Upcoming Bay Area Amateur Radio Events throughout the Bay Area

September 22, 2013 16:00 pm · 19 comments


The following information is from the Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club:

During the Mt. Diablo fire on September 8th fire crews bravely and tirelessly combed over step terrain to fight the Morgan fire near Clayton, California. It’s during emergencies like these that a number of emergency service groups operated by volunteers jump into action to help out however they can. One such group of citizens ready to do their part during any crisis are Amateur Radio operators or HAMs. Throughout the country, and in fact through out the World Amateur Radio operators offer a backup communication system unmatched by most modern day cellular networks. In an instant, messages can be communicated around the World at the push of a button.

While the fire on Mt. Diablo was burning, amateur radio operators working as members of RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) and SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) helped coordinate delivery of food, water, and other supplies to the brave men and women fighting the blaze. In other disasters around the country amateur radio operators have jumped in to setup communication networks even when local cellular and phone networks have failed. Radio is a communication medium that is always available and doesn’t rely on any service company to keep it running. News travels fast, and with HAMs it’s at the speed of light!

Amateur Radio clubs all over the Bay area offer training programs to help license anyone interested in becoming a HAM. Amateur Radio has attracted people from all walks of life over the years. Many people keep radios in just in case of an emergency to be able to communicate with loved ones, others use it to find new friends on the other side of the World. Amateur Radio can even be used to transmit television signals from your own home station.

One local radio club is working with the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) to host the largest West coast gathering of Amateur Radio operators known as Pacificon this October. MDARC (Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club) has been partnering with ARRL to host Pacificon and bring Amateur Radio operators together for a weekend to educate, collaborate, and socialize face to face with vendors and other Amateur Radio operators under one roof. This year’s Pacificon is taking place in Santa Clara on October 11th, 12th, and 13th at the Marriott. If you’re interested in HAM Radio then this event should not be missed. For something a little more local MDARC has club meetings on the 3rd Friday of each month in Lafayette. You can find out more on how to become a HAM by going to their website at www.mdarc.org.

itsme September 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Glad they are around. Thanks to them. Which reminds me Mr. Mayor. Since we no longer have the police scanners how will you get your up to the minute info for us?

Henley's Estate Sale Store September 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

We have 2 magnetic signs that read “Amateur Radio Communications” with a logo and lightning bolts for sale in case anyone is interested.

Henley’s Estate Sale Store
Antiques and Collectibles
3486 Clayton Road
(925) 689-2012
Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-5

Elwood September 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Let’s hear it for the HAMs!

Thanks Mayor September 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

For posting this.

People don’t realize just how critical the Amateur Radio Service is to local communities as Hams are generally in the background. When all power is out, land lines are down and cell phones are overloaded or not working, Amateur Radio Service volunteers are in place to keep emergency communications open while coordinating the delivery of food and medicine.

Most of the time Ham Radio is a fun hobby but when any need arises where Ham’s can help, Ham’s will be there.

Thanks Mayor September 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Ham is an informal term for an amateur radio operator, and, by extension, “ham radio” refers to amateur radio in general. This use of the word first appeared in the United States during the opening decade of the 20th century—for example, in 1909, Robert A. Morton reported overhearing an amateur radio transmission which included the comment: “Say, do you know the fellow who is putting up a new station out your way? I think he is a ham.”[1] However, the term did not gain widespread usage in the United States until around 1920, after which it slowly spread to other English-speaking countries.

The term “ham operator” was commonly applied by 19th century landline telegraphers to an operator with poor skills.[2][3][4] (“Ham” was also in more general use as a slang word meaning “incompetent”, as in the phrases “ham handed” and “ham actor”.)
Early radio (initially known as wireless telegraphy) included many former wire telegraph operators, and within the new service “ham” was employed as a pejorative term by professional radiotelegraph operators to suggest that amateur enthusiasts were unskilled. In “Floods and Wireless” by Hanby Carver, from the August, 1915 Technical World Magazine, the author noted “Then someone thought of the ‘hams’. This is the name that the commercial wireless service has given to amateur operators..

Mabel September 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Is there a web site where we can listen to ham radio traffic?

VikingPrincess September 22, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I looked at Pacificon for next month. Looks informative but to sign up you need a business or call name/ handle. I don’t have either. Is this only for experienced people? I looked into before and gave up since too much conflicting info out about it. Anyone attend in past?

Palermo September 22, 2013 at 7:57 PM

My husband is a ham, he volunteers with the Sheriff’s. Bless all of them who do.

David September 22, 2013 at 8:03 PM

@VikingPrincess, there’s a contact number on the website where you can call them if you’re having trouble getting registered. It’s said to be a great event. This will be my first year going, and I can’t wait.

David September 22, 2013 at 8:11 PM

@VikingPrincess. I was mistaken about the phone number. But here’s an email address I saw: tickets@pacificon.org

rich September 22, 2013 at 8:13 PM

If you are interested in getting a ham license the next entry level license class in Claycord is scheduled to start January 9th 2014. The class schedule can be found at: http://www.saternconcord.org/calendar.php? scroll down to January 2014.

The Observer September 22, 2013 at 9:17 PM

You don’t need either a company name or an amateur radio call sign to register for Pacificon.

In the Frequently Asked Questions section, it says you can simply enter N/A in the Company Name box. Non-hams who may be interested in getting a license are welcome to attend and see the myriad things one can do with ham radio. In fact, you can take a one-day class at Pacificon. Pass the test at the end of the class and you’ll get your license from the FCC within a couple of weeks or less.

By the way, the hotel hosting the convention is right across the street from Great America.

funny man September 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM

so what are the operators nicknamed? Hamsters? Hammies? Hamheads?

are their any hamhocks on? im curious how tough the equiptment is? if there were a terrorist attach with a dirty bomb or a EMP pulse would ya still be able to use the airwaves? inquiering minds want to kno!

VikingPrincess September 22, 2013 at 10:51 PM

That was my idea..figured a good idea to check out before considering a hobby etc. Was offered a fancy CB from a retired sheriff family member a while back but respectfully declined out of respect since I don’t know a thing about it. Worried that the time I learn we would all be using hyperspace for travel and I would have to attend the antique road show. Thanks

Connie Dobbs September 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Actually, it’s at the speed of sound.

Jägermeister September 23, 2013 at 12:58 AM

Late–yes on the Hams. It’s well worth it, the “Amateur Radio Service” does a wonderful job in the community opening up and keeping open the communication lines and gives truly outstanding support and help in emergency situations. It’s well worth it to go to this seminar and being accepted. Thank you, Hams!

Anon September 23, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Is there an pre-WWII age requirement to be a ham operator? I’m just kidding, I thought it was kinda a lost art. I don’t think I’ve heard of the amateur radio service since I was a kid in the 70’s. And I’m no spring chicken anymore.

VikingPrincess September 23, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Funny …. I have one to operate a radio station when they were permanent license. I was a little tyke, riding goats with Heidi in the Alsace range.
But I think it’s different from HAM. I do think National emergency protocol is similar.
Might be fun!

Howard K Mullins III September 23, 2013 at 5:48 PM

People can listen to a variety of Ham conversations using the link below.


WIN System Amateur Repeater Network is a good one, usually busy. Its a network that combines radios and the WWW to allow conversations between Hams all over the US and a few other countries.

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