ARRL Sacramento Valley Section

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section News
American Radio Relay League
The National Association for Amateur Radio since 1914

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River City ARCS & Sacramento Troop 1089 Girl Scouts Contact the ISS

Kudos to Sacramento Troop 1089 Girl Scouts and members of the River City Amateur Radio Communications Society for their successful February 22 on the air contact with astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli KI5WSL aboard the International Space Station!  Watch the full video recording!

Watch the Fox40 KTXL-TV News Story

Click to Listen to Vicki Gonzalez's interview the Girl Scouts on CapRadio Insight!

In March 2023, a great STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) opportunity for YLs (Young Ladies) presented itself. ARISS, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ISS) organization, had applications still open to make a contact with an astronaut on the ISS for winter/spring 2024. Members of the River City Amateur Radio Communications Society (RCARCS) along with Girl Scout Troop 1089 (16-18 year olds) leader Amanda Banks submitted the ARISS application to “talk to an astronaut” on the ISS as it swings by Sacramento. If the application were accepted, a date would be given for the direct contact for the troopers to ask an astronaut on the ISS up to 20 questions, all dependent on the pass length and ability to trade good traffic with the ISS. In spring, everyone was notified that the application was accepted and then the fun began.

RCARCS 'hamsters' and Girl Scout troop leaders combined to present over six weeks the ARISS SPARKI curriculum that included sections on space, ciphers and morse code, waves, frequency and amplitude, basic snap circuitry, web SDR and telemetry, creating QSL cards, designing their t-shirt for contact day, plus a couple of practice GOTA (Get on the Air) sessions with local clubs on the N6NA repeater – both voice and SSTV.


The next phase included RCARCS 'hamsters' building the dual station for the contact and then walking through the station setup with the troopers, practicing their questions in front of the mic and preparing the location for the contact. In mid February, the contact was finalized and the team made the contact from the Sacramento Girl Scout headquarters, streaming the event live on YouTube and Facebook. Only a few thousand out of over 8 billion people on earth have this opportunity - crazy good for our YLs, right?

Jen Garland, KI1TTY coaches Troop 1098 Girl Scouts on operating procedures during a practice net on the air. 

We encourage everyone to give those YLs in your life an opportunity to shoot for the stars – the ARISS program is a great way to do just that – using your experience to spread the joy of HAM radio as a hobby and professional tool for their future.  - Jen Garland, KI1TTY

March 10 Sacramento County ARES Direction Finding Exercise

Our Big Game Hunting event is scheduled for March 10, 1300-1500 Pacific Time. This is a direction finding event but without all of the driving and walking around. A directional antenna is the tool of choice, but your standard vertical antenna will also be very useful - especially combined with the observations of others.

In other words, the more the merrier.

So, now is the time to sign up for our event. By officially signing up it will let me prepare some observation sheets and some maps we can all use during the event. Also, by knowing where you all will be operating from it will suggest which location might be best for me to hide and transmit from.

Liaisons, this is also your chance to spread this information-of-interest to your team letting them know that this is open to all amateur operators. You do not have to be a member of ARES to participate.

You can find information and the signup for on our website at: https://sacramentoares.org/big-game-hunting-march-2024/

Thanks for getting the word out.

--

Jay Ballinger - N6SAC

Emergency Coordinator

Sacramento County ARES

Laguna Creek High School to Launch Pico Balloon March 13

On March 13th, between 10 and 11 am The Green Energy Technology Academy (GETA) students in the Rocketry and Satellite Club will be launching a Pico-Balloon at Laguna Creek High School. It will ascend to approximately 46,000 feet and carry a 20m WSPR beacon. The KN6TNH WSPR beacon will transmit its location (Lat & Long), altitude and temperature every 10 minutes to a worldwide receiving network called WSPRnet (Weak Signal Propagation Reporting). This data is sent to Princeton University for storage and can be accessed at any time.

The launch date and times are tentative as we will need to know the weather conditions prior to launch. We need under 5 mph of wind and zero cloud cover. Moisture on the balloon during its ascent could bring the balloon down. We will make the call about two days prior to the launch for go/no-go.

For us, the coolest part is that in between the 10 minute reporting events, we are sending a morse code message that says, ‘Hello from the GETA students at Laguna Creek High School – KN6TNH’. The end of the message is my call sign that legally identifies me as the owner and has the allowable licensing level to transmit on the 20 meter band for this beacon.

If you have a morse code decoder or can interpret morse code (called CW in amateur radio world (Continuous Wave)), you will be able to hear our beacon message before, during and after the launch.

Eric J. Johnson, KN6TNH, Laguna Creek High School, Green Energy Technology Academy

ARRL Sacramento Valley Nets - March 21

QST To All Radio Amateurs:

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, ARRL Sacramento Valley Section will hold a Section Wide Net, first on the WD6AXM FM repeater atop Sutter Buttes near Yuba City on 146.085 MHz, plus 600 kHz offset, tone 127.3 Hz.  Please wait for Net Control to call the 2 meter ARRL Section Net after the 7 pm Yuba-Sutter ARES net has closed, usually around 7:20-7:30 pm Pacific Time.

For those who are unable to access the WD6AXM repeater, our HF net will commence IMMEDIATELY after the VHF SV net signs off, on 3880 kHz LSB +/- 3 kHz for QRM.  

PLEASE NOTE:  Our HF Net has moved from 60 meters to our 80 meter frequency due to the seasonal propagation change.  Those who check in to the VHF net are encouraged to join the HF net if they are able.  

Important:  If you do not hear net control over your radio, please check in anyway and listen for net control to acknowledge you via the Half Moon Bay WebSDR or the Northern Utah WebSDR.

All ARRL members, club presidents, Section appointees, and all appropriately licensed radio amateurs are encouraged to join us for the ARRL Sacramento Valley Section nets. Section News and items of regional and national interest to all radio amateurs will be the topics of discussion.

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Wide Nets are conducted only on the third Thursday of such months as announced via official bulletin and on www.arrlsacvalley.org 

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section-Wide Nets

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Nets are conducted only on months when announced, on the third Thursday of that month following the 7 pm Pacific Time Yuba-Sutter ARES net on the WD6AXM 146.085 MHz +0.6 MHz offset, CTCSS 127.3 Hz FM repeater, followed by the HF Section Net on 3880 kHz LSB +/- 3 kHz (or 5330.5 kHz USB as propagation permits).

All Sacramento Valley Section radio amateurs are welcome to check into our Section Nets. The nets carry announcements of interest to our section and test our section-wide station communication capabilities.

Don't have an HF radio or antenna? 
Click a link and Listen on a web receiver.

Hourly Northern California NVIS Observations

This chart shows colors that represent the recommended HF frequencies for contacting stations for a particular hour. 

Both stations should use the SAME frequency denoted by the color at the location of the target station. 

The chart is in Universal Time (UTC). 

More information at http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/HF_Systems/6/6

On behalf of the ARRL I recently visited Eric Johnson, KN6TNH, at the Laguna Creek High School Amateur Radio Club.   Eric Johnson is the Lead Teacher at the Green Energy Technology Academy at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, CA.  ARRL awarded them a grant to build their own station to track and communicate with satellites and the ISS, to support teaching and licensing their students, and to design, build and launch a pico-satellite.  On December 2, twenty of their students earned their amateur radio licenses at an on-site VE test session.  Eric provided the following report.  

Dr. Carol Milazzo, KP4MD, ARRL Sacramento Valley SM

Green Energy Technology Academy’s Satellite and Rocketry Club - Our Story:

The Green Energy Technology Academy (GETA) at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, CA, began in 2008 with the goal of introducing students to the technology of energy conversions: Solar Arrays, Wind and Water Turbines, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, and Biomass. An academy is a program within a school, where a themed CTE (career Technical Education) course is supported by two to three academic core classes each year. For example, in the sophomore year, GETA students take our hands-on CTE class (shop class) and also take GETA English, GETA World History, and GETA Physics. The other non-academy schedule slots are for our students to take their Health, PE, Language, and other graduation required courses.

As a bonus to our GETA students, we offer after school extracurricular club and leadership opportunities. On Mondays, Leadership, on Tuesdays, Solar Regatta, (A regional solar and battery powered boat racing competition sponsored by our local utility company-SMUD). On Wednesdays. Satellite and Rocketry activities (much more about this later) and on Thursdays (Hydrogen Powered RC racing- an international competition run by Horizon Educational call the H2GP- Hydrogen Grand Prix).

Two years ago, we were challenged to bring satellite technology into our curriculum. I did not know the first thing about satellites, but energy propagation, energy management, energy conversions, and energy storage all seemed to be a perfect fit into what we already did, so we accepted the challenge.

Back in 2003-2006, my AP Physics students launched rockets with Amateur Rocketry Clubs in the TARC (Team America Rocketry Challenge) and with NASA in the SLI (Student Launch Initiative), and in that season, we met Bob Twiggs. Bob was a Stanford professor who co-invented the CubeSat and used it as a platform to teach satellite basics to his Stanford grad students. So, with the challenge in front of us, we reached out to Bob, and he was excited to hear from us. It had been nearly 17 years. He explained that he had retired and started his own educational company (Twiggs Space Lab) specializing in STEM modules that took students from simple soldering and circuitry on up to their first micro satellite (CanSat, CubeSat, PicoSat, QB2 PocketCube). During that phone call, Bob asked if we would be interested in being a BETA school for his STEM modules. We said “YES!” immediately.

As we worked though and documented our experiences with the Jiggy Bot, the CricketSat and the AlphaSat modules, we soon realized that we were going to need to the ability to transmit to these devices, not just receive. This brought us to the Amateur Radio community. We reached out to various clubs in the area (Sierra Foothills ARC, Elk Grove Florin ARC, River City ARC, Lodi ARC, Stockton Delta ARC). In this season we met some very helpful Elmers (Dave- KK6MVJ, Jojo-KN6HTD, Nelson-K6VDU, John-NZ6Q, and many others) The lead teacher, the author of this article, and a student received their Technician licenses early, and then…

An ARRL grant opportunity opened for us. In writing the grant, we proposed funds for our own HAM Shack, the necessary antennas to track and communicate with satellites and the ISS, funds to support the teaching and Technical Level licensing of our students and a chunk to support a launch of our eventual pico-satellite in association with the NREP Initiative (NanoRacks External Platform) aboard the ISS. Matt Craft and Bob Twiggs of Twiggs Space Lab have been helping us move in this direction.

We were awarded the grant and off to the Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) we went. We set up our Ham Shack and antennas, purchased the study materials and studied and reviewed a little from meeting to meeting. Unfortunately, because our students are so involved in other activities on campus, very little studying was done between meetings, so we reached out to John-NZ6Q of the Stockton Delta ARC to see if he would be willing to host a HamCram, and he said ‘yes’. In addition to the Satellite and Rocketry Club members, I opened up the HamCram opportunity to other GETA students. On the day of the HamCram, twenty-four students showed up and twenty passed the exam on December 2, 2023. The four who didn’t pass, had to leave early, challenged the exam, and the test won. Otherwise, those who stayed to the end had a 100% pass rate. Thank You John!!

Since that day, other contacts have been made. Most notably David-WB6TOU, who does research with pico balloons. David came by on December 7th to speak with a handful of our students concerning opportunities in space weather research and WSPRnet technology (Weak Signal Propagation Reporter).

As of the writing of this article, final exams are underway, so decisions for the pico-balloon opportunity have yet to be discussed or made. This opportunity is incredible. What you don’t know is that the GETA program already has an international footprint all around the globe with their solar suitcase program. The GETA sophomores learn solar technology using the solar suitcase as the learning platform and then, because grants are used to fund these units, they are sent to energy poor nations, villages and families with contacts we have with humanitarian and faith-based organizations. To date we have 175 of these solar suitcases in 27 nations and 10 more will be going to Uganda in January 2024. This footprint might-well be extended into space if the students decide to pursue the pico-balloon opportunity and push towards the NREP program.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

73- Eric KN6TNH

Announcements for the ARRL Sacramento Valley Section follow:

Benicia ARC One-Day Ham Radio Class February 3, 2024,  8:30 AM - 5:00 PM at Benicia Senior Center, 1201 East 2nd Street, Benicia, CA 94510.  Cost: $35. Includes all study material, venue, day-long refreshments, handouts, and the exam fee. All instructors, facilitators and VEs are volunteers.  After the application is processed by the FCC you will need to pay a separate $35 fee directly to the FCC.  Full handicap access.  Info/Signup: Online at BeniciaARC.com/hamclass. Class size is limited and it always fills up, so register promptly.  Questions:   hamradioclass@beniciaarc.com or class coordinator Bob Fentress (707) 742-3227

The new FCC rule replacing the symbol rate restrictions on the HF bands with a bandwidth limit of 2.8 kHz went into effect January 8, 2024.

 

Our next ARRL Section event is the Loomis Hamfest on Saturday, March 16 at the Historic Loomis Train Depot.  Watch the Sierra Foothills Amateur Radio Club website W6EK.org for updates.

 

All are encouraged to submit photos and stories about recent and planned events via e-mail to kp4md@arrl.org with Section News in the subject line for inclusion in our Section News

ARRL SV Members participate in the October 19 Winlink ShakeOut Exercise

Overview of the 2023 WinLink ShakeOut Exercise reports

This overview of the 2023 WinLink ShakeOut Exercise reports is posted at https://scdto.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/62395f372b41461f884e4173e5efca85 

What is ShakeOut?

The Great ShakeOut is the world's largest earthquake drill. It is held annually on the third Thursday of October, and millions of people participate all over the world. In 2022 over 45.6 million people registered their participation. The goal of the ShakeOut is to teach people how to protect themselves during an earthquake.

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills across the U.S. are coordinated by the Southern California Earthquake Center in partnership with ECA, CUSEC, state and national emergency management partners, with support from FEMA, NEHRP, NSF, and USGS.

The ShakeOut drill is simple. At the designated time (or whenever works for you or your organization), participants practice self-protective actions such as "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" or "Lock, Cover, and Hold On" if they use a wheelchair.

The Great ShakeOut is also an opportunity to learn more about earthquake preparedness. Participants can learn about the different types of earthquakes, how to create an earthquake safety plan, and how to make their homes and businesses more earthquake-resistant.

The Great ShakeOut is a great way to get ready for an earthquake. Many preparedness lessons from the Great ShakeOut also apply to floods, fires, landslides, and other disasters. It is also a chance to connect with your community and learn how to help others in the event of an earthquake or other disaster. Look for more details on the Winlink ShakeOut Website.

Redding Veterans' RC W6VET Veterans' Day Special Event

The Special Event Station Celebrating Veterans at W6VET was a success, especially for me, the operator, K6WK, Mike.  However, "success" as a term does not describe fully the impact that operating on this SES has had on me.  I enjoyed talking to all the Veterans, families of Veterans, and supporters of Veterans.  I got tongue tied a few times, I was in need of a rest, also,...to assimilate the "happening-input of life experiences" into my consciousness....  This was an experience for me, which stands above nearly every post-service experience as a US ARMY VETERAN that I can remember.  Thank you to all who made contact, and especially to those who could not get through because of my long windedness.  I hope to work you soon.  This is our second Annual Special Event Station on Veterans Day at W6VET.  73  - Michael, K6WK

ARRL Exhibit and Special Event Station N6M at  October 7 Rocklin Maker Faire

Thanks to all our Visitors and Participants!

 The ARRL Sacramento Valley Section hosted a  public outreach exhibit promoting Amateur Radio and our local clubs at the Rocklin Maker Faire at Sierra College in Rocklin, 5100 Rocklin Rd, Rocklin, CA 95677 on Saturday October 7 from 10 am - 2 pm.   The Maker Faire is a family-friendly event open to the general public. 
Members of the Elk Grove Florin ARC, North Hills RC and River City ARCS hosted displays of amateur radio equipment, antenna and DIY projects, Morse Code practice stations, and offering opportunities for attendees to learn about the many facets of amateur radio and to communicate on the air with amateur radio operators via an operational on-site Special Event Station N6M.  We offered literature and information on licensing, local clubs, the ARRL and amateur radio's role in community service and promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Link to flyer.

October 21 Special Forum at ARRL Pacificon:
"Dealing with Intentional Interference"

Intentional interference is increasingly reported in our section and elsewhere around the nation.  At the 4 pm October 21 ARRL Pacificon Convention forum entitled "Dealing with Intentional Interference" ARRL and other amateur radio leadership discussed resources and strategies to assist radio amateurs, clubs, groups and repeater owners in controlling this problem.  

Dealing with Intentional Interference

Radio amateurs are organizing direction finding (DF) teams in various localities to collect evidence of these incidents for further action
If you experience intentional interference, here below are several ways that you can immediately assist:


To report clear violations of FCC Part 97, particularly instances of unlicensed operation, repeated deliberate interference, and operation outside of a licensee’s authorized frequencies, send the report via email to Riley Hollingsworth (K4ZDH), ARRL Volunteer Monitor Administrator, at K4ZDH@arrl.net.

Important: include the following information in your report…

- Frequency (MHz) of incident:
- Time of incident (UTC):
- Date of incident:
- Call sign(s) of station(s) being reported:
  - If a repeater, call sign of repeater involved:
- Description of alleged incident being reported:
- Your full name (person submitting report)
- Your call sign:
- Your email address:
- Your phone number:

All reports will be acknowledged, reviewed, and the person submitting the report will receive a response as quickly as possible.

Coming ARRL Nets & Sanctioned Events

February 2024 News

From the Section Manager

March 16 Sierra Foothills ARC Hamfest

Stop by our ARRL Booth at the first Hamfest of 2024 at the historic Loomis Train Depot.  We will have plenty of coffee and donuts for you to enjoy while you shop for gear at the Club Table and swap meet, and attending presentations.  Come on out rain or shine!!  
See Full information at https://www.w6ek.org/activities/hamfest

WHERE: Historic Loomis Train Depot, 5775 Horseshoe Bar Road, ​Loomis, CA
WHEN: Saturday, March 16, 2024, Buyer ​7:00 AM – Noon, Sellers 6:00 AM
Admission Free to Buyers!  ​Free Parking!

Girl Scouts Troop 1089 Selected for 2024 ARISS Contact

Congratulations to Sacramento Girl Scouts Troop 1089, sponsored by the River City ARCS, for being one of eight groups in the U.S. selected to participate in a 2024 ARISS Contact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.  This ARISS program involves STEM education sessions for young people, training in space communication station setup and communications, media outreach and publicity.  See https://www.ariss.org/about-ariss-contacts.html for more information or contact Jen Garland, KI1TTY.


Section Appointments: 

Carl First, N6CKV, is newly appointed ARES District 3 District Emergency Coordinator replacing Mike Meighan, KD6ILC, who passed away on March 12.

James Goldstene, AE6JG, has been appointed as ARRL Sacramento Valley Affiliated Club Coordinator.  Our Section Amateur Radio Clubs should contact James at AE6JG@arrl.net for club resources.  Thanks to Max Soucia, N1KGS, for his past service in this position.

Ted Cochran, N6TBC, of Oroville is the new Butte County ARES Emergency Coordinator, replacing Dale Anderson, KK6EVX, who became a Silent Key in August.

Chad Linden, ARES District 1 Emergency Coordinator, has changed his call sign from N5BMU to AB6CL effective 10/12/2022.

Mike Sumersille, N7MSS has replaced Jay Harmor KE6GLA as El Dorado County Emergency Coordinator. 
Congratulations to Carl N6CKV and Mike N7MSS on your new appointments, and thanks to Jay KE6GLA and Mike KK6ZGB for your past service in those positions. 

ARES District 3 DEC Mike Meighan, KD6ILC, Silent Key

District Emergency Coordinator became a Silent Key on Sunday March 12, 2023 while hospitalized for sepsis.

Mike had been active for many years with Sacramento Valley ARES, Sacramento ARC, Sacramento Metro Fire CERT, Sacramento SHARP, as an instructor and a volunteer examiner with the Carmichael Elks Lodge VE Team.  Mike had requested that no memorial service be held.

Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB, Sacramento Valley SEC

Effective February 1, 2022, District 3 DEC Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB, will serve as ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC), taking over for our current SEC, Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT.  I have interviewed Michael and am confident that he is qualified and motivated for this position.  This leadership transition will be smooth as Greg will stay on as Assistant SEC.  Congratulations to Michael on his new appointment and thanks to Greg for his many years of leadership and service to our community!

Dr. Carol Milazzo, KP4MD, ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Manager

Greg writes, 

Michael has a strong background in emergency communications. He has worked in law enforcement, with the Red Cross, and the Sacramento Medical Reserve Corps. He has also served as the ARRL District 3 EC working closely with multiple counties.

I’m sure many of you already know Michael and have talked and interacted with him in the past few years. He has been working the Red Cross radio station during the major fires that we have experienced. He has handled this position admirably tracking teams and resources.

Michael is excited at the opportunity to inject new energy and enthusiasm into SV ARES.  I’m looking forward to his leadership.

It has been my privilege to serve as the Sacramento Valley Section SEC and have the opportunity to work with each of you. 

The Sacramento Valley Section ARES has accomplished so very much  and performed at a high level supporting emergency communications. I’m proud that the various counties worked closely together and provided mutual support to each other during the fire seasons.

I’m not going away, but my focus with emergency communications will increase working to support the Winlink Development team. Many of the new technologies being integrated in Winlink will add the value of ARES operators to served agencies and Emergency Managers during times of crisis.

For an example of how Winlink is adding value to Emergency managers, check out this Dashboard that was developed by Oregon Office of Emergency Management for an exercise of integrating Winlink SPOTREP reports.

This is just their first try at this integration.

—— FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO) UNCLASSIFIED CONTROLLED INFORMATION - -

Oregon Office of Emergency Management developed a Dashboard of SpotRep reports received from Winlink

https://geo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/a29ec1cba18d45c09ba65bff97782517

I trust that ARES ability to utilize Winlink will increase our value to our served agencies.
Anyway, exciting things are coming to emergency communication  and I look forward to  the opportunity to be involved.
I will work closely to support Michael in his new appointment.
I have no doubts Michael will offer your and your members great support and leadership.
Please feel free to email or call me any time if I can be of help to you.
Please reach out to Michael and welcome him!

Greg KG6SJT

------

Michael’s Contact information:
Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB
Cell: 916-495-4010
kk6zgb@gmail.com 

American Radio Relay League

The National Association for Amateur Radio

American Radio Relay League is a 501(c)3 non profit organization.

Sacramento Valley Section

Serving Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo & Yuba Counties in Northern California

Sacramento Valley Section is located in the ARRL Pacific Division.

Sacramento Valley Section Web Resources

ARRL National Page:
www.arrl.org/Groups/view/sacramento-valley

Organization, Clubs, Calendar, Nets

Sacramento Valley ARES:
www.sacvalleyares.org SV ARES Brochure

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ARRLSacramentoValley

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARRL_SV

Thanks to Greg Kruckewitt KG6SJT for maintaining our Section ARES web page and for assisting with our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Thanks to Les Cobb W6TEE for maintaining the Section Net list.

Submit Section News updates to kp4md(at)arrl.org


Past Section News Archive

Amateur Radio License Classes and Volunteer Exam (VE) Information and Schedules

Remote Video Sessions:

If you cannot find an in-person exam session in your area or if you would rather take the test via a remote video-supervised online session, you can search for online examination dates here: https://hamstudy.org/sessions. Click on the box “Show online” to only display the list of upcoming remote video sessions.

Getting Your Amateur Radio License

Before you go on air, you need to be licensed and know the rules. In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grants Amateur Radio licenses to individuals who successfully pass a multiple choice written exam at a Volunteer Exam (VE) session.  

The FCC currently issues three levels of amateur radio license: Technician, General and Amateur Extra.

The license exam contains multiple choice questions selected from lists that are published online at http://www.arrl.org/question-pools. Many individuals prepare for an exam session using self-study license manuals and online practice exams. From time to time, license preparation courses are offered that cover the exam material over several weeks. "Ham-Cram" sessions are also popular, where a several hours' review class of exam questions and answers is immediately followed by a license exam session.

Visit http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class to find a license class.

Visit http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session to find a license exam session.

For more information on testing, preparation and study materials, see:

"So Now What?" - podcast for new hams

License Courses

Pending Updates....

Citrus Heights VE Team

Posted January 11, 2024

Section member Jeff Sims, K6BSY, announces that his Citrus Heights VE Team will conduct their VE sessions at 9:00 am on the second Saturday of each month at Compudigital Industries, 4480 Yankee Hill Rd, Ste 150, Rocklin, CA 95677.

Go to https://hamstudy.org/sessions/CHVET for more information and

to register.


If you have any questions, or need additional information, please feel free to call or email.


Jeff Sims

K6BSY

(916)342-5431

jeff.sims929@gmail.com


Meet at 9 am, exam at 10 am.  Preregistration is required.  Contact Joe Cardoza, KA6ROM, via email cardozas@comcast.net to pre-register.

Carmichael Elks VE Team 2021 Sessions

Posted April 21, 2021

The Carmichael Elks VE Team continue conducting in-person on the third Saturday of each month from 7:00 am - 8:30 am at the Carmichael Elks Lodge, 5631 Cypress Ave, Carmichael, CA 95608.  COVID precautions are iniplace.  Advance registration is advised but walk ins may be accommodated.  Contact Vas Vyvoda at (916) 956-9221 or vvyvoda@gmail.com

Upcoming dates are:

May 15, June 19, July 17, August 21, September 18, October 16, November 20, December 18.

California Emergency Volunteers Ham-Cram Sessions

Posted May 1, 2021

The California Emergency Volunteers, Inc. offers 6 hour long "Get Your License in One Day" Ham-Cram sessions followed by a Technician Class license exam session. Contact them via www.cevol.org for more information and to register.

Redding ARRL VE Schedule 2021

Posted May 1, 2021

The Redding ARRL VE Team will be hosting exams on the following Saturdays in 2021:

Our exam sessions are now being held at the City of Redding Parks Building, 20055 Viking Way, Bldg #4, Redding. Exams start at 10:00 AM and candidates must pre-register.

More information can be found at: www.reddingve.com or by contacting Steve K6KS at sjmosconi@gmail.com

SHINGLETOWN ARRL VE 2021 Schedule

Test Location:

Shingletown Area Resource Center, 31268 HWY 44, SHINGLETOWN, CA. 96088

Testing begins at 8:00 AM.

Candidates should arrive 15 to 30 minutes early.

Information at http://www.qrz/com/db/wo6p

Contact:

Dar Walker W6IO, Shingletown ARRL VE Liaison, w6iodar@gmail.com, 530-474-3087

TEST SCHEDULE:

2021: Feb 20, Apr 17, Jun 19, Aug 21, Oct 16, Dec 11

Dar Walker W6IO

Other VE Sessions - Schedule List (ARRL.org site)


Sacramento Valley ARES Responds to NorCal Floods

Kudos to Sacramento County ARES EC Jay Ballinger, N6SAC, for this media hit and to SV ARES SEC Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB, and to all Sacramento Valley ARES volunteers for their support and response to the January 2023 Northern California floods.

Sacramento County ARES Sacramento Valley ARES
Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2360 for Friday January 20th, 2023 

ARRL Files Comments Against Seriously Flawed HF Rules Petition

8/02/2023 - ARRL News

ARRL  The National Association for Amateur Radio®, as part of its mission to protect Amateur Radio, has filed comments against a proposal that would introduce high-power digital communications to the shortwave spectrum that in many instances is immediately adjacent to the Amateur HF bands. 

The “Shortwave Modernization Coalition” (SMC), which represents certain high-frequency stock trading interests, filed the petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (Previous coverage can be found on ARRL News.) ARRL responded on behalf of its members and the 760,000 licensees of the Amateur Radio Service in the US. 

The ARRL Laboratory performed a detailed technical analysis over several months to determine if the proposed rules would affect operations on the bands allocated to Radio Amateurs that are inter-mixed with the Part 90 bands in the spectrum in question.

ARRL’s analysis determined that, if the proposed rules are adopted, the new operations inevitably will cause significant harmful interference to many users of adjacent and nearby spectrum, including Amateur Radio licensees. Ed Hare, W1RFI, a 37-year veteran of the ARRL Lab and internationally recognized expert on radio frequency interference, was the principal investigator on the study. Hare concluded the petition should not be granted. “This petition seeks to put 50 kHz wide, 20,000-watt signals immediately next to seven different amateur bands with weaker protections against interference than required in other services,” said Hare. 

Read the full story at https://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-files-comments-against-seriously-flawed-hf-rules-petition

Job Posting: FCC Recruiting Field Agents

07/17/2023 - from ARRL News

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking for qualified applicants for Field Agents in five local offices across the United States. From the FCC posting:

The FCC has openings for Field Agents in the following FCC Field Offices: New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles & San Francisco.

Operates and understands all technical equipment typically used in the Field including RF spectrum analyzers, field strength meters, RF Field survey meters, and radio receivers.  Maintains contacts with and assists other Federal agencies, foreign counterparts, and local law enforcement organizations concerning interaction and utilization of the radio spectrum for both authorized and unauthorized activities.

Initiates Official Notices of Violation, Warnings, Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, and other orders to radio operators and licensees, to bring unsatisfactory or violative conditions to their attention as a result of monitoring, investigations and inspections.  Independently initiates correspondence or other communications with complainants and radio users concerning the enforcement functions of the office and region.

The Salary is $66,134 - $158,432 per year depending on qualifications and experience.  We are looking for degreed Electrical or Electronics Engineers with experience that includes tasks such as tests, measurements, calculations and other similar work involving radio frequency (RF) engineering, broadcast engineering, or telecommunications engineering.

For details see the job postings here:

New York, Boston, Chicago: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/736540500   

Los Angeles & San Francisco: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/736547300

Applications are being accepted through August 24, 2023.

Weekly NorCal WinLink Net Practices EmComm Messaging

NorCal Winlink Net Manager Michael Ellithorp, KF6OBI, conducts a weekly NorCal WinLink Net for EmComm messaging practice.  Please contact Mike if you wish to participate.

Watch WinLink author and developer Oliver Dully, K6OLI's, session on Vara FM for messaging via WinLink, a network of amateur radio and authorized government stations that provide worldwide email via radio.  The WinLink network extends global messaging capability to HF and VHF operators anywhere, even in the absence of internet access, and is ideally suited for routine and Emergency Communications (EmComm) message traffic.

Winlink  Global Radio Email

ARRL Advocates for Radio Amateurs as FCC Proposes Changes to 60-Meter Band
from the ARRL Letter, April 27, 2023

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments about changing the secondary allocation available to radio amateurs on 60 meters. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on April 21, 2023, that deals with the band. In a prior petition, ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® urged protecting the existing use of the band by amateurs when adding a new allocation adopted internationally.

Currently, radio amateurs in the US have access to five discrete channels on a secondary basis: 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz, and 5405 kHz. Users of these channels are limited to an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100 W PEP.

The FCC proposes to allocate 15 kHz of contiguous bandwidth between 5351.5 - 5366.5 kHz on a secondary basis with a maximum power of 15 W EIRP (equivalent to 9.15 W ERP). This allocation was adopted at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15).

The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The government's manager of spectrum use, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has expressed support for implementing the allocation as adopted at WRC-15. Doing so would result in amateurs losing access to four of the five discrete channels, and power limits would be reduced from 100 W ERP to 9.15 W ERP. However, it would provide access to a new contiguous 15 kHz band that includes one of the current five channels.

In 2017, ARRL petitioned the FCC to keep the four 60-meter channels that fall outside the new band, as well as the current operating rules, including the 100 W PEP ERP limit.

The ARRL petition stated, "Such implementation will allow radio amateurs engaged in emergency and disaster relief communications, and especially those between the United States and the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more flexibly, and more capably conduct those communications."

ARRL said that years of amateur radio experience using the five discrete channels have shown that amateurs can coexist with primary users at 5 MHz while complying with the regulations established for their use. The petition also stated, "Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA, is aware of a single reported instance of interference to a federal user by a radio amateur operating at 5 MHz to date."

In the NPRM, the FCC recognizes that Canada has already adopted 60-meter allocations and related rules that align with those proposed by ARRL. The Commission wrote, "Finally, we note that Canada has essentially implemented the same rules as ARRL has requested."

The FCC proposed to allocate the 15 kHz bandwidth, but stopped short of making a proposal on whether the existing channels should remain allocated to amateur radio and what the power limitations should be. They requested comments on their proposal and the related channel and power issues.

Comments will be due 60 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, which is expected within the next two weeks.

KUDOS FOR ARRL SET/ARMY MARS EXERCISE OCT 2022

TO ALL ARRL PACIFIC AND SOUTHWEST DIVISION MEMBERS

"On behalf of the DOD and US Northern Command, I want to express my thanks to the more than 1,400 amateur radio operators who were a part of the SET-DOD interop exercise this past Oct/Nov.  Your willingness to support this effort is indicative of the amateur radio spirit of communications and interoperability towards achieving a common goal of providing communications during a time of need.  Thank you and well done.

Paul English
Dept Army Civilian
Chief of Army MARS"
Paul English
DA Civilian
U.S. Army NETCOM G3 Current Operations
HF/LMR Capability Manager and Chief Army MARS


To all of you I want to say a big Thank You.  Without your help we(Army and Air Force MARS) would not have been able to complete the assigned mission of delivering the Message from United States Northern Command to United States Amateur Radio Operators, Simulated Emergency Tests(SET).   Please pass this Thank You on the Amateur Radio Operators who were there in the background supporting you in the SET’S  coordinating with the MARS Operators who passed the Message to them because without them the Mission would not have been completed.

AGAIN THANKS TO ALL

DERRILL COFFMAN W7LTM
ARMY MARS REGION 9 LIASION

Redding Veterans ARC Special Event Station in the News

W6VET Club President, Michael Vancleemput, K6WK, during KRCR filming

November 11 - Redding television station KRCR prominently featured the Redding Veterans Amateur Radio Club's W6VET in its coverage of their Veteran's Day Special Event activity.  Club president Michael Vancleemput, K6WK, had worked for months to put together their Veterans Day special event where his club would connect with veterans across the globe.  Club members made contacts on 14.320, 21.383, and 146.55 MHz with people from all over the country, and the world, reaching as far as New Zealand.

“Our purpose is to unite with [amateur radios] all over the world,” VanCleemput said. “So we want to really have fun. You know this is our fun day, so it’s a celebration of Veterans Day, and, at the same time, creating goodwill.” 

See the full story, more photos and the KRCR video at
https://krcrtv.com/news/local/redding-veterans-use-ham-radio-to-connect-to-people-across-the-globe-on-veterans-day

Also check out W6VET's excellent QRZ page.

submitted by Michael Vancleemput, K6WK

50 W PEP Maximum Power Limit Area on 70 cm

A little recognized portion of FCC Part 97 regulations applies to 420-450 MHz operations in most counties in our Sacramento Valley section:

47 CFR §97.313 (f) No station may transmit with a transmitter power exceeding 50 W PEP on the UHF 70 cm band from an area specified in footnote US270 to §2.106 of part 2. The indicated affected areas are specified in http://www.arrl.org/us270, in the State of California within a 240-kilometer (150 mile) radius around locations at Beale Air Force Base, California (latitude 39°08' North, longitude 121°21' West).

More information on the additional impact on 70 cm repeater stations is at http://www.narcc.org/NARCC-ARRL-PAVE-PAWS-Update-2014a.pdf

The Amateur Radio Service shares the 70 cm band on a secondary basis with the US Government which has priority. The US Department of Defense routinely monitors and locates signal sources on these frequencies.  Our voluntary cooperation is mandatory to avoid interference with the Pave PAWS (Phased Array Warning System) radar at Beale AFB and thus to assure our continued access to these frequencies.

More information and videos on Pave PAWS

Incidental Radio Frequency/Electromagnetic Interference (RFI & EMI)

posted February 3, 2018

ARRL and the FCC have a cooperative agreement in radio frequency interference matters. You may submit interference reports together with your supporting documentation to ARRL EMC Engineer Mike Gruber W1MG who then files the report with the FCC Gettysburg office.

You may also contact our Section Technical Coordinator Bob Wortman, WB6VYH for assistance. More information is posted under the "From the Section Manager" notes in the November 2016 Section News - Carol KP4MD

Bob Hess, W1RH, shares this helpful web page by NK7Z for identifying sources of incidental Radio Frequency Interference http://www.nk7z.net/rfi-snapshots

Keep Our Digital Transmissions Legal on 60 Meters

Posted January 29, 2017

Interest in HF propagation phenomena and antennas has attracted increasing numbers of radio amateurs to operate CW and weak signal digital modes on our lower HF frequencies including 60 meters. The five frequency channels that US amateur radio operators share on a secondary basis with US federal government users on 60 meters (5 MHz) pose unique requirements for CW and digital operators. As explained on http://www.arrl.org/60m-channel-allocation, each US radio amateur emission on our 60m channels must be precisely centered in the center frequency of each assigned channel, that is, 5332.0, 5348.0, 5358.5, 5373.0 or 5405.0 kHz. Thus, for example, each CW or digital signal on channel 3 (USB Dial frequency 5357.0 kHz) must be precisely in the 5358.5 kHz channel center.

This may appear unreasonable to radio amateurs because a 2.8 kHz channel can accommodate many digital and CW transmissions simultaneously, and requiring multiple stations to operate on the same exact frequency would result in mutual interference. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)* explains this requirement in https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7021871884.pdf which states: "Allowing multiple emissions within the necessary bandwidth of the widest authorized modes (2.8 kHz) increases the possibility of harmful interference from secondary amateur stations to primary federal stations, and would make it more difficult for a federal station to identify an interfering amateur station. In addition, NTIA is concerned about the aggregate equivalent isotropically radiated power from multiple amateur stations transmitting within a single 2.8 kHz channel. Accordingly, NTIA requests that 47 C.F.R. Section 97.303(h) continue to require that amateur stations transmit only on the five center frequencies allocated to the amateur service."  (See http://www.arrl.org/what-the-fcc-rules-say-97-303-h)

Observed Violations of US 60 Meter Frequency Regulations

FT8/JT65

This screenshot photo shows digital signals received on 60 meter Channel 3 (5357 kHz USB dial frequency) from 0300-0309 UTC on January 29, 2017. In the photo, the 5357 kHz dial frequency is at 0 Hz on the left side of the waterfall and the 5358.5 kHz channel center is at the 1500 Hz mark. Decodes of several US radio amateurs are seen transmitting digital emissions simultaneously on various frequencies throughout the channel 3 frequency range 5357-5360 kHz. This is the familiar appearance of a digital waterfall display on all other amateur radio bands; however, it violates the NTIA requirement that each US radio amateur transmission be on the 1500 Hz center mark (the 5358.5 kHz channel center frequency).

WSPR

The link http://wsprnet.org/olddb?band=60&sort=callsign&reverse=on&unique=on lists WSPR mode emissions on the 60 meter band. One can scroll down that list and see how many A, K, N and W call signs have been transmitting WSPR mode on 5288 kHz or 5366 kHz, frequencies that are outside the authorized US 60 meter center channel frequencies.  

US WSPR transmissions continue to be observed on the WSPR software default 60 meter frequencies of 5288 kHz and 5366 kHz, completely unauthorized frequencies for US radio amateurs.

Each licensee has the final responsibility for the lawful operation of his or her station.  Unfortunately, the increasing automation in our radios has apparently accustomed some to falsely assume that the radio will correct for operator carelessness and ignorance of regulations.  Our cooperation with NTIA requirements is essential for our continued access to the 60m channels and for possible future access to the new ITU worldwide 60 meter allocation at 5351.5 to 5366.5 kHz. (See http://www.arrl.org/news/view/arrl-asks-fcc-to-allocate-new-5-mhz-band-retain-channels-and-current-power-limit and http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-invites-comments-on-arrl-petition-to-allocate-new-5-mhz-band). Please be aware of these requirements if you intend to or currently operate CW or digital modes on our shared 60m allocations. The ARRL Volunteer Monitor Program is documenting this matter and wishes to raise its awareness in the wider amateur radio community.

-Carol Milazzo, KP4MD

*The NTIA is the federal authority that coordinates radio spectrum use for the US military and federal government while the FCC serves in this capacity for US civilian radio spectrum users.

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