News and Events

January’s North American QSO Party (NAQP)

January marks the next North American QSO Party contest. The North American QSO Parties are favorites of beginners and seasoned operators alike. The NAQPs are low-power only (no amplifiers allowed) which makes for a lot more breathing room on the bands. Small stations can generate very effective “runs” in the NAQP contests. Multipliers count once per-band, which makes for an exciting format, as multipliers can be “moved” from band to band. The NAQPs allow stations from all parts of North America to be in the running for the top spots. The 12-hour format allows participants to do some great contesting, yet still have time for other activities during the weekend. W6SFM will enter in the multi-op category and also have the opportunity to combine up to five separate single op scores into a team score. This CW contest will be held on Saturday January the 13th from 10 AM until 10 PM local time (1800Z, Jan 13 to 0559Z, Jan 14, 2018). Each year a member volunteer is requested to share their home QTH / station with the club for this event. This year we have a tentative volunteer, David, K6CIM who has offered his QTH in Carmichael, CA to the club barring any issues that he has already discussed with the club. A backup volunteer is requested should this event fall through with David. If you would like to volunteer your QTH as a backup please contact the club with this information.

As always, with official club events, the SFM ARC will provide doughnuts and Coffee in the morning along with a late lunch, and possible small dinner. Water and Soda will be available all day/evening long. The club will allocate $5 per person for our food budget. This is why W6SFM asks that you please RSVP to this event if you believe you will make it. Please be sure to send your email indicating your RSVP before the 10th of January so proper supplies can be purchased.

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.


ARRL’s Pac Division leadership meeting 

Member Andrew, KC6O represented the SFM ARC at December’s ARRL Pacific Division Leadership Meeting. The following is his report: I attended the ARRL Pacific Division Leadership Meeting held on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 in Livermore, CA. The meeting was led by Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio W6RGG and vice-Director Jim Tiemstra K6JAT. About 33 persons attended.

The first item discussed was from Bob Vallio who asked those attending what can the ARRL do for you? One person said that QST follow International standards on schematics. Another thing mentioned was that QST magazine will adopt a smaller physical format in 2018. Other suggestions were how to reach out to Youth, STEM, and maker communities.

The second topic discussed was the changes to Vehicle Code section 23123.5 (AB 1785) to remove the language “specialized mobile radio device”. The presentation was more a history of the actions taken by several persons to try to change the bill, and not a discussion on the results of the bill.

The third topic was about the Amateur Radio Parity Act. Bob Vallio said that the bill is stuck in the senate and opined it will most likely not be passed this term.

The fourth topic concerned the reorganization of ARES. The ARRL is working on changes to bring it up to date with at similar structure to NIMS and ICS, and will include credentialing and training. There will be more information forthcoming and most likely will be rolled out at Dayton 2018.

The fifth topic was an FCC update. The speaker mentioned that the ARRL is looking into updating the Official Observer program.

The remainder of the meeting was open topics, which included a variety of topics including the ARES response to the Sonoma, Pacificon (the good and the bad), VEC issues, and a request for the ARRL to request expansion of digital privileges for Technician Licensees. The next meeting will be the first Saturday in December 2018.

 November W6SFM Bug Roundup Event Results

The biannual W6SFM Bug Roundup Event took place November 17th-19th. SFM ARC President Michael, N6MQL discussed the results of the event at our last in-person meeting. Based on the data the club received from On-line Registration forms filled out, we were able to ascertain the various locations of those who participated with the club in our event.  Although, based on registration, the club couldn’t claim as many as the 6 continents this event as we did our May event, it does seem that we were able to get registrations from many participants around the country and the world. 

At our in-person meeting members were informed that the club received more than twice the registrations to this event as we did our last CQ BR (Bug Roundup event) in May.  The club used the same advertising methods as previously, including the ARRL bulletin, on-line user groups on both and various Yahoo Groups. The club was able to get the word out around the globe using this method. With this advertising the club saw more than 565 unique visitors to the W6SFM Bug Roundup Event webpage from the time of the first advertisement until the start of the event. In addition to previous contact points, one new method of advertising was done using the previous registration forms. All those who signed up to participate in our last CQ BR event in May were sent an email to announce the November event about 1 month before its start.

One new aspect to the event which may have helped keep our registrations coming in until only a few hours before the close of the event, was the extension of the hours that the CQ BR event took place. The event began for our local members at 4pm PT Friday, and didn’t end until 4PM Sunday afternoon. (0000Z – 0000Z).  This opposed to the past events that were 24, or less hours long.

Mike presented the data from the registration in two forms. The first sorted by “Time Registered”, the other sorted by “Location”.  When looking at the location sorting members were able to see that we had representation from 28 of the 50 states, including 1 from Puerto Rico. The number of Registrants from each state were as follows:

  • Alabama – 2
  • Alaska – 1
  • Arizona – 5
  • California – 15
  • Colorado – 2
  • Delaware – 1
  • Florida – 2
  • Georgia – 2
  • Illinois – 3
  • Massachusetts – 1
  • Maine – 1
  • Maryland – 1
  • Michigan – 3
  • Missouri – 3
  • North Carolina – 1
  • New Jersey – 1
  • New Mexico – 1
  • New York – 3
  • Ohio – 7
  • Oklahoma -2
  • Oregon – 3
  • Pennsylvania – 3
  • Puerto Rico – 1
  • South Carolina – 2
  • Tennessee – 2
  • Texas – 9
  • Virginia – 2
  • Washington – 4
  • Wisconsin – 3

In addition to the 28 States and 1 US Territory we also had registrations from the following Countries:

  • Canada – 6
  • Czech Republic – 1
  • France – 1
  • Germany – 2
  • Ireland – 1
  • United Kingdom – 5

As noted before, some of the registrations were coming in at various times throughout the event. Our last check ins came from Germany about 6 hours before the end of the event, and Northern Ireland only 2 ½ hours before the end of the event. This is a good indication that stations were working in Europe and word was spreading around as more contacts were being made. Those who heard about the CQ BR Event in Europe via on-air CQing and QSOs continued to get registered as they found out about the event. Among the participants involved in the event were also the W6SFM control stations. These stations operated from 3 different states! We had California, Oregon and Colorado stations activated as W6SFM, W6SFM/7 and W6SFM/0. Only one control station was allowed on the air at any one time, all W6SFM stations must be operated by a W6SFM member, and each of those stations were signed up and assigned a 2-hour (or longer) time slot by the club after all of the registration requests from our members had been made. Although only required for the W6SFM Control stations, the club always asks all participants to return their logs to the club for review whenever possible. Doing so lets the club get an idea of who was able to speak with who and where. It also reveals those participants that never registered to participate in our event. Using the provided logs, the club is able to then find call signs that appear in participants logs that do not match with those in the master registration list. With this information a member of the club then looks up any email or contact information on those un-registered participants and sends them an email inviting them to be added to our CQ BR event notification email list. The feedback from those emailed, including some from Japan and Europe has been very positive thus far. Some even praising the club for first asking their permission to put them on the notification list before simply adding it regardless of asking.  The club NEVER SPAMS our email recipients, so those who choose to be notified will never receive emails they did not want. For those members who worked one of the 3 W6SFM Control stations, if you wish to receive a Club QSL card please be sure to send your QSL card into the club address, or to one of our in-person meetings. As always, the club QSLs 100% via US Mail.

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.