Southern Alberta Amateur Radio Club
What's Happening These Days

Our next meeting is the AGM and is being held on January 8th, 2018 at 7:30 PM.  There will be an announcement shortly on where this meeting will be held.

Christmas Party at Blair & Marie Shaw's December 13th, 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

Click here for more details

 Welcome to the Southern Alberta Amateur Radio Club (SAARC) We're an organization of people that provide entertainment and education for Amateur Radio operators who are members of our club and the ham population at large in our region of the province. We’re located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada along the Old Man River near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Our club operates the VE6CAM repeater on 146.88 Mhz which provides coverage throughout our region on two meters. Our club has been in operation for many decades and has been the home of amateur radio in this region for hundreds of dedicated ham operators over that time. Join us for our regular meeting and the many events that we host throughout the year. Our dues for joining our club are very reasonable and well worth the small investment. From time to time notices and news will be shared by e-mail as well and please remember that you are not obligated to receive anything from us and if you wish not to, send us a note and we will take you off our list. We hope you enjoy our site and come back often and point others to us too. 73

You Don't Have to Take a Course to Get Your Amateur License, but it Sure Helps.

(These comments are the opinions of the writer and as such do not reflect official policy of the SAARC.)


We often get emails asking if there is some way that you can just challenge the exam without taking a course.  Of course you can challenge the exam anytime on your own.  There are many amateurs that have done just that including myself.  Mind you that was over 50 years ago when I took my exams and things were a lot different then. I had a keen interest in radio communications and had studied it both as a youth but also was a trained communications operator in the Navy.


The material has changed quite a bit in those years, but the theory is still the same and we have a lot of other options open to new amateurs that we didn't have in those days now.   The excitement of writing the exam is still just as stressful and there is nothing quite as enjoyable as passing the exam and then the long wait for your call sign to show up on the Industry Canada site. But, then the wait is over and you can finally put all that studying to use and get on the air.


So what's the advantage to taking a course through the club?  You get to spend some time with others that want the same thing and are truly interested in becoming proficient in amateur radio.  Proficiency comes with experience and experience opens up more avenues into the intricacies of the hobby and reveals the enormous resources available to active ham radio operators.  Ham radio is a hobby and, as such, those that are keen will get more out of it than people that just memorize answers to get their license.   Because you are spending time finding out how it really works you are becoming actively involved instead of sitting on the sidelines.


If, however, you have no interest in the theory or curiosity towards why radio really works the way it does and just want to use the license to talk to people or become involved in emergency communications perhaps, then I recommend the memorization route and then just challenge the exam and get your license. Most anyone can pass the exam if they memorize the material, but it sure is a lot more fun to actually be involved and experience the excitement of making your first contact and have an inkling as to why you were successful.


You can find an examiner in your area by going to this site if you feel you are ready to challenge the exam.



Tom Buchanan Sr. VE6ARG



Rob - VE6XMB brought this interesting site to our attention the other day.  Have a look when you get a moment...  Thanks Rob!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

So what is Santa going to bring you this year for Christmas?  Perhaps a new rig with everything you could imagine to play with on it?  Something that can receive from zero to nano waves and with more knobs on it than a box full of bubble wrap?  One of those new Icom IC-7610's would certainly do nicely eh?  How about a new piece of test equipment that you've always drooled over when looking on-line or the catalogs?  How about an oscilloscope or function generator to use when designing that new piece of equipment for your shack?  I bet you could use a brand new antenna analyzer from Rig Expert or MFJ?  Now that would do nicely.  I'm sure you could use a nice shiny new antenna like the amazing hexbeams that take an hour to put up and don't break the bank?  Five or six bands on something that can be swung on a small rotator and only needs to be up 30 feet to work optimally.  Now that would be nice.  (Just tell the neighbors it's a place to dry clothes in the sun.)  How about a nice new paddle or bug from Vibroplex.  I've always regretted trading my old one for an antenna in the 80's.  It's amazing the things we regret later isn't it?


However, the best thing that Santa could bring all of us is the end to this abysmal sunspot low that we are going through.  Now wouldn't that be nice?  Remember the days when conditions were great?  It was just a few years ago that you could go on 10 meters and talk to the world on QRP and you could hear just about every beacon out there.   All the bands were hot and it was nirvana in terms of conditions. Well, folks it's all coming back soon, so hang in there.


This is the season of happiness and sometimes sadness when we remember the ones that have become silent keys over the last number of years.  Sadness is no stranger to many of us at this time of year.  Why not reach out and rekindle those old friendships with those that are coping with loss and invite them over for a Christmas meal and some joyful fun during the season or go and visit them with something to imbibe and hoist a few?


We have seen tremendous growth in our club and increasing interest in all our projects over the last year.  We've put five newly minted ham radio operators on the air and there is another crop of 9 in the wings.  We've also had some great new people join our ranks.  We ran a successful field day event and a flea market that was entered into the record books.  And most of all, we have had lots of fun.


So that's my message to all of you this year.  Thank you for all the support and encouragement you have shown the club over it.  And we will see you at the Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 13th at Blair and Marie Shaw's place in Lethbridge.  Remember we are eating a HAM!


Merry Christmas everyone...


In Memory of Roly Peddle, VE6RL


We are sad to announce that Roly Peddle, VE6RL became a silent key on Thursday, December 7th, 2017.


Roly's family plans to have a memorial service at St. Augustine Anglican Church across the road from the LSCO.  The date of the service will be announced later, but it should be sometime before Christmas.



Contact us by e-mail at: | Snail mail: SAARC, PO Box 1024, Raymond, AB T0K 2S0