Canadian Islands on the Air

The Activation & Qualification of
Kilmarnock Island

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Activating station - VE3VS - with Heather, VE3HQH

Kilmarnock Island - ON-305

The location of the Island is within the Rideau River and contains a canal and locks system
for water traffic, midway between Smiths Falls and Merrickville, in Eastern Ontario.
Access to the northern end of the island is by causeway and bridge, about 200 metres in length.
Just ahead is the canal and locks system cutting its way through that portion of the island
about one-half kilometer from the river. Co-ordinates at our operating location
were approximately 44 deg 52 minutes North and 075 deg 56 minutes West
This island is sbout 2 km in length and about 1 km at its widest point
and besides the Parks Canada locks system, has residences, farms and an apple orchard
Road traffic can enter the island at one end and depart at the opposite end.

Arrived on Kilmarnock Island Saturday morning around 9:00 am local time
Operation was planned for 40 metres and 20 metres sideband
Got on the air, and made our first 20 metres contact with a station in Slovenia.
Band conditions were not very good on either 40 or 20 metres.
Long haul signals seemed the order of the day. Forty metres contacts were very
hard to come by. We made only eleven QSOs on 40 metres during a six hours period.
By putting slightly more dependence on 20 metres we were able to make more than 25 contacts.

Even though we frequently called on the posted frequencies, we heard no Ontario stations
on the forty metres band. That was a real disappointment for us. In the past,
we have been able to complete more than 25 local contacts in about an hour or so.


GMC truck - transportation, and hinged mounting base for antenna centre support
Trap dipole, tuned especially for twenty and 40 metres operation
Honda generator - Alinco linear power supply - fibreglass poles for antenna end supports.
Transceiver - Kenwood TS590SG- about 75 watts

above - - Map view of our Kilmarnock Island location

above - - Rear view of truck and antenna support

Side view of setup
We operated from the front seats of the truck
The radio was positioned on a temporary table
fitted over the mid-console.

Our station was set up just beyond the lockmaster's office

Open lock gates

Large cruise vessel departing upstream on the inland waterway

It was most interesting to discover that this set of locks is still entirely hand-operated.
The difference in water levels at this lock station is about two feet.
Not only are the swing gates and sluices controlled and moved by hand-turned cranks
the highway swing bridge is hand pushed open by two operators to allow boats to pass through
while road traffic just waits on the process. In fact, the entire operation of swinging the road bridge
and operating the locks, moving the vessel through, closing the lock gates and returning
the highway swing bridge to place takes only about ten minutes on average.

Hand operated sluices and lock gates

Two operators push the highway swing bridge aside, permitting boaters passage

Swing bridge in open position

Doug VE3VS, with Lockmaster Scott