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

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.

October 2018 Meeting Wrap-Up

KevinZ181003

Kevin from Bioenno Power

It was a full room with several first-time visitors at our monthly meeting on October 3. The draw was Kevin Zanjani, KI6DHQ, from Bioenno Power. Hams have been raving about the portability and performance of Bioenno’s lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries for over two years now. Kevin’s presentation, “LiFePO4 Batteries for Ham Radio and Solar Applications” provided a deep dive into the science behind these much-sought-after components.

BioennoWares

A range of batteries, a powerpack and the company’s latest solar controller.

Kevin explained several use cases for Bioenno products beyond amateur radio. Many industries and government agencies are migrating to solar power solutions and relying on LiFePO4 batteries over traditional lead acid batteries, which are less efficient and must be replaced far more frequently.

FAQforSolar_Bioenno.001

Slide from Kevin’s presentation

Kevin had a nice surprise for us — he donated a twenty amp-hour battery to our montly door prize raffle. The lucky and grateful winner was Scott, KI6SC. On behalf of SPARC, thank you, Kevin for your time and generosity!

Other News

  • Our next club build will be a roll-up antenna, perfect for the go kit. More details to come in early 2019.
  • We now have a photo-packed SPARC brochure created by Tran K6NHI. We will soon have copies to distribute at public events and license exam sessions.
  • The regular monthly ARES NE meeting will be held at 9am on October 13 in the Huntington Memorial Hospital’s Wingate Conference Room. Topics to be discussed include The Great Shakeout (10:18am on October 18) and the Statewide Medical and Health Exercise (November 15).