We need your help. Phill Turok and his wife Candy lost their home in a devastating fire last week. Phill is a Past President with our club and a huge supporter of the “Ham” Radio community as well as the community of Bear Valley Springs and Tehachapi, CA. Please support our efforts to help them get back on their feet. They will be displaced six to twelves months. Expenses are much greater than they expected and need our help.
Winter Field Day 2023
Get out and participate in the 2023 Winter Field Day Event! WFD is a winter emergency communications exercise sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association.
We passionately believe that ham radio operators should practice portable emergency communications in winter environments as the potential for freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and other hazards present unique operational concerns. WFD is formatted to help increase your level of preparedness for disasters and improve your operational skills in subpar conditions.
We are sure that you will find WFD to be a challenging yet exciting and rewarding event!
Members of the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association will be operating from the Kern river Campground, Sites 12 & 13.
For directions to our campsite, use the following link: Kern River Campground
For detailed information on this years Winter Field Day take a look at the slide show presented by Ray, W6QPA at the clubs General Meeting on January 12th.
Comanche Point Road Trip
Members of the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association conducted a small, yet simple Overland Test Run on December 23rd, 2022. The expedition, led by our club President Dan Mason (AB6DM) met for breakfast at P-Dubs Brew Pub on Santa Lucia Street in Old Towne. At 10:35 am the road team, consisting of Dan Mason (AB6DM), Valerie Mason (KK6WLQ), John Dyer (KM6DXY), Joshua Dyer (KN6HWS, and Dylan Durst (KN6QOQ) left for Arvin with a brief stop-over in Stallion Springs. The team was supported by our “Over Watch” team consisting of Dick Brown (W6SLZ) and Will Perry (WA6LDQ). They monitored radio communications and testing as well as APRS tracking. Tony Loera (K6GTA), greeted the team when they arrived in Arvin and also monitored comms as the team progressed down the mountain.
The total mileage for the trip was 35.1 miles and took 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete. This, of course, included a short stop in Stallion Springs. The team had several stops along the route to pass through two gates and photo opportunities. Their average moving speed was 19.1 mph.
Along the route, the team tested communications using APRS, simplex on 145.58, repeater communications on the W6SLZ 2m Repeater. The Double Mountain, Cummings Mountain, and Frazier Mountain (KERN System) repeaters were also tested. Dylan (KN6QOQ) also was able to hear one of the local DMR repeaters, however, he could not connect to it on his HT.
The trip was a great success! The team arrived in Arvin, CA safely and, of course, returned home safely. Another trip is being planned for early 2023 and will be conducted on a Saturday.
For more photos (and video at some point) please visit our Photo Album page. You’ll find the page using the menu above or clicking on this link: Comanche Run.
Another great issue of “The Dummy Load” newsletter has just been released. It is the December 2022 edition and Club members, of course, receive a link to the most recent issue via email. For our guests, a copy of the November 2022 and earlier editions can be found using the following link: Newsletters.
With Christmas approaching quickly, giving your spouse or significant other a Membership to the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association is a great idea. We meet monthly in the Community Room at the Tehachapi Police Department on the second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm. During our meetings we share updated amateur radio related news, presentations and have guest speakers. We are planning a very active year and that starts in just a few weeks.
For more information about Membership just click on the following link: Membership.
Ridge Rally 2022 Update
A “Hams” Perspective
Another Ridge Rally in the books and a successful one to boot. The “Ham” team from the Tehachapi amateur Radio Association met at 0500 (that’s 5:00 am) Saturday, December 3rd, at McDonalds for a quick breakfast. Our team included Dick Brown (W6SLZ), Dave Walter (WA5GGUL), Dan Mason (AB6DM), Valerie Mason (KK6WLQ), Joshua Dyer (KN6HWS) and John Dyer (KM6DXY). Carl Gehricke (N6RNC) worked in the Service Area of the event and provided a WiFi internet connection for the teams.
We arrived well before our 0700 (7:00 am) briefing and received a “pre-briefing” briefing from Lee Sorenson (N6STI). The weather was better than expected. Very little, if any, rain or snow. We expected and were prepared for the worst. Rain earlier in the week helped keep the dust down and visibility was great.
Lee Sorenson (N6STI) gives a “Pre-Briefing” briefing to the “Hams” that arrived early.
A beautiful sunrise greets the 2022 Ridge Rally competitors, workers, and Hams
After the briefing, Paula Gibeault (N6OQQ), Carl Schmid (WA6BSV) and his wife Lauren, distributed I.D. badges, the competitor list, radio signs, the “OK / SOS” signs, and event t-shirts to everyone. Having completed this task, the Hams lined up their vehicles behind Paula’s White Toyota Tundra and made their way to their assigned locations (blockages or Start/Finish radio positions).
Dan and Valerie (AB6DM / KK6WLQ) worked Blockage 9 (Caliente) for Stages 4, 6, 7 and 12. Dick and Dave (W6SLZ / WA5GUL) worked “Stop” (Yankee) for Stage 4, “10B” (Yankee) for Stage 6 and then “Start/Stop” (Fox) for Stages 7 and 12. John and Joshua (KM65DXY/KN6HWS) worked Blockage 12 (Padres) for Stage 5 and 6. After the completion of Stage 6, John and Joshua had to relocate to Blockage 5 (Bright Star) for Stages 8 and 11. They also had the additional duty of supervising (Overwatch) for Blockage 6 (Sageland).
Job Duties at each of the locations were fairly simple. Each blockage simply had to be able to maintain radio communication with their Comm Captain, ID with their callsign every 1o minutes as directed by their Comm Captain, communicate and log the passing of “Official” race vehicles, and log when the rally competitors passed their location. They did not need to report over the air when a rally car passed their location unless the vehicle appeared to be out of order. This could indicate that a rally car was passed, broke down or ran off the course.
While working Blockage 12 (Padres) during Stage 6, John and Joshua had a rally car break down right in front of their blockage. The Driver and Co-Driver of car #587, crewed by Driver Jerry Smith and Co-Driver Andres Bautista, did exactly what they were suppose to do. That is to say, they deployed the “Hazard” triangle reflector and then displayed the “OK” sign to let other rally cars know they were ok and to continue with their run. Joshua kept an eye on them as John contacted the Comm Captain with the situation and updated him as the situation progressed. Rally cars #560 and #374 passed by completing their run(s) before the 999 car and the sweeps arrived. Team 587 were able to correct the problem and complete the stage.
After completing their Blockage duties for Stage 6, John and Joshua (KM6DXY/KN6HWS) relocated, along with other Oakley stage hams to their new blockage locations on the Tower City 50 stage. John and Joshua were assigned Blockages 5 & 6 on that stage. This required them to relocated about 9.3 miles.
After setting up at their blockage, John and Joshua (KM6DXY/KN6HWS) had some more excitement during Stage 8. Rally Car #760 miscued their turn transitioning from Kelso Valley Road onto Piute Mountain Road (close to a “hairpin” turn). This caused them to overrun the turn and into the caution tape. They were able to back up and continue on course.
Needless to say, John and Joshua, with the encouragement of E01, backed up no less then 100 ft more – just in case…
The night portion of the rally created the most challenge for the hams. The challenge had to do with identifying the rally cars as they raced by. The car numbers, and in some cases even the car colors, where difficult to see at night. Using ones headlights to help illuminate the rally cars could also distract or blind them depending on the blockage and block vehicle position. The night portion, however, went very well.
All in all, most stages started with 16 cars and finished with 16 cars. Everyone, organizers, competitors, and hams all did a great job! Without a doubt, hams from the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association, enjoy and look forward to participating in the rally. It gives them an opportunity to practice their radio skills in the field in support of a great event. As you can see in the map below, their is a great need for hams to help out and volunteer for the rally. It makes for a long day, but most certainly a great experience. A photo album will be linked below for your enjoyment
Photo Album (Coming Soon)
This weekend, December 3rd, 2022, several members of the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association will be donating their time and skills to assist with communications during the 2022 Ridge Rally. The event, this year, will be held in the Jawbone and Kelso Valley area.
As volunteers for this event, several of our members will be deployed along the rally course acting as “Start” radio, “Finish” radio, and “Marshal” or “Blockage” radio. Each job is important and each position could be miles from each other, Net Control, or their “Comms Captain”. Each role has different functions; i.e. responsibilities.
“Start Radio” announces the rally cars number as it begins its run. Keep in mind that each rally car is racing against the clock and not directly against each other. An example of Start Radio’s transmission would be: “Sequence 12, Car 55 started.” All positions would mark down the information and wait for the vehicle to pass their position.
The “Marshal” or “Blockage” radio has a couple roles to play. First would be to use their vehicle to “block” intersecting roads or trails so that traffic would not accidently get on the course. The Ridge Rally has a permit to close off the course and is announce to the local residents well in advance of the rally. Safety, of course, is priority #1. Having blocked the intersecting roads, the “Marshal” or “Blockage” radio then communicates to the “Net” as the rally car passes their location with the car number. An example of their transmission would be “Car x past Block y.” They then record the car number and the time in their log.
The “Finish Radio” announces the rally car numbers as they reach the “finish” area. An example of their communication would be “Car 55 finished”. They, of course, would log the time as well.
There is so much more to this exciting activity. These are just the basic roles assigned to the “Comms” team(s). We wish them “Gook Luck” and, of course, “Have Fun and Be Safe”! This years participating members are: Dick Brown (W6SLZ), Dan Mason (AB6DM), Valerie Mason (KK6WLQ), Dave Walter (WA5GUL), John Dyer (KM6DXY), and Joshua Dyer (KN6HWS).
On December 2nd, they will be holding a special “Spectator” stage at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. For more information on the event and participating as a “spectator” click on the following links:
- Rally Website, https://www.rodnocracing.com/
- Tickets, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-ridge-rally-spectator-stages-tickets-406515176837
From Our Families to Yours
The Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association, its members and families would like to take a moment to be “Thankful” for our successes this year, to be mindful of our shortcomings, but most of all to WISH ALL of our Families, Friends, Neighbors, Radio Contacts, and our Communities a
“Very Safe, Warm, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!”
“The Dummy Load”
Every month, thanks to the efforts of our 2nd Vice President and Newsletter Editor, Ray Gretlein (W6QPA), “The Dummy Load” newsletter gets published and emailed out to our members just before our General Meetings on the 2nd Thursday of every month. The November 2022 edition should be in your email by Thursday, November 10th. Didn’t get your copy? No problem. The newsletters are emailed out every month to our members. Please support the club and join our club/association. You can find information on joining by checking out our Membership page. Join now and you’ll start receiving the newsletter for the balance of this year and next year.
Not a member but would like to read the newsletter, no problem. You can find copies of the newsletters right here on our website. The available copies are delayed by one month, but you will have access to all the previous editions.
You can find them here—> Newsletters.
Finally, we would like to take a moment to thank Ray, W6QPA, for all his efforts in producing “The Dummy Load”. He was able to accomplish this monumental task with the help and support of his contributing writers, Dan Mason (AB6DM), Valerie Mason (KK6WLQ), Dick Brown (AB6DM), Phil Dolber (W6WBT), and Laura Sherrod (KI6EOG).
You WERE Ready to ShakeOut!
A big “THANK YOU” to everyone that participated in “The Great ShakeOut” net yesterday. 15 members of our Team were able to check-in. The furthest being from the State of Washington via EchoLink. We also had guest 6 check-ins. We had check-ins from a former member of our community that happened to be passing through, as well as members of Kern County ARES, and finally, we had a check-in from the NASA Armstrong Amateur Radio Club (NA6SA)! Overall, we had representation from Bear Valley Springs (7), Country Oaks (2), Golden Hills (2), Tehachapi (2), Stallion Springs (2), Alpine Forest (1), Bakersfield (4) and NASA/Edwards AFB (1). Of the 21 check-ins, we had 14 that said they would be available to support the net in an emergency. Thank you again to all those that were able to participate. 73!
UPDATE: CAL-OES will be conducting an “Earthquake Simulator Tour” throughout California starting in Sacramento, tomorrow, October 12th. The tour then moves down to Menlo Park on the 13th, San Luis Obispo on the 17th and BAKERSFIELD on Tuesday, October 18th. CAL-OES will have their “Shake Truck” setup at the Bakersfield Fire Departments Station 1:
- October 18 – Bakersfield
- Location: Bakersfield Fire Department Station 1, 2101 H St., Bakersfield, CA 93301
- Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
The tour will then continue on from Bakersfield to Los Angeles on the 19th and complete the tour in San Diego on October 20th.
The earthquake simulator provides users the opportunity to experience simulated shaking intensity, similar to that caused by magnitude 7.0 earthquakes. Visitors will have the opportunity to ride in the earthquake simulator as well as receive important earthquake preparedness information. For more information on how to practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” visit https://earthquake.ca.gov/.
With 330 million people living and working in the United States, a major earthquake could cause unprecedented devastation. What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine how well we survive and recover.
Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills in October 2019 involved more than 66 million participants through broad-based outreach programs, media partnerships, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. The drill is held annually on the third Thursday of October. This year, International ShakeOut Day will be on October 20.
A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of comprehensive science-based earthquake research and the lessons learned from decades of social science research about why people get prepared. The result is a “teachable moment” on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes). ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.
Not just any drill will accomplish this; it needs to be big. It must inspire communities to come together. It must involve children at school and parents at work, prompting conversations at home. It must allow every organization, city, etc., to make it their own event. We are all in this together.
The 2022 ShakeOut drill will be the largest preparedness event in world history. To participate, go to ShakeOut.org/register and pledge your family, school, business, or organization’s participation in the drill. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and involve others. At the minimum practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” on the specified date, which is 10/20 this year. It is only a one-minute commitment for something that can save your life.
For more information, visit ShakeOut.org.
The Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association and the Bear Valley Springs Emergency Radio Team (Valley-wide) will be conducting its annual Great ShakeOut Radio Net drill on Thursday, October 20th at 10:20 am (local). The net will be hosted on the W6SLZ 2m Repeater.
|146.700(-)||123.0 Tone||W6SLZ||Open Machine||EmComm Backup 145.580 Simplex|
Please join us as we practice, drill and get prepared for any natural or man-made disaster.
Just Got Your Technician License?
QRZ and GigaParts New Ham Jumpstart Program.
“QRZ.com and GigaParts are pleased to announce the QRZ New Ham Jumpstart, a program that will help new hams get on the air faster than ever. The program, which is jointly sponsored by QRZ and GigaParts, will provide a FREE, New Ham Welcome Package to eligible applicants. Among the goodies in the first edition of the Welcome Package, we are including a brand-new dual-band handheld transceiver, the Explorer QRZ-1, along with a host of other sponsor-supplied goodies.”
Watch this video from Eric, KJ4YZI – Ham Radio Concepts
For more information check the links below. Registering for the QRZ.com website will be required, however, QRZ.com is a great website for all amateur radio operators.
T.A.R.A / AC6EE has a new Mailing Address
The rising cost of maintaining a U.S. Postal Service Post Office box in the City of Tehachapi has required us to review our mailing options. Fortunately, we found an option that will reduce our annual costs considerably. Our new mailing address is:
- Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association
- P.O. Box 134
- Keene, CA 93561
All our other information remains the same. While the drive may be a little further to pickup our mail, we will utilize the Informed Delivery® by USPS® service to monitor our mail so that important mail and packages are not missed.
On the third Monday of the month the Western Kern County ARES team holds a propagation test for stations in the metropolitan Bakersfield area, using a simplex frequency. Tomorrow, July 18th, we are asking Western Kern County ARES to operate with portable equipment, such as what they would be using in the event of an emergency, including radios, antennas and power sources. The effort is intended to determine the effectiveness of simplex communication using direct communication with net control or using relay stations.
We will have a station on 145.150, W6LIE repeater, taking check ins and reports from outlying areas. The station located on the bluffs will be monitoring 147.480 simplex for check ins. We will also have a station monitoring 144.225 SSB, for stations with that capability.
What is your favorite day of the month? We hope that it is the Second Thursday of every month. That is when members and visitors come together to meet and share during our monthly General Meeting(s). Join us on the Second Thursday of each month in the Tehachapi Police Departments Community Room. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm (1900 hours) and ends at 8:00 pm (2000 hours).
As mentioned earlier, the Public is welcome and bring a friend. If you are interested in radio, amateur radio or “Ham” radio we’re here to help answer any questions that you may have.
For maps and directions, click on the following link:
Physical Address: 220 West C Street, Tehachapi, CA 93561
We look forward to seeing you.
2022 ARRL Field Day
The National Association for Amateur Radio is the ARRL or the American Radio Relay League. Last weekend, June 25th and 26th, we participated in the annual ARRL event called “Field Day”. Field Day is held annually on the last “full” weekend of June. This event gives amateur radio operators an opportunity to showcase their amateur radio skills to the public. In addition, participants may participate in an ARRL sponsored contest collecting points for the number of other amateur radio operators that they “contact” during the event as well as points for the type of equipment they use, where it is located, and how it is powered, etc.
Check out our Field Day photo album. If you have photos to contribute from our event, please feel free to send them to [email protected]
Do I Need a Raspberry Pi?
Our guest speaker during our monthly General Meeting last night was our very own, Ray Gretlein (W6QPA). If you missed the meeting, you missed a great presentation. Ray is our 2nd Vice President and the editor of our newsletter “The Dummy Load“. Ray has a lot of experience with the Raspberry Pi and shared his reasoning behind why getting one might be a good idea. Ray can certainly explain it better in his presentation slideshow below.
As a point of interest, it was discussed that later this year we may put together a workshop for building a VPN using the Raspberry Pi.DO-i-need-an-RPi
Recommended First Radio
The Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association began amateur radio license testing in our community on July 10th, 2021. The program continues today and has become increasingly successful. To date 19 people have tested and, of those, 17 have passed. We have welcomed 10 Technicians to our community.
As we welcome our new Technician Class amateur radio operators one question goes unanswered. The questions is either not asked or, perhaps, not suggested. The question is simple, “What should I get for my first radio?”. The first answer might be “Well, that depends on your budget.” Let’s look at two answers to that question. First, what would you recommend as a first radio with a budget under $100 and, second, what would you recommend as a first radio where the budget is not a concern.
We have posed a similar question on Facebook. You’ll find the post here and a few responses. Starter / Beginner Radio
If you have a suggestion or recommendation, let us know.
FCC License Fee Increase Goes into Effect
The FCC license fee increase goes into effect on April 19th, 2022. Anyone looking to get their amateur radio license, upgrade their license, change their call sign to a new vanity call sign, or renew their license will now have to pay a $35 fee.
For administrative updates, such as changing your name, your mailing address or updating your email address will be exempt from the fee.
For those looking to get or upgrade their license, they will continue to pay the $15 examination fee. Upon passing their test the information will be submitted to the VEC for processing and then forwarded to the FCC. The FCC, upon approving the application will then send a link to the applicant for processing the $35 fee. This effectively raises the cost to get or upgrade one’s license to $50. That is a substantial increase in cost for the amateur radio community. A significant drop in applications for amateur radio licenses may very well be the result of this increase.
The GMRS community, on the other hand, will benefit from the fee structure change. The fee for a GMRS License, valid for the applicants immediate family, will drop from $70 to $35. The license will still be valid for 10 years. A surge in GMRS license applications is anticipated as potential applicants may very well have been waiting for this decrease in fees.
Groups such as CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams), “Neighborhood Radio Watch” teams, “Map Your Neighborhood” teams will certainly benefit from these changes. These are just a few of the great local programs available to help our communities during local emergencies or disasters.
Amateur Radio, however, remains to be a vital part of communications during emergencies and disasters. They backup and support emergency services at the city, county and state levels. The cost for the equipment necessary to provide emergency communications is substantial. Fee’s are not and can not be collected for those services. Amateur Radio operators are volunteers providing a service to the community and the government during such events. This fee increase must now be born by the operators providing their skills, expertise and equipment an increase of between 233% and 333%.
It just doesn’t feel right.
The Dummy Load
Get Your Copy Today!
“The Dummy Load” club newsletter is available to all members. Each member receives a copy via email as part of their membership. If you would like to receive a copy, please join our organization. Every member counts. Send us a PM for more information about joining or visit us online at https://ac6ee.org/membership
Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service that uses designated radio frequencies for non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications.
For additional information regarding Amateur Radio visit the national association for amateur radio, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) at http://www.arrl.org