Radio Free Redoubt: When Ham Radio Is Banned and Non-Permissive Op Environments

The following podcast comes from Radio Free Redoubt, covering non-permissive radio operations environments and ‘when ham radio is banned’.

The Non-permissive operating environments in segments 2 and 3, beginning at about the 19:00 minute mark.

Radio Free Redoubt Ep. 22-28 When Ham Radio Is Banned and Non-Permissive Op Environments

AmRRON Mobile (Radio) Training Exercise, May 14-15

AmRRON is holding a radio operator training exercise this weekend – May 14-15, 2022. This exercise is being held on HF frequencies, using digital modes and off-grid power.

Get ready!  The AMRMRX 22 is a fun exercise involving fixed-site ‘Command’ stations and field mobile ‘Reporting’ stations, requiring the mobile stations to set up a field station, listen and then transmit, then pack up and move to another location and repeat the process!

Exercise begins:  Saturday, May 14th @ 0945 Local Time

  • 4 Segments – Three 2 hour segments and a 1 hour 4 th segment.

Scenario: X10 Solar Flare on 20220508-1200Z with full on CME impact
28 hours later (20220509-1600Z). Expected loss of Grid power,
communications including cellular telephone and internet.

All guidance and instruction documents are downloadable below for you to print and review.

AmRRON CORPS MEMBERS be sure to participate in this Wednesday evening’s ‘BREAKOUT CHANNEL’ AmRRON Z-Net Voice Net for discussing the exercise and the roles and participate in the Q&A session.

There are two documents to download and print:

  1.  AmRRON AMRMRX v1.4.pdf  (Overall Exercise Description and General Guidance)
  2.  Instructions to reporting stations AMRMRX v1.4  (These are specific instructions for deployment as a reporting station.)

Reporting Station Requirements:

  1. AmRRON member
  2. Portable or Mobile HF radio capability (low power acceptable).
  3. Multi band antenna capable of reception / transmission on 40 & 80M.
  4. Digital HF capability utilizing FLdigi suite and JS8call simultaneously.
    Transportation (A conveyance capable of moving the operator and all
    equipment a distance of 3 miles in under 30 minutes).
  5. Off grid power (preferably PV panel and battery or equivalent).
    Generator power is acceptable but use caution in transporting and using
    flammable liquids.
  6. Operation from your vehicle as a mobile station is acceptable.

Brushbeater Courses in WA State, Apr-May 2022

Brushbeater will be teaching several of their classes in Washington State at the end of April and early May. These will be held in the vicinity of Yakima. Forward all inquiries to:

Scout Course – April 29 – May 1, 2022

Three day class covers the basics of scouting and reconnaissance for irregular or unsupported forces. Course focuses first on marksmanship to 400 meters, personal camouflage and ghillie suit construction, individual and team movement, observation techniques, practical range cards, target acquisition, and basic wilderness survival in an off-grid encampment. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate abilities required for functioning as a small team to effectively locate and engage a simulated enemy, replicating real-world guerrilla operations.

RTO / ADV RTO / Signals Intelligence – May 3 – 8, 2022


This class will teach students the basics of communications at the Team or Squad Level in the field. Topics of instruction include:

  • Identifying Equipment Requirements
  • Writing a Signals Operating Index
  • PACE Planning for Communications
  • Basic equipment capabilities
  • Traffic handling
  • Improvised antenna types, uses and construction
  • Setting up and running an NVIS HF station
  • Message Formats
  • Setting up and communicating from a field site

Two day course will culminate in an field training event running a TOC station and Hide site in the field. Students will each build an antenna and demonstrate competency in team communications basics during the field exercise. Amateur Radio license qualification is helpful, but not required. This is NOT a ‘ham radio’ class but each student will come away with a basic understanding of a team’s communications needs in a tactical environment and how to best meet them under less-than-ideal circumstances. No equipment is required for this course; however, if students want to get field practice with their own gear, it is highly encouraged but done so at their own risk. Instruction is completely off-grid.

Advanced RTO:

Two day class picks up where the RTO Basic Course leaves off, covering advanced techniques for clandestine communications in the field. Points of instruction include:

  • Advanced SOI planning
  • creating a brevity matrix
  • Planning and coordinating a dedicated transmitting site
  • Theory, construction and use of directional wire antennas
  • Recognizing and mitigating signs of Electronic Warfare
  • Advanced HF Techniques

As with RTO Basic, the course will culminate in a field exercise where students demonstrate the concepts covered in a live environment. By the end of both courses, students will be able to build a bulletproof communications network with even the most basic off the shelf equipment and little, if any, external support.

Signals Intelligence:

Two day course covers the essentials of signals collection and analysis in an asymmetric warfare environment. Course specifically focuses on building skills to better prepare a retreat or small unit for intercepting and exploiting an OPFOR’s ground communications. Students will learn:

  • Communications Mapping of your Area of Operations
  • Common, Off The Shelf tools for Signals Intelligence
  • Planning and construction of Listening Posts
  • Radio Direction Finding (RDF) Techniques
  • Signals Interception and Analysis
  • Coordinating with an Analysis and Control Element (ACE)
  • Tactical Exploitation

Each student in class will receive open source tools for conducting signals intelligence. At a minimum every student will come away with the essential skills needed to receive possible early warnings or simply stay abreast of problems in their area of interest or potential threats to their patrol.

OH8STN: How to Ham Radio Off Grid

Julian, OH8STN, has another video on How to Ham Radio Off Grid.

Hello Operators. Todays video is very special, since it answers many of the questions we’ve asked about portable ham radio off grid. Operating a ham radio station off grid and or in the field is not something to be taken lightly. We need to look at our field communication goals, how long we’re going to be out there, the type of equipment we need in the field, and battery power for our ham radio, when off grid or in the field. If you’re a ham radio beginner or seasoned veteran adding additional skills and capabilities to your station, you’re going to love this series.

Amateur Radio Technician License Class, 2/22 & 3/7

An amateur radio technician license exam preparation class will be held in the boardroom of the Benton REA, Prosser building at 402 7th St (entrance at the rear of the building). The class will take two full days to present and will be held on the Saturdays of Feb. 22nd, 2020 and March 7th, 2020 from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm each Saturday. There is no fee for taking the class. While we do not currently plan to hold a test session on the last day of class, there is an exam session being held by the Tri-Cities Amateur Radio Club on March 15th at the Boy Scouts office on 8478 W Gage Blvd, in Kennewick at 1:45 pm.

If you have questions about the class, you can send email to

Off Grid Ham: You’re a Ham Radio Beginner. Now What?

Chris at Off Grid Ham has a nice article posted about all of the different things you can do as an amateur radio operator, geared toward those who are new to the hobby. We’ll be holding a two-Saturday technician license class in the next couple of months (probably toward the end of February) if you are interested in studying for your license. While our local club is focused on emergency/disaster communication, we do experiment with what modes are best for that purpose. We have running packet and AREDN (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network) networks. We work on off grid power for some of our stations. Several members are running HF digital stations and many do HF voice for regional communications. So even a specialty like “disaster communications” can include a lot of areas of fun.


Courtesy of FOX Broadcasting

This article is primarily for those who recently got their radio license, but I hope the old timers will hang around. The goal is to provide direction to the ham radio beginner and give more experienced operators some insight they can use to help others ease into the hobby.

You’ve taken the first step into a “club” with a rich history of technical innovation, community service, and personal growth. You’re going to meet some great people, and to be completely honest, some not so great people too. Like any avocation, what you get out of ham radio depends on your motivation and attitude. If your head and your heart are in the right place, the rest will work itself out.

The breadth and depth of amateur radio can be intimidating.

Ham radio has a low barrier to entry but the learning curve is quite steep once you’re in the door. Don’t be put off by that. As a ham radio beginner, it’s important to understand that no matter how long you do this, you’ll never truly know everything.

Amateur radio is a very wide and deep field with many subspecialties. Among them are DXing, contesting, disaster/emergency services, fox hunting, data modes, moon bounce, SKYWARN, satellites, antenna design, QRP operating, and of course my personal favorite, off grid power. There are many more. The diversity is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because there truly is something for everyone. It’s a curse because there are so many choices a ham radio beginner may feel a little overwhelmed.

Your first action should be to define what direction you want to go. For some people, this is the easy part. They may have wanted their license for a specific purpose, such as to work with an emergency response group. If you knew what you wanted to do with ham radio before you even got your ticket, then you can skip this step.

For everyone else, some decisions will need to be made. Be open to all the options, even ones that don’t seem to grab your interest…

If you have not figured it out yet, your license is a departure, not a destination. To get anything at all out the hobby, you’ll have to invest some effort into learning much more than what you had to know to pass a test. The best way to do this is to partner up with a more experienced operator who shares your interests, or join a club.

Both of these options can be problematic for the ham radio beginner. It might be hard to find someone who has the time and desire to give one-on-one help. Clubs are a hit-and-miss affair. Some are very well run and go far out of their way to help newcomers. Others are very clique-ish and don’t want their group invaded.

Many clubs themselves specialize. Some do community service projects or emergency/disaster comms. Others focus on contests. One club in my area spends almost all their time planning and running a swap meet. Another is just a bunch of guys who hang out on a repeater and exists as club in name only. If your local club is not into what you are looking to do as a ham, then there’s going to be a disconnect. This of course doesn’t mean you can’t join or won’t fit in, it just means you may not get what you were hoping for…

Click here to read the entire article at Off Grid Ham.

Off Grid Ham: Grounding Your Off Grid System

Chris Warren over at Off Grid Ham has a nice article about the often confusing concept and execution of system grounding in Grounding Your Off Grid System. He’s not just talking about grounding your communications gear, but also your solar panels, and generators. Don’t get burned; learn to ground.

It’s hard to follow.

One issue that seems to come up a lot in the off grid radio realm is proper system grounding. The rules and expectations are hard to follow. There are a lot of opinions out there. Many of them are accurate, others are not. Today we’ll go over some basic grounding principles for off grid ham radio. This is by no means a comprehensive guide.

All the same basic grounding concerns with commercial power also apply to off grid energy. Electricity does not behave differently just because it comes from a renewable source. Finally, lightning does not discriminate!

What exactly is “ground”?

In the most simple terms, “ground” is a reference point. If you remember your basic electricity training for your amateur radio license, voltage is an expression of potential energy. However, potential doesn’t mean anything unless it is compared to something. For example, if you are standing on the roof of your house you have potential energy (via gravity) when compared to your yard. If you are laying flat on your back in your yard you have no potential energy compared to the yard because, after all, you’re already in the yard. You can’t fall if you’re already down, right?

Electrical grounding works the same way. Electricity needs a place to go, and it will not go anywhere without potential. Ground provides an electrical reference point. This has many implications for the operational effectiveness and safety of your off grid system.

Grounding outdoor equipment.

If electricity needs a place to go, it’s best for it to have a defined safe path instead of letting it find its own way. Off grid hams should place a high priority on grounding antennas and solar panels.

Connect (bond) solar panel frames together with 6 gauge copper wire attached to a conductive metal pipe or rod pounded into the ground. Be sure also to connect any metal support structures. Grounding lugs made specifically for solar panels are available from many sources including (of course) Amazon. Ground rods should be at least six and preferably eight feet deep. Getting a ground rod down that far will be a problem for many hams. You can substitute two or more shorter rods in place of one long one (be sure to bond the rods to each other).



Click here to read the entire story at Off Grid Ham.

2018 NW APRS Summer Gathering, North Bend, Sept. 7-9th

From the folks who run the NW APRS Summer Gathering:

Summer Gathering 2018!
Back for the 21st year it is once again time for the Annual NWAPRS Summer Gathering
This year September 7-9 (always the weekend after Labor Day) at Valley Camp  6 miles east of North Bend Washington.
For us location precision nuts the GPS coordinates for a point near the center of camp are:
47.4662216  -121.6804046  (Highly accurate GPS control point)
(The first to find what’s at this location and show a picture of it to K7FZO wins a special door prize)

Directions to camp for those needing actual pictures, maps and words can be found here: Directions to Valley Camp or the bottom of the Summer Gathering webpage.The Summer Gathering is an event for everyone involved in Amatuer Radio that wants to learn about what’s new in the hobby, meet people involved in the newest technologies that create the opportunities to experiment and advance the hobby.
Because the Summer Gathering has always been a very social event, we suggest taking advantage of all the opportunities we provide to spend time with other Hams involved in the hobby.Friday evening social time, ice cream anyone? Or share a beverage with friends, this usually goes until around 10PM, later if you don’t need sleep, but quiet time in camp is 10PM to 7AM.Saturday morning Breakfast, provided by the West Seattle Amatuer Radio Club, starts at 7AM with coffee and a full breakfast prepared by our chef Curt WR5J and his helpers.The event officially begins at 8:45AM with the first presentation at 9AM
Lunch at noon will be provided, as to what it will be and the cost is being worked on right now, so stay tuned.
Afternoon sessions begin at 1PM with a wrap-up session at 5PM
Dinner plans are currently being discussed, once again stay tuned.
After Dinner open time for discussions, Q&A with presenters, and project show-n-tell.Sunday starts with coffee available at 7AM followed by a full breakfast once again prepared for you by Curt WR5J.
Sunday presentations will begin at 9AM.
Lunch and the afternoon program are still in discussion. If you have ideas please send them to Thom at

Saturday presentation slots have been filled, we are working on some great ideas for Sunday. We are looking to you for ideas that you feel should be discussed and volunteer presenters.
Once again, if you want to facilitate, share a project, or know someone we should contact let us know by emailing

The current presentation schedule is available on the WA7VC website which will be updated as changes are made.
Presentations are held in the large picnic shelter, you can improve your seating experience by bringing your own comfy folding camp chair, coffee and hot water for tea will be available all day.

With just a month to go, it would be a great idea to make your reservations soon for Friday and or Saturday nights accommodations.
Full Service RV sites, parking for RV’s not needing services, tent sites, and bunk space in the Teneriffe Lodge are currently available. Please contact Teena at Valley Camp to reserve your space at
Discuss with Teena at Valley Camp the cost for these overnight accommodations.

It is time to make sure the SUMMER GATHERING is on your calendar!

August 17 Update:

Updates this week


  • RV sites – If you don’t already have a site reserved, I’m sorry to say all the Full Service sites are spoken for. If you want to dry camp in your RV I’m sure we can find you a place, just contact Teena at
  • Tent sites – We still have plenty of room for tent campers, make your reservations soon.
  • Cabin – Is booked
  • Roundhouse – is booked
  • Lodge – The last 2 lower bunks are waiting for the next 2 to ask. After that you’ll need to be small and very agile to claim an upper bunk.
  • Local Hotels – The Edgewick Inn is 3 miles away and just off I-90 at exit 34. Next closest hotels are in Issaquah about 20 minutes west of North Bend


Saturday and Sunday Breakfasts are brought to you by Curt, WR5J of the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club. Curt is once again our morning chef but I am sure would not turn down any help in the kitchen especially getting setup and cleaning up.
Saturday and Sunday lunches will be provided by the WA7VC Amateur Radio Group
Friday dinner is on your own, Saturday Dinner is still be discussed but whatever is decided a large BBQ will be available if you want to cook your own dinner.
We will be providing a way to poll all who plan to attend next week so we can determine how much food to purchase.

Program Updates

The current program can be found here:
We have added 4 topics on Sunday, from how to be a nature friendly operator to how to get to near space cheaper than being a space tourist.
The Saturday program is offering the newest information on one of the hottest topics in Amateur Radio voice communications, DMR.
  • So what’s the huge interest propelling the growth of DMR?
  • Maybe it is the 2 simultaneous talk paths in each repeater?
  • Or is it the inexpensive DMR radios?
  • Maybe it is the control of a “Talkgroup” that enables the repeater to link to a thousand repeaters around the world or a talkgroup that only repeats on the local repeater.
  • Could it be the rich feature set that puts the control in the hands of a hotSpot owner, a club, EmComm group, a state or or a region?
  • How is DMR different from D-Star and System Fusion?
It is all of these things!  You are about to find out all this and more!
If you want to dive in now so you are able to ask really good questions of our presenters check out these links: Welcome to PNW DMR   PNW DMR Best practices   PNW Quick Start
As you will see on the program list there is a wide range of cutting edge topics available Saturday and Sunday. As part of the deep dive into technologies we provide lots of social time to visit with each other, and with the presenters, while enjoying a meal together, a special dessert being created by Lynn – N7CFO, and time during the evenings to just sit around and talk. The Summer Gathering has always been about sharing ideas, and enjoying the personal side of the hobby as well.
Speaking about gathering together, do you know who has never missed a Summer Gathering in 21 years?


We recently were given several door prizes we will make available by way of a raffle drawing including gift certificates from the ARRL and a really cool gift from N3FJP
Maybe more, watch for the next updates.
AUGUST 31 Updates:
With just one week to go, here are the things you need to know……
Summer Gathering, the 21st annual gathering of amateur radio enthusiasts from all over the Northwest corner of the Americas exploring the newest in technologies in the hobby. We gather to share ideas, projects, and accomplishments that help to keep this great hobby on the cutting edge, and, to all learn something new from each other while having fun actually seeing and talking to each other in person.
Important Updates This Week (August 31st 2018)


We now have a wait list for bunk space and RV sites so if life suddenly changes and you can’t join us please contact
Teena at and let her know so she can help the next on the list with accommodations.
We still have space for more tents and campers that do not need power, water or sewer.


50 of you have responded and here is what we are buying food for next week unless we hear back from you by Monday afternoon September 3rd. Then we will add you to the list.
  • Saturday Breakfast – 32
  • Saturday Lunch – 44
  • Saturday Dinner – 33
  • Sunday Breakfast – 28
  • Sunday Lunch – 25
Coffee and hot water will be available all weekend.
All water in camp is clear fresh mountain well water, enjoy!
If you have just decided to attend please let us know by Monday the 3rd if you will be joining us and for which meals.
If you have not already responded to this survey please fill it out now.
If you have already responded thank you, we will see you soon.
We still need some volunteers to help with food prep, serving and cleanup, talk to Curt and Teena when you arrive.


There has been little change in the program with exception of a few additional additions to already scheduled topics. You can find the program list here: 
Things can change at the last minute so we will post all we know at the shelter Friday afternoon.

Lots of Extras

  • Yes, there will be some door prizes given away Saturday around 5 PM. To take home a prize you must be in attendance at 5PM.
  • Campfires – As of right now we are under a state mandated complete fire ban. No open flame, except for cooking on the grill, and no smoking anywhere on the property including buildings or trails. If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate actions.
  • If you have a comfortable folding camp chair bring it along. The picnic benches are 60 year old very hard 2×12’s.
  • Internet Access – Please turn off automatic updates on computers and do not do large downloads while in camp, this includes movie/video streaming. You are sharing an old slow CenturyLink pipe with everyone else.
  • WiFi network login info will be available at the event.
  • The vehicle Speed Limit inside Valley Camp is 5 MPH. We have lots of small critters and none of them get out of the way of vehicles including the 2 leg variety.
  • Pets – If you must bring your pet it has to stay on a 6 foot leash and stay connected to you at all times. We also expect you to clean up after it and be very careful feeding it, any spilled food attracts wild animals, some you don’t want to meet at night.
  • Parking while at the event – Please be aware that not all RV’s in the campground are attending the Summer Gathering so please do not block vehicles parked in front of RV’s. Parking is best accomplished west of the RV area along the road towards the Lodge and Roundhouse.
  • The Summer Gathering is funded only through donations of the attendees, no outside organization financially sponsors the event. Please consider what this event is worth to you and donate appropriately. There will be several places to leave your donations, the main one being the green MAILBOX marked DONATIONS in the shelter and if you would like to make a donation using a credit card Teena can make that work.
Valley Camp is the conduit for all donations and it is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.
Online donation opportunities can be found here on the first page:


As of a week out, the weather looks like it will be in the 60’s and 70’s with a partly cloudy sky and a very little chance of rain. However this event is in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state anything is possible so come prepared.

Last Thoughts

Once again if you have not already completed the survey please do so here:  SG Survey
If you have to cancel please contact Teena at
If you want to look at the schedule it can be found here:
If you want to volunteer to help with meals talk to Curt and Teena
If you would like to see this event back in 2019 please donate generously!
See you in a week!!
73 from the WA7VC team and friends

NBC News: How Going Ham Could Save Hawaii

NBC News’ Left Field reporting unit recently did a report on communications in Hawaii and how ham radio could help in a disaster.

Hawaii’s recent false nuclear missile alert showed us how reliant we are on cell phones and modern technology—and how unprepared we are if they become inaccessible. But in case the unexpected happens, an unlikely group of hobbyists—ham radio operators—are standing at the ready and may save us all.


2017 NW APRS Summer Gathering, Sept. 8-10

The 20th Annual Northwest Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) gathering is coming in September. APRS is digital communications information channel for Ham radio

The 2017 NW APRS Summer Gathering is:
Friday September 8
Saturday September 9; the main day, presentations begin at 9:00
Sunday September 10 (informal, debrief, departure)
Many folks arrive on Friday, or even Thursday, for socializing and camping. Saturday is the main day and presentations start approximately 09:00, with breakfast at 08:00. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided (see below). Sunday is primarily for the folks that stay overnight, and a breakfast is provided. Sunday morning is a debrief and/or general discussion. There is no lunch provided on Sunday.

The NW APRS Summer Gathering is a very social and educational event right here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s great fun and a great opportunity to learn and practice just about anything you can do with a computer and your ham radio. Summer Gathering started with a focus on Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) but the event has evolved to encompass many facets of digital / data communications in Amateur Radio and related subjects. Some of the most fun of Summer Gathering is the informal discussions between like-minded hams from different areas, and the “show and tell” benches with a chance to see and operate different digital Amateur Radio systems.

The 2017 NW APRS Summer Gathering is an officially recognized ARRL event! Thus we’ll have some ARRL Prize Certificates to give away to three lucky attendees and perhaps a few other goodies. Our thanks to the ARRL and ARRL Northwestern Division Director Jim Pace K7CEX for approving Summer Gathering on short notice. Thanks to Lynn Burlingame N7CFO for the suggestion!.

If you have not previously attended a Summer Gathering, it’s held at Valley Camp (, an incredibly beautiful campground near North Bend, WA with lots of nature trails and birding opportunities for the family along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Elk and deer abound and can often be observed in the main clearing of Valley Camp.

Valley Camp is located near North Bend, WA and is 10 minutes off of I-90 at Exit 34. At the bottom of the Exit 34 ramp, turn Left (North) and continue 1/2 mile past the convenience stores and truck stops and watch for the right turn onto SE Middle Fork Road (County Road sign says Valley Camp 2.2 miles). Continue to the “Y” and take the Left on SE Middle Fork Road (the lower road). Follow until you come to the STOP sign. The entrance to the camp is straight ahead across the small intersection. Please note: there is road work (still) underway on the main road to Valley Camp. It may well be complete by the time of Summer Gathering, but we cannot be certain of that. In previous years, the road work occurs AFTER Valley Camp. Please note: The speed limit is 5 MPH once you enter Valley Camp’s grounds because of dust, kids playing, wildlife, and adults shooting antenna wires in the air.

Coordinates for Valley Camp’s entrance are Lat 47.4680 and Lon -121.6808 (Don’t forget the minus on the longitude or you’ll end up in Mongolia!) Valley Camp’s Amateur Radio club call is WA7VC and the club IS on APRS. Check it out on There is also a UHF D-STAR repeater at Valley Camp – WA7DV, “B”, 440.0125+.

As is the norm for the Pacific Northwest in September, you should come prepared for the weather to be hot… or cool… or wet… or dry.

Per Teena at Valley Camp, all available RV sites and bunks in the Lodge are FULL. If you have not contacted Teena directly, you do NOT have a reserved spot to stay overnight. If you have any questions about staying overnight (especially if you have to cancel, opening up an available RV site or bunk), please contact Teena at Valley Camp – email (Please don’t contact Steve N8GNJ about this – you must contact Teena DIRECTLY).

The fire danger from 70+ days of no significant is EXTREME. There will not be any open flames, including charcoal fires for cooking. If you’re a smoker, please be EXTREMELY careful with your discards.

Due to the terrain and the location, cellular service is spotty at Valley Camp. There are places on the grounds of Valley Camp that cellular service will work, but generally not at the picnic shelter where the presentations are held. There is Wi-Fi Internet access, but the bandwidth is limited – please don’t plan on downloading videos, app updates, or other high-bandwidth activities.

Summer Gathering operates on donations. A campground like Valley Camp incurs significant expense in hosting an event like Summer Gathering (even though it’s informal). To date we’ve been able to keep Summer Gathering going for 20 years based on donations instead of charging a hard fee like most similar events do. We suggest a donation $25 and you can donate cash in the donations mailbox at the Valley Camp picnic shelter where Summer Gathering is held, or you can donate with a credit card by talking to Teena at the event. If you’d like to contribute to Valley Camp in a more substantive, recurring manner, there are a variety of electronic methods to donate to Valley Camp (including bitcoins!) at the bottom of the page at

Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday breakfast will be provided for as many people who have registered. Apologies in advance, but we can’t take requests such as special meals such as vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, etc. If you have dietary restrictions, please plan on bringing and storing your own food (the refrigerator in the shelter will not be available). The meals are provided as a donation by Tina and Steve Stroh (though donations for the expense of the food are appreciated). Coffee, iced tea, lemonade will be provided. Due to the large crowd this year, please consider bringing your own bottled water or “canteen” (the tap water is safe), canned soda, or “adult beverages” including your own cooler and ice, and perhaps enough to share with your fellow attendees. Due to the large crowd this year, please consider bringing some beverages to share (and mark your cooler that the contents are for sharing). If you’d like to know the menu, please contact Tina Stroh KD7WSF –

Even though Summer Gathering is an informal event, please bring a callsign / name badge and wear it. There are a lot of us this year, and apparently a lot of new faces, and wearing a callsign badge will help all of us put names to faces. There will be adhesive paper badges of course, but they usually fall off. It’s also helpful to bring some business cards as you often strike up a conversation with someone interesting and don’t remember their name or callsign or how to reach them to follow up.

There are a lot more attendees than there will be available seats on the picnic benches in the shelter, so please bring a camp chair. Please be sure to MARK your camp chair so you get the right one back (it takes a long time to wear them in correctly). If you need AC power, please bring your own power strip(s) and MARK it, and be willing to share / cascade AC power.

Unfortunately, the 2017 SG will be more informal than previous years as I have not been able to confirm that there will be either a video projector for presentations, a “presentation” computer for PowerPoint slides, or even that there will be a public address amplifier. So, presenters will simply be talking through their presentations, with just their “speaking loud” voice to aid them.

Because of the lack of presentation aids, there won’t be a formal agenda / schedule and we’ll do presentations in the order that the presenters wish to do them, for approximately 45 minutes. We’ll break for approximately 2 hours mid-day for lunch, chats, demos, prize giveaway, and the annual photo.

The presentations that are confirmed are:

  • A Raspberry Pi Based ~1W Transceiver and UDRX Status Update – Bryan Hoyer K7UDR
  • ARRL Update – Jim Pace K7CEX
  • Discussion of the fate of the NW APRS website ( – general discussion
  • High Altitude Ballooning – L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
  • NetTNC an EMCOMM Appliance – Jeremy McDermond NH6Z
  • State of the NW APRS Network – Bill Vodall WA7NWP
  • ThumbDV New SW and Applications – John Hays K7VE
  • UDR-Tracker an APRS Mobile Appliance – Basil Gunn N7NIX
  • ARRL Prize Certificate Giveaway
  • ARRL Table
  • L. Paul Verhage KD4STH will have a video-equipped drone.
  • K9JEB will have dual band 144/446 MHz J-Pole and 220 J-Pole antennas, and some Power Distribution Kits for sale. See his website at for details.
  • Portable RMS Station (N7CFO-10) – Lyn Burlingame N7CFO
  • Sale / Swap Activity – We encourage folks to bring gear they want to swap or sell from their trunks, RV’s, hatchbacks, side doors, or under their own 10×10 awning. If you’re selling items at Summer Gathering, please DO NOT USE the indoor space, which is reserved for showing off projects.
  • Tabletop show and tell demonstrations – various attendees
  • To answer a question from a long-time attendee, it has NOT yet been confirmed that the substantial HF station(s) running digital modes, that have been available at previous Summer Gatherings, will be available at the 2017 Summer Gathering.
If you’re interested in ensuring that there is a 2018 NW APRS Summer Gathering, please try to attend the debrief / wrapup session on Sunday morning where we discuss the event and do some planning. This email distribution list came out of one of those sessions. I’ll be taking notes, and after the 2017 NW APRS Summer Gathering is concluded, I’ll send out one last bulletin for 2017 with wrap up information, and a post-event survey to aid the 2018 SG “staff” to plan an even better 21st annual NW APRS Summer Gathering.


Yakima County Volunteer Radio Operators Critical To Emergency Response

The Yakima Herald reports on the importance of amateur radio volunteers in the county.

There are parts of Yakima County — think White Pass and Chinook Pass — where cellphone service is spotty or non-existent. Ham radios have no such problems. They can operate through a system of relays with other operators or even bounce signals off the ionosphere to communicate with stations thousands of miles away.

In a major disaster, the radios would likely be one of the few ways to communicate with the outside world, as they can run on batteries or gas-powered generators.

The state’s Military Department, which oversees disaster response on the state level, notes that many agencies — including the state’s Emergency Operations Center — successfully used ARES teams for communications during last year’s Cascadia Rising earthquake and tsunami drill. State emergency officials recommended that local agencies should establish a “habitual relationship” with ARES teams — if they don’t have one already — to ensure coordination in an emergency.

In Yakima County, the team works with the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management to prepare for emergencies, and has a radio room at the county’s Emergency Operations Center in Union Gap.

Jeff Emmons, the county’s emergency management director, said the ARES group gives the county an alternate means of communicating during disasters.

Yakima’s two hospitals have amateur radio stations that can be used for emergency communication with authorities in disasters, Whitney said. And today’s radios are capable of linking computers together so they can share data in emergency situations if internet connections are not available.


Click here to read more.


There is also a related article by Yakima Herald staff over at Radio Volunteers a Key Component of Public Safety