Club membership dues are now due.  Please join the Club or renew your existing membership by paying $25 (additional family members only cost $6 each).  Send a check payable to “Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club” (please do not use acronym) and mail to:

Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club

P.O. Box 238

Santa Cruz, CA   95061

You can also use PayPal with the “Donate” button available on the Club website.  However, to cover administrative costs associated with the service, we ask that you add $1.03 to your membership payment.

Find details on the website at “Club Meeting & Info”.  New members will receive a spiffy  Club name badge free of charge.  Renewing members wishing to purchase one for $15 may contact Don Taylor (K6GHA). 

 Thanks so much!



It has taken awhile for me to get used to holding the PTT reins of the Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club, but I am honored that you would re-elect me for my second and final year of public service to lead the Club.  Unlike many in the Club, I really struggle with Zoom technology, and am only able to participate in meetings  by telephone, but very much enjoy hearing voices of the new Club members as well as the long-time members who loyally continue to participate.

I look forward to serving you and promoting amateur radio in the new year.  Many thanks to the good folks who have agreed to stay on the Board and to the two new Board members for agreeing to join.

Here is your new Board:

Becky Steinbruner (KI6TKB)  President

Richard Adams (K8SQB)  Vice-President 

David Dean (N6DTA)  Secretary  (taking over from John Gerhardt (N6QX) who termed-out after two consecutive years of excellent scribe service)

Allen Fugelseth (WB6RWU)  Treasurer

Don Taylor (K6GHA)  Past-President

Vince Grimaldi (KM6YHE)  Member At-Large

Gary Watson (K6PDL)  Member At-Large

Many thanks to Cap Pennell (KE6AFE) for serving so well on the Board for many, many years in various capacities, agreeing to step off the Board to allow newer operators the opportunity to serve and learn about Club leadership.

We also have Standing Committees that are lead by good folks, and I encourage you to contact them if you are interested in getting involved, too!

Repeater Committee: John Gerhardt (N6QX), Nate Preston (KM6THA), Robert Ritchey (KJ6FFP), Craig Harlamoff (N6SBN), Duane Titus (K6TS), and Vince Grimaldi (KM6YHE)

Membership Committee: Cap Pennell (KE6AFE)

Presentation and Programs Committee: Chris Angelos (KG6DOZ) and Richard Adams (K8SQB)

ARES  and Training Committee: John Gerhardt (N6QX)

RF Investigation Committee: Bruce Hawkins (AC6DN)

Website and Newsletter Committee: Ron Baldwin (K6EXT)

You can look forward to learning about Board and Committee members each month as we write about who we are and our involvement in radio.

Recently, the Board and Committees met to talk about our plans for the year.  We have great ideas that we think you will enjoy as 2021 unfolds. 

Some members are already discussing a possible upcoming Winter Field Day event January 30/31, warming up with those CW contacts and operating from home.


Our Club’s Field Day activities on June 26-27 will happen again, hopefully again combining with the San Lorenzo Valley Radio Club.  The location is to be determined, and time will dictate the extent of whether it will be large and inclusive again or, like last year, small and by appointment. 


Richard (K8SQB) has renewed the Club’s K6L Special Event Station Call Sign for the August 21-22.  This year, he hopes to lead the set-up near the Mark Abbot Lighthouse for a public education and contesting event, again dependent upon the situation with the coronavirus restrictions.


Will we be able to have a fox-hunt and BBQ at the Club station area this summer?  I certainly hope so, but stay tuned!

Will this be the year that we replace and upgrade those ancient batteries that power the Club’s K6BJ repeater?  Will we get solar panels added to help charge them during long-term power outages?  Stay tuned and get involved!

As you can see, your Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club is off to an optimitistic but realistic start.  I am honored to be your President, and welcome your ideas and comments,  hoping that you will think of ways you can get involved to enjoy and help support amateur radio in our community.






I will be honest and admit that I do not embrace new technology, and struggle in a society that seems so quick to understand and grasp all things high-tech.  When it comes to amateur radio, I also do not understand many facets of the electronics, but I enjoy the science involved, and have come to depend on the emergency communication abilities it provides in disasters and everyday life.  

I am very shy, which may come as a surprise to some.  Radio allows me to talk with people from all over the world as well as nearby without the stress of personal eye-to-eye and hand-shake contact.  I enjoy and appreciate that, and really value the camaraderie of the Hams.

Who got me hooked?  My husband, Dave (WB6DWP).  When we were first dating, he called me using radio autopatch.  That was intriguing.  He also helped out alot with emergency communication at disasters, describing his experiences working on the Marble Cone Fire in Monterey County.  He often handed me an HT while we were zooming around in his 1958 Morris Minor and asked me to handle third party traffic.  It was fun.

Fast forward to after we were married and moved up into the Santa Cruz Mountains, surrounded by redwood trees and hillsides.  Dave felt it would be useless to put up a radio antenna because the reception was probably terrible.  He even let his license lapse.   Fast forward again to when our oldest daughter, Gretta, was about 12 and wondered why the 1958 Morris Minor had a funny license plate number of “WB6DWP”.  Dave explained, and even pulled out his Kenwood HT that still worked.  We could hear people talking on it!  Gretta and Dave studied amateur radio together, until one bright and early Saturday morning, they drove together (not in the Morris) to Sunnyvale for Gretta to take her Technician Class test.   She passed with flying colors…KI6NTL was off and running.  She researched various VHF/UHF antennas and helped Dave (who had managed to re-instate his license with the FCC) install them on our roof, along with a homemade HF antenna strung between redwood trees.  She joined the Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club before she could drive, and volunteered to serve as Vice-President.

Not to be out-done by his older sister, our then-11-year-old son Stu asked to take a Technician Class License study session offered by Cap Pennell (KE6AFE) and Reed Cotton (N1WC) at the Felton Fire Station.  He heard it discussed on one of the weekly nets that Dave and Gretta regularly checked into.  I drove him to the weekly classes, and we studied the book together.  On test day, he urged me to also take the test.  I rolled my eyes because I really didn’t think I could pass, but to humor my wonderful son, I tested.  Stu finished quickly, and passed easily.  With great dread, I approached the examiner when he called my name.  “Do you want to test for your General License today?”  In disbelief, I asked him to repeat what he had said.  “You mean I actually passed?!!” I blurted.  Stu and I had a good laugh, even though I was still shaking because I had been so nervous.  Voila….Stu is KI6TKA and I am KI6TKB.

Not to be out-done by her older sister and brother, or to be the only non-licensed Ham in the family, our daughter Bria began studying with Dave.  The abstract concepts that radio presents did not come easily for Bria, but she was determined.  She studied online, madeflash cards, took various local classes, and even a Ham Cram, and finally tested with a wonderful passing score at a testing session sponsored by the San Benito County ARES leaders.  It was a marvelous day when Bria got her KM6HBM call sign.

Having a family of amateur radio operators has been fun, as we all helped together on various community service events.  Amateur radio also has helped us stay connected over the years during multiple times in disasters.  Such was the case late one night when a massive fire in our neighborhood caused some of us to evacuate and later find each other.  Radio communication enabled us to stay in touch with Dave, who, with a handful of neighbors, got blocked in by the Sheriff and witnessed flames from a screaming propane tank shooting 75′ into crackling redwood trees, and saw two houses burn completely to the ground.

That story is forthcoming next month….




FEBRUARY MEETING GUEST SPEAKER: ARRL Pacific Division Director Kristen McIntyre (K6WX) 

Mark you calendar now: Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet Ms. Kristen McIntyre (K6WX), our ARRL Pacific Division Director and learn the latest about what’s on the horizon for ARRL, Amateur Radio and the FCC changes.  

Kristen McIntyre, K6WX, has been interested in radio since she was about 5 years old.  She started in Amateur Radio in 1979 getting her ticket while at MIT.  Kristen has worked in many diverse areas from analog circuit design to image processing to starting and running an ISP.  She is currently working at Apple in Core Networking, and spent many years at Sun Microsystems Laboratories where she was researching robustness and emergent properties of large distributed computer systems.  She is a long time denizen of Silicon Valley and has worked at or consulted for many of the usual suspects.  Kristen is an active ham and loves to chase DX on HF with her Elecraft K2 which she built while visiting her mother in Florida.  She is ARRL Pacific Division Director, former president of the Palo Alto Amateur Radio Assoc. for 12 years, and is active in many local clubs.  Kristen was inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame in 2017.

 Look for the Zoom access on the K6BJ Groups.io e-mail reflector closer to the date.





QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

LOS ANGELES – QSO Today host Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, announced that the next QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will commence on March 13-14, 2021, over a period of 48 hours.  The first QSO Today Expo was a great success with over 16,000 attendees and the March 2021 event is anticipated to be even larger.  The QSO Today team has been working hard to make this upcoming Expo even better with new speakers, panel discussions, kit building workshops, and much more.  Anyone can attend from their home or office. Early Bird Tickets are just $10 (to help cover the cost of this event, $12.50 at the “door”) and include entry for the Live 2 day period as well as the 30-day on-demand period).  Registration can be found at www.qsotodayhamexpo.com.  

 Eric and his team have put together a world-class line-up of 60+ speakers to address this conference from the virtual Expo’s auditorium.  ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio® in the United States, is a QSO Today Expo Partner.  Flexradio is the Expo’s Platinum Sponsor, and Gold sponsors as of this time include Elecraft, RFinder, and CSI.  

At the Expo, amateur radio operators will be able to:

  • Learn from a packed line-up of renowned ham radio speakers such as Bob Allphin, K4UEE, on “My Favorite DXpeditions to DXCC Top 10 Most Wanted”; Michael Foerster, W0IH, on “Using the Arduino In Your Shack”; and Ron Jones, K7RJ, on “3D Printer Basics”.
  • Take part in Live virtual kit building workshops.  Kits will be available for purchase and delivered to you in time for the Expo so you can participate and build from the convenience of your home.
  • Walkthrough the virtual exhibit hall filled with popular amateur radio suppliers. Watch live product demos of the latest equipment.  New video technology will be used to provide a better experience for attendees to engage with exhibitors.
  • Prior to the Expo, take advantage of our new speaker calendar technology to download speaker times in your local time zones to your Google or Outlook calendar.  You’ll then have a complete schedule of the sessions you want to join.
  • Return over the next 30 days to listen to speakers you missed during the Live period, explore, and re-engage exhibitor offerings.

“While attendance is expected from traditional in-person convention “goers” not traveling due to Covid, the virtual Expo is a great opportunity for those that don’t typically attend in-person events – the vast majority of amateur radio operators.  At our last Expo, we found that 60% of attendees don’t go to in-person national conferences and 40% don’t attend state or local events – mostly because of distance or because of the thousands of dollars typically spent on travel and lodging.” said Eric, 4Z1UG.

“The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo has all of the familiar hallmarks of an in-person hamfest, including opportunities to connect and learn. Expect to bump into friends and well known experts and personalities from throughout our worldwide ham radio community!” said Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, ARRL Product Development Manager

For more information, go to www.qsotodayhamexpo.com

SC Community Fund Pledged $25K Radio Tower

The Santa Cruz County Community Foundation has made a commitment to the county’s emergency services in the wake of the CZU Lighting Complex fires.

The nonprofit organization based in Aptos pledged $25,000 as a matching gift to a GoFundMe that was set up to replace the Grade Empire Radio Tower and its radio equipment that was destroyed by the fires that ravaged the county in August and September.

See link to article in Santa Cruz Sentinel

How to prevent ESD damage

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

Here are some tips from Keysight Technologies, one of the leading electronic test equipment companies, on how to prevent ESD from damaging your electronics.


  • USE A GROUNDED WRIST STRAP whenever you are handling equipment or boards. Using a grounded wrist strap prevents your body from building up charge and causing damage when this built-up charge discharges into your equipment or test boards. Make sure to connect that alligator clip to ground!
  • USE GROUNDED WORK SURFACES OR MATS for your boards. Do NOT use static generating or insulating materials as a work surface. Non-grounded mats and static generating/insulated materials can inductively charge boards, especially exposed ones. When connecting a charged board to equipment, the board can cause damage by discharging into the equipment’s inputs.
  • KEEP CHARGED MATERIALS AT LEAST 0.3 METERS FROM EXPOSED ASSEMBLIES. This includes plastics, foam, or other materials that can build up charge. Having a charged material near an exposed assembly can inductively charge the assembly. The assembly can then discharge into the equipment’s inputs.
  • DISCHARGE YOUR CABLES BEFORE CONNECTING THEM TO YOUR EQUIPMENT. Electrostatic charges can build up on test probes and test leads, so it’s import to discharge them before connecting them to your test equipment:
    • Ensure your device is off.
    • Connect your cable to your device.
    • Attach a 50 Ω shunt to the open end of the cable.
    • Remove the shunt and immediately attach your device to your equipment. This prevents the center conductor of your cable from discharging stored charge into your equipment. A charged assembly can charge connected cables.
  • USE BOARD STANDOFFS AS NEEDED. In some situations, you need board standoffs to provide extra insulation for your exposed assemblies. This prevents your grounded mats from making unwanted connections on your board.
  • NEVER USE “PINK” PACKING MATERIAL FOR BOARD TRANSPORT OR AS A WORK SURFACE. While many people think pink packing material is ESD safe, in most cases it easily builds up unwanted charge. Unless continuous, thorough testing is done, treat pink packing materials as charged.
  • CAP UNUSED EQUIPMENT INPUTS to avoid accidental ESD and physical damage. Damage often occurs by accidentally contacting equipment inputs. Capping unused inputs protects them from incidental ESD damage.
  • USE ESD-SAFE BAGS WHEN TRANSPORTING BOARDS. This protects boards from ESD damage while moving between ESD-safe locations.
  • DO NOT OVERDRIVE EQUIPMENT INPUTS. Start your testing at the least sensitive input setting and zoom in on your signal. Additionally, observe the maximum input levels for your specific equipment. The least sensitive setting is the most resilient, so starting there ensures that your inputs are at safe operating levels

After I posted this to my blog, Dave, N8SBE offered some further tips. He writes:

  • Grounded heel straps also help reduce static charge. Test them with a floor tester every time you put them on. The floor needs to be somewhat conductive—not metal, that’s a safety hazard—so use conductive wax on tiles, or conductive carpet to drain of electrostatic charges.
  • Keep materials, such as styrofoam cups, that form electrostatic charges easily away from your workspace. A styrofoam cup can generate thousands of volts.
  • Keep the humidity up in the workspace. That helps to keep static generation down as well.

I like to think that I follow ESD-safe procedures, but there are a couple of things here that I hadn’t thought about before. For example, I’d never really thought about discharging test equipment cables before connecting them. I think that’s a good tip

To learn more, go to https://www.keysight.com/find/PreventESD


Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (KB6NU.Com), the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (KB6NU.Com/study-guides/), and often appears on the ICQPodcast (icqpodcast.com). When he’s not worrying about electrostatic discharge, he teaches online ham radio classes and operates CW on the HF bands.


ARRL Division Meeting

Holiday Greetings to everyone,

I finally have the recording of our meeting uploaded to YouTube.  If you
missed it in real time, now is your chance to catch up.


Thanks again to everyone who attended and to those who wrote to me after
the meeting.  I think we had a great discussion and I look forward to
more meetings like this.

Have a wonderful rest of the Holiday Season and a great 2021!

ARRL Pacific Division
Director: Kristen A McIntyre, K6WX


SCCARC Election of Officers and Board Members

A special meeting was called for general membership approval of the proposed list of 2021 Officers and Board Members on Deember 13, 2020.

Officers and Board Members

Position   2021
President   Becky, KI6TKB
Vice President   Richard, K8SQB
Treasurer   Allen, WB6RWU
Secretary    David, N6DTA
Board Member   Cap, KE6AFE
Board Member   Gary, K6PDL
Past President   Don, K6GHA

A quorum being present, the directors and board members proposed above for 2021 was approved by unanimous vote.


Field Day Scores

Remember Field Day 2020? (With so many things happening, I had forgotten about it, too.)
The December 2020 issue of QST has the Field Day scores. Turn to Page 74, and in the upper-right corner is our aggregate Field Day score. Eleven hams or groups submitted under the “Club/Group Name” of K6MMM, resulting in an aggregate score of 9967. Congratulations!
BTW, although we submitted with the club name K6MMM, it appears that the ARRL translated K6MMM into that call sign’s club name, which is, “Monkey Lover’s Radio Consortium.”

Planning For BayCon 2021

Planning for BayCon 2021, the BayNet Annual Radio Conference is in high gear. This year’s event will take place on Saturday February 6th, 2021 and is open to everyone ! We are working on how to make this event virtual. Big thanks to the BayNet team for all the help getting this sorted out – Jon W6TRK, Rod VA3ON and Vince VE6LK.
We have a few slots available for guest speakers. If you have a topic you think would be of interest, please respond and we will sort out the details.
You can see a list of speakers so far at bay-net.orgSo far topics include… test equipment, microwave radio, remote station operation, next generation packet radio TCP/IP networking over the air, etc.
Mark you calendars now.

73, George

Gary Watson, K6PDL


W6WLS Rebuild Go Fund Me

Greetings, All, The CZU Fire destroyed the W6WLS repeater and other equipment located on Empire Grade Road.  Here is a GoFundMe site to help restore it: Rebuild the Empire Grade Tower Site, organized by Matthew Kaufman

Please help in any amount that you can.

Becky KI6TBK

K6MMM Field Day 2020

  • Adaptation A pair of end feed antennas, HF station Photo: K8SQB


Greetings, All,My friend, Ms. Dorothee Ledbetter, just completed the edited video of this year’s Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club and San Lorenzo Valley Amateur Radio Club Field Day 2020 at Lago Lomita Vineyard.  I think she did a marvelous job, and hope you all enjoy the video.

Becky, KI6TKB

24-minute version (24.38, upl. 7/30/20)


Welcome to the new K6BJ Reflector!


We are moving from our almost 20 year old service to a more current and standard reflector service.

There are a lot more features and benefits to groups.io.

Please let other Hams know all they have to do is subscribe!

As we learn more, we will be promoting some of the more fun features of Group.io.

Click on the link below to subscribe.

Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club k6bj@groups.io

Mailing List for the Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club.
Please limit discussion to ham radio topics.

Group Information

2019 Holiday Luncheon