Pictures from Winter Field Day 2023

Thank you to everyone who dropped by Eddie Park to hang out and make contacts on Winter Field Day! SPARC members and friends operated with the club call sign W6SPR and a “Two Oscar” class designation, meaning two simultaneous transmitters. Highlights of the afternoon included a visit from YouTube/TikTok personality Natalie NW6S (aka the Glam Ham), and one visitor making his first-ever HF contact. We hope to see you at our next “SPARC in the Park” opportunity!

November 2022 Meeting: In-Person Meetings Have Resumed

It’s official: The South Pasadena Amateur Radio Club has resumed in-person monthly meetings. The timing remains the same, the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m., but our location has changed. As of October, we are now meeting at the Eddie Park House at 2017 Edgewood Drive, South Pasadena, CA 91030. SPARC would like to thank the City of South Pasadena for their help in securing this new venue. We look forward to increasing the scope and ambition of our monthly meetings now that we can once again meet offline. Eyeball QSOs are back, and we hope to see you soon!

Photo credit: Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG

September 2022 Meeting: Radio and the AC 100

At our September meeting, SPARC member John Minger, AC6VV gave a presentation on the radio tools he uses to support the Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run. As the ham radio coordinator for the AC 100, John oversees a mix of analog and digital equipment that tracks the location and safety of the runners. Below is a selection of John’s slides which gives a sense of the scale of this annual event in our local mountains. If you’re interested in volunteering to help the AC 100, visit the official web site. SPARC thanks John for this informative and exciting look at operating under difficult conditions.

August 2022 Meeting: Summer Simplex Test

For our August membership meeting, SPARC conducted a live test of SPEAR, the South Pasadena Emergency Amateur Radio, a Kenwood 710GA. Bob Vanderwall, WB6YJJ, operated the station from Garfield Park in an attempt to determine how far SPEAR’s signal could reach. SPARC thanks the following stations for their participation.

Richard King, KE6VYZ

Jeff Liter, W2JCL

Clark Miller, K9IXS

Daniel Duncan, WA6NZZ

Randy Canfield, N9BM

John Wooten, N7JAY

Stan Tahara, KR6CV

Chad Alapag, AJ6UX

Chris Cronin, KM6OUK

A New Tool for SOTA

SOTALogs.com is a potentially time-saving tool for anyone who enjoys Summits on the Air. According to the site’s creator Brian Jester KB8UIP/VE3SPG, SOTALOGS is “a super simple 1-page bootstrap site to help create error-free CSV SOTA logs” ready to upload to the SOTA database.  “There are 3 ways to submit SOTA logs: the activator web form, the chaser/s2s web form or via CSV/TSV file.  Some might hand craft their own CSV in Excel, but I’m not fan of that, so I made tiny site to help make things easier.”

Thanks to Brian for his work. (Originally linked on the SoCal SOTA Groups.io.)

Festival of Balloons 2022

After a two-year pause due to Covid restrictions, South Pasadena once again held its annual Festival of Balloons parade on July 4. As in years past, SPARC marched in the parade with members of local Neighborhood Watch and CERT groups. Thanks to SPPD Detective Richard Lee for organizing everyone.

The picture above, taken by Stan Tahara, KR6CV, shows SPARC President Rick Besocke, KI6ZKM; SPARC Treasurer Bob Vanderwall, WB6YJJ; member Mike Newman, KM6KAQ; and member Conrad Besocke.

July 2022 Meeting: Going Mobile with Allen Wolff, KC7O

Allen Wolff, KC7O, joined us at our July 6 membership meeting to present “Diplexers, Triplexers, and the Low-Profile Mobile.” Using pictures and diagrams of his own mobile installations, Allen described his methods of integrating radios into a modern car to achieve a stealthy, clean interior with low-profile equipment. All of the radios in his cars were cleverly tucked away yet readily usable (unlike in the porcupine of a car pictured above). He illustrated the “old” days and the improvements made as well as the difficulties integrating radios into modern cars including modern battery systems and safely grounding radio equipment. Allen’s installations are possible thanks to diplexers and triplexers along with multiband antennas. He also discussed the difference between diplexers and duplexers.

Allen’s mobile installation as featured in a 1974 issue of QST Magazine.
Allen Wolff, KC7O

Allen has been licensed since 1964 and lived in New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Utah, and has been in California since 1984. He earned his First-Class Radio Telephone License in 1974 and is a retired aerospace electrical engineer. SPARC thanks Allen for another impressive and inspirational talk!

June 2022 Meeting: Options for Field Day 2022

At our June monthly membership meeting, the club held its annual review of Field Day rules and discussed plans for one of the biggest events of the ham radio calendar. The ARRL has announced that some Field Day rules introduced to accommodate social distancing are now permanent. Embedded below is a presentation that summarizes the most important Field Day facts.

This year Field Day will start at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time (1800 UTC) on Saturday, June 25 and end on Sunday, June 26 at 1:59 p.m. (2059 UTC).

In years past, we’ve enjoyed a regional Field Day operation organized by our friends at the Pasadena Radio Club. This year, there is no physical site for everyone to meet, but we can use these two online tools to add a social element to our individual operations. 

  1. Discord
    Discord is a chat and video streaming app much like Zoom. But unlike Zoom, which was designed for business use, Discord was designed by and for video gamers, so it has extra features that are useful for radio contesting. For example, rather than a specific, time-limited Zoom meeting, Discord “servers” are up and running at all times. Members of that server can log in and log out as they please and talk to whomever else is logged in at the time. Also, many people can share their screens simultaneously and stream their activity. You could share a view of your N3FJP screen or GridTracker or just your face. And you can selectively mute any of these streams — it would be overwhelming to hear all of them at once. If you’d like to join the SPARC Discord server, use the Contact Us page to request access. 
  2. ContestOnlineScore.com
    ContestOnlineScore.com is what the URL implies, an online scoreboard for monitoring a particular contest. Once you create your account, you can affiliate with a club and/or a contest team. You configure your logging program (N3FJP, N1MM+, etc.) to share your score with the site. To affiliate with SPARC, you can select “South Pasadena Amateur Radio Club” from the pull-down menu of clubs. Click here for information on how to configure your logger to post the scores.

As always, SPARC encourages everyone to get out, make some contacts and have fun!

May 2022 Meeting: Lessons from Baker to Vegas

At our May 4 membership meeting, Jeff Liter, W2JCL, presented a recap of ARES LAX Northeast’s deployment to the annual Baker to Vegas relay race. Each year, a dedicated team of volunteer operators from Northeast maintains a checkpoint along the race route. Below are a few of the pictures that Jeff shared.

The lunar landscape of the Baker to Vegas race.
A portable mesh kit for WiFi speed on the go.
This station monitors activity via cameras on the mesh network.
Robert, K6YZF, operates at Stage 8 of the race.
Baker to Vegas has a fun, positive energy despite (or maybe because of!) the difficult conditions.
The ARES LAX Northeast team takes a meal break.
The camp site at night.