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LARC Elmer Net Home Page

The London Amateur Radio Club has traditionlly run a weekly on-air net that is aimed at giving new hams a non-intimidating opportunity to try out new radio gear and learn radio procedures. It starts up after each of our Fall ham license courses, and eventually fades away. However, the Elmer net after the 2019 course was very well attended, and had enthusiastic ongoing participation. Maureen Wilson and Steve Black helped Doug out with net control duties, and the hams suggested that a topic of interest to new hams be discussed each week.

The arrival of the pandemic didn't slow down the Elmer net at all, and soon more experienced hams were also participating to field questions and provide advice. After discussion on the Elmer net of Sept 15, we are considering expanding to have one meeting a month on Zoom rather than the radio, so more complex topics can be addressed with diagrams, photos and videos. This would also give us the opportunity to record these Zoom sessions so they can be reviewed and re-used by future new hams.

At that same meeting we also decided to start a webpage for the Elmer net to record suggested topics for Zoom sessions or radio sessions. We'll also encourage new hams to work together on projects related to any of the identified topics, and perhaps do occasional status updates in our nets.

It's important to note that this is the Elmer net, and we want presentations on these topics to be at the level of new hams, focused, not overly long, and casual in their presentation. There may be opportunities to share presentations with LARC meetings, but this shouldn't compromise the usefulness of the Emler net.

  Click here for Shack Shots   Some contribued photos of the radio installations of established hams. These may give you some ideas on equipment you might want to have, how to arrange it, and what connects to what. Our thanks to the hams who have contributed photos!

Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome. Please contact the Education Coordinator:
    Doug Elliott  VA3DAE, email:, cell & text: 519-630-8925

Topics that have been suggested:    (After the topics is a list of things you can do now that you have your ham license.)

Keyword Topic Description    VHF? Zoom? Interested people
ISS ISS contacts(how to)     WDV
moon Moonbounce, EME     WDV
mesh Ham Mesh networks IEEE/Broadband-Hamnet   y WDV
soldering Techniques of soldering (cold solder, wetting, burning etc. equipment required)   y WDV
testing The basics of Test equipment (what you actually need!) -VSWR/Antenna Analysers/Smith Charts/Rig Experts/NanoVNA   y WDV
sdr Software defined radio   y WDV
digital Digital Modes(FT8, Olivia, PSK, RTTY, MFSK, JT65, JT9, FT8, FT4, JS8, SSCTV, DMR, Brandmeister,Pi-Star   y WDV
ISED CRTC/ISEC (Band Spectrums, Rules and Regs, historical uses of bands: ie Emergency service bands.)   y WDV
monitoring What’s outside our transmitting bands but we can monitor with standard gear?     WDV
non-ham Railroad, Aviation, Commercial, Military, SWL, Shortwave, FRS/GMRS, Weather(not for long) DAE: huge topic   y WDV
logging Logging LOTW, QRZ, etc.     WDV
APRS APRS (required hardware, software, etc.)     WDV
shacks Ham Shack Tours, featuring equipment large or small (a photo or two from as many as possible)   y WDV, many
microcomputers Arduino Ham applications. (maybe too kit builder-ish)   y WDV
mobile Getting the most out of your Mobile Rigs (Cars, Boats, Handy-talkies)     WDV
contests Contesting     WDV
antenna A Specific Antenna and how to tune/set it up (could be too broad)   y WDV
copperpipe Mitch Powell’s copper tube YAGI for FM radio, (I think I remember seeing it back when he taught a topic in the Amateur Course years ago)   y WDV
yagi How to tune a Yagi and what the spacing between directors, reflectors, and driven elements does to the signal   y WDV
ARES Introductory ARES training   y DAE
IMS Incident Management System 100 overview (IMS) y DAE
Fox hunt Fox Hunt gear and techniques   y DAE
balloon UWO Balloon launch story   y DAE
openmic Open Mic sessions y   DAE
setup Setting up your ham radio     DAE 20-03-31
identifying Identifying with your call sign     DAE 20-04-07
bandplan 2M Band Plan     DAE 20-04-14
satellites “Out of this world” -satellites     EI 20-04-21
echolink EchoLink     CTS 20-04-28
computers Computers and Ham Radio     DAE 20-05-12
powerpoles Anderson PowerPoles   y DAE 20-05-19
HF intro Getting started with HF   y DAE 20-05-26
grounding Grounding     EI 20-06-02
digital Getting started with Digital modes   y HOR 20-06-09
pl tone / ctcss What is CTCSS / PL tone and how does it work   y DAE 20-06-16
feedlines finer points of feedlines     DAE
mobile setting up a mobile radio in your car   y DAE
VHF VHF antenna variations   y DAE
IRLP Internet Repeater Linking Protocol     DAE
Operating Ontario's DIstracted Driving Legislation     DAE 20-09-22
contests What is a Fox Hunt     DAE 20-06-23
operating DX Spotting Websites     KGK 20-07-21
operating Why HF     EI 20-08-04
antenna Magic Antenna     EI 20-09-08
best practices Advce on best practices to guide new hams     DAE 20210223
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Things you can do now that you have your Ham radio license:

Index Topic Description   
1 If you want the most economical way to get on the air, purchase a hand held transceiver (HT) or Handi-Talkie. (But don’t forget their are a lot of other bands and modes to explore as well.)
2 If you’re so inclined, keep you eye out for a used HF radio being sold by someone you trust. If you need advice, talk to anyone on the LARC board, or on the weekly nets.
3 Especially if you get an HF rig going, you’ll want to get logging set up. The club uses the N3FJP software, and there are a lot of other packages out there, many of them free.
4 If you took our course, you’ve already joined the London Amateur Radio Club. Otherwise, think about becoming a member. Lots of benefits for not a lot of cost.
5 You may wish to join Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) the national organization for ham radio in Canada, as well. Gets you the monthly TCA magazine with good info relevant to Canadians. They also offer members an email forwarding service, which I use. If you send email to, it will be forwarded to my main email address,
6 While you’re thinking of organizations, a lot of Canadians are also members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the American equivalent to RAC. Their monthly magazine, QST is excellent.
7 Get yourself some vehicle license plates with your call sign. It’s not as expensive as regular vanity plates, and it’s a bit of a tradition in ham radio.
8 Check in to some of the weekly nets. The Elmer net is a good place to start, because it’s aimed at new hams and helps you learn how to operate. There are other nets you can try after you feel comfortable, including international ones.
9 If you’re a computer person, try using your computer and radio together some digital modes, such as PSK31. There is lots of information available on the internet to get you started.
10 If you like to build things, get something useful for your radio shack in the form of a kit, and work on putting it together. Once again, lots of help is available - just ask. Some resources available here:
11 If Morse Code is something that interests you, set aside some time, and learn it a bit at a time. The recommended approach, and computer software, is outlined here:
12 If helping out with emergency communications in times of disaster appeals to you, consider joining the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). Get in touch with Doug Elliott VA3DAE, the ARES Emergency Coordinator for the City of London.
13 Similarly, if you’d like to help with radio communications in support of planned community events such as the MS Bike Tour, or the Run for Ovarian Cancer, contact Doug Elliott VA3DAE.
14 Still with public service, you can get free training on how to recognize the characteristics of severe weather, and take part in special CANWARN nets. This gets verified sightings by trained observers to Environment Canada qickly, so the public can be warned if necessary.
15 If you (or maybe your spouse) would like to track the location of your vehicle using a GPS and ham radio technology, look into “APRS”. An offshoot of this is tracking High Altitude Balloon (HAB) launches.
16 Explore all the repeaters in our area. Many have links to other repeaters, distant hams that monitor them, and interesting nets.
17 Explore even further, using the Internet Repeater Linking Protocol (IRLP) or Echolink. Your VHF radio can reach around the world, you just have to ask enough questions, or do enough googling, to figure out how.
18  Tag along when a group goes to a local “HamFest”. These are sometimes called flea markets, and have all sorts of gear for sale. Just looking around is educational, especially if you’re with someone who can explain what some of the things you’re looking at actually are, and do.
19 See what gear is needed to communicate with an amateur radio satellite, and think about what you would need to give it a try.
20 What is this “Software Defined Radio” stuff anyway? Do some investigation, and see if you can set up an HF receiver for less than $50.
21 Build something you can use in ham radio. Antennas are a good place to start, and 2 meter antennas are really straightforward, especially if you consult all the helpful information available on the internet.
22 Take part in a Fox Hunt. This is a local contest to find a hidden ham operator, using a directional antenna, compass, and maps. You can just ride along and observe the first time, but you’ll likely want to be an active participant after that.
23 (Post pandemic) Visit the club station at the 427 Wing at least once, and maybe regularly. Use the radios and antennas, maybe work on a kit, and get your questions answered by the other hams in attendance.
24 (Post pandemic) Come our to “Hams & Eggs”, our Saturday morning get together at the “Mary’s Place” restaurant in the Eastown mall. There are people there from 8:30 to 10:30, and there’s continuous friendly conversation, and great opportunities to learn and get your questions answered.
25 (Post pandemic) Come out to the club station at the Wing for Summer or Winter Field Day. Great chance to see HF in action, and to try it out, as well as a social event.
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   Shack Shots 

  Click for Photo   from Ian Seddon, VE3HUT 

“Station Set-up, VE3HUT.pdf” shows my operating set-up. The main HF rig is a Yaesu FT-2000D with max output of 200 watts. The Kenwood TM-271 is my 2-metre transceiver. Not shown are older radios elsewhere in the shack area: my first ham transceiver, a Heathkit HW-16 (on which I honed my CW skills – this was my first rig upon being licenced in 1975 while in Wawa, Ontario); a Heathkit HW-100, which is a 100 watt SSB and CW transceiver (powered by a pair of 6146 tubes); a complete Drake TR-7 transceiver (i.e. with Drake power supply, speech processor, microphone and speaker) which I got second hand through VE3JO and VE3CQN here in London). Unfortunately the Heathkit rigs suffer from dried out electrolytic capacitors while the Drake TR-7 has a blown modulator circuit.

  Click for Photo   from Ian Seddon, VE3HUT 

“End fed antenna photos.pdf” shows my main HF antenna which is an end-fed 85 foot-long wire antenna originally designed by W3EDP in the 1930’s as re-worked by VA3QV in the early 2010’s (this was detailed in my on-line presentation during the October LARC Zoom meeting).  I also have a Hustler 5-BTV vertical antenna.  I run both antennas through my Palstar AT2X antenna tuner which gives me operating abilities on 80 m to 10 m on both antennas and additionally 160 m and 6 m on the end-fed wire antenna.

  Click for Photo   from Doug Elliott  VA3DAE

This was the state of my shack for Summer FIeld Day 2020, which was done from our homes due to the pandemic. Extra equipment was added for field day, and I've gone through several different layouts since then. Once it settles down, I'll take another photo.

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