ham radio Willits w6mmm

What's New with Ham Radio?

1400th WARS Breakfast

Mendo HamNet Forum

By: Rick KK6PZA and Bill KM6WYE

A group of local ham operators achieved some interesting results while doing speed and range tests of the Broadband HamNet project on the morning of Saturday Sept 14th at Eagle Peak School in Redwood Valley. Around ten of us met including Ken KG6TXU and Eric KI6BXC, who made the trip from Lake County.

Initially we set up and and activated the network with the equipment that we had, to make sure we could all see each other. Different folks played with different aspects including KK6VLV activating a local WiFi network so he could connect with his smartphone. This was our first group meet-up around Broadband Hamnet.

The bandwidth test consisted of a live video stream feeding 6 separate devices while a 7th device was downloading SkywaveLinux Operating system from a local FTP server at around 1.5 Megabytes per second.

The range test consisted of a video stream transmitted from a vehicle driving slowly north down West Rd, then pulling over several times over the course of the test. There were many thick trees and changes in elevation that affected signal quality but we got out to 2 miles.

Prior to Saturday, KM6WYE and KK6PZA had done some testing. One evening KM6WYE was portable on Tomki Ridge with his Ubiquiti beam and KK6PZA was portable just west of Eagle Peak School with a WRT54G on the roof of his truck. While not enough for a good connection, the WRT54G saw the more powerful Ubiquiti several times. Probably 8 miles or so. Also, on Saturday using a second Ubiquiti we were able to see but not connect to a WRT54G that was outside on the east side of the valley several hundred feet higher than our location(3 miles+-). Illustrating that with better antennas we might go significantly longer distances.

Broadband Hamnet is mesh network project using repurposed low cost Wi-Fi routers. The project developed Ham radio firmware for certain common WiFi routers, namely, certain LinkSys and Ubiquiti devices. This firmware converts a consumer WiFi router into a Ham Radio Mesh Networking Node. The nodes automatically discover and connect to each other with no interaction from the operator.

Each node can simply pass traffic or an operator can use or provide services available to anyone else on the mesh. Services include Text based Chat, Video Chat & conferencing, Audio Chat, FTP and File Servers, Email, Forms & Documents, Webcams with Remote Video streaming and much much more.

As with our other radios, antennas make a big difference. We are working on building and testing some cantennas, repurposing some satellite TV dishes, as well as a colinear omnidirectional so that our mesh can cover longer distances with greater reliability. These antennas are to bring the WRT54G distances up which theoretically could go from 3db for a stock antenna to 25db for a cantenna feeding a repurposed Sat.TV dish. That will provide significantly longer distances.

One of the goals is to get some reliable links on certain hilltops and to add a Hi Resolution Camera or two that anyone on the mesh can log into and see a live feed. These mesh networks can be used during an emergency to transfer a large amount of data from one point to another in a short amount of time and could prove to be a valuable part of our community.

More tests to come but it's theorized that a 20+ mile link will be possible using the Ubiquiti hardware allowing the possibility to connect local mesh networks in communities around the county to each other. If you're interested in participating in the local Mesh then please join the Mendo HamNet Forums

HamBQ in Albion

A gorgeous day in Albion found 50+ attending the annual ham-bq and swap. Items were moved, among the hams enjoying not only the weather, but a bounty of food and wonderful conversation. Hams were able to finally meet the voices they heard on Nets and get better aquainted. Thank you to Rio KK6RPW and Jonathan KK6RPX for hosting this event and to Mike KG6MGM for helping get the food prepared.

Field Day 2019

We had Field Day at 2 different locations this year. A group met at Todd Grove in Ukiah Sat to share radio with the general public and any interested hams. A second group traveled up to Anthony Peak at the Mendocino Pass east of Covelo to make radio contacts and share information. The hams at Anthony Peak were treated to a tour of the lookout up there by Gail KK6CEK. Snow was still present and the late afternoon was cool!

Thank you to all for submitting photos.

Welcome all Hams BBQ

We enjoyed a wonderous afternoon at the Recreation Grove in Willits. Tables were set up to demonstate antennas, radio, digi and more. 44 signed in and enjoyed the beautiful weather and great conversation. Dane KN6BCX won the drawing for a Yeasu HT.

Photos courtsey of Rick KK6PZA ... thanks for sharing!

1350th Breakfast Meeting

May 4th was the 1350th (+ or -) gathering for breakfast. On a very busy Saturday we had a good turnout including 4 newly licensed hams. We enjoyed a meal, great conversation and fielded a bunch of questions from the new hams. Thank you to those that offered to help, mentor, and guide the new hams!

Feb 23rd Pizza Meeting

The first meeting of the year was held Sat, Feb 23rd at Old Mission Pizza with hams from Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma Counties in attendance. The meeting opened with Tim WB9NJS, giving a treasury report and commenting on the number of paid memberships this year. Joyce KJ6ZVS, did not have a website report but asked for any input to be submitted to keep the site informative and interesting.

A memorial was discussed and it was decided to start a virtual lending library in honor of WARS members that are now silent key. Mike KM6OTE, volunteered to set up a spreadsheet, and being responsible for maintaining it, allowing posts on the website with books available to be loaned out. Equipment loans was debated and it was decided thaat the Swap Net already provides that opportunity. The Library will be up on the website soon.

It was discussed and decided that a Saturday breakfast was something that we want to have ... now, finding a time when evryone is free. An announcement will be forthcoming, breakfast will probably be held in May.

Joyce has been in contact with Lake County (LCARS) to host a joint event possibly using the overlook on the south side of Lake which has nice bathroon facilities and tables. John NX6DX, suggested Plaza in central Ukiah as a very public spot to generate interest in radio. A joint event would help us to meet the multitude of new hams in Lake County and possibly provide an Elmering experience. Any ideas are welcomed and just drop Joyce a note.

Speaking of Elmers ... We need to provide a list of experienced hams that are willing to spend a little time helping guide the newly licensed in how, what why etc. Anyone interested in being on that list for 'one on one' elmering contact Joyce and it will be available on the website soon.

Mary Jane WA3VUI, gave a short presentation on name tags and sent around a sign up sheet to order one so that a bulk order could be made.

Mike KC6MGM, gave a brief update on MACS and what was needed to get signed up for emergency communication and handed out applications to those that needed them.

Bill KH6GJV, was in attendance and as our AARL Section Manager gave us an update on what was happening at ARRL. Also why it is a wise idea to support the ARRL and how it benefits not only clubs but individuals.

Jonathan KK6RPX wspokeon his 'long tone zero' project that he has been working on. An add on to your radio will alllow it to monitor countywide at night with no interruption unless san emergency arises and the notificatio is keyed in with a long tone which opens up a radio transmission. This generated a lot of enthusiam as an alert for smaller communities. He is going to have PC boards manufactured and will be getting the project together for a trial run.

2018 WARS Holiday Dinner

Some of the many photos sent in by Rense, KK6PEE. It looks like a good time was had by all that attended!

Casper Community Center Radio

The radio project has been completely installed at the Casper Community Center making them more prepared for emergencies. Eric KM6SHY sent in the following photos showing Tonk's tTree Sevive volunteering to install the antenna and the radio set up inside.

WARS Oct 13th Meeting

The WARS meeting was opened with Len WA6KLK, giving a treasurer's report in Tim WB9NJS's absence. Joyce KJ6ZVS, gave an update on how the website stats look for this year compared to last year. We are increasing page hits thanks to all the submissions that have been made, such as photos, page shots and even website links. Thank you to all that have taken time and made the effort to keep our website current and interesting. The farewell BBQ held in September was also recapped with Thanks going to all that helped make it a success.

Current WARS membership stands at 61 and with election of 2019 officers, it was discussed how to handle nominations and the election itself. It was decided that to be fair to all and internet election is the way to proceed. Some of the feedback received last year after the election, was due to the mailing and receiving email being the club email which is in Joyce's name, and she was a candidate. This year the election plan is the same except, we're asking for an election volunteer to send and receive the emails in a timely manner, then tally the results. It was noted that 2018 officers said they were willing to serve in 2019 provided that was what the club agreed upon. Paul K2HZO made a motion that the club keep the current officers in 2019, Bill KK6HZU seconded the motion and it was put to a vote and unanimously carried. 2018 officers will remain in office for another year.

Basic plans were discussed for activities in 2018, which included a WARS 1350th Breakfast, Seminar or two, Field Trip/Picnic to Anthony Peak with possible campout and SOTA, Hamfest II in Albion and a Sept BBQ with a swapmeet. I was suggested and discussed having club project that could bring money into the club for a lending library, scholarship or other activities. The discussion revolved around WARS being a non-profit organization and the tax ramifications associated with a project. The idea was tabled for time to look into what exactly is legal and what an activity would be.

Interest in a local swapmeet is growing and it was suggested that a function incorporating LCARS would be advantageous to bringing the two clubs closer together. All we need right now is a great location and then we couls advertise and get the word out!

WARS BBQ wishing K7WWA the best

It was a splendid day in the park where about 50 hams from Piercy to Gualala and everywhere in between gathered to wish George and his lovely wife Claudia best wishes on their future endeavors. BBQs were set up, hamburgers and hot dogs grilled and a true bounty of everything needed to enjoy a feast.

(1) Setting up early. (2) LeRoy KK6LYO grilling. (3) Jim W6JRC giving LeRoy a break on the grill.

Hams gathering together, looking at food choices and sharing stories. feeding the kids.

(1) Joyce KJ6ZVS trying to get the cake lid off, (2) Thanks and best wishes being given. (3)Group from ABRC (Gualala)

Lots of visiting

Photos courtesy of LeRoy KK6LYO

Just as a side note after a wonderful day in the park, WARS officers determined that a Sept BBQ should be an annual event and possibly a swapmeet next year to go with it!

Jonathan KK6RPX and Richard WD6HDY partying in Georgia!

Aug 11th Ham-BQ becomes Hamstock 1

As the RSVPs came in we knew it would be a party. I counted 50 attendees and I'm fairly sure I missed a few. We came to escape the heat and smoke, wound up enjoying a perfect summer day near the coast and eating too much! We enjoyed a raffle, talking about radio, antennas, as well as other subjects. Thanks to Rio KK6RPW, and Jonathan KK6RPX, for being the hosts of this event. There is talk of doing it again next year and including a swap meet with it.

Photos by LeRoy KK6LYO and Len WA6KLK

July 28th WARS Meeting

We has 41 attend this meeting at OMP. The meeting was opened with Tim WB9NJS, reporting on membership numbers and saying as much as we like membership, if new members hold off until Sept their dues will count for 2019. He continued with the treasury report and stated while the club purchased a shade canopy, the projector is still on hold awaiting a stocked sale. There was discussion about personalizing the canopy with WARS logo and the best way to achieve that.

Joyce KJ6ZVS reported on the status of the website and apologized for the lack of updated material since her iternet connection was down. Coming events include the Ham-BQ Aug 11th in Albion, the FWRA Scotia swap and BBQ 9/9 and another BQ Sept 15th at the recreation grove to thank George K7WWA for all he has done in the ham community here, plus wish him the best of luck with his new adventures in Utah.

Arrl is providing an Elmer's award for presenting to that Elmer that was instrumental in getting you on the air and involved in ham radio. Look it up and take advantage of the opportunity to reward your Elmer for their time and effort to get you started!

Len WA6KLK gave a comprehensive talk on frequencie, both repeater and simple, their approximate coverage and some protocol.

After a questionand answer period raffle tickets were sold as Paul K2HZO set up his presentation of building a loop antenna out of coax, and his Elecraft tranceiver. Aterwards the raffle as held, Cole KM6TTQ was declared the luckiest ham in the room and everyone went home happy. After the meeting, Joyce KJ6ZVS stayed and helped Carol KM6SNW and Jan KK6STK program their Boafeng handheld radios.

WARS Field Day 2018

Rio K6RPW, Stan KI6ZOH, Chris KK6PDU, Rich N0JUK, Louis KJ6VHZ, Tim KM6OTV and Jonathan KK6RPX decided to spend Field Day on BLM land at Walker Ridge in Lake County making contacts following a tradion set by an original WARS group holding Field Day on Walker Ridge; George K7WWA, Richard WD6HDY, Len WA6KLK, Tim WB9NJS and Bill KD6LTD who contested for many years up there and have many stories to tell. Len WA6KLK spent a couple hours Sat but did not spend the weekend. This new group braved the heat and dry camp showing up Friday afternoon to set up antennas and their campsite. The views were spectacular and the windy hot days tolerable.

Jonathan KK6RPX wrote:

"Some of us arrived on Friday night and others came on Saturday morning. We began setting up right away and less than 1/2 hour after arrival we were up on all bands between 80 and 70cm. On Saturday we erected another mast with a sloper for HF and a vertical for 6M/2M/70CM on top. We also had another experimental homebrew sloper in a tree.

It was quite windy and we had some challenges getting masts up and shade shelters held down.  However, with good humor and work we got a nice field day operation set up. We didn't shake the contesting world to its foundation but we did get the club call out there and make some contacts. For most of us this was our first remote field day activation and while we had and have much to learn, overall we did pretty well.

Late afternoon on Saturday we spotted a small fire starting about 5 miles away from us as the crow flies across Indian Valley Reservoir. As we watched it spread quickly and turned into what is now called the Pawnee fire. We kept an eye on it and did not feel it called for immediate withdrawal. At night the flames were highly visible and a little concerning. In the morning it was clear that the fire was spreading. Even if we hadn't planned to leave we would have, it was obviously time to go. We had a great time and it was awesome to spend some time together and play some radio. We'll be doing it again next year!"

WARS Seminar: Ham Radio 101

Saturday June 16th, found a large group of hams at the LDS church attending the seminar and learning the basics of setting up their first station. Paul K2HZO, set up a solar powered HF station outside for contacts and was demonstrating digital modes. Tim WB9NJS, and Mike KC6MGM, spoke on the different aspects of setting up a station including types of radios, antennas, connectors, meters and coax. Tim also touched on the many nets around the county and invited all to participate. There were also hands on tables for attendees to see, handle and ask questions about antennas, programming handhelds as well as radios, coax, meters and connectors.

Following all the presentations, hands on table visits and trips to the refreshment table was a raffle, where books, a couple of radios, several antennas made by Len WA6KLK, as well as other prizes were awarded to lucky ticket holders. Plans are being made for another seminar in the near future as well as several local talks spread around the county and we hope to see you there!

Photos courtesy of Len WA6KLK

Modified Aluminum Dual Band J Pole ('Arrow') Antenna for Fiberglass Body Mini RV By KK6VLV.

Before I built any home-brew mobile VHF antennas, the only VHF mobile antenna I had was an MFJ-1724B Magnet Mount Mobile antenna. The first one of MFJ-1724B Magnet Mount Mobile antenna burned-out the capacitor in the loading coil within the first hour with less than 50 Watts on 2m. MFJ did replace it at no cost to me, "NoMatterWhat" as their warranty policy states, so I do not have any gripes or negative things to say about their response to the antenna 'failure'. But, after that, I had little trust of the replacement MFJ-1724B antenna after the first one went bad. Also, I did not have any mobile radio installed in the RV yet. I just had the Mag Mount antenna for emergencies and the occasional camping trips to National Forests and BLM lands so I could more likely be able to get into a repeater system somewhere with 50 Watts on 2m or 20 Watts on 70cm when rolling on down the road (My first Ham Radio after getting my first Amateur call-sign from FCC was a Yaesu FT-857D)... ...I built a 2 element dipole that worked on 2m and 70cm for the base station location and when parked at campsites etc.. more

Coastal HAM-BQ

After the 50K Ultra Marathon, Sat. April 21st, Rio KK6RPW and Jonathan KK6RPX graciously invited WARS to have a BBQ in Little River. The weather cooperated and it was nice, maybe a little chilly but it was on the coast! We had at least 40 in attendance (moving people are hard to count!) and groups formed and moved from one conversation to another. Leslye K6LSM and Richard AE6XO came up from Anchor Bay and Scott AF6MQ came in from Point Arena to meet folks from the north coast, inland and the 5 that treked over from Lake County. Leslye said it was a pleasur to meet hams she had only known from email.

Jonathan's teardrop, mobile radio station, was open to admire and he was actually checking hams in to the noontime net on 40 meters as they arrived.

Hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled to perfection by Jonathan and the tables were full of everything imaginable to go with them. As seen, everyone had a good time and as the sun was setting they began returning home tired but happy. Jonathan promised to host another HAM-BQ later this year if you were unable to attend.

Photos above courtesy of Rose AB6CF and photos below courtesy of Len WA6KLK

WARS 1300th Breakfast

Sat. Feb 24th, WARS celebrated 25 years of the coffee klatsch meeting. 22 folks came to enjoy the great food and conversations.

Along with hams from the local area we also enjoyed visitors from LCARS (Lake Co) and SCRA (Santa Rosa)

Len WA6KLK, George K7WWA, Percy KW6AR and Irma NA6I were charter members of WARS in attendance.

Hams Helping Len WA6KLK

Antenna and tower removal took place Sat Feb 3rd, at Len's old residence on Ridgewood, with the help of Tim WB9NJS, LeRoy KK6LYO, Soulin KK6VLV and James, who climbs for Marvin's Gardens tree service. After deciding the best way to approach the job, James went up and dismantled the antennas and with the help of 'ground grunts' lowered them down to ground level.

1) Look closely there are 2 towers on the right and left side of the house. --- 2) James on the antenna taking it apart.--- 3) Tim taking a break on the roof.

1) James working on the antenna. -- 2) taking the antennas down to the roof. -- 3) Relaxing moment after the work was done.

WARS Jan 20th Meeting

The meeting beganwith introductions; 41 were in attendance with just 3 individuals not being licensed hams! The large group included folks from Gualala, Little River, Fort Bragg, Piercy, Laytonville, Covelo, Brooktrails, Willits, Redwood Valley, Ukiah, Lake County and Sonoma as well as our speaker Sheriff Tom Allman. Pizza was served, Tim WB9NJS, gave a treasurer's report and reminded members that 2018 dues are now due and then gave an updated status on the projector project. He has decided on the model and is now searching for the best price before actually purchasing one. The older projector will then be put up for sale so that we don't find the club without one if needed. Joyce KJ6ZVS, gave a short report on what was happening on the website, and thanked both Mary Jane WA6VIU, and Percy KW6AR for articles they had submitted. It was decided that all three domain names should be renewed again this year at a cost of $16.99/ea.

Mike KC6MGM, told us that MCARCS was working on settin up trainings and a test session. There will be five classes on consecutive Tuesday evenings from 6pm-7:30pm starting March 13th and running through April 10th, with a test session to follow on April 28th. This will originate from MCOE out in the Talmage area and potentially have a location in Fort Bragg. More information will be available as plans are made. McARCS is also working on a roster of Mendocino County hams willing to participate in emergencies and what kind of equipment they have.

WARS has taken on the responsibility of communications for the 50K Marathon on the Coast this year. Tim WB9NJS, is requesting ten hams to volunteer from 7am – 3pm for assignments. This will be followed by an event on the Coast; most likely a BBQ at Jonathon’s QTH weather permitting.

The floor was then turned over to Sheriff Tom Allman and his talk revolving around the Redwood Complex Fire and ham communications. We learned of the trials of being out of town when the fire started and having to take an emergency flight home, then finding hams had taken on the responsibility of manning the OEC radio and volunteering for facilities that required communications in Willits.

We learned of the Potter Valley Fire Department's ability to ask PG&E to shut off the electrical grid without a supervisor's permission, and how Tom is working on having all fire departments gain the same ability to help control fires. How the fire destroyed communicatins in and out of Willits with the exception of landlines in the Willits exchange. How technology is changing households having landlines, how satellite phones can present problems and why ATT&T's redundancy with the fiber optic cable isn't effective. Howard Hospital supplied burn supplies to Ukiah Adventist through ham radio communications when the burn victims from Redwood Valley started arriving for treatment, hams also staffed the evacuation center and Northbrook Nursing providing their communication erpertise.

Future improvements Tom would like to see; a ham located at commercial radio stations providing the latest updates from the EOC, a central (regional) 911 center to handle emergency calls, all satellite phone kept up to date with software upgrades, sirens to alert residents in the communities and cell towers with 12 hours of back-up power (solar) not to mention more hams. Ham radio remains one of the more consistant means of communications when everything else is disrupted and the sheriff's department is committed to helping in any way, whether that is a form of ID to gain entrance to a locked down area or more equipment. It was noted by Tim, that gaining entrance to a locked down facility is much easier if the management of that facility knows you from the heathcare exercises performed every year!

Tom finished by sharing the following riddle: Why do cows have hooves?

Trish Austin was going to do a presentation at this meeting but was unable to attend due to a broken arm. CalFire is looking for ham radio operators under the VIP program. Apply, pass a background check, take a driving test (online) and as a volunteer you can say no to any assignment. Aplications are available online but you can contact Gail KM6CEK, for more information. Gail also stated she wants to work the ham radio at Howard Forest.

Patches were passed around for a decision on whether or not to order locally or send them out. The WARS logo patch was not of a quality that was approved and it was decided to pursue other vendors. It seems there is interest in a 4" x 2" patch for a hat or shirt so we will follow this up at a future meeting.

Saturday breakfast ... the WARS coffee klatch has been meeting for 25 years (missing a few here and there) so it is time to celebrate that fact with a no-host breakfast that is easy for all to attend. It will be held at Lumberjacks in Willits, Saturday, February 24th, at 10:00am. All hams, their families and anyone interested in ham radio are invited to join us for the 1300th breakfast!

A WARS seminar is being scheduled for early in June, after the MCARCS exam session April 28th and will be listed on the calendar and announced as soon as it is available.

Riddle answer: because they lactose!

photo's coutesy of LeRoy KK6LYO

Covelo Hams

WARS Covelo Branch - by Mary Jane Cummings

Several years ago, Round Valley Indian Health Center staff in Covelo, California, decided to begin using ham radio communications in order to participate in Mendocino Countywide healthcare facilities ham radio disaster/emergency preparations exercises. Three of the Health Center’s staff (Candie and Robert Stewart, who have since moved out of Covelo, and myself) took it upon ourselves to begin studying for the Technician exam so we could legally operate the radio for these disaster preparation exercises.

We eventually became FCC-licensed ham radio operators in 2012. Several other licensed hams ( “Elmers”) came from outside Covelo to help set up the facility’s ham radio in the Outreach Department, two antennas (directional and omni-directional) on the roof, and otherwise helped us learn to communicate via ham radio while using radiograms in these disaster preparation exercises.

For five months, I diligently studied on my own at home before taking and acing the Technician exam. Candie and Robert also passed the exam the same day. After some time passed and we had gained some experience using the Health Center’s ham radio in the disaster prep exercises, we three newbie hams purchased our own handheld and mobile radios and participated in the Countywide Net while parked in our vehicles in different locations in Covelo.

We want to express our great appreciation for all the hams who have helped us Covelo hams. John Lemmer was a great mentor and help to me and still is. John installed my mobile radio, speaker, and antenna in my truck and helped program my radios. Len Gwinn and Joyce Cader have come to Covelo more than once to meet with us and set up equipment. John Lemmer and others (I don’t remember who all) helped set up the antennas and radio at the Health Center. They have helped us so much in our ham radio communications progress and helped us begin to think about bigger things. Ham radio is very rewarding and exciting. I began to think about helping others become hams.

In mid-January through April, 2016, I facilitated a weekly group study class in Covelo with three students all passing the Technician exam. After some time, I purchased a base station radio and antenna. John Lemmer and my son installed the antenna. Two students (Pat Sobrero and Gail Harris) also set up their base stations, with help from “Elmers”. I was surprised to learn that I really enjoyed be a teacher.

As time passed, we three ladies continued to learn and progress and participate in ham radio events, such as weekly nets, emergency preparation exercises, field day, WARS meetings, and getting to know other hams. At different times, we participated in emergency preparation exercises at the Health Center and at the School.

In 2017, we three ladies decided to study for the General exam. In mid-January through April, I facilitated a General exam group study class with Gail and Pat. All three of us took the General exam and passed. Gail and Pat aced their exams; I passed with one error. I am so proud of them.

Also, in 2017, when communications went down due to the firestorm, a request for Mendocino County ham radio operators to assist with communications. Four Covelo hams volunteered to participate in ham radio communications: Tyler Kappl, Gail Harris, Pat Sobrero and myself. Pat helped at the Red Cross shelter in Willits, I took a night shift at Howard hospital, our hero Gail was Net Control in Ukiah at the Sheriff’s Training Center during three days, and all four of us from Covelo reported to the Net Control center just after ham radio communications closed because communication outages ended.

In 2018, Pat, Gail, and I decided to start another Covelo group study class for the Technician exam because we wanted more local hams to grow our Covelo group. This class started January 16 and will run through the end of April. Seven students showed up for the first class, including two from the Health Center.

WARS/MCARCS Holiday Dinner and LCARS Christmas Potluck

Hams came together Friday, December 1st at the Broiler Steak House in Redwood Valley for a scrumptions holiday dinner. There were 29 in attendance with Jim KG6PTX, and his YL Donna KG6TOI, coming from Gualala to attend. Conversation flowed as folks moved around the lounge saying hello and enjoying the holiday atmoshere. As dinner was served, Tim WB9NJS, thanked Len WA6KLK, for his dedication to WARS and the past year of his leadership. The gift exchange was made, appetites sated and everyone was entertained by Emilia and her curiosity.

A week later on Sat Dec 9th LCARS hosted their Christmas Potluck in Kelseyville with 22 in attendance. The table was laden with turkey, ham and all the trimmings. Pies and whipped cream were plentiful making for an afternoon of wonderful convesation and fun. The gift exchange ended with a lively round of stealing the gift someone else had chosen. It ended with laughter and happiness all around.

Nov 4th Meeting - Election Results

The surprise of the meeting was that we were unable to use the banquet room at Old Mission Pizza, so the 28 folks attending congregated in the front corner of OMP for an unusually noisy, albeit successful meeting. WARS was represented with members traveling in from the Coast, Laytonville, Longvale, Covelo, Redwood Valley/Calpella, Ukiah, Kelseyville and Willits. Bill Hillendahl KH6GJV, Arrl Section Manager, came up to join us as well as several visitors some, soon to be hams!

The meeting began with Tim WB9NJS, giving a treasurer's report as well as an update of where we are in the process of the purchase of a new projector. Currently he said he is still searching for one that will interface with the newer computers and priced within our budget. The excitement of the past month has put everything behind schedule, he added. While he had everyone's attention, he reminded the group about the WARS/MCARCS Holiday dinner which is coming up fast, Dec. 1st. Discussion ensued regarding the funding of the holiday dinner. In the past WARS and MCARCS have split this cost of $200 equally. Since WARS shares many active members with MACARCS and since MCARCS has no funding source, it was suggested that WARS spend $150 this year leaving the balance to MCARCS. It was moved, seconded and passed by membership to fund the extra amount.

Joyce KJ6ZVS, gave an updated report on the website, stating that at the end of Aug, without notice, Domain.com stopped all free webhosting and WARS was locked out, and unable to post updates on the site. Doing a search, FastComet.com was located, to host our website at an economical cost of $35.40 a year. Paid in 3-year terms for $106.20 and renewable without increasing the price. We now have unlimited space, a fast response with a new host and they have great customer service! Again everyone is encouraged to submit articles, pictures, what's new in your community group or anything else that might be of interest. That will keep the website interesting and fresh, and as always any suggestions for improving the site are welcome.

Jonathan KK6RPX, was the spokesman for the Coastal group and thanked WARS for incorporating their group Mendorats into WARS and making them feel so welcome. He invited anyone that finds themself in Fort Bragg on Tuesday mornings to drop by Angelina's at 10am for coffee and conversation with the coastal hams. He reported that he had met with the Mendocino Fire Dept and had recruited 8 for a couple study sessions, and then a licensing exam in the near future.

Mary Jane WA3VUI, spoke breifly about the group in Covelo; how they got started, their study groups and what they have been doing. She also mentioned that 4 Covelo hams had actually voluteered for shifts at the Willits shelter, hospital and EOC, thank you all! They are now trying to get their HF radios set up and on the air. They are also very interested in the ARRL emergency exercise this weekend with MARS.

Bill KH6GJV, gave an emotional rendition of how he evacuated from the fire in the Fountain Grove neighborhood of Santa Rosa. His aged mother needed to evacuate from her home near Oakmont as well, and how she accomplished that without his help. He was impressed with how well the hams in Sonoma County mobilized and volunteered throughout the fire emergency. Practice does really pay off! He noted though that he had no concept of how the Redwood Valley fire impacted our area because most of the news coverage focused on Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Len WA6KLK, gave an explanation of how and why WARS decided to conduct the election process by email this year. "It was to allow all of our members the ability to vote." He went on to address some concerns, one was that the emails had Joyce's name attached and she was a candidate for president. The problem came to light when 1) there were 2 candidates for President that required a vote and not just an approval 2) Joyce set up the website and email for W6MMM@gmail.com so her name was attached to the account. This caused some concerns that the election was not ethical. Len stated he took responsibility for the concerns and said these problems will be addressed by another temporary email account being set up by a third pary in the future for election results. The good news is 76% of paid membership cast their vote, either by paper ballot at he meeting or electronically.

Mike KC6MGM, announced that there were folks, both at Brooktrail Fire Dept and Laytonville Fire Dept, currently studying for their ham licenses he then brought the discussion around to what hams were volunteering for during the fire emergency. He pointed out some after action details that MCARCS wants to incorporate before the next activation of the EOC. How to limit verified vs unverified traffic, lists of hams and equipment that are available, as well as utilizing the 5.13 repeater for updates. Unfortunately, the noise within OMP had grown to a level that was making hearing Mike very difficult. We will have to have Mike speak again when we actually have the banquet room. However, Bill added that hams are limited as to what they can do, they are bound by regulations not to broadcast to a general audience. The EOC is set up during an emergency but hearing information and rebroadcasting it is not allowed. Joyce brought up that 'health and welfare' communication should be available to those in the affected area to get messages out to other family members by passing a message to a ham out of the area with phone communications. Tim stated that that would be possible after all emergency posts were manned as there usually aren't enough volunteers to fill all.

Len again took the floor and thanked the officers for supporting him this last year as Prsident, it made his job easy and it was a pleasant one. He thanked Mike for keeping his promise to take the presidency this coming year keeping his word to give him a rest. Then he announced that Tim WB9NJS, was approved for the office of Treasurer, Gail KM6CEK, was approved for Secretary and by the majority of vote Joyce KJ6ZVS, would take the office of President for 2018, noting that many notes came back attached to the votes that stated although Mike would be terrific in the office of President he is very effective (and busy) in CERTS and that,s where his efforts are best utilized.

California Fire Situation Improves


San Francisco Section District Emergency Coordinator Len Gwinn, WA6KLK, in the Redwood Valley told ARRL this week that Amateur Radio volunteers in Mendocino and Lake counties have stood down, and things are “kind of back to normal, in that no emergency stations are being operated.” Gwinn, who spent more than 3 decades with Cal Fire and a few more years as a volunteer, said the sound of the wildfire in the Redwood Valley was remarkable.

“Never, ever had I heard a fire like this,” he told ARRL. “[T]he roar of the fire was something else from 2 miles away the first night,” he recounted. “Transformers and propane tanks going off like a war zone. Some shook my house!”

Gwinn said this week that skies are still smoky but clearing. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told him that hams were a saving grace in keeping hospitals and some other organizations linked when there was no other communication.

Gail Harris, KM6CEK, became an accidental volunteer after she was stuck in Ukiah by road closings. Armed with US Forest Service and incident radio experience, Harris ended up working in the emergency operations center at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office until October 12. “It was awesome,” she said. “It was the reason I got involved with ham radio.”

Mary Jane Cummings, WA3VUI, of Covelo, took a night shift at Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits, monitoring the radio and handling messages for the hospital and the shelter at the local high school.

Gwinn thanked Greg Glavich, WA6RQX, in Ukiah, who manages a five-linked repeater complex for wide-area communication, and George Burton, K7WWA, in Willits, for his central repeater that also carried traffic.

San Francisco Section Manager Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV, who briefly evacuated earlier this month when the Tubbs Fire got too close for comfort, told ARRL this week that the communications emergency has largely abated, with most cell sites now back up — at least with temporary equipment — and public safety systems working well.

“I am at home providing media and public safety updates on the air, but if the fire comes across the valley east of my place, I’ll be out the door again,” he told ARRL.

“Nearly 10,000 firefighters continue making progress on 13 large wildfires burning in the state that, combined, have burned over 210,000 acres,” Cal Fire reported mid-week. “While many evacuation orders have been lifted in Northern California, over 22,000 people remain out of their homes.” The death toll stands at 42.

Cal Fire said the Tubbs Fire affecting Sonoma and Napa counties has been 82% contained; the Nuns Fire between Santa Rosa and the city of Sonoma is 68% contained; the Atlas Fire — the single largest blaze which has engulfed more than 51,000 acres and left six dead — is 77% contained, and the Mendocino-Lake Complex Fire in the Redwood Valley is 60% contained. That blaze alone killed eight people. New fires have been reported in Alameda, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. The largest is about 1,100 acres.


Ham Radio Bridging the Gap in Wildfire-Stricken California

More than a dozen wildfires in Northern California have damaged or destroyed cellular telephone and internet infrastructure in some areas, and Amateur Radio has helped to fill the communication gap. Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman told news media on Tuesday, October 10, that damage to cell towers and fiber optic telephone and computer lines had left officials relying on Amateur Radio operators to communicate with area hospitals.

ARRL contacted Robin Carter, a resident of the Willits area in Mendocino County, who confirmed that ham radio operators were, until midweek, stationed at all North County hospitals and large nursing homes, supplementing the county's emergency communication system. She said cell and landline telephone service had been knocked out at her home, along with the fiber optic internet connection, although the family has satellite internet. She said internet service was at least temporarily restored on Wednesday.

Her husband Mike Carter, KC6MGM, a Mendocino County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer, had, until Wednesday, been staffing a station at Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits for 12 hours a day. Radio amateurs also assisted with communication at Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Ukiah; Northbrook Nursing Home in Willits; the Mendocino Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg, and Red Cross shelters at Ukiah High School and Willits High School, Robin Carter said.

The Redwood Complex Fire, the northernmost of the fires, was responsible for the Mendocino County outages. The Atlas Fire in Solano and Napa counties is the largest and most disastrous wildfire. It covers more than 42,300 acres and was only 3% contained as of October 11.

The ARRL Letter for October 12, 2017

Tri-Tip BBQ and Picnic

We enjoyed a very nice time Saturday September 23rd at the WARS 1st Annual Tri-Tip BBQ! HAMS were in attendance from Fort Bragg, Little River, Covelo, Laytonville, Redwood Valley, Ukiah and Willits to enjoy the perfect weather and beauty of the park. The meat was smoked to perfection by George K7WWA and we all enjoyed abundant amounts of delicious food as well as the great conversations.

July WARS Meeting

29 HAM enthusiats came to the WARS meeting Saturday 7/22 for a presentation given by LeRoy KK6LYO, on his recent trip to China. Len WA6KLK, brought the meeting to order with everyone introducing themselves and their station QTH. We had 3 visitors, Barbara KJ4WDN, who has moved to Willits from Norfolk VA recently, Rich N0JUK, and Slyvia KK6XZO/3rd party, both from Little River.

Pizza was delivered and afterwards Joyce KJ6ZVS, gave a report on what has been happening with the website and Facebook page. A plea was once again given for any input from members that would keep both sites informative and interesting. Site traffic is down a little from last year but still getting decent numbers. Tim WB9NJS, then reported on the treasury balance and stated that the balance is about $500 higher than usual at this time of the year, due to the generous donation received for HAMs working the Wildwood Enduro bike race on the coast.

This moved the discussion into another area regarding the projector that we purchased 4 years ago. It seems that among the problems we have with it, is the fact that it will not interface with newer computers being used today, limiting it's use. A new projector with capabilities to interface, as well as higher illumination is estimated to cost in the $300-$500 range and it would be a good use of the donation money to benefit the club. Discussion revolved around purchasing a 'good one' vs a 'better one' and finally it was moved by Ken KG6TXU, and seconded by LeRoy KK6LYO to purchase a projector allowing up to $600 if needed for a quality buy. Tim also commented that the old projector could be offered up for sale as well to offset the cost.

Holiday Dinner plans are being thought about and Tim wondered in light of last years accident if it wouldn't be better to schedule it earlier in the fall, so that coastal members wouldn't be as likely to have to travel in inclimate weather, rather than the first part of December. Ideas that were shared included scheduling it earlier in the evening. Not hearing any real conclusion, I suggest that you Email Tim directly with your ideas. Normally the reservation is made sometime in Sept, so give this some thought!

WARS has not made nametags available to members for many years now and Joyce is looking into the cost and availability of getting not only a tag with your name, call and logo on it but also embroidered patches, hats etc. If you have suggestions, input would like to know about a specific item Contact Joyce

It was questioned whether or not there was interest in a BBQ/Picnic. the group was agreeable and Len stated he would leave the details to Joyce. So, an email will be sent to all members as to time and location preferences and to get a count of those folks that would be interested in helping.

Len proposed that the group of HAMs that meet for coffee every Tuesday on the coast, of which several are already members, be brought into WARS as a chapter to facilitate more membership and activities between both groups. Because our membership encompasses so many out of our immediate area, it creates a hardship to be able to participate in just travel time, yet yet HAMs would like to support and be supported by a club. Covelo could be included in a chapter annexation as well if they desire to be. It was decided that there would be no problem in accepting the coastal group and in fact a question was posed as to whether we could have a meeting over there!

LeRoy set up a presentation on the trip that he and his wife Terri made to China in April. He gave some information on what it takes to be a HAM in China as well as a wonderful slide show that he put together with many beautiful shots of known tourist locations plus scenes from the back country, modes of travel and food markets. It truly was enlightening LeRoy, thank you for sharing you trip.

Len announced elections would be held in Oct and he would not be President for another term ... so be thinking who you would like to fill WARS offices. The meeting finished with Raspberry Curd filled Chocolate Cupcakes, brought in by Slyvia and her dad Rich for all to enjoy. Thank you Jen KK6XZO and Lea KJ6OUY for your time and energy in making these delicious treats. Gail KM6CEK was getting info on hooking her antenna and HF radio up while Mary Jane observed directly following the adjournment. Thank you Rich for staying and diagraming what Gail needs to do.

Coastal HAMS having fun

Fun with model steam trains .... Fort Bragg Amateur Radio met for breakfast at the Laurel Deli and afterwards toured the model trains, where they watched Deb Smith KF6EIY, demonstrate her model steam engine.

See the video here

LCARS Spring Fling

LCARS hosted a 'Spring Fling' event with an enchilada bar.Saturday April 8th. It was attended by HAMS from Sonoma, Mendocino as well Lake Counties. After a scrumptious meal, Dave N1PPP, asked Bill Hillendahl KH6GJV, (ARRL section manager) to speak on where the 'prohibiting holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device while driving' law is at currently. Bill explained in detail how the new law came into existance and what needs to be done before radio opeation is not viewed as illegal. Pulling over as an alternative was also discussed, and I for one was shocked to learn that if you pull over in a stretch of freeway deemed as 'emergency parking only' there is a possibility of a $1000 fine! So be careful when pulling over to either talk on the radio or answering the phone.

Other conversations revolved around VOM Swap Meet, club websites, license classes, testing, programing HTs, and radio operators ID tags.

HAM group at the 'Spring Fling'

Don KJ6ZVR, WARS, KJ6ZVS WARS Secretary, Bill KH6GJV ARRL Section Mgr, Doug KK6WLW,LCARS VP, Iola KK6HRE SCRA President, Kristine KI6YYW Events Planner LCARS Kathy KK6TNH LCARS Secretary ,and Dave N1PPP LCARS Pesident.

St Patrick's Day Luncheon

WARS had a table reserved at the Willits Senior Center for a lunch consisting of corned beef and cabbage with all the trimmings. We had a wonderful turn out with 25 folks coming from as far away as Piercy, Laytonville, Longvale, Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Jago Bay, as well as Willits!

As seen in the pictures the food was delicious, and the conversation flowed. This is an annual event, so if you missed it, plan for next year now.

WARS Seminar

Another successful seminar was hosted by Willits Amateur Radio Society at the LDS Church Saturday, Feb. 11th. Three dozen people were in attendance as the program was started by Tim WB9NJS, with a bit of orientation. He then moved on to the first presentation which was titled 220 MHz antenns for the 1.25 meter band. Several designs were on hand for the audience to see close up and how to build instructions were given. Although the antennas shown were specifically for 220 MHz it was emphasized that the same design could be either upscaled or downscaled to fit the 2 meter or 70 centimeter bands. Antennas were passed around and held up for illustration of the size during the talk.

Following the antenna segment Jonathan KK6RPX, took over giving everyone information on basic meters every HAM should have in the shack and how to use them. Among the topics were analog vs digital meters and why both types are useful, safety concerns and practices for 110V vs 12V. He went on to teach how to test coax for continuity, resistors for their values as well as measuring voltage, current and calculating wattage. Tim WB9NJS, then showed all how to use a SWR meter and test forward power as well as reflected power and why that was important to determine. Dummy loads were also discussed and demonstrated. A break was announced and hands on time was allocated to both the meters and antennas while most enjoyed a bounty of snacks that Sharon KE6YKY, put together.

Third on the program was a powerpoint presentation about the Tower Project at Joyce KJ6ZVS and Don KJ6ZVR's QTH. How it began, where it was a year later and what has been learned!

Winding up the program was Greg WA6RQX, speaking on the Mendocino County linked repeater system. After a breif history of how he got started with repeater ownership and how the repeaters in Mendocino County came to be, he advised everyone that because the system is linked that waiting a couple of seconds after pushing the PTT button is necessary for all to link up and allow the full conversation to be heard. He spoke on the method that the repeaters are linked, the problems with finding locations to place a repeater, and the maintenance involved. A new repeater will be linked to the system somtime next month on the coast to help fill in coverage gaps and will be at 147.300.

After the seminar an exam was administered to two individuals, Stan KI6ZOH, passed both the General class and the Extra class for his upgrade, and Jonathan Kennelly passed the Technician class for his new ticket. Thanks to Jonathan KK6RPX, Ken KG6TXU, and Joyce KJ6ZVS for staying and making that test session possible.

WARS Pizza Meeting 1/28

A widespread group from all over the county met for the first meeting of the year at Old Mission Pizza Saturday Jan. 28th. The meeting time was changed this one time to 11:00am and was slightly abreviated due to time constraints.

The meeting was brought to order by Len WA6KLK, pizzas were delivered and Joyce KJ6ZVS, gave a report on how the website traffic had increased over the past year. It was discussed and decided to renew all 3 domains held by WARS for another year. Once again the website reflects WARS and is always in need of fresh material to keep it interesting. There is currently an email address on the home page where any new content can be sent. We had 2 visitors interested in becoming licensed that found their way to the meeting via the website showing the effectiveness of keeping it current.

Tim WB9NJS, reminded everyone that 2017 dues are now due and gave a report of club finances. There was discussion regarding the amount of dues and even though they have never been raised, the club at this time has a healthy balance which finances the pizza meetings and other activities.

Tim went on to give a summary of what he expected the Seminar Feb 11th to cover, with 4 presentations including a hands on exercise using basic test equipment.

Len brought up future activities, asked about interest, and maintained control of the following discussions:

1) Future license exams and study classes were discussed and tabled until there are enough applicants seeking an exam session. It was made note that both the library and museum had a room available for use.
2) Saturday morning breakfasts will increase to three time a year since everyone seems to enjoy them.
3) St Patricks Luncheon at the senior citizen center coming up in March
4) Field Day and the importance of a public presence
5) Kids Day or Jamoree on the Air to work with, and encourage some young folks
5) Airport Day and whether or not that was the most appropriate activity due to the flow of traffic.
6) BBQ/Potluck. Andy KK6TDG, from Lake County said LCARS would like to work with us in a joint effort.
7) VOM Hamfest in April and FWRS Swap/picnic in Sept are events that are fun to attend as well.

A raffle finished up the meeting with the item to have; a messenger bag labled with the WARS insigna and donated by Leroy KK6LYO, and his wife Terri. A very special thank you to you both!

Len then spent time with the 2 visitors giving them information on steps and resources to become ready for an exam to become licensed after the meeting was adjourned and George K7WWA, helped Soulin KK6VLV, check out his meter

Fort Bragg HAMs Enjoying Tuesday Coffee at Angelina's

Covelo HAMs

A meeting to answer questions and dicuss radios, antennas, coax and everthing in between was held at the library in Covelo, Oct 13th.

Attending were Mary Jane WA3VUI, Pat KM6CEJ, Gail KM6CEK, Henreatta KK6YKL, Carolyn KM6DUN, Tyler KK6PRF, Don KJ6ZVR, Joyce KJ6ZVS, and Len WA6KLK.

Steve KJ6SSS, and Len WA6KLK, returned back to Covelo a few weeks later to set up antennas and radios, getting several new HAMs on the air and participating in nets.

Article in The Willits News Wed Jan 18th

Amateur radio club holds 1,250th meeting

By Aura Whittaker, For The Willits News
Posted: 01/17/17, 2:00 PM PST

The Willits Amateur Radio Society was founded on Mar. 23, 1992. It adopted a constitution and elected officers, and welcomed all amateur radio operators and anyone interested in participating.

“We are just a social group. We meet, have coffee and talk,” said WARS secretary and webmaster Joyce Cader at the 1,250th meeting on Saturday. “We just want to encourage and teach new hams (amateur radio operators).”

According to the National Association for Amateur Radio, amateur radio (also known as ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the internet or cell phones. Although amateur radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies allocated by the FCC for use by ham radio operators.

WARS currently has more than 50 members. According to its constitution, the objectives of WARS are to promote interest in fellowship and fun in amateur radio, ; to further the cooperation between Mendocino County Amateur Radio Operators; to provide emergency or public service communications when normal means of communications are disrupted; to advance the state of the amateur radio art through individual and collective research; to conduct programs and activities so as to increase the general interest and welfare of amateur radio in the community including classes and testing; and to support lawful, responsible conduct by its members and the amateur fraternity in general.

The 2017 WARS officers are Len Gwinn, CEO; Tim Hanna, Chief Financial Officer and trustee; and Joyce Cader, secretary and webmaster. Cader said the group participates in health care drills, testing radios throughout the county and when the Office of Emergency Services puts out a call for HAMS to help.

We communicate a lot when the weather is bad, like the storm we just had,” said Cader. “We didn’t get called to help with any emergencies but we are available.”

WARS is hosting a seminar on various how-to subjects from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 11 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Willits. Speakers and topics are still being arranged, so look for more information on the WARS website at W6MMM.club or on its Facebook page.

WARS meets at 8 a.m. Friday mornings at Lumberjack’s Restaurant in Willits. Talk-in on the 145.130 MHz. repeater or 145.555 simplex. Anyone with even the slightest interest is welcome to attend, said Cader.

Members of the Willits Amateur Radio Club Percy Cartwright, Don Cader, Len Gwinn and Mike Carter attended Airport Day to hand out information and invite people to join the group.
WARS members Len Gwinn and Jonathan Peakall work on setting up a radio antenna.

Jan 2017 Storm

Jonathan KK6RPX (Albion) had his antenna tower go down in the wind during this weeks storm!

2016 Christmas Holiday Party

Friday Dec 9th found a room full of HAMs, meeting for another enjoyable evening at the Broiler in Redwood Valley to celebrate the season and enjoy a great party put together by MCARCS and WARS. Gathering in the lounge area we moved around greeting others as they arrived sitting in front of a warm fire. Emilia, Tim (WB9NJS) and Sharon Sue's (KE6YKY) grandaughter was a surprise visitor and definitely on her best behavior.

The dining room quieted down as everyone was served, the meal was delicious and filling! Raffle prizes were distributed with 'oohs & ahs' as everyone wound the night up extremely content.

The heavy rain made travel hazardous on the trip home, with an unexpected experience for Danny (K6MHE), Bonnie and Richard (WD6HDY) when their vehicle had a roll over accident on Hwy 20. Rense (KK6PEE), and his wife Mary luckily were following and on the scene to lend aid. No one was hurt seriously, for which we are all greatful, the car however, will have to be replaced.

Paul K2HZO is Working with WSPR

WSPR is the acronym for Weak Signal Propagation Reporting. It is a world wide ham operated listening and transmitting on low power beacon system to check how well you can hear and how well you are being heard mostly on the HF bands.

It is NOT very hard to configure. Basically, my setup consists of a Xonal U7 external USB stereo sound card, a free piece of software to run on Windows (10 in my case) and my little KX3 running anywhere from 0.1 watt to as high as 30 watts, and an internet connection. Many hams just listen and automatically report in to the net. Others, like me who just love to play and learn, also send beacon signals OUT. Then look at the world WSPR map to see who and where your signal was being copied... noting how much power and band where you were able to achieve the desired result.

Antenna comparison is easily done. The transceiver must be able to be in a DATA mode and be able to turn on either by CAT command or VOX. The software will take control of the rig and send and receive along with decoding these very weak signals. An old rig is a great device for this service, even if one just keeps it on the listen and reporting mode, others world wide will benefit from your signal reporting.

Band activity for your specific antenna and location is now available to you directly and not just from other people. You can actively participate, the signals WSPR uses are on discrete frequencies per band. I am just learning, but after getting SSB, PSK31, RTTY, JT65-HF and now this WSPR I am having a blast! All the external equipment, as that is needed was this external sound card USB device and a few cables to connect up my laptop. I don't know if the 'End of Days' is coming soon but these skills aren't all bad to learn and I encourage all to partake.

All the programs were free, SO far that is, and the stress levels for this kind of "SWL" is extremely low especially if a non transmitter setup is desired. People do want to know if they are being heard and you can be the one to let them know passively 24-7.

Elections Plus Past & Future

A meeting was brought to order November 12th, with 21 members and 2 visitors present. After some social time where everyone was able to catch up with what has been happening, pizza was served. As has become usual, members came from as far away as Piercy, Covelo, Laytonville, Fort Bragg, Ukiah as well as Willits. Dave N1PPP, president of LCARS and Andy KK6TDG, made the trip in from Lake County to enjoy the meal and meeting.

Tim WB9NJS, gave a report on the club finances, then went back several years with membership numbers to show our club growth. In 2013 WARS had 35 paid members and now we are up to 53 paid members. Len WA6KLK, asked how many were also ARRL members and a great majority of those present raised their hand.

Joyce KJ6ZVS, reported on the membership numbers of most of our neighboring clubs and the number of licensed HAMs both in the State as well in the Counties. The website report showed growth in the number of visitors from a daily average of 7 last year, to a daily average of 13 over this year. An interesting stat showed visitors found the website from all over California as well as 9 other States and 4 Countries! (Canada, Ukraine, Mexico and Brazil)

Jim W6JRC, talked a bit about MCARCS and a silent key sale that can be found on the SWAP/SELL page.

It was decided, by the membership to keep the same officers for an additional year. Len WA6KLK will again head the club as president, Tim WB9NJS, as treasurer and Joyce KJ6ZVS, as secretary. Mike KC6MGM, had offered to take the office as president this next year but having taken on CERTS this year and so busy training, he gratefully put his offer off for another year.

As far as events, test sessions were discussed and it was determined that WARS would sponser 1 to 2 sessions in 2017 with the possibility of a pretest class. There will be a seminar scheduled early in 2017, hopefully by Feb. Then 1 or more Saturday morning breakfasts, and possibly a BBQ/Picnic along with our normal St Patricks lunch, Field Day, and more public information activities. The importance (and fun) of visiting our neighboring clubs was discussed because as we all know, when help is needed in an emergency we will be depending on each other.

Len WA6KLK, listening to Joyce KJ6ZVS, and Steve KJ6SSS, looking on prior to the meeting.

Photo courtesy of Dave N1PPP

HARC & FWRS Picnic and Flea Market

A slideshow has been put together, hopefully to show the great day that we enjoyed Sunday the 11th of September at the benefit picnic for the Far West Re[eater System. Click on the link below, then click on the open button, unless you want it saved to your hard drive to see the pesentation.

Slideshow pesentation

Congratulations to Sharon Sue KE6YKY and Tim WB9NJS on the birth of their first grandchild.

Emilia Hanna Randall arrived August 31 at 20:43, weighing in at 7 lb 8 oz and 20" long.

August Meeting 2016

30 HAM enthusiats came to the WARS meeting Saturday 8/27 to hear Tim WB9NJS give a talk on 220 MHz: the forgotten band.The meeting came to order shortly after pizza was delivered with everyone introducing themselves and their station QTH. We had 4 visitors from Lake County and 1 from Leggett in attendance. Of the 30 present 23 were WARS members and represented Piercy, Laytonville, Longvale, Covelo, Fort Bragg, Willits, Redwood Valley, Ukiah as well as Kelseyville.

The meeting began with Len WA6KLK, making announcements for future events scheduled in Sept, Oct, and Novembers meeting (Sat 11/12) which will be include election of officers, wrap ip events of 2016 and look forward to 2017. Tim WB9NJS, also reminded us that Dec is approaching and the WARS Christmas Holiday dinner will be held at the Broiler in Redwood Valley probably on Dec. 9th. Be thinking od who you'd like to nominate for offices as well as activities you'd like to see in 2017.

Joyce KJ6ZVS gave a report on the status of the WARS website, stating that in the last 2 1/2 years that it has been current, usage has increased every year as noted in this graph. Green represents the page views, blue would be unique visits and orange are those returning in the same day. The site has been moved to a different server and if you try to find it on K6MHE.com/wars there is a redirect that will be removed, so it is important to bookmark the correct website address; W6MMM.club. Joyce also asked for input; ideas, photos, projects, any item of interest to keep the site informative and entertaining. Steve N6OJN, visiting from Leggett, stated he would not have known about the meeting except for the website and suggested an email address or phone number be put on the home page for easy contact.

Tim gave a treasurer's report and after liability insurance being paid WARS is at a healthy amount. He also gave a summary of activities Lighthouse Weekend where MCARCS set up at Point Cabrillo and had many successful contacts winding the day up at Jonathan's QTH (KK6RPX) in Albion.

Steve N6OJN, has also been in contact regarding help hanging his antenna and Len asked if anyone was interested in a trip to Leggett to give a hand in getting him ready to get on the air. Jane KJ6VIA, also requested help with moving her antenna to a higher position in Laytonville. George K7WWA, brought up the fact that Cahto repeater was being worked on and needed a transmitter replaced, a collection was started to offset the costs to Greg WA6RQX and then WARS incresed the donation by $50 since we all use the system. Thank you Greg for your diligence,time and effort in keeping communication easy in Mendocino County!

The group settled back and enjoyed a riviting talk on 220 MHz: the forgotten band by Tim WB9NJS. Tim started history of the different bands then why it is important to keep the 220 MHz band in use, changes in band allocations, sideband, cw, repeater and simplex frequencies. He also discussed the use of repeater output frequencies for a talkaround simplex frequency. Different antennas were displayed and discussed and handouts were available for antenna building.

Dave N0EDS commented that HRO does not carry 220 MHz equipment and that they stated when asked that "nobody is on that band". He also taked about the Ukrainian transverters on the market and the problems associated with them.

Propagation and Covelo

Last night on Walking Repeaters, a countywide simplex net found at 145.555 Mhz, Len WA6KLK, had Pat KM6MEJ, from Covelo's valley floor check in. Not to hard to imagine if you know Len's ridge top location, but Jonathan KK6RPX, had a conversation with her as well from his QTH in Albion! That's a 50+ mile distance and all involved were in awe. Propagation might have been spectacular but all in all, quite a feat. Jay K6AFL, in Brooktrails and Steve KJ6SSS, in downtown Willits also heard her. Steve was pleasantly surprised that it was direct and not heard over the 'remote'. Mike KC6MGM, was mobile on a ridge above his QTH close to Lonvale had a strong signal as well.

Have you been participating in the Tech Net? This past Tuesday evening Len WA6KLK, was net control and he had 4 YLs check in from Covelo for the first time. That we now have active operators in Covelp is exciting enough but having YLs shows how the hobby is becoming more popular for ladies. Good job ladies!!

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Fort Bragg Coffee Meeting

If you have a Tuesday morning open and you want to take a short trip to Fort Bragg then stop at Angelina's at 10am and join the group for coffee and conversation. As true everywhere the attendance fluctuates but it is not uncommon to find 12 or more coastal hams enjoying a cup of coffee or breakfast. Information (and sometimes equipment) is exchanged, ideas are discussed, problems solved and all have a great time.(The coffee is good too!)

Here we see a group that was enjoying Bob Roseman AB2CF, show and talk about a bug to a group at Angelina's ... photos by Rense KK6PEE

License Exam and Ham-BQ in Albion

Saturday July 16th was warm and calm on the coast. The exam started at 2:15 with 5 testing for either their license or an upgrade. Ken KE6WC, Jan KM6G, and Joyce KJ6ZVS donated their time to be there for the exam. The great news is that no one left dissapointed, 3 passed the test for their Technition license and Erif KI6GGD, and Chris KK6PDU earned their General Class!

The party of about 25 then moved a few miles up Albion Ridge to Jonathan's garden for a wonderful afternoon HAM-BQ. We were treated to hamburgers, brats and terrific potluck fare along with lots of conversation and an exchange of ideas.

Left: Jonathan KK6RPX and Chris KK6PDU are talking to two new HAMS (Blake & Dennis) that just passed the exam. Center: Jan KM6G and Chris KW6H enjoying the afternoon. Right: Rio KK6RPW, supervising everything.

Left: Bob KH6AS talking with Jonathan KK6RPX. Center: Jonathan KK6RPX BBQing with Blake looking on. Right: Rich N0JUK giving insight to New HAMS (Blake & Dennis) with Chris KK6PDU.

Newspaper Article - Field Day 2016

Both The WIllits News and The Ukiah Daily Journal ran this article and photo's giving 'HAM' operators recognition for being ready for any emergency.
By: Loran Lewis

In September 2015, Mendocino County residents lost internet and cell phone use after a key fiber optic cable was cut just south of Ukiah. While various emergency services responded to handle subsequent problems, another key group of individuals were also called into action – the county’s amateur radio operators. The “ham” operators, as they are also known, broke out their old-school broadcasting methods to ensure emergency communications were available. One member of the Willits Amateur Radio Society was sent to Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits to make certain the facility had coverage. Meanwhile, the Mendocino County Amateur Radio Communications Service set up a central operating location in Ukiah to reach out to outlying areas of the county to determine if help was needed.

Leonard Gwinn answers a radio call during a public information presentation for the Willits Amateur Radio Society as part of the Little Lake Fire Department's fundraiser Saturday, June 25. Gwinn is joined by Joyce and Don Cader. Steve Turner sets up equipment in preparation for a field test day June 25 for the Mendocino County Amateur Radio Communications Service. Turner is president of MCARCS. Photos by Loran Lewis TWN

Both groups were in action during the weekend of June 25-26. WARS set up an information and recruiting table as part of the Little Lake Fire Department’s Frontier Days fundraiser, and MCARCS was involved in a field test operation across the street at the Mendocino County Museum of History. The field day was part of a national event to demonstrate ham radio’s ability to function reliably under most conditions from almost any location to create an independent communications network.

This year, the group contacted other radio operators as far away as Estonia, totaling around 88 calls exchanged during a 24-hour period, said long-time MCARCS operator Alan Spivak. Spivak, who is also part of the county’s Community Emergency Response Team, also used his radio skills to assist during fires in Mendocino and Lake counties last summer. “It’s practice for emergency communications,” MCARCS Treasurer Nick Wharff explained. “We want to be able to set up in an outdoor location with what we have available.” Group President Steve Turner added, “We need to make sure we can find all the pieces and all the batteries are charged” as he assembled the pieces on a nearby table.

MCARCS can be activated by Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services to provide an auxiliary communications system in case of natural or man-made disasters. Wharff said the operators can communicate with Sacramento, if necessary, and can relay information into and out of emergency centers. John Lemmer, MCARCS secretary, said he has been involved with the Red Cross for a number of years and joined MCARCS because “to me, it’s a public service and an aid during disasters.”

Across the street, Leonard Gwinn, WARS president, said it is important for amateur radio operators to keep their skill and knowledge levels current. “In a real emergency, you don’t get to pick where you set up,” he said from the public outreach table along with members Joyce Cader and Don Cader. The group members agreed that being involved with ham radio also provides enjoyment. “When we get up in the morning, we turn on the (ham) radio instead of the TV,” Joyce Cader said. Along with emergency communications, Gwinn said being an amateur radio operator allows him to work on engineering skills, transmit full-color television signals and even talk to the space station. “Twenty years ago, I started talking to a guy in Japan,” Gwinn recalled. “After a couple of years he invited me to visit his home.” Don Cader, who said he monitors his radio most of the day, added, “A lot of guys are using Morse Code; they’re keeping it alive.”

The group said their members are getting older and they are hoping to attract younger members who see the advantages and enjoyment that being involved with ham radio offers. WARS meetings are held periodically at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays at Old Mission Pizza, 1708 S. Main St., Willits. Information is available on its website at http://w6mmm.club/index.html. Information about MCARCS is available on its website at www.mcarcs.org. The regular McARCS meeting is at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Sheriff’s Training Center/EOC on Low Gap Road in Ukiah (odd months), or on the countywide repeater system (even months). An upcoming certification for radio operators is planned for mid-July; more information is available by contacting MCARCS. (TWN Reporter Kate Maxwell contributed to this story.)

Field Day

WARS held an 'informational' Field Day at the Recreaction Grove in Willits Saturday, June 26th. Signs were displayed, antenna's were set up and radios turned on to start what was a busy, warm day. The morning started off with a visit and 'thank you' from Sheriff Tom Allman and as the day progressed we had somewhere around 60 visitors that stopped by our table to chat and learn more about amateur radio. Brochures were handed out, questions were answered and then visitors were invited to visit the rear of the museum area to see more elaborate station set-ups by MCARCS.

... Photo thanks to Dave Imada K2KMA

Above: Len WA6KLK, and George K7WWA, are speaking with Tom Woodhouse, our local supervisor, while Don KJ6ZVR, Irma NA6I and Joyce KJ6ZVS are answering some questions from a visitor that stopped by.

The day became warmer and we chased the shade for awhile then wound the afternoon up with 'brats on the BBQ' as a cool breeze came up. Thank you to all that stopped by and helped or visited. All in all it was a successful day speaking to potential new operators, licensed operators that haven't been on the air for years and others that stopped by to say hello.

Willits Weekly on Field Day

Willits Weekly posted in Coming Events with the following misprint:

WAR at Amateur Radio Field Day on June 25

For over 100 years, Amateur Radio — sometimes called HAM radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates HAM radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Willits Amateur Radio Society will celebrate Field Day in the northeast corner of the Willits Recreation Grove, on Saturday, June 25 from 11 am until about 3:30 pm. We will have a table and radios set up primarily to acquaint the public with HAM radio and the many facets that make up the hobby. We also will have information on how to become licensed and get on the air. All are invited to stop and see what HAM radio is all about. – Joyce Cader KJ6ZVS, for Willits Amateur Radio

SDR Radio at WARS

June 4th, a meeting of WARS was held at Old Mission Pizza and 25 attended from across the county of which 1 represented Lake County. With everyone enjoying pizza, the meeting was brought to order by Len WA6KLK, asking for a treasurer's report to be given by Tim WB9NJS. Tim also gave a report on the Health Care Emergency Communications, how many facilities, volunteers and the overall results.

The new WARS banner and signs were displayed, and an offer of WARS business cards with callsigns made available by Joyce KJ6ZVS, if wanted.

Field Day possibilites were discussed with encouragement that if not participating, at least go visit one of the many sites available and support those that do participate. The possibility of a BBQ/potluck to be hosted by WARS locally was brought up to be held later in the summer. International Lighthouse Day was also mentioned for a nice time on the coast.

The WARS website has now completed the move to a new URL: http://W6MMM.club, and we now have a Facebook page under Willits Amateur Radio Society (check it out and feel free to share it).

Finally the meeting got to the topic of SDR radio, Jonathan KK6RPX, and Rio KK6RPW, spoke about their experiences building the radio kit, what they learned and how they felt. The radio, a small board encased in a box was passed around, I (KJ6ZVS) for one was surprised to see how simple the kit actually was, I had imagined something way more complex! The room was darkened and with the wall used as a screen, we were all treated to actually seeing how the software worked, and how it could be used to hunt out signals. Soulin KK6VLV brought in a SDR dongle that he has used and the conversation concluded with where and what could be attained for hardly any financial output.

New members joined, and that brings the current paid membership up to 53. Interestly enough there were 7 YLs/XYLs present for this meeting. The popular raffle was held and then the meeting was adjourned.

Meet the grandaughters of Paul K2HZO. While practicing CW, Paul left the room for a minute, admonishing his cute granddaughters 'not to touch the radio' and coming back he found the 4 year old had unplugged the earphones because she didn't like the noise but was writing CQ CQ CQ pretending that she was writing code while the 2 year old was using a calculator to talk to .... someone!