2013 Ski Loppet

On 7 April 2013, YARS participated in the annual Northwestel Ski Loppet, run by the Yellowknife Ski Club.  YARS provided emergency radio communications coverage of the event with the manning of a net control station (VE8KC), and checkpoints (VE8BOB, VE8BC, VE8DM, VE8IR and VE8WD).  Temperatures ranged from about -26ºC to about -8ºC.  There were around 300 participants.

The Ski Loppet is YARS' primary winter exercise for emergency preparedness.  This was a year of firsts and all stations experimented with new antennas.  In particular the station at Jackson Lake (VE8IR) used a hygain 5-element YAGI antenna mounted on about five sections of fibreglass mast (about 20 feet).  All stations were picked up and communications with base were with full quieting.  Power output was 5 Watts but we think it probably could have been dropped to 1.5 Watts.   Traditionally Jackson Lake has been a difficult station for propagation due to the surrounding terrain.  We had a hand held and could hear the base, but the noise level did not even break when the other stations were transmitting.  A very interesting experiment and one that really shows the impact of a good antenna on radio communications - even if this was "overkill" to the traditional Jackson Lake problem.

Last year VE8BC was the first to use the YARS portable masts (fiber glass stackable American army surplus camoflauge poles) in the field, beyond the Ski Club.  This year the masts were also used at Jackson Lake and Banting Lake.  These masts are incredibly versatile.

Thanks to VE8IR, VE8WD and VE8KC for the photos.