Cycle 25 is officially here.

Cycle 25 is not predicted to be memorable but there should be some interesting activity.

For all the details click on space weather link over on the right side of this page.

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Remote Testing for Ham Licenses

The latest ARRL Letter (September 10) included the following report (from a Volunteer Examiners Coordinators meeting) that may be of interest to those ready to get or upgrade a license:

“Remote administration of amateur radio exam sessions was the hot topic of discussion…. Since April 1, ARRL VEC, W5YI-VEC, and the Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group VEC (GLAARG) have remotely tested more than 4,000 applicants using videoconferencing and online examinations. …..Exam candidates can search for upcoming remote online examination dates on the HamStudy website.” [Click on the website’s name to find more pages.]

That website has more information on the procedures and how to arrange for an examination.

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More on Zoom Meetings

Six successfully joined our weekly net on Zoom on 26 Aug, and the picture quality was excellent. We even had what may the first ever visual sign-in on roll call: N6OFB Bob’s HT had a hiccup and wouldn’t catch the repeater, so he waved it at us to sign in (ham ingenuity at work!).

The big lesson learned with Zoom: mute the mic on the Zoom screen if your radio speaker is on, or EVERYONE gets a bad echo.

There’s another Zoom session set up for next week, starting 15 minutes before the net in order to allow time for sign-ins and adjustments. Note that you can Zoom with a smartphone or a tablet, not just a laptop or PC. Give it a try, the more the merrier. (Since it will not be a method all the members have available, we will not try to do club business during the session; but we can discuss anything of interest, and save official action until once the live meetings become possible again).

You join the meeting by using your browser to sign in to zoom.us , then when a meeting ID is requested, enter this: 243 456 9237. It will then request a password. Unfortunately, there can be hackers who like to disrupt Zoom sessions, so it is not advisable to publish the password; therefore I will give it out verbally on our net repeater at the time the Zoom starts (if you joined last week, it will be the same password you used then). 73

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Zoom Meeting for 26 August Net

There is a Zoom meeting scheduled to start at 7:00pm, hosted by Eric KD6GO at kd6go.com. As the net begins, the meeting ID and password will be given on the air during the QST. Those interested in participating should have their computers or smartphones already logged on and their browsers set to https://zoom.us If you are using a camera, have it set up and ready to go, so we can all see you. Be careful about open microphones; if more than one is unmuted, we will all get ringing feedback.

A little before 7pm, go ahead and try to Join a Meeting. When it asks for the Meeting ID, just wait there until you hear the necessary Meeting ID and Password spoken in the initial QST for the meeting. Once you punch in what is needed, you should be in the meeting in about one minute.

This will probably slow down the meeting as we try to deal with the inevitable problems, but if we are lucky, it should be fun. It will give us an idea as to how feasible it would be to have club meetings online, and to conduct club business that way.

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Help from SARS Requested for Animal Rescue Effort

The following was received today (Thursday, 20 Aug 2020) from W6GQL at Napa CERT:

The Napa Community Animal Response Team (CART) has been activated for Large Animal Evacuations in the LNU Complex Fires in eastern Napa County. Napa CERT has been asked to provide emergency Radio Communications support to CART teams. We had our first successful run today [Wednesday], and expect to continue at least through the weekend. The need is much bigger than us, so naturally, we thought of our friends at SARS.

If any SARS members are able and willing to deploy with CART teams in Napa County for Large Animal Evacuation missions, please email your availability to Paul Warnock (W6GQL) at: NapaCERT@gmail.com.

Most of our members only have handy-talkies, and are able to hit the repeaters in most locations. A mobile setup would be a significant improvement, and quite helpful! The CART folks are still working out the logistics, but for now, partial shifts may be available on a case-by-case basis. I would encourage anyone with a half-day available to give their availability, and we will work with CART to determine if this will work for the day in question. At this time, there are no mission parameters for home-bound volunteers, but there are a few openings for Net Control at the Incident Command Post on Foster Road in Napa.

Due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19, strict Social Distancing protocols and masks are required for this mission. Volunteers are encouraged to caravan in their own vehicles, but there are limited carpooling options available for those who wish to do so.

Shifts start at 0900 and end at dusk, but partial shifts may be available. The Rally Point is at NVHA at 1200 Foster Road, in Napa. Please do not self-deploy. 

We will be using the following Napa County repeaters:

W6BYS Sugarloaf (2m): 146.820 MHz, -0.600 MHz offset, Tx Tone 100.0 Hz

W6BYS Mt. St. Helena (2m): 146.820 MHz, -0.600 MHz offset, Tx Tone 151.4 Hz

W6BYS Yountville (70cm): 440.050 MHz, +5.000 MHz offset, Tx Tone 114.8 Hz  

We will also have access to Local Government repeaters via a limited number of CART HTs.

I have copied Powell Helmes (KK6YVV), the CERT Incident Commander on scene
[ phelems@americancanyoncert.org ]. Between the two of us, we should be able to answer any additional questions that any of your members may have.

73!

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