Calling all Mendo-Lake Hams!
The Mendocino County Amateur Radio Communication Service (MCARCS) and Willits Amateur Radio Society (WARS) annual Ham Radio Holiday Dinner is just around the corner.
You don’t have to be a member of either club to attend, as this dinner is open to all hams in the Mendo, Lake, Somona, and southern Humboldt counties.
This year’s dinner will be held at the Broiler Steakhouse in Redwood Valley on Friday December 14th.
Happy hour (no host bar) starts at 6:00 PM, with dinner seating at 7:00 PM. The price this year is $30 per meal, all-inclusive.
Tim – WB9NJS
Sharon Sue – KE6YKY
WARS (Willits Amateur Radio Society) had a social lunch today March 16, 2012. it was at the annual St Patricks Day feed at the Willits Senior Center. There were 24 folks in attendance with them coming from Ukiah, Calpella, Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Ft Bragg, and Cleone. Lots of food and lots of talk. A good time was had by all at this event. Glad to see everyone there.
Hope to see you at the next WARS event, a four hour session April 21 being set up as an Elmering session for ALL hams, regardless of time licensed. Please come to this great session. More information on the weekly local, county wide, and Walking Repeaters nets.
MCARCS – Feb 2, 2012
- Where: Round Table Pizza, Ukiah (downtown)
- When: Thursday, Feb 2, 5:30PM
- Who: Guest speaker Dan Grebil, WD6FKJ, Chief of Ukiah Valley Fire, will cover the county-wide communications system — how it’s used and how it works.
- Also: Upcoming community events and recruiting for March licensing course and test.
- Food: Pizza by the slice ($2 each)
WARS – Feb 11, 2012
- Where: Old Mission Pizza, Willits (near Ray’s market)
- When: Saturday, Feb 11, 11:00AM
- What: Ham radio equipment, then and now. Bring your old tube gear or cool new gear, photos, and favorite memories.
- Also: There will be a raffle prize, $1 per ticket.
- Food: Pizza provided (contributions welcome, put them in the jar)
VHF/UHF radio propagation in mountainous terrain can be difficult and sometimes may seem impossible. As you know, higher frequencies travel primarily line-of-sight. Unlike HF, they do not reflect off the ionosphere, so their range can be rather limited (although knowledgeable DXer’s know special tricks, like meteor scatter.)
However, all is not lost. It is possible to make sense out of using higher frequencies in mountain communities, and at the November WARS (Willits Amateur Radio Society) seminar Tim Hanna, WB9NJS, described some of his experimentation and research on this topic.
Tim got interested in mountain VHF propagation after being surprised that he could communicate over 2M FM from his home QTH in Willits to Wayne, W6WMV, in Finely (south of Clear Lake.) The signal path is a good distance and there are two significant mountains in the way; regardless, Tim was still able to communicate quite well.
In his presentation Tim reviewed the ways radio signals change direction:
- Reflection: wave changes direction by bouncing off other objects (a metal fence post for example).
- Refraction: wave changes direction due to variations in the air (or other medium). Examples are cold and hot spots where the density of the air differs.
- Diffraction: wave changes direction by passing over sharply defined edges — often called the “knife edge effect”.
Next, Tim introduced a handy mapping tool for analyzing signal paths. The software is from DeLorme and makes it fairly easy to go from a flat map of the path to an elevation profile view that helps you see the obstacles that are in the way.
Once that was done, an elevation profile could be generated:
Looking at this profile, you might begin to wonder how Tim’s signal was able to reach Wayne in Finely. There are a two peaks that should block the signal. Tim speculated that perhaps knife edge diffraction was helping his signal bend over one or more peaks.
Tim also noticed another possibility. It could be that signals were being reflected off Mount Konocti behind Wayne. If so, the signal map becomes:
To plot such an elevation profile, the profile is “unfolded” to show it by distance. It becomes:
To understand this profile, note that that tall peak on the right isn’t blocking the signal, it’s reflecting the signal. That’s how reflection is shown on a profile plot.
So, this signal path seems more likely. Although there may be a knife edge effect at the peak closer to Tim, the reflection of the signal from Mount Konocti behind Wayne makes sense. The middle peak becomes less of a factor because it’s no longer in the way.
Tim went on to show several other signal paths for unusual radio contacts he’s made from his QTH on the west side of Willits. Some are not such direct paths as the one to Wayne in Finely, but looking at the elevation profiles helps you understand how such paths are even possible. For example, he’s able to communicate with K6FTY who lives a considerable distance to the north. The trick again is to use a directional antenna to reflect the signal off various high-elevation peaks.
Thanks again to Tim Hanna for his educational WARS presentation. It’s good information for those of us who live in the mountainous terrain of Mendocino and Lake Counties. If you find you can’t make a VHF/UHF QSO directly, you now know that you can try reflecting or diffracting your signal off various peaks to increase the likelihood of your success.
Calling all Mendo-Lake Hams! The Mendocino County Amateur Radio Communication Service (MCARCS) and Willits Amateur Radio Society (WARS) annual Holiday Dinner is just around the corner. This year’s dinner will be held at the Broiler Steakhouse in Redwood Valley, on Friday December 16. Happy hour starts at 6:00, with dinner seating at 7:00 PM. The price is $25 per meal, all-inclusive.
All hams in Mendocino, Lake, Northern Sonoma, and Southern Humboldt counties are welcome to attend. No need to be a member of either club. This is a great time to visit with old friends, or meet face to face with folks you have only “met on the net”.
To help control costs for the sponsoring clubs, guests are asked (but not required) to bring a present to donate to the raffle. No need to wrap the gift, and please keep the value at $15 or less. Each club will be providing a special “grand prize” for the raffle.
Seating is limited, so RSVP soon to reserve your seat. Payment is not needed until the night of the event. Please provide the names and callsigns of everyone in your party, as we will be making nametags. You may RSVP to Tim WB9NJS or Sharon KE6YKY by email, by phone (707 459-4116), or if you are a Facebook member, by visiting our Facebook event page at: Ham Radio Holiday Dinner.
Hope to see you all on the 16th!
73, Tim – WB9NJS
Yesterday the Willits Amateur Radio Society (WARS) hosted another meeting and seminar in Willits. Many thanks to Len Gwinn, WA6KLK for putting this together once again.
Several topics were presented:
- Brian, K6FTY, was not able to make it due to a last minute hydroelectric power plant obligation, but Len described Brian’s radio setup, and his success at getting a signal out from the remote mountainous terrain of Trinity County. We’re hoping Brian will be able to attend the next meeting.
- Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV, the San Francisco ARRL Section Manager, gave us an update on news and related topics. This included the status on legal cases involving topics like neighborhood CCRs being challenged for exterior antennas, tower configurations, and even describing a “ride along” with the FCC for hunting down an “open mic” signal on a Northern California repeater.
- Tim, WB9NJS, made a very interesting presentation about mountain signal propagation and showed maps of signal paths and elevation profiles between various stations he has contacted. This all came about when he got his new VHF Yagi operational and discovered that the direct path to other stations wasn’t always the best. Propagation was often made possible along non-line-of-site paths by knife edge diffraction and reflections over and between mountain peaks. (We’re hoping to add a short article about it to MendoRadio soon.)
- WARS officers were elected for 2011. Jim Cline, W6JRC, stepped up as the next CEO, and many thanks again to Len Gwinn for revitalizing and reorganizing WARS over the last couple years. The meetings/seminars, pizza gatherings, St. Patrick’s day lunch, and picnics have been appreciated by all of us Mendocino hams.
It’s been a busy 2011. I’ve taken a year off from the ham radio hobby to attend to other matters. Sorry about that. I know the Mendocino and Lake ham communities enjoy having an up-to-date site for current information, local activities, projects, meetings, ideas, etc. So, it’s time to resume MendoRadio. I’ll set aside some time on weekends, and it really doesn’t take that much to keep it updated.
I want to remind everyone that this is a joint effort of several hams, and you’re all invited to join us. If you would like to make announcements, write a short article on a relevant topic, post some notes about your antenna/radio/contacts, provide links to interesting amateur radio websites, and generally participate on-line, then we welcome your participation!
Also, if you run one of the local ham clubs (or represent them in some way) feel free to post related notices on this website.
How to post to this site: It’s as easy as typing into most text editors. You don’t need to know anything about HTML. Create a WordPress account (see the right column), then contact us or post a message here, and we can add you as a contributor. If you’re posting often and want more capabilities, just let us know and we can upgrade your account to “author” status. That will let you directly post new articles and edit existing articles.
73, -Carl KB6ZST