QCWA CHAPTER 70
Minutes of Meeting Sept. 18th, 2001 Green Valley Restaurant
- With 72 in attendance on this spouses dinner evening, President Gerry King VE3GK asked all to stand for a moment of silence in tribute to those who worked so hard and to those who have died in the tragedy in the US. Gerry welcomed all and introduced the head table, which included special visitors from Calgary Ken Oelke VE6AFO president of RAC, and his wife Linda Lou VE6LGO. Gerry extended condolences to Keith VE3GFI who recently lost his wife. Also at the head table were RAC HQ staff members Debbie Norman VA3RGM and Guy Charron VA3FZA as well the guest speakers, Steve McFarlane VE3TBD, his wife Lori, and Anne and Eric Teutch. New members welcomed were Chris Bisaillion VE3CBK and Tom Bartello VE3ELM. Member Bill Jeffrey VE3PTM from Kingston was noted as being present. Other guests welcomed were Celia Bartello VA3CRJ and Audrey Pugh VA3AUD and Ed Pugh VA3PU and all of the spouses.
- Gerry noted that for the elections this Fall the positions of Vice-President and two Directors were to be filled. Jim VE3IQ will chair a nominating committee.
- In ill health are Herb Morrison VE3HMF, Phil Robinson VA3PR, Eric Illot VE3XE, John Athey VE3GS, and
Stan Hill VE3DQ.
- We are the best recruiters for our chapter. Inform your Amateur friends ahout Chapter 70. Bring them along to a meeting and get them to pay too! Remember guests are welcomed at any time. We have a very active group.
We are concerned about some of our members who have let their membership lapse by not paying the $8.00 Chapter 70 yearly dues. Chapter members should also be a member of the parent organization. We are Chapter 70 because we are a part of QCWA. If we don't support the parent organization then we are not Chapter 70 anymore - just a loosely knit group of people. Note that a life membership is a really good deal at $60.00 US.
The QCWA Chapter 70 Constitution is available on the web site and also in hard copy from the Secretary. Also on the web page are the Estate Equipment Forms. Without one of these forms filled out it is very difficult for those left behind to determine the value of the equipment. Chapter 70 will set up a committee of three members to help dispose of amateur equipment.
Keith Bedal VE3GFI is again to be commended for the job he does on our web site, which can be found at http://www.qcwa70.cyberus.ca
- Keith VE3GFI reported on his visit to see Phil Robinson VA3PR who is in Central Park Lodge. He also saw Stan Hill VE3DQ who is in the Queensway-Carleton Hospital.
QCWA Century Certificates:
Doug VE3XK asked Croft Taylor VE3CT, Vice President of QCWA International, to make presentations of Century Certificates which are awarded to those QCWA members whose age plus the years of membership in QCWA HQ equals 100 or more. Croft presented a Century Certificate (110 combined years) to Bill Barrie VE3AAS. Jim Swail VE3KF received his Century Certificate (103 combined years).
QCWA Pins and Certificates:
Croft VE3CT awarded Jim Swail VE3KF his 55 year QCWA pin and certificate. George Roach VE3BNO, a Director of QCWA, awarded Barc Dowden VE3TT his 65 year pin; Al Oldfield VE3ANO his 60 year certificate and Tom Bartello VE3ELM his QCWA pin.
The International Plowing match now going on in Navan is in dire need of 30 operators per day for communications. Anyone who can help speak to Ed VE3GX who will give you the number to call.
Keith VE3GFI presented the Treasurer's report.
Bank Balance on May 15, 2001 $1632.15
Bank Balance on Sept. 18, 2001 $1642.45
The Web Page is kept up to date by Keith and one of the items to note is a file titled "Why Join QCWA HQ", which gives you all the good reasons why you should join.
QCWA HQ news covered by Croft VE3CT concerned the QSO party to be held in two weeks from this coming Saturday and urged everyone to get on even if only for a few contacts. It starts at 1800 UTC and runs for 24 hours. The rules are in the QCWA Journal. QCWA had diminished in numbers but over the past year membership has increased perhaps due to the efforts of the Board. Both Croft and George will be running for re-election in 2002 and request support. There is still accommodation left for the QCWA Cruise, which is scheduled for Oct 27th to Nov 4th. The QCWA cruise ship Westerdam is, as reported by George, currently stuck in Vancouver loaded with passengers who were on an Alaska cruise and who now are unable to fly home. But by October things should be straightened out. 150 people are now booked on the tour to visit the big dish in Puerto Rico. The Virgin Island Radio Club is putting on a dinner on one of the stops. There will be probably two operating amateur stations on board. Although booking is away over what QCWA applied for there are still cabins available.
Gerry welcomed Guest Visitors Ken Oelke VE6AFO and his XYL Linda Lou VE6LGO. Ken indicated that he was pleased to be here. If the November Chapter 70 meeting can be moved a week ahead Ken expects to be able to attend then as the guest speaker. He has enjoyed our group so much that he has joined our Chapter.
- Clare Fowler VE3NPC introduced Steve VE3TBD and Lori McFarlane and Eric and Anne Teutch to talk on their planning and making the International Space Station contact from Merivale Public School in Ottawa.
- This was a great experience and event for amateur radio and an even greater event for the school. The media were a great part of this event. While amateur radio was part of the story, it was not focused on in this talk. Focus was on the educational, parent and child side of the event. A TV news clip from CJOH was shown. "400 kilometers above The Mission Control Center at Merivale Public School American Commander William Shepherd received questions from some very anxious students. Lori McFarlane, 5 years ago, applied for a SAREX contact and last Fall she received an offer to make Merivale the first Canadian school to talk to the ISS Alpha. Her husband Steve, an amateur radio operator helped her to pull it off. On the amateur radio side the value of time and equipment was equal to about $30,000. For the students it was the thrill of a lifetime." A second news video clip was shown of the children asking questions and receiving replies from Commander Shepherd.
- In 1995 the SAREX program was in operation. It was a difficult program to administer as it was difficult to schedule a contact with the space shuttle during their short trips. The International Space Station is there and is manned all the time so it is much easier to schedule a contact. An advertisement appeared in The Canadian Amateur as well as QST looking for a school to do a contact. Steve and Lori saw that through a friend Steve Regan and applied. Nothing happened for four years as SAREX was slowly dying away. In the summer of 2000, Charlie Sufana AJ9N contacted Steve and Lori telling them that the ISS was going to be manned starting in November and were looking for those schools that didn't get a chance under the old program and asked if they were interested. They of course were interested. The team of Steve McFarlane and Steve Regan did not have much experience. Ken Pulfer then contactd them and got Clare Fowler and George Roach involved. These people provided assistance and motivation. Steve used a tracking program called NOVA which he used to control the antenna so that it followed the Space Station as it moved across the sky. Charlie maintained contact with them and was in contact via cell phone during the actual contact and was of tremendous help.
Lori's first task after receiving approval was to put together an application to the School Board to tell them what the academic side of it was going to be. It had to involve the entire school of about 650 students as well as what she would do with the Space Club. She then prepared a second proposal for $1500 to cover the cost of the antenna, the rotator, and the tracking software. She scheduled an assembly to inform the kids they would be the first Canadian contact. Timing was important. It couldn't be too early as they would lose interest. It couldn't be too late or they would not be prepared. Photos of the astronauts, cosmonauts, Commander Shepherd, and the computer tracking map were put on the walls of the gym for the assembly and got the kids all enthusiastic. Lori dressed in space gear and had a bubble head on. To the kids she looked like Buzz Lightyear. Buzz Aldrin was talking during an audio clip that was played. It took off and there was no trouble getting the interest of the kids. With the enthusiasm it was apparent they would have a problem with limiting the number of Space Club members constrained by the size of Lori's portable classroom. The criteria that was used was to select two children from each classroom who would give up part of their lunch hour to the Space Club as well as giving up many recesses, which was a big deal for the little guys. They had to be on their best behaviour and do their homework and show that they would be good representatives of Merivale Public School. They also had to show that they had a keen interest in space exploration, radio communication, etc.
One little grade One boy, who was chosen to be in the Space Club, confided to his mom that he was so excited that he was going to be an astronaut as he could go into outer space and bring home his grandpa who had just passed away, home to grandma. His mom said she didn't have the heart to tell him that it wouldn't work. Most Space Club activities took place in Lori's portable during lunch hour. Fifty students came in and worked on mobiles, posters and models of the Internationaal Space Station. Lori also had the help of some fellow teachers and Anne a dedicated volunteer parent. Of the fifty Space Club members twelve students and one back up were chosen to ask Commander Shepherd questions. Questions were chosen by a team of teachers, excluding Lori. Questions ranged from - "Do you have to have dental work done to remove fillings before going into outer space?", "Why spend these millions of dollars on the ISS with all the world problems?", and "What do you do when you get stress?". An audio clip was played of some of the students asking questions and Commander Shepherds's replies. Lori said she was so glad to have the audio tape as she was so busy handling two mikes and keeping track of the time during the contact that she really didn't hear the answers. A lot of practice time was required to coach the children to speak properly.
The gym was turned into Mission Control. It was something to see. There were mobiles hanging from the ceiling, there was a 20 by 30 foot mural on the wall. Why all this effort? ARISS not only wanted a school with the radio support capable of pulling this off but they also wanted the contact to be a big media event in order to further enhance exposure to the opportunities in space science and communication. Involved were CBC radio, two local AM radio stations, CBC television, Global television, CJOH, the New RO, the Citizen, the Sun, and Nepean This Week. Financial support and baseball caps to wear were received from Nortel. Computing Devices donated funds and name tags for all the Space Club members. The kids really thought they had made it. Nepean firefighters assisted in putting up and taking down the antenna. There were so many media in the gym that only the Space Club members and their parents could be there for the contact. The rest of the school had a live audio broadcast into their rooms.
Anne Teutch has three children all of whom wanted to be in the Space Club but rules were that there could only be one child per family. So she had one very happy child and two very upset children. But they did get involved in helping out. It was a great thing as a parent and a great thing for the school.
Lori then described the first tense moments of the contact. Nothing coming in, all of a sudden the lights go out, the camera people think they have failed, Oh God!, waiting, waiting, then we hear "This is ISS Alpha, how do you copy?". All the lights came back on. Hey they are going to pull this off and they did. All the questions were successfully asked and answered. However, the signal faded after the eleventh question so Jeff Teutch initiated the final sign off call and the Space Club audience cheered a farewell 73. Then all of a sudden the signal came up strong again and the last child was grabbed up and got her question in and answered. Her parents were just beaming. It was an amazing experience. But the enthusiasm was maintained by following up with a presentation by Ken Pulfer VE3PU who came and spoke about the Canadian astronaut program.
Lori completed the presentation by reading an e-mail she received from a fellow colleague describing how the kids in one class hid behind their desks and surprised one of the questioners as she returned to her home room from the gym. When she walked in they all jumped out and cried, congratulations!. She was floored. The expression of surprise and pride on her face was priceless. Here was an Attention Deficit Disorder child, who was very much an outsider socially, and who had never caused a ripple amongst her peers. She was literally floating all day. It was a significant Canadian contact with astronauts in space, but it was an even more significant first contact between one little space cadet and her peer group down here on earth.
George Roach VE3BNO thanked Lori, Steve, Anne and Eric.
Croft VE3CT moved, seconded by John VE3ZOB that the meeting be adjourned.
Gerry King (VE3GK) Clare Fowler (VE3NPC)
President 225-3426 WebPage - http://www.qcwa70.cyberus.ca Secretary. 730-1081
1152 Tara Drive 16 Fairbairn St.
Ottawa, Ont., K2C 2H2 VE3QCW on Thursday. 2000 hrs 147.03 (VE3TEL) Ottawa, Ont., K1S 1T3
Thursdays at 0900 hrs - Breakfast Embassy West Motor Hotel - Consulate Cafe