This is a preliminary notice to all LF amateurs in Europe and Canadian amateurs interested in LF activities that the radio regulatory authority in Newfoundland, VO1, has issued me, VA3LK, an experimental permit to operate in the proposed LF amateur band of 135.7 kHz to 137.8 kHz.
The project is to be known as TransAtlantic II with a major test effort over the North Atlantic to occur from November 10, to November 27th 2000. The attempt will be made from the East Coast of Newfoundland with, I hope, two receiving teams and one transmitting team. Each team will be independent and will seek the best receiving sites and the best transmitting sites available along the VO1 coast for the test.
This notice seeks to provide preliminary and planning information for our peers in Europe of the goals for TransAtlantic II. European amateurs have been operating regularly on the LF band for some years now. It is my hope to have them make similar efforts to ours in the operation of portable LF stations during the three weekends over a two-week period next fall.
Secondly this notice seeks to attract participants in Canada who will develop the LF receiving skills and see how far west of Newfoundland that TransAtlantic II signals might be received during the trial period. The development of a receiving team in the Halifax area in conjunction with Jack, VE1ZZ who has an excellent location and antennas is an initial critical need.
Third this notice seeks participation of VO1 amateurs and others who might assist this team in finding the best receiving and transmitting sites on the east coast of Newfoundland that we might be able to use, or obtain permission to use, during the fall period. We have to consider staying as far as possible from the Loran-C stations at Cape Race and at Fox Harbour in VO2. We must also provide as much signal discrimination as possible from a high powered existing station on 137 kHz in the Halifax area.
The fourth, and at the end of the day a most important goal, is to demonstrate to the regulatory authority that Canadian amateurs have the skill and competence to operate in the LF part of the spectrum, and to share with the existing users of this spectrum without interference. It is important that amateurs are assigned opportunities in this part of the spectrum so that we might make some contributions to radio science with our work on these frequencies.
TransAtlantic II will transmit and receive regular CW, special slow speed CW that is known in the LF community as QRS CW at about .4 WPM, that is point four WPM. We will also be transmitting what is known as Coherent- BPSK, C-BPSK using the work of Bill de Carle, VE2IQ who has been an active and dedicated researcher in the LF region for many years. Bill is part of is the LowFer community here in North America. He has heard the LowFer signal TEXAS at his home north of Montreal. TransAtlantic II seeks to build on the LowFer technology that has been demonstrated with excellent results over a long distance at power levels far below that to be used in the 135.7 to 137.8 kHz band.
The TransAtlantic II project will be making a financial appeal to the Canadian amateur community at a later date.
TransAtlantic II is also seeking the participation of a few more team members who are prepared to put in long hours of preparation and then three plus weeks of time on the east coast of Newfoundland in November. If you can cope with cold coffee or even no coffee and a wet and cold work environment and have some CW and computer skills and a passion for long Beverage antennas you probably have the basics to be a team member! The actual operating hours will only be from about 2000 utc each day until about 0700 utc, so one should expect to get some sleep each night.
First we must hear/see signals from Europe then we need to have our signals heard in Europe and then a two way QSO. Until this happens, and we expect this to happen during the test, we should expect to possibly move sites between evening test periods as needed to achieve the goals of TransAtlantic II.
There is precious little time left to develop computer DSP skills, such as expert use of the software Spectrogram and Gram, the LF listening and antenna fabrication skills. If you want to participate the time to start is now on an urgent basis. An LF beacon in eastern Ontario will be on the air shortly, a LowFer beacon is on the air in Southern Ontario as well.
I am pleased to announce that Mitch Powell, VE3OT will focus on the technology development for the receiver teams. Mitch has extensive LF listening and computer skills and has been a member of the LowFer community for some years now. Mitch and I have already both undertaken some portable operations - we have begun to understand the issues involved in bringing TransAtlantic II to an operational status.
What can you do? You can solicit your club for funds to support TransAtlantic II. You can build and operate an LF receiving station and an associated computer system to try and hear/see the LF signals in Ontario as well as during TransAtlantic II with Europe next fall. You can become a TransAtlantic II team member. You can learn about LF and become active in the LF community.
If you can help or need additional information contact myself,
For additional information. Work with BPSK requires a Sigma Delta demodulator, contact mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Bill has kits available and the software is available on the Internet. Bill has an article on this unit, it is in QST for January 1992, page 23.
We are off an running with a new challenge in LF. Firsts do not come often in Amateur Radio, I have been lucky to be in a few of them, this one has lots of room for many to achieve new Firsts in LF.