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Outside the county
ARRL Volunteer Examiner 

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 + 67.0 Stockton
SJC9 - 146.895 - 114.8 Mt. Oso
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 Soon 127.3 Tracy 
SJC15 - 444.500 + 114.8 Stockton
LLNL - 146.775 - 100.0 Livermore

Linked repeaters - SJC1/15 SJC2/LLNL SJC7/10

TAC1 - 146.550
TAC3 - 146.535
TAC4 - 146.430
TAC6 - 156.565
TAC7 - 146.595
TAC8 - 146.445
All simplex
2015 Frequency Plan

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.

Search this Site
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.


Mobile Command "Cruise-In" May 22-23 in Mountain View

The California Emergency Management Agency, the California Fire Chiefs Association Communications Section, and the Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Disaster Management Initiative announce this year’s mobile communications/command vehicle rally on Sun and Monday May 22 and 23rd.

This year’s event will combine the Rally with CMU Disaster Management Initiative for a greater opportunity for associated workshops and exercises. The event will be held at the CMU Silicon Valley campus located within the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.

A wide variety of public safety and private/corporate communications vehicles will be on display. Workshops and exercises will cover a wide variety of both technical and operational topics relevant to emergency and disaster management communications and interoperability.

3rd Annual Mobile Command Center Rally (MCC Rally): This event will gather together a wide variety of mobile command and communications units from around California in order to demonstrate the variety of capabilities and mutual aid operability of local and regional mobile comm units in CA.

2nd Annual Disaster Management Initiative (DMI): This event will bring together first responders along with DMI’s community of researchers, volunteers, radio amateurs, and industry partners to collaborate in conducting research experiments and demonstrations around emergency communications technology.

Training & Education: Both DMI and the MCC Rally are offering a number of learning opportunities, including workshops, demos, experiments, and exercises, during the event. Topics include interoperability tests based on first responders’ experiences from last year’s gas explosion in San Bruno, plus classes on interoperability (including a data/protocol transfer “plugfest”), field communications, location-based data collection, and much more.

Sponsors thus far include California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and California Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA), IntraPoint, the National Disaster Resiliency Center (NDRC), and the Wireless Communications Alliance (WCA).

For sponsorship opportunities, attendance and participation please email

Attendance will be limited, so please contact us soon.

Please contact Randall Larson at to reserve a spot for your command/ communications vehicle for both or either days. Command units will need to be accompanied by an agency representative able to host tours of the unit.

Please pass this along to any other associates with active command/comm vans in your area who
may wish to participate. (select “communications”)

I’ve already signed up and hope to see you there!


Register Now for EMCOMMWEST


Reno, Nevada - Once again the ARRL Specialty Convention EMCOMMWEST will be held in Reno, Nevada at the beautiful Grand Sierra Resort Hotel. This year promises to be yet another great gathering for fun, food, fellowship and some fantastic learning experiences.

This year’s Keynote ARRL speaker will be Mike Corey, W5MPC,Emergency Response and Planning Manager from Newington, CT.

Mike will share the latest in the world of emergency communications and what we can look forward to having just past the 75th Anniversary of ARES.

Also, at our Saturday night banquet, we are honored to have as our special guest, former ARRL president, Jim Haynie, W5JBP who served 3 terms as League president, and made some awesome contributions to Amateur Radio, including his creation, “The Big Project” to attract young people into the hobby, and his love of and support for emergency communications is second to none.

If you have never met or heard Jim, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

We will also again offer a Sunday morning breakfast, vendor hall, Saturday morning swap meet and the Friday night BBQ, hosted by the SATERN team at the Reno Salvation Army.

Once again you could win some great raffle prizes as we give away our grand prizes of an ICOM 7000, and a KENWOOD TS-2000!

New this year will be a “Youth Lounge”, where kids can congregate, meet and have fun while mom and dad attend the conference. And ALL forums and meeting rooms will be on the same floor, with easy access to everything!

Our venue, The Grand Sierra Resort has something for everyone. including two pools, driving range, indoor golf, movie theaters, indoor mall for shopping and some great restaurants for dining.

Registration is open now, and all information can be found at our website, For more information and questions, please email to We hope to see you there for another great time this year! 73!


You Can Help Stress FEMA (Really!)

FEMA is looking for 500 to 750 volunteers for an online stress test of the National Donations Management Network (NDMN). If you are available for 15 to 30 minutes on March 31, at 1 p.m. Central, would you please help?

The purpose of the stress test is to see what load the NDMN can handle over a short period of time in the event of an actual Catastrophic Incident. FEMA is conducting the stress test in advance of the National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011) scheduled for May so that FEMA can gain knowledge and apply any fixes needed prior to issuing a report during NLE 2011.

If you are able to help, please follow the instructions in the email from Jono Anzalone below.

Special Notice

FEMA and Partners to Stress Test the National Donations Management Network (NDMN)

March 31, 2011

1:00 – 1:30 PM Central

The purpose of the stress test is to see what load the NDMN can handle over a short period of time in the event of an actual Catastrophic Incident. We are conducting the stress test in advance of the NLE2011 so that we can gain knowledge and apply any fixes needed prior to issuing a report during NLE 2011.

We need your help in doing this stress test. Who and what do we need?

We need between 500 and 750 volunteers who have a range of computer skills from novice to nerd to go to a web site and following a script make an offer into the system.

The stress test will be very short (15 to 30 minutes), but it is important that all offers be posted to the web site during a 30 minute window.

How you can help:

Register at the following website:


Email Address

Phone Number

Once you have registered you will be sent the website to go to so you can enter your assigned offer along with instructions.

On March 31, 2011 at 1:00 PM Central log on to a web site provided you and enter the specific offer provided you.

Jono A. Anzalone

Regional Voluntary Agency Liaison



Emergency Managers That Freak Me Out

MAD’s Alfred E. Newman has no worries. Or clues.Is it just me, or do emergency managers who behave as if they have it all covered freak you out, too?

I am talking about these guys—as indeed they are male—that act as if the volumes of emergency plans they’ve created contain so much wisdom that nothing could possibly go wrong. And they seem absolutely sincere in that belief.

Meanwhile, I often have bad dreams about what happens during an emergency when I can’t scrounge up enough operators to get all our positions covered.

It is easy for me to imagine a really big disaster in my county causing demand to vastly exceed supply. I am also realistic enough to know we cannot possibly be prepared for every eventuality. Just too many things that might happen and if several happen at once, well…

You know about the Scout motto, “Be Prepared”? But, can we ever, really, be truly prepared? I don’t think so. I believe that being as prepared as possible is important, but that a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned, fear of failure helps keep us on our toes.

Being prepared includes the understanding that we never really are. There is always something and over-confidence may be the worst sin of emergency management.

And one last thing: You over-confident types don’t fool the rest of us at all. Where you look in the mirror and see calm professionalism, the rest of us see, well… (See the illustration)


Choosing Your First ARES Radio (Part 1)

Yaesu FT-270R — Our recommended talkie

I received an e-mail from a new ham today, asking for advice on what to purchase as a first radio. For several years, I have been recommending Yaesu radios to our new ARES members. And with good reason.

First, this disclaimer: There are lots of good radios available. I developed my recommendations after discussions with dealers, users, and considering the needs of our new hams, both financial and technical. You might recommend a different radio for reasons as valid as my own. (But, if you do, please tell me why).

Here are the criteria I used in selecting a radio to recommend.

Key issues:

  • Low cost — The economy is bad and many people are buying a radio primarily to use in their ARES, CERT or other volunteer activities. They don’t want to spend a lot of money and would probably skip the purchase if the price seemed high.
  • Ease-of-operation — This is really important as many of these radios won’t get a tremendous amount of use until they are needed for an ARES or CERT response. Fewer buttons and “power user” features are a win.
  • Survivability — The radio needs to be tough and submersible is a plus. Bad things often happen on rainy days, it seems.
  • Low cost — This is important enough that I mention it twice.
  • Easy programmability — Yaesu doesn’t give away software. But, the RT Systems-developed software they sell, especially the new Version 4, is nice work and makes it easy for me to move my programming files between various Yaesu radios.
  • Standardization — It is a huge help to have our members mostly using a single type of radio, all programmed the same (above channel 20 as we make the lower channels “user option”). During an incident, time for technical hand-holding is at a premium. Fewer different radios in the hands of inexperienced users is a win.
  • Power — The radio must be capable of operating at full-power from a AA-battery pack. This was a deal-killer for many radios I considered. Including all the tiny, cute ones that I’ve tried.

Key concepts:

  • Because of the military PAVE PAWS radar located North of Sacramento, 70cm UHF has been largely depopulated in my area.
  • This means a single-band, 2-meter VHF radio is an excellent choice for our members.
  • Standardization is a big training win. We now have about 60 of the recommended talkies out there, all programmed alike above channel 20. All the hospital base stations are programmed the same way, as are many mobile radios.

Yaesu FT-270R: Our talkie of choice

Selling in the $130 range, the Yaesu FT-270R is a rugged, submersible radio that can be fully-powered from a 6-AA battery pack. We recommend that every new ham purchase at least the radio and the AA-pack (or, better two so one says in the glove compartment). A mag-mount mobile antenna, a speaker/mic, and a longer gain antenna as an alternative to the supplied antenna round out our recommended kit.

Total purchase price is $170 to about $250 at our preferred dealer, Ham Radio Outlet in Oakland (ask for Mark, the store manager). The FT-270R is the replacement for the discontinued VX-170R, which we previously recommended.

We have some users, however, who want a dual-band radio, primarily for scanner listening. That is going to change soon as our county moves all UHF public safety to P25 digital. But, if you live South of us — where 70cm becomes useful again — or travel, a dual-band radio is a valid choice.

Yaesu FT-60R: Our dual-band option

For these users, we recommend the Yaesu FT-60R. It is a dual-band radio that costs about $50 more than the FT-270R. There is only one VFO, so the radio tunes easily. It also uses the same accessories — including the FBA-25A AA-battery case — as the FT-270R. It is not submersible, but I believe there is a “water-resistant” claim.

I don’t own one of these radios, but the people who have purchased them like them very much. I have, however, purchased the programming software as the two radios both use the same programming cable.


Besides the AA battery case, we recommend a small “Hershey Kiss” magnetic mount antenna. (It’s named for the size and shape of the small magnet).

These are not especially rugged, but are inexpensive and absolutely necessary for anything like solid repeater coverage here running only 5-watts.

The small mag mount can also be taken inside and used on a metal surface, such as a filing cabinet or cookie sheet, to help get a signal out of the building.

Yaesu sells an expensive, submersible speaker/mic that is too large and seems to muffle the mic audio. We recommend the less-expensive “standard” speaker/mic as an alternative. It features an earphone jack on the mic. The earphone is recommended, but many people don’t buy them or can’t find them when they would like to use one to keep noise (and prying ears) to a minimum.

Some people purchase a cigarette lighter power adapter. I’d rather see that money invested in a mobile radio.

Not just for beginners

In recommending the FT-270R, I don’t want you to think I am dumbing-down the choice for our new hams’ benefit. I own a whole bunch of radios — include VX-8, VX-7, VX-5, etc. — but find them all too hard to use. OK, the VX-8 is pretty easy, but it doesn’t fully power from a AA pack.

Indeed, the FT-270R is the talkie you are most likely to find me using, too. It’s a great radio, at a price that won’t break me if the radio disappears.

Coming in Part 2: Mobile radio options — Yes, you need one.