The March 8, 2019 issue of the Nunatsiaq News, the “newspaper of record for Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec”, features an article by Beth Brown about Amateur Radio in the High Arctic and specifically the Eureka Amateur Radio Club, VY0ERC.
The article features Pierre Fogal, VE3KTB, and Alexey (Alex) Tikhomirov, VE1RUS. Pierre is a station manager at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), which is an atmospheric research station on Ellesmere Island.
Alex is a trustee of the Eureka Amateur Radio Club’s call sign VY0ERC and holds a Station Manager’s position in the Halifax Amateur Radio Club.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
But when the first weather and research station opened at Eureka in 1947, Amateur Radio was the most reliable way for staff to make any kind of personal contact with the south. That’s especially since mail didn’t always make it to the remote posting.
There were two Amateurs in the first set of six Canadian and American staff who opened up the Eureka station. They weren’t given the right equipment to do Amateur Radio, but operators ordered some parts and built up ham radio equipment over the following decade. The original call sign for Eureka’s Amateur Radio station was VE8MA.
Two years ago, 2017, marked the 70th anniversary of Amateur Radio at Eureka. In recognition of this, Fogal and Tikhomirov were given a licence to run a new station at Eureka. That’s the station VY0ERC. There are now around 16 members of the Eureka Radio Club, and the two founders are always looking for more members, and more contacts. The station has logged over 10,000 contacts.”
In the article Pierre and Alexey describe the challenges that they face operating Amateur Radio in the High Arctic.
The wind and frost and ice that can build up there is very destructive to antennas,” Fogal said.
“Some frequencies work better during the daytime, which is high frequencies,” said Tikhomirov. The club has antennas for radio frequencies that work best in the summer when it’s light all the time, but right now they’re running a fundraiser to purchase antennas that are more reliable during the winter months when it’s dark from late October until late February.
Fogal did say that the Eureka Radio Club is largely reliant on continued operations at PEARL, a station that has closed in the past when research there goes unfunded.”
For the original article please visit the Nunatsiaq News on March 8, 2019.
Background information about VY0ERC
In early 2016, Alexey Tikhomirov, VE1RUS, became the trustee for VY0ERC and with that the Eureka Amateur Radio Club (EARC) was formed with Alex, Pierre Fogal, VE3KTB and John Gilbert, VE3CXL, as the club’s initial members and Executive. The establishment of a radio club at Eureka was inspired by the commemoration of Canada 150 and the 70th anniversary of the Eureka Weather Station.
The Eureka Amateur Radio Club is located in the environs of the Eureka Weather Station which is itself located at 79 degrees 59 minutes N, 85 degrees 56 minutes W on Ellesmere Island (IOTA NA-008). VY0ERC is currently operating out of the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) Ridge Laboratory (RidgeLab) located approximately 11 kilometres as the crow flies from the weather station (https://www.candac.ca). The RidgeLab is set on top of the hill at 80 degrees 3 minutes N and 86 degrees 25 minutes W at 600 m.a.s.l. The separation is significant as Eureka is in grid square EQ79 and the RidgeLab is in grid square ER60, and as the RidgeLab is above 80 degrees N, it is in ITU zone 75 rather than ITU zone 4. Both are located in CQ zone 2. Pierre is a Site Manager at PEARL. For more information visit https://www.qrz.com/db/VY0ERC.
The 70th anniversary of the establishment of the original Amateur station at Eureka, VE8MA, was featured in the May-June 2017 and July-August 2017 issues of The Canadian Amateur magazine. In the article Alex and Pierre provided the following short bios:
“Alexey Tikhomirov got his passion in Amateur Radio at RW9HWR and RW9HZZ (currently UI9I) club stations in 1993. He was licensed in 1997 as RA9HAI. Since 2012 he has been certified in Canada as VE1RUS. He is a trustee of the Eureka Amateur Radio Club’s call sign VY0ERC and holds a Station Manager’s position in the Halifax Amateur Radio Club.”
“Pierre was first licensed in 2000, rather later in life than many Amateurs, while living in Colorado. He still holds the Extra class licence KC0IGY. He returned to Canada in late 2004 but it would be 10 years before there was time to pass the Canadian exam to become VE3KTB. His interests include chasing DX, contesting and just about anything else. Science and Amateur Radio have always gone hand-in-hand for him, allowing him to activate NA-008, NA-043 and operate from KC4AAA.”
For more information about the Eureka Amateur Radio Club and the VY0ERC station please visit: https://www.qrz.com/db/VY0ERC