Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club

SBARC's Diablo Peak site on Santa Cruz Island

Welcome, and thanks for visiting our website. The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC) was established in 1920 and has operated continuously ever since. If you are a licensed Amateur Radio operator and not yet a member, we hope you will consider joining our club. If you are not yet licensed but have an interest in Amateur Radio, contact us, and we’ll help you get started! Better yet come meet our friendly members at the Club Station on most Saturday mornings or one of our monthly club meetings

Shackmaster to “Tell All” on AM Net

Dave K6HWN, our longtime Shackmaster will do his final morning net before retiring on Monday November 30th 2015 from 7am to 8am. You don’t want to miss this one. We certainly want to check in and wish Dave all the best, but in addition the Shackmaster has promised to “Tell All”! Well maybe the years of artfully side-stepped questions and mysterious allusions will finally be answered! Or maybe there is nothing actually mysterious at all! Who knows for sure. I guess we’ll all need to check in and find out!

November General Club Meeting

Wayne Overbeck, N6NB, explains trans-pacific ducting

Wayne Overbeck, N6NB, explains trans-pacific ducting

Our meeting this month was a busy one. First, it was our annual election night to select board members for the coming term. The results of the election are here. It was also our annual “Home Brew Night” and people brought all kinds of interesting things they created themselves to show and share with others.

We were also treated to a presentation from Wayne Overbeck, N6NB, the inventor of the world-famous ‘Quagi’ antenna and now the holder of the all time DX Microwave record. He has had successful contacts from Palos Verde California to the volcano tops of Hawaii on various UHF and microwave bands. His amazing skill and resourcefulness has made him a legend in the UHF+ DX realm. On top of that, Wayne is an excellent speaker and his humor and comfortable speaking style is particularly engaging. We all hope we will have the opportunity to hear him speak again and hear more stories of his remarkable DX quests.

If you would like to listen to the audio recording of the meeting, including Wayne’s presentation, head over to the Audio Archives area, or listen to the embedded audio below.

New Board Elected for 2016

SBARC Board for 2016, left to right - Frank Dambach K6FLD - Director, Dorothy Oksner K6DSO - Secretary, Tom Saunders N6YX Treasurer and CFO, Brian Milburn K6BPM - President and CEO, Jay Hennigan WB6RDV - Director, Levi Maaia K6LCM - Director, and Theo Howe KK6YYZ  - Director

SBARC Board for 2016, left to right – Frank Dambach K6FLD – Director, Dorothy Oksner K6DSO – Secretary, Tom Saunders N6YX Treasurer and CFO, Brian Milburn K6BPM – President and CEO, Jay Hennigan WB6RDV – Director, Levi Maaia K6LCM – Director, and Theo Howe KK6YYZ
- Director

Annual elections were held at the well attended club meeting on November 20th, 2015 to elect the SBARC Board of Directors for 2016. As there were no nominations from the floor, Darryl KF6DI made a motion that the club accept the proposed slate. The motion was seconded by Dave K9KBX, and carried after majority approval by the members present. The newly elected officers and directors are Brian Milburn K6BPM President and CEO, Tom Saunders N6YX Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Dorothy Oksner K6DSO Secretary, and Directors at Large Theo Howe KK6YYZ, Levi Maaia K6LCM, Frank Dambach K6FLD, and Jay Hennigan WB6RDV. The new board will continue to move SBARC forward with new faces, new ideas, and new enthusiasm. We look forward to 2016 being another year of progress for amateur radio in Santa Barbara.

SBARC Tracking Aircraft Using Santa Ynez Peak Site

Over the past few months, Bill (W1UUQ) and Levi (K6LCM) have been working on a system to receive position information from aircraft flying over Southern California and the Central Coast using the Federal Aviation Administration’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS–B) system. Similar to the APRS and AIS protocols which allow for the tracking of mobile amateur stations and ships at seas respectively (both also supported by SBARC sites) , ADS-B is part of the FAA’s NextGen plan to more accurately track aircraft in busy airspace and provide better cockpit situational awareness for pilots. ADS-B position reports are sent unencrypted by many commercial aircraft and by some private aircraft.  The FAA has issued a mandate for all aircraft flying in the vicinity of medium and large traffic volume airports to carry ADS-B equipment by 2020.

Using a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, a USB software defined radio (SDR) dongle and open source software designed to receive ADS-B data signals broadcast on 1090 MHz, the SBARC ADS-B receiver is receiving position data from the SBARC site at Santa Ynez peak. From the mountain, the data is sent via microwave to the club’s La Vigia repeater site on the Santa Barbara Mesa. From this prime location at about 4,300 feet above sea level, the receiver directly detects nearly 1,500 individual aircraft per day flying in airspace from Fresno to Mexico. This is such an incredible reception location it was not a surprise to learn that the official FAA ADS-B site for transmission and reception of ADS-B signals for air traffic control is also located atop Santa Ynez Peak.

SBARC is feeding ADS-B data to Flight Aware and  Both sites make data received by many worldwide receivers available to the general public, however provides live data access, while Flight Aware delays position reports by several minutes.

Click the image below to be linked to a live map. The first time you view the map you may have to scroll to find Santa Barbara. This should not be necessary on subsequent visits from the same computer and browser. Note that you are seeing aggregated data from the SBARC receiver site as well as many other sites around the world.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 01.36.40

Dave K6HWN “Shackmaster” Retiring November 30th 2015 [Update: Audio Interviews]

Our longtime Shackmaster and net control for numerous nets has announced his retirement from his SBARC duties. His announcement as dictated is as follows:

“The Shackmaster is retiring 30 November. After eight exciting years of reviving the station and receiving a treasured award Shackmaster Dave will retire due to advancing age and pressing obligations because finally there are younger, competent, dedicated and friendly hams to take over and share shack duties. He will also retire from his nets and all else he does for the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club leaving others to fill these slots. One of his biggest regrets is not serving under the very promising administration of soon to be president elect Milburn. The decision is final. No discussion.”

The Shackmaster’s shoes will be hard to fill. We wish Dave all the best and are grateful for all he has done for SBARC.

Update 1: Levi, K6LCM interviewed Dave on January 13, 2014 at the Club Station about his work to revive the shack in the 2000s and his appointment to Shackmaster in 2007.  Play the audio of that interview below or download an mp3 file.


Update 2: Dave was also interviewed on the SBARC Club Net by Jerel, WT6G on August 26, 2015 about his duties as a jailer many years ago in Berkeley, California.  Play the audio of that interview below or download an mp3 file.

Update 3: 
Dave received a special citation from the SBARC Board of Directors earlier this year. Here is the complete story and an audio recording of the presentation.

New SDR HF Radio at Club Station

JT65 Signal Reports

JT65 Signal Reports

The club station now has a brand new computer and a FlexRadio Flex 3000 SDR (software defined radio) up and running and on the air. Unlike traditional radios, the Flex has no knobs or buttons. It is completely software driven and has all the features (and then some) of the high end radios from the major manufacturers. The Flex is hooked up to a computer running Windows and uses sophisticated, but easy to use software to control everything.

In addition to regular SSB/FM/AM operation, we also have seamless digital operation for whatever modes we want to operate. Our first test used JT65 on 15m and we quickly logged QSO’s from the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, England and Germany. The screenshot on the right from shows signal reports from stations that heard K6TZ from all over the USA, Europe, South America, and even South Africa. Great DX is easily accomplished from our “noisy” club station.

If you have never operated an SDR radio, you are in for a great experience. The display shows a wide area of whatever band you are working using a panadapter and waterfall so you can see all activity at once. This graphical representation of the band lets you find and tune activity quickly and easily. This new radio is available for members to use during regular club hours, Tuesdays 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am to noon. Come on down and check it out! If you are interested in reading the user manual and learning how this exceptional radio works, it is available for download here.