News, Articles & Comments

October 27, 2016: Assembly Bill 1785 and why you should be concerned

Governor Brown signed AB1785 into law. Unless amended by January, it will make mobile ham radio use illegal. Read what the ARRL has to say:
http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-gauging-impact-of-revised-california-distracted-driving-law

 

January 16, 2014: AA6TS.com gets a new look

I decided to give my website a facelift. I wanted to make it more attractive, more modern, and easier to navigate. Most of the changes are minor, but you should have noticed the difference by now. Let me know if you like it, or if you don’t like it, then why not?

And hopefully more of you will use the comments section to post interesting news and to leave feedback. Thanks for visiting AA6TS.com – I hope you will find it to be a good resource for your hobby, whether it be amateur radio, scanners, shortwave listening, DX, citizen’s band/FRS/GMRS, broadcast radio, emergency services, disaster preparedness, weather, or all of the above!

 

March 24, 2016:
Fry’s Operating Day 2016

It’s time once again for FRYS OPERATING DAY. This year there will only be one location – the event will not be held this time at the San Marcos location.

The date is Saturday, April 30th, 2016 and the location is the NE corner of the Fry’s parking lot at 9825 Stonecrest Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123 (off Aero Drive).

Setup is at 7 AM; Public Operations begin by 9 AM and will continue until approximately 4 PM.

For more information, see the San Diego Six Shooter’s web site at http://sdsixshooters.org/

 

June 20, 2012:
Silent Key: SKYWARN Founder Merle G. Kachenmeister, WA8EWW

Merle G. Kachenmeister, WA8EWW, died May 29 at the age of 82 in the care of Hospice of NW Ohio. He had lived most recently in Blissfield, Michigan. A Navy veteran, he began his career doing weather for the Navy, according to his obituary. He then worked for the US Weather Bureau, later renamed the National Weather Service, where he developed the SKYWARN weather warning system following the deadly 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes. In recognition, the US Department of Commerce awarded him a bronze service medal in 1974.

With Amateur Radio operators at the forefront of the SKYWARN program, the ARRL and the National Weather Service have cosponsored SKYWARN Recognition Day since 1999. A pioneering television meteorologist, Kachenmeister retired from WTOL in Toledo, Ohio after stints at several other TV stations.

Thanks to the ARRL for this information.

 

June 14, 2012:
Williams, AZ Hamfest coming in July

Williams, Arizona – what a great location for a hamfest! The annual Williams Hamfest is scheduled for July 20 & 21, 2012. Free admission, prizes and drawings, meeting, seminars, activities, vendors, a huge swap meet, VE testing, bar-b-que dinner, and a train trip to the Grand Canyon on Sunday, July 22. Camping spaces available.

Here is a link to the flyer:
http://www.arca-az.org/image_files/hamfest_flyers/12_flyer_color.pdf

Here is a link to the Williams Hamfest web site:
http://www.arca-az.org/main/july_hamfest.html

I expect to be there, and I hope to have an opportunity to meet up with you. Please email me if you will be attending, and we will make arrangements to say “hi” to each other! Enjoy!

 

June 5, 2012:
Something resembling a hamfest is coming to Oceanside this month

I heard about an event at a store called “Be Ready” which is advertised as a “prepper fair” scheduled for Saturday, June 30 from 9AM to 3PM. A look at their web site (http://www.bereadyinc.com) shows that many of the displays and presentations scheduled for this event should be of interest to the ham radio community. This is probably the closest our area will get to sponsoring a hamfest (Please continue to write to ARRL telling them that you would support a hamfest in San Diego). Check the site for address and more information. I hope to see you there!

 

June 5, 2012:
Skywarn and the National Weather Service to present class in Dulzura, CA

A Skywarn training class is being presented by Alex Tardy of the National Weather Service on Wednesday, June 27, from 6:00 PM until approximately 8:30 PM, at the Dulzura Community Building. The address is 1136 Community Building Road, Dulzura, CA. The presentation will include what Skywarn does to assist the National Weather Service during times of extreme weather, a discussion on extreme weather itself and how to recognize when something might be shaping up, fire weather, and of course a Q&A period. Also, Paul Nysen, KJ6KIA, will discuss the physics of lightning and how to minimize the chances of an antenna installation from being struck.

There is an online sign-up for this free Skywarn training class. Please direct anyone you know that may be intrested to: http://www.sdctp.com/NWS/Skywarn/SkywarnDulzuraSignUp.html. In this way, we’ll have an idea on how many people to expect.

There is no fee for the class and you do not have to be a weather spotter or a ham radio operator in order to enjoy the information that will be presented. If you have questions, contact Tom Smerk at tom@tomsmerk.com or Jim Campbell at wb6zpb@yahoo.com.

Here is a link to the flyer that includes directions to the venue:
http://radio.tomsmerk.com/june27.pdf

 

June 3, 2012:
June SDG ARES meeting cancelled

Do to the fact that many ARES members will be participating in several events that are happening this Saturday, the monthly ARES meeting for the San Diego section of ARES has been cancelled for this month. The program that was scheduled for the June meeting has been rescheduled for the July meeting, which will be held as usual on the second Saturday in July, which will be July 14. Hope to see you there!

 

May 7, 2012:
Annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test (May 12, 2012)

The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are co-sponsoring the annual military/amateur radio communications tests in celebration of the 62nd Anniversary of Armed Forces Day (AFD). Although the actual Armed Forces Day is celebrated on Saturday, May 19, 2012, the AFD Military/Amateur Crossband Communications Test will be conducted 12 May 2012 to prevent conflict with the Dayton Hamvention (18-20 May 2012), which is the same weekend as the actual Armed Forces Day.

The annual celebration features traditional military to amateur cross band communications SSB voice and Morse Code tests. These tests give Amateur Radio operators and Short Wave Listeners (SWL) an opportunity to demonstrate their individual technical skills, and to receive recognition from the appropriate military radio station for their proven expertise. QSL cards will be provided to those stations making contact with the military stations.

Schedules and frequencies of participating military stations, including the stations that will be transmitting the message from the Secretary of Defense can be found on the web in PDF format at:
http://www.netcom.army.mil/MARS/docs/AMC_Test_2012.pdf

Instructions on how to copy and submit the message are also included.

 

May 7, 2012:
Palomar ARC “Operating Day” in San Marcos

This Sunday, May 6, 2012, I had the pleasure of attending an “Operating Day” organized and hosted by the Palomar Amateur Radio Club. The event ran from 9:30am to 5:30pm in the Fry’s parking lot in San Marcos. Joining the Palomar ARC was our good friends from the PAPA System, Skywarn, American Red Cross, and SoLar Energy & Emergency Preparedness (SLEEP). The event has been rescheduled from March 18th when we got rained out.

What pleased me most about this event is that I saw something happening that was dear to my heart – the presenters were speaking to the public about ham radio, answering questions, demonstrating, teaching and encouraging the public to consider becoming amateur operators! What a wonderful concept! I’m sure that this is not the only club on the move, but I hope that other clubs take note and begin to do more of the same. Many clubs meet once a month, sometimes at a restaurant for a good time, sell raffle tickets, give away some nice prizes while making money for the club, but where in this plan are they getting out into the community and creating interest in ham radio?

Congratulations to each of the groups that participated in this successful event. I call it successful even though there were not a lot of presenters and a not large crowds of people attending, but as this was not a “major” event, it came off exactly as I would have expected. No disappointments a far as I could see!

It was nice to talk to Jim Campbell, the Skywarn central area coordinator. I have been a member of Skywarn for a while, but rarely see any of the folks because they operate mainly in North San Diego County and I am located in the opposite corner of the county in the southeast. A little like ARES – I love ARES, but they never seem to do anything south of La Jolla! At least San Diego County RACES thought to appointing an East County coordinator to work more closely with the folks in the back-country where it is so easy to feel left out and separated from the group.

Papa System and the Palomar ARC had some interesting displays including D-STAR and analog radios, antennas and other radio gear setup for the public to see and use, and a display of all the different types or radios including CB and FRS. The American Red Cross proudly displayed two different examples of their new radio go kits. Talk about an overnight success, it seems the ARC got their new emergency operations center, new equipment, and these great new go kits all at the same time! The whole event was run on solar energy provided by Robert Todd of SoLar Energy & Emergency Preparedness (SLEEP), who answered some of my questions about what it would take to set up a proper solar system to run my rigs. He used two solar cells and three storage batteries, and the system worked beautifully!

If you hear of anything like this scheduled to happen in the future, be sure to encourage your radio club or emcomm organization to participate. This was a nice event with only five participants – imagine how nice it would have been with twenty-five!

 

May 7, 2012:
News from Escondido ARC

I usually look through each edition of the “All Ears” newsletter from the Escondido Amateur Radio Society and post interesting news here on my website. When I sat down with the May newsletter, I decided that there were so many things going on with this club that it would be easier if you could see for yourself, so please check out the May “All Ears” newsletter at http://earsclub.org/allears/2012/AllEarsMay12.pdf, and congratulations to Steve Venner, the hard working All Ears editor from the Escondido Amateur Radio Society.

 

May 7, 2012:
PAPA 11 Off-Link

PAPA 11 (Otay) is currently off link, but is operating as a stand-alone. The link frequencies currently used by this hill top have been taken by the FCC / FAA. The PAPA System is working to acquire new link frequencies for PAPA 11 and we hope to return it to on link status as soon as possible.

 

May 7, 2012:
PAPA 10 Off-Air

PAPA 10 (Palomar Mountain) has sustained some damage on the hill top and is currently off the air. The technical

team is working to correct this and get PAPA 10 back on the air. There is currently not a firm estimate for return to service, but we suspect it will be 2 to 3 weeks.

 

April 30, 2012:
The truth about the new narrowband FM FCC rule

I was listening to Amateur Radio Newsline last night after the SANDRA net, and one of the things that they wanted to emphasize is that ham radio operators are not affected by the new narrow band regulations that applies only to “Part 90” radio users. Amateur radio is regulated by “Part 97,” so this Part 90 regulation does not apply to hams. There has been much worried discussion on many of the discussion groups lately about how their radios are becoming obsolete and now everyone will have to buy a new radio. Amateur Radio Newsline wanted to set the issue straight so that nobody needs to worry needlessly!

 

April 30, 2012:
PAPA System Monthly Net
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 – 8:00 pm PST

All Analog Linked Repeaters

Please join us for the monthly system wide net, this Wednesday beginning at 8pm. Check in from any of the linked analog repeaters. Members, guests, new HAM’s, everyone is welcome. This is a directed net, so please respect Net Control.

We look forward to hearing everyone this Wednesday.

 

April 27, 2012:
Please help with ARRL survey

The ARRL is gathering information to be used in responding to an FCC Public Notice seeking comment on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief.

If you have already responded to an earlier ARRL request by filling out one or both of the forms that are available at http://www.arrl.org/ccr-study-information, thank you! Your assistance is greatly appreciated. If not, and if you have ever been affected by Home Owner’s Association or deed restrictions, please use those forms or take this very brief survey to help the ARRL prepare its response.

Please complete this questionnaire by clicking on the following link, and you will be redirected to an online survey hosted by Zoomerang. This survey will close on Monday, May 14th. Complete Survey Now>

Or, copy the following web address into your browser: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22FJ7YKLXKC/.

Thanks for your assistance and support.

Sincerely,

The ARRL Emergency Communications Advisory Committee (ECAC)

 

April 26, 2012:
PAPA System Field Day

The PAPA System will be joining the Palomar ARC for an Operating Day on May 6, 2012 from 9:30am to 5:30pm at the Fry’s Electronics in San Marcos north end of parking lot. The event has been rescheduled from March 18th when we got rained out.

We’ll have D-STAR and analog radios, antennas and other radio gear setup for the public to see AND USE! We’ll be answering questions and encouraging the public to consider becoming amateur operators.

If you can come on down and spend some time helping out, let us know. Send an email to WD6FZA@Earthlink.net and let us know what times you could help man the station.

New HAM’s are encouraged to attend!

Get on the air, get RADIO ACTIVE!

 

April 25, 2012:
More help for new hams

As a professional educator, I have decided to write a series of guides to help new users enjoy ham radio. My goal will be to give instructions to basic but important amateur radio skills and procedures in an easy to understand format. I have already given some instruction here in the “News” pages and also in the ham radio blog on this site. Most of the new documents will be listed on the “Education and Resources for New Hams” page. The first two installments, which I posted today, are titled “Guide to Using Repeaters for New Hams” and “Guide to Joining a Net For New Hams.” Let me know if there are any topics that you want me to address. Enjoy!

 

April 23, 2012:
PAPA 4 will be off-link Saturday, April 28

PAPA 4 will be off-link Saturday, April 28th from 10am to 2pm in support of T-CEP (Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness) and the DRT (Disaster Radio Team). In addition to PAPA 4, PAPA 17 (Members only / stand alone repeater) will also be used.

The Topanga Emergency Management Task Force will be conducting a drill covering the Topanga canyon area. During this drill, area residents are being asked to evacuate to better prepare themselves for an actual emergency. The PAPA System is supplying radio communication via PAPA 4 and PAPA 17.

Feel free to monitor these repeaters during this time, but please respect net control operations.

 

April 20, 2012:
Estate Sales

I am interested in buying amateur (ham) radio equipment from estate sales, garage sales or moving sales. Contact Tom at (619)818-2079 or email tsmerk@sdccd.edu with a list of items available and arbitrary asking price. I will also consider purchasing other radio equipment such as shortwave, Citizens Band and Scanners, and other electronic equipment such as vintage guitars, microphones and guitar amplifiers and speakers.

 

April 4, 2012:
PAPA D3 On-Air

PAPA D3 (D-Star) has been restored to on the air status.

 

April 4, 2012:
PAPA System: Mt. Otay Repeaters – Analog & D-Star Off The Air

All PAPA Repeaters on Mt. Otay (Analog and D-Star) are currently off the air. We expect to have them returned to service by end of day 4/5/2012.

Webmaster’s note: – I haven’t received any official word from other repeater owners, but I suspect that ALL repeaters on Mt. Otay will be down due to power outage during work being done by SDGE.

 

March 30, 2012:
Fred Maia, W5YI, becomes silent key

The holder of one of the best-known US Amateur Radio call signs, Frederick (Fred) Maia, W5YI, died of cancer Wednesday, March 28. He was 76 and was a resident of Arlington, Texas.

Fred was a leading Amateur Radio journalist for nearly 35 years and a pioneer of the volunteer examining program adopted by the FCC in 1984.

Maia published “The W5YI Report,” dubbed “America’s Oldest Ham Radio Newsletter,” from 1978 to 2003, and has been a CQ contributing editor since 1985. His regulatory affairs column, first titled “Ticket Talk,” then “Washington Readout,” offered news and perspective on FCC Regulations and ITU actions. His final column will appear in the May 2012 issue of CQ.

After the FCC adopted volunteer examining for all levels of Amateur Radio licensing in 1984, Fred became the first Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) appointed by the FCC. Fred subsequently founded The W5YI Group in 1986 to develop, publish and sell amateur and commercial radio license study materials. In the realm of FCC commercial radio licensing, Fred formed National Radio Examiners to provide examination services.

Maia served as President of the W5YI-VEC until his retirement in October of 2000 when he sold The W5YI Group study material products to Master Publishing, Inc. The retail operations were purchased by General Manager Larry Pollock, NB5X, newly appointed President of the W5YI-VEC and National Radio Examiners organizations. Maia continued writing “The W5YI Report” newsletter until July 2003.

A graduate of the US Air Force Radio Operators School, Fred was an avid CW operator. He was first licensed as a teenager as W1NTK in Brockton, Massachusetts, where he grew up. Maia was later licensed as W5UTT, and held DXCC CW awards and EU-PX-A CW. He was a member of QCWA and Life Member of the ARRL.

For several decades, Maia also served on the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) as a member of the Question Pool Committee that oversees the development and maintenance of the Amateur Radio license examination question pools.

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, commented: “Amateur Radio is healthier today because of the tireless efforts of Fred Maia. While Fred did not always see things quite the same way as the ARRL, in my experience he always had the best interests of Amateur Radio at heart. He was a major figure who will be sorely missed.”

He is survived by his wife, Doris, and two daughters. A memorial service will be held at 3 PM, Saturday, March 31, at Moore Funeral Home, 1219 North Davis Dr, Arlington, TX 76012.

 

March 29, 2012:
San Diego area Skywarn members

If you are a ham radio operator and a member of “SkyWarn,” the weather and storm spotting network, you might be interested in the current discussion in the Yahoo group “SW_SKYWARN” where we are discussing the formation of a HF network for reporting weather and storm information as well as participating in a weekly local net on one of the HF bands. If you are not a member of this Yahoo group and you are a Skywarn mamber, then you should consider joining the group for many of the other interesting and informative discussions. Go to http://groups.yahoo.com, do a search for SW_SKYWARN and then click on “Join This Group!” (Membership in Yahoo Groups is required) See you there!

 

March 29, 2012:
60 Meter clarification from ARRL

In response to requests for clarification from the ARRL, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has confirmed that it has no objection to the use of a broader range of data emissions by amateurs on the five 5 MHz frequencies on 60 meters. ARRL’s original understanding was that the NTIA preferred that the use of 2K80J2D emission be limited to Pactor III. The NTIA now says that that is not the case.

In an e-mail response to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, Karl Nebbia, Associate Administrator of the NTIA Office of Spectrum Management, stated, “NTIA has no interest in limiting the types of emission used by the amateurs as long as the data emission does not exceed the 2.8 kHz bandwidth generated by the upper sideband transmitter.” Nebbia referred all further inquiries to the FCC, which “…sets the conditions for use of the five 5 MHz frequencies by the amateurs.”

The requirement of only one signal per channel remains, as well as the prohibition against automatic operation. The FCC continues to require that all digital transmissions be centered on the channel-center frequencies, which the Report and Order defines as being 1.5 kHz above the suppressed carrier frequency of a transceiver operated in the Upper Sideband (USB) mode. This is typically the frequency shown on the frequency display.


The revised ARRL 60-Meter Recommended Practices document can also be found in PDF form on the web at,
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Regulatory/Recommended_Practices_Version_6_5.pdf.

 

March 21, 2012:
PAPA D-STAR SYSTEM D-STAR BASICS CLASSES

Saturday March 31st 10am – 1pm

Classes in both San Diego and Van Nuys

The PAPA System is having a D-Star Basics Class, Saturday March 31st in San Diego and Van Nuys. The classes will run from 10am through 1pm and will cover all aspects of basic D-Star operation, including radio programming, use of repeaters and reflectors, usage protocol and many more.

The San Diego class will be held at Filippi’s Pizza Villa Grotto and will be taught by “KC” – KC6B.

Filippi’s Pizza Villa Grotto
5353 Kearney Villa Rd.
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 279-7240

The Van Nuys class will be held at Denny’s restaurant and will be taught by Mike – N6HKH.

Denny’s
16575 Sherman Way
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 994-0952
Please RSVP to Admin@PapaSys.com Include in the Subject whether you’ll be attending the San Diego or Van Nuys class. Also be sure to include your name, call sign, and type / model of D-Star radio you’ll be bringing, or what radio(s) you own, if you won’t be bringing it to the class.

 

March 18, 2012:
More Mt. Otay outages planned

According to an announcement from SANDRA officers, SDGE is planning another shutdown of power on Mt. Otay for a 96 hour period beginning Tuesday, April 3, while more power pole installation work takes place. The outage date is approximate, depending on other SDGE commitments. As experienced last week, this power outage will prevent the use of ALL repeaters located on Otay Mountain. SANDRA encourages only short or emergency transmissions on the SANDRA Mt. Otay repeater while it is on battery power during the onset of the outage. You will hear two beeps instead of one if the repeater is operating on battery power. Limited use of the repeater during this time will extend battery operation for emergency communications. Feel welcome to take your rag chews to other SANDRA repeaters until power is restored in the Otay Mountain area!

 

March 17, 2012:
PAPA System

Latest updates from PAPA System:

PAPA 8 Mt. Wilson On-Link

PAPA 8 has been returned to on-link status after linking issues between the hill top and the HUB were corrected.

PAPA 18 Edom Hill On-Air

PAPA 18 has been returned to normal operating status. Linking issues (this repeater is linked via IRLP to the rest of the system) have been corrected and the repeater is operating as normal.

Mt. Otay Repeaters On-Air

Power has been restored to the Mt. Otay area after scheduled work by SDGE completed successfully. PAPA 11 / 12 and D11 are back on the air.

 

March 16, 2012:
PAPA System

This just in from our friends at the PAPA System:

PAPA 8 Mt. Wilson Off-Link

PAPA 8 is currently experiencing some link / audio issues and may be off-link. The technical team is working to correct these issues. PAPA 8 is functioning, but only as a stand alone repeater.

PAPA 18 Edom Hill Off-Air / Off-Link

PAPA 18 is currently experiencing audio issues and may be off the air / off link. The technical team is working to correct this.

Mt. Otay Repeaters Off-Air

SDGE is replacing power poles on Mt. Otay, and power will be off on the hill top through Friday March 16, 2012.

And by the way, the last message about the Mt. Otay repeaters seems to be true about any and all repeaters on top of Otay Mountain. I haven’t been able to bring up any of the Otay repeaters for 2 days. Now we know the story, and if the PAPA news is correct, they all should be back later today!

 

March 6, 2012:
Palomar Amateur Radio Club

The Palomar Amateur Radio Club will hold an Operating Day at Fry’s Electronics in San Marcos on Sunday, March 18, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM to demonstrate to the public. We will encourage the public to use the radios and answer questions from them. For more information, contact Dennis Baca, KD6TUJ, through the Palomar Amateur Radio Club

 

March 6, 2012:
Escondido Amateur Radio Society

The March 8 general meeting of the Escondido Amateur Radio Society (EARS) will begin at 7:30PM and will feature an encore presentation about “Lithium Batteries” given by Michelle Thompson, W5NYV. This is a repeat of Michelle’s presentation which she gave at PARC back in January earlier this year. For more information, visit the club’s website at http://www.earsclub.org. We hope that you can make it to the meeting!

 

February 28, 2012:
Amateur Radio not affected by the new narrowbanding requirements

I have heard a lot of discussion from ham radio operators about how to prepare for the new narrowbanding requirements that will take effect on January 1, 2013. Here is a link to the ARRL website that explains that amatueur radio users are not affected by this new ruling.
http://www.arrl.org/news/radio-amateurs-not-affected-by-narrowbanding-requirements

 

February 27, 2012:
Barstow Amateur Radio Club

I just heard from Jock KC6IIH who wrote to say that the web site for the Barstow Amateur Radio Club is once again alive and well after going through some officer changes within the club. You might have to clear your cache or refresh your browser for the site to come up, and please give them a while longer to finish making all of the changes that they plan to do to improve the site. Don’t forget to say “hi” while you are there visiting the site!

 

February 23, 2012:
PAPA System

This just in from our friends at the PAPA System:

PAPA 8 Mt. Wilson has been restored to “on-link” status as of 2/23/12 – 8am.

February 10, 2012:
Scanners, Ham Radios, and the Motor Vehicle Code

I have heard many people discuss these issues, each with their own opinion and interpretation, so I decided to do some extensive research of my own. Here are my findings:
(1) At a Border Patrol checkpoint, an agent told me that it was illegal to listen to a scanner in a car. In Kentucky and maybe one or two other states it is, but not in California. And even the states that have a law against mobile use of scanners, for some reason unknown to me, you are exempt if you possess an Amateur Radio License!
(2) I heard someone say that ham radios are exempt from the “hands-free” law that bans cell phone use only if they are permanently mounted in the dash, such as a mobile transceiver. This is also not true – any device that is classified as an amateur radio transmitter, whether it is hand-held, mobile or base, is exempt from the law because a ham radio (any ham radio) is, by definition, not a cell phone.

I hope this clears things up!

 

February 8, 2012:
Yuma Hamfest Coming Soon!

The 2012 Yuma Hamfest and site of the ARRL’s 2012 SW Division Convention will be held on Feb. 17th-18th, 2012 at the Yuma County Fairgrounds, 2520 E. 32nd Street, Yuma, AZ 85365.

Activities and events include Seminars, Country Store, Tailgating, W1AW Station, Baloon Launch, ARRL Forum, License Testing, DXCC Checking, Transmitter Hunt, Barbeque, Prizes, Vendors and more.

For more information, see the “official” web site at: http://www.yumahamfest.org.

I am hoping to attend – maybe I’ll see you there!

 

January 27, 2012:
Barstow Amateur Radio Club

Jock A. Soutar, KC6IIH, from the Barstow Amateur Radio Club, writes to say that their website www.wa6tst.org, is still active, but they have not been able to make any changes to it recently because of changes of officers. The club is alive and well. Jock is working on reviving the club’s newsletter and getting something out to all members. If anyone knows where the club can move their website for free, please leave a comment below, or contact the club at:

Barstow Amateur Radio Club
PO Box 451
Barstow,CA 92312

 

January 14, 2012:
San Diego Rural CERT hosts 2 Meter Net

Beginning on Thursday, January 26, 2012 and continuing every Thursday evening at 8:30 PM (1030 hours for you first responder types), the ham radio operators of San Diego Rural CERT will conduct a net on the Sandra Mt. Otay repeater (146.640 (-) Tone 107.2) and then at 8:40PM, the net will move to the Sandra Lyon’s Peak repeater (146.265 (+) Tone 107.2), and then at 8:50PM, move to the Sandra Hi-Pass repeater (145.280 (+) Tone 107.2). The Hi-Pass repeater is linked to The Mt. Otay repeater on the 220 band (224.200 (+) Tone 107.2). The purpose of the net is to test communications in the San Diego back country area along Highway 8 east to Jacumba and along Highway 94 east from Jamul to Boulevard, and all points in between so that a reliable plan for emergency amateur radio communications can be developed. For more information about San Diego Rural CERT, the website is at http://www.sandiegoruralcert.com. If you are interested in Emergency Communications in the back country, feel welcome to join us each Thursday evening!

 

SDCCD Continuing Education CERT ClassJanuary 24, 2012:
San Diego Community Colleges CERT Team adds 40 new members

Last week, 40 of us from San Diego Community College District Continuing
Education (faculty, classified, and administration) went through an intensive,
three-day emergency training program called “CERT.” We were fortunate to have
the NTC training facility include additional topics of importance to college
campuses in addition to the regular full CERT curriculum. Our CERT class, made
up entirely of Continuing Education members, was the largest San Diego Community
College District CERT class ever! Overall, given the 10 CE members who went
through prior training, CE now has 50 certified CERT members!

The Community Emergency Response Team concept was originally developed by the
Los Angeles City Fire Department in the mid-1980s. The program educates people
about disaster preparedness and basic disaster response skills, such as triage,
disaster psychology, fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization,
and disaster medical operations. CERT members are certified in Basic First Aid,
CPR, and AED (automated external defibrillator) use.

 

January 24, 2012:
San Diego Rural CERT Quarterly Meeting

A reminder that the first 2012 quarterly meeting of San Diego Rural CERT will be held at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at the Dulzura Community Building. Training schedules for 2012 will be available.

 

January 14, 2012:
Escondido Amateur Radio Society election results

Congratulations to Robert Kitson, KI6SBL, newly elected President. We all look forward to some great things in store for “EARS.” Robert reports: “Three 2011 board members stepped down to make room for new faces to take the helm. So I wanted to take a moment to single these people out to thank them for their service: John Belstner, W9EN steps down as Vice President. He did an amazing job as VP. Dirk Reschly, N6SUN past President and long time board member. And last but not least, Vivian Kitson, W6NWF who did such a great job as Field Day Chair last year that I have asked to be Field Day Chair again this year. She said “yes” so you will be hearing from her in coming months.”

“With the departure of three board members we welcome three new board members. Vince Sheetz as EARS Secretary, and 2 new members at large: Michael Hightower, KF6SJ and John Mc Nelly, AF6UA. These men join our returning board members: Emergency Coordinator, Fred McDavitt, members at large, Jo Ashley, KB6NMK, Marvin Munster, W6MJM, Jeff Murdock, AE6GM, and Immediate Past President, John Musselman, N6EP. Their contact information can be found on our website: www.earsclub.org.”

Upcoming events:
Jan 21 Monthly Breakfast, 8:30 a.m.
Jan 28 VE Testing
Feb 09 Regular Meeting, 7:30 p.m.
Feb 16 Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
Feb 18 Monthly Breakfast, 8:30 a.m.
Feb 25 VE Testing
Mar 08 Regular Meeting, 7:30 p.m.
Mar 15 Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
Mar 17 Monthly Breakfast, 8:30 a.m.
Mar 31 VE Testing
Watch for more news from the Escondido Amateur Radio Society.

 

January 14, 2012:
News from Del Norte Amateur Radio Club, our friends to the north:

Fred Wagner, AD6FC, President Del Norte Amateur Radio Club reports ” We met on Monday, Jan 2 of this year for our first meeting. We were pleased to welcome 4 new members, and there are about 2 more who will be coming aboard soon. We meet on the first Monday of each month, at 7:15 in the Red Cross building. Two of our members are employed there. We discussed, for this year, the possibilities of expanding our ATV station, including installation of a repeater. We discussed sponsoring an event at one or some of the schools in the area whereby students would be able to talk to astronauts on the ISS via Amateur Radio. We are going to update and upgrade our website, w6hy.org.” Stay tuned for some photos from Del Norte Amateur Radio club, and since the subject came up, why not send some from your club to share with other hams via this forum?

Fred and I also discussed our concerns about attracting younger members away from their internet, texting, and other cell-phone activities and into the wonderful world of ham radio. I will soon be tackling this topic on my blog because I feel it is everyone’s concern and not just mine and Fred’s. Please email me your thoughts and ideas, and be sure to jump into our blog discussion when I open the topic in the near future. (Tom N6TKT)

 

January 14, 2012:
Coming Soon – Desert Rats Palm Springs Hamfest

Peter Reinzuch,VE7REZ, President of the “Desert Rats” wants you all to know that the Desert Rats Radio Amateur Transmitting Society will be putting on ARRL sanctioned Palm Springs Hamfest on January 28th. Over 35 commercial vendors plus many groups and Demos too much to list for you here without boring you or blowing you away at the size of the event. Bigger than any Hamfest in the southwest except the new Yuma one that is also the Southwest convention this year. We rival that one though in uniqueness. Please mention it on your nets you participate in or when you contact others. More information at the Desert Rats web site:
http://desertrats.am
Or their forum:
Forum:http://desertrats.x.am

 

January 13, 2012:
News from Local Ham Radio and Repeater Clubs

Responses to my offer to publish news from local ham radio clubs have been good, considering it was only yesterday I contacted almost 200 local clubs and repeater organizations. I will be gathering some of the news that is coming in over the weekend and try to have it all posted on Tuesday, January 17.

I wanted to correct a mistake in the mailing I sent out to all the clubs. If you want to reach me on HF. I usually hang out near 3950 on 80 meter and 7250 on 40 meter. In my mailing, I accidentally had the bands stated incorrectly. Sorry! Thanks for your support, and I hope I can do a good job getting your club’s news out in front of all the other “local” hams.

 

January 12, 2012:
Quartzfest coming soon!

The week long hamfest near Quartzite, Arizona, AKA “Quartzfest,” is scheduled for January 21 – 27, 2012. Here is a link to the flyer and other useful information about the event:
http://www.quartzfest.org/php/main.php?home

 

January 10, 2012:
List of Southern and Central California Amateur Radio Clubs

In order to present the comprehensive list of Southern and Central California amateur radio clubs on my “Clubs” page, I searched many, many existing web sites and compiled all of the information I could find. Now that I am involved in a project that involves contacting all of these clubs, I found that many (over 1/3) of the links were incorrect or out-of-date. I corrected and updated all of the links, a slow process that involved a lot of effort, but now I am proud to say that this might be the only up-to-date and accurate list of California amateur radio clubs on the Internet! So tell your friends that if they want to look up information about other ham radio and repeater clubs, this is the site to come for to get the right information!

 

December 12, 2011:
ARRL to launch new video and materials with “Do It Yourself” theme, December 27.

At 10 AM ET on December 27, 2011, ARRL will release a new video, “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio,” to its more than 156,000 members. The video will be simultaneously released on ARRL’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, and will be also be available at www.arrl.org. The 8-minute video follows some of the innovative, imaginative and fun ways “hams” use radio technology in new and creative ways. The presentation is directed toward the DIY (do it yourself) movement, which is inspiring a new generation of creators, hackers and innovators. The message should be helpful for existing members to shape the ways they understand and talk about ham radio.

December 10, 2011:

See my note dated December 10 on the “Radio Blog” page. (Important!)

 

December 5, 2011 Update:

Interesting article about the current state of Ham Radio: Ham Radio Licenses At An All Time High

 

December 1, 2011 Update:

I recently added about 100 or more new and exciting links and also attempted to sort the links into categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. My goal is to offer  you one of the best all-around recources for Amateur Radio, including Scanners, CB, GMRS, FRS and Shortwave. I’m sure you can sense my love for amateur radio and other radio  hobbies, especially disaster communications, and I hope to hear your comments and suggestions on how I can improve this site. I am currently working on a whole new interface using  WordPress that will break the one page down into several specific sub pages, which should make it look a little less overwhelming. I will also have an area for photos, so send me your  favorite radio and communications related photos, and I may include them in my photo gallery. Send photos and comments to tom@tomsmerk.com. Thanks!

17 comments on “News, Articles & Comments

  1. Palm Springs Hamfest

    Saturday, January 28, 2012
    Gates open to the public : 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
    Admission Fee only $2.00

    Vendor List:
    Alinco
    Yaesu
    DX Store
    Ham Radio Outlet
    Buds Engraving
    Alpine Antennas
    Byonics RF Stuff
    EDS Emergency Pack
    Impulse Electronics
    RouendComm with ABR Industries Coax
    CQ Magazine
    Quake Safe Kits
    Nifty Accessories
    Nicad Lady
    hiphamshirts.com
    Quality Power Batteries
    Hi-Tech Liquidators
    SOS survival Kits

    And a great SWAP MEET!

    For more information: http://www.sbarc.org/DesertRatsHamfest.html

  2. New format for the News Page

    I have decided to change the format of the news page into a blog style so that you may add your own news articles without having to go through me. I welcome articles of interest to radio hobbyists, but if you post get-rich-quick scams or “come-ons” to web sites where you earn $$ through “questionable activities,” your message will be gone before you can say “click!”

  3. Do you have your 2012 calendar yet?

    Here’s a link to the “WA1KPD Old Tyme Radio Calendar,” an interesting calendar that shows vintage radio equipment in classic monochrome prints!
    http://radio.tomsmerk.com/2012Cal.pdf

    (I found the original calendar as a Word document at http://home.comcast.net/~chnord/wa1kpd.html and converted it to a PDF file for your convenience. If you want to edit the calendar, use this link. If you want to print the calendar but do not have a recent copy of Microsoft Word on your computer, you can download the PDF file by right-clicking on the link.

    Enjoy!

  4. Emacs!

    Location: Julian High School sports fields (about four acres), 4pm
    Friday June 22, to 2pm Sunday, June 24, 2012. Overnight camping
    available, food, socializing, education and Nationwide Amateur Radio
    Communications!

    Please volunteer to be part of our Field Day planning committee.
    Reply to W6JUL@Cox.net

    Related article: http://radio.tomsmerk.com/JNews1.pdf

  5. Ham Radio in Hollywood: Comedian Tim Allen Stars as Radio Amateur on New TV Show

    12/12/2011

    Tim Allen — star of Home Improvement, Toy Story, The Santa Clause and Galaxy Quest, just to name a few — stars in Last Man Standing, an ABC comedy airing at 8 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights. Allen plays Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, a married father of three and the director of marketing at an outdoor sporting goods store in Colorado whose life is dominated by women. While Amateur Radio has not been prominently featured in the first episodes, according to John Amodeo, NN6JA — the producer of Last Man Standing — it is a part of the show and an important part of Mike’s character. The episode that will establish Mike as a radio amateur is currently scheduled to air in mid-January.

    “Tim’s character Mike is involved in creating the sales strategy for the store, including their catalog and Internet identity,” Amodeo told the ARRL. “The store is like Bass Pro Shops or Cabelas. There is a strong self-sufficiency overtone to Mike’s approach to life. Ham radio fits in the story as a means of emergency communication. It’s not directly featured in the foreground story, but at the moment, it’s a background element on the home set. Once I allow something to be put on the set, there’s a chance the writers will feature it. Now that we have actually established Mike Baxter as KA0XTT, we can do more things featuring Amateur Radio.”

    To make Mike a ham, Amodeo needed Mike to have a call sign. So he contacted ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, to help him out. “In film and TV, we create fictitious telephone numbers, addresses and brands,” Amodeo explained. “We do this mostly to avoid being sued by real brands and to avoid complications with advertisers. As a producer and a ham, I was torn between wanting the show to be accurate and needing to keep my studios out of trouble. An accurate and positive portrayal of ham radio on TV would be a good thing.” Many TV shows and movies use telephone numbers with a 555 exchange (such as 555-1212), as that exchange is not valid.

    Together with Pitts, and with input from Tim Allen, Amodeo created a call sign for Mike Baxter: KA0XTT. Since the show is set in Colorado, they wanted Mike to have a call sign with a 0 in it. “We wanted a call sign that sounded real, but was not valid,” Amodeo said. “The call sign is a 2×3 format with an X suffix. A call sign in this format is an experimental call sign and is not assignable to a radio amateur except in special circumstances. We especially liked the suffix, as it is a play on Tim’s character from his former show, Home Improvement: ‘ex-Tim Taylor.’”

    Amodeo told the ARRL that both his studio (Fox) and ABC were “delighted to have a useable call sign. In the past, TV shows just made up some crazy call or used someone else’s without permission. And because we’ve had so much talk about Amateur Radio here on the show, a few of my production assistants took their Technician exam.” Amodeo applied to be an ARRL Volunteer Examiner so he could help administer the exams. On October 6, Amodeo and two other ARRL VEs administered the Technician exam to seven prospective hams. All seven passed, with two making perfect scores.

    Since Mike Baxter is a ham, he needed a shack. So Amodeo and the set designers installed an Amateur Radio station in the corner of Mike’s set office. Allen, as Baxter, uses an ICOM IC-9100 HF/6 meter/2 meter transceiver and an IC-92AD handheld transceiver, both provided to the show courtesy of ICOM America. Amodeo told the ARRL that he has plans to add vintage equipment to the shack in the future. “The radio equipment was originally intended to be used as props and set dressing items,” Amodeo told the ARRL. “But since eight of the show’s staff members are radio amateurs, it didn’t take long before we made the radio equipment ‘practical,’ which is to say, actually capable of making radio calls live from the stage when we’re not shooting.” He said that radios will always be on and lit whenever they are shooting scenes in the office.

    Pitts and ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, have been working with Amodeo to make sure that Amateur Radio is correctly portrayed in the show. Keane also provided ARRL and Amateur Radio-related materials that are used on the set, such as issues of QST, NCJ and QEX, as well as a call sign map, a 2012 ARRL Handbook, a 2012 ARRL calendar and various ARRL stickers (look for one on the HF rig). “We also sent fake versions of DXCC, Worked All States and Worked All Continents certificates, as well as a Morse Code Proficiency Certificate,” Keane explained. “Each certificate bears the name Mike Baxter and has KA0XTT as the call sign. All the certificates have issue dates of December 25, playing upon Tim Allen’s role in The Santa Clause movie series.”

    Amodeo told the ARRL that he also installed a Comet CHV-5X HF dipole and GP-1 antenna for 2 meters and 70 cm (courtesy of NCG/Comet) “up high, about 50 feet, inside the sound stage. The ultimate goal is to have the hams on our staff make contacts from our stage during down times.”

    Last Man Standing also stars Nancy Travis (Three Men and a Baby) as Mike’s wife and Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, Monk) as Mike’s boss. Amodeo also produced the critically acclaimed Sports Night and Arrested Development.

  6. Tom
    I finally have some content up and published. Very basic for now but I will be getting more put together.

    There are still fragments of the old site comming up in some of the search engines.
    They are pages that were on the previous domain holders account he had at mysite.verizon.net.
    I have contacted him about going to his site and unpublish them.
    He said that that account has been closed for some time and he has no access.

    I did the url notification to Google and other search engines.
    I guess we just have to wait for the robots to discover.

    I want to thank you for the advice you provided to me.

    Jock Soutar KC6IIH
    President
    Barstow Amateur Radio Club WA6TST / WA6TST.ORG

    • Jock – It taks a lot of work to build a nice web site, but even more work to convert it over from some one elses creation. Even though the previous domain holder said that the account has been closed, if you can convince him to give you the login and password he used to work on the site, you could try for yourself to log on to the control panel and see if anything works. Since the site is still available to the public, I’m not sure what exactly is closed. Did you cancel the prevous URL and get a totally different URL?

      Anyway, it is nice to see someone like yourself that is committed to promoting amateur radio. I’ll check out your site on a regular basis and watch how it grows and turns around. Thanks for letting us know, and keep up the good work!

  7. I’m not certain the place you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend some time studying more or working out more. Thank you for wonderful info I was searching for this information for my mission.

  8. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your website is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t come across. What a great web-site.

  9. I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The site style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  10. I simply wished to thank you so much all over again. I am not sure what I would have done without these solutions provided by you relating to such concern. Certainly was a real intimidating case in my circumstances, however , looking at a well-written fashion you treated the issue took me to weep over fulfillment. I’m happy for this work and as well , hope you realize what an amazing job you happen to be getting into instructing the mediocre ones via your blog post. More than likely you haven’t got to know all of us.

  11. I haven’t heard of Blogengine.net. If anything replaces WordPress as the most popular tool, it will probably be Druple. My suggestion to what you are asking is to stay with WordPress if you will be the one managing your web site, but if the person you referred to will be the one doing the work, he/she should be allowed to use their preferred tool. Good luck with your site!

  12. Yuma Hamfest less than a month away – See you there?

    I hope to see you at the Yuma Hamfest which is scheduled for February 14 & 15 at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. I always enjoy goingthere, perhaps becuse it is close enough to drive. The have some great prizes, good seminars, and hopefully lots of bargains in the tailgating area and the Country Store! For more information, see the website at http://www.yumahamfest.org.

    • I change it from time to time. This is the 3rd or 4th version I have used. I’m liking it for now, but let me know if you have any suggestons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *