Get on the Air for Winter Field Day 2019

Our friends at the Crescenta Valley Radio Club will be participating in the annual Winter Field Day. You can stop by and visit their stations in Deukmejian Wilderness Park or give them a contact by operating from home.

When: 1900 UTC (11am PST) Saturday the 26th to 1900 UTC (11am PST) Sunday the 27th

Bands: All amateur bands on HF, VHF, & UHF except 12, 17, 30 and 60 meters

Modes: Any mode.

Suggested Frequencies:

  • HF CW – 1.810-1.820, 3.530-3.550, 7.030-7.050, 14.035-14.055, 21.030-21.050, 28.030-28.040
  • HF SSB – lowest 30 kHz of the US General Class Phone bands (160m- 15m), 28.400-28.425MHz (10m)
  • 6m/VHF/UHF – adjacent to, but not on, nationally recognized simplex calling channels

Full information on Winter Field Day is available from the Winter Field Day Association. More details on CVRC’s participation is available on their site.

SPARC Members Featured in This Month’s QST Magazine

This month’s QST Magazine features an article written by SPARC member Oliver Dully, K6OLI about using MESH networking to support the annual Baker 2 Vegas race. Oliver explains how the combination of MESH (wifi over amateur radio bands) and a satellite link dramatically increases the capabilities of hams in an emergency. (See our write-up of Oliver’s presentation about Baker 2 Vegas here.) Also mentioned in the article are fellow SPARC members Tran K6NHI and Brian KM6IGY, as well as members from Pasadena Radio Club and ARES Northeast.

Click here for the full article.

Reprinted with permission, February 2019 QST; copyright ARRL

A Podcast and an App to Help You Prep for a Quake

Local NPR station KPCC commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the devastating Northridge earthquake with coverage on-air and on its news site LAist. They’ve also produced a new podcast to help you get ready for the next quake, one that could be even more damaging than Northridge. It’s called The Big One: Your Survival Guide, and it’s available wherever you download podcasts. The podcast’s homepage includes links to KPCC/LAist articles on earthquake prep and an interactive map to visualize faults and liquefaction zones in our area. (You may not like what you find!)

Separately, the City of Los Angeles has released an app called ShakeAlertLA. It is designed to give you an advanced warning of a quake if one is detected by the ShakeAlert system. Dr. John Vidale of the Southern California Earthquake Center gave a talk on ShakeAlert at a SPARC-sponsored community meeting last May.

More information and a video about the app can be found in this LA Times article by Ron-Gong Lin.

Photo taken Saturday, January 22, 1994 by Gary B. Edstrom, and released to the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ham Exam in Altadena on February 16

The following information comes from our friends at ALERT, the Altadena Local Emergency Radio Team.

An amateur radio license exam will be administered on February 16, 2019 at the Altadena Sheriff Station.

  • Review session 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Testing session begins @ 3PM.
  • Be on time. Allow about 40 min to take exam. Exam is corrected right away.

Please bring:

  • Photo identification (driver license or passport are best)
  • Federal Registration Number (FRN) from FCC website or Social Security Number
  • Pencils and/or pens
  • A pocket calculator (not really necessary, but some people like to have one)
  • $15 exam fee, cash or check. Exam fees are collected on behalf of ARRL/VEC which has an agreement with the FCC to process license exams and applications.
  • Completed FCC Form 605

CONTACT: Dep. Paige for more information and to sign up for this opportunity to earn your amateur radio license. DCPAIGE@LASD.ORG or cell # 626-241-2499.

PDF flyer from Altadena Sheriff Station

Watch the Skies in 2019

Residents of Southern California witnessed some spectacular space launches over the past year. If you’d like to receive advance notice about the next rocket taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, sign up for Launch Alert.  The service is a free e-mail newsletter covering launches, SoCal astronomy, and space news. The list moderators claim that many of the events they post about are visible across the southwest. Launch Alert is just one of dozens of ham (or ham-adjacent) lists maintained by the free amateur radio community site QSL.net.

 

Photo via the official Space X Flickr feed.

Meeting Change for December 5

Dear members and friends of SPARC,

Unfortunately, the EOC room at the South Pasadena Fire Department is still under construction.  The SPARC board has therefore decided to officially cancel our regular meeting tomorrow, Wednesday December 5.


Unofficially some of us are getting together tomorrow at Canoe House to talk radios, reminisce about the many fun events we have had in 2018 and enjoy each other’s company.  You are welcome to join us at Canoe House ( goo.gl/maps/DxfQWuetdRo ) from 19:30 onwards!

73,

Stan KR6CV
President
and the executive board of SPARC

Watch November’s SOTA Presentation by Scott WA9STI

SPARC thanks Scott Hanley WA9STI for his informative presentation on SOTA at our November meeting. Robert K6YZF recorded the talk, and John KK6ZVQ edited it. We’re posting it here with Scott’s permission. Below the video are links to some of the sites and resources Scott mentioned. We hope this inspires you to get out and operate from the great outdoors!

 

GETTING STARTED
The main SOTA site: sota.org.uk
Announce activations and spot in real time at sotawatch.org
Look for SOTA peaks near you using the SOTA Mapping Project
Automatic spotting handled by the Reverse Beacon Network

 

Groups.io for SOTA
California
North America

 

RADIOS
Yaesu 818
Yaesu 857
Yaesu 897
Elecraft KX3 and KX2

 

SAFETY
Trouble on the trail? Use the Wilderness Protocol
Leave a hiking plan: tips from the LA County Sheriff and a sample plan (PDF)
Track and beacon your location with APRS

 

GEAR
Scott recommends end-fed dipole antennas. Some commercial antennas Scott mentions in his talk or has in his pack:
Buddipole
HF Pack
LNR
Ventenna

 

Whiterook portable CW keyer

 

RG 174 coax cable

 

Frogg Toggs Rain Gear

 

See photos of the meeting here.

 

This map shows all of the SOTA-eligible summits in our region:
SoCal SOTA Summits

November Meeting Topic: Operating Amateur Radio from Mountaintops

The featured guest speaker for our November meeting is Scott Hanley, WA9STI, presenting “Operating Amateur Radio from Mountaintops.” Scott is active in Summits on the Air (SOTA), a communication activity which is based on portable operation from mountain peaks and hilltops around the world. All HF and VHF bands and modes may be used, making it ideal for both newly licensed and experienced hams. While SOTA usually involves hiking up to a high point, or in some cases driving up, you can also participate from your home station.

Scott was first licensed as WN9STI at age thirteen in 1966.  Two months after getting his novice license, his mother took him on the train to the federal building in downtown Chicago where he successfully passed his General class exam. He has been on the air ever since.SOTA Carlton Pk MN

Communicating via amateur radio in the outdoors is one of Scott’s passions which includes using low power SSB and CW while camping, going to remote locations to work Field Day as a solo 1B operator, participating in the 2016 National Parks on the Air event, helping on the Baker to Vegas race, and hiking trails to set up his equipment on summits.  Scott has operated SOTA from 170 peaks in 21 states plus Ireland.  From his home QTH, he has communicated with 1,885 hams on summits.

Moreover, Scott is a member of the ARES LAX (Northwest District) and the Los Angeles County Disaster Service (DCS).

Join us for this lively presentation where Scott will explain about the radios, antennas, batteries, and hiking gear that he takes on his trips and will bring his pack to show the equipment he carries.  The talk will also cover the use of APRS, a hiking plan, and the 146.52 simplex Wilderness Protocol.

When and Where
Wednesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m.
South Pasadena Fire Department, EOC Room
817 Mound Ave.
South Pasadena, CA 91030SPFD_map

Free parking is available across from the fire station. Hope to see you there.

Get to Know the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network

One of the fastest-growing areas of ham radio is mesh networking. You can think of it as homebrew WiFi — using the amateur radio spectrum to create a WiFi network without relying on the normal Internet infrastructure of phone and cable companies. Several SPARC members are active in a regional effort to build a robust mesh network that can transmit data when the Internet isn’t available during an emergency. (It also comes in handy out in the Nevada desert.)

If you’d like to know more about mesh and what it can do, two of our resident experts recommend this episode of Ham Radio Now. It features an interview with members of the AREDN group (Amateur Radio Emergency Network), the organization that maintains the mesh software of the same name. Take a look, then stop by one of our monthly meetings to talk about building your own mesh go kit.