SO00573_.WMF (9736 bytes) SHARC BYTE NEWS

Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club
JULY 2001 Issue



If you weren't able to go to the Ham Convention in Ferndale this year I feel you missed one of the best events for our ham community in this area to enjoy. From the wine and cheese gaiety on Friday to the raffle for the fantastic prizes it could not have been more fun! One of the events I found particularly exciting was the "Fox Hunt" or "T" hunt! This aspect gives hams a chance to hunt for a hidden transmitter. Hence the name T or Fox hunt. Mike, KA6PGN, put together an ingenious transmitter using a plastic briefcase so the signal from a handheld transmitter would not be shielded. He used a VOX (voice activated mike) and a scanner with a tiny speaker placed next to the VOX. He could transmit on any frequency (in the ham bands) that the scanner could receive. That would trip the VOX and key up the handheld. Simple and effective I thought! The prize for finding the transmitter was $25 and John, KE6UME was the first to find it hidden in some bushes. He used his handheld radio and used his body to block the RF coming from the hidden transmitter and by standing and turning around he could see the rise in signal strength when he was facing the hidden transmitter. When he got so close to the hidden transmitter was so strong that no matter which way he turned he could not see a rise in signal strength he promptly removed the rubber ducky antenna on his handheld to attenuate the signal. It wasn't 15 minutes and he was holding the briefcase above his head in victory! The adrenaline was thick as we ran around the Ferndale Fairgrounds looking for the "fox" This is the type of training/fun that serves us well if we get an intentional "jammer" or an accidentally keyed down radio. It was so fun that everyone wanted Mike to hide the fox again and plans are now in the works to have another foxhunt at the annual Scotia picnic! As for the swap tables, I have never seen so many great deals! People were picking up items for pennies on the dollar. I saw Irma's (KF6FY) Granddaughter with a handheld CB with the added bonus of receiving NOAA broadcasts enjoying talking to her friends. I asked how much it cost her and she said, "Ten dollars." A new one like that would have been at least $80 to $100.00 I picked up a unique 5 element 2 meter beam for $10. I also picked up a much better antenna for my handheld at a very reasonable price from Starfire Tec Doug, KC6FRY. Del, W6KOZ, brought the FAA's service monitor and was offering to test any and all radios to see that each aspect of the radio was in fact working. He even could test the DTMF tones and one could learn quite a bit just by Del's way of showing you what you were seeing on the monitor! Fun stuff and at $20,000 for the monitor it was a real hit to have such a piece of equipment at the ham convention. The debate still rages as to whether it was good to have the ham convention on the weekend of "Field Day", but seeing the young and old enjoying the HARC Comm van and making contacts made me feel good. Jarrod, KF6RZP, was able to connect to a "wormhole" on packet and got all the way to Australia!

The dinner banquet had over 80 hams and family in attendance! It was so noisy that I thought I was at the Indy 500! The food was fabulous and there were "seconds" for those who wanted more! I looked around and my eyes welled up with tears of joy as I knew I had one of the finest families of friends. It was just wonderful in our busy lives to "break bread" with some of the best in the west! Jack, KM6TE and Cliff, KE6VDF ran the swap table for the SHARC Club along with Smitty, W6CLG. Many thanks for going the extra distance for our club! A special thanks must go out to Marcie, KE6IAU for her tireless efforts to make this event such a success! A number of us camped out that night and talked until 2 am with "CQ Field Day" as the background music! It was a magical time in more ways than I have room to put in this newsletter. I sure hope to see more of my Southern Humboldt hams attend next year.

73 From Cory KN6ZU


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As usual Dan, WD6AOJ, had done all the homework for the communications so we could serve the public in grand fashion. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride on the back of Dan's Quad Runner just as they were letting in the first of the motorcycles. It was astounding to see a few bikes that were not watching the road and were "in the ditch" in less than 3 minutes into the weekend festivities. No one was hurt at this point, but it must have been embarrassing to make it to the run only to drift off the pavement and have all the other riders roaring by. There were only a few accidents that required medical assistance and I did NOT hear of any reports of violence. As always it's a very self-governing crowd and everyone had a great time. The HAM OF THE MONTH award must go to Skipp, KD6LWN who pulled a double shift including the dreaded night shift! Thanks Skipp. (See picture on web page) Jaye, KE6SLS, volunteered for the Saturday night graveyard shift and was a great asset to the group of dedicated communicators. Thanks Jaye. A special thanks goes to Leanna, Dan's wife for her integral part in the realm of logistics and communications. There is nothing quite like this event and those who attend know what I am talking about. The music was fantastic as usual. The whole event was quite a joy and many non-profit organizations made good money for their groups. There were no problems with communications aside from the occasional intermod from so many UHF radio's in use at the same time, but thanks to Dan, WD6AOJ and his prudent use of CTCSS tones this was a rare occurrence. This event would not be as safe if it were not for the trained communicators. Isn't that why many are hams in our area? I hope to see everyone again at next year's 25th run! THANKS ONE AND ALL FOR BEING HAMS IN SERVICE! 73 From Cory KN6ZU


The SHARC Club needs your financial help. Please remember to invite others to join. All donations are welcome as well. SHARC CLUB P.O. Box 701 Redway, CA 95560 The FWRA (Far West Repeater Association) has no other funding than the support of the ham community. This linked repeater system is still a very valuable asset and I hope you can muster up an extra $20.00 ($25.00 for the entire family) for the yearly dues for FWRA. Their mailing address is: FWRA P.O. Box 3881 Eureka, CA 95502-3881


Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club
Minutes of June 26, 2001


Jack Foster, Treasurer (KM6TE), brought the meeting to order at 1902 Hours.

The following members were present:

AGENDA accepted as presented


There is $674 in the Savings Account and $588.08 in the Equipment Fund. There are 32 Paid up Regular Members and 8 Associate Members. From the sale of donated items at the Ferndale Convention $330. Jack suggested that these funds be placed in the Equipment Fund. Moved by Jerry. Second by Ron. Passed unanimously.


Repeaters: The 146.79 primary repeater is in Jack's shop so we are running on the spare repeater. The 440 link to the 147.94 is also down. When the repairs are complete, he plans to get it back up there the end of the week. The phone patch operates a bit differently on the spare - no indication that the phone has hung up at the end of the transmission. There was some discussion on the use of the Far West linked repeaters and their phone patch. The 147.330 Repeater on Grasshopper has been turned off until a problem with the squelch can be corrected. {It's now back on the air-KN6ZU}


Six of us ran traffic control communications for the Rodeo Parade:

  • Jack KM6TE
  • Warren K7GDW
  • Ron KF6IBO
  • Jerry KF6IBP
  • Steve KF6WLH
  • Sally KG6FOL

All went well. Jack expressed thanks to all participated at the Disaster Preparedness Planning Committee. A new transmitter has been installed at the Hospital and works fine. There will be a quarterly check in on July 25. All are welcome to come and see what that is all about. Next meeting July 26, 1 PM at the Public Health Building.

OLD BUSINESS: Redwood Coast Amateur Radio Convention Jack reviewed the event for us.

HAM CLASS: Jack and Jerry will be holding a Technician License Class this fall - late September early October in the Alderpoint area. Steve KF6WLH has six who are interested. Jerry looked into training videos and felt that they weren't any that would help. Asked Jack to look over the list to see if he thought they would be helpful.

NEW BUSINESS: Warren donated a 35mm camera to the club for use as a prize at the December meeting. Warren also has some back issues of QST which he will give to anyone interested.

OPEN FORUM: Discussion on computer motherboards and memory chips

DOOR PRIZE: Ron won a ARRL Repeater Directory

ADJOURNMENT: 20:15 Hours

Respectfully submitted: J.R.Wilson KF6IBP, Secretary


There is a need for ham communicators for The Ruth Lake Bike Race and Festival! Irma, KF6FY, is I.C. (Incident Commander) and contact person for this event. She can be reached on the FWRA linked repeater system. (146.610/146.760/147.00Mhz) or 707-826-0767 to sign up. There is free camping and food for the communicators and there are booths with other items for sale. This is a great place to spend some time and help out for the safety of the bike race.

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A Submission By Kim, KG6BFO

Hi Cory, Here is my short article detailing a recent creative use of the phone patch. Hope this is appropriate for the newsletter. You can shorten it if needed. Enjoy! Kim, KG6BFO


I'm sure everyone who heard my mysterious traffic on the phone patch this week is curious to learn what it was all about. For this article, I have changed the names of the people involved. First, a little background to help you understand some of this story. Among my other jobs, I work at a local summer camp facility and this story takes place there. I am also a trained tracker and can follow the trail of a lost person, once I find the trail. Now, on with my tale...

I arrived home on Wednesday to find the two cooks and the camp director and assistant director sitting on the deck looking glum. After I unloaded my stuff, I went out to see them. Inside the lodge I noticed a table with ten plates set up for dinner. The camp was pretty quiet, even for a staff training week.

I asked "Where is everybody?"

"Well, I was going to ask you about that," Diane, the director, said. "What do you think we should do if a whole group of ten people is two hours overdue from a hike?"

Turns out their entire staff had gone on a hike to explore the creek adjacent to the camp. This is a common destination where they take campers during the camp sessions. Out of this group of ten, only one person had ever been there before, and she had never been out the route they were planning to come out on this hike. The others were all new people from the city who had never even been to this camp before. They left at 2:30p.m. and were supposed to be back by 5p.m. It was now 7p.m. I told the director that I thought the sheriff wouldn't do anything right away since there was such a large group and they were all adults, but that they should report it anyway. (Just in case a big group of people looking lost turned up in someone's backyard or anything.) Diane called the sheriff and they 'laughed at' (in her words) her because it was such a large group and they were all adults.

So, I volunteered to help look for them. I figured that, if they were still in the creek drainage, they would know enough to just turn around and come back out that way. I figured it would be best to try to intersect their trail further along their expected route. If we found their trail, I could track from there and at least get their direction of travel before dark. There wouldn't be enough daylight left to catch up to them, but it is possible to track at night (it is just a little slower than daytime tracking.) Also, the assistant director, Dave, had walked up the creek about 1/2 hour and knew they had gotten at least as far as what he called the "Fern Wall." I asked if he had seen their tracks that far and he said yes. So we got Diane to drive us to the top of the road where the gate that they should have come out of was located. The understanding was that I would check in with her every 15 minutes using my radio and the phone patch. (She had a cell phone, but there are few places where a signal can get out near the camp, making it almost useless.) Dave and I hiked in and went cross-country to the top of the hill where one of their "outpost camps" is located. There was no disturbance of the soil or sign that our missing group had been there.

We began to descend the other side of the hill. There is no trail and it is extremely steep. For years, they have just gotten to a certain part of the creek down below and then climbed straight up the hill until they make their way to the very top. The terrain is often so steep that they are crawling on hands and knees under the brush. There has never been a trail. I told Dave we should go along the contour of the hill looking for tracks and see if we intersect their trail, since there is no designated place where we could have expected to find their sign. I asked if there were any trails or old roads where their path might intersect. He indicated that there was a dirt road on the other side of the hill that ran down the canyon. That was as good as any, so we headed back up over the top and found the road. It had been about half an hour, so, at the top of the hill, we checked in on the phone patch with nothing to report.

We had been hiking along the road for about ten minutes. All I had seen was sign that a vehicle had been driven out there and a lot of vegetation was flattened in one spot as if something had been dragged behind the vehicle. Finally, up ahead, we heard singing. Sure enough, we rounded a bend and there was the exhausted group! They shouted for joy when they saw us. One guy hugged both of us! I used the phone patch again and called in to a very relieved Diane and asked her to bring the truck to the top of the road and we would hike out and meet her. Lucky for us, I had a bunch of candy in my backpack (I knew there was a reason I kept all that sugary stuff around. Hi!). There was enough so everyone got at least one piece. They had taken brownies with them hours ago and still had a little water left, but no food.

What they had done was they had taken a wrong turn down in the creek. They went up a tributary drainage, and their leader didn't tell them they were lost. She just made a 'group bonding' experience out of it. She taught them the camp songs they were supposed to learn anyway. Finally, she told them they were lost. They made their way up a hill and found a road with trees on it that had spray-painted markings on them. (Probably where there is some logging going on.) They followed this for a while and decided it was wrong. Finally they found another road and went two hours out it. This turned out to be the wrong direction. They finally decided to turn around and head back on the same road. They were still on it when we found them. They were lucky, I think. At least they turned around before they got themselves even more lost. They were also very lucky that they happened to stumble upon the right road. They really had no idea where they were and had been just hoping they were going the right direction. Everyone was safe, although very tired and sore. They all slept well that night!

I learned that even one-way communications are better than no communications. The cell phone would have been useless in this case. There is no signal except at the very top of the hill. It saved time and sweat to have the radio to call for a ride once we found the group. It also got us back home before dark. It was around 9p.m. when we found the lost people. I also learned that the phone patch isn't always the cure-all. When we finally loaded everyone in the truck, Diane asked me to call the sheriff back and tell them we had found our group. When I called them, I got an answering machine. So we had to wait until we got back to camp to use a landline and call them in Eureka. Another thing I learned was to limit the weight of the pack I carry.

When we were leaving for this little search, I tossed in four flashlights, my radio and two spare batteries for it, two sodas, some snacks, a flint firestarter, a hat, and my camera. This turned out to be a heavy load to haul around in the brush and up the hill. I did not take the time to get a map although it would have been easy enough to print one out on the computer using the internet. I have much to learn, it seems, when it comes to "search and rescue," and I certainly don't claim to know much about it now. It was a fun little exercise though and I am glad no one got really lost. I would still be out there hauling that heavy pack around!

Walking boots. Original drawings by Kim A. Cabrera (KG6BFO). Copyright 1997. Do not use without permission.

Thanks Kim for the article! I felt I should have offered assistance when I heard your call to the Sheriff's "Answering Machine" on the repeater phone patch. I also knew that should you have needed immediate help you would have called your fellow hams for help on the repeater. Though your reaction from the sheriff's department seemed unfavorable I feel these people lost in the woods were in danger and not every adult knows what to do when lost. Also you saved the sheriff's department much time and money if these folks would have stayed lost all night in the woods to get further lost, cold, hungry, and had to have a "sheriff search and rescue" team deployed. No one should feel they were "laughed off" by an agency that is suppose to help "defuse" upset people. I learned not to "over pack" as I often bring too much "stuff" with me anytime I seem to venture into a situation such as yours. Your knowledge being a "tracker" paid off and must have felt rewarding for you to "find" the lost souls! Had you found someone hurt or in need of assistance your ham radio would have made all the difference in a timely response by emergency agencies whether or not there was a phone patch and the ability to dial 911.

-The editor



Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club
PO Box 701
Redway, CA