News and Events

Kid’s Day in the Park

Kid’s Day in the Park Kids’s Day is coming Saturday April 28th. Non-profit agencies, businesses and providers of health and other services to children and families are now being invited to be exhibitors of this event.  As with each year the W6SFM has been invited back to help participate with a Morse Code PR booth. Kids Day in the Park is a festival geared to families of young children and includes a fun day of activities for children and their families. The target group are children 16 and younger and their parents. Kids Day has been a favorite Rancho Cordova special event for 28 years.

At this event volunteer members of the SFM ARC will provide a short lesson in the history of Morse Code, an instruction on the use of a Morse Straight key (J38) and then the opportunity for the participants to write down their name, Code it using our Morse alphabet, and then send their names using the straight key and oscillator provided to them. While the participant sends their name the volunteer listens on and makes any corrections to the technique of the participants fist, or formation of the code they are producing.

If the participant shows an advanced interest in Morse Code we offer them an opportunity to listen to the KX3 portable transceiver that the club has set up using a Buddipole antenna system. If further interested we will get that child (or parent) on-the-air using Morse Code. With a special ‘cheat sheet’ the club lets the child (or parent) send out a CQ DE W6SFM live on the air. When that CQ is answered the volunteer will help by decoding, along with the KX3’s LCD CW to Text decoder. Members then instruct the visitor on how to send the proper information and RST report along with a quick assisted transmission on who the person sending is.

This is a very important event to the club, and we require at least 3 volunteers to conduct it. The club implores ALL of our local members to join us on April 28th from about 9AM until 3PM to help setup and conduct this event. A lot of fun and satisfaction is always to be expected. Please be sure to contact the club if you are interested in joining us again, or for the first time!


It’s time again for the Valley of the Moon ARC annual Hamfest featuring:

  • a pancake breakfast (the VOM ARC club’s annual fund raiser)
  • a Swap Meet with all kinds of new and used amateur radio equipment
  • demonstrations of Fox-hunting (where a person with a handheld radio and special antenna tries to find a hidden radio)
  • a VE session where prospective hams can earn their license or current hams can upgrade
  • a display of emergency vehicles.

Place: Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building, 126 First Street West, Sonoma
Date: April 28th
Admission: FREE, there is a charge for breakfast
Talk-in on 145.350 MHz (88.5 pl)

Please visit for more info and a flyer download.

BARC One-Day Ham Radio Class – May 5th, 2018

Once again the Benicia Amateur Radio Club and its volunteers will be conducting another One-Day Ham Radio Class. This class is intended for those wishing to get a Tech Ham license, or existing Techs wishing to upgrade to General. Conducted multiple times throughout the year, this class has been very well received by the greater Northern California community. We have helped Hams from Shasta to Santa Cruz, the San Joaquin Valley, and from the Peninsula to the Sierra Foothills.

Many of us know people that we’d love to see get into our exciting hobby but have faced opposition because they didn’t have time to study. As we know, many people typically require one to two months to prepare to pass their test.  We have the answer. Earn a license or upgrade in One Day!

Historically over 90% of attendees pass the on-site FCC licensing exam. Our exams are administered by federally accredited Volunteer Examiners (VE’s) immediately at the conclusion of the class. Our proven class pass rate easily exceeds home study results.

When:   May 5th, 2018, 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM  

Where: Benicia Senior Center, 1201 East 2nd Street, Benicia, CA 94510

Cost:    $30. Includes all study material, venue, day-long refreshments, handouts, freebies and the federally required exam fee. All instructors, facilitators and VE’s are volunteers.

Info/Signup: Online at Class size is limited to 90 and it always fills up, so register promptly.

Questions: or Ham Class coordinator, Art Mayoff, (925) 212-9953

A shout out to the Flying Pigs QRP Club

Member Carol, KP4MD takes the opportunity during our snacks break at the SFM ARC In-person club meeting to make use of the W6SFM YouTube live feed. Carol sends a shout out to the Flying Pigs QRP group! 

No pigs were harmed in the making of this post.


The SFM ARC Needs your help with Club Presentations

As those many of you who attend our regular in-person meetings held each first Thursday of the month know, the club has some type of presenter/ presentation each month. Months where there is an inordinate amount of club business to discuss presentations are not made available. At the beginning of each year the club is asked to suggest ideas that they would like to see presented or discussed at the in-person meeting. Last year the club enjoyed presentations such as:

  • WSPR Program and operations
  • RigExpert Antenna Analyzer overview
  • Antenna and Grounding Safety
  • SMD Soldering and Hot air rework station use
  • How to read the solar report and solar indices
  • DSP Noise Reduction on an SDR Radio
  • Horizontal Antenna Design

2018 will bring us a whole new list of educational and entertaining presentations. On the list we have the following being considered:

  • Vertical Antenna Design
  • VEC / VE What is needed and How to become involved
  • Phased Verticals Construction and Installation.
  • KX2/KX3 operations
  • Magloop antenna design
  • Field Day prep
  • Bogus Story recap and award modifications
  • RigExpert AA-55 Zoom features and operations.
  • Buddipole setup and Configurations.

The club is still looking for input from its members on what other ideas YOU may have. If there is something that you would like to hear or see presented at the meeting the club kindly asks that you email us to give us your input. Those out of town are also welcome to suggest presentation material as well. All presentations that are given in-person are also then presented to the editor of the W6SFM newsletter for publication each month. This way our out of town members will be able to enjoy what the other members saw or heard at the in-person meetings. So, should you think of something, please be sure to submit your suggestions for an opportunity to have them presented. Recaps can also be viewed on the Videos page too.

Boy Scouts of America Eternal Flame Ceramony
The W6SFM was once again represented at the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America Eternal Flame Ceremony. At this is a ceremony Beginning Friday evening around 8:00 pm and continuing non-stop until approximately 10:00 am Sunday the BSA and GSA troupes from all over Sacramento sign up for available time slots, normally 1 hour in length to retire flags.  The W6SFM provides for the participants the ability to see and operate a Morse Code station. Club President Mike, N6MQL and John WB6UBK both participat
ed at this years event. 


A standard SFM ARC PR booth was set up and not unlike the Kids Day in the Park event, the club provided a work sheet for the scouts to use. With this work sheet the kids were able to write their name and then code it using the supplied Morse Code alphabet.  Once the scouts filled out their work sheets they were then introduced to a Morse Code straight key and oscillator. Each attendee was then given a brief lesson in the proper use of that key, and how the Morse characters Dit and Dah should sound. They were then given an opportunity to send their names on the oscillator while John and Mike offered helpful hints and corrections.  Those scouts showing more interest in Morse Code were then introduced to the on-air KX2 radio that was on-hand. The SFM ARC provided a booth to the scouts from 10:00 am Saturday morning until 5:30 pm Saturday evening. Fun was had by both the kids, and the members of the SFM ARC. For more pictures of this event please click HERE or visit our Photo Gallery under the Media Pics and Clicks section of this website.