Newfoundland Radio Amateurs took to the airwaves to tell the world of Canada’s victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“I had never heard of Vimy Ridge before today” stated Chuck from his home near Detroit, Michigan. Starting on March 5 and for the next six days, 27 operators told the Vimy story to over 3,200 Amateur Radio stations around the world.
VE100VIMY/VO1, the call sign used by the Newfoundland (NL) operators, was issued specially for the occasion by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada). The call sign was issued to the Vimy Commemorative Station Society based in Richmond, British Columbia. The Society was formed in 2012 and with the cooperation of the Amateur’s national organization, Radio Amateurs of Canada, organized operations in all 13 of Canada’s Amateur Radio call sign areas. Each call sign area activated VE100VIMY for a week from January through March 2017.
The culmination of the Society’s Vimy initiative will be a round-the-clock operation from April 1 to 9, by an international group of Amateurs at the battle site at Vimy, France. More information may be found on the Society’s website at ve100vimy.ca.
The Newfoundland Amateurs participating were from: Bristol’s Hope, Carbonear, Shearstown, Ramea, Pool’s Island, New Chelsea, Goulds, Harbour Grace, Lewisporte, St John’s, Torbay and Marysvale. The operators shared the Vimy story with Amateurs on five continents, 51 provinces and states and 76 countries including Japan, Germany, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.
Each VE100VIMY activation has had its challenges. It would be hard to match the challenge Boyd Snow, VO1CBS and his group faced on Saturday, March 11 while operating VE100VIMY/VO1 on the Avalon Peninsula near St. John's Newfoundland. Here is his story in his words.
Yes, lots of fun here yesterday indeed. We lost some very prime operating time Saturday in the afternoon, with the power outages.
About 1700 UTC I was working/VO1 on 20m RTTY, when I got a call, and had to drop everything and run to the marina where I keep my boat. One of the docks, with two other boats tied to it, broke a mooring chain and I came very close to having my boat demolished by them. Winds were gusting in the 150 kph range at that time. We were able to get some large ropes on them and get them secured.
When I returned home, about two hours later, the power was out. Dean, VO1VB and I went to work at getting the generators up and running. I have a 7 kW stationary diesel at the house and a 5 kW portable gas for the garage, where my station is. I let some of the other guys know, through our local repeaters that have emergency power, that I had generator power, and they flocked to my QTH to operate.
We got the call sign back on the air again at about 2030 with Dave, VO1COD, at the mic on 20m. Dean took over as cook and made a delicious pot of moose stew. We operated right through until the end, with VE9WW being our last contact as VE100VIMY/VO1 at 2359 UTC. The peak gust recorded for the day, that I am aware of, was (95 knots) 174.8 kph.
I was lucky I guess, my boat was spared and I didn't lose any of my antennas. Lots of damage around town and all over the Avalon. Powerlines down, roofs blown off buildings, towers broken down, you name it.
All in all, it made for a very memorable end to the Vimy operations here in VO1.”
Canadians are celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial this year, 150 proud years as a nation. The Battle of Vimy Ridge is seen as an important step in the development of Canada’s nationhood. Newfoundland Radio Amateurs are justly proud leading in Canada’s commemoration of the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Lest we forget!
The VE100VIMY activation has demonstrated the spirit of Amateur Radio in Canada from coast to coast to coast and nowhere more than with VE100VIMY/VO1.
Note: Radio Amateurs of Canada has secured permission for all Canadian Radio Amateurs to use special call sign prefixes to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. For more on the VIMY100 activations please see the article in the March-April 2017 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine or visit https://ve100vimy.ca/news/
Hugh McCully, VE3AYR
Vimy Commemorative Station Society
610 Barons Court
Burlington, ON L7R 4E4NL
Boyd Snow, VO1DI
RAC Section Manager NL
78 Main Road
Bristol's Hope, NL A1Y 0A7