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ARRL Sacramento Valley Section News - January 2018

American Radio Relay League
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.

Sacramento Valley Section Web Resources

ARRL National Page: www.arrl.org/Groups/view/sacramento-valley
Organization, Clubs, Calendar, Nets
Sacramento Valley ARES: www.sacvalleyares.org SV ARES Brochure
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ARRLSacramentoValley
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARRL_SV

Thanks to Greg Kruckewitt KG6SJT for maintaining our Section ARES web page and for assisting with our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Thanks to Les Cobb W6TEE for maintaining the Section Net list.

Submit Section News updates to kp4md(at)arrl.org


ARRL Conventions & Hamfests & Regional Events

Past Section News Archive

Section Media


Amateur Radio License Classes and Volunteer Exam (VE) Information and Schedules (updated)
Class and VE Session Calendar


Getting Your Amateur Radio License

A license is required to operate an amateur radio station. Amateur Radio Licenses in the United States are granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after passing an exam at a Volunteer Exam (VE) session.  
The FCC currently issues three classes of amateur radio license: Technician, General and Amateur Extra.

The license exam contains multiple choice questions selected from lists that are published online at http://www.arrl.org/question-pools. Many individuals prepare for an exam session using self-study license manuals and online practice exams. From time to time, license preparation courses are offered that cover the exam material over several weeks. "Ham-Cram" sessions are also popular, where a several hours' review class of exam questions and answers is immediately followed by a license exam session.

Visit http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class to find a license class.
Visit http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session to find a license exam session.

For more information on testing, preparation and study materials, see:


Yuba-Sutter ARC Technician Class License Course
Posted December 4, 2017

The Yuba-Sutter Amateur Radio Club will sponsor a 17 session Technician License exam course at the American Red Cross Center, 2125 East Onstott Frontage Road, Yuba City, CA, classroom 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Monday and Wednesday evenings from Jan 3, 2018 thru Feb 28, 2018. There is no cost for the classes, however you will need an up-to-date ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. You can obtain a Kindle version from Amazon, purchase a copy from a bookstore, ARRL, or order one thru an instructor. The instructors will be Curtis (KF6VFP) and Joe (N9BD). Please get the word out to family, friends and anyone you know who is interested in getting their license. More information can be obtained from Curtis at (530) 743-3003 or KF6VFP@arrl.net.

Citrus Heights 2018 Ham-Cram Sessions
Posted December 4, 2017

Section member Joe Cardoza, KA6ROM, announces that his Citrus Heights VE Team will conduct their amateur radio Ham-Cram Technician License training and examinations on the fourth Saturday every other month at starting at 8:45 am at the LDS Church, at 7950 Hazel Ave, Orangevale, CA. This is the intersection of Hazel and Cherry Ave.

The Ham-Cram and Exam dates for 2018 are:

  • January 27, 
  • March 24, 
  • May 26, 
  • July 28, 
  • September 22, and 
  • November 17.

Contact Joe Cardoza, KA6ROM, 916-725-6443 or cardozas@comcast.net to register.


California Emergency Volunteers Ham-Cram Sessions
Posted December 4, 2017

The California Emergency Volunteers, Inc. offers 6 hour long "Get Your License in One Day" Ham-Cram sessions followed by a Technician Class license exam session. These sessions are held on monthly on a Saturday alternating between Stockton and Manteca, CA. Visit http://www.hamcram.org/ for more information and to register.


NCDXC Free Online General Class License and HF Operating Courses September through January 2018
Posted August 23, 2017

The Northern California DX Club is offering free classes aimed at helping you to pass your General Class license exam, build your first effective HF station and learn HF operating skills. Enhancing your HF experience will be done with classes on advanced HF phone, CW and Digital operating skills, propagation analysis, antennas and other topics. These classes are arranged in 3 tracks so that you may take only those classes that interest you. Some classes will be taught using PowerPoint presentations delivered to your computer over Webex. You need no special software as Webex allows you to see and hear the presentation and participate in the two way audio stream. Other classes will be taught by your Elmer at his or her own shack. There you will experience the skills that you are learning on the air! Our 13 instructors are experts in their fields with literally hundreds of years of active ham radio experience. Our goal is to put you on the air on the HF bands and give you the background to enjoy the many aspects of the HF experience. Some of our instructors are great teachers, others are operators with many years or SSB, CW and Digital mode experience, while others enjoy building state of the art equipment. The classes will be taught at your level. We will strive to make each class fun. We want you to succeed!

Go to http://www.ncdxc.org/pages/elmer.html for details and registration.


Folsom ARRL Volunteer Exam 2018 Schedule
Posted December 4, 2017

Folsom ARRL VEC exams are held at 6 pm the third Thursday of each month except July, August and December.
Here is our updated exam scheduled for 2018:

  1. January 18
  2. February 15
  3. March 15
  4. April 19
  5. May 17
  6. June 21
  7. July NO EXAM
  8. August 16
  9. September 20
  10. October 18
  11. November 15
  12. December NO EXAM
All exams start at 6:00 pm.

Round Table Pizza (Small private room by the front door), 2793 E Bidwell St, Suite 100, Folsom, CA 95630
For information see http://ns6q.net/exams or contact Mike Kirkland, NS6Q at radio.ns6q@gmail.com.
73, Mike, NS6Q


Redding ARRL VE Schedule 2018
Posted December 1, 2017

The Redding ARRL VE Team will be hosting exams on the following Saturdays in 2018:

  1. January 20
  2. March 17
  3. May 19
  4. July 21
  5. September 15
  6. November 17
Our exam sessions are now being held at the Shasta County Office of Emergency Services at 2486 Progress Drive in Redding. Exams start at 10:00 AM and candidates are encouraged to pre-register.

More information can be found at: www.reddingve.com or by contacting Steve K6KS at sjmosconi@gmail.com


SHINGLETOWN ARRL VE 2018 Schedule

Test Location:
Open Door Community Church, 33883 HWY 44, SHINGLETOWN, CA. 96088
Testing begins at 10:00 AM.
Candidates should arrive 15 to 30 minutes early. We accept walk ins.
Contact:
Dar Walker W6IO, Shingletown ARRL VE Liaison, w6iodar@gmail.com, 530-474-3087

TEST SCHEDULE:
2018: Feb 17, Apr 14, Jun 16, Aug 18, Oct 20, Dec 8

Dar Walker W6IO


Other VE Sessions - Schedule List
  1. BARK Repeater Club - Quarterly - Woodland
  2. Carmichael Elk Lodge ARRL VE - 3rd Sat. at 0700
  3. SFARC ARRL VE at Granite Bay Raley's - 1st Sat. at 0800
  4. WPARC VE at Roseville Round Table Pizza - 1st Wed.
Posted November 28

http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act
Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 - HR 555 - S1534

LATEST NEWS: The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 was introduced in the US Senate on July 12, marking another step forward for this landmark legislation. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are the Senate sponsors. The measure will, for the first time, guarantee all radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities governed by a homeowner's association (HOA) or subject to any private land use regulations, the right to erect and maintain effective outdoor antennas at their homes. The Senate bill, S. 1534, is identical to H.R. 555, which passed the US House of Representatives in January. Read more here.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act

Amateur Radio Parity Act


Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity

Some misconceptions about the Amateur Radio Parity Act are being circulated. Please read full information here.  http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act


50 W PEP Maximum Power Limit Area on 70 cm
50 W Power Limit Area on 70 cm

A little recognized portion of FCC Part 97 regulations applies to 420-450 MHz operations in most counties in our Sacramento Valley section:
47 CFR 
§97.313 (f) No station may transmit with a transmitter power exceeding 50 W PEP on the UHF 70 cm band from an area specified in footnote US270 to §2.106 of part 2. The indicated affected areas are specified in http://www.arrl.org/us270, in the State of California within a 240-kilometer (150 mile) radius around locations at Beale Air Force Base, California (latitude 39°08' North, longitude 121°26' West).
More information on the additional impact on 70 cm repeater stations is at http://www.narcc.org/NARCC-ARRL-PAVE-PAWS-Update-2014a.pdf

Pave PAWS Radar at Beale AFB, CA

The Amateur Radio Service shares the 70 cm band on a secondary basis with the US Government which has priority. The US Department of Defense routinely monitors and locates signal sources on these frequencies.  Our voluntary cooperation is mandatory to avoid interference with the Pave PAWS (Phased Array Warning System) radar at Beale AFB and thus to assure our continued access to these frequencies.

ARRL International Grid Chase
Happy New Year!

January 2018 News

From the Section Manager

QST Cover

Happy New Year to all! This month's news features news and happening from clubs and members around our section.

January marks the opening of this year's operating event, the ARRL International Grid Chase. Read how you can participate on www.arrl.org/international-grid-chase-2018

Thanks to all who have submitted the 2018 calendar year License Class and VE Session updates. These and more useful information for anyone interested in amateur radio are now included in our home page sidebar.

Thanks from the ARRL HQ Staff

You can still send January news to kp4md@arrl.org. This news page is usually updated on the weekend after your submission is received.

Our website, Facebook and Twitter pages are a work in progress, and your suggestions and submissions are always welcome.

This website is visited most during the first week of each month, but do check back as it is often updated with late breaking news.

We wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

73, Dr. Carol Milazzo, KP4MD

American Radio Relay League Sacramento Valley Section Manager
kp4md(at)arrl.org

You can always send compliments, suggestions and submissions for inclusion in our Section News to kp4md(at)arrl.org


SV Section Nets
ARRL SV Section Net Report
Thursday, January 18

The ARRL SV Section-wide nets were held on Thursday, January 18. Andy Boone KJ6IYM opened the VHF net on the WD6AXM 146.085 MHz FM repeater at 7:14 pm PST after the Yuba-Sutter ARES net signed off. 

Here is the VHF net check-in list: AG6IP, AJ6AR, K6CEL, KA6FFM, KB7QWC, KB9MYF, KC6RUO, KC9EI, KG6SJT, KI6AZH, KI6COM, KI6ZYY, KJ6IYM, KJ6PKQ, KK6SOZ, KK6VZD, KM6KFW, KM6MPV, KM6NFE, KM6OGC, KM6PNQ, KN6TED, KP4MD, N6BOB, N6CNY, N6PGQ, N6SAC, N6TBC, N9BD, W3OF, and WA6CAL.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/planetary-k-index

At 7:35 pm, SV Section Manager Carol Milazzo, KP4MD, called the Section HF net on 3880 kHz LSB.  Unfortunately, Coronal hole 848 caused a geomagnetic storm raising the Planetary K Index to 3 for a few hours and severely degrading all HF skywave propagation at the net time. These stations within ground wave range were able to check into the HF net: K6WLM in Sacramento, N6SAC in Antelope, WB6OGD in El Dorado Hills, N6PGQ in Roseville and W6BS in Carmichael.

All Sacramento Valley Section radio amateurs are welcome to check into our Section Nets.  The nets carry announcements of interest to our section and test section-wide station communication capabilities.

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Nets are conducted only on the third Thursday of the month when announced, following the 7 pm Pacific Time Yuba-Sutter ARES net on the WD6AXM 146.085 MHz FM repeater, followed by the HF Section Net on 3880 kHz LSB +/- 3 kHz. During summer months the HF net is conducted on 5330.5 kHz USB as propagation permits.

Don't have an HF radio?
Listen on the W6DRZ web receiver at Half Moon Bay
or the W7RNA web receiver in Sedona, AZ

Hourly Northern California NVIS Observations
Current NVIS Observations
This chart shows colors that represent the recommended HF frequencies for contacting stations for a particular hour. Both stations should use the SAME frequency denoted by the color at the location of the target station. The chart is in Universal Time (UTC). More information at http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/HF_Systems/6/6


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/xyht2O0o6-2QLFlLMWVTEPbjBf0pJHgGQ93gAodZQWZV8C36ZoyqPlNrED7rMuBz_chWoj8yigoSmVqEEueksLJZeFYwqcm6iYJswrrcLSKd4dztiFtdp2BPj7Qgy6syV5iZXp5F9hviGkXEbp6L2eRUo6ioUrSNqMN2pQqwqAEsvfeLP3A-BMaxHoOehrl8PmwSEMcggsWNeiswUkH5rQPoj1I3eHNEHBqGembS1qCaulmwHO76NBPbZRbF-2rLkBlje_g2KpY2p4EDnEvU9mlB_aAhR5bqTehXxF01XOQki21hRIBUWsVwOXsnBF25WDD5DOxJh9SKrMODpczXw0PoHf6J6BMs8ksqbz5q3hnmF70TxygPSy8jdh4oyeyaG3QxOp8XD4yPikb3qE9T4ctANuYkRqJyOvLwsP_g62H2aQgYpsjlwh8kpIquIzxaVMhlbNKeRCT91snQxq6fhI642cCTaP2bkTCAo582tbgP-OJLHC3yLCsCh6_J-5pPIlu3Qx2FOFAwcdcq1zZNWS3HrsnmHmwf_muVn-_GepZyGkEJKA7zhiQd8BM4Nkv47yzMBDuh2u-bf7Dj2cecGWtQfAqI137YqFt4oCif-hd8iLidnaqJlAWzh8-RTThFcmyZ2RnrvHKSKGj5uizvtAVOl-OjV4-g=w284-h504-no
December 6 Windstorm Takes Down KE6YUV Repeater Tower - Baja California Radio Club Assists with Donation
by Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, Posted January 14, 2018

Strong winds on December 16 caused the tower from the communications vault next to us to topple. When their tower fell, it took out the KE6YUV repeater antennas and stripped the coax from our tower. On a positive note, the packet nodes KBERR and BERR37 were still operating.

At a recent meeting of the CREBC XE2BNC Baja Radio Club in Mexico saw photos of KE6YUV repeater damage due to a neighboring tower falling due to the wind storm in the Valley. The club "passed the hat" and send a generous donation to the Berryessa Amateur Radio Klub to assist with the repairs of the repeater that was damaged. It’s mutual assistance like this that makes Amateur Radio such a great community.


ARES Connect
ARES Group Registration for ARES Connect
Posted January 19, 2018

All Section ARES groups should contact their Emergency Coordinators now to provide their current ARES group information for registration in the new ARES Connect system.  Your Emergency Coordinator is responsible for registering ARES groups in your respective area.

Additional information on changes to the ARES program will be emailed to SMs and SECs soon. Beta testing of ARES Connect will begin shortly and once completed additional information will be sent out.

ARRL Public Service Enhancement Working Group, Dale Williams, WA8EFK, Chairman


Sacramento Valley ARES Members Log 23,614 Volunteer Hours During 2017
Posted January 14, 2018

End of Year Summary of Volunteer times

ARRL Section: Sacramento Valley Section Year: 2017
Total number of ARES members: 398
Change since last year: 31+
Number of ARES nets active: 897
Number of nets with NTS liaison: 137
Number of drills, tests and training sessions this year: 610
Number of drill Person hours: 12,449
Number of public service events this month: 59
Total PS Person hours: 6,910
Number of emergency operations this year: 53
Total Emergency Person Hours: 2,680
Total number of ARES operations this year: 1,756
Total Person hours 23,614

Thank you all for all of your efforts and volunteering this past year. 23,614 hours! is very impressive! And thank you ECs and DECs for reporting your times each month. Well done!

Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator


Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

Joe Pistritto, N3CKF, Speaks on ARRL/Red Cross Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Deployment
Posted January 14, 2018

At the River City ARCS General Meeting on Tuesday, January 2 at 7:30 pm, Joe Pistritto, N3CKF, gave a presentation on his September 28-October 18 deployment as a communications volunteer in the post-Hurricane Maria ARRL/Red Cross Puerto Rico disaster relief effort. The presentation was held at the Sacramento County Corp Yard, 5026 Don Julio Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95842.


Frank, N6SNO, and Jay. N6SAC, Net Control ops for California International Marathon.
Sacramento Valley Section Radio Operators Support the 35th California International Marathon
Submitted December 6, 2017 by Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, Sacramento Valley SEC

The running of the 35th California International Marathon, December 2, 2017, required 35 Amateur Radio Operators to provide the needed communication support for this event.

California International Marathon (CIM), is hosted by the Sacramento Running Association. This year the event drew over 11,000 runners and an additional 1,000 Relay Teams for the 26.2-mile race from Folsom to downtown Sacramento. The CIM draws runner from all over the county and is a recognized as qualifying race for the Boston Marathon and as an Olympic qualifying event.

Thirty-five amateur radio operators from multiple counties in Northern California worked together to support necessary communications for this event.

The amateur radio communications teams were directed by Sacramento County ARES Emergency Coordinator Vince Cracchiolo, KI6NHP. The radio operators used amateur radio and the fire department’s 800 MHz trunked radios to communicate with Command and provide communications between the seventeen Aid Stations, SAG buses, and the Command Post. Information passed included lead runner information, coordinating the tracking of runners who dropped out and needed rides to the finish line, and passing Aid Station requests for needed materials, and medical information from Aid Stations.

The bulk of amateur radio communications were on the N6ICW repeater. In the command post Frank N6SNO, working his 30th CIM, and Jay N6SAC both did a great job as net control operators. Thank you to all the radio operators for volunteering their time to make this event a great success.

Photo caption: Frank, N6SNO, and Jay. N6SAC, Net Control ops for California International Marathon.

Robert Rentz (foreground) and Daniel Shelsta, both of Paradise, are members of the Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society and were handling communications for the Red Cross
Golden Empire ARS & Butte County Radio Amateurs' Media Hit in Chico Enterprise-Record 
Posted November 6, 2017

Robert Rentz, KK6WUG, (foreground) and Daniel Shelsta, N6APX, both of Paradise, are members of the Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society and were handling communications for the Red Cross Thursday at the evacuation center for the Cherokee and La Porte Fires at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville. The group will be having a youth-oriented workshop Saturday at the Gateway Science Museum in Chico. Contributed photo by Kris Koenig, KKØNIG

Read the full story at http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20171012/NEWS/171019914


CalOES to Offer ICS 300 Course
Posted October 7, 2017

CalOES will be offering the ICS 300 course at Mather Field in Sacramento starting January 30, 2018. It is a great opportunity to learn more and the ICS process and ARES work with served agencies. ARES members who are interested in taking this class may sign up on line at this link.

E300: ICS 300: Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents

Course Description: This course provides training for personnel who require advanced application of the Incident Command System (ICS). This course expands upon information covered in the ICS 100 and ICS 200 courses.

Course Objective:
  • Describe how the National Incident Management System Command and Management component supports the management of expanding incidents.
  • Describe the Incident/Event Management process for supervisors and expanding incidents as prescribed by the ICS.
  • Implement the Incident Management process on a simulated Type 3 incident.
  • Develop an Incident Action Plan for a simulated incident.
Selection Criteria:

NIMS ICS All-Hazards training should be completed by personnel who are regularly assigned to Functional, Support, or Unit Leader positions on Type 3 or 4 All-Hazards Incident Management Teams, or by those persons who desire to seek credentials/certification in those positions.

Prerequisites:
  • IS0100.b
  • IS0200.b
  • IS0700.a
  • IS0800.b

January 13 - Sacramento County ARES Training
Posted January 1, 2017

The next Sacramento County ARES training and meeting is scheduled for Saturday January 13, 2018 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon at the Sacramento Sheriff's Central Division, 7000 65th Street, Sacramento, CA 95823.

Vince Cracchiolo KI6NHP is the Sacramento County EC.

For more information, visit the Sacramento County ARES web site at www.saccountyares.org


Redding Veterans Home
Redding Veterans Home to Receive Amateur Radio Station
Posted November 27, 2017

Members of the Redding ARRL VE Team and the Redding Old Timers’ group have received permission to move forward to design and install an amateur radio station at the Redding Veterans Home. The station is likely to have HF, VHF and UHF capabilities. Currently, there are five licensed amateur radio operators living at the facility and two more residents are studying to obtain their Technician Class licenses.

73, Steve, K6KS


Update from Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, Section Technical Coordinator
Updated October 7, 2017

Well here comes Pacificon 2017 ready or not. I will be there checking cards at the NCDXC table.

Also there is a ham swap in Durham California on Saturday Sept 30, 2017 08:00am, read more at http://www.w6thw.com/image/durham_swap_meet.jpg

Then there is a ham swap in Redding on the 14th of October 2017 from 10 am to 2 pm at Bentronics Electronics on 141 Locust Street, Redding, California, CA 96001.

If you need cards checked for DXCC, WAS or VUCC let me know. I get all over Northern California.

Call me and leave a message or email me, my information is on the ARRL web page.

73 and good DX, Bob Wortman, WB6VYH
ARRL Pacific Division DXCC Awards Manager, Sacramento Valley Section Technical Coordinator, WAS Award Manager, VUCC Awards Manager


Shriners Hospital School
Update from Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD
Posted November 27, 2017

Amateur Radio Program for the Shriner's Hospital School

A joint project of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Sacramento City Unified School District, the on-site Northern California Shriners Hospital School provides bilingual education for preschool through 12th grade. Special programs include vocational education and school re-entry programs for rehabilitation patients.

Shriners Hospital School
The administrator and teachers at the Northern California Shriner's Hospital School are interested in starting an amateur radio program for their patients/students.  Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD, has secured some Morse equipment and an Alinco VHF handheld radio for the program and is soliciting a donated HF station (transceiver, microphone, power supply and antenna).

Please contact Duane at duanewyatt@hotmail.com if you or your club can assist or would like to collaborate with him and the school staff in setting up and conducting this youth outreach project.

Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD,
duanewyatt(at)hotmail.com

Editor's note - The November 22 TWiT Ham Nation webcast featured an inspiring video story on Jim Mayercak's success at the Dresden Elementary Amateur Radio Station, KD8NOM.  See https://twit.tv/shows/twit-bits/episodes/4559.


FCC Amateur AuxiliaryFrom Norm Lucas, WB6RVR (SK),
Section Official Observer Coordinator
Posted January 11, 2016

Do you have what it takes to be an ARRL "Official Observer?"

Update April 6, 2017 - 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 temporary hold on applications for new Official Observers and Official Observer Coordinators at this time.  Read more here.

The ARRL Executive Committee (EC) has directed that work begin on finalizing the language of a revised memorandum of understanding between ARRL and the FCC regarding the Amateur Auxiliary (Official Observer) program. The EC met on March 25 in Aurora, Colorado. The panel, which acts on behalf of the ARRL Board of Directors between its regular meetings, heard an update on the Official Observer Program Revitalization Study from ARRL Second Vice President and committee chair Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, who said his committee plans to present final recommendations later this year on revamping the Amateur Auxiliary, for ultimate consideration by the full Board.

Official Observer Program Update

In his remarks, General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, was complimentary of new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and told the EC he thinks enforcement efforts may be more successful in the future, due to the new chairman’s interest in the issue. Imlay also said the new chief of the Enforcement Bureau, Michael Carowitz, is reported to be “amateur friendly.” He told the EC that he foresees a potential window of opportunity for improved spectrum enforcement work, as well as the opportunity to build a stronger working relationship with the FCC on all issues.

The Official Observer (OO) program has been sponsored by the ARRL for more than 85 years to help Amateur Radio operators assist each other to operate their stations in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.
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.


Federal Communications Commission

LF Bands
FCC Opens 630 and 2200 Meter Bands
from September 15, 2017 ARRL News

The FCC has announced that the Office of Management and Budget has approved, for 3 years, the information-collection requirement of the Commission’s March 29 Report and Order (R&O) that spelled out Amateur Radio service rules for the two new bands — 630 meters and 2200 meters. Notice of the action appears in today’s edition of the Federal Register. Before using either band, stations must notify the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), formerly the Utilities Telecom Council, that they plan to do so, and if UTC does not respond within 30 days, they may commence operation.
Read the full story on the ARRL News http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-opens-630-and-2200-meter-bands-stations-must-notify-utc-before-operating.

Update on FCC Deliberate Interference Case
Posted April 4, 2017

Recent filings related to a long-standing FCC case regarding deliberate interference on 3908 kHz is posted on the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/filings?proceedings_name=08-20&sort=date_disseminated,DESC.
Additional information related to this matter is posted on the ARRL News http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-levies-25-000-fine-on-california-radio-amateur-for-deliberate-interference.


Update on California Hands Free Law
Submitted by Andrew Silvester, KC6O, posted October 7, 2017

Good news! On 26-SEP-17 AB-1222 was "Approved by the Governor." AB1222 was the bill that fixed the problem we amateur radio operators had with the “Electronic wireless communication devices” law (AB 1785) that went into effect last year. This bill removes “specialized mobile radio device” and “two way messaging device” as examples of an “electronic wireless communications device” that is prohibited from being used while driving.

From the Assembly Transportation Committee bill analysis:
The author believes AB 1785 inadvertently included devices that were not intended to be included in the wider cellphone ban. Devices such as two-way radios functioning on business band or civilian band (CB) radios which have a more limited scope of functions, and thus, a more limited potential for distracting a driver. With this bill, the author intends to provide technical cleanup to AB 1785, so that it is not construed to limit the use of two-way wireless communication devices utilized by either trained professionals or individuals that have been properly licensed for brief, verbal communications essential to the functioning of their job duties. According to guidance issued by the California Highway Patrol, a radio installed and mounted in a vehicle with a wired hand microphone, for example, business band or CB radio, is not considered to be wireless communication device, nor is it considered a specialized mobile radio device, and therefore not subject to enforcement under AB 1785. This bill is consistent with that guidance, and codifies that distinction.

For the text of the bill and other information: AB-1222: Vehicles: electronic wireless communications devices: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1222

Editor's Note - Jim Aspinwall, NO1PC, has posted comments on AB-1222 on http://www.no1pc.org/handsfree/


Light Ballast RFI
Pot grow lights interfere with Ham Radio
Submitted by Rene Smythe, WB6PSY, posted March 4, 2017

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/c1b607bfbbab459ba9e21d4c282996e4/growing-problem-pot-lights-give-ham-radio-operators-buzz

I have experienced this interference for the past few years. I found the interference by swinging my 10m Yagi monobander around until the noise became over S9. I then went outside to see where the beam was physically pointed and discovered a garage where indoor pot is being grown. The lights are on a time cycle so the interference comes and goes. 40º degrees in either direction takes the noise out.

Now that marijuana is being legalized in more states, more hams are going to experience this noise.

WB6PSY

ARRL and the FCC have a cooperative agreement in radio frequency interference matters.  You may submit complaints together with your supporting documentation to ARRL EMC Engineer Mike Gruber W1MG who then files the report with the FCC Gettysburg office.
You may also contact our Section Technical Coordinator Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, or our Section Official Observer Coordinator Bob Hess, W1RH, for assistance. More infomation is posted under the "From the Section Manager" notes in the November 2016 Section News - Carol KP4MD


Club and Member News - January 2018


ARRL/ARC Post Hurricane Maria Disaster Deployment

River City ARCS
Update from River City ARCS
Posted January 1, 2018

PRESIDENTS MESSAGE

And a Happy A New Year to All!

As we start the New Year there are some old things and a few new ideas that we are going to try. Elmer night with some new topics, Farm and Tractor Days to help get Ham Radio out to the public, the Club picnic - just for fun, Field Day - the fun of working in the heat or cold or wind or all of the above. I would add rain but it never rains in sunny California does it? Home Brew night, Our White Elephant sale (which was VERY good last year) and last but not least our Christmas Party.

I hope that the board and I can bring some interesting speakers and topics to the club meetings. Starting in Jan. We are having Joseph Pistritto N3CKF as our speaker. He was one of the 50 hams who were selected to go to Puerto Rico to assist in the post-Hurricane Maria ARRL-Red Cross relief effort in getting communications back up and running after the storm.

One of the new ideas is making a better effort to welcome new members and new hams to the club by having board members and/or older members take them under their wing and welcome and “Elmer” them if they need it.

If any club member has any ideas or suggestions please let me know and I will see what we can do with them.

Dave Martin WB6YLK Newsletter


Sierra Foothills ARC
Update from Sierra Foothills ARC
Posted January 1, 2018

Sierra Foothills ARC, Auburn, CA Web: w6ek.org
Newsletter at: http://www.w6ek.org/newsletters/Sierra_Signals_01_18.pdf

Calendar of Events: January 12 - Club Meeting.  January 27 - Club Breakfast.

VE – First Saturday each Month 8am at Raley’s Granite Bay. See website for more.

Hamfest 2018 – March 17th Historic Loomis Train Depot Plaza. Orion, AI6JB is the Hamfest 2018 Chairperson this year. Already planning, approved as a sanctioned ARRL Hamfest and we are working on some fabulous prizes. Check the w6ek.org website for more.

SFARC Activities - The Club Net meets every Thursday at 7:30pm, Elmer Net meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30pm.Board and General Meetings occur on the 2nd Friday, Board meeting is held at Sizzler Restaurant in Auburn, and General meetings at 7:30pm at Auburn City Hall everyone is welcome. The Club breakfast is held on the last Saturday at Mel’s Diner in Auburn.

VE Session Summary

Hi Everyone, Thanks again for all the VE's (10) that were able to come to the session.
We had a very successful session again. We administered 6 elements to 6 candidates. 5 earned a new or upgraded license. We have 1 new Technician, 2 new Generals, and 2 new Extras.

Thanks Al NI2U

The Sierra Foothills Amateur Radio Club Christmas Party was held on December 9, 2017,
at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in Auburn, CA. Photos courtesy of Sierra Signals.

Nevada County ARC
Update from Nevada County ARC
Updated January 19, 2018

Nevada County Amateur Radio Club members hold impromptu meetings at the Omega Rest Area on highway 20. Members set up their stations and in this case made contacts during the California QSO party. Elevation is around 5000 ft and the views are tremendous. Our activity always draws the interest of motorists coming through the rest stop.

73, Cal McKitrick AI6MC, NCARC President 2018 Newsletter Facebook Group

Happy New Year to All.  Here is the January 2018 newsletter for NCARC.  The meeting will be January 8 at 7 pm at the Salvation Army meeting room, 10725 Alta Street in Grass Valley.  Doors open at 6:30 pm for eyeball QSOs.  I hope to see you there!

Mark, W8BIR, Newsletter Editor

COFFEE CHAT (Ham n' Coffee)

Thursdays, 8 am at Valentina's Bistro, 841 Sutton Way, Grass Valley

Photo caption: Seated in the chairs are Richard KI6UOV, Chuck KI6CM. Standing is Walt N6HNS and Jim KI6UOX and at the radio is Ike KM6IUI making his first HF contact. (Photos by Cal AI6MC)
Photo caption: Seated in the chairs are Richard KI6UOV, Chuck KI6CM. Standing is Walt N6HNS and Jim KI6UOX and at the radio is Ike KM6IUI making his first HF contact. (Photos by Cal AI6MC)
Photo caption: Seated: Richard KI6UOV, Chuck KI6CM. Standing: Walt N6HNS and Jim KI6UOX
At the radio is Ike KM6IUI making his first HF contact.  
(Photos by Cal AI6MC)

Mount Shasta ARC
Update from Mount Shasta ARC
Submitted January 3, 2018

January is the month we elect new officers. For the past few years, the January meeting has been cancelled due to weather, but the elections took place online. Who knows what the weather forecaster will bring us, so keep your eyes open and let's make certain we have the right officers in place to bring us into the New Year.

The club wishes to extend our warmest regards to the family of George Dibelka, AB6UE (SK). South Siskiyou County has lost a giant in amateur radio and emergency communications.

On December 20, 2017, the club hosted its annual holiday gathering. An excellent potluck was capped by door prizes and several rounds of "RADIO" (like bingo, but, well, radio) wherein winning members received premium prizes. The night was filled with warmth, laughter, and getting to know each other.

As we head into another year, we also begin another cycle of public service events. Please remember to test your equipment and check your calendars, because we'll be asking you to help.

Submitted by Mark Dibelka, AB2LI


W6SFM Monthly Meeting

Samuel F. Morse ARC
Update from Samuel F Morse ARC
Updated January 14, 2018

W6SFM January Club Newsletter

Hello members!

We made it to another year. With your support the club has been able to maintain more than a 60% membership to this point! Our goal as with every year is to get to 100% renewal. Without your continued support this would not be possible. Please take this opportunity to pay your 2018 club dues if you haven't already. We would be disappointed to loose even one of you!

Please find the attached January W6SFM News Letter for your reading enjoyment. In this addition is information on the January 13th NAQP contest hosted by member David K6CIM at his home QTH. Also, an in-depth report on Vertical Antenna design and requirements. As well as the introduction to our newest member Phil, KD6RM.

Please let me know if you have any questions... Thank you once again for the start of a great new year!

73, Michael, N6MQL, President SFM ARC 2018 Newsletter


Western Placer ARC
Update from Western Placer ARC
Posted January 1, 2018

Greetings from the Western Placer Amateur Radio Club:

Our Next Club Meeting is Saturday, January 27, 2018. 1:00 PM
Location: Via Roma Pizzeria con Cucina, 1230 Sunset Blvd Suite 600, Rocklin, CA
Scheduled Speaker and Topic: Kickoff Luncheon

The club is repeating a successful and popular kick off event from 2017. We will assemble on Saturday, January 27 at 1:00 PM at Via Roma Pizzeria con Cucina for a kickoff luncheon. Four Italian themed entrees will be available to order at the event. The meal will include salad, entree, dessert, tea or soda, and gratuity for $25 per person. Adult beverages are available at extra cost. Our annual prize drawing using all the tickets from the monthly drawings will be held during the luncheon. This event takes the place of our usual monthly third Tuesday meeting for January. Come join the fun! It won't be the same without you!

Regular Club Meeting Location: WPARC conducts board and member meetings on third Tuesdays of each month. Members and guests with business to bring before the board are welcome to attend board meetings. Join us at Round Table Pizza, 1020 Pleasant Grove Blvd #170, Roseville. This location faces Roseville Parkway at the northeast corner of the complex. View map and directions in link above. Come out to enjoy some camaraderie, food, beverage, and tales of the radios! Round Table offers a pizza and salad bar buffet dinner on Tuesday evenings for about $10/person.

WPARC Repeater New Tone 67.0 Hz. Our old subaudible tone of 179.9 Hz was becoming audible on newer radios presenting a hum. On Friday October 27 a team treked up to the repeater to change the tone from 179.9 Hz to 67.0 Hz. Ensure that you change all of your radios to use the new PL tone. The old tone won't be recognized by the repeater.

WPARC Repeater Abuses. Repeater Trustee Michael K6BUK received comments on a few repeater users abusing repeater etiquette. Please review Ethics and Operating Procedure for the Radio Amateur as a refresher.

Ham Radio License/Volunteer Examiner (VE) Tests (New Day and Location). WPARC is now offering VE testing on the first Wednesday of each month. Chuck KK6DOA will be managing the program. The location will be at the Round Table Pizza, 1020 Pleasant Grove Blvd #170, Roseville CA. This is the same location as our monthly member meeting noted above. See link there for map and directions. For more information and to confirm a time please email Chuck at: kk6doa (at) gmail (dot) com.

Club T-Shirts. Club T-shirts have been a huge hit, and club members wanted more! Our vendor will soon have a web site offering more colors and shirt options. New orders are suspended until the new web site is available.

K6PAC Repeater Yaesu DR-2x Upgrades Completed. Upgrades to new Yaesu DR-2X are completed. A new FVS-2 Voice Module will add new features to leave messages, record and review your transmission, along with announcements. Stay tuned for more details.

We have set the date and location for the WPARC 2018 Kickoff Party! It will be at Via Roma again in Rocklin on Saturday January 27. The cost per person will be the same as last year.

The club website, http://wparc.us/index.html, has a new look and new information. Jey KQ6DK is now club web master and is updating the the site on a regular basis. Thanks to Jey for all his work on the website.

Don’t forget about our WPARC Facebook page. It is at: https://www.facebook.com/WPARC

Want more? We now have a Twitter account! Just search for @k6pac (the club repeater call sign with the “@” symbol). We are following the ARRL, the ARRL Sacramento Valley Section, Kenwood, and Yaseu and a few others. If you think of someone we should follow, please email me. I know there are a few local clubs with Twitter accounts and I will add them.

73, Michael Buck. K6BUK

WPARC on Facebook and Twitter

Check us out on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter (@k6pac)


El Dorado County ARC
Update from El Dorado County ARC - pending
Posted November 20, 2017

2017 Club Holiday Dinner

Saturday, December 9th @ 5:00pm, CT European Cafe & Grill, 4064 Mother Lode Dr, Shingle Springs, CA 95682, $20 Per Person

Ham Radio Exam

January 13th at 9:00am Held at the American Legion Post 119, 4561 Greenstone Road, Placerville CA 95667. Testing Fees $14.00. Contact Ken Vogele, W6KWV at 530-642-9523

FROM THE PRESIDENT

The turnout for our October meeting was great! There were two presentations on the topic of Software Defined Radio. One presented by our VP, Jay (KE6GLA) and one by myself. Judging by the questions from those in attendance, I’d say both talks generated quite a bit of interest!

Our November meeting, as mentioned last month, will be one week early, so as not to interfere with the Thanksgiving holiday. We will meet at the same location on the third week of November. During this meeting, we will be voting for new officers and board members for 2018 and I encourage you all to attend and throw your name into the hat to serve for a year. It can be quite rewarding!

As the weather cools and we head for winter, more of us will have time to spend at ‘the bench’. Please let a club officer, or board member, know if you’re working on a project that could be of interest to the general membership. We’ll happily make some time for you!

See you at the November meeting!

73, Michael, K6MLE Newsletter


Yuba Sutter ARC
Update from Yuba-Sutter ARC - pending
Posted December 1, 2017

THE "PREZ" SAYS

When you’re on the road what frequency do you have your rig tuned to? Probably like me you keep it tuned to the local repeater so that you can talk to your friends if they’re on the air. What about when you leave the area though or it’s late at night and no one seems to be out there on your normal stomping grounds? I hope you’ve got some other local frequencies programmed onto your rig and routinely scan those in these circumstances. You’ll be giving yourself a chance to expand your contacts and make new friends. I recently found myself in those situations and was glad to have the extra frequencies programmed onto my mobile. I made a trip to Fairfield a week or so ago and was having a nice conversation with Doug/KD6LOK when I lost the signal because of the Coastal Range. Having nothing else to do except drive I set my rig to scan and eventually picked up a conversation between some hams in Fair Oaks, Elk Grove and Woodland about a project that one of them was coordinating to assemble a rig for another ham living in an assisted living facility. I didn’t join in but enjoyed listening to this group of hams, some of whom were unknown to the others, working together to aid a fellow ham. A couple of days later I turned on my radio to go home and caught the call sign of one of those hams, Mal/KM6MFP, who was on our repeater testing out an antenna he was building for this project. I answered him and we had a nice conversation about how I had heard them discussing this the other day and was glad to have the chance to talk to him. He was with another of the hams who was on that original conversation. Even though they had never met before they were together in Mal’s workshop collaborating on building this piece for the project. Yet a couple of days later I was heading for Santa Rosa for Thanksgiving, again with my mobile on scan, when I heard Mal’s call sign for the third time in a week. I took the time to have another pleasant conversation with him before I lost the signal. We might not talk again for a long while but have got another friend out there because of scanning frequencies other than our own. I also made another acquaintance the other night, Brett/N6VIA, when I switched to another frequency during a very late night’s drive and just asked if anyone was on the frequency. Apparently I had gotten onto the Sacramento Sheriff’s Amateur Radio Program repeater and he was over in Jackson that evening. We didn’t have a long chat but it was nice to have a friendly conversation and meet yet another ham during that long, dark night.

Because of our hobby we have a unique avenue to make new and interesting acquaintances in varied and sometimes far-flung locations. I’m getting more bold in getting out onto other frequencies when the opportunity arises and have always been glad that I reached out. I hope you’ll take the opportunity, especially the new hams, to make new friends and give them the opportunity to get to know you also.

73s and a great Christmas season to you all, Chris/KK6VZD

CHRISTMAS PARTY

The party will be at the 1st United Methodist Church at 730 D Street, Marysville. That is at 8th and D Streets. We will be using Pioneer Hall, which is in the back. There will be a couple of door prizes so bring your tickets. There will also be tickets sold for drawings for other related items. There will something for all groups including the kids. Doors will open at 6 PM.

The caterers will arrive and set everything up. Porky's BBQ will be serving chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, rolls, and green salad with a choice of either ranch or Italian dressing.

Dinner tickets for Adults are $15 each, $8 for kids 6 to 11 years and under 6 are free.

Joe Visalli, N9BD

EDITORS COMMENTS

✓YSARC’s new web page is: www.ysarc.net - click on the upper right-hand icon on the homepage to join the club’s Facebook page. Past issue’s of the VHN are available on our new website.

✓Send your ham related articles and pictures to share in your VHN. Pictures of ham shacks, antenna projects, antenna parties, etc. are appreciated KI6CSN@arrl.net or KF6FVP@arrl.net

Newsletter


Elk Grove-Florin ARC
Update from Elk Grove-Florin ARC - pending
Posted November 18, 2017

Elk Grove-Florin ARC—Section News –November 18, 2017

Our General Meeting in November was the Annual Meeting required by our by-laws. We had our election of officers to manage the club affairs for the calendar year 2018. The officers for 2018 are: President: Chris Lay, KG6JFO; Vice President: Mark Flint, KK6YFV; Secretary: Mary Frederici, KI6YPQ; Treasurer: Cindy Gansereit, KM6BUY; Member at Large: Dave Reingold, KK6MVJ

We thank our 2018 officers for the time and service will give in leading our club and look forward to an exciting year.

Following the election Dave, KK6MVJ, presented an excellent slide show talk about his trip to Oregon for the Solar Eclipse in October. Thank You Dave!

Club members and their families will end 2017 with a Christmas Party including lots of food, fellowship and a slideshow summary of the year.

Happy Holidays!, Paul N6DRY


Oroville ARS
Update from Oroville ARS
Submitted January 8, 2018

OARS Monthly Meeting Reminder

The monthly meeting of OARS will take place this Friday, 12 January 2018, 7 pm, in St. Paul’s Parish Hall, 1430 Pine Street, in Oroville. The doors will open at 6 pm for a social hour prior to the meeting. The program, at time of this writing, is to be determined. Membership dues for 2018 ($20) are due at this time; club Treasurer Gerry Vrooman, N6GCV, will greatly appreciate dues payments.

Hope to see everyone at the meeting. 73, Jim W7XZ

News from Ted Cochran, N6TBC, OARS President

Memberships are due. We have Gerry Vroommen N6GCV and Uncle Joe Herman W6CAL at Quartzsite this year. I will be with Greg KG6SJT the end of the month at the ICS -300 training in Mather.

Theodore B, Cochran, N6TBC, Butte County ARES AEC, N6TBC@WINLINK.ORG N6TBC@arrl.net

Congratulations to Ted on his election as President of Oroville ARS - Carol KP4MD


QCWA
Update from SOTARS/QCWA Chapter 169
Submitted January 8, 2018

Our meeting this month is Wednesday, January 10th. You can choose Lunch or Breakfast. (Denny's serves breakfast all day.) Breakfast (or lunch) starts at eleven and the meeting will start at noon.

There a couple of viewing options available this month, so I will let the attendees decide what to air at the meeting. One is a tour of the MFJ factory on their 45th anniversary, which is rather long and will have to be split into two sessions. The other is TXfactor Episode 19, including clips from the UK hamfest, some Icom radio previews, a return to the BBC and finally a clip about online exams. Give some thought as to what you might like to see on Wednesday.

The meeting as usual at: Denny's Restaurant, 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 plan to attend.


North Hills RC
Update from North Hills RC
Posted January 19, 2018

The next meeting of the North Hills Radio Club will take place on Tuesday January 16.

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.

See you there! From Doug Emerson, Vice-President, North Hills Radio Club. Amateur callsign N6NFF


Glenn ARS
Update from Glenn ARS
Submitted January 4, 2018

Prez Says!

Welcome to the New Year and New Beginnings! I trust that each and everyone had a happy and blessed Holiday season. Did you get some new toys for Christmas? If so please tell, or show and tell, at our next membership meeting which is right around the corner. With the weather we have been experiencing this winter it is hoped that your antenna and feed line work has been attended to. I have not gotten to mine and it will catch up just when the weather decides to get nasty.

I would like the first meeting of the year to be an idea and planning type of meet. We need to start our plans for the ARRL Field Day this coming June. Also need to come up with some ideas for topics and presentations to present at our club membership meetings for the balance of the year.

Been playing with the SharkRF openSpot a little and have it almost working. New radios that are being sold today are for the most part well built; but the programming software in most cases has not received the same attention to detail. Having spent a number of days at the keyboard with two different radio computer programming software (CPS) I can attest to that fact. Do you have a different experience?

Also would like to hear from the group your thoughts on where you would like to see the club in six, twelve months, and two years from now. Would also be interesting to hear your thoughts on what you think your station might look like in the near future. There has been a lot of progress in all things electronics, software, and communications. So what you wanted two years ago may be well within your grasp in coming months ahead.

See you all, Thursday next, the 11th of January, 2018. We will meet at the Artois Lutheran Fellowship Hall at 6:30pm. Late arrivals and guests are welcome. So be safe in all you do and may you all have many blessings in the days ahead!

Mike Ellithorpe-KF6OBI kilofox6obi@yandex.com 530-518-3730 Newsletter


Golden Empire ARS
Update from Golden Empire ARS
Submitted January 2, 2018

The Prez' Says:

Happy New Year!

I would like to start by thanking all our past officers for their hard work and dedication to our organization. You have done a fantastic job and I only hope, as your incoming President, I can do half as good a job.

Our first meeting I will be giving each of you an opportunity to suggest ideas for programs you would like to have during the year. Ideas can include programs from other clubs that you might belong to or attend. Please come prepared to share your thoughts.

On Saturday, December 30th, we had a breakfast get together at Farmer’s Skillet and 14 people were in attendance. We have these get together’s on the last Saturday of the month and would like to invite all to attend.

At our Christmas gathering, we were visited by “Santa”, aka Douglas Poppelreiter -KD6LOK.

He mentioned working with others who are trying to establish an interest in Ham Radio in local youth thru high school programs. One of my main goals these past few years has been to spark an interest in our local youth. I am hoping to explore some possibilities that might enable us to achieve this goal.

As your new President, I am looking forward to working with you to grow our membership and fellowship.

Wishing all of you a very Happy 2018.

73 Tom Rider W6JS rustyboyrider@aol.com Newsletter


Member Updates


A Dying Man's Last Wish--Talking on High Frequency Ham Radio

Update from Jim Heath W6LG
Posted January 1, 2018

I helped in a very small way with granting a man's last wish. Here's the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUHVqMcRDfs. Articles about our contact were in Chicago area newspapers. I was described as Jim in Grass Valley.

John Nugent's last wish was fulfilled with the kind and generous help of a large group of Ham Radio volunteers and others on December 5, 2017. The group included the follow ham radio operators and others near Chicago, IL: Alesia K. Behnke FHCC Lovell, Dave K9DRH, Donald Whitney, Derick.Bonewitz, Rob Orr, Jim Heath W6LG, David Isgur, George Dorner, Kent McKenzie, Michael Jackson, W. Paul Mazzeno, Allan Ayers, John Fritze K9TAL, Dave Pritchard.

Jim's W6LG YouTube channel has almost at 10K subscribers with one video at more than 100,000 views.

Still recovering from a bilateral PE a year ago and the damage that all did. I've been going to UC Davis Med Center.

Thanks, Jim Heath W6LG

From the 1990's until recently, Jim Heath, W6LG, had manufactured home and mobile screwdriver antennas, controllers and accessories at High Sierra Antennas in Nevada City, CA.   For years Jim exhibited his High Sierra Antennas at the Dayton Hamvention and thousands of these antennas are still in use today.  Although High Sierra closed in November 2016, Jim continues to serve the radio amateur community through posting instructional videos on his YouTube channel. - Carol, KP4MD


HRN 365: NCIS Newington on Ham Radio Now

NCIS Newington - The Controversy
Posted January 1, 2018

When ARRL HQ announced via Facebook that on October 31 NCIS episode #336 "Trapped" would spotlight amateur radio, I imagined a glowing positive portrayal of volunteer amateur radio heroes who assist law enforcement in serving public safety. I mean, what else would we expect after seeing all the positive media coverage that we received in the aftermath of last year's hurricanes and wildfires?

Instead, I (and apparently many others) felt disillusioned and perhaps somewhat insulted by a grossly inaccurate stereotype of radio amateurs, e.g. the use of cryptic "handles" instead of call signs, etc. and a grotesque representation of radio amateurs as generally being odd, paranoid and social misfits. Perhaps that portrayal did serve the writers' intent to add a sensational mystique to the plot, but, in my opinion, had they researched the topic, it would have added credibility as well as an informed and realistic view of the amateur radio service.

In his Ham Radio Now podcast #365, Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, focuses on the amateur radio images and dialogue from the NCIS episode to analyze and discuss the portrayal and his concerns over its impact on the public perception of the amateur radio service.

In his "Second Century" column on page 9 of the January 2018 issue of QST, ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher NY2RF gives his take on this matter and concludes that "The public saw ham radio. They missed the distractions [that were so obvious to us]. Maybe that's a good thing." After all, Hollywood and fictional prime time television are about entertainment, not education.

- Carol Milazzo, KP4MD


Al's Tips for the Amateur Extra Class License Exam
Submitted November 24, 2017

Having just passed the Extra Class exam I have some tips for anyone out there who is in the process of studying or getting ready to sit for the test.

One thing you should know is that this is not an easy exam. I have it on good authority that the current question pool put into service in July 2016 is far more difficult than the previous one. I'm told that there was a a lot of pushback from 'old guard' hams (especially the guys still upset over the elimination of CW!) who claimed that too many people were passing the exam... that it was too easy.

Thus, you are looking a answering a lot of questions that have only marginal (and sometimes zero) congruence to running a radio station. So, your only option is to plan a lot of extra time to prepare as well as in the actually taking of the exam. As I said, it is not easy.

I do not believe it is possible to cram for this exam unless you have advanced degrees in both quantum mechanics and astrophysics! While you can memorize some questions and answers, by and large you will have to know the material, or at least have the cognative ability to 'figure it out' while taking the test.

There are some ways to make the process a bit easier and help insure success in the exam. I present the ones that worked for me (in no particular order.)

- The ARRL Extra manual is not great exam study guide. It is a college-level textbook on radio theory, semiconductor physics, and endless explanations fo the many arcane FCC rules. Don't spend the money on it until after you pass and want to know in more detail advanced radio theory, etc.

- I'm told the Gordon West book is good but I had it for the General and was not impressed with it.

- I found that the 100 page "No-No-Nonsense!Extra Class License Study Guide" by Dan Romanchik KB6NU to be well worth the $10 PDF cost. Read it a few days after you have studies and about to take the exam as it is a good review and answers all 700+ questions.

- Using http://hamstudy.org, a good protocol to follow is to spend several weeks reading the entire 700+ question pool, then another several weeks doing the flash cards, and finally take at least 50+ practice exams to where you consistently get 80% or better.

- When starting out, tell whatever program you use to eliminate the distractor (wrong) answers.

- Here is my best tip. For some questions you can create easy-to-remember mnemonics to give you a hint of the answer. For example there is a question as to whether a T-net is a high pass or a low pass. The answer is high-pass and you can remember that T stands for Touchdown in football and often is the result of a high pass from the QB. Another answer about meteor showers is Sporadic-E. "E" rhymes with "meteor."

- The analysis that I did (subject to an unknown margin of error) is that 85% of the time the longest answer was the correct answer. So if you have to guess, choose the longest answer.

- Many times a keyword that is in the question also shows up in only one answer... and that is the correct one.

- Some non-common words only show up ONCE in the entire question/answer pool... like "astable" which is the right answer.

- When taking the exam at the VE session do as many of the 50 questions as you can and omit the ones you are not totally sure about. Then go back and do them. Often the answer to them can be found in other questions.

- Give yourself plenty of time to study for the exam, but be consistant. Find an 60 minutes or so a day to read text or flash cards or do exams. The week before the exam, allocate two hours every night to take practice exams.

- Try to schedule the exam for an afternoon VE session or evening. Spend several hours before the exam reading flash cards, preferably right up until they pass out the exam books. That way your brain is 'tuned' to work well.

At the risk of being too repetitious, for most of you (us) this will be the hardest exam you have ever taken in your post-college/graduate school life.

The following is my opinion. Yours may be different and I'm OK with that:

Some people say that this version of the exam was designed to insure that Extra class operators were the "best of the best."

I disagree.

At least half the exam consists of questions that have zero relation to running a radio station. They are overly technical, contain math that most of us have long forgotten, and encompass theory more congruent with academic pursuits than practical application.

It was designed by be hard.

It was designed so that you will fail.

Many say, and I believe it to be true, that it was designed so that the Extra class would continue to be an 'good old boy's' club. If so they did a really good job of it! If you want to gain access to this club, you will indeed pay your dues by losing a lot of sleep and perhaps some hair as well! The lyrics Ringo Star once wrote are true:

"Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues
And you know it don't come easy"

For those who are considering taking the Extra exam, hope I've helped a little bit.

Alan Canton, KM6AAI, Fair Oaks, CA, http://www.qrz.com/db/KM6AAI, ac@KM6AAI.net


60 meter band plan
Keep Our Digital Transmissions Legal on 60 Meters
Posted January 29, 2017

Our decreasing solar activity and residential antenna restrictions have attracted increasing numbers of radio amateurs to operate CW and weak signal digital modes on our lower HF frequencies including 60 meters. The five frequency channels that US amateur radio operators share on a secondary basis with US federal government users on 60 meters (5 MHz) pose unique requirements for CW and digital operators. As explained on http://www.arrl.org/60m-channel-allocation, US radio amateur emissions on our 60m channels must be precisely centered in the center frequency of each assigned channel, that is, 5332.0, 5348.0, 5358.5, 5373.0 or 5405.0 kHz. Thus, for example, a CW signal on channel 3 (USB Dial frequency 5357.0 kHz) must be precisely on 5358.5 kHz. The same ARRL page explains that all digital emissions must also be centered in the channel center.

This may appear unreasonable to radio amateurs because a 2.8 kHz channel can accommodate many digital and CW transmissions simultaneously, and requiring multiple stations to operate on the same exact frequency would result in mutual interference. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)* explains this requirement in https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7021871884.pdf which states: "Allowing multiple emissions within the necessary bandwidth of the widest authorized modes (2.8 kHz) increases the possibility of harmful interference from secondary amateur stations to primary federal stations, and would make it more difficult for a federal station to identify an interfering amateur station. In addition, NTIA is concerned about the aggregate equivalent isotropically radiated power from multiple amateur stations transmitting within a single 2.8 kHz channel. Accordingly, NTIA requests that 47 C.F.R. Section 97.303(h) continue to require that amateur stations transmit only on the five center frequencies allocated to the amateur service."  (See http://www.arrl.org/what-the-fcc-rules-say-97-303-h)

Observed Violations of US 60 Meter Frequency Regulations
60 meter JT65 signals

JT65

This screenshot photo shows JT65 signals received on 60 meter Channel 3 (5357 kHz USB dial frequency) from 0300-0309 UTC on January 29, 2017. In the photo, the 5357 kHz dial frequency is at 0 Hz on the left side of the waterfall and the 5358.5 kHz channel center is at the 1500 Hz mark. Decodes of several US radio amateurs are seen transmitting JT65 emissions simultaneously on various frequencies throughout the channel 3 frequency range 5357-5360 kHz. This is the familiar appearance of a JT65 waterfall display on all other amateur radio bands; however, it violates the NTIA requirement that each US radio amateur transmission be centered on the 1500 Hz mark (the 5358.5 kHz channel center frequency).
ARRL Official Observer Richard Saunders, K6RBS, has posted the proper WSJT-X program settings for legal 60m JT mode operation here.
60 meter WSPR

WSPR

The link http://wsprnet.org/olddb?band=60&sort=callsign&reverse=on&unique=on lists WSPR mode emissions on the 60 meter band. One can scroll down that list and see how many A, K, N and W call signs have been transmitting WSPR mode on 5288 kHz outside the authorized 60 meter center channel frequencies.  
US WSPR transmissions continue to be observed on the WSPR software default 60 meter frequency of 5288 kHz, a completely unauthorized frequency for US radio amateurs.

Each licensee has the final responsibility for the lawful operation of his or her station.  Unfortunately, the increasing automation in our radios has apparently accustomed some to falsely assume that the radio will correct for operator carelessness and ignorance of regulations.  Our cooperation with NTIA requirements is essential for our continued access to the 60m channels and for possible future access to the new ITU worldwide 60 meter allocation at 5351.5 to 5366.5 kHz. (See http://www.arrl.org/news/view/arrl-asks-fcc-to-allocate-new-5-mhz-band-retain-channels-and-current-power-limit and http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-invites-comments-on-arrl-petition-to-allocate-new-5-mhz-band). Please be aware of these requirements if you intend to or currently operate CW or digital modes on our shared 60m allocations. The Amateur Auxiliary is documenting this matter and hopes to raise its awareness in the wider amateur radio community.

-Carol Milazzo, KP4MD

*The NTIA is the federal authority that coordinates radio spectrum use for the US military and federal government while the FCC serves in this capacity for US civilian radio spectrum users.

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