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 SDARC
SJC7 - 147.015 + 114.8 Copperopolis
SJC8 - 147.105 + 94.8 Stockton
SJC9 - 146.895 - 114.8 Mt. Oso - Disabled
SJC10 - 444.400 + 114.8 Copperopolis
SJC11 - 444.325 + 94.8 Stockton (Stockton Pri)
SJC12 - 443.825 + 107.2 Mt. Oso
SJC13 - 444.575 + 107.2 Stockton
SJC14 - 444.850 + 114.8 127.3 Tracy 
SJC15 - 444.500 + 114.8 Stockton
LLNL - 146.775 - 100.0 Livermore

TAC1 - 146.550

TAC3 - 146.535
TAC4 - 146.430
TAC6 - 156.565
TAC7 - 146.595
TAC8 - 146.445
All simplex

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

Stockton: 147.210 + N5FDL and 444.500 + K6TRK Both PL 114.8 (linked)

Copperopolis/Gopher Ridge: 147.015 + and 444.400 + N5FDL UHF is Yaesu System Fusion analog and digital — tone on analog only

Mt. Oso: 146.895 - N5FDL and 443.825 + PL 107.2 (not linked)

Tracy: 444.850 + KB6EMK PL 127.3

Affiliated Repeaters

Bear Mtn.: 146.090 + and 444.250 + WB6ASU Both PL 114.8 (linked)

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

All repeaters are open to all users.

« Where's the Ambulance? | Main | Lies and FRS/GMRS Radios »

Will Ham Radio Save My Life? Maybe Not

If a talkie won’t save you, this may!There was a lot of attention given recently to a fairly new ham in Nevada who went out, got himself lost/injured, and used the WIN System of networked repeaters and several helpful hams to get himself rescued. Ham radio saves a life!

The suggestion — between the lines — was that the hiker may have been taking unnecessary risks and was expecting ham radio to solve any problems. Fortunately, for him, ham radio came through.

But new hams need to be super clear: If you are out in the woods — or even in the city — you cannot count on ham radio to save you. Sometimes it will, sometimes not.

Why is this?

  • In the outdoors, of which we have a lot here in northern California, repeater coverage, especially for handhelds, may be spotty. You may find yourself injured in a location with no coverage.
  • In the city or country, even with coverage, you still have to find a repeater that someone is actually listening to and will respond to your call. Given that in many places you can scan the entire 2-meter band and not find anyone talking, calling for help may not result in getting an answer within the time frame of your continued survival.

New hams, especially, may have zero idea of repeater coverage. In rural areas, only the locals may be able to say what works where.

Too many times, I have counseled new hams not to depend solely on their new handie-talkie for salvation. Most of our outdoor adventures happen in the Sierras or their foothills. Even if you have coverage in most of the area, the valleys may be entirely out of repeater reach.

While I certainly recommend always having at least a talkie and extra AA batteries available to power it, that may not be enough.

I am very interested in the various satellite-based emergency notification system, some of which also send and receive text messages, location plots and other information. I received a promotion from DeLorme today touting their inReach satellite communicators, including a neat solar-powered GPS/communicator kit on-sale for $399. Monthly service plans, however, range from $10 to more than $60-per-month.

When people tell me they want a reliable system for rescue, I point them to inReach or its competitor, Spot, both of which can communication in places where repeaters don’t work.

Of course, if you could get an antenna in the air, a QRP CW rig might get you rescued — eventually — almost anywhere. The problem with getting the antenna up is that if you are able to do it, you probably don’t need urgent help.

Meanwhile, I am looking for ways to add an “emergency” capability to my repeaters than doesn’t cause more problems than it solves. Long Tone Zero (LiTZ) is not a good option. The four repreater sites are not yet linked, so a linking command isn’t part of the right-now solution.


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Reader Comments (3)

Is it just an issue of linking them?
Dec 12, 2013 at 6:09PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Miller
Can the Arcom controllers be set up for LiTZ?
Dec 12, 2013 at 6:13PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Miller
Rather than the monthly cost of Spot or InReach, check out the Sarsat/Cospas personal location beacon option, one time only cost. These are ideal for hikers and trampers, but only for real emergencies.
Jan 2, 2014 at 11:44AM | Unregistered CommenterZL4JY
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