce a portable antenna of high efficiency and low cost. The contest is to see what members can do with the knowledge they have acquired to build and deploy an efficient vertical. In the following attachment you will see the point system laid out by VA3ORP, VE3CBK and VE3BBN. We are aiming at giving recognition to those participants along with a certificate and possibly medallion for the first three best antennas judged, eg. Gold, Silver and Bronze. It should be fun and will give you the opportunity to build and test your design. Click here to see the point system or go to the GWEN-EmComm Antenna Olympics page.
Hope you are all up to the challenge and go for the GOLD.
Cheers David, VE3BBN ncs GWEN Niagara
David, VA3ORP reported that VHF simplex propagation was satisfactory from Net Control to Out-Stations (15 - 22 Km) but unsatisfactory amongst the Out-Stations (33 - 36 Km). Ground Wave propagation was excellent from Net Control to Out-Stations (strength S-9 plus) and very good amongst the Out-Stations (strength S-7). To read the complete report, click here.
The next scheduled GWEN nets to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Thursday, April 4th and 18th, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 KHz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 MHz +107.2Hz) repeater. All amateurs are encouraged to listen in and check-in with a signal report, QTH and antenna type when called. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
Net was called at 7pm local time with David, VE3BBN sitting in as NCS for Dave, VA3ORP who was required at a special meeting of the up and coming SET on Sunday 24th at 10:15 to 11:15 AM.
|Mardee||VE3QEE||Ancaster||S3 - Just able to copy||Dipole|
|Joe||VE3BUH||Fort Erie||S2 - barely copiable||Sloper|
Group was queeried for comments and agenda items. Some discussions followed about the contrast when using two different polarizations e.g. vertical / horizontal and a very large signal difference was proven to be fact. The NCS then changed polarity so the weaker out stations could be copied and the signal levels went from a S2-3 to an S7-9.
Final round of comments and salutations were exchanged and the net shut down at 7:40.
Thanks to all for your check-in and hopefully as the weather warms up a bit we may see other vertical antennas going up so we can be all on the same polarization.
Next Net is April 4th at 7pm local on 3607 KHz.
Please send me a response as to which night of the week would be best for each of you, as the net wishes to accommodate as many as possible. Mardee, VE3QEE could you please pass this on to Gary as I don't have his email address and have him send his email address to me. TNX.
Cheers David, VE3BBN (NCS GWEN Niagara)
GWEN Frontenac will be conducting a Simulated Emergency Test on Sunday, March 24th, 2013. The HF ground wave signal reports will be gathered starting at 1040 hrs on 3607 KHz LSB and not 3765 KHz LSB as previously advertised. All amateurs are encouraged to listen in and submit a signal report when called. Contact David, VA3ORP for more information regarding the GWEN SET or click here.
GWEN Frontenac will be conducting a Simulated Emergency Test on Sunday, March 24th, 2013. HF ground wave signal reports will be gathered starting at 1040 hrs on 3765 KHz LSB. All amateurs are encouraged to listen in and submit a signal report when called. Contact David, VA3ORP for more information regarding the GWEN SET or click here.
The next scheduled GWEN net to map Ground Wave propagation takes place on Thursday, March 21st, 2013 at 7 pm on 3607 Khz LSB +/- QRM. Co-ordinate on the VE3NRS (147.240 Mhz +107.2Hz) repeater. All amateurs are encouraged to listen in and check-in with a signal report, QTH and antenna type when called. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information.
GWEN-EMCOMM Net - March 7, 2013 - Time 1900 hrs Local
NCS - David, ve3bbn
Meeting started at 1900 hrs sharp with general call for check-in (QNI).
QNS: Those checking in at this time included:
Stations were polled for agenda items and comments.
Some discussion followed.
Final comments from the group.
Net was terminated at 1940 hrs, no more traffic (QRU), net is free (QNF).
Cheers es tnx
ps. Net QN Signals Here.
The next scheduled GWEN net takes place on Thursday, March 7th, 2013. The Ground Wave Emergency Net meets the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm on 3607 Khz. Contact David, VE3BBN for more information regarding GWEN.
The Ground Wave Emergency Network has moved down the 80 metre band to 3607 KHz to avoid QRM. During the last two Nets QRM has proved to be very challenging at 3730 KHz. At 3607 Khz, the range of the Ground Wave Emergency Network is theoretically extended.
NPARC member Hector Smith, VA3HGS became a silent key Feb 5th 2013. There will be no funeral for Hector, however there will be a Celebration of His Life, to be held on Saturday, February 16 at the:
Royal Canadian Legion (2nd Floor)
5603 Spring Street
Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1P7
from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm.
The Ground Wave Emergency Network (GWEN) was formed two years ago (2010) as an auxiliary support for the ARES (Niagara) VHF / UHF public service group.I chose ground wave over other propagation modes because it is the least effected by ionospheric, atmospheric, seasonal or time of day conditions. Ground wave propagation is also immune from high altitude EMP's from a nuclear blast.
Ground wave is propagated by contact with the earth and follows the contour of the land. It is a vertically polarized radiation and as such is only possible with a vertical antenna. All other antennas such as dipoles, slopers, inverted-V's, G5RV etc. are horizontally polarized and as such perform best when at least a quarter wave above ground.
Many years ago I used to listen to the U.S. government stations on 160 Khz using GWEN as their emergency link across the entire country. They have since dropped this mode from their communications and rely totally on satellites and VHF / UHF links. As far as I am concerned they have taken a step backwards in their emergency communications.
An incident such as a loss of power (locally) with the utilities still on-line, VHF / UHF communications using repeaters will fill the bill as the repeaters can reach out for 50 or 60 miles depending on their location and elevation.
With a regional power failure or as we have witnessed where the entire Eastern sea-board went down, we will suffer a loss of radio contact any distance greater than 20 miles using VHF. A mobile radio only has a range of approximately 10 Kms, where as a base station has a range of approximately 36 Kms with a 30 foot tower.
What I have envisioned is a network that will stretch from Windor to Ottawa with a minimal number of links. Working with a portable out station we have already reached over the 100 Km range running test powers of 80, 40, and 20 watts. We have had the results expected and know now that we can exceed this range, and expect to attain 160 Kms.
We have established a net in St. Catharines which is active on the first Thursday of each month on 3730 Khz +/- QRM at 7:00 pm. We are looking for anyone interested with or without a vertical antenna to join the net to find out more about GWEN.
I will be at the Hamilton club meeting to give a talk on GWEN in March of 2013, and am looking for additional base stations who have a vertical antenna to contact me before this occasion so we can set up a sked to see what kind of results we can achieve.
Thank you for your time
Cheers David, ve3bbn