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.

October 2018 Meeting Wrap-Up

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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.

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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).

SPARC Welcomes Bioenno Power at Our October Meeting

Come to our monthly meeting on October 3 to hear Bioenno Power‘s Kevin Zanjani present “LiFePO4 Batteries for Ham Radio and Solar Applications.” Bioenno batteries are a favorite in the ham community for their high performance and low weight. Several SPARC members rely on Bioenno’s lithium iron phosphate batteries to power go kits and mobile rigs.

Wednesday, October 3 at 7:30 pm
South Pasadena Fire Department
EOC Room
817 Mound Ave.
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Hope to see you there.

Photos from the 2018 Public Safety Open House

Thanks to all the SPARC members who staffed our table at the annual South Pas Public Safety Open House. And thanks as always to the police and fire departments for hosting such an informative and fun event! The following photos were taken by Robert K6YZF. The fire extinguisher training was conducted by SPARC and CERT member James K6CUT.

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SPARC members at the 2018 South Pasadena Public Safety Open House

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September 2018 VHF/UHF Contest Results

On September 8, SPARC set up two stations in Garfield Park to participate in the ARRL’s September VHF/UHF contest for a few hours. We made thirty contacts on FM and SSB and tested mesh nodes. Several members of the public stopped by — some who had prior ham experience and some who were just curious about all the wires. Thanks to everyone who helped with set up and clean up! Contests are a great opportunity to spend time operating and testing equipment, so don’t hesitate to stop by the next time we take part in one. Photos by Robert K6YZF.

Talk to SPARC at the 2018 Public Safety Open House

SPARC will have a booth once again at the annual South Pasadena Police and Fire Department Open House on Sunday, September 16. The open house runs from 10am to 3pm. We will be located in the courtyard behind the fire station. This fun and informative event runs in conjunction with the Cruz’n for Roses classic car show supporting the SouthPas Tournament of Roses float committee. Come meet SPARC members, see some radio gear, and learn about our activities. Hope to see you there!

2018 Public Safety Open House

Click for PDF version.

Join Us September 8 for a Contest in the Park

SPARC will be participating in the annual ARRL September VHF Contest. We’re not looking to walk away with any giant trophies, the goal is to test our gear, get some practice operating, and have fun. All club members are invited to participate. Members of other local clubs, CERT, Neighborhood Watch, and the community are encouraged to visit and see what SPARC is all about.

When: Saturday, September 8th, 11am until 5pm

Where: Garfield Park, South Pasadena — north end near the tennis courts

SPARC members who would like to help with the set up process can arrive at 9am.

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Testing a mesh node in preparation for the September VHF contest.

We will set up two stations, 2m and 440. Feel free to bring your own gear for some show and tell. If you bring your own handheld or mobile and sufficent power (fully-charged battery, mobile go kit, etc.) you can connect to our antennas at a convenient moment. If you’d like to test your own antenna system, make sure to consider the safety of others and include any hardware required to set up in a stable and considerate manner.

There are a limited number of picnic benches near the Garfield Park tennis courts, so bring along a camp chair if you’d like to stay for a while.

If you can’t make it to the park, be a contact! Our talk-in frequency will be 145.600.

We hope to see you or log a contact with you on September 8.

Go Digital at Ham Basics 102 on July 28

SPARC treasurer Oliver K6OLI writes:

Our long awaited NBEMS (Fldigi) and Winlink Basics Workshop has been scheduled for July 28, 2018, that is Activity Day, at Huntington Memorial Hospital from 9:00 am to 1:00pm! Our goal is to enable participants to send and receive messages using Fldigi/Flmsg and Winlink and understand current best practices for both.

For more information, and if you would like to register, please use this link:
https://ham-basics-102.eventbrite.com

Tho goal of this workshop is to provide radio operators with experience and a deeper understanding of using NBEMS/Fldig and Winlink Packet for emergency communications. There will be hands-on exercises for those who want to try out their setups.

Any licensed amateur radio operator is welcome to join! We do ask that you familiarize yourself with your own radio beforehand, i.e. understand how to enter simplex and repeater frequencies and change power levels.

Thank you and 73,
Oliver K6OLI

Join Us for the 2018 July 4th Parade

SPARC been invited to march in the South Pasadena 4th of July Parade. The parade starts from the South Pasadena Public Library marshaling area and proceeds down Mission Street to Garfield Park.

The parade officially begins at 11:00 am.

If you are interested and able, please assemble in front of the library on El Centro Street before 10:30 am. We are in group #12 along with Neighborhood Watch and CERT (the street will be numbered). Invite other friends and family to participate too! Bicycles and scooters are allowed for the kids. Be sure to wear your SPARC t-shirt.
I look forward to seeing you there.

73,

Stan KR6CV, SPARC President

fourth of july flyer

Field Day 2018 Wrap Up

Field Day 2018 was a fun-filled twenty-four hours of outreach, learning and socializing. Hams from SPARC, Pasadena Radio Club, JPL Amateur Radio Club and Caltech Amateur Radio Club joined forces to operate seven different stations atop the Arroyo Seco at the Art Center College of Design. PRC’s Jim Marr AA6QI was our Field Day captain coordinating volunteers from the four clubs. SPARC was proud to run a Get on the Air (GOTA) station where visitors could try out a radio and make contacts without needing a license. We answered lots of questions and encouraged curious guests to take the plunge into our hobby.

Here are the reported number of contacts (QSOs) from each station.

  • 80-10m CW (Morse code): 1114 QSOs covering all 50 states
  • 40m single sideband (SSB):  354 QSOs covering 41 states
  • 75m/20m/15m SSB: 266 QSOs covering 44 states
  • 160m-10m digital mode station (FT8, PSK-31 & RTTY): 51 QSOs covering 21 states
  • VHF/UHF: 121 QSOs, all in California
  • GOTA: 25 QSOs from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday

Huge thanks to Jim Marr for making everything run so smoothly. To all the participating volunteers and to all the eager visitors, thanks for making Field Day 2018 such an enjoyable and memorable experience. Hope to see you soon at a meeting and hear you on the air!

2 GOTA future ham

A future ham gets on the air.

3 GOTA red shirt

Making that first QSO.

4 GOTA hello

Open for business!

5 JPL van exterior

The JPL EmComm Van

6 JPl van Stan

SPARC president Stan KR6CV and JPL’s Jonathan KF6RTA adjust the Cushcraft ATB-34 tri-band Yagi.

7 JPL van full antenna

Antenna deployed!

8 JPL van interior

Jeff W2JCL and Jim AA6QI work 15m inside the JPL van.

8a Welcome to Ham Radio signs

A handmade introduction.

9 Bob battery box

Bob WB6YJJ set up a personal station powered by his SPARC battery box.

10 Logging contacts

Working VHF/UHF.

11 Satellite antenna

A motorized satellite-tracking antenna operated by Tom WA0POD.

12 SunspotViewing sign

Science!

13 SunspotViewing telescope

Observing sun spots at the astronomy station.

14 Pot Luck Dinner

Pot luck dinner time.

15 Jeff and Eric night

Jeff W2JCL and PRC president Eric K6EJC working the night shift.

Our local paper, the South Pasadena Review, ran an article on the GOTA station in its July 6 edition.

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Photos by John KK6ZVQ and Tom WA0POD.

Updated 07/08/18 with links to South Pasadena Review article.