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



The 2017 Basic Amateur Radio Course is Full!!!

It Began on October 26, 2017

We have 9 new students who have begun a  new adventure in amateur radio by taking the Basic course.  This is exciting news and we wish them all success in their studies.  The course runs for up to 12 weeks with meetings at Tom VE6ARG's shack where they will learn the basics in electronics, propagation, test equipment, receiver and transmitter design, antennas and legislation that governs the many aspects of the hobby.  They will learn how to use equipment that is used to design, align and build amateur radio equipment and antennas as well and how to get the most out of this amazing hobby. At the end of the course our resident examiner, Blair Shaw VE6AGH will administer the exam and we will have a whole new crop of freshly minted amateur radio operators on the air in our neck of the woods.


These courses are put on free of charge by the SAARC  and all the preparation and instruction is voluntary including the examiner's time. Each student who is successful in taking the course and passes the exam will receive one free year of membership in the SAARC as a bonus.


The next course that will run in the spring is the Advanced.  If you want to upgrade your certification to the highest level in Canada, contact the club through our email address on this website and we will put you on the list. You can read more about the course here.

Should We Do a 2018 Summer Event?


Part of the success of having the SAARC Flea Market here in the Lethbridge Region was because we were able to bring a major Canadian vendor out, not to mention a manufacturer's representative.  That is huge especially when they have shown interest enough to want to come back.  The notion of having a summer event next year that won't interfere with other clubs and organizations in the province and Montana was discussed and the seed was planted to perhaps organize a summer event.


The difficulty with holding cross border events deals with the bureaucracy of moving equipment across the border from country to country and this is especially difficult for vendors from either side of the border.


Please take a few minutes to visit the information page we have written about this future event here.  Once again, if you have some insight into how to make this happen or are interested in helping to put this together and participate, send a note to the club via the e-mail address below or contact Tom VE6ARG at ve6arg@shaw.ca


So what's all that activity on the bands?

Contesters are busy these days and when you tune across the bands you can hear them everywhere.  Twenty meters is especially busy during the day and there has even been some action on 15 meters on the hf bands when conditions have been right.  At night the contesters are busy on 80 and 40 especially in the CW and RTTY portions of the bands.  You can find out what's happening out there by going to this website and scroll down to the dates that you are interested in.  Another way to find activity on the band is to watch it on an SDR connected to your computer or if you are lucky enough to own one of those fancy transceivers that show a spectrum display of the bands, you will see it there as well.


For those of you interested in contesting and gathering points for awards you should find out what the rules are by going to the site that I mentioned above.  I have often gone to 17 meters and have heard people contesting there as well and that is usually not a good thing.  Because contesters seem to overwhelm the bands that they are working on, the WARC bands are kept free of them for amateur radio operators that like to ragchew instead of contest.  To show up on the band and start contesting is bad form and can be really annoying to people that just want to communicate with someone.  Doing that can get you labeled as a LID and that can lead to the administration of penalties such as the Wouff Hong being applied.  I can't think of anything more terrifying than that.  Here is the Urban Dictionary definition of the Wouff Hong.  Beware!


These are all CW stations on 20 meters on November 4th, 2017






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