NSARA 2011 Picnic
The NSARA Picnic idea was first introduced at a Board of Directors meeting by Lee, VE1AYX sometime in late 1992. He felt that some sort of activity was needed to fill the gap between the Halifax and Greenwood flea markets. The aim was to have an event that would be interesting and fun for hams and their families, where everyone, NSARA member or not, could have some food and soft drinks and take part in semi-competative events such as hidden transmitter hunts, CW receiving contests, "home brew" project building etc. So a budget was proposed and the Pictou County ARC was awarded the first NSARA Picnic, to take place sometime during the Summer of 1993
PICTOU COUNTY ARC PICNIC -- September 11, 1993
The first ever NSARA Picnic took place at the Harbour Lights Campground near Pictou, NS on Sept. 11, 1993. The Pictou County ARC was the primary organizer with the Antigonish ARC charged with the task of providing the food and soft drinks. The Antigonish contingent arrived the evening before and set up their tents, and even a motor home, in the campground under threatening skies and light winds. Several Pictou Co. hams including organizer Lee, VE1AYX were also on site. So the evening was spent telling stories about the "old days" when hams were brave and "real radios glowed in the dark". Bt 9:00pm the wind got stronger and the rain began to fall. This was not a good sign for the tenters. By midnight a full gale was blowing, with wind driven rain finding its way into even the best of tents. Jim, VE1AFH, found himself floating in six inches of rain water in his little tent, and in the dark of the night was forced to take refuge in the cab of his half-ton. Similar horror stories were related the following morning as the storm survivors crawled out of their battered shelters to see huge waves breaking on the shores of Pictou Harbour. Saturday's events took place under clearing skies. The final tally for attendance was about forty hams and family members. The transmitter hunt was one of the highlights of the day. A soggy Jim, VE1AFH was the winner, the first win in what was to become a long run of wins in this event for Jim. The Antigonish cooks were to provide superb hamburgersand hot dogs for the hungry throngs. The nasty rumor that the frugal Scots had attempted to stretch the hamburger by adding "road kill" meat to the burgers was proven to be absolutely untrue. The CW copying, and equipment home-brew competitions, rounded out an interesting day on the shores of Pictou Harbour. The NSARA Worked all Nova Scotia Counties Award (1993) was unveiled at the Picnic and a framed copy of the award was on display. All who attended the inaugural NSARA Picnic were pleased with the event and a good time was had by all. The great storm of Friday night has become part of the Folklore, and the story will be told whenever brave hams gather to talk about the grand old times.
ANNAPOLIS RIVER ARC PICNIC -- August 20, 1994
The second NSARA Picnic was held at the Annapolis River Campground in Bridgetown, NS on Aug. 20, 1994. The Annapolis River ARC were the hosts of the event. The location was the very fine Annapolis River Campground, located almost in the heart of the town of Bridgetown. This event saw quite a few hams arrive on Friday evening and camp overnight at the Picnic site. Stories were told and music and dancing was heard from the main campground shelter late into the Valley night. The fine weather was a welcome change from the "Winds of Pictou" last year and was much appreciated by the tenters in attendance. The hidden transmitter hunt and the good food were again highlights of the event. A local ham provided a very interesting demonstration of Amateur Television. The NSARA held its Annual General meeting in the afternoon. All who attended this, the Second annual NSARA Picnic, came away from Bridgetown commenting on the fine, well kept camping facility and on the friendly reception extended to all by the host club.
TRURO ARC PICNIC -- August 26, 1995
The third annual NSARA Picnic was held at the Scotia Pines Campground, Hilden, NS on Aug. 26, 1995 The Truro ARC were the hosts of this event held in the attractive Scotia Pines facility just outside of Truro town. A small number of hams arrived at the site on Friday evening to set up tents and camp at this interesting site. Hams began arriving at the campground at 8:00am on Saturday morning and by 9:00am a good crowd was assembled. Again the hidden transmitter hunt was well received by the hams, and quite a few went out to attempt to track down the "wily fox" with varying degrees of success. The food was fine indeed, and many amateurs returned home with a few pounds added to the midriff area. The host club had acquired a good number of prize articles which were drawn for as door prizes and as prizes for the Fox Hunt, CW copying and the other contests. The Annual Meeting of the NSARA was held with a good number of NSARA members from quite a wide area of the province attending. So the third NSARA Picnic went into the history books as a great success, held in a fine central location and hosted by the friendly folks from the Truro Amateur Radio Club.
LUNENBURG COUNTY ARC PICNIC --- August 17, 1996
The forth annual NSARA Picnic was held at the Municipal Recreation Centre, Dayspring, Lunenburg Co., NS on Aug. 17, 1995. Campers attending had pitched their tents at the modern Oakhill Pines Campground, near Bridgewater. The early bird campers who had arrived on Friday evening spent some time enjoying the sights and sounds of the fine old town of Bridgewater and sampling the food and hospitality found therein. A clear hot Summer day greeted the amateurs on Saturday as they arrived at the Dayspring Recreation Centre, a large building set amid many acres of forest and playing fields. Even at the early hour of 9:00am quite a crowd had assembled for the day's events. The food was plentiful and the drinks were cool. Many old friendships were renewed as hams who previously had existed only as disembodied voices on the airwaves finally met in the flesh and realized that we did not look anything like we sounded on 80 meters, in some cases better, but, alas, in some cases, worse. The hidden transmitter hunt was again won by Jim, VE1AFH, one of his frequent wins in this event. Lee, VE1AYX carried off top honors in the arcane art of copying CW, and all who attended were winners in the hamburger and hot dog eating contests. The NSARA annual meeting followed. We who hail from the East were on the long road home by mid afternoon. The forth annual Picnic held in this beautiful part of Nova Scotia that is sometimes not often visited by people from the more central parts of the province, was a great success. We all hope to return to Bridgewater soon again.
KINGS COUNTY ARC PICNIC -- August 23, 1997
The fifth annual NSARA Picnic was held at the South Mountain Campground,
near Kentville, NS on Aug. 23, 1997. Only one camper braved the elements
to set up at the campground overnight, so there were no complaints from
nearby tenters about loud CW or bagpipe practice late into the night. The
Picnic was well attended, with events getting under way by 10:00am under
fine clear skies, after a night of rain. The food and drink was plentiful.
The hidden transmitter hunt and CW copying contests were the usual success.
A new test of skill the "Distress Message Copying" contest was added, and
it was well received by all who attempted to copy the last message ever
sent by the passenger ferry William Carson shortly before it slipped beneath
the waves of the Gulf of St Lawrence. A short NSARA meeting ends the day's
activities. All who attended the fifth Picnic were pleased with a fun event,
so well catered by the capable hams at the KCARC.
(L to R)
VE1VAO, Kate Anderson
VE1YMK, Yvonne Kenford
CW Contest Winners
Shown are the winners in the various classes
(L to R)
VE1NK, George Brien
VE1AHL, Bruce Harvey
VE1PA, Brenda Green
VE1BA, John MacInnis
Fox Hunt winners
(L to R)
VE1BT, Rob Harpelle
NSARA President VE1AFH,
( presenting the awards)
VE1BA, John MacInnis
and VE1LEN, Len Gentles.
KINGS COUNTY ARC PICNIC --- August 8, 1998
The sixth annual NSARA Picnic was held at the Lookoff Campground, near Canning, NS on Aug. 8, 1998. This was the second year in a row that the KCARC was host to the picnic. Two groups of ham campers arrived at the spectacular Lookoff site on Friday evening. The view from the campground is worth the price of admission by itself. Things got going on Saturday morning under warm and clear skies. By 10:00am a good number of amateurs had arrived at the site. The local club set up a flea market table with a selection of ham and computer items for sale. The CW copying contest was held under difficult conditions. Hal, VE1LV proved by winning this contest, that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". The distress message contest was held. The winner was a ham able to turn a sharp ear to the speaker and pick out the faint voice amid the crashing static of 2182 khz.
The hidden transmitter hunt proved to be a bit of a challenge, as some contestants not familiar with Kings County back roads, got hopelessly lost and had to be rescued by St Bernard dogs carrying casks of Brandy around their necks. The sixth NSARA Picnic goes into the record books as the one held in the most spectacular site of all. We who came to Canning from afar, wish someday to return to that unforgettable place, where on a clear day, you can see forever.
HANTS COUNTY ARC PICNIC --- August 14, 1999
The seventh annual, and last NSARA picnic of the twentieth century, was held at the Windsor Fairgrounds, Windsor Hants County, on Aug. 14/99. On a hot summer day thirty or forty amateurs from Hants county and other parts of the province gathered at the fine Windsor Fairground facility to renew old times and tell stories of the days when they were young and brave and built their own radios from old Ford Model T ignition coils and the like.
Club President Brenda, VE1TIG and her merry band of workers warmly welcomed all who arrived in the old historic town of Windsor, on the mighty but muddy Avon River; birthplace of hockey; home to that huge mural, and historic Fort Edward Blockhouse; and gateway to the Annapolis Valley.
Activities took place in the cool confines of the O'Brien Building, thus saving us all from the full force of the hot August sun. Large numbers of burgers and hot-dogs were washed down by copious quantities of the finest drinks Big 8 could provide.
After the lunch had settled, we hove-to the contests. Bruce, VE1AAQ
proved once again to be un-beatable in his understanding of that strange
language called CW; while Kate, VE1VAO, turned a fine ear to the howls
and crackles of the ether, where, buried almost below human hearing, the
plaintive cry of a long ago mariner carried across the years to shed some light on one of the great mysteries of the high seas. Soon the hunting horn was to sound out in the mid-day sun and a stalwart band of hunters sallied forth to track the elusive fox. When the dust had settled and the horses were fed and watered, Rob, Judy, and Michael, VE1BT, JDY, and MBH carried home the laurel wreath.
1999 NSARA PICNIC EVENT WINNERS
Kate Anderson VE1VAO (left), was the winner in the Distress Message Contest. Bruce Harvey VE1AAQ (right), was the champion CW Copier. Tom Cohoon, NSARA President, makes the trophy presentations.
Fox Hunt Winners were:
Rob Harpelle VE1BT
Judy Harpelle VE1JDY
Michael Harvey VE1MBH
After all this excitement the NSARA meeting was a bit of an anti-climax. But the business must be tended to. This, the Annual General Meeting, carried on for some time but many interesting topics were discussed, and we all came away much the wiser.
Just as the Old Town Clock in Windsor tolled the hour of four we took
our leave and once again scattered to the four winds, to meet again in
another century in some other fine Nova Scotia town.
WESTCUMB ARC PICNIC -- August 19, 2000
The eight annual NSARA Picnic was held at the Gateway Parklands Campground in Fort Lawrence, NS on August 19, 2000. Jim Hannon, VE1AFH, and his squad of irregulars from the Westcumb club had all uniforms shipshape and were lined up in good order at 10:00am on an overcast Saturday morning, in the shadow of Old Fort Lawrence.
The British guns are silent now, and have been since 1755 when Col. Monckton and his troops ruled the land, but the air this day is filled with the sounds of Morse Code, frying burgers, yelping foxes, faint distress messages, and general good fun and games.
Jim and his troops have amassed an impressive array of contest and door prizes and they are on display in the auction barn where we meet.
Bill Gillis, VE1WG, resplendent in full dress uniform with sword and medals, is carrying the RAC banner in front of his troops.
Some "tailgate" trading takes place, with a couple of sellers displaying their bargains outside the main hall. This activity adds to the event and should be encouraged at future picnics.
The food, always a highlight at the picnic, is prepared under the watchful eye of VE1AFH. The German sausages come in two calibers, regular and explosive. The brave souls who try the hot variety, report no ill effects, and all present enjoy this local delicacy.
With the troops fed and watered, it is now time to march off to the contests. The fox is set free and soon the hounds are on the trail. When the dust has settled, Roger Boss, VE1TNN, carries home the spoils. Earl Smith, VE6NM, and Louise Nolan, VE1ABI, have the fastest ears for Morse Code, Shirley Cohoon VE1JFG, is able to pick out the faint sounds of a sinking ship's final words as it heads for the bottom of the Barents Sea. Herb Parsons, VE1AMP, has the best "home brew" item, but it is not drinkable.By mid afternoon it is sunny and warm, and Jim and his irregulars are the perfect hosts. Stories are told about old campaigns, when we were young and strong, and able to march for days in the hot sun with packs full of "real radios that glowed in the dark", while eating only salt herring and blue potatoes.
The NSARA Directors meeting and the NSARA Annual General meeting are the next items on the list. Both meetings deal with the important business of the Association, and are well attended.
But time moves on, and soon we must turn the old horse toward home.
After such a fun day we hate to leave the friendly confines of the Old
Fort. As the main gate is opened and we move out, we are met by the relief
party for Jim and the irregulars. The officer in charge passes on
the good news that the prune juice rations are in the lead wagon, and now the irregulars will
no longer be.
|L-R: Roger Boss, VE1TNN (
Fox Hunt )
Earle Smith, VE6NM ( 1st. CW - Male )
Louise Nolan, VE1ABI ( 1st. CW - Female )
Shirley Cohoon, VE1JFG ( 1st. Distress )
Herb Parsons, VE1AMP ( 2nd. CW - Male )
|Group picture of Amateurs attending the
WESTCUMB ARC 2000 Picnic
The ninth annual NSARA Picnic was
held at Oakfield Park, Oakfield NS on August 25, 2001.
Bill, VE1MR and his merry band of
hams from the Halifax ARC had all in order this sunny day, on the shores of
fabled Shubenacadie Grand Lake.
This was to be the first picnic run
completely on solar power. Bill and his guys had solar panels and large storage
batteries in goodly numbers on the grounds, providing power for HF and VHF
stations, tape machines, and even, rumour has it, electric bagpipes.
A great picnic meal was the first
item on the agenda, served up by a very professional looking team of cooks who
claimed that each hot dog and sausage was individually tested, and that the
hamburgers contained no road-kill
all were fed and watered, on to the fun and games.
Jim, VE1AFH proved to have the best ears and walked away with the
Distress Message copying contest.
Marshalls then called for the Fox Hunt.
This was the beginning of a contest that will
become part of the Picnic folklore for years to come.
intrepid Fox Hunters all lined up with their gear and with the killer instinct
shining in their eyes. But alas, things soon took a turn for the worst.
fox, when released, took off for the far hills of Halifax, with the fearless
hunters in close pursuit. But
on this day, the fox had too much speed and the hunters burdened by too many hot
dogs and pop, were no match.
with the hunters was soon lost and after no word for a few hours, a search
effort was organized. Like the famous Lost Patrol of years past, the Fox Hunters
were tracked and finally found, but were not a pretty sight.
the fox had been first run to earth by Pat, VE1PHK who was soon assisted by Al,
Halifax ARC Fox Hunt of 2001 will become part of the Picnic folklore, and the
hunters who were there, will have their names spoken in awe by those who dared
not challenge the “Far Hills of Halifax”
that note, the hams assembled on the grounds of Oakfield, took leave of the site
and vowed to meet again next year with courage renewed and the look of the
warrior in their eyes, to once again hunt the mighty Fox.
The tenth annual NSARA Picnic was held at the Kinsmen Hall in Bridgewater NS on August 24,2002.
The rays of the early morning sun on this fine late summer day, catches a good number of hams assembling at the fine Kinsmen hall on the shores of the mighty La Have River near Bridgewater.
The NSARA meeting was the first order of business, with many important items on the agenda.
Then on to the fun events of the day. The Distress message copying contest was won handily by Lynn, VE1ENT who’s hearing far surpasses the failing drums of many hams, burdened by too many years of static crashes on 80 meters.
The Fox Hunt was the next item on the agenda. Memories of the 2001 event in Halifax last year rushed to the surface and struck fear into the hearts of all hunters present. But the Bridgewater fox proved to be far more docile than the strange animal loosed on the unsuspecting hunters in the hills of Halifax, and he was soon captured by the intrepid team of Carol, VE1ICX and Peter, VE1PFR.
All present were suitably impressed by the home brew expertise of Ken, VY2RU. Ken set up a fine demo of ARPS tracking technology. This interesting new branch of Amateur Radio is one of the high-tech marvels of this age and is a far cry from CW on a hand key.
Soon the old triangle sounded the dinner call and the hosts flashed up the grills to cook a fine lunch for all.
The call of the road with many miles to go before sleep, forced us to leave the friendly confines of Bridgewater and to say farewell to new and old friends with the hope of meeting them again next year at the 2003 NSARA Picnic
* * * * * * *
All photographs by VE1CEL
Greenwood ARC Picnic August 16, 2003
Executive chairing the Annual Meeting
Trophies And Prizes
Dave VE1RCN serving Tom VE1TA
Bill VE1WLU & Dave VE1RCN manning the BBQ
Some of the contented diners
Tom VE1TA NSARA President with
CW Contest Winners
Fox Hunters preparing for the Hunt
|Fox Hunt winners Barry VE1TRI and Dave VE1NN||
Tom VE1TA presenting Al VE1ACK age 79 with
Tom VE1TA, Jeff the Fox and Dave VE1NN
NSARA President Tom VE1TA presenting