ARRL East Bay Section

General Class License Training

Posted by ks6m on March 12th, 2016

The Salvation Army and the Mt Diablo Amateur Radio Club

Ham Radio General Class License Training
Starts: Thursday 03/31/2016 at 06:30 pm
(The General license is the second level Ham license)
The Salvation Army Corps, 3950 Clayton Rd., Concord CA 94521, Fireside Room
Registration required – Email:

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Become a Ham in One Day

Posted by ks6m on March 12th, 2016

Here is your opportunity to become, or upgrade, licensed Amateur Radio
operator in one day. Success rate is over 90%. Study Session followed
by Exam.
When: Saturday, May 14th
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Benicia Senior Center
187 East L Street, Benicia
What: Technician Class (beginner’s level)
General Class Upgrade (for those already licensed as a Tech)
Fee: $30.00 cash at the door (Includes exam fee)
Questions: or Art at (707) 746-5858
Conducted by: Benicia Amateur Radio Club (BARC), Member W5YI VEC
Class size is limited. Advance Registration is required. No prep or
prior study required.
Prospective Hams should plan on attending a free Get-On-The-Air Class
after passing their test, to become familiar with Amateur Radio
Reserve Your Space – Become a Ham in One Day!

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NPOTA Update

Posted by af6aq on February 22nd, 2016

Before registering a NPOTA activation, be sure to check the sensitivity of the unit you want to activate. Some units are listed as “extremely sensitive” on the list of NPOTA units and require advance coordination with National Park Service administrators well before your activation.

This is especially the case for units that are very small or in an urban area. [Northern California Parks and Monuments are extremely sensitive: contact ARRL Government Liaison Bart Lee, K6VK for guidance. Coordinate and schedule with the responsible park Rangers for the site, act as ham radio ambassadors to the park Service and the public, take noting but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. And make those contacts! De K6VK:]

Nobody wants an activation to be denied. Proper coordination with NPS staff at units listed as “extremely sensitive” will increase your chance of success.

There are 36 activations on tap between February 17-24, including the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (HP39) in Texas and San Juan National Historic Site (NS63) in Puerto Rico. Details about these and other upcoming activations can be found on the NPOTA Activations calendar.

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National Parks On The Air in the East Bay

Posted by ks6m on January 21st, 2016

The ARRL’s National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) operating event is off to a big start. Throughout 2016, Amateur Radio is helping the National Park Service (NPS) celebrate its 100th anniversary. Hams from across the country are “activating” NPS units, promoting the National Park Service, and showcasing Amateur Radio to the public.

Every licensed Amateur can be a “Chaser” at any time, regardless of location, attempting to contact “Activator” hams in NPS units. Every ham can also be an “Activator” while operating at an NPS unit. See the Rules and FAQs in the NPOTA Web pages for more information.

Aside from national trails, the ARRL East Bay Section has four small NPS units: Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park, John Muir and Eugene O’Neill National Historic Sites, and Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial.

Interest in “activating” these small units threatens to overrun their operations if not managed carefully. Local National Park Service management has directed that hams not activate these units in NPOTA except as authorized by ARRL HQ, and only three such activations will be authorized in each of three of these units during the year-long event. No NPOTA activations will be authorized at Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial. Unauthorized activations of these four NPS units will not be accredited, and those QSOs will not count toward NPOTA.

ARRL HQ, my ARRL Field Organization staff here in the East Bay Section, and I will be discussing how to manage authorizations to activate these units, in cooperation with NPS staff. We do not expect any activations to be scheduled soon, and we expect to announce them well in advance of each date and to encourage participation. Together with NPS staff, we want these activations not only to make contacts but also to attract and engage the public on site with our Amateur Radio operations and with our celebration of the National Park Service Centennial Year 2016.

Meanwhile, please do not contact NPS staff at these units on the subject of NPOTA or other Amateur Radio activity except as part of an authorized activation. If you have comments or would like to indicate interest in participating in an activation, however, please contact Chris Tate, N6WM, Assistant Section Manager for Contesting and DX, as shown on our EB Section Leadership page.

More information about the National Park Service Centennial Year 2016

More information about National Parks On The Air

ARRL East Bay Section
Section Manager: James R Latham, AF6AQ

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National Parks On The Air (NPOTA)

Posted by ks6m on December 29th, 2015

Many hams here in the SF Bay Area have heard of National Parks On The Air (NPOTA), a new ARRL operating event for 2016. For those who haven’t, to help the National Park Service (NPS) celebrate its Centennial, NPOTA lasts for the full calendar year and connects hams everywhere to hams located in NPS units. The idea is to have a good time, to keep one’s radio skills sharp, and to help promote our National Parks in their big year. Contacts on any ham band except 60 meters and using any ham mode are eligible, though repeater, digipeater, crossband, and Internet-supported contacts are not.

While you’re not in an NPS unit, you’re a “Chaser”, and your goal is to chase down and contact an “Activator” ham in as many NPS units as possible during 2016. When you’re in an NPS unit, you can be an “Activator”. Either way, log your contacts in the ARRL Logbook Of The World, and your points are automatically tallied. All licensed Amateurs are eligible; ARRL membership is not required; there is no cost unless you want an award sent to you when it’s over. For details, including rules, tips, and news, see the NPOTA Web page.

Pete Harris KE6ZIW and I (John Rabold KS6M) will enable hams who are located in parts of the East Bay to make a NPOTA contact during the New Year holiday weekend. On Friday, January 1, I (KS6M) will be calling for VHF FM simplex contacts from Mount Wanda, on the property of John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez. Pete and I visited the site on Tuesday, December 29, and found that parts of Vallejo, Benicia, Concord, and Walnut Creek were visible, in addition to Martinez. But I may do better than that, as I will have a tall antenna and be using 10 or 25 watts. Your HT may work just fine, depending on where you are. Listen for KS6M from about noon to about 4 pm PST on 146.535 MHz, though you might find me on 146.520 occasionally.

On Saturday, January 2, Pete and I will be calling CQ from the visitor center of that same NPS unit, using single sideband, most likely on 15, 17, or 20 meters, from about 11 am to about 3 pm PST. On those bands we will be listening for replies from anywhere in the world, but you may hear us locally and be able to contact us.


  • Fri Jan 1, 12 noon to 4 pm, on 146.535 or 146.520 FM
  • Sat Jan 2, 11 am to 3 pm, on 15, 17, 20 meters SSB

This won’t be your last chance to earn “chaser points” in NPOTA from this area. The Bay Area has something like a dozen NPS units and no shortage of hams to “activate” them. But this one gets the NPS Centennial Year off to a quick start and honors the memory of John Muir, long an East Bay resident.

Remember to write down the date and time and frequency of the contact, the mode (FM or SSB), and the call sign of the ham you contacted. (Be sure the date and time are in UTC, which is 8 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.) You will need that information when you upload your log to Logbook of the World.

Happy New Year and 73! Pete and I hope to talk to you by radio this weekend!

John Rabold KS6M

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