Fire Season in Sonoma County

Here are a few photos of my portable station (with the KK6HQT trailer in the background) when we set up a secondary Sonoma Op Area EOC above Sonoma Raceway during the Kincade fires.

12V Monitor with a Raspberry Pi velcro’d to the back. Just plug in one Anderson Powerpole and you have a full-blown computer with Winlink, FLDigi, WSJTX, JS8CALL CQRLog and BPQ with VHF and HF node stack.
Solar power is over as the sun goes down… that’s why we have big batteries! Actually 3 days and nights worth! If the sun is shining we can operate indefinitely.

My Blatherings About the Hobby

My Dad (K6MLF) got me into this hobby – as a 40-something guy, it’s a fun hobby!

My Ham-Shack is on full-time emergency power. It is run by solar-charged battery power – 240 AH.

For HF, I have a barefoot Icom IC-7200, an IC-7000 and my trusty Kenwood TS-850S and some home-spun antennas (a 40M dipole, a 75M inverted vee and other dipoles ready to deploy in the field). For the Kenwood, I have a pan adapter (LP-PAN2) and use NaP3 as an SDR with panafall display, etc. The IC-7200 is a remote control rig as well and does well with HDSDR. Fldigi and RMS Express work really well with this rig too. The RMS sysop software needed a little fine tuning, but I got it sorted out after a few days of having stations connect.

On solar powered batteries, I have logged SSB contacts from 115 cconfirmed countries so far.

I like building antennas… have constructed several dipoles, wound/soldered my own 1:1 and 4:1 current baluns, and constructed a 3-El 2M Yagi using welding rod and a wooden dowel. I like that antenna so much I made another one for KB6HOH to play with. so far he reports good performance with it.

Here’s my home station:

and a little closer…

Using an SDRPlay (sitting on top of the IC-7300), I have the capability to remotely monitor bands using SDRSharp – so even when I’m away from my HF rigs I can be aware of band conditions if I want.

Here’s my portable ‘shack-in-a-box’

I have dual band mobile rigs in my car and motorcycle and I volunteer as a moto-marshal for local events in the hills of Sonoma and West Marin where cell phone coverage is poor. Our 2M repeaters tend to be better than the state troopers radio coverage out there, so we help out a lot during bicycle races, marathons, etc. My home 2M base station is 75W with a Diamond x200 and the 3 el yagi – so I can reach most of Northern California from Monterey and Fresno to Ukiah and Chico.

6/4/14 – Right now I am learning about Packet Radio, Digipeaters, etc., with a Kantronics TNC I recently set up. I have Winlink capability on HF, VHF and through packet node scripts. Check out my ETAND node (via SMRSND or K6ACS) and leave a message on my BBS!

These skills and technologies may come in handy if we ever have a regional disaster – if one comes, I hope to be able to help!  My dad and my sister (KI6TDG who is about 180 miles distant) are in contact every Tuesday – and thanks to this hobby, we know we will be able to continue that in almost any scenario.

My Station

Top: Where I can be found if standing on the summit of Mt Tamalpais. Under that: Field Day 2016 –
2BSF Station on Mt Vision, Point Reyes National Seashore

Above: My current ‘station on wheels’.   Due to kids and life, my “shack”
currently resides between my motorcycle and my tool box. Actually I’ve
added an IC-7300 since this photo.

Here’s my previous station, built around the TS-850S my Dad lent me to get started. The TS-850S is now back in in my
Dad’s shack and has been replaced with an Icom 756 Pro II rig.

My Ham-Shack is on full-time emergency power. It is run by solar-charged battery power – 240 AH.

For HF, I have a barefoot Icom IC-7200, an IC-7000 and my trusty Kenwood TS-850S and some home-spun antennas (a 40M dipole, a 75M inverted vee and other dipoles ready to deploy in the field). For the Kenwood, I have a pan adapter (LP-PAN2) and use NaP3 as an SDR with panafall display, etc. The IC-7200 is a remote control rig as well and does well with HDSDR. Fldigi and RMS Express work really well with this rig too. The RMS sysop software needed a little fine tuning, but I got it sorted out after a few days of having stations connect.

On solar powered batteries, I have logged SSB contacts from 118 confirmed countries so far.