The National Association for Amateur Radio
Sacramento Valley Section
Serving Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo & Yuba Counties in Northern California
Sacramento Valley Section is located in the ARRL Pacific Division.
ARRL National Page: www.arrl.org/Groups/view/sacramento-valley
Thanks to Greg Kruckewitt KG6SJT for maintaining our Section ARES web page and for assisting with our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Submit Section News updates to kp4md(at)arrl.org
Amateur Radio License Classes and Volunteer Exam (VE) Schedules
Here are the latest news from our section clubs and members.
This month's news features news and happening from clubs and members around our section. As several clubs will hold their elections this month, I urge members to follow the example of our predecessors and to volunteer service in leadership positions. Your participation is vital for the future of amateur radio.
Assistant Section Manager Roger Cain KI6FYF and I enjoyed seeing many of you at the October 14-16 ARRL Pacificon Division Convention in San Ramon. We were also delighted to meet our new ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF. The attendance was quite good despite the rainy weekend. Be sure to read Alan Canton, KM6AAI's write up "A New Ham's Take on Pacificon 2016" in this month's Section News.
At the 2016 ARRL Pacificon Division Convention, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Laura Smith presented the following updates of relevance to the Amateur Radio Service:
- 1:23 FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement moved to Spectrum Enforcement Division
- 2:33 The New FCC Online Complaint Filing System
- 5:40 Filing radio frequency interference (RFI) complaints and how they are handled
- 9:12 Notices of Liability and Forfeitures
- 10:29 Advice to radio amateurs in cases of malicious interference
- 15:38 Licensees with past felony convictions
- 19:30 FCC field office closings
- 22:30 Revision of the ARRL Official Observer program
- 25:28 A Recent Unlicensed Intruder Enforcement Case
- 27:50 Amateur radio community participation in rulemakings
- 29:15 Filing comments on FCC NPRM 16-96 - Data communications symbol rates
- 33:28 Filing comments on FCC NPRM 15-40 - Removing public access to historic licensee address information from the ULS
- 37:40 Questions and answers
Speaking of radio frequency interference (RFI), we have received a growing number of complaints of severe interference to amateur radio HF and VHF stations from power utilities, plasma televisions, cheap switching power supplies and other consumer electronics, and commercial "grow lights" used in residential areas. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has exclusive jurisdiction on matters of RF interference. The ARRL and FCC have a Cooperative Agreement in RFI matters concerning Amateur Radio. Complaints with documentation identifying the RFI source are sent to ARRL EMC Engineer Mike Gruber, W1MG, who then files the complaint with the FCC Gettysburg office. The FCC then sends the responsible party an advisory letter.
The FCC requires our assistance to identify and document the RF interference source.
The November 2014 QST article "Locating RF Interference at HF" is a useful resource.
You may also contact our Section Technical Coordinator Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, or our Section Official Observer Coordinator Norm Lucas, WB6RVR, for assistance.
Thanks to all who supported the Worldwide Scouting Jamboree on the Air during the October 14-16 weekend. Due to the stormy weather, Andy Stephens, W6AWS, hosted a well attended JOTA activation for both Cub Scout Packs 215 and 310 in his garage. Each youth enjoyed a chance to communicate via amateur radio We will post photos when available.
We thank all who participated in the October 20 Sacramento Valley Section 2 meter Section net. Unfortunately, the ionospheric conditions did not permit an HF Section Net on either 60 or 75 meters at the scheduled time. We will study the current seasonal propagation conditions prior to issuing future Official Bulletins for our Section HF nets.
Frank Reshke, N6SNO, has announced his intent to resign his appointment as Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator effective December 31. We sincerely thank Frank for his long dedicated service in that capacity. Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, will assume duties as our Section EC in January 2017.
Thanks also to John Hestenes, NT6ET, and Bill Shaffer, N6SGT, for their past service as Emergency Coordinators for Placer and Sacramento County ARES. Congratulations to Carl First, N6CKV, and to Vince Cracchiolo, KI6NHP, on their new appointments as Emergency Coordinators for these respective counties!
Our ARRL Section Affiliated Clubs may send up to two representatives to the annual Annual Pacific Division Cabinet meeting in Livermore on Saturday, December 3. The agenda will include AB 1785 (Use of wireless electronic devices in vehicles), HR 1301 (The Amateur Radio Parity Act), ARES and Emcomm, and an FCC update. Please contact ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, if your club leadership has not received notice or has suggestions for agenda additions.
This website is visited most during the first week of each month, but do check back as it is updated weekly with late breaking news.
73, Carol Milazzo, KP4MD
American Radio Relay League Sacramento Valley Section Manager
You can always send compliments, suggestions and submissions for inclusion in our Section News to kp4md(at)arrl.org
In 2016, the National Parks Service (NPS) will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and radio amateurs will be able to help mark the occasion with the ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event. The fun begins at 0000 UTC on January 1, 2016.
Click on these links for information on NPS entities within the Sacramento Valley Section:
- California National Historic Trail (TR14) - Sutter's Fort - Sacramento*
- Lassen Volcanic National Park (NP38)
- Lava Beds National Monument (MN50)
- Pony Express National Historic Trail (TR15) - B.F. Hastings Building - Old Sacramento* - Pony Express Stations
- Tule Lake National Monument (NM31)
- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (RC18)
Do you plan an NPOTA activation in our section?
Send e-mail to kp4md(at)arrl.org for posting on this page.
We are planning on doing two days but we are not sure if we are going North or South. It will be during the Thanksgiving week. If we go South it will be Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite. If we head North it will be the Lava Beds at the petroglyphs and the Tule Lake Segregation Center. Don’t forget to get out there and get your NPOTA contacts and do an activation if you can. I will also be willing to do any awards if needed………….
Because of the grandkids I will not be doing awards applications during Christmas time, about two weeks before and two weeks after.
Happy Holidays to all……………………
Merry Christmas to all and have a Happy New Years…………….
73, Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, ARRL Pacific Division DXCC Awards Manager, Sacramento Valley Section Technical Coordinator, WAS Award Manager, VUCC Awards Manager
Duane Wyatt WA0MJD has been working on a project to expose children with health issues to amateur radio and morse code. He has developed Kid's Club units to accomplish this. Script and photos of Kid's Club are seen in the project website at kidsclubweb.wordpress.com.
Child Life staff at St. Jude's Research Hospital for Children have gladly agreed to accept a Kid's Club donation.
Duane is requesting help to pay for the assembly of a Kid's Club unit to give them. Each unit costs approximately $500 to assemble. Please contact Duane at duanewyatt(at)hotmail.com or (916) 677-9799
Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD,
ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Youth Coordinator
Update October 12, 2016 - The ARRL and the FCC are currently working together to update and to make changes to the Official Observer/Amateur Auxiliary program. Because of these expected upcoming updates and changes, ARRL has placed a moratorium on applications for new Official Observers and Official Observer Coordinators at this time.
Official Observer appointees have assisted thousands of Amateur Radio operators to maintain their transmitting equipment and comply with operating procedures and regulations. The object of the OO program is to notify amateurs of operating and technical irregularities before they come to the attention of the FCC and to recognize good operating practices.
The OO program serves as the first line of "eyes and ears" for the FCC. It is the backbone of the Amateur Auxiliary. OOs are certified in the Auxiliary by passing a mandatory written examination.
November 12 - Sacramento County ARES Training
Posted November 5, 2016
The Sacramento County ARES February training meeting will be Saturday, November 12, from 0900-1200 hours at Sacramento County Sheriff's Florin Substation, 7000 65th St, Sacramento, CA 95823.
Sunday October 16, 2016 was the 11th annual running of the Eppie's Kids Duathlon here at Discovery Park, in Sacramento. Once again this year, the amateur radio operators stepped up and participated in this excellent event to encourage fitness for kids. This year we had 11 licensed amateur radio operators deployed out over the race course. Our amateur radio operators this year were:Vince Cracchiolo - KI6NHP
Craig Bruce - WP2N
Carl Chapek - KK6RAS
Michael Joseph - KK6ZGB
Lee Rominger - W6LFR
Dan Wise - KE6IUZ
George Carrington - KC6SGT
Joubin Far - KK6NQB
Fred Sellstrom - W7KOZ
Alex Lawrence - KI6ZDH
Jeffrey Lamb - KE6FF
Fred Sellstrom - W7KOZ brought out his radio communications trailer which was used for net control. Fred's radio communications trailer is great and was a tremendous asset for this event.
Vince Cracchiolo secured permission for us to use the N6NA River City ARCS repeater for this event. The N6NA repeater (145.250 (-) PL / CTCSS 162.2) is an excellent wide area coverage repeater and greatly added to the success of our radio communications event. Thank you very very much to River City ARCS for allowing us to use this tremendous repeater, and thank you to Vince for getting us permission to use the repeater for this event.
The event organizers and participants were very glad to have amateur radio out on the course again for the race this year. We have been invited back again for next year and the event organizer is already eager to start planning for next year. Once again amateur radio shows it's value to our community. Thank you very very much to all the radio operators that helped out in this event!!
Jeffrey Lamb, KE6FF
On Sunday October 30th several members from Yuba-Sutter ARES participated in the Yuba-Sutter Domestic Animal Disaster Association annual disaster drill. We performed communications and other duties as required. The weather started out cool with partly sunny skies. by 11 AM the rain started coming down and forced us to cease operations. By the time we were done with tear down and packing up all the supplies the sky opened up and started pouring down on us. All in all the drill was considered a complete success. Thank you YSDADA for inviting us to participate in you annual drill. We look forward to an invitation next year.
73's, Steve Sweetman, K6TAZ
EC ( Emergency Coordinator), Yuba/Sutter ARES, ARES Website
SKYWARN Weather spotter YU-19
AF/MARS Member AFA9SS
ARRL Official Emergency Station
Posted November 5, 2016
The OARS Monthly Breakfast will take place this Saturday, 29 October 2016, 9 am, at The Waffle Shop, 2107 Feather River Blvd (across the street from Applebee’s) in Oroville. Hope to see everyone there.
73, Jim, W7XZ
SOTARS/QCWA Chapter 169
Posted November 5, 2016
Denny's is open again, so please plan to attend.
Our meeting is Wednesday, November 9th. Lunch (or breakfast) is at eleven. Denny's serves breakfast all day. As usual, the group will be called to order at Noon in the meeting room.
The program for this month was scheduled for last month, so it will be part two of TX Factor, Episode 12. Bob teaches Mike a thing or two about amateur satellite operating.
Meeting as usual at: Denny's Restauran, 7900 College Town Drive, Sacramento, Phone (916) 383-7071
Located at the southwest corner of Howe Ave. and College Town Drive one block North of Highway 50.
Please come and enjoy the good food and fellowship.
North Hills RC
Posted November 5, 2016
The final meeting of 2016 for The North Hills Radio Club will take place on Tuesday evening, November 15.
This will be an action-packed meeting, November means election of officers for us. We'll be electing a new president, new vice-president and a new secretary-treasurer. We'll also be filling one and possibly two director's seats. In addition to the election of officers, we'll be amending the constitution and by-laws to allow the membership to overturn a board action by means of a two-thirds majority vote. This vote will be conducted via secret-ballot. If you can't attend the meeting, you may vote via proxy ballot.
Please consult your copy of the constitution and by-laws and carefully read article three, which discusses proxy balloting. The proposed amendment can be found on this site. After the elections, we'll have a very interesting program about The Community Response Team (CERT). The program will be presented by Mike Meighan, KD6ILC.
Club meetings are always held on the third Tuesday of every month, at the former (SMUD) building located at 5026 Don Julio Blvd, at the northeast corner of Don Julio and Elkhorn Blvds. The board meeting begins at 6:00 P.M., followed by the general membership meeting at 7:30 P.M.
Don't forget about the Christmas dinner which will take place on Tuesday evening, December 13 at Brookfield's Restaurant in Sacramento. Details about the dinner can be found on this site. I sincerely hope that as many of you as possible can attend my final meeting as President on Tuesday evening, November 15. Let's all end club year 2016 with a REAL LOUD BANG!
See you there! From Doug Emerson, President, North Hills Radio Club. Amateur callsign N6NFF
River City ARCS
Posted November 5, 2016
I don’t know about you but I got something I needed at a great price at our White Elephant Sale. I think Paul, KC5JAX is going to have to add a second story to hold all the stuff he purchased! Remember this is an annual event and as you go through your “treasures” be sure to set them aside for next October.
Carol, KP4MD will be our featured speaker at the November meeting coming soon. Her Puerto Rico DX exploits will be her program. I’m hoping we can have a Pacificon report since this is the first one I’ve missed in many many years. I was part of the “pit crew” for my brother at the Race of Gentlemen in Pismo Beach and had to miss Pacificon. Also in November will be our election for officers and Board members. Please consider serving the River City ARCS as more than a spectator.
Also remember to jot down and bring your questions for our Elmer help session in January Our Christmas Party will be at Sam’s Hof Brau in December. Door prizes, good fellowship and a meal awaits you.
For those following my tower project, the trench is in and not much has changed. Don, W6PJJ welded a pedestal to hold the lightning protectors and 120V circuit breakers and it’s cemented in. Still no conduit or lines.
See everyone at the meeting. Until next month - 73, Bob, N6PGQ Newsletter
Nevada County ARC
Posted November 5, 2016
NCARC meeting in November will be our annual Christmas/Holiday potluck dinner(*) Club will provide:Turkey, dressing, gravy, ham
Paper plates, plastic ware, coffee, bottles water, & sodas
Please bring a side dish or dessert. Location – regular meeting room. Doors open before 6:30 PM – “meeting” starts at 7:00
* -- We changed the month for this because December is a very busy month for Salvation Army and they also will open up the facility to people needing shelter if the weather is extra cold.
73, Walt, N6HNST November Meeting Flyer
Sierra Foothills ARC
Posted November 5, 2016
Good November to All!
Fall has finally arrived and the Radio Sport session is in full swing. This year, our Club will be entering the ARRL November Sweepstakes. It is one of nine contests sponsored by the ARRL that are designated as a Club contest. The Sweepstakes will be held on two weekends. The first weekend, November 5th – 7th, will be all about CW. So, you coders out there, dust off those keys and hit the air waves. The second weekend, November 19th – 21st, will be dedicated to Phone to work out those vocal cords. The contest period for each weekend is 21:00 UTC Saturday through 02:59 UTC Monday. 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands are open to the contest. The November Sweepstakes should have a little something for every operator.
You do not have to work both weekends. Feel free to work one or both! All you need to do is add “Sierra Foothills ARC” on your log submission. You can work from home, mobile, remote, or anywhere you can setup a radio within our Club area. Please be sure to check the contest rules which are available online at: http://www.arrl.org/contest-rules. If you have any questions, Dennis, WU6X, will be able to help you. Yours truly will be working the Phone weekend as a Single Operator Unlimited, Low Power.
Don’t worry if you can’t work the full 24 hours!! Do what you can and submit your log. Every little bit helps the Club total. Most important, get out there and have some fun!!
I also want to send a great big THANK YOU! to George, KG6LSB, and all the folks who came out to work the Cystic Fibrosis bike ride last month. The event ran very smoothly and everyone had a great time!
You and your significant other are all cordially invited to our annual Christmas Party on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at the Auburn Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East Street. The potluck dinner starts at 6:00 PM. Sign-ups are online at our website, www.w6ek.org. The Club will provide the ham & turkey. Looking forward to seeing you all there.
As you may have heard, it is election time. Our Club will be voting on next year’s officers and renewing our By-Laws. The By-Laws must updated and voted on every leap year. Please be sure to attend Novembers General Meeting to cast your vote.
I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!
By Orion Endres – AI6JB, President Newsletter
Western Placer ARC
Posted November 5, 2016
Our Next Club Meeting is Nov 22, 2016, 7:00 PM, Woodcreek Oaks Golf Club, 5880 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd., Roseville, California
Scheduled Speaker and Topic: TBD
Club Meeting Location: WPARC conducts monthly club meetings on third Tuesdays of each month. Join us at Legends at Woodcreek Oaks Golf Club, 5880 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd., Roseville.
Board Meeting Location: WPARC Board meets on second Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, at Pizza Round Up, 2270 Nicolaus Rd, Lincoln. Members and guests with business to bring before the board are welcome to attend.WPARC News:
Food Distribution Support Volunteers Needed - Dec TBD
WPARC provides traffic support for this annual food distribution event in December. People are needed to answer questions and keep traffic flowing smoothly. If you would like to volunteer then please make yourself known on a net or at a meeting.
VoIP on the Club Repeater
Our Club repeater now has the capability to connect to repeaters all over the world by VoIP. Read more about it at the VoIP page.
73, Michael Buck K6BUK
GENERAL MEETING (October)
Posted November 5, 2016
Dave Gartner (WD6AXM) gave a demonstration and talk about radio specifications, what they mean and what you need to look at. Afterwards, he set up his test equipment and attendees could test their radio - how much modulation, frequency drift, etc. Next months meeting will be Nov. 1st. This is a very important meeting with the elections of officers and board members, and approval of the clubs 2017 budget. At least 1/3 of the club membership must be present in order to have an election. The club store will be there if you need parts. Afterwards, Joe Visalli (N9BD) will be giving a short presentation. Newsletter
El Dorado County ARC
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Posted November 5, 2016
I hope this message finds all of you well and happy.
Another month is almost history. So is 2016 for that matter. On a repeated note, elections are coming up and you all should be thinking about who should be the club officers next year. We did a better job of publicizing our club and its activities in 2016 thanks to our new PIO. The effort to publish info about our club and its activities paid off better than I had hoped. We actually received guests at our Field Day event from members of the public who had read about them in the local paper. Way to go! But now is no time to rest on our laurels. Having tasted success this year only whets my appetite for more. It would be great fun to receive guests from the public at our monthly meetings who had read about them in the paper, or heard about them on a local radio station such as KFOK where I know there is already interest.
Well then, October has seen some fun with the California QSO party and the Youth Expo in Garden Valley. Due to some prior obligations AF6ND (yours truly) did this event solo. With some help from the CCC volunteers, I was able to erect my pop-up, a folding table and my newly acquired ICOM IC-706MKIIG multiband radio. For an antenna I slung a horizontal long wire about 12 feet high between two trees with a simple wire feed to a point near the middle. My MFJ-946 tuner had no trouble matching the radio to this jury rigged antenna and I ended up making about 16 QSOs during the CA QSO party. Unfortunately in my excitement I neglected to log the times of these QSOs which resulted in their not being countable. Had I not done this my score would have been about 90 which, when compared to the scores of some of our veteran contesters is a pretty modest tally; still it was a learning experience in improvised EMCOM field operations and I'll do better next time out. Interestingly, more than a few folks came walking up to our station with their eyes fixed on that antenna and asked about it, providing me with a segue to talk about Amateur Radio. I had a brief bad moment when the Garden Valley FD backed one of their trucks under my low slung antenna but no contact was made between the truck and my antenna. I have now installed that ICOM and related stuff in my shack and it is awaiting its first deployment on the HF airwaves although I have been using the 2 meter section of it to get on the nets since the beginning of October. Time to get hot on my code practice too.
Other activities this month included a group effort to buy out the Ham gear of an silent key in Garden Valley. To date we have paid off our initial investment and have a little more than $2500 over that to donate to the clubs accounts. ED Larsen KI6R, EB Keller KC6SOJ, Jay Harmor KE6GLA, and myself (AF6ND) were the primary members of this group effort but others showed up as well and helped move the literally tons of stuff to new locations where a lot of it can still be had by club members. There will be an estate sale of the rest of the stuff later and I'll let you know when as there is still some equipment and other items that may be of interest to club members. Some will go to our general fund and some will go to the repeater fund where I hope it can be used to help accelerate our voting receiver replacement project.
73 to all, and I hope to see you all at the monthly meeting on this coming Thursday, the 27th
Don McCallum, AF6ND. Newsletter
Samuel F Morse ARC
Posted November 5, 2016
The W6SFM Samuel F Morse Radio Club October meeting was called to order by club President Mike, N6MQL on October 6th at the Carmichael Presbyterian Church in Carmichael CA, with 9 members and 2 guest in attendance.
Mike, N6MQL read the Month's budget report and announced the current funds available. Club Secretary, Chris, AI6U followed by reading the minutes of last month's in-person meeting. Chris also reported the totals for our W6SFM On-line/On-air net meetings for the month of September. Snacks were provided by John, WB6UBK and Rob, N6KIX.
This month the SFM ARC enjoyed 2 different events. The first being the Girl/Boy Scouts Flag Retirement which took place on Saturday September the 24th. For those unfamiliar with this event, a flag retirement is a ceremony for damaged and soiled American flags that are in need of a proper disposal. Although not illegal in the US for anyone to burn or discard a flag, There are only 2 entities that are able to properly conduct this "retirement" ceremony. The first is the US Military, and the second are the Scouts of America. Members Mike, N6MQL and John, WB6UBK joined the ARRL section manager, Carol, KP4MD along with N6NA group members introducing Ham Radio and Morse Code to Scout members at this ceremony. The station operated by W6SFM members. was comprised of a computer operated Flex 1500 SDR radio and a Horizontal Loop antenna. This station was dedicated to the CW mode. The W6SFM operated booth also displayed a Morse Straight key and code oscillator practice station.
As interested scouts approached the booth Mike and John gave a brief explanation of the history of Morse Code followed by a demonstration on how to properly send on a Morse Straight key. The members then used our club supplied 'work sheet' to give the scouts a hands on demonstration where each scout was given an opportunity to send their Coded name in Morse Code. Scouts who had a chance to operate the hands on display were given a copy of their name in Morse Code on a double sided sheet of paper which also contained important links on how to get involved with Ham Radio and Morse Code.
The Second event that the SFM ARC participated in was the Annual NCCC California QSO Party Contest held Saturday October 1st at the home QTH of Mark K6JJR who resides in Nevada County. Over 300 contacts were made this year in the event. That number was up from last years entry! Also, a big shout out to Mark for his hard work this year working 134 of the 307 contacts made in the event! There were a total of 9 members who showed up to operate this event. . The club was signed up for 12 hours of operation out of the 24 hour event. Surprisingly W6SFM's best band was 15 meters! Member Mike, K6LQ once again brought out his Sun Telescope for everyone to use. Even with 15 meters being as open as it was, while looking through Mike's Sun Telescope not even one sun spot could be found. The national NOA report stated there was a rate of 12 SSN (smoothed sun spots) for that day. Perhaps they were all on the other side of the sun as none could be seen by those who looked. Pictures of our event can be found in the W6SFM.COM Photo Gallery posted there soon.
Topics of Discussion at our in-person meeting included the passing of HR Bill 1301 "Ham Radio Parity" act. This means that the bill with a new name will now move on to the Senate for their decision. If the Senate passes their bill than the FCC has said they would enact the new law within 30 days.
The club discussed the idea that should the bill pass the senate there would most likely be another 4 years of litigation due to the wording that the HOA of America added ("require any licensee in an amateur radio service to notify and obtain prior approval from a community association, if any, concerning installation of an outdoor antenna" and 'permit a community association to prohibit installation of any antenna or support structure by a amateur on common property' (*common areas the entire community make use of) and "permit a community association to establish reasonable written rules concerning HEIGHT, LOCATION, SIZE and ASTHETIC IMPACT of, and INSTALLATION REQUIREMENTS for, outdoor antennas and support structures for the purpose of conducting communications in the amateur radio services") Although the new law says HAMs would be entitled to set up an "Efficient" antenna the HOA could challenge the Height or size of that antenna. For example for those that operate on 80 meters, an "efficient" antenna would be a 160' long wire up 60'.
Thoughts were that the HOA would never allow that. It would then be up to the courts to determine what the word "efficient" means. One of our guests pointed out that efficient could be challenged based on 'how far' do you need to communicate. Therefore a 30' long antenna up 20' on 80 meters would be efficient enough to communicate with someone 200 miles away... A big difference from what most HF Amateurs would deem "efficient".
As a quick reminder the FCC is still taking comments on the Part 97 rules change RM-11708 until NOV. 11th. This was the ARRL asking to remove the "Symbol Rate" of Data transmissions and replace it with a set 2.8 KHz bandwidth allowance. It's important that we express our opinions when it comes to CW band areas and the use of other Digital signals within it. Otherwise our bands may become VERY crowded for CW operators as new Data modes/types are designed in the future.
Vice President Rob, N6KIX reminded that we are heading into the month of November which means it's once again time for the W6SFM Bug Roundup Event, or CQ BR as it's also known by! This is an ON-AIR event that invites all those with a Bug Style key to communicate with each other in the same fassion as the ARRL's Straight Key Night (SKN). Mike, N6MQL reports that he has started announcing the event by way of Domestic and International Radio on-line forms. Rob, N6KIX has already notified the ARRL of our event. This information should be posted both on-line and in the QST Magazine coming out this month.
Other ARRL news and information was discussed at the meeting along with the current band conditions based on our own personal on-air experiences.
For our “show and tell” Technical portion of our meeting Vice President Rob, N6KIX presented a Modified Vibroplex Blue Racer. Rob's key was a very well crafted reconfiguration of what appears to have been an early 60's Blue Racer #4 bug that had been turned into a very smooth operating single lever paddle.
Rob also brought with him the 1999 Vibroplex Code Worrier Jr key. This key was molded after the first generation Nor Cal iambic paddle.
Mike, N6MQL presented to the club his newest adopted family Member from Italy, the Begali Sculpture Arrow Straight key. This Begali Key was just introduced as one of 3 matching companion keys in the Sculpture line of keys. Mike told the group that Begali now makes the dual lever Iambic, Straight key and the newest addition the Swing cootie key.
Our next SFM ARC in-person meeting will be held at its normal time and address Nov. 3rd, followed by our Dec. 1st meeting). The SFM ARC in-person meeting will be held in the Howard Crowley room upstairs at the Carmichael Presbyterian Church. More information including a Google Map is available on the homepage of our website: w6sfm.com
At our November meeting we will be discussing the upcoming preparations for the Bug Roundup Event. Any remaining member time slots to operate as the W6SFM station will be assigned to those at the meeting who hadn't had a chance to sign up before the meeting.
As usual, current events, News regarding Amateur radio and other ARRL items will be discussed. As always we will have our Tech (show and tell) portion where members and visitors are asked to share their Ham Radio related items they find of interest. Feel free to visit our In-Person meeting with items that you purchased or were given that you would like to share with the group. Visitors are always welcome to join us.
Each Tuesday of the week 8:00 PM on 3.545 MHz the SFM ARC enjoys getting on the air with CW for our weekly Nets. You do NOT need to be a member of the SFM ARC to check into our nets and we encourage you to invite a friend to join us as well. Although our nets usually run around 13 wpm code, we are all happy to accommodate those that are slower and need us to oblige. If you are unable to copy Morse Code or need some code practice please feel free to visit our on-line LIVE streaming broadcast of both the Audio and a CW to Text decoding of the meeting. The “LIVE FEED” link can be found on our home page of our website. For those that would like to watch the Live Feed on their Apple IOS or Android devices a “LiveStream” App is required. For instructions and the proper location to view the LIVE FEED please contact Mike, N6MQL for more setup information.
Those visiting the on-line site are welcome to make themselves known by using the ‘contact us’ link to let the net op (NCS) know you are there. This of course is not mandatory, just a way of making everyone feel more involved in our on-air nets.
Very 73. Michael N6MQL -W6SFM Club President
The Surprise Valley High School Amateur Radio Club formed in 2015 as a result of student interest and a grant from the Surprise Valley Education Foundation. Officially called the SVHS ARC Project, the club captured the interest of several students at the small, rural high school in Cedarville, California. Seven students appeared in last year’s high school year book photo of the Amateur Radio Club, and several more signed the log book documenting their participation.
This year the high school, with a total population of 31 students, has a few new members who are benefiting from the generosity and support of community members. Five students worked the 20 meter band and the 2 meter band trying to log contacts during October’s School Club Roundup. Members of the Modoc County Emergency Radio Club were available on the 2 meter band to support the new radio operators. Jim Hertel, N6KMR, from Alturas, California and Chad Linden, N5BMU, from Canby, California, received communications from KK6YBB, the call sign for Surprise Valley High School Amateur Radio Club. N6KMR did not mince any words while expressing dismay at the fact that the G5RV antenna he had donated was not yet installed.
A series of fortunate events led to the subsequent installation of the aforementioned antenna. Somehow a porcelain insulator was placed 40 feet up on the side of a pine tree just next to the school. The club’s sponsor, David M. Schulz, WO6M, climbed up onto the roof of the high school and anchored one end of the antenna to a mast. Down on the ground, a fellow ham from Anderson, California, Brian Waligorski, N6RZR, and a SVHS ARC member Maya Schulz, KK6TBY, helped guide the antenna as it was pulled up into the air.
The new setup allows SVHS ARC members to operate on all bands from 10 to 80 meters. It would never have happened without the support of the community. On behalf of the SVHS ARC, thank you.
Submitted by, David M. Schulz, WO6M
Photo Credits: David M. Schulz
1. Left: The Old Antenna - A Stick on a Swamp Cooler - N6RZR, WO6M, and KK6TBY
2. Right: The Tall Tree - WO6M, KK6TBY, and N6RZR
Richard Booth (W6RKK) and Tim Spurgeon (W0TES) recently had the opportunity to meet with a number of Chinese Taipei Amateur Radio League (CTARL) members in Taipei, Taiwan on October 13, 2016. The meeting was facilitated by W6RKK and W0TES in cooperation with David Kao (BV2FP), Secretary General of CTARL. Mr. Spurgeon and Mr. Booth were in Taiwan on vacation visiting a number of locations associated with their families living in Taiwan during the 1960’s. (See more on W6RKK’s QRZ page). The meeting was informal, and was simply a meet and greet occasion.
Discussions during the meeting centered on several issues currently plaguing the Taiwanese amateur radio community, i.e., the unauthorized use of the 2M and 73CM bands by unlicensed operators such as taxi and truck drivers, and the CW code requirement for all license classes, which is a significant impediment to licensing new amateur radio operators in Taiwan. CTARL members noted that the lack of enforcement by the Taiwan government for unlicensed operators in the 2M and 73CM bands have essentially driven the licensed operators away from these bands. This situation was directly witnessed by W6RKK and W0TES during a taxi excursion on the evening of October 16th , in which the unlicensed taxi driver was using a dual band radio tuned to frequencies in both bands. CTARL members also noted that the CW requirements for all license classes in Taiwan poses a severe impediment to recruiting and licensing new amateurs. Additionally, the issue of installing and maintaining antennas on high-rise apartment buildings, which are predominant in Taiwan cities such as Taipei, was also discussed. A number of QSL cards were exchanged, and the meeting confirmed the shared friendship of amateur radio operators around the world.
Attendees, from left to right: BU2DC, BM2JCC, BX2AB, W0TES, BV2FP, BU2BV, W6RKK, BV2BJ, and BV2MV. W6RKK is a member of the Shingletown, Ca. Amateur Radio Club (STARC), while W0TES is a member of the Central Missouri Radio Association (CMRA).
I’m a morning person but even 4:30 AM is early to me. But I wanted to be on the road at 6AM for the almost two hour drive from Fair Oaks, CA to San Ramon for the 2016 Pacificon hamfest. It was my first one since becoming licensed (General) nine months ago. I was stoked.
I took the advice of a ham friend and went down highway 99. I was told that going the “Google Maps” way via 80 and 680 could or would be a nightmare. That was a mistake because the fog in the Stockton-Tracey area made driving difficult around dawn. But the traffic was not bad, I made good time, and I arrived around 7:30.
So where would I park? Even at that early hour the hotel lot was packed. I think I got the very last space before they closed the lot and shifted everyone else over to a garage about a mile away… and I heard several complaints about it and the lack of close-by parking.
I didn’t plan to attend any of the sessions, I just wanted to see the exhibits, perhaps pick up on a bargain or two… especially a mag-mount antenna for 2 meters.
The registration process was painless, mainly because so many people pre-registered (and saved $5) so the line was short.
The exhibits were housed in different rooms and the hallways zigged and zagged such that lots of people (including me) were continually lost in trying to find their way around. Bottom line, this convention was just too large for this hotel. I heard a bunch of hams say that the Santa Clara venue of past years was much better… both for parking and for direction-finding.
I love shows where there are lots of exhibitors and this was a good one...but I had a couple of disappointments.
I was surprised that Kenwood did not have a booth, especially considering that they have just brought out a new $650 D-Star handheld. What’s the matter with their marketing people? You know the saying “You can’t work ‘em if you can’t hear ‘em?” Well you" can’t sell ‘em if you don’t see ‘em!”
ARRL was there but were not selling any books… only taking new memberships and giving books away to new signups. I was hoping to get a “show special” on the Extra Class license book (especially the spiral-bound.)
The major radio vendor whom I found had the most knowledgeable sales people as well as the best set-up was Icom. They arranged the radios in a wall ‘rack’ so it was easy for newbies like me to push buttons and turn dials and tap touch screens (i.e. the 7100 which I am planning to buy right after I win the lottery.) The Icom booth-people, especially a young woman from Indiana, knew their product line and were happy to answer dumb questions from know-nothings like me. I was really impressed with how Icom did the show.
The most popular product at the show was the Icom 7300. They put it on its own shoulder-high podium and there were always hams gathered around it pushing the buttons and looking at the display. Everyone was raving about it. There is no doubt that Icom hit a home run with this radio (and Kenwood has its work cut out for it!)
Yaesu had their radios on a somewhat low table in bad lighting so that you had to bend over to play with them, much less to see them. But the real surprise was that they brought the same radios that they have brought to a hundred previous shows and they were all scratched and just looked like beaten-up used equipment you’d see at a swap-meet. It was a poor presentation. I noted that the Icom stuff looked out-of-the-box new.
The busiest booths were a tie between HRO and Elecraft, both of whom took about 40 feet of space. Elecraft had people two or three deep trying to see and touch their beautiful radios…. they were the ‘stars’ of the show, for sure.
HRO brought a lot of equipment and was doing a land-office business as they had some radios that they were selling at ‘show special’ prices.
One of the busiest booths was the guy making personalized name-badges and license plate holders. I would have bought a badge but didn’t want to wait on line.
There was one vendor who had a rack of Comet mobile antennas but I didn’t know the difference between them and they didn’t have enough people to handle their booth traffic so I never got a chance to ask, even after waiting for over five minutes.
There was a vendor selling linear amps. I’d never seen one before and was surprised to learn that I could buy one of these big $800 boxes and attach my little Kenwood HT to it and have a 600W station! I don’t know who would want to do that, but it was an interesting display to see.
I was surprised that none of the Chinese radio manufacturers were at the show. Powerwerx was showing the Wouxun as well as a radio called the Tera which I’d never heard of but there seemed to be a lot of interest in it.
The Flex people took a large booth and were showing off color computer screens with charts, graphics, and other data I had no idea about but there seemed to be a lot of interest in their stuff.
I got to briefly meet Dr. Ed Fong of the j-pole antenna fame… and he was selling them like hotcakes there.
I had lunch with Gordon Fuller WB2OVH and his wife. Gordy lives about two miles from me and is one of my two unofficial Elmers. He has been licensed since the dinosaurs roamed the valley! The conversation was great… but the lunch was horrible. The hotel had catering tables outside. The $7 hamburgers which had been cooked three days prior were overpriced by $6.95. The smart hams were the guys who left the hotel and walked two or three blocks to Whole Foods and the other eateries in the shopping center near the hotel.
I saw a number of call signs I recognized and got to meet and talk with with Armand WB2ZEI (of swap-net fame.)
I wanted to learn how to solder in the kit-building area but it was always filled up… sometimes with younger people which was a good sign.
The overall age of the show was… gray! Where were the young people (you know like in their 40s!!!) I think the hobby (perhaps via ARRL) needs to do a full-court-press in getting younger people interested in the hobby or it is going to die (with dignity) when those of us in their 60s and 70s… which was easily 95% of the attendees... become silent keys.
I’ve not been in a large group of hams before and one thing I immediately noticed is that hams as a group are NOT all that much into fitness. A lot of guys need to spend a bit less time in the shack and a bit more time at the gym!
There are two things I liked about the hams I met at the show. The first is that no one is on the fence about anything radio related. Ask a ham about his favorite radio… and he or she won’t hold back. Everyone has an opinion about everything… both radio-related and political. The guys I talked to were eager to tell me about their radio, their opinions on digital transmission (from what I was told, D-Star is NOT the wave of the future… but that is hardly a scientific poll!) and a lot of the guys are supporting Trump (I didn’t see anyone there with a Hillary button or t-shirt!)
The second thing I liked about hams was their genuine congeniality. They love to answer questions no matter how stupid (I’m the king of stupid questions) and no matter how many times they have been asked. I hung around author/speaker Gordon West’s booth for about five minutes and he must have been asked twenty times “What’s the best way to study for the General” and he politely answered everyone’s question with a smile. And it was the same with guys I met at the booths who were looking at radios. I’m somewhat of an extrovert (working as a Medicare insurance agent all these years has trained me well… http://www.ancins.com) and I’m used to talking to strangers. Every ham I met was happy to converse. (Don’t ask any ham whether digital radio it ‘real’ radio because you will be in for a long lecture… pro or con! Ask me how I know!)
It was a good show… and a very educational experience for me, as well as a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to next year when I may stay the night and attend some of the sessions… as I’ll know more radio theory and technology by then… perhaps have my Extra. Also perhaps my first, current, and very expensive XYL (that’s one XYL, not three!) will be licensed and will go with me. (It might be the only way I’ll ever get a K3S!)
My suggestion for the club that puts on the show is to move to a larger venue. The Marriott was simply not large enough to handle the crowd… and the parking. Other than getting Kenwood to attend, I can’t think of anything else they should do differently next year.
73s, Alan N. Canton, KM6AAI, Fair Oaks, CA