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Tracy
Manteca
Stockton
Lodi
Outside the county
ARRL Volunteer Examiner 

SJC EMCOMM Freqs
SJC1 - 147.210 + 114.8 Stockton (Stockton Pri)
SJC2 - 146.655 - 100.0 Tracy (County Pri)
SJC3 - 145.210 - 100.0 Tracy (County B/up)
SJC4 - 147.090 + 114.8 Lodi (North Pri)
SJC5 - 146.985 - 100.0 Manteca
SJC6 - 147.165 + 107.2 Stockton Club
SJC7 - 147.015 + 114.8 (East)
SJC8 - 147.105 + 67.0 Stockton
SJC9 - 146.895 - 114.8 Mt. Oso
SJC10 - 444.400 + 114.8 (East)
SJC11 - 444.325 + 94.8 Stockton (Stockton Pri)
SJC12 - 443.825 + 107.2 Mt. Oso
SJC13 - 444.575 + 107.2 Stockton (Pri)
SCJ14 - 444.850 + 114.8 Tracy (testing)
SJC15 - 444.500 + 114.8 Stockton
LLNL - 146.775 - 100.0 Livermore


Linked repeaters - SJC1/10 SJC2/LLNL SJC7/10

Tac1 - 146.550
Tac3 - 146.535
Tac4 - 146.430
Tac6 - 156.565
Tac7 - 146.590
Tac8 - 146.445
All simplex
2014 Frequency Plan
Disclaimer

Opinions expressed are my own. I hope they are useful, but policies and procedures vary widely from one location and group to another.

What I describe may not work for you and may even be unsafe. Always follow your local policies and procedures!

Also, unless specifically mentioned, this site is about VHF/UHF operations and not HF, which is very often different for very good reasons.

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N5FDL/CEVOL Repeaters

All PL 114.8 Unless Noted

Stockton: 147.210 + N5FDL and 444.500 + K6TRK (linked)

Copperopolis/Gopher Ridge: 147.015 + and 444.400 + N5FDL (linked)

Mt. Oso: 146.895 - N5FDL and 443.825 + PL 107.2

Affiliated Repeaters

Bear Mtn.: 146.090 + and 444.250 + WB6ASU (linked)

Mt. Delux: 145.210 - PL 100.0 WA6SEK (10mi S of Tracy)

All repeaters are open to all users.

Monday
Mar242014

Basic EMCOMM Kit for $149.73

Quicksilver Radio is selling a pretty complete emcomm kit, built around the not-my-favorite-radio Baofeng UV-5R, for $149.73. If all you need are the bag and battery, the cost is $69.73.

Recommended for: This is a very good “first radio” option for the new emergency-oriented ham or as a way for an experienced operator to have all they need assembled in one place.

New hams tend to buy a handie-talkie as their first radio but end up using a second, mobile radio, for most of their communications. In that scenario, an inexpensive kit such as this one — which costs about the same as a Yaesu FT-60 talkie — makes a whole lot of sense as a first purchase.

The key is to leave the kit assembled and not allow it to be spread out. So if you want to use a talkie all-the-time, then also purchase a better radio, such as the FT-60.

Here’s the product description:

Our Deluxe Grab ‘n’ Go Kits are packed with everything you need for an emergency deployment, public service event, or just plain old Ham Radio Fun.  Yes, the radio is included!! You get:

  • Baofeng UV-5R dual-band (2M & 70CM) hand held radio — includes rechargeable Li-Ion battery, belt clip, and antenna ;

  • Earpiece speaker/mic with PTT;

  • Charging stand with wall plug;

  • USB programming cable;

  • Set of professionally produced, printed and  laminated reference cards;

  • External magnet mount antenna;

  • 7.5 Amp-Hour Rechargeable Gel Cell Battery;

  • Fused Gel Cell Cable with Anderson Powerpoles and lighter socket;

  • Gel Cell wall charger with Anderson Power Poles

  • Powerpole cable to fit the charging stand;

  • And our heavy-duty 9-pocket bag to carry it all in.

All at a great price.  Whether you’re newly licensed or an old timer, you’ll get plenty of use — and plenty of fun — out of this great package.  Under typical conditions you’ll be on the air for up to a week.


Wednesday
Feb122014

Mark Nowell Memorial: Sat 3/1 in Oakland

A celebration of the life of our friend, Mark Nowell WI7YN, will be held on Saturday, March 1 in Oakland. (I don’t yet know the time).

Mark, who had been manager of HRO Oakland until shortly before his death, succumbed to heart disease in early January.

His brother, Jeff AD6YZ, asks that those wanting to attend the memorial, or share their remembrances of Mark, send an RSVP email to remembering.mark@att.net.  

More from the HRO site:

It is with great sorrow that we say goodbye as we mourn the loss of one of our dear friends and a senior West Coast HRO family members.

Born in 1949, Mark had been with HRO family since 1995 and held the positions of Senior Sales Specialist - Ham Radio Outlet Oakland, Manager - Ham Radio Outlet Sunnyvale and Manager - Ham Radio Outlet Oakland. 

Mark was very well known within the amateur community and in addition to being a HAM, Mark was a dedicated amateur astronomer.  He was particularly enamored with the big telescope, called “WIYN” which is located on Kitt Peak in Arizona. Mark is survived by his brother Jeff and sister Katherine. 

Donations


For those interested, in lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations in Mark’s name be given to the Kitt Peak Visitor Center, which is building a new telescope for public use. The Visitor Center will establish a small plaque in Mark’s memory which will be displayed on the donations wall of the visitor center.  

Please state “In memory of Mark Nowell” in the comments section. Select “telescope” in the drop down box above the comments.

Alternatively, checks labeled “in memory of Mark Nowell” to be may be made out to: “AURA” and sent to:

WIYN Telescope Project
950 N. Cherry Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719

Memorial Service and Remembrance


The family has set up an email address at “remembering.mark@att.net.”

If you would like to attend Mark’s memorial service, please RSVP to this email and please mention the number of people you think might come with you.

If you feel like sending condolences, telling a story about Mark, or providing a remembrance that we might want to use at Mark’s memorial, please also send those thoughts to this email address.

The memorial service will be held at the following location:
Joaquin Miller Community Center
3594 Sanborn Dr, Oakland, CA

The center is located off Highway 13. There will be plenty of parking. The center is also accessible by AC Transit, Bus 39, leaving from the Fruitvale BART station.  

Goodbye Mark, you will be missed immensely.

Monday
Jan132014

HRO's Mark Nowell, WI7YN (SK)

It is with deep sadness that I report the passing of Mark Nowell, WI7YN, until recently manager of Ham Radio Outlet in Oakland. It is interesting that despite being one of my best ham friends, Mark and I never actually talked to one another on the radio.

Mark, who had suffered heart problems in the past and had been recently hospitalized, suffered a heart attack while riding with a friend on Friday. He was immediately driven to the hospital, where he passed a short time later.

He was a really good guy, a friend to all, and will be missed. Interesting fact: He was probably more interested in amateur astronomy than amateur radio.

Monday
Jan062014

Chip Problem Kills Wouxun Memory?

Here is very troubling news from the Wouxun_KG-UVD1 Yahoo Group:

“It has been reported that ALL Wouxun HTs have an issue with their NVRAM chips. Many units have failed to hold their settings, due to a poor quality chip. If your radio loses its settings, defaults to Chinese language, etc. It is this bug.

“All radios have this chip, and are susceptible to eventually developing this issue.

“As our radios age, they will become more likely to develop this bug.

“Hopefully other Chinese radios do not have this chip, otherwise they could become truly disposable, as the naysayers comment.”

Although I own two Wouxuns, I have been reluctant to recommend them. I thought there were enough of them in the world to assure us that they actually work. I cannot personally confirm this, but there is enough discussion that something must be going on.

 

I am no longer able to recommend Wouxun radios, pending some positive outcome here. My recommended radios are now the trusty Yaesu FT-60 dual-bander and the FT-270 2m-only radio.
Friday
Jan032014

Ham EMCOMM Planning and the ICS-217

After posting the 2014 frequency plan on Wednesday, I received an email from an emergency communicator asking why the plan isn’t presented on an ICS-217 form, normally used for listing communications resources available for potential use. Here’s the letter:

Thanks for your recent blog entry on EMCOMM/AUXCOMM Frequency Planning.  It’s well-written and has quite a number of useful ideas.

I’m the EC for four counties in Mississippi (Bolivar, Washington, Sunflower, Leflore).  We have a very sparse Amateur population here, with about 15 active stations scattered over those counties.  A couple of years ago, I put together a similar plan, which you can find here.

I wondered, is there a reason your plan is not drafted in an ICS-217 format?  I come from a public safety/emergency management background, so ICS is second nature to me.  The 217 is a Communication Unit Leader/s (COML) “scratchpad” from which he can cut-and-paste data into an Incident Communications Plan (ICS-205 form).  The 217 and your format are very similar, and I was just curious if there was (or wasn’t) a reason for not using a 217?  I opted to put ours on a 217 so we could easily transfer the data to our local emergency managers during an event, if needed.

Happy New Year from the Magnolia State!  

73, Jim ~ K5JAW

Here’s how I responded:

As a communications unit leader (COML), I appreciate the value and usage of a 217. The challenge is that the descriptive and coverage info that is vital to selecting the right Amateur frequency for the right usage at the right time at the right place doesn’t have a place on a standard 217. 

Further, it requires some specialized knowledge to handle the “who owns and uses what” aspect of repeaters. Ham radio is not public safety radio, especially for urban HT coverage. 

I do find it useful to draft pre-need ICS-205 radio plans for various locations in the county. That makes it easy to plan for HT coverage as part of every 205. I’m not sure how that would fit into an ICS-217. 

I have posted an image of an ICS-217. And one of a draft pre-need ICS-205. You can click on the images to see a full-sized version.

Expanding upon my answer to Jim, my experience has primarily been doing EMCOMM for agencies where we don’t use the ICS-217 and rely on the ICS-205 instead. We use a limited set of frequencies and one radio plan is likely to be very much like all the others. In fact, I think I was in communications unit leader (COML) class before I actually saw a 217, which is often not included in sets of ICS forms.

Unlike public safety radio. where coverage, ownership and prior usage aren’t major concerns when selecting frequencies, someone with an ICS-217 and no understanding of what the form doesn’t say could really mess up Amateur Radio EMCOMM. Which is why I have resisted doing one.

ICS was not created with volunteer communicators or even radio in mind, so having to workaround some aspects shouldn’t come as a surprise. I may do an ICS-217 for the core of the plan, but I may not make it widely available. Fewer mistakes that way.

Also — and this is important — this is not just a frequency usage plan, but also a radio programming plan. It describes how radio memory channels should be filled. It is intended for day-to-day and emergency use.

For me, the most important benefit of the plan is having radios all programmed alike, especially those at shared locations and those owned by new or less-active hams. 

Meanwhile, stay tuned for a future discussion of the ICS-201 General Message form.