It was an early, but busy, spring morning in Sonoma when we pulled in to the sellers portion of the hamfest Saturday at 7am. HAMS were out scouting the 'good buys' before we even got our table set up and ready to face the day. The day warmed nicely, and the visitors that came by our table were many. Conversations flowed as we saw folks that we hadn't seen in awhile and met some new friends that we look forward to seeing again in the future. VOMARC had a good turnout, several rows of tables with goodies to choose from and a full breakfast seating. The weather cooperated with a beautiful sunny day and slight breeze making it a perfect outing in wine country
Don KJ6ZVR, poked around the other displays looking for items of interest that he could bring home, Len WA6KLK enjoyed breakfast and sold some equipment and antennas. As for myself, KJ6ZVS, I sold the portable dipoles that I made and also managed to find a key and practice oscillator that I could use in my CW studies. Dean KE6COB and his wife took some equipment down and enjoyed the day as well. Several folks from Lake County attended and stopped by to say hello and peruse our items. The entire day and whole experience for me of being a 1st time seller, wound up being extremely nice, we all sold items, and headed home tired but happy.
Thursday March 17th, a group met at the Senior Center in Willits for a scrumptious Corned Beef luncheon with all the trimmings! Ed KG6RHL, was down from Piercy to
enjoy all the conversation with about 30 others who came in from Laytonville, Fort Bragg, Redwood Valley, Ukiah and Lake County. The food was good, the conversation lively
and many enjoyed a quick trip through the Thrift Shop while they were there.
Saturday April 2nd, several of us from Willits attended the 'Spring Fling' Taco/Enchilada potluck in Luceerne. We all enjoyed visiting with our neighbors to the East,
ate too much (spectacular enchiladas!) and Don KJ6ZVR, won the raffle of a Baofeng HT. Having made the trip to Lake County on numerous occassions to attend
the functions that LCARS/NARC sponser, I can tell you without a doubt that not only do they know how to organize a potluck or BBQ, but they are blessed with really good cooks!
Saturday April 16th found a group in Ukiah at HHSA (Public Health) for an exam session. Len WA6KLK, Mike KC6MGM, Steve KJ6EIF and Don KJ6ZVR, were among those that talked with the prospective 'New HAMS' while their tests were being corrected and paperwork completed. The Exam was sponsered by not only WARS, but also LCARS and MCARCS with members attending from all three clubs. 17 were tested with results of: 1 new Extra Class, 2 new General Class and 12 newly licensed Technicians.
Today April 19th, Don KJ6ZVR, Len WA6KLK and I (Joyce) KJ6ZVS had the pleasure of surprising the Tuesday morning coffee group in Fort Bragg. 11 of us met at Angelina's
for coffee and radio discussions then we moved the enjoyable company to David's Deli in Fort Bragg for lunch and more visiting. The weather was absolutely gorgeous
with no fog or wind, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the rhododendrons in bloom on the drive over.
Saturday the 20th of February, WARS held a meeting at Old Mission Pizza where 25 radio enthusiats came together to hear Wayne W6WMV, talk about his experiences in putting up a 3 wave loop antenna in his walnut orchard. WARS was well represented with attendance from Piercy and Laytonville to the north, and from Sonoma County to the south, as well as from the coast all the way east to Lake County.
Len WA6KLK called the meeting to order with a treasurer's report by Tim WB9NJS. Tim also spoke about events coming up in the near future: the status of a test session, 50K Marathon, Human Race, Healthcare Communication Drill, and a possible Seminar late in May. Joyce KJ6ZVS, had two banner designs to show and asked for everyone to let her know their preference. It was suggested to add the website address to the banner. Both banners can be found on the website and on a 'facebook' page` (Willits Amateur Radio Society) that has been started. Be sure to invite your 'radio' friends to 'like' the facebook page as new can be found there as well.
Wayne had a very interesting talk and slide show on how he decided to put up a loop antenna. Using irrigation pipe he made supports
that are attached to the walnut trees in his grove, making a 3 wave loop out of 14 gauge insulated wire, then brought it into the house with ladder line.
In the years it has been in place only one of the supports has had wind damage and the
trees are 'shook' to harvest the nuts every fall. He is located in Lake County on 16 acres which gives him the room to have this type
of antenna and it is resonant from 160 meters through 2 meters. Although it doesn't require any tuning,
Wayne can't help giving the tuner a small tweak before making a QSO.
We all left with hopes to oneday have the room and resources to do the very same thing! Thank you Wayne for
taking time to come over and show us what you did, enlightening us as to what is possible when thinking outside the 'commercial box'.
Don't forget St. Patricks Day is fast approaching ... and WARS does have a table reserved at the Willits Senior Center. See you there at about 11:45!
Saturday January 23rd arrived with better weather than we had been having and it turned out a very nice day to travel to Willits for the 1200th breakfast celebration. 31 hungry HAM enthusiats attended and were seated in the back room at Lumberjacks to visit with one another and enjoy a good meal.
Noteable attendees included 4 out of the 5 charter members still active in WARS; Paul KB6FFB, Irma NA6I, Richard WD6HDY, and Len WA6KLK.
Two ladies from Sonoma County Radio Amateurs joined us: Iola, the 2016 President and ShelleRae KK6JXM, the membership director. They came to meet us, join in on the conversation and enjoy a meal. Four HAMS traveled from Lake County to enjoy the morning; Cody K0DYS, Cynthia K1ORA, Jan KI6QCW, and Karen W6KMH.
Prospective new licensed operators were visitors Roger and Arlene Wear and Damian from Willits Weekly who covered the event for this weeks edition. Several members asked that we have a group breakfast at least once a year, so that will be in the planning ... not a special 1200th but fun at any rate!
Enjoying coffee and conversation at Angelinas are Danny K6MHE, Richard WD6HDY, Jonathan KK6RPX, John KA6GBQ and Les KG6IDR. Not shown is Rense KK6PEE who was taking the picture.
Most of the parts that we need to put up a tower have been acquired, it would probably help if I didn't constantly change my mind on what is going up, but then that's the fun of radio!
First we had to decide on the location. Then Don KJ6ZVR marked the dimensions so he could keep the foundation hole within the size recommended. The 2' by 2' hole was chipped out of the sidewalk behind the house and once the concrete was removed, the excavation became a little easier. Well, at least until the hole became deeper than his arm! It wound up at 4' deep and then it was time finish it off with rebar, j-bolts and a frame to contain everything needed.
We had plenty of help thanks to both Bill KK6HZU and Len WA6KLK to get the concrete mixed and poured correctly. The base was fitted with J-bolts and positioned in place and then our call signs inscribed. Now while the concrete cures we will be setting the poles for guy wires.
We are well on the way to the tower going up and Don couldn't be happier!
Don and Len put up a couple more sections so we could see exactly where to place the guy wire poles. Don is busily digging holes and cant wait until the next phase goes up!
Tim WB9NJS came by and put up the top section Friday then Len installed the Diamond vertical that I bought when Bob W6RJA put it on the Swap Net. Now with it higher than the j-pole and having more gain, I am seeing the difference when comparing the two.
Saturday August 29th, WARS had a meeting at Old Mission Pizza. The meeting was brought to order by Tim WB9NJS, attendance was down a bit, but we still had good representation with members from Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Laytonville as well as Willits and Bill KD6LTB who was visiting from Hurricane, Utah. Time was spent reminiscing about past mountain top trips that several had participated in up on Walker Ridge and the good times, great meals that had been shared. An interesting note; there were 4 members that represented K7JVO, Jordan Valley Radio Society.
The meeting began with an announcement that Derek KE6EBZ had tendered his resignation as President of Wars. The question of 'muddling through' until our regularly scheduled election comes up was discussed. Jim W6JRC motioned to have the office shared by the two remaining officers until November 14th, KC6MGM seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.
Airport & Heroes Day was discussed with about six members showing interest in being present for at least part of the day. Tim will be touching base with MCARCS, CERTS & S&R, to ensure no plans are being duplicated before reserving space. It seems like a good idea to combine each of the groups as there are members that belong to several organizations.
Events in September and October were announced and discussed. I have listed them all on the Bullitin page for convience.
WARS Technical Seminar is in the planning stages as far as topics are concerned and if you'd like to see a topic covered, contact Tim or better yet bring a question or topic to the tech Net on Tuesday nights. The seminar will be held at the LDS Church again from 10 till about 2 on Saturday Oct 24th. Tune in to the various nets for upcoming information.
Christmas Holiday Dinner has a tentative date of December 11th. Tim voluteered his and Sue's time to make this enjoyable function happen again this year. Thank you Sue!!
Photos courtesy of Sharon Sue KE6YKY
WARS met Saturday Nov 14th, at Old Mission Pizza, to enjoy Pizza and elect new officers for 2016 with 24 in attendance. 'THANKS' was given to the many that were involved in the successful Technical Seminar and all the work that went into it.
Anderson connectors were brought up, with the fact that Mike KC6MGM, had purchased connectors to install out of his own funds for the seminar and they hadn't all been used. Tim WB9NJS, stated he thought the remaining connectors would be a useful addition to the club for future use. It was then motioned and seconded that Mike be reimbursed $50 for his cost and that WARS would have the connectors available for installation if anyone needed them.
A licensing test with possible tech classes was discussed as a joint effort of MCARCS and WARS for sometime early in May. Steve KJ6EIF, Jim W6JRC, and Tim WB9NJS, will form a committee to see what the level of interest is and set a date. Steve said that the cable cut had generated a lot interest and Tim mentioned Public Health was short of HAM operators. Jim stated that we have enough VECs to hold a test locally if the demand warranted it.
After looking into purchasing a banner, Joyce KJ6ZVS, decided that it would be best, rather than just buy and donate one to the club, that it should be discussed and a design be chosen by membership since it would be representative of WARS. Mike KC6MGM, said he had an offer from a company to provide a 2' x 6' color banner for $35 that he could reccomend. After several ideas were voiced, it was decided that Mike and Joyce would form a committee to settle on several designs and then present them during the next meering for a vote. It was then decided if 2 banners could be purchased for $75 then WARS would purchase them.
Life KJ6VIE, brought in a battery charger that he bought and was just beginning to test its performance. It charges everything including alkaline batteries that we all recycle! It seems that they can be charged quite effectively making them more practicable. to use.
Election of officers commenced with Tim WB9NJS, saying that although he would happily give his office as treasurer
up to someone else, he would be willing to keep it if no one else was interested. A vote was taken and Tim was reinstated
as Teasurer. Joyce KJ6ZVS, also stated that she would be willing to be secretary for another year and that was voted and passed
as well. Nominations for president was opened up with Mike KC6MGM declining the nomination because of the position he had just accepted with CERTs.
Len WA6KLK was nominated, and while he was encouraging the membership to step forward and serve as an officer, Mike proposed that if Len took
the office for 2016 then he would accept president for 2017. A vote was taken and passed with Len as president in 2016
and Mike filling the position in 2017.
Using a question and answer format patterned after the Tech Net, WARS hosted a Seminar Saturday, October 24th. Topics were chosen from some of the varied questions and discussions held on the recently started Tech Net, Tuesday evenings, at 7:00 on Countywide.
First up was a discussion presented by Joyce KJ6ZVS of her (and Don's KJ6ZVR) experiences in getting a tower. From making the decision to put up a tower all the way to where the project now stands, complete with lots of pictures! Adding to it, was a review of the risks associated with tower work, safety equipment and procedures including a climbing harness demonstration by Tim WB9NJS.
Choosing the best connector from the many options available to get power to your radio and how they each measure up was demonstrated by Mike KC6MGM. Why Anderson power poles are really helpful, during emergency situations and how to install them in the correct polarity for ease of use! He also had connectors and installed them for anyone that wanted them on their radios or power cords.
Common RF connectors - choices and installation was explored by Ben WB5QAL. What the four most common HAM connectors are and when to choose one type of connector versus another, as well as installation options of solder vs crimp. Using a coax cutter and crimp on connectors makes the job easier for sight impaired and many other HAMs. Murphy visited during Ben's talk, and proved to everyone in attendance, that sometimes the best equipment can and will malfunction during a demonstration when his talking WATT/SWR meter said that inferior coax showed better results!
During a break all participants had the ability to have hands on experience with Anderson power poles, coax cutters and crimp on PL259's, or enjoy some refreshments, visit, and ask more questions about what had already been discussed. Special thanks goes to Sue KE6YKY for setting up the snacks and keeping all the plates full!
Presenting next was Life KJ6VIE speaking about a backup DC power system for your station. How to keep your station on the air when your power goes out and how to size a battery to meet your receive and transmit loads. Different types of deep cycle batteries and what type to use. Battery boosters, battery tenders and charge controllers were discussed for a charging system. Photos of Life's installed backup power sytem puts it all together so that it is available when needed.
Next Tim WB9NJS enlightened us on non-line of sight VHF 'bounce'¨ paths. He explained that local VHF propagation is not always direct line of sight and how directional antennas can help identify alternate paths. How signals can 'bounce'¨ off large geologic features sometimes in surprising ways. He did a review of some identified 'bounce' paths and gave tips on how to look for other bounce paths using topo mapping software.
Attendee demographics were interesting in that 19% of those present came in from Lake County including Ben WB5QAL who was one of the speakers and lady operators made up 24% of those that were there. Three of the presenters have been HAMS for three years or less showing that newer hams are willing to stand up and speak.Thank you, Tim for taking the time to put this event together!
Wow, summer has flown by and was wonderfully busy! We (Don KJ6ZVR & I KJ6ZVS) were fortunate enough to attend the Beginning of Summer BBQ that LCARS hosted at Lake Mendocino, John KJ6IBP and Len WA6KLK were also there representing Mendocino County HAMS. There was no lack of delicious food brought by those that attended, lots of conversation, laughter and advice! The weather cooperated giving us a gorgeous breezy day on the lake.
A week later we (Len, Don & I) made our way down the coast and enjoyed a lovely brunch at St Orres with the Anchor Bay Radio Club. After our meal and visit with several of the coastal members we had the opportunity to stop and visit with Scott AF6MQ at Manchester. I picked up some jumper cables from Jonathan KK6RPX in Albion to deliver to Soulin KK6VLV in Redwood Valley! I found out it is reltively easy to move 'stuff' from inland to the coast or vice versa, seems lke during the summer everyone is willing to make a trip to enjoy a spot of fog or in reverse some warmth!
Don is getting his tower ... we have gathered almost everything we need to put up a 40' tower. It was lots of work to get ready,
we picked everyones brains for information, located and brought in parts, dug a foundation hole, sought help to do what we can't,
and now in the next few weeks it will actually get errected!
WARS and MCARCS held a joint Field Day behind the Mendocino County Museum. Alan WA6JBK, Nick KI6RIT and Steve KJ6EIF were working stations while Jim W6JRC had his portable station displayed. Several HAMS stopped by in support to visit and enjoy treats brought by Marcella KI6MJC. Contacts were slow Saturday evening but picked up before Field Day was concluded. Folks interested in getting licensed stopped by to see what the hobby was all about and to find out about the process.
Lake County HAMS had a GOTA station set up at George Hoberg's Vista Point a beautiful site overlooking Clear Lake where
those interested in the hobby could make a contact and get information, or newly licensed HAMS
could see what HF was all about. Lots of social interaction, great conversation and exchanges of ideas happened around the tables.
A Tri-tip BBQ highlighted Saturday evening events where food and laughter were plentiful and a couple of officers from Lakeport
PD, stopped by to enjoy a great meal.
24 HAM radio enthusiats met for a WARS meeting and pizza on a warm afternoon, after a bit of social interaction the meeting was brought together by Derek KE6EBZ. One of our areas newest licensees Soulin KK6TNL, was welcomed as well as Donna KG6TOI, and Jim KG6PTX, visitors from ABRC in Gualala.
Tim WB9NJS, gave a treasurer's report noting that the insurance policy is about due. Joyce KJ6ZVS, talked about the 1200th breakfast coming up soon as well as the WARS website and requested any interesting information about what members were participating in be made available for the website to keep it fresh and interesting. George K7WWA, asked that the website note Charter Members. Len WA6KLK, commented on the newest page titled WARS History. He asked if anyone had stories and or photos to please share so our history doesn't get lost.
Derek is working on setting up a build workshop/BBQ on the coast centering around a 'simple' project that may use soldering skills. Details will follow as they become available. Alan WA6JBK, offered to teach soldering techniques and he also reported the 51.96 (6M) repeater is again up and functioning in Lake County.
Field Day is from 11am Sat, June 27th until 2pm Sun, June 28th and will be held in the grassy field behind the Mendocino County Museum, Commercial St., in Willits. There are currently plans to have 3 stations set up and everyone is welcome to participate. Contact: Marcella KI6MJC, for food preparation plans and any questions.
Tim spoke about the sucesses and difficulties encountered during the ECOMM Heath Care Drill. Potential problems definitely were discovered and solutions are now being sought. Quite a bit of discussion followed with input from members that either had problems and or suggestions. George spoke a bit on the dedication of Greg WA6RQX, who manages to keep the countywide linked repeater system in working order even when it is not convenient and urging us all to be sure and thank him if we speak with him.
Coming up in September there is a Reach/Airport function being planned. George queried the interest in a HAM Radio demonstration even though we are not considered first responders. Keep an eye on the Bulletins as more information will be posted as is available.
Derek started a discussion on repeater interference, how to identify the source and how to deal with it. It was noted that the coast has interference of music while the YL Net has had whistling.
While walking around the Rec Grove on a beautiful Sunday, looking at the array of restored vehicles on display, we enjoyed visiting with many friends that we don't often see. In the mix were 2 local HAM radio operators that had brought their cars for all to enjoy. Bob W6BOI, out of Lakeport with his 1931 Model A Ford and Denis WB6TCS, out of Covelo with his 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
There was also music, games, vendor booths including food, raffles and plenty of family fun to be enjoyed. Veterans were also honored as the Ameican Legion Post 174 Color Guard presented "The Colors" along with the National Anthem at noon.
Registration ran smoothly with Karen KI6SAH, handling the paperwork and test fees.
The exam began with everyone concentrating and quietly answering their individual test questions. All in all, 15 tests were given; 5 at technition class level with all passing and then 2 went on to pass the general class level the same day! 7 general class tests were administered including the 2 previously mentioned technition upgrades, with 5 passing participants. One of the new general class licensees was encouraged to take a 'trial run' at the extra class test along with 2 other candidates, 1 passed, and the other 2 gained valuable experience to test at a later date.
LCARS had a drawing for one of the new Techs ...that lucky person was Patrick KK6TNK, and he walked out not only licensed but with a Baofeng HT to get him started.
Several of us met at the Willits Senior Center, Tuesday the 17th, to enjoy a hearty lunch of Corned Beef and Cabbage. It was an
afternoon of many conversations and catching up with folks from the coastal areas.
Those coming from the coast were Erif KI6GDD, Richard WD6HDY, Danny K6MHE and his wife Bonnie, Rense KK6PEE and Derek KE6EBZ.
Irma NA6I, Percy WA6RS, Len WA6KLK, Bill KK6HZU and his wife Debbie, Paul KB6FFB, Bear KJ6HZW, Tim WB9NJS, Don KJ6ZVR and Joyce KJ6ZVS were
joined by Nancy and Jim Eaglin, Dean KE6COB, and Linda KI6FRW from the inland area as well as two unidentified guests rounded out the group.
Saturday Feb 21st, WARS held the first meeting of 2015 at Old Mission Pizza. We certainly had a full house with 34 in attendance from all over the county and as far away as Santa Rosa.
Old business was addressed with Tim WB9NJS, giving a treasurers report and asking how the membership felt about helping George K7WWA, finance the repeater replacement of 145.130 on Laughlin. A motion was made and then seconded to cover the cost with funds that when added to the donated funds, were equal to the cost, including an interface that allows the repeater to provide an IRLP.
Lanny Cotler gave a talk requesting help from anyone interested in a Low Power Radio Station here in Willits. Finances are always needed for set up and equipment. Anyone interested can contact him for more information: email@example.com
Mike Stephens, a wildlife biologist, gave a fascinating talk on tracking Spotted Owls and Marbled Murreletts as well as other animals. Owls are carefully caught, fitted with a harness and tracking device, then with different methods tracked. Telementery is used to study wildlife, and has been useful for monitoring threatened species. Animals that are under study can be outfitted with instrumentation tags, which include sensors that measure the temperature, diving depth and duration, speed and location. The tags give researchers information about animal behavior, functions and their enviroment. Interestly enough this information can be stored with what is called an archival tag or can be transmitted to either a satellite or a handheld device.
It was interesting to note that Mendocino County has only about 3% 'old growth' forest but has the largest population of Spotted Owls. showing us that owl habitat is fine in 'second growth' areas because less dense forests provide more light and under growth for mice that are needed for food. Murrelets, however, do require the spongy moss of 'old growth' for their nesting spots. We need to learn more about them because they don't appear to be reproducing very well.
Tracking devices are routinely put on a variety of animals, with collars on the larger species such as coyotes, wolves, and elk. Some of the more difficult to fit with tracking devices are seals, turtles, mice and even honey bees! Populations are tracked not only with radio but GPS and cell phone technology and nano technology has made it possible to have micro transmitters that are effective for many years.
Something to look for: California Condors will be released in Redwood Parks later this year. After five years of research, the far northern California-based Yurok tribe has received permission to release captive-bred condors into the Redwood Coast, where the giant bird hasn't soared for more than a century. With the long flight patterns that have been tracked, it may be possible to spot them locally! All the birds would be fitted with tiny radio transmitters on their wings and tails, allowing biologists in the field to track them, and some with GPS satellite trackers, which send a position to a biologist's desk computer.
The weather cooperated and groups from both Willits Amateur Radio Society and Mendocino County Amateur Radio Communications Service gathered at the Broiler Steak House, December 5th, to celebrate the Christmas season. The room was pretty much full and after indulging in holiday spirits, a cacophony of joyous conversations and laughter could be heard as the meal was enjoyed.
A Ten-Tec HF station was donated by Richard White WD6HDY, and a drawing was held with just technician call signs in the pot. Richard commented that this would help encourage an interest in upgrading licenses and getting on HF as a generals. The lucky winner was the new president of WARS, Derek KE6EBZ, from Fort Bragg.
Len WA6KLK, thanked all that helped him make the last year successfull, especially those that worked behind the scenes. Derek KE6EBZ, spoke about the year to come and his enthusiasm to accomplish as much as possible. Nick KI6RIT, talked about changes that were happening in MCARCS to facilitate more participation. Tim WB9NJS, thanked all for coming to the celebration and expounded on MCARCS meeting changes and how that would be beneficial to use the HF station at the OES for checking into the statewide emergency net on Monday evenings.
Savannah Cader got the drawing started for the door prizes, and as the evening drew to a close, everyone had a gift, was full, content, and happy!
The meeting came to order with 25 in attendance from all around Mendocino County including 3 CERTS members that are anxious to become licensed. Mutiple pizzas were delivered, a sign-up sheet for the Holiday Dinner scheduled December 5th, and a get well card for Chuck K6ZIZ , circulated amongst the group. Tim WB9NJS, gave the Treasurer's Report including the total funds in the bank and the expected expenses, leaving WARS financially stable at this time. Joyce KJ6ZVS, spoke breifly on what is new on the WARS website: the YL Chatter page and Elmer Articles that were found on the ABARC website. For the benefit of those that were unaware, a short description of what the YL Net is about was provided as well as a request for for information, articles or just ideas to keep the webpage current and interesting. "Any input from members is appreciated!"
Bill KK6HZU,gave an update on recent solar activity and the re-numbering of the 2192 sunspot to 2209. He spoke of the chance of CMEs and a reminder to protect unused electronic equpment of all types in a Feriday Cage or metal box. Corona Mass Ejections could reach the Earth, in between 15 hours and 2 days after an erruption.
George K7WWA, talked about the aging 145.130 repeater that now needs repairs more often and his opportunity to purchase a new fusion repeater made available to him through the WIN System. He stated that any help with the $500 cost would be appreciated. Excitement was generated when it was commented that the abilities of this new repeater, when used with a fusion HT, could send a photo with a request for services in an emergency situation instantaneously. Questions regarding IRLPs and how they work were also answered. Tim stated the club could match funds collected. George commented on the Friday breakfast conversation that revolved around 2M antennas and how to mount a mobile antenna on fiberglass, saying that it was important to have seminar topics that were a help to the newer licensed HAMs.
Len WA6KLK,began the business of the Election of Officers with a discussion of members "stepping up" and taking a turn filling one of the vacated positions. Tim and Joyce stated a willingness to stay on for another year as Treasurer and Secretary respectively, both positions were approved by a show of hands. Derek KE6EBZ, volunteered to take on the responsibility of President. After some discussion about the hardship of holding an office and living out of town the position was approved, with Len making himself available to arrange local meetings etc.
The meeting concluded with Tim announcing that we would be able to set up a test session locally in the spring for those that are anxious to become licensed. I encouraged them to get the Gordon West Study Guide and utilize the internet (HamStudy.org is my favorite) to take the practice tests and track how they are doing.
Final Note: The yummy 'Cranberry Upside Down Cake' recipe can be found on YL Chatter and it is an easy, tasty holiday addition!
The WARS seminar was very successful with a room full of enthusiasts coming out to hear all about digital radio history,
modes and how to use them in this day and age where cell phones seem to have taken the place of radio.
Tim WB9NJS, explained just what is digital, as well as the common digital modes. How does one work with digital modes when their transceiver doesn't speak digital? CW is the original digital mode and the timing that constitutes a dit, rather than a dah.
Radio Teletype or RTTY was one of the first digital modes authorized for amateur use following WWII and Tim gave a wonderful history of how that evolved from using an electo-mechanical teleprinter as a terminal to now using a personal computer as a terminal, and it's sound card in place of a modem. Tim's RTTY station from 1978 was heavy, bulky and very noisy and today is replaced with a laptop.
What's needed to get started? Well, acoustically coupled you would need just a computer with a
sound card, a digital communication program and a transceiver. Optionally an interface can be placed
between the computer and transceiver.
Joyce KJ6ZVS, demonstrated fldigi and flmsg, the programs primarily used on Digi-Net Tuesday evenings on the county wide repeater system, using acoustical coupling. Noting that there is a learning curve and sometimes patience as well as persistence is what makes the practice successful.
George K7WWA, gave a presentation on packet radio, the history, what it was used for and where it is today. Hook up an ordinary PC, a Kantronics radio modem, and your radio then you can send and receive e-mail, transfer files and monitor remote operations. George demonstrated APRS by tracking Nick KI6RIT, as he was returning from his latest trip and then showing that there was a historical record available as he tracked a trip he had made earlier this year.
Tim and Joyce finished the afternoon with a demonstration of SSTV, showing how with a computer and
a software program, pictures can be sent. Using Slow Scan and taking a snap shop of an emergency/disaster
scene could then be sent to an EOC showing exactly what is happening in real time.
Len WA6KLK, commented that Kenwood had a radio equipped with a camera before cell phones.
The seminar was attended by a CERTS team as a communication activity, this helps keep them certified. They were excited about the possibilities of digital communications and could see the advantages of precise and accurate messaging. Several asked about classes to become licensed in amateur radio, and about taking the necessary test(s).
Interestingly enough, 40 percent of those attending were ladies showing that the hobby is not primarily just interesting to guys. We had attendees that made the trip from areas including Gualala, Laytonville, Ukiah, Lake County, as well as the extended Willits area.
A thank you goes to Jim W6JRC, for returning from Pacificon with commemorative centennial coins that were donated to the raffle, and the new HRO catalogs.
The 'End of the Summer BBQ' hosted by LCARS was a gigantic success with 39 folks attending from Lake and Mendocino Counties. Held at the park, it was comfortable,
easy to get to and the weather cooperated with a warm sunny day. Groups gathered and had lively conversations, Dave N1PPP enertained us with his
guitar, advice was given (and taken) while the hamburgers were being grilled thanks to all the hard work of Christine KI6YYW and Brenda KI6WFU. Food was
plentiful with such an assortment that no one left hungry! If you haven't attended one of these BBQs you are really missing a wonderful time.
The weather on the coast was spectacular; a warm sunny day, calm ocean, and no wind. ABARC had a brunch at St Orres that was followed by a short meeting at the Gualala Fire House. We* enjoyed a quality meal with about 20 other radio entusiats where we visited and got to know one another. The grounds at St Orres were beautiful, and the building itself was breath taking. Wood construction, using 10" x 10" beams, stone fireplace, spiral staircase all put together as an old Russian Monestary.
The meeting was attended by approximately 14, and after business was taken care of disscussions revolved around the linked repeater system. How hard it is for Hams on the South Coast to participate in the Countywide Net because so many do not realize how long of a delay is required for the repeaters to drop and link up again. This causes call signs to be cut off and many of the announcements are not fully understood. We also talked about Diginet and how that might work on the linked repeaters, YL Net and Swapnet. Fred W6WTI wisely said the the PTT bar shouldn't be thought of as the Push to Talk bar, but as a PUSH - THINK - TALK bar. That would allow all the repeaters to link. We are so used to talking on cell phones that we often forget that even one repeater needs to drop (much less a system of linked repeaters).* WA6KLK, KJ6ZVR & KJ6ZVS
Quince KK6OLM, made her first radio contact, by surprising everyone and checking in to the Wednesday night Willits Local Net. Tim WB9NJS, couldn't hear her at the hospital but several others heard a good signal from 3rd Gate. Later, Tim heard Quince while he was mobile and she was checking in to the Brooktrails Roundtable. Good Job Quince!
Jane KJ6VIA, was Net Control for the first time on the Mendocino Countywide Net and performed wonderfully even with the dificulties of a misbehaving repeater. Being able to connect names and communities with call signs is valuable experience, making an operator more prepared in case of an emergency. Thank you Jane, for being Net Control and you did a superb job!
32 HAM enthusiasts met at Old Mission Pizza, coming from Laytonville, Longvale, Fort Bragg, Irmulco, Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Calpella, Cobb Mountain, Santa Rosa, Ridgewood Ranch, Hearst and Willits, for a meeting Saturday August 23rd. Congratulations to our newest licensed operator, Quince Amanda KK6OLM! Bob W6WDG, sent a list of equipment he wants to sell for anyone interested, a few others brought in a small assortment of items that generated lots of interest. Radio equipment managed to change hands, some was sold, some was traded and even some loaned along with advice on antennas.
Tim WB9NJS, gave a treasurers report, Joyce KJ6ZVS, reported on the status of WARS websit and encouraged everyone to submit information, projects and photos to add to the site. New ideas and current information are published on a weekly basis, including whats been happening that might be of interest, test locations, and a question regarding the informal meeting for coffee and/or breakfast. Check it out and provide feedback or ideas if you are interested. Len WA6KLK, said as President of WARS he felt that supporting LCARS at the "End of Summer" BBQ coming up the 27th of September was important because it bonds the two counties through freindship and would be very handy in emergency situations.
WARS Seminar has been scheduled for Saturday October 11th. It will be held at the Mormon Church south of Willits from 10am until about 2pm, and will be primarily about all things digital starting with CW, the purest form of digital communication. Carl KB6ZST, decided to announce that he and Len were embarking on a moon bounce project and invited anyone else with an interest to join them once it gets started. It is still in the start up phase with lots and lots of computer research.
George K7WWA, lamented the lack of repeater usage. It takes a lot of time, effort and expense to keep the repeaters up and operating so he is encouraging everyone to make more use of the 145.13 repeater as well as the linked countywide system. Lets use them whenever we can to show our support. Irma NA6I, commented she monitors 145.13 and 146.82 all the time and offers help to those that need it (sometimes even on the coast!). This opened a discussion on signal bounces because she is located in the valley of Ridgewood Ranch and can receive and transmit easily to the Matheson Peak Repeater on the coast. Discussions on bouncing signals led into the use of beacons and different propgation that can and does change within a matter of a few minutes. Monitoring 145.555 Walking Repeaters, on Wednesday evenings at 8pm is a good way to see what you can hear (and see who can hear you) from out of the immediate area. With a beam and rotator it becomes even more fun to find bounces that you wouldn't otherwise be aware of.
A meeting, date to be announced will be held early in November to elect 2015 WARS Officers. Think about who you would like to nominate and support for the coming year. Ideas for activities are always welcome and encouraged .. speak up, don't be shy! Holiday Dinner is right around the corner and the reservations will be made shortly, anyone with a preference of the first or second Friday in December should get in touch with Tim and make it known.
Bill KH6GJV, our ARRL Section Manager showed an interesting film about the history of ARRL and spoke on why HR4969 that deals with CC&Rs allowing antennas is so important to all HAM operators.
Congratulations go out to Gualala for hosting a VE test session with a quick Technician Class review Saturday August 23rd. It couldn't have been more successful with six operators passing thier exams. One new Technician traveled from Bodega Bay along with an operator that upgraded to General Class. The South Coast also boasts a new Technician licensee as well as three that passed their Extra Class upgrades. Good work and congratulations to all!!
Tim WB9NJS making the first few of a total 160 contacts for the group. Alan WA6JBK having a bit of trouble with his battery. Jim W6JRC's GOTA station. The weekend was a fun and relaxing one with stations set up behind the Mendocino County Museum in Willits.
Lake County's Field Day was held at George Hoberg's Vista Point a beautiful site overlooking Clear Lake. A dipole was set up that crossed the parking area as well as a GOTA station for interested visitors. Dave N1PPP is helping Brenden get his first contact! A scumptious Tri-Tip BBQ and potluck was served to attendees and the Fire Dept.
Saturday May 31st, LCARS hosted a BBQ bash that was attended by a group of HAMs and their families from both Lake and Mendocino counties. It was a perfect opportunity to meet and talk with HAMs outside our community, share ideas, Elmer, and enjoy lots and lots of good food at beautiful Lake Mendocino. The weather cooperated with a nice warm day and a gentle breeze that allowed us to sit around and visit comfortably. Kudo's go to both Kristine KI6YYW, and Brenda KI6WFU, for slaving over a "hot" grill and providing everyone with hamburgers and hot dogs on a warm summer day!
Len WA6KLK, had an ICOM-502 QRP 6M rig set up hoping to catch the band open without much luck. I KJ6ZVS, actually had a lot of help hanging the multiband dipole that I homebrewed about 15 feet high from a couple of trees. I then set my ICOM 706 at low power (QRP) with a portable battery pack and contacted the "noontime" net on 40M (7.268.50) suprising the net control (in central Washington) with my check in plus 17 more. The net control wasn't receiving me very well and said "noooo" he didn't want the 17 other call signs but one of the many net relays took all the call signs and passed them on. Now, after learning how to test my rig, if the tuner isn't working, I have the confidence that if I'm on a road trip, I can set up and transmit minus the extra check ins of course.
This was a full day with plenty of good food, lots of laugter and conversation, Anyone that missed attending this event, missed out on a perfectly relaxed wonderful day! LCARS has become expert at organizing these potluck BBQ events and hopefully we'll see you at the next one!!
WARS held a meeting Saturday, May 17th at Old Mission Pizza, there were 22 attendees coming from as far away as Piercy, Laytonville, Longvale, Fort Bragg and Loch Lomond. Others come in from various areas around Willits; including Ridgewood, Pine Mountain, Sherwood, Hearst and Thunder Mountain.
Tim WB9NJS, gave a treasurer's report and Joyce KJ6ZVS, gave a report on the WARS website activity. We not only had an attendee that had found out about the meeting via the website, but actually paid for her membership before leaving the meeting. WARS actually picked up four (4) paid memberships as both Alan WA6JBK and Dirk KJ6TNY renewed their membership as well. Dirk renewed his membership in spite of his imminent plans to relocate in Sacramento. We wish him the best of luck in his, and JJ's new endeavors, and welcome him back anytime for a visit! Jane KI6VIA and Quince (hoping to be licensed soon) became new WARS members as well.
Bill KK6HZU gave a rousing talk on using a Faraday Boxes to store equipment in. Makeshift Faraday boxes can be made from, garbage cans, ammunition containers, popcorn tins and even shoe boxes! That said, the device you are protecting must not touch the metal container (use insulation: paper, cardboard, whatever). The demonstration showed how effective the protection was by using a HT that was transmitting until the enclosure was closed. Importantly, there can be no holes or leaks, so, if the box seems less than adequate, you may wrap it in aluminum foil for more protection. As an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) travels to earth, whether from a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or a nuclear detonation in the atmosphere, it hits and runs along electrical power lines as well, building up voltage and amperage, which is what happened during the last solar storm a dozen years ago, blowing out transformers and leaving 6 million people in eastern Canada without power for weeks.
The time to build Faraday cages or blankets is NOW, as when they are actually needed it will be far too late. Each box should be labeled on the ends and the top for the exact appliance they were built for, to eliminate any confusion when they must be protected in a hurry. Any electrical appliances not in use should be stored in the Faraday cage, where they will be kept clean, neat, in a known location, and protected against any sudden EMP surge.
Alan WA6JBK gave a talk on Receiver Desense; Receiver desense is caused by a strong off-frequency signal that is swamping or overloading the receiver - usually in the front end. Such a strong signal will cause the receiver to become practically non-functional. In such a condition the receiver can hardly respond to any weak signals. When locating multiple stations at a single site, several precautions must be taken to guard against interference to all stations at the site. Among the factors that must be considered are transmitter noise and receiver desensitization. This problem often shows up when providing coverage for events where there are several HTs in use.
The next WARS meeting will be announced when the date has been set, probably in a couple of months. Considering that LCARS "Beginning of Summer BBQ" 5/31, and ARRL Field Day, 6/28 will be keeping everyone busy in the next few weeks.
Lake County Amateur Radio Society hosted an Operations Day in Lucerne, Saturday May 3rd that was wildly successful. It was a day for newly licensed, recently licensed and those just interested in the amateur radio hobby to get some "hands on" instruction and mentoring. There was something for everyone; whether it was test equipment, portable power, digital communications, antennas or literature. Over 40 people attended, moving around the display tables enjoying conversation and learning how everything works.
Five new Baofeng UV6B HTs were raffled during the event, raising money for the club. Programming was also being provided so that the radios were ready to be used immediately with local frequencies. The lucky raffle winners were: Jeff KE6VGB, John KI6LUM, Andy KG6DKN, and LeRoy KK6LYO.
Two Baofeng UV6B HTs were also presented to Dr. Karen Tait and they will be used for the Lake County health drills that prepare radio operators for emergencies. "It's just a way we can give back to the community," stated Kristine KI6YYW, secretary for LCARS.
Seven WARS members made the trip over to enjoy the day and support LCARS in any way that they could. We not only had a pleasant drive but enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch, good company and lots of conversation.
Saturday April 26th VOMARC (Valley of the Moon Amateur Radio Club) held their annual Hamfest, which included an indoor/outdoor swapmeet, exam session, breakfast, drawings for door prizes and demonstrations. We arrived at almost 8am on the dot and business was already brisk at the swapmeet with many attendees returning to their vehicles with their new found treasures. Attendance; both sellers and buyers appeared to be down as compared to a year ago, probably because of the forecasted weather. However, while it was really cool at 8am, by 10 the air had warmed nicely and the day was gorgeous. There were good buys to be found and I enjoyed digging through various boxes of parts looking for the elusive pieces and parts I want for my spectrum analyzer project.
Breakfast, as it has been in the past, was plentiful and delicious with lots of people moving around and stopping for casual conversations. We enjoyed a leisurely meal in a relaxed atmosphere where we met and talked with Hams from outside our local area, made new friends, exchanged information about radio equipment, accessories, and programming. WARS members that attended were Bill KK6HZU and his XYL Debbie, Len WA6KLK, Don KJ6ZVR, and me KJ6ZVS.
This is the 3rd VOMARC Hamfest that I have had the pleasure of attending and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in a fun day, it's never too early to mark your 2015 calendar for the 4th Saturday in April. It is the perfect spot and time of year to enjoy a beautiful drive out to Sonoma, find the buy you never expected, possibly take an upgrade exam, and have a meal, all hosted by friendly members of the local radio club.
Have you heard Bill this last week or so? Yep, Len, WA6KLK helped Bill get some j-poles up and he now has radios in the house that he is monitoring. Give him a call on Willits simplex 146.445 or Walking Repeaters 145.555 and see if you can stir him up on Thunder Mountain. The center spot has been saved to add an additional antenna, rumored to be a 10M antenna sometime in the future.
The boom on the pair of beams is a 2 x 2 that wasn't completely dry and in the short time that it has been in the air it has warped causing one side to point up and the other to point down. The photo shows how ugly they are matched but surprisingly enough it still works decently well! It now reminds us that although not perfect, antennas will still be effective if set up. Bob says next time he needs to make a boom (and there will be a next time) he is going to try using a stiff old broom stick. A second 1.25M "cheap" Yagi has been built and before too long Bob will have a set of them up as well. For those of you wondering what's happening on HF, Bob said he has an antenna up for 40M and has been checking into The Noontime Net @ 7.268.50.
Bob, W6RJA has been very busy upgrading his antennas with help from Len WA6KLK. He is located out at Hearst and sits in a canyon hidden from the sun and radio signals that the rest of us enjoy. He built a pair of six element "cheap yagi" 2M beams and mounted them under his j-pole. Currently he is experimenting with directional bouncing to enhance the reception. Many Willits residents will be able to tell a difference on simplex 146.445 MHz and 145.555 MHz.
A 1.25M beam has been built and set up as well, giving him the ability to reach out on 223 MHz and he is making contacts. It is rumored that Bob is now working on getting back on HF as his antenna was destroyed and is now being replaced. Give him a call ... see if you can make contact.
A mixed group of about 40 (Lil' Stinkers & WARS) attended the St Patricks Day Luncheon at the Willits Senior Center for a bounty of corned beef and cabbage. We had 4 members drive over from the coast: Richard WD6HDY, Derek KE6EZB, Danny K6MHE and his lovely wife Bonnie. Uncle Don KF6UDJ arrived from Longvale, and Nick KI6RIT took time from work in Ukiah, Bob W6RJA drove in from Hearst and brought 3 guests to enjoy not only a great meal but lots of conversation and good times. Rosie, Linda KI6FRW's mom, celebrated her 86th birthday today as well. Plan now to come next year and join in the fun!
Nick KI6RIT, Don KJ6ZVR, and Joyce KJ6ZVS, had the pleasure of attending the LCARS (Lake County Amateur Radio Society) annual Spring Fling fundraiser Saturday, March 15th in Lucerne. Approximately 35 were in attendance, representing 4 different radio clubs, and served a scrumptious Tri-Tip and Chicken meal donated by Casey Dye a professional BBQ'r along with many more delicious potluck side dishes. A Baofeng UV-B6 was raffled and won by Jim Plank KE6ERV. Great conversation, laughter and a good time was had by all. Of interest a testing session is being held April 26th in Lake County, contact Ken KG6TXU, followed by an Operations Day May 3rd where hams can get hands on instruction on how to operate their radios. The next BBQ event that LCARS will host is the Summer Kick Off BBQ, May 31st at Lake Mendocino.