Welcome to Ojai Valley CERT




This blog provides information to those interested in CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) activities in The Ojai Valley, CA. CERT works in partnership with OVARC (Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club) which provides Ham Radio Communications - http://www.ovarc.org/.

http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert is a good place to begin learning about CERT. The fact is, immediately after a major disaster, each of us will be on our own while Emergency Services Personnel (Fire, Hospital, Police, Hospitals, etc) figure out what happened and how to respond. CERT teaches valuable self-preservation skills and empowers each of us to be of service to ourselves, family, neighborhood and community. By integrating CERT with Ham Radio, citizens can effectively communicate actionable information from the field to the Emergency Operations Center -- help will be on the way sooner.

Please check out the CERT Calendar & Map at the bottom of this web-page and sign our Guestbook (top right of page).

Ojai Valley (CERT, Ham Radio, Red Cross)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ventura County Fire Dept Video - Wildlife Fires

Please take a couple minutes to watch this informative video, sponsored by City of Ventura, which interviews Fire Department First Responders on what to do to prevent and prepare for Wildfires in the County.

The information applies to CERT preparedness for any disaster/emergency.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ham Radio Programming, Etiquette and Protocols

Disclaimer: The following material is the opinion of Paul Garth (KI6USA), based on his experience and understanding. Please send any corrections or suggestions to mrpaulgarth@gmail.com.

Simplex Frequency Communication

*Radio to Radio communication without need of a third party repeater
*Both transmit and receive frequency are the same
*Line of sight requirement typically reduces effective distance between radios
*For example, Ojai Simplex Frequency is: 146.520

Repeater Frequency Communication

*Repeater Output Frequency is entered on your radio
*Repeaters are located centrally on top of high terrain
*Greater distance between radios possible (Ojai Valleywide & Ventura Countywide)
*Very useful if each radio is on either side of a mountain with repeater on top
*Frequency transmitted on your radio to repeater is offset by negative .60
*For example, Receive 145.400 and Transmit 144.800
*Radio may need to be programmed for negative offset (-)
*Note: The offset (which can be negative or positive) typically is chosen by the range the repeater output frequency lies within. See chart below. In our case, both repeater systems require negative offset. Useful to know that repeaters can be linked to each other, thereby increasing the effective range.

Private Line Tone (PL)

*Ensures communication transmitted to the correct repeater
*Look up Repeater Frequency for applicable PL Tone (for example 127.3)
*Not all repeaters have PL Tones -- for example, Ojai Repeater

Channel Assignments

*Channel Numbers assigned by local Ham Radio Groups
*Useful to communicate tactical changes, for example - "Switch to channel 15"
*Ojai Valley (Area 5) Repeater is Channel 5
*Ventura Countywide Repeater is Channel 9
*Ojai Valley (Area 5) Simplex is Channel 15
*Recommendation to initially program these three frequencies into applicable channels

Ojai Valley (N6FL) Repeater Frequency

*145.400 (programmed into radio)
*Negative offset (-.60)
*No PL Tone required
*Channel 5

Ojai Valley Simplex Frequency

*146.520 (programmed into radio)
*Simplex - no negative offset (transmit and receive on same frequency)
*No PL Tone required
*Channel 15
*Note: This is the backup frequency if N6FL repeater should fail

Ventura Countywide (WA6ZTT) Repeater

*146.880 (programmed into radio)
*Negative offset (-.60)
*PL Tone 127.3
*Channel 9

Ventura Countywide Simplex/repeater output

*146.880 (programmed into radio)
*Simplex - no negative offset (transmit and receive on same frequency)
*PL Tone 127.3
*Channel XXX - need to check on this
*Note: Simplex Frequency used if Repeater Fails

Ventura Countywide Simplex

*147.570 (programmed into radio)
*Simplex - no negative offset (transmit and receive on same frequency)
*No PL Tone required
*Channel 10
*Note: This is the backup frequency if WA6ZTT repeater should fail

Preference always goes to Emergency Traffic

*During conversations, ensure enough pauses to listen for any traffic
*Begin each scheduled net with a callout for any pending emergency traffic

Get good at listening

*Primary skill of Ham Radio is to listen and document important/needed traffic
*Listen on frequency before transmitting
*Write down seemingly important traffic - it maybe a one-time emergency callout
*Conserve battery by minimizing unnecessary chatter

Think before speaking

*Who are you going to call (what is their call-sign?)
*What is your call-sign?
*What is the information you need to communicate/relay (think about this first)
*Be brief and to the point
*No long-winded speeches
*If transmitting more than 20-30 seconds say: "break", key-up briefly to listen for traffic, and then resume transmission
*Avoid "Ahhh", "Ummm"

Plain Talk

*Do not speak with codes (no place for "10-4" in Ham Radio)
*Speak in normal, plain English
*If using a repeater, not necessary to say "Over"

Press and Hold the Push-to-Talk (PTT) button for half a second before transmitting

*Repeater needs to open a channel for your transmission
*Avoid clipping (omitting) first second of your transmission

Speak across the microphone

*Do not speak directly into the microphone
*Speak across the microphone
*Distance between microphone and lips is about 2 to 3 inches
*Note: This avoids distortion and over modulation

Transmit the call-sign of party you are calling first

*For example, "W6OEU, this is KI6USA - radio check"
*I am calling W60EU
*My call sign is KI6USA

FCC Requirements for using Ham Radio Call-signs

*Do not transmit (to test the repeater) without transmitting (at least) your call-sign
*During a conversation, transmit your call-sign every 10 minutes
*Note: In a two-way conversation, one party can transmit both call-signs for the record
*Transmit call-sign at the end of conversation (for example, "This is KI6USA, clear")
*If using tactical call-sign (for example, Shadow2), also include FCC call-sign after

Recommendation to purchase and use headset

*For outdoor communication, I highly recommend purchasing and using headsets
*Keeps both hands free
*Reduces need for high volume and therefore saves battery drain
*Useful for loud ambient noise -- still able to hear radio calls when School Marching Band passes
*Do NOT use VOX -- this allows transmission just by the volume of your voice and can cause unwanted transmission

Ensure batteries are charged up

*Recommended to purchase and carry a spare battery
*For a long-day event, charge both main and spare batteries within 48 hours of event (charge one battery overnight for each day leading to event)

Net Control Etiquette

*Net Control Operator manages the net
*Be patient when waiting on Net Control Response -- they maybe occupied listening to another frequency
*Listen before transmitting
*Ask for a radio check before beginning lengthy transmission
*Keep transmissions short and concise
*Always ask permission from Net Control to "go direct" when wishing to speak directly with another person
*When finished with direct transmission conclude with, "Back to net, "
*When acting as Net Control, follow applicable scripts

No Profanity

*Do NOT swear -- pretty simple request

No Personal Information transmitted

*Do not communicate personal information (for example, "Larry -- I live at xxx and I'll be on vacation for 2 weeks")

No business conversation allowed

*Do not communicate business information
*Exception is discussing Ham Radio equipment sales

Transmissions when working for a served agency

*When operating for a served agency (for example, Los Angeles Marathon Staff), transmit only the information they are requesting to be transmitted
*Do not invent/create information to be transmitted
*Do not relay information you've heard on-the-air to the Press - direct them to a Public Information Officer. For example, do not communicate, "We've been pretty busy today, there were 3 accidents and 1 heart attack victim".

Keep track of your Shadow Assignment

*Keep a body-length away from your assignment at all times
*Keep an eye on their movement and anticipate their movement and direction
*Do NOT take your eye of your assignment. Do not make eye contact with anyone else.
*If close to your assignment and other people, helpful to wear a headset and pretend to be listening to traffic -- this sounds strange, but makes sense when you do shadow work in a busy environment. You must always be listening for calls anyway
*Do NOT allow bystanders to engage you in conversation which could distract you and lose sight of your assignment - you can't legally relay to a non-Ham Operator what you heard anyway.
*Proactively write down information that your assignment may need later

Dual InBound Receive

*If the situation warrants, and your radio has this function, consider programming dual inbound receive
*This allows your radio to receive two separate frequencies and transmit on one primary frequency
*Useful if you are a Shadow working a Marathon (can listen to primary Shadow Frequency, while monitoring Mile Net). More information you can relay to your assignment the better

Avoid being cocky in offering logistical opinions to served agencies

*Because Ham Radio Operators are schooled and practiced in circuit discipline while enjoying superior communication capabilities, it is possible to observe obvious areas of improvement within a served agency's operation
*Remember that your primary function is to relay information on behalf of served agency
*Avoid offering strong opinions for improvement which can annoy and frustrate the served agency

Weekly Radio Nets for Ojai Valley

*Tuesday, 7:00PM to 7:15PM (Net Control Rag-Chew and early check-ins)
*145.400, negative offset, no PL, channel 5
*Informal conversation, but FCC rules apply
*Don't worry too much about communication protocol -- get on the air!

*Tuesday, 7:15PM to 7:30PM (Net Control weekly OVARC net)
*145.400, negative offset, no PL, channel 5
*Formal net, announcements, check-ins, request "direct to" if needed

Weekly Radio Nets for Ventura County ACS - Auxiliary Communication Service

*Tuesday, 7:30PM to 8:00PM (Net Control)
*146.880, negative offset, PL 127.3, channel 9
*Formal conversation
*ACS Leadership Updates and announcements
*Area Reports (# check-ins)
*Note: Whomever is Net Control for Ojai at 7PM represents us at 7:30PM
*Important Note: Unlikely that, outside of our Net Control Operator, others in Ojai will transmit on this net

Recommendations for newly minted ham operators

*Plan on being on each week's net
*Use the rag-chew portion to practice communicating
*Listen to the Countywide net for best practice communications
*Practice communications outside of the weekly Tuesday nets -- make a "sched" with someone and chat
*Do not hesitate to request assistance - Ham Radio Operators are notorious for offering their time to get people up and running and communicating effectively
*Please understand that seasoned Ham Radio Operators take their unpaid volunteer communication efforts and assignments extremely seriously and apply exacting dedication. Our trademark phrase, is "When All Else Fails - Amateur Radio". Ensure that for each radio transmission you represent the Ham Radio community professionally at all times and continue on the tradition of excellence.
*Request to be Net Control where a seasoned operator will sit next to you during the net to give you assistance and moral support
*Note: One day you'll be net control for both Ojai and the County -- it's all done by script and not that scary. It's still nice to have someone next to you, though!
*Remember that Ham Radio is not just about communicating during emergencies -- there are practical applications like communicating GPS coordinates from the hills north of Thacher High School to an operator sitting at home doing GoogleMap searches
*Have fun and don't take all this too seriously, even though some time it is serious
*Continually learn about Ham Radio. Read Books. Upgrade to General Class and Extra Class. Build Antennas. Play with Electronic Kits to build circuits, etc.
*Join ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League - www.arrl.org) which represents Ham Radio Community to the FCC -- you receive an interesting monthly magazine along with membership benefits
*Learn something and then pass on the information to someone else who can benefit -- everything you've read so far was communicated directly to me by various people over last several years.
*"Amateur" just means you cannot be paid for communicating, it does not mean anything less than behaving professionally.
*Eagerly recruit everyone you know to become a Ham Radio Operator, but still maintain the mystique and "magic" of radio communication
*Regularly attend monthly OVARC meetings (3rd Saturday, 8AM at Holy Cross Preschool)
*Sign-up for various events (Camarillo Christmas Parade, Run For your Life, Santa Clarita Marathon, Los Angeles Marathon, Coyote 2 Moon, etc).
*And so on... and so on...

73 de KI6USA (Paul)

Ham Radio Operator Positions available for upcoming Los Angeles Marathon (Memorial Day, 2009)

Over the years, I've been a big fan of volunteering for Marathons. I've worked several New York Marathons as a Finish Line Marshal (over 400 runners cross the finish line - 20' wide- per minute) and then continued with similar positions for Los Angeles Marathon.

Since 2005, when I became Ham Licensed, I continue to Volunteer for the Los Angeles Marathon -- started off as Mile Net Operator and then moved on to Shadow Operator for Acura Bike Tour Race Director.

It's quite a trip to be part of the communications loop between Department of Transportation (stationed at the Command Center in Downtown Los Angeles) to Ham Shadow Net Control to me to Race Director to guy with starter pistol -- all within 10 seconds of DOT clearing the course.

It's a great opportunity being part of a large operation with multiple radio nets and exacting communication protocols. You will find that the art of listening is required more than talking, but they give frequent opportunities to do radio check-ins.

Please consider signing up -- I just did.


Paul (KI6USA)


News from the LA Marathon-Volunteer Edition
February 2009
Happy New Year from the staff of the LA Marathon. We have some exciting things to share with you.

Marathon Date/Course Change
Race to be held on Memorial Day - May 25, 2009
The 2009 Los Angeles Marathon promises to be the start of a new era, both for race participants and the entire Los Angeles community. We're building your race-and our organization that supports it-around the transformational power of sport, inspiring athletes and connecting communities. In that effort, we're pleased to announce that Honda has announced its return as presenting sponsor of the marathon and Acura is back as the title sponsor for the bike tour. We've hired Nick Curl, a respected veteran of the racing world who spent more than a dozen years affiliated with the marathon, as our race director. We are also announcing a return to a runner-friendly course, the old "loop" course that starts and finishes downtown.

In speaking to hundreds of runners in recent weeks, we've heard lots of comments about the race. All of those comments inform our decision-making process. One idea that we heard frequently and which we can implement immediately is to improve the race route. We are excited to announce that this year we will begin and end the race in Downtown Los Angeles. We're using the same popular course that was used from 1996-2006. This route highlights a variety of great neighborhoods throughout the city, sending participants through the Crenshaw, Koreatown, Hancock Park, and the Mid-City neighborhoods along the way. It also produced the fastest LA Marathon time to date-a 2:08:40 by Benson Cherono in 2006.

2009 LA Marathon Volunteers Needed
Online Registration Now Open
It is already time to start planning for the 2009 LA Marathon and we cannot do this without our wonderful volunteers!
The LA Marathon is looking for community assistance in the area of volunteering the week of May 18 to May 25.
Volunteer registration is available online at www.lamarathon.com. Volunteers can choose to sign up individiually or as groups. To register, fill out the online form and you will receive a confirmation email.
Registration is available for Race Week Office Support May 18-25, Run/Ex/09 Expo on May 23 & 24 and Race Day May 25. Details about your volunteer assignment will be emailed out to you in early May.
To register as an Individual, click HERE.
To create a Volunteer Group, click HERE.
To join a Volunteer Group, click HERE. (You will need the password provided by your group's leader.)

Contact Us/Questions
If you have any questions regarding volunteering for the 2009 LA Marathon, or are interested in working as a volunteer captain/coordinator please contact Stacy Embretson at (310) 271-7200 or via email stacy@lamarathon.com.

We hope that you will all join us for the 2009 LA Marathon.
Thanks for your support,

The LA Marathon Team

Ham Radio Licensing model being planned in Ojai Valley

This web-site gives a good overview of what is being planned in Ojai Valley for Ham Radio Licensing.


FEMA Publishes Ham Radio Credentialing Guidelines

FEMA Publishes Credentialing Guidelines

Mon Jan 5, 2009 6:41 pm (PST) FEMA has issued Credentialing Guidelines for deployed personnel during disasters. The notice was published in the Federal Register on
December 24, 2008. There is a 30-day window for public comment on
this proposal.

Amateur Radio would be covered in SECTION 4-Voluntary, Charitable and
Not-For-Profit-Organizations. It just provides general guidelines
and encourages organizations to meet the standards of the local
agencies with which they work.

The docket identification is FEMA-2008-0015.

Here is the link:


Ham Radio BookMarks

The following are a list of useful web-sites for Ham Radio Reference


440 Mhz J-Pole Antenna plans by dxzone.com
An automatically tuned 7-30MHz mobile antenna by dxzone.com
COMET-DAIWA-MALDOL Antennas & Accessories - Master Page
HF portable antenna - 40 to 6 meters by dxzone.com
IC706-FT817 portable whip antenna by dxzone.com
J Pole Antennas J-Pole
J Pole calculator by dxzone.com
M1IOS - Wonder Whip antenna and tuner by dxzone.com
Magnetic loop for 30-10 M by dxzone.com
MAX-GAIN SYSTEMS, INC. Fiberglass Price List
Right Frame scales
Strong Signals - Antennas
Vertical antennas Manufacturers Antennas HF Vertical Antennas
Water tuned loop antenna by dxzone.com


All-Battery.com - Rechargeable batteries & Chargers
Battery Eliminators - Two Way Radio Battery Eliminators from TwoWayBattery.com
Battery Systems - Long Beach, CA
NiMH rechargeable batteries - AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V
Rechargeable AA Batteries, NiMH & NiCad
Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable Battery Pack Li-ion NIMH NICd Li-Po Battery Charger
STANDARD C558A Two Way Radio Batteries at www.batterylink.us
Welcome to BatteryJunction.com - our prices won't leave you drained!

Ham Sites

eHam.net Reviews - Antennas HF Mobile & Accessories
Ham Radio Home Page - QTH.COM by KA9FOX! Classified swap ads for amateur radio, ham radio and more
Login - Google Maps APRS
mods.dk - Modifications for radioamateur
QRZ Forums
QRZ Ham Radio
The DXZone ham-radio, shortwave and cb-radio guide

Ham Tests

eHam.net Ham Radio Practice Exams
QRZ Ham Radio

Home pages

arrlweb ARRL Home Page
IRLP - Internet Radio Linking Project
Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC)
Ventura County ACS-ARES




AES Home page
Alinco Electronics Welcome Page
All Electronics Corp - Parts, Supplies and Components
Argent Data Systems
Byonics -
Elecraft (r) Hands-On Ham Radio
Fair Radio Sales Company Inc.
Hamcity.com - Ham City
HRO Ham Radio Outlet Worldwide Supplier of Amateur Radio Electronics Equipment
Icom IC-718, Icom 718 Amateur Transceiver
MFJ Enterprises
Nifty! Ham Accessories, Ham Radio Guides Home Page
R&L Electronics 800-221-7735
RF Parts Company™ Amateur Radio Catalog
Texas Towers, The Online Ham Radio Store
Universal Radio shortwave, amateur, scanner and CB radio since 1942

National SOS Radio Network -- America's free, accessible-by-all emergency communications system.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ham Radio Licensing Opportunity (Calabasas) 4/19/09

The Lost Hills Disaster Communications Service is putting on another Ham Radio Licensing Class/exam in Calabasas - April 19th. The last one yielded 22 Ham Licensees for the Ojai Valley.

Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club are planning on replicating this program within the Ojai Valley, but my recommendation is to focus on this next class in Calabasas until further notice.

Ham Radio Programming Class (Calabasas) 2/10/09

The Lost Hills Disaster Communication Service is holding an intro class for Ham Radio Licensees on 2/10/09.