Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club History
In 1995, Bill Hamlin K6UO, recalled the founding of the club and the early years for all of us to appreciate. This consolidated document was lifted out of four consecutive Summit Sentinels, from March through June, 1995.
Thank You Bill!
Sadly, Bill became a Silent Key in early 2005. We'll miss you.
Thank you to Jim KN6PE who still had a text copy of these priceless memoirs, so we could share them with you.
- Bill Hamlin, K6UO, March 1995
The Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club takes its name from the fact that its equipment is located in a small building in the Las Cumbres development, adjacent to the main water storage tank that serves the community. The geographical location is in Santa Cruz County on Castle Rock Ridge, two miles South of Castle Rock State Park and about 100 feet West of the Santa Clara County Line. So how did this all come about? Here is the story:
In 1972 the Las Cumbres Development in the Santa Cruz Mountains was very new. In fact, the people involved were still working on obtaining development permits with the county and financing for land, roads and water were a big problem. No new homes had yet been built, the first was a prefab put up in the winter of '73-74.
In November of '72 I was approached by my friend Eric, K6ESC (now N6GVL and still a club member) with the idea of putting a 2-meter repeater at Las Cumbres. Eric and I each owned a share of LCCC. He had heard of a used G.E. Preprogress Line Repeater available at Cal-Com Systems in San Jose (a company operated by W6JKA , a 2m repeater and phone patch pioneer) and the cost was $175.00 so we bought it. Later this machine was to be lovingly called "Old Scratch" because of the characteristic sounds put out on the air by its relays and vacuum tubes.
This radio was not like the flimsy solid-state repeaters you have today. It had a heavy gauge steel case for outdoor pole mounting. Its size was about 5x3x2 feet and weighed something like 90 lbs. It had those mysterious glass bottles that glow and the output stage had a single 6146. More about this later.
To spread the cost, we took in four partners, all being Las Cumbres lot owners, but two did not have Ham licenses. One partner was Terry Leuther who became WA6IAG after lunch hour training sessions at work. Another was Sol Golosman, W6FSK, who got his license in 1949 but had not been on the air since 1951. Sol lived with his family in the original ranch house at Las Cumbres. He is now an LCARC member but when the Club was formed he did not choose to join and he became a member only a couple of years ago. You've heard Sol on the Monday night net putting out QSTs for chess game partners (Sol lives 300 yards away from the repeater site, closer than any other member). Looking back at the old records, I realize we never paid the inactive partners back their 30 bucks! Is it too late?
Obtaining A License
I first set up the machine in my garage for tune up and test during the winter of '72-73. Then, I lived in Sunnyvale near Homestead High. However, to use it as a remote controlled repeater we needed a special repeater license. We had crystals installed for the 146.94/34 MHz which was then the national calling frequency pair. Just about all 2-meter radios had this pair of crystals installed when you bought it new. Synthesized frequency generators with IC chip circuits were yet to be developed.
The FCC was paranoid about keeping tight control over amateur radio repeaters, and had very stiff requirements for licensing. Amateur radio repeaters were given call letters with the prefix WR. You needed to include with your application: proof of permission from the property owner where it is to be installed, answers to operational questions such as how will unauthorized persons be prevented from operating, antenna specifications and the radiation pattern, block diagram of the system, calculations for antenna height above average terrain, radiated power calculations, and maps showing the exact location.
I applied for a repeater license on May 21, 1973. Then we waited and waited. Finally, in December the license came back with the call letters WR6ADX and with all the material I had sent them, unread and unused -- the FCC had stopped asking for these requirements. This licensed was good for ten years and could not be renewed.
Being anxious to try our new radio, since our license had not arrived yet and we had no permanent site, we moved our ancient G.E. machine to Sol's house at Las Cumbres. Actually, Sol had only recently moved in and was the first Las Cumbres resident having bought the ranch house already existing on the property from the Las Cumbres Corp.
Sol had no 2-meter equipment of his own but allowed us to put the repeater in his dining room! That was a good safe place for it, but the downside was that when Eric went into the house to work on the machine one day, he was almost chewed up by Sol's dog.
We wanted the antenna to go on top of a 100ft high fir tree at the top of the ridge and this required lots of cheap coax with low loss. We found just the right stuff at the Elephant Graveyard surplus junk place in Mountain View and bought about 1000 feet of old Cable TV distribution system coax -- it was big, heavy, about 3/4-inch in diameter, and came on large wooden reels. God knows what the loss was per foot. We ran it out of the back of Sol's house, down an old logging road and up to the top of the fir tree, probably the same one we have antennas on today. Somebody calculated that with 50 watts input we were getting 1/2 watt out.
We installed our machine in Sol's dining room and put it on the air as a locally controlled repeater using the 146.94/34 MHz pair. You could hit it from Cupertino and Sunnyvale, and coverage was spotty in Campbell as you drove down Hwy. 17 from Los Gatos. The remains of this cable is still in Sol's yard and he will be glad to give it to anyone who will take it away!
Its interesting to note that we met W6KCA, Bob, on 2-meters at that time. He would transmit on 146.94 MHz to talk directly to his brother-in-law, W6JPU, in Fresno using a 13 element beam. Bob has this in his log for Sept. 1975: Jay (WB6HBS) called W6KCA on the Las Cumbres machine and told Bob that he was interfering with our signal. So to keep us happy, Bob says he'll join our club once we had one established.
A few months later, we obtained permission from the Las Cumbres Water Board to move our repeater to the upper pump house area (the Board of five members included myself and Ed Miller, one of non-Ham repeater partners, so there were no arguments!). We placed it on top of the air pressure tank outside the building. Thus it was covered by a roof, but we had to climb to the top of the tank to work on it. Today the tank is enclosed on all sides so it is no longer visible (This is the tank that needs to be pumped up to high pressure using an emergency generator when the power goes out). When we did this, Sol, W6FSK, lost his radio. Hi Hi. Twenty years later, Sol buys a 2-meter radio and joins the LCARC!During 1974, the first homes were built in Las Cumbres and K6UO, yours truly, moves into his new home in October. The K6UO tower and HF cubical quad antenna were moved up from Sunnyvale. Now the repeater was only a half mile from my house if it needed service.
A Repeater Frequency
As mentioned previously, operation was begun on the 146.94/34 frequency pair but this was temporary and we searched for a suitable unused frequency pair that we could be sanctioned for by the California Amateur Relay Council (CARC). Already, the 2-meter repeater spectrum was filling up. It extended from 146.00 MHz to 148.0 MHz and most were spaced 30 KHz apart. We determined that 147.39/147.99 MHz was available in our area and applied to the CARC (CARC in Northern California became NARC in 1975 -- we were thus a charter member of NARC). The frequencies became ours in May 1973. This is the top pair in the band and the closest other repeater was in Sacramento. Later we found out that we sometimes put a fair signal over there in conditions of atmospheric bending. Also, we theorized that Mt. Diablo set up a "knife edge" bending effect that helped the signals spread into SACTO Valley.
In 1980 when the FCC opened up the 145 to 146 MHz spectrum to repeaters, with NARC's approval, we moved our WR6ADX frequency to the present pair on 145.45/144.85 MHz.
Forming a ClubFrom 1974 on into 1976, it was apparent that the repeater spectrum of the two meter band was rapidly filling up. We feared that we might lose our rights to a valuable frequency because it was used such a small percentage of the time. Since the original machine owners, except for one or two, worked at the Hewlett-Packard Company, we decided to form a repeater club at HP. Also, since we were occupying Las Cumbres property we included any licensed Ham who had property there. We called a meeting at noon time in the HP Bldg. on the corner of Pruneridge and Wolfe Roads in Cupertino on Sept. 9, 1976. All the Hams we knew about at HP and Las Cumbres. were invited. The Minutes of this first meeting are shown below. You may recognize some of the names and calls. I have lost track of many but I have added in parentheses any comments and, if still a member, a (M).
Minutes of the First Club Meeting - 9 Sept. 1976
Subject: Reorganization of WR6ADX.
Attendees: Dean Bailey, WA6HAN (HP Santa Rosa); Ken Check, W6SKI; Joe Dixon, K6DZ0 (retired); J.B. Compton (never got a Ham ticket); Sol Golosman, W6FSK (M); Bill Hamlin, K6UO (M); Jay Hamlin, WB6HBS (Bill's son lives in Santa Cruz); Eric Isacson, K6ESC (now N6GVL and a Member); Holly Hollingsworth, WA6PCS; Chuck Perkins, W6OXM; Terry Leuthner, WA6IAG; Dan Miller, W6GCB (M); Doug Wright AD6N; Bill Ruhl, WA6WPF (lives in Utah); Mal Spann, WA6IKT (deceased, killed in helicopter crash during Medfly crisis); and Sid Kaiser, WB6CTW.
Ken Check introduced the meeting stating that its primary purpose was to set the direction for the WR6ADX group or club.
Eric Isacson agreed to the concept of sharing membership between LCCC and Hewlett-Packard because there are so few LCCC members. Eric (one of the original repeater owners) said that he would be willing to contribute financially to the repeater but he did not have time for technical contribution. He would like to see coverage improved on Highway 9 and to the Northwest.
Bill Ruhl diagrammed the classes of repeater members and users. These are HP/LCCC Voting Members, Associate No-Vote Members, and occasional users and guests. Bill explained the growing demand for 2-meter channels and why we should protect our frequency from encroachment by others. He said we will probably have to go to PL access.
The original WR6ADX members present voted to include Hewlett-Packard amateurs as members along with LCCC (Las Cumbres Conservation Corp.) amateurs.
All present voted for a one to one rule (one Associate Member allowed per HP/LCCC Member) to limit the size of the club.
Committees were set up:
The meeting was closed after a discussion of holding future meetings and viewing the repeater site on Saturday.
An Active Club
The earliest club roster that I've saved in my files is for March, 1977. We called our organization the HP Radio Relay Club. At that time, we had 31 HP members and 2 non-HP/LCCC members. By October of the same year, we had 39 HP members and 9 non-HP. We did not change the name to Las Cumbres ARC until a couple of years later when the non-HP membership had grown to a significant percentage.
The dues for 1977-78 were $12.00. Since we were always short of cash for improvements and expansion, we had fund raising drives and income raising activities to keep the momentum rolling. One was a "Tune-up Clinic" put on Oct. 15, 1977 in the parking lot of the Royal Motor Inn in San Mateo. Using HP instruments we checked frequency, power output, and spectrum analysis of any Ham radio brought there for a small fee. HP donated $740.00 for the purchase of duplexers in April 1979!
[This is Bill's first part of a 2-plus series on the history of the Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club. Next issue: some of the early members who helped make it all happen. -ed.]^ Top
- Bill Hamlin, K6UO, April 1995
Here are a few names and call letters of members in the first year and that are still in the club or only recently disassociated:
- Jerry Fulstone, WA6EJV, President, ran Wednesday night Code Practice for years, expert antenna tree climber, and a faithful worker for the club.
- Eric Isacson, N6GVL, initiated the purchase of the first machine.
- Neal Kuhn, WA9MVO. President, V.P.
- Dan Miller, W6GCB, was President for two terms.
- Jim Harvey, WA6IAK, served as treasurer for more years than I can remember.
- Lou DeGive, WA6RAG, served as V.P., Secretary, and worked on many projects for the club including being net control on Monday night -- week after week, pitching in whenever needed; now amateur emergency radio coordinator for Saratoga.
- Dan Smith, K6PRK, may have exceeded all others in helping the club for almost 20 years doing technical work, particularly on power supplies and batteries, and serving as a Director in recent years.
- Bill Hamlin, K6UO serving as trustee for 15 years: initiated the idea of forming a club, issued first newsletter, served as Secretary/Treasurer, began the Monday night net in June 1978, and worked on innumerable projects at the Las Cumbres site.
A first year member I want to recognize is N6ST, Steve Thomas. Steve dropped out in 1990 because of other commitments. His interest turned to DXing, making the DXCC Honor Roll by working all countries, and he was V.P. of the NCDXC, and President of the Northern California Contest Club. I mention Steve because he was Technical Chairman when we dumped the old Prog-Line repeater and went solid state. He did a lot of the work single handedly on the home brew control circuitry. Steve was also the one that pulled out the 6146 tube final when the output dropped to 1/10 watt (normally 50 W) with a hole in the plate. This was the tube that became our TC Chairman's trophy.
By October, 1978 we had 49 HP/LCCC members and 20 non-HP/ LCCC members. Among the notables joining during the year are:
- Bob McLain, K6IFT, who was an Club V.P. for a couple of terms when Al Howard was President and he was our membership chairman from 1985 to 1992.
- Bob Sarquis, K6KCA who arranged many fine field trips for us back in the early 80s and made an inventory of all our equipment.
- Al Howard, WA6QGS and now KF6LY who was Technical Chairman for a long time and changed many 6146s in Old Scratch, he was transferred by HP to Corvallis, OR.
In 1978 the President was W6GCB, V.P. was WA6MVO, Secretary was WA6RAG; Net Control was WB6RGD, Technical Chairman was N6ST, and the Trustee was K6UO.
Bruce Brown, W6TWW, was a first year member who deserves special mention. He did quite a bit for the club and attended most meetings. His specialty was short antenna designs and HE was one of the first to design with a home computer, a Commodore PET, which he loving called his commotor over the air. He made this little top-hat 2-meter antenna which he claimed had almost the same performance as a big full size antenna. Many of us had one of these funny looking things on our HTs. He also designed a remote control mobile antenna, an idea which is presently used in a commercial product. Bruce died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage, in October 1986, while he was a dinner party with W7EXB and XYLs in Eugene Oregon. Some of us keep in touch with W7EXB on 75 meters regularly which shows you the power of Ham radio. Those of us using HF frequencies often make friends that last a life time, across the country and around the world.
Another old timer, and a good friend, was Mac, WB6LVD. Mac was the electronics teacher at Homestead High School and taught Silicon Valley celebrities Steve Wozniac (the great WOZ) and Steve Jobs, and my junior op Jay. Mac was often interviewed about his famous class cut-ups and was once on national TV for this. Previously, Mac had been a U.S. Navy pilot in WWII and later an administrator of high rank. Mac worked with the K6FB technical team, working with K6PRK on power supplies, wrote many articles for the Summit Sentinel, was the editor from 1985 to 1987, and did a wonderful job writing the initial draft of our Articles of Incorporation. Mac passed away due to cancer on Dec. 13, 1990. His XYL, Helen remains a club member as well as his son John, N6CYT,
John Hallyburton, W6BCY, was another notable early member. John was retired from HP for medical reasons, he had a bad heart and excessive hardening of the arteries. His XYL Rita, N6HEF, remains a club member. John, being home most of the time was our 100% monitor. You could always count on him being there to help, like Frank, N6LKW, has done in recent years. He was the Membership Chairman and Summit Sentinel Editor from July 1983 to March 1986. John became a silent key in March 1986 while on a vacation trip to Asia with Rita and Bob, K6IFT.
The K6FB Call Sign
K6FB was the call of Ralph Elliot who actually willed his call to the Hewlett-Packard Amateur Radio Club when he died of cancer in the 50's. The HP Ham Club was an active and viable organization for many years and the names of some of its members are found on our own rosters. Hal Wilkinson, WA6JGS was trustee of the K6FB call letters which he passed on to Rod Dinkins, AC6V; who then passed them on to Bill, K6UO. Bob, K6YHB; and Joe, K6DZO were other HP Club members who became LCARC members.
Joe remembers Ralph Elliot. He worked with him on 40 meters AM and had "eye ball" QSOs with Ralph. Joe commented that Ralph homebrewed all his own equipment.
Bill, K6UO, was instrumental in organizing the very last HP Ham Club activity which was field day in 1968. After this the HP club existed only as small groups in some divisions.
K6FB became the official call sign of the LCARC our radio repeater when the non-renewable call WR6ADX expired in November 1982. It was a good ten years!
Picture of Old HP QSL Card (alas, the pictures are no longer available - webmaster)
WR6ADX & K6FB both on the air
When we changed frequency in 1980 from 147.99/147.39 MHz to 145.45/144.85 MHz, it meant that the original pair could be used for a second repeater as long as we protected it from other users and did not give it up. The FCC had dropped its WR prefix repeater call sign requirement and any individual or club could use any valid call sign. But our WR6ADX license would be in force for two years more before expiring, thus we could use the call K6FB for another repeater.
We had gotten a new solid-state repeater up on the hill and Old Scratch was temporarily retired to the HP Bldg. 90 near the San Jose Airport keeping the 147 MHz frequency pair alive. It was on top of the 60 ft high building and shared its mast with dishes used for closed circuit TV classes from Stanford Park. It seemed to be an excellent location, although low level. This repeater was not used very much however and was soon abandoned.
The club discussed and planned an East Bay repeater with the call K6FB to extend coverage into the Palo Alto area. We were going to have a UHF link to WR6ADX. This project never was completed. It was decided by the club in December 1981 that our resources were spread too thin to maintain two VHF repeater systems. Also we could not justify having two repeater frequency pairs. There had been frequency "pirate" activities from a group in the West Valley ARC. We did not appreciate this and strongly recommended to NARC that the frequencies we were relinquishing should be given to a group dedicated to emergency communication. As it eventually turned out, the West Valley group, W6PIY, got our frequencies anyway (their repeater is located on Good Samaritan Hospital).
The Monday Night Net
The Monday Night Net was begun sometime in 1979. Its purpose was to keep cohesion in the club between club meetings, to provide practice for emergency net operation, and to allow club announcements (QSTs), and personal announcements in between the publishing of the Summit Sentinel. For several years we published in the Summit Sentinel a record of who checked into the net and who was the Net Controller. We thought that this would give more meaning to the check-ins and recognize those who so kindly volunteered to be net controller. Maybe this is a good idea that should be reinstituted?
Building a Radio Shack and the Batteries
Doing maintenance on our machine, suspended upon a water pressure tank was not convenient and very dangerous for the workers to say the least. WA6EJV tells me how he remembers Al, KF6LY, literally hanging by his nails up on the tank as he was checking things out. We obtained permission from the Las Cumbres Water Board to build a small building under the tree that held our antennas. We wanted to make it small and unobtrusive and with no mortgage!
Construction went ahead circa 1978-79 using donated materials except for concrete and some 2 by 4's for the frame. It was only 8 feet across and 4 feet wide, with a high floor to accommodate batteries underneath. A ramp was built later so WA6BXP could roll up it (Dave became a member in September 1984). The building was doubled to its present size in 1982.
Steve, N6ST, remembers how Dottie, my XYL, brought over soup during construction to keep them warm on a cold blustery day. Dottie was always supporting our work parties with soup, hot drinks, cold drinks or cookies, and sometimes corn bread depending upon the weather.
The first batteries were hughmungus 500 AmpH surplus telephone company cells that were 25 years old before we put them into service. WA6HXJ, Sid got them for us somehow, free, and trucked them in from some remote part of Northern California. They were so big that they did not fit inside but were set outside our new repeater shack. These cells lasted only a couple years -- they got so leaky that the charger used most of its output into them and not running the machine. They were replaced in May 1981 with two 200 AmpH truck batteries that WA6EJV found. These would run the repeater without charging for 2 or 3 days at least, but we needed something better. The next cells were for golf carts purchased in the spring of 1983. These were OK but did not have enough capacity for days of operation. In early 1982 the Club had signed up a YL, who was a real go-getter, named KT, WD9GYC. KT convinced the local phone company that we needed big battery power for emergency operation when PG&E power was out and they gave her ten 6-volt lead-antimony cells. There was only one problem -- the older lead-acids cells like to be charged to 13.4V while the new cells preferred 13.06V. We also wanted all 14 cells we had put under the floor to be on-line. W6TWW, Bruce, took on the assignment -- using the remote voltage sensing and connection through a diode array, he was able to properly charge all cells, using two power supplies that, Dan, K6PRK, had donated to the club.
The tradition of summer picnics began probably in 1978. They were held at K6UO's QTH in Las Cumbres. The spacious outside redwood decks treated everyone with lovely shade under the old oak trees and the fantastic view of the Santa Cruz mountain and Monterey Bay in the distance. One year, we even got a few into the hot tub... with bathing attire, I might add.
We had plenty of volunteers to carry out the picnic -- one would bring drinks, another the hot dogs, etc. and another ice. About 30 adults and kids would come and everyone had a good time. Usually after eating, there would be a half-mile hike down the Las Cumbres road to the repeater shack to show off the latest additions and improvements, and there would always be a few who had not seen the site before. The last picnic "on the hill" was in 1986 as the club had grown too large for many to attend.
Picture of Picnic Gathering (alas, the pictures are no longer available - webmaster) CAPTION: Remember when there were picnics at K6UO's? Here's one such event from years ago (left to right): Bev (WA6HXJ's XYL), Helen N6GPG, Bernice WA6RAG's XYL), Dottie (K6UO's XYL), Lou WA6RAG, Mac WB6LVD, Sid N6OTW, Bruce W6TWW, and Lola (W6TWW's XYL). Check out Bill's tower in the background.
The Summit Sentinel
At the beginning, we had a one or two sheet information bulletin put out by the club secretary, first K6UO and then WA6RAG. Rod, AC6V, took over the job as newsletter editor in late 1978. He named the paper the "Summit Sentinel" and designed a Mast Head which we still use today. The editor from May 1981 to July 1983 was Grant Head, W7CCP. From then on the editor was John Hallyburton, W6BCY until his untimely death in March 1986. Mac McCollum took over the paper from John until 1988.
The Technical Committee has always been the most important function in the Club and the Chairman has always been the key post. At the beginning, the TC was even more important than today because our radio, control, and interconnect systems were being developed and improved, and the solid-state circuitry had to be designed and built by us. You could not buy off-the-shelf equipment to do what we wanted. There was a succession of TC's and committees doing an outstanding job until today it is said that K6FB is the best repeater system in the San Francisco bay area. When N6ST pulled the failed 6146 out of the final of Old Scratch in 1979 (complete with holes in the plate and putting out 1/10W) it was mounted on a varnished base and engraved with the name of the next TC. Since then all TCs have had their name added so that now the current TC and all past TCs are recorded. Maybe this trophy will be past down through the ages, like the Wouff Hong at ARRL Headquarters.
[Special thanks to Bill for putting the club history down on paper. Its great to know the background behind the club! -ed.]^ Top
- Bill Hamlin, K6UO, May 1995
June 1978: A suggested procedure to be used by net control operators is being prepared. Members who want to improve their traffic handling ability should volunteer for particular dates. The field trips to FAA control in Fremont was most informative and was enjoyed by all...
March 1981: Rod, AC6V is the editor and Grant, W7CCP will be taking over editorship next month. Demise of the Green Hornet: Some clown ripped off a 2-meter rig. After the theft, he got on the air trying to sell the rig, calling himself the "Green Hornet." A San Jose cop, who was also a Ham, got to be his "Good Buddy" and nabbed him rather quickly when the buy was set up!
J-Poles a Bunch: An antenna building party was held at W6BCY's where they constructed and tuned 11 J-pole antennas. They are to be donated to hospitals - Alexian, Santa Teresa, San Jose City as well as the Valley Medical Center. (Note: The J-pole project continued until all area hospitals were equipped with emergency antennas. Today, American Legion Post 380 still makes these fine antennas which may be bought at the monthly Foothill College electronic flea market.)
May 1981: K6FB (the old scratch repeater) has been moved to HP's building 90 on Trimble Rd. Its antenna is sharing the mast with HP's closed circuit TV, atop a 60 ft. roof (the club's main repeater, WR6ADX remained on the hill!). The large 540 amp./hr batteries have had it. These were telephone company discards with years of service (25 years). We are operating on donated truck batteries installed by WA6EJV and K6UO. It was noted that WA6IFI presented a wind-up story at the April meeting to finish his stint as Technical Committee Chairman. Previous tech chairmen were WB6QGS (now KF6LY), N6ST, and WB9PRU. We have been left with a fine machine using technologies of the 70's. Our next generation will use technologies of the 80's; i.e., a microprocessor programmable controller.
June 1981: The May meeting included a demonstration by WA6NFA, Ken Rothmuller, on how to combine an Apple Computer with a Ham rig to decode a 16-gray level slow scan TV signal (anyone remember the Apple IIe computer?). A memorial day work party tackled the UHF antenna problems and Jerry WA6EJV, took to the trees again. Due to the efforts of Woody W6PLT, the city of San Jose has officially recognized ARES in their emergency plan.
September 1981: The September meeting will feature a talk about Packet Radio which is new to most of us. It may become the wave of the future.
Three more hospitals were equipped in August with J-pole antennas - Sunnyvale Medical Center, Valley West, and the Los Gatos Community Hospital. This brings to 9 the total number of hospitals and only 4 more to go.
November 1981: K6FB "Old Scratch" machine on 147.39/99 was pulled off the air due to problems but a pirate signal has shown up. It reportedly emanates from a repeater atop Good Sam Hospital which was placed there by a subset of the West Valley Club (the LCARC WR6ADX repeater is on the new 145.45/85 frequency pair). A committee is discussing what to do about it.
LCARC (WR6ADX)... the Primary Repeater for 100 Mile Endurance Race: ...The race started and ended at DeAnza College with 50 miles each way up over Black Mountain, past Big Basin to Waddel Beach and back. ADX was requested because it is the only repeater which covers the whole course. 34 runners started and 20 finished the race, the first runner crossed the finish line in 20 hours and the last 12 hours later. About 30 Hams participated in shifts at 6 check points. Four were from the LCARC Club.
December 1981: Club Returns 39/99 Sanction Back to NARC: It was decided after much discussion that we are simply spread too thin to adequately maintain two repeaters on two VHF frequencies. Also it was noted that we could not justify holding two VHF frequencies since they are in such high demand. It was also noted that we disliked pirates and do not simply want to turn the frequencies to such. At any rate, a letter to NARC relinquished our sanction for 147.39/99.
Silent Key - WA6IKT. Those of you who knew Mal Spann mourn his sudden death. Mal was a good friend, pilot and Ham. Mal died the night of Nov. 12 when the "med fly" helicopter he was in went down on take off from the Napa airport. The Las Cumbres ARC sent flowers to Mal's family.
Jerry Offers Code Practice on ADX. If you have a desire to upgrade, Jerry WA6EJV conducts code practice every Monday, Wednesdsay, and Friday at 10 p.m. The straight text is generated by Jerry himself. This is an extension of the Amateur Radio Class Jerry conducts at HP.
February 1982: Officers' Corner by Bob Sarquis, W6KCA, Secretary: Club Policies - (1) The repeater will continue to be listed as a closed repeater, although it will be in general operated as an open repeater. (2) Hams who are new on the repeater and want to join the club should be told about the waiting list. (3) The repeater will be available for emergency use whenever it is needed. Come to the February meeting to vote on bylaw changes (Note: The bylaws called for 70% HP/Las Cumbres and 30% other. The proposal is for 50%/50%. It passed!).
March 1982: The roster published in this issue shows a count of 54 members of which 23 are non-HP/LC.
The bylaw changes passed, significant changes were - 50/50 membership criteria, and one vote for family memberships with multiple members. As a result of the new membership criteria, eight new members entered the club. Some of these are still members, some are deceased, some moved away: WD9GYC, KT (moved), WB6BPU Lou (silent key), WB6LZH Alan (member), KB6TO Merrill (left) WA6JIE Emory (silent key), WA6DHR Bill (member), N6FXR, later KE6WZ (silent key), WB6ICB John (left).
April 1982: Officers' Corner, Al Howard, WB6QGS, Pres.: We have seen the first major purchase of the new antennas do a fantastic job in improving the repeaters, coverage. Much thanks to the large group that helped. A special thanks to Jay WB6HBS, and Ron WB6EVQ, for being the daring monkeys that clung to top of the trees to bolt down the new spires.
Tech Topics by Ken, N6CHO: I was impressed with the turnout for the antenna installation party. Bruce, W6TWW took numerous antenna measurements, Mac WB6LVD helping with a little bit of everything but still not getting the Nitrogen bottle working... Grant W7CCP, handling the radio functions during the repeater shutdown period... I could go on and on... there were many others... we even had a visitor from Japan, Yoshi JL1FTD (Yokogawa-HP). There is another group of people I must acknowledge as a family - the Hamlins, Bill K6UO, Jay WB6HBS, Dottie;,and their dog, Duffy. Dottie brought over some terrific soup and cornbread which kept us all moving in that cold hilltop weather. Jay came home from school to relax a bit only to wind up going up that tree.
Shack to Double in size for $100: The facilities group - WA6RAG, K6UO and WA6IAG promise to double our shack for $100. That will increase the square footage from 24 to 48, allowing winter work parties to stay inside during blizzards without squashing each other. Plans are to include a hot plate, a couch, and even a bathroom!
Mac As Fireman: It seems that one of the students in the high school where he teaches decided to take a short break for a marijuana cigarette. He choose the paint room for this next to Mac's electronic shop, and the result was somewhat comparable to Dante's Inferno. Mac fought the fire to preserve the classroom, the school, and himself. It took several days for Mac to recover.
May 1982: April was a Month of Intensive Repeater Maintenance Activity - Cement foundation laid, newly repaired duplexer installed, VHF duplexers tuned, new shack building continued. 14 new members admitted to club.
September 1982: New Power Supply: The new supply is a Perkins 15V, 30A adjustable output. It was found and donated by K6PRK who gave it some TLC before delivering it. When first installed, all breakers in the shack blew. Troubleshooting brought out the problem - there were loose connections on the breakers. After repairs, success at last! W6TWW commented, after hearing the loud hum from the transformer doing its job, "now that puts the hum in one humongous power supply."
November 1982: Club Passes Motion to Purchase the RC-850 Controller. Controller Fund Tops $2000 Mark yet we need another $800. Club Gets A 220 Repeater: Bob and John install theirs at K6FB site. This repeater is owned by Bob K6IFT and John W6BCY (Later, after W6BCY passed away, the club bought this from K6IFT). WR6ADX, BYE, BYE: Without much fanfare, we bid adieu to WR6ADX. However, we welcome K6FB/RPT! We also want to point out that this is the official call letter of the Hewlett-Packard Amateur Radio Club.
January 1983: Club Helps Needy Families: As part of the festivities associated with our Christmas Dinner Meeting, most members provided gifts, food, money, etc., for aiding needy families who would not otherwise have had much cause to enjoy their holidays. This program was the brain child of our own KT, WD9GYC. Two families were helped, referred to KT by the Trinity Presbyterian Church of San Jose (Note: Attached to the newsletter was a letter from one of the families expressing thanks).
June 1983: Controller: The tech committee is still working on the controller. The only remaining hurdle is to finish the audio matrix board.
New Batteries: Bruce and Mac have been working on the battery charge problem. The only thing holding up finishing is the need of reverse diodes that will allow the bus to be used as a heat sink.
KT Equips Cupertino: KT, WD9GYC, has made another advance for emergency communications. A few months ago it was batteries, now it is a complete station for the HP Cupertino complex. KT got the go ahead to purchase the same setup as in some of the other HP sites.
The Roster in this issue lists 97 members.
November 1983: RC-850 Controller: The bits and pieces for the controller are coming together. All boards have been completed and are ready for checkout. The boards built by the various teams were Link Logic, Audio Matrix, Function Decoder, and Control Logic. WA6FSP has completed the RS-232 cable to the outside world for the Water Alarm and weather station.
Rodents eat Transmitter of K6FB: Something funny going on the morning of October 15. It was stuck on in the wee hours. You could talk back and forth without the carrier crash, but this is slightly illegal! So the machine was shut down. Our tech chairman, WA6FSP, was going up the hill anyway to install the new UHF pre-amp. Bill opened the case and looked in. There were three pairs of startled eyes looking back at him. Being discovered, the mice scampered through the door. Bill found they had chewed through a shielded cable and shorted the carrier on/off line. But what a mess they left!
- Bill Hamlin, K6UO, June 1995
January 1984: 450 Repeater Adjusted: Thanks to Milt K6OYX for a 6-db attenuator and to Jay WB6HBS for his technical abilities and work, the UHF Repeater is now back in semi-normal operation.
RC-850 Controller: The controller is undergoing "smoke testing" by Ron, WA6EVQ.
March 1984: Power Supply System for the Repeater Site by WB6LVD: There are three repeaters in the shack, all of which operate on nominal 12-volt systems. The power at the site is 117V supplied by PG&E. Originally the 2 meter machine operated on one supply that was voltage adjustable with a 10A output (max). As the load increased with the 450-machine, it was necessary to let the batteries carry the additional load whenever both machines were in operation. At those times, the current demand is 25 amperes. Obviously, the batteries will eventually run down if both are on for an extended time.
Thus, a power supply of at least 25-amperes was necessary. Dan Smith, K6PRK located two supplies. So we have a back-up if one fails. Last spring, the club purchased two new six-volt, deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, then later got two more to parallel the first two. Then, concerned over the health and welfare of the repeaters, KT, WD9GYC, delivered to the site ten lead-antimony batteries! We now have enough battery power to run the repeaters for about a week if that is ever necessary (a schematic diagram of the battery system was included with the article).
April 1984: New RC-850 Controller Finally Installed in the Shack: Everyone is questioning and wondering about that new controller that we purchased a year ago. Wonder no more... it is there and working. The controller could have been installed when first received, but had it been, it would not have had auto-patch since there is no telephone line to the shack, there would have been problems linking 2-meters to 450 and 220 machines. The big installation day was March 31, 1984... (the work party is described. There were at least 11 members involved). All inputs and outputs ... were labeled. The cables, power cords, lines, etc. were removed and set aside. The old controller (still in its original bread-board state) was reverently lifted out, for it served us well for many years. The various pieces of equipment were arranged in the rack according to the most suitable position. Installation of wires and cables were the next order of business... Usually only three people could get into the shack at one time so the cabling construction and sheetmetal work went on outside until it started sleeting, the wind chill factor dropping rather low with the arrival of high winds and light rain. Mac's VW bus, which had been serving as the base station for communications, became a workshop with an extension cord for power from the shack... On went the testing and the repeaters become operational.
May 1984: K6IFT/R Antenna Goes Up Tree: The K6IFT (220) repeater antenna went up the 24th of April... When Jerry WA6EJV was at the tree top, an earthquake struck Morgan Hill. His inquiry was "who is shaking the tree?" If Jerry has more white hair you know the reason.
April 1985: March Club Meeting: Club President, WA6RAG called meeting to order... Treasurer, WA6IAK reported that there were 71 members paid up. George KG6GL... displayed his techniques for operating an amateur station in a restricted area such as apartments and condos... showing a fold over antenna and a push-up antenna... then introduced W6TWW, Bruce, the next speaker. Bruce spoke on the design of shortened vertical antennas, less than thirty electrical degrees in length... he demonstrated how to determine the exact placement of the loading coil for maximum radiation efficiency in the 75, 40 and 20 meter bands.
March 1985: The board approved the purchase of a circulator-isolator unit that will present a constant load to the power amplifier and prevent reflected power. An additional feature is that it will provide a load protecting the amplifier should the antenna ever be accidentally disconnected when in operation.
September 1985: K6FB and the Lexington Fire: ...At approximately 16:30 hours local time, the repeater was put on RED ALERT and it would play a VERY important role in the Lexington Fire. At 16:00 hours it had been decided to staff the fire crews with Amateur Radio Operators at all of the key points. I (Tech Chairman, N6HSZ) happened to be driving by Alma Fire Station when the call went out for someone to man that station and I responded in a few minutes. Shortly, Net Control began to find machines that could be hit from all the areas needed. We tried various ones but none would cover all areas. Then we tried 146.15 linked to 145.45 via 450... So be it and K6FB went on RED ALERT... Without going into all details, K6FB was destined to be on the AIR 24 hours a day from 16:30 Sunday 7/7/85 to late afternoon Sat. 7/13/85. It performed admirably during the entire event. At one time we lost AC power for many hours, this dropped our amplifier off-line. Bill K6UO and I found a generator that we could use, donated by IBM... after installing it at the K6FB site, K6FB was back on the air full strength hours before the power came back on... K6FB Repeater is a vital link in this valley's emergency services.
December 1985: Board Meeting: Membership report by John W6BCY, gave 119 members and waiting time for non-HP of about 6 months. Bill K6UO reported that the sanction from NARC had been filed and was proceeding (NARC had messed up and forgotten about our temporary 145.45/85 assignment. Five years later we had to re-file our claim to the frequency!).
Incorporation of LCARC was discussed and various solutions were put forward to be investigated... protection of the members from lawsuits in case of injury of persons unknown, plus tax exempt status, possibly.
December 1986: George Expresses Appreciation, by Outgoing President, KF6GL: My past year as President ... was an enjoyable experience. The one reason.... the great people I got to play with (work is not an appropriate word!) I'd like to mention some of them. Two are unfortunately, are with us only in our memories. John, W6BCY, was literally the mainstay of the club. John was membership chairman and editor of the Summit Sentinel, and was our friend. We could count on John to be monitoring when anyone needed help... Bruce W6TWW, was at most of our meetings, and he could be counted on to help whenever asked (Bruce was our antenna guru)... Several other members ... Lou WA6RAG, chaired the committee looking into incorporation and provided me with some sound and valuable advice. Bob K6IFT, was ready with mailing labels and helped with the picnic... Rita N6HEF, helped with our picnic, made arrangements for our meeting at the Chief's Club and provided other assistance when needed. Mike N6KMO, Al KF6LY and Jay WB6HBS helped our technical committee. Jerry WA6EJV has run weekly code practice to the benefit of aspiring Hams. Dottie Hamlin, with some help from Bill K6UO, hosted our picnic, and she made sure the repeater work parties included warm drinks and proper nutrition... Dan K6PRK, our vice president was always available to back me up... and he took over the job of net coordinator. Jim WA6IAK, is not only our treasurer, he's an institution... Jim keeps us disciplined financially, and he's always there with the checkbook... Mac WB6LVD, editor of the Summit Sentinel, has a substantial job each month meeting the deadline and writes many of the articles. Mac also did the huge job last month of rewriting the Club's Bylaws to cover the legal points needed if LCARC is to incorporate.
July 1987: Club Meeting for Election and Incorporation by WA6BXP, Acting President: (Elected President Mark KB6HRJ, resigned due to wrangling in the club over the issue of incorporation). The last executive meeting ... the committee voted with the majority to begin the process of incorporation... The K6FB repeater club has acquired many assets over the past years, minutes of club meeting have been lost or not published, equipment has disappeared. Incorporation guidelines will require us to keep better records as well as conduct our club in a more business like manner.
Club Trustee Comments on Incorporation Plans by Bill, K6UO: Incorporation is for the purpose of protecting its members against severe financial loss in possible lawsuits brought against the club. As I now understand the law, in the present situation, the club members are equivalent to being in a partnership where we are each equal and personally liable to any legal action against the club. Therefore, if we by chance were sued for personal injury ... then the personal assets of each and everyone of us could be attached, as well as being responsible for legal fees. The club's insurance policy would be insufficient to cover us since it has a $300,000 limit...
Elsewhere in this issue: Lou WA6RAG, recently attended a talk by Rod Stafford KB6ZV, where he recommended their associated clubs incorporate, Since Rod is a practicing attorney, it prompted Lou again to point out the importance of incorporating...
July 1987: Incorporation of Las Cumbres ARC: Your club voted at the July 25 meeting to incorporate the club as a non-profit corporation in the state of California... The Articles of Incorporation are complete except for the required signatures... The Bylaws are much more difficult because they give the details of how the club is structured and how we do business (i.e., how we conduct the affairs of the club). One of the changes that will have the biggest impact.... is the election of five Directors..... Directors appoint Officers...
December 1987: Bylaws Introduction, by Al Howard, KF6LYJ,President: ... our Chartering Documents have been filed with the State of California. The second step is still before us (filing the bylaws)... I see this set of bylaws giving us necessary flexibility and not burdensome or restrictive... The following text is the one and only draft that will be submitted to the Club... In closing I wish to thank those who have contributed so much time, energy, effort and critical thinking to the development of this document... it could not have been done so well: Bill K6UO, Bill WA6DHR, Stephanie N6LDK, Don KZ6P, Mike N6KMO, and Mac WB6LVD.
This is the end of my story about the Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club.
Bill Hamlin, K6UO.
The first Annual Meeting of the Incorporated Club was on Tuesday Feb. 16, 1988 at Hewlett-Packard Building 40. Elections were held for the required three additional Directors. Seven Directors in all with four being the elected club officers. The three additional Directors elected were: Dan Smith K6PRK, Lou DeGive WA6RAG, and Bill Hamlin K6UO. The officers/ directors are President, Al Howard KF6LY; Vice Pres., Bill Todd WA6DHR; Secretary, Don Carmean KZ6P; and Treasurer, Stephanie Fergusen, N6LDK.^ Top