Young Jimmy Cotter


Jim W Cotter was the first blind Radio Amateur.

Amateur Radio Station VE3JW, sponsored by the OVMRC, and located at the CANADA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM, St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, was officially opened on March 19, 1974. Amateur Radio callsign VE3JW, is still in use at the station and was originally issued to Jim W. Cotter of Ottawa.

Jimmy as remembered by Ottawa Radio Amateurs and at large

Elder Jim Cotter

Jim W. Cotter lost his sight in early childhood when a box of dynamite caps exploded in his hands. He received his Amateur license in the early 1920’s and was probably the first blind radio Amateur in Canada. He operated his home station under callsign C3EN and later, when VE letters were allocated to Canadian Amateurs, he obtained callsign VE3JW, his initials.

Jim W. Cotter became a silent key on December 29, 1969 at the age of 67. Amateur Radio Station VE3JW is dedicated to his memory and to the many Amateur Radio operators who pioneered in radio communications. In view of the fact that the station is dedicated to the early pioneers, the original 10″ spark coils and hand sending key from the Voice of Atlantic Seaboard (VAS) was used during the opening ceremony. VAS was the first Canadian radiotelegraph station capable of transmitting commercial trans-Atlantic messages and commenced operation in the early 1900’s. Mr. Cotter’s nine year old granddaughter, Jayne Arbuckle, pressed the hand sending key to create the spark to officially open the station .

The original station equipment used in 1974 was provided by Heathkit in kit form. The equipment was built by members of the OVMRC and included one HW101 SSB transceiver, HP23B Power Supply, and a SB200 Linear Amplifier. A 30′ tower with a Mosley three element tri-band beam was assembled by members and installed on the roof.

The objective of the station and the many volunteers currently operating the station is still the same. We are here to demonstrate to you, the general public, modern Amateur Radio communications and to answer your questions on the many fascinating facets of Amateur Radio.

Ed Morgan, VE3GX, is the initiator and founder of the VE3JW station. After a few years of negociation with the Museum, he saw to the station opening in early 1974.

Jerry Wells, VE3CDS (sk) was responsible for the station expansion which culminated in the opening of a renewed station in 1995.

Under new management in 2001, the VE3JW station was rebuilt to accommodate a third console for satellite work, and satellite antennae were mounted on the roof of the Museum.

In 2007, VE3JW conducted its first International Space Station contact under the ARISS program involving a school from the Orléans Sector of Ottawa.

December 2010 - Kenwood & Elkel donate TS-590S

December 2010 - Kenwood & Elkel donate TS-590S

In 2010, Project “VE3JW 2010” was completed. It included a D-Star radio, a Software Defined Radio (SDR), LCD monitors for the three computers and a large 55 inch screen for all our demonstrations.

In December 2010, Kenwood and ELKEL donated their latest radio, a TS-590S to replace our aging TS-850SAT.