Brief History of The Communications Ontario Net
by Don Rowed VE3KII
The Communications Ontario Net was established in 1976 after the Ontario Government withdrew financial support for emergency planning for Ontario Municipalities. This resulted in the dismantling of Emergency Measures Branch’s
emergency communications system. Municipal Emergency Planning officers were concerned that the loss of this vital communications link could result in no communications in the event of a major disaster event where land line facilities may be partially or completely lost.
It was proposed that Radio Amateurs could fill this void with the establishment of a formal emergency communications province wide network. Thus The Communications Ontario (Comsont) Net was born. Comsont’s purpose was to provide backbone communications links between emergency sites and Toronto or Ottawa. One major requirement specified by the Emergency Planning Officers was that Comsont not be required to report to any established radio club or national organization but would work in concert with the EMARG organization.
The founding members of Comsont were:
a.. VE3AML (SK) Roland Beardow
b.. VE3GR (SK) John (Jack) Staley
c.. VE3AMX (SK)
d.. VE3AUN (SK) Clarence Bolduc
e.. VE3HFR Dick Shunn
There were of course other Amateurs involved but unfortunately other than Joe MacPherson there are no viable records of additional names.The net frequency at the start date was 7.042 MHz. and the net was held daily 365 days of the year with a warm up at 9:00 AM eastern time and the formal net at 10:00 AM. The roll was called by towns and municipalities throughout Ontario. The move to 7.153MHz. was made in the early 1980’s. Net operation was kept informal and each day a different controller was responsible for the Net call up.
The Comsont Net continues operation to this day following the same principles. We now have checkins from the Manitoba border east to the Maritimes as well as several US amateurs from Michigan, Ohio.Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania States. We also have KD3QB in Maryland who takes a regular control spot. Comsont also liaises with the Ontario Phone Net for traffic handling duties when required. As the emergency situations are few and far between, the Comsont net has migrated to a “keep in touch” net. Daily checkins vary from 20 to 40 + depending on propagation. The net is often used by mobile stations travelling south into the US.
The Net Managers over the years have been VE3AML, VE3KLK and most recently VE3HNK. Although there is no longer a formal net manager VE3KII keeps a daily record of checkins and time spent on the air by each controller. 7.153 MHz. frequency and the Comsont Net are available for traffic and emergency communications should the need arise.
Don Rowed VE3KII