ARRL East Bay Section

ARRL Centennial QSO Party (more)

Posted by ks6m on January 17th, 2014

Hams in the ARRL East Bay Section,

I am taking this opportunity to “second” the recent message from Assistant Section Manager Chris Tate N6WM about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party and its Centennial Points Challenge. Chris’s assignment is DX and contesting. Mine is emergency communications, so I have a stake in activities that improve and maintain ham radio operating skills and experience. Operating events like the Centennial QSO Party are among the best of such activities.

The leadership in the ARRL East Bay Section encourages all hams to participate in the Centennial QSO Party. We have a page of information about this operating event, and especially about its Centennial Points Challenge, on the ARRL East Bay Section Web site.

Let me underscore Chris’s point about the bands above 50 megahertz — VHF and UHF. As in ARRL Field Day, these bands are available but sometimes overlooked. ARRL East Bay Section encourages Centennial Points Challenge participation by hams in the Technician class and by hams in any license class who have only VHF and UHF equipment easily available. We are offering a “concentration plan” to bring East Bay Section Amateurs together on selected VHF and UHF frequencies and at selected days and times to make it easier to make contacts in this event. We will also be providing helpful tips to enable Amateurs to move beyond ordinary FM voice on these bands, both increasing point totals in the event and further improving operator skills. We also have a set of frequently-asked questions and their answers.

See our page about the Centennial Points Challenge on VHF/UHF in our section. It includes details of the concentration plan.

These pages, and especially the details of the concentration plan, are subject to change, so keep an eye on them.

Assistant Section Manager Chris Tate also mentioned the upcoming VHF Sweepstakes. The ARRL holds three VHF Sweepstakes and one UHF Sweepstakes each year. The first of the VHF Sweepstakes of 2014 begins this Saturday, January 18 at 11:00 am PST (1900Z) and continues until Sunday at 7:59 pm PST. Many of your contacts in this sweepstakes can also count in the Centennial QSO Party. Give it a try! Our VHF/UHF page explains how. And, during this event, our section’s “concentration plan frequencies” may be good places to look for Sweepstakes contacts.

Meanwhile, I will be monitoring on 146.460, 223.440, and 441.000 MHz, which are for now our primary VHF/UHF FM voice concentration plan frequencies. If I can’t hear others using those frequencies, I will be calling on them. I hope to make contact with many of you there in the Centennial Points Challenge and in the VHF and UHF Sweepstakes too.

John Rabold KS6M
Section Emergency Coordinator
ARRL East Bay Section

Posted in Contesting, Emergency Communications, Events, Operating, Training | Comments Off

ARRL Centennial QSO Party

Posted by ks6m on January 15th, 2014

Greetings East Bay Amateurs.

Many of you are aware that the ARRL is sponsoring a number of events for its 100th anniversary. More information on the overall Centennial QSO Party program is provided here (http://www NULL.arrl

One of the programs you may or may not be aware of is the Centennial Points Challenge. ARRL members can work other ARRL members and leadership for points. Different awards can be applied for at the end of the year, and the awards will be handed out in 500pt increments.

Different membership levels equal different point levels, starting with 1 point for ARRL members, to 300 points for the ARRL president. All Section Managers, including East Bay SM Jim Latham AF6AQ, are worth 175 points. All Assistant Section Managers, like me, are 35 points, VEs 5 points. Hopefully you get the picture. A complete chart and point matrix is available on the above provided link. All of the QSO’s need to be simplex (e.g. No repeater contacts), but they can be in the mode/band of your choice otherwise.

There are some thoughts I would like to pass along to arm you for success.

If you wish, you may keep simple records of your QSOs on your own paper or computer documents and score them yourself. If you do this, though, your score will not be published. If you’d like to get the maximum benefit from this event, here are two points to observe:

1. All of your QSO’s need to be logged properly with a program that can generate an ADIF file. There are plenty of logging programs out there that can do this; here are a couple of links to some.

a) N1MM logger (http://n1mm NULL.hamdocs NULL.php)

Probably the most comprehensive and well supported contest loggers, and the best part, its free! There are extensive support documents for this program, and comes highly recommended for this and most contests out there.

b) N3FJP logging software (http://www NULL.n3fjp

I find N3FJP Softwares VHF contest logging software particularly well suited for VHF contests such as the upcoming January VHF sweepstakes. It is worth a look for sure.

c) Wintest (http://www

Wintest is another popular logging program used by many, if you like the layout this one may be for you.

There are many more out there, but this is a good start. Check them out and see what works for you!

2. All of your centennial point QSO’s and QSL’s must be uploaded and verified by the ARRL’s Logbook of the World (“LOTW”).

LOTW is simply awesome. Getting set up takes a few steps, but once done takes all of the work that used to be done by mailing qsl cards, and handles the tasks electronically. Both parties upload their QSO data to LOTW, and if there is a match.. BAM! Your QSL is confirmed and fully supported by all ARRL awards programs. You will want to upload all your data to LOTW by the end of the year, so get started with your setup as soon as possible.

ARRL’s Logbook of the World can be found here (http://www NULL.arrl, and specific instructions on getting set up can be found here (http://www NULL.arrl

Coming up this weekend (January 18-19) is the ARRL January VHF sweepstakes. This could be a great opportunity to get your feet wet by a) working and learning about contests, and b) working other ARRL and leadership for centennial QSO points!

Complete information for the January VHF sweepstakes can be found here (http://www NULL.arrl Here you can find rules, bands, modes, log submission instructions and everything else to start having fun contesting VHF style. And the best thing, its VHF and most will have equipment, even an HT to get on the air and work some contest QSO’s.

Look for more information on East Bay centennial QSO points challenge activity throughout the year. Remember the most important rule in contesting and any award program is. HAVE FUN!

If you need assistance with any of this, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the East Bay Section leadership, and we will do our best to help you have fun on the air.

73 and good luck!

Chris Tate N6WM
Assistant Section Manager (DX and Contesting)
ARRL East Bay Section

For current information throughout 2014 about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party here in the ARRL East Bay Section, see the “100QP” tab here on this Web site.

Posted in Contesting, Emergency Communications, Events, Operating, Training | Comments Off

Ham Radio Licensing Course Forming Now!

Posted by ks6m on December 29th, 2013

The Salvation Army together with the Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club will be holding a 7 week course where you can learn everything you need to earn your Technician Class (entry level) FCC Amateur Radio License.

The Technician Class license is your entry to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications, and now you do NOT need to learn Morse code!

Course begins on Thursday January 9, 2014 at 7-9 pm

The Salvation Army
3950 Clayton Road, (at West St.)
Concord 94521

Registration is required.

Class is FREE but there is a $5 materials fee and Textbook if needed about $26. Each student must have full access to a copy of the text.

Follow up training and License testing will also be available.

To sign up email:

For voice mail or fax: 925 465-9554

Posted in Licensing | Comments Off

Upcoming ARISS Educational QSO in East Bay Section

Posted by ks6m on November 11th, 2013

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (“ARISS”) educational contact will take place this week in the ARRL East Bay Section. The contact will be direct with students at Rancho Romero Elementary School in Alamo (Contra Costa County). (“Direct” ARISS contacts are entirely Amateur Radio simplex in both directions, without the terrestrial telephone linking used in “telebridge” contacts.) It is scheduled to occur on Wednesday morning, November 13, beginning as early as 1941 UTC (11:41 am PST). The session cannot last more than about ten minutes due to the motion of the space station.

During a typical ARISS contact, students at the school transmit questions on the International Space Station’s Amateur Radio 2-meter uplink frequency, with a licensed ham present and serving as control operator. The questions, which are prepared and sent to the space station in advance, are then answered by a ham-radio-licensed ISS astronaut, transmitted on the ISS downlink frequency. (The ISS uses its US callsign NA1SS for transmissions over the US.) Amateurs on the ground cannot hear the uplink transmissions unless they are very close by, but with a good 2-meter antenna it will be possible to hear the downlink transmissions from the ISS from anywhere in the SF Bay Area.

To listen in, tune your receiver to downlink frequency 145.800 MHz FM. It is a good idea to turn the squelch off, resulting in “hiss” but also maximum sensitivity to the signal. You will not hear the students asking questions on this frequency, only the astronaut answering them. You should not transmit during this event to avoid interfering with this educational experience for the students. This will be a good opportunity to listen in and interest other non-hams in the hobby and service of Amateur Radio as the students talk with the astronauts.

Tim Bosma, W6MU, from the San Francisco Section, is the ARISS Technical Mentor coordinating the contact.

Here is some background information provided by the school:

“Rancho Romero Elementary School (“Rancho”) serves a population of 10,000 in Alamo, California, about 25 miles east of San Francisco. Rancho Romero is committed to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] education and is working with alumna and licensed amateur radio operator Rebecca Rubsamen KJ6TWM [to] install a permanent satellite communications station in the Rancho science lab. The satellite ground station will provide a laboratory environment where students and faculty can explore concepts from basic orbital mechanics and basic radio theory.

“The Rancho satellite station is being specifically designed to be accessible over the internet by partner schools in our larger community who lack the resources to have this type of equipment available on their site. Rancho Romero will be working with other schools in its network to encourage faculty to make use of this link to access the satellite station for classroom demonstrations at their campuses by accessing one of the many orbiting amateur radio satellites.

“Pre-contact activities have featured presentations by Camilla SDO, NASA’s mascot for the Solar Dynamics Observatory and retired astronaut James Van Hoften who will talk about manned space flight.”

Here are proposed questions for the contact generated by the Rancho Romero Elementary School students and distributed by AMSAT:

  1. How much were you allowed to bring with you for your 6 month stay on the ISS?
  2. What is your specific job as a crew member?
  3. What kind of experiments do you do, and which one has been your favorite?
  4. Are there any animals (including insects) on board?
  5. How do you recycle water?
  6. As a child, were you very interested in science?
  7. How many minutes per day do you need to exercise to keep your bones strong?
  8. What are the long-term effects of microgravity?
  9. How do you keep track of what day it is?
  10. How do you take care of daily housekeeping chores, like doing laundry and taking out the trash?
  11. How does Earth look from space, and do you have a favorite view?
  12. How do you sleep in the space station, and is it comfortable?
  13. How do the docking ports on the ISS work?
  14. Does your heart beat faster or slower in space?
  15. How do you communicate with family and friends at home?
  16. How do you store food on the ISS, and do you ever get fresh fruit and veggies?
  17. What are your sources of entertainment on the ISS?
  18. How did you feel when the rocket to the ISS took off?
  19. What is your favorite moment in space so far?
  20. What do you miss the most from Earth?


  • ARISS Home Page (English language) (http://ariss NULL.rac NULL.htm)
  • ARRL: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (http://www NULL.arrl
  • ARRL: ARISS and Satellite Communication Resources (http://www NULL.arrl
  • AMSAT: Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (http://ww2 NULL.amsat

James R Latham AF6AQ
Section Manager, ARRL East Bay Section
John Rabold KS6M
Section Emergency Coordinator, ARRL East Bay Section

Posted in Satellite, Youth | Comments Off

ARRL East Bay Section ARES® at Pacificon

Posted by ks6m on September 27th, 2013

There will be excellent learning opportunities, gear for sale, and networking at Pacificon, the annual ARRL Pacific Division convention (http://www NULL.pacificon, on October 11 through 13 (less than 2 weeks away). Hams from all seven sections in the Pacific Division will be present. You must register to attend; registration is available on the Pacificon Web site. Volunteers are still needed and can sign up on that Web site as well. (See also this earlier post.)

The ARRL East Bay Section ARES® (“EB-ARES”) leadership will be presenting three sessions at Pacificon, including an open meeting of EB-ARES. Please attend and participate. These three sessions will be offered one after the other on Sunday morning, October 13, in Salon C. You can find them on the Pacificon Web site by going to the schedule for Salon C (http://www NULL.pacificon and looking under “Sunday”. (If they are moved to other times or locations at Pacificon, we will try to let you know!)

Here are the three sessions as currently scheduled:

Workshop: Digital Emcomm with NBEMS

Sunday at 8:15 am: This drop-in workshop will enable you to observe and experiment with the digital emcomm applications in the NBEMS software suite (fldigi, flmsg, flwrap, and more). We will have laptops set up with the software and a few sample messages, and we will demonstrate the sending and receiving of messages and then coach you as you do it yourself. Or bring your own laptop; we’ll have the software available for you to install. We will be available to chat about the pros and cons of this and similar techniques for messaging in support of our served agencies. Session leader: Bernhard Hailer AE6YN, Assistant Emergency Coordinator, ARRL East Bay Section.

ARRL EC-001 Exam Session

Sunday at 9:30 am: Amateur Radio operators and others who are studying the ARRL’s Introduction to Emergency Communication Course (EC-001) can take the course’s examination at this session, earning the ARRL completion certificate. EC-001 and its prerequisites, IS-100 and IS-700, are among the course training requirements to qualify for the Full Member designation in the ARRL East Bay Section ARES program. See an earlier post for important information.

Open Meeting: ARRL East Bay Section ARES

Sunday at 10:45 am: This session begins with a brief introduction to the ARES program in the ARRL East Bay Section. That will be followed by a report on progress during the past year and a review of several current challenges and opportunities for this East Bay Section program. The remainder of the session will be devoted to questions and discussion. Session leader: John Rabold KS6M, Section Emergency Coordinator, ARRL East Bay Section.

Posted in Emergency Communications, Events, Pacificon, Training | Comments Off