GWEN Patch
Ground Wave Emergency Network - EmComm
"100% Reliable Emergency Communications to 100 Kilometres with 100 Watts or Less in all Conditions"
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GWEN Patch
GWEN - Simulated Emergency Test
Saturday - 19 October 2013 - 1130 hrs - 3607 kHz LSB
GWEN Simulated Emergency Test 2013-10-19
Map Credit: © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2012

GWEN Niagara
c/o NPARC Inc,
P.O. Box 20036
Grantham Postal Outlet
St. Catharines, ON L2M 7W7

Distribution List





  1. General Outline.
    A portable vertical HF 80 metre out station will be established in Simcoe, Ontario at a distance of approximately 107 km from St. Davids, Ontario (N 43.166° W 79.930°). A Butternut HF6V will be assembled with the feed point approximately one metre above the ground. The antenna will be mounted on insulated rebar. The base of the antenna will not touch ground. Eight radials, approximately 1/8 wavelength (31 feet), will extend from the antenna feed point in the cardinal directions and primary intercardinal directions and slope to ground. Signal reports will be recorded at Simcoe and St. Davids for various power levels.

  2. Observations.
    All amateurs are encouraged to listen in, record your observations and send them to GWEN-EmComm.

  3. Grouping and Tasks.
    1. Net Control (VE3BBN)
      - prepare Op Order, conduct O Group, prepare AA Report
      - establish station at St. Davids, ON
      - gather signal reports and traffic from Out-station at Simcoe, ON
    2. GWEN Niagara EmComm Out-station at Simcoe, ON (VA3WET & VE3RNF)
      - establish HF and VHF stations at Simcoe, ON
      - provide signal reports as requested by NCS
      - gather signal reports and traffic from base station in St. Davids, ON

  4. Coordinating Instructions.
    1. Date: Saturday 19 October 2013
    2. Frequencies:
      • HF - 3607 kHz LSB +/-QRM
      • Backup Frequency in Simcoe: VE3SME Repeater 146.950- MHz 131.8 Hz
    3. Equipment:
      • VHF Equip: approx. 40 Watts with 5/8 wavelength mag-mount antenna
      • HF Equip: approx. 10, 20, 40 & 80 Watts to 25 foot vertical antenna.
      • Modulation by microphone, keyer and psk-31.
      • Power supply: automobile battery and portable generator
    4. Timings:
      • 0800 - Breakfast in Fonthill, Ontario
      • 0830 - Depart for Simcoe, Ontario
      • 1000 - Arrive at location, begin set-up, test and tune antenna
      • 1115 - HF Ground Wave testing on 3607 kHz simplex LSB
      • 1130 - Pass traffic and gather signal reports
      • 1500 - Hot wash-up to follow at "Gateway"
      • 1515 - End exercise
    5. Signal Reports:
      • In order to gather accurate ground wave signal reports, stations must be capable of transmitting a steady carrier at 10, 20, 40 and 80 Watts for a period of 30 seconds. This is necessary to observe the stability of the signal in order to confirm that it is being propagated by ground wave. A CW keyer or audible tone will be used.



D. Wilson, VE3BBN
GWEN Niagara

Station locations in Simcoe, Ontario. Photo Credit: © Google Maps


Emergencies do not wait for good weather to cause grief and neither did our Simulated Emergency Test. A steady rain fell in Simcoe, Ontario just as we finished putting up the antenna. The two stroke generator operated flawlessly in the rain. In an earlier test, the generator generated S-9 noise. A toroid was added to the 75 foot extension cord with 8 turns running through it. A couple toroids were also placed on the spark plug wire. The electrical noise came down to an S-6.

When the radio was connected and tuned to 3607 kHz the GWEN Niagara out-station (VA3WET and VE3RNF) could hear some PSK-31 chatter. The out-station made a call out to the Simcoe Group and they were received with no problem.

The Simcoe group (VE3GCK and VE3DYY) was stationed at the Elgin Avenue Public School beside the Norfolk General Hospital. They were received at 60db over 9. David, VE3BBN in St. Davids came back on SSB voice and was received with no problem at an S-7. David was using 40 watts and the out-station was at 80 watts. The out-station went down to 50 watts and copy was still achieved in both directions. The out-station sent a tone and the signal (an S-7) did not vary into St. Davids indicating ground wave propagation. The out-station then connected the computer and started running PSK-31.

Kevin, VA3KGS in Fonthill was able to copy David, VE3BBN in St. Davids; Gary, VE3GCK and Gerry, VE3DYY in downtown Simcoe and the GWEN Niagara out station with Peter, VA3WET and David, VE3RNF on the eastern edge of Simcoe.

David, VE3BBN in St. Davids could just make out the Simcoe group and the tone they sent. The signal was too light to be of any use. David had no problem copying the GWEN Niagara out station. The Simcoe Group did not have PSK-31 and had difficulty getting a low SWR on their antenna.

When using PSK-31, the signals were rock solid at 40 watts between St. Davids and Simcoe a distance of 107 km. Transmitter drift on the St. Davids station proved challenging. It was difficult to keep an eye on the waterfall and make adjustments due to ambient light levels. An agreed protocol to send a carrier for five seconds before sending data was neglected in the beginning due to a brain freeze at the out-station. Other stations attempting to listen to the PSK-31 exercise had difficulty as the GWEN Group was on lower side band while software limited some listeners to upper side band on PSK-31. The GWEN Group was unaware of the protocol to use upper side band on PSK-31. This unexpected turn of events worked to the GWEN Group benefit as setting the radio once to lower side band permitted quick change from phone to PSK-31 and back. In addition, lower side band filtered out any unwanted PSK-31 transmissions on upper side band. It was also discovered that PSK-31 can be used simultaniously with phone on the same frequency as David, VE3BBN was texting with David, VA3ORP in Kingston while Peter, VA3WET was chatting with Gary, VE3GCK in Simcoe.


Ground wave communications still works. There were no problems sending and receiving with 80 meter phone. There was some brief signal drop off which may have been due to very heavy rain in the path between the St. Davids and Simcoe stations. This has not been witnessed before.

PSK-31 can be useful in an emergency. PSK-31 may be used to extend range greater than 100 km. Net procedures need to be cleaned up. This is a controlled net and as such all communications are to be turned back to the NCS. No communications are allowed without first requesting same from the NCS. We must stay on track to make things run smoothly. Operators need to be vigilant and look for their call sign and use call signs at all times at the beginning and end of their transmission. Future protocol may indicate one outstation communicates only with it's mating station. All other communications will be done on an adjacent frequency.

Thank-you to everyone that participated and to Elgin Avenue Public School and Calvary Church for giving permission to use their property in Simcoe. Thank-you to David, VE3BBN in St. Davids; Kevin, VA3KGS in Fonthill; Peter, VA3WET and David, VE3RNF at the GWEN Niagara out-station in Simcoe and thank-you to Gary, VE3GCK and Gerry, VE3DYY in downtown Simcoe and Ian, VA3UM in Brampton.

David, VE3BBN and Peter, VA3WET
GWEN Niagara

First & third Monday
of month at 1930 hrs.
3607 kHz LSB +/- QRM.
Second & fourth Monday
of month at 1930 hrs.
3607 kHz LSB +/- QRM.
Next GWEN S.E.T.
Simulated Emergency
Test to be announced.
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