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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.

Thursday
Apr172014

Review: Quicksilver Radio EMCOMM Kits

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

After publishing a post about the kit last month, one of our members purchased the complete kit and yesterday I got to play with it. This is a product review.

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.

I especially recommend these for CERT members and others who need a radio that don’t expect to use very often. This kit includes all the “must have” items they will need and nothing they will never use.

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 alone — 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. You might want to purchase the power-only version of this kit to go with the FT-60 or whatever other radio you use.

Here’s the vendor’s 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-5RB 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 Powerpoles

  • 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.

The review unit included all that, plus a six-AAA-cell battery holder for the Baofeng, necessary because you cannot feed 12-volts into the radio directly (there is no external power jack).

Pros:

  • This is a very complete kit and a good value.

  • The provided documentation is well-prepared and nicely laminated, but no instructions are provided for charging the gel cell battery (see Cons).

  • The provided bag is quite nice.

  • Powerpoles! Everything uses standard Anderson Powerpole connectors — and fusing is provided. Very professional. You can power the charging base and something plugged into the cigarette lighter outlet at the same time.

  • The cigarette lighter jack is idea for charging phones and other devices. Be sure the add appropriate charging cable(s) to the kit. (See Cons)

Cons:

  • No battery charging documentation, but I am told it will be added soon.

  • The included mini-mag mount antenna uses the required reverse-SMA connector. This is only a con because it will not work with the more common standard SMA connection. Some other Chinese radios use the reverse connection, however.

  • No speaker/mic provided.

  • The Baofeng only charges in its charging stand. I’d recommend purchasing an extra rechargeable battery (or several) so you can operate during charge cycles. The included AAA battery holder should support full transmit power (a win) but not for very long (because of the AAAs). 

  • The cigarette lighter outlet may be too deep for the small adapters that provide two USB connections, but will accept a full-sized cigarette lighter adapter.

About the power-only kit:

Includes our heavy duty go-bag, 7AH rechargeable gel cell battery, charger, and a fused cable that fits the battery and provides power through Anderson Powerpoles (of course!) and a lighter socket. 

This is an excellent addition to pretty much any ham’s emergency kit. Add a cigarette lighter adapter or Powerpole connector DC cable for your portable and you are in business. Then add whatever else your radio needs and you are good to go.

This bag could easily house and power a small APRS station that could be dropped into a vehicle and connected to a small mag-mount antenna.

Bottom Line:

If you are a unit leader, you need a way to program the radio (Chirp works with the included cable)  and do some training. I would make my own laminated local information card to go into the kit — a good thing to have anyway.

The Baofeng is not a radio that a beginner should be asked to program. You also need to set the dual-watch feature, which causes confusing rado behavior, to “off.” This is menu item #7.

QuickSilver Radio is a trusted vendor. The kits represent excellent value and good attention to detail. This is a better kit than most of us would assemble ourselves. I not only recommend this kit to my HamCram trainees, I will probably buy the battery-only kit for use with one of my portables. And maybe another for APRS.

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.