Welcome to the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club

aspenWelcome, 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 one of our monthly club meetings or at the Club Station on Saturday mornings.

Photo caption: Repeaters are the backbone of our local communication systems. SBARC operates numerous repeaters that are open and free to use, including one on Diablo Peak on Santa Cruz Island, which our team accesses with the help of Aspen Helicopters.

Buy, Sell or Trade Radio Gear NEW! Radio Equipment Auctions

March 31, 2022 - Online Auctions

Our new auction feature is now live. This is where you will find the best donations such as radios, test equipment, etc. We will begin adding items as we receive new gear. Just log in normally and you will see an item in the sidebar titled "Members Only Functions". Under this section you will see a link for "Auction Items". You can bid on timed items similar to eBay. Check in frequently and see what shows up!

March 25, 2022 - Website Membership System Upgrade

We have completed an upgrade of our membership system and joining SBARC or renewing your memberships has changed. This is all documented on this page: https://www.sbarc.org/renew-membership/. Pleas take a few minutes and see what's new!

The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation. Our public service efforts and emergency communications infrastructure are supported by donations from our members and the community. Your tax deductible contributions help ensure our continued success

SBARC Designated Emergency Frequencies

  • SBARC Main Repeater Output 146.79 / Input 146.19 PL 131.8
  • In the event the repeater is not working, use 146.79 SIMPLEX
  • Also monitor 146.52 SIMPLEX

We also maintain a list of local frequencies used by first responders and emergency services. These are useful for programming consumer grade scanners. Please click here.


Airband 121.5 MHz Receiver Wide-Area Deployment

Wayne, AF6GX servicing the air band equipment.

For several decades SBARC has sponsored monitoring of the emergency beacon channel on 121.5. This was originally prompted and set up with L-Tronics receivers at several locations. Today we have a blend of L-Tronics and FAA 121.5 GRR receivers. The L-Tronics receivers shall in time be replaced by GRR receivers. Presently we have two GRR receivers in service, one at UCSB, and one at Santa Ynez Peak. A third unit shall be installed at the La Vigia TCF facility followed by a fourth unit at either La Cumbre or Diablo. This program is being privately funded by Bill, W1UUQ for as a public service benefit for public safety.

If you are interested in more details, please contact us.

Volunteer wanted: Rover-Master

SBARC is looking for a licensed club member to assume Rover duties. If you want to understand emergency communications from the ground up, this is a great way to do it. You get experience interconnecting radios and computers, assembling antennas on site and performing background administrative functions to support the above listed tasks.

The Rover is always kept ready to roll in support of public service functions, events, and ad-hoc adventures.  The Rover is fully equipped with a generator, solar, back-up batteries, and has HF, VHF and UHF capabilities. It even has an emergency repeater that can be deployed within a few minutes.  Various antenna options and computers are also available.

Responsibilities include: Regular vehicular maintenance, occasional car wash, testing radios and antennas, maintaining readiness.

If you are interested, please contact us on-line.

K6LCM LiFePO4 PowerBank Battery Box

The author’s battery box shown here at the K6TZ Museum of Doughnuts on a Saturday morning.

I experienced some disappointing results with a portable 12-volt jump-start lead-acid battery at Field Day this year. David, AC9AC, saved Field Day for me by bringing by his 30 amp-hour LiFePO4 battery to our operating location at Shoreline Park. Impressed with its capabilities, I decided to upgrade my portable power.

There are a number of vendors on Amazon and Ebay selling high-capacity LiFePO4 batteries at low prices. LiFePO4 batteries are impressive. Without going into too much detail, the main advantages are that they are up to 70% lighter than lead acid batteries, will continuously supply 13-14 volts under high-current draw conditions and can be completely discharged without damage. Most LiFePO4 batteries include a battery management system inside the sealed plastic battery itself, making them nearly a drop-in replacement for lead-acid applications. In fact, many new 12-volt chargers include special modes for optimally charging LiFePO4 cells.

If you search online, you’ll find many pre-made power stations. The problem is that most of them are designed with general consumers in mind. Your average power-hungry electronics guru mostly needs a 5-volt USB power connection and a 120-volt AC outlet. These premade power stations typically lack higher current connections such as Anderson Powerpole sockets. The designers of these pre-made power stations were probably thinking: “Who would want to draw 20-30 amps at 12 volts?” Hams would of course!

My requirements when designing the K6LCM PowerBank were that it would support typical 5-volt USB connections and a 12-volt DC cigarette lighter connection for running mobile chargers. But my design added two 12-volt DC Anderson Powerpole connections for supplying up to 30 amps of current to various rigs that are capable of transmitting up to 100 watts of RF.

Below are some photos of the build and a parts list. I mounted the binding posts inside the top compartment of the Harbor Freight ammo box as shown. Using 12 AWG wire, I connected the battery itself (using the blade fuse connector with a 30-amp fuse) and all of the power outlets to the positive and negative posts respectively. In addition to the fuse, the positive battery lead passes through the master switch on its way to the positive binding post. The only connection that does not pass through a binding post is the positive (7.5-amp fused) connection between the charging port on the back and the battery. Since I intend to use this setup as portable power, I won’t be running the charger and the radios at the same time. However, this 7.5-amp fuse protects the charger, just in case!

If you intended to use this PowerBank as an online battery backup in your shack, you could wire in your 13.8-volt, high-current shack supply instead of a battery charger and swap in a 30-amp fuse here as well. Consider the West Mountain Radio Epic PwrGate for this application.

Parts list:

The Hall Effect ammeter sensor is looped around the supply cable from the battery to the positive binding post and shows the current flow out from the battery.

Some newer Battery Tender chargers have settings for optimally charging LiFePO4 batteries. The volt meter doubles as two USB power ports. Connections from the various components to the battery are made through + / - binding posts. Be sure to install a 30-amp fuse on the main lead between the positive binding post and the battery. On this particular ammo box, the binding posts are concealed under the top compartment lid. High and low current 12-volt DC connections .An SAE connection for the Battery Tender charger is mounted on the back.

Santa Barbara Wireless Foundation awards scholarship to Dos Pueblos H.S. graduate

Brian Milburn, Santa Barbara Wireless Foundation president (left) and Levi Maaia, chair of the scholarship committee (right), presented Jack Peterson (center) with a scholarship award on behalf of the Santa Barbara Wireless Foundation at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on Wednesday.

June 30, 2020 – SANTA BARBARA, Calif.

The Santa Barbara Wireless Foundation and the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club awarded a scholarship to a recent graduate of Dos Pueblos high school.

Jack Peterson earned a 4.0 GPA at Dos Pueblos High School and plans on attending the aerospace program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall. He is a certified Mission Radio Operator for the Civil Air Patrol, a member of the Cyber Patriot youth security program and a participant in the EAA Young Eagles program.

Brain Milburn, the president of the Santa Barbara Wireless Foundation and Levi Maaia, a board member at the organization and the chair of the scholarship committee presented the scholar with a certificate and a financial award to mitigate his college expenses in the fall.

“Our goal is to encourage more graduates to seek careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Milburn. “Jack has been well prepared for college by the STEM programs at Dos Pueblos.”

Peterson is the first recipient of this scholarship which will be awarded annually in June. Applicants must be high school seniors who plan to study Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics in higher education. Applicants should have an excellent academic record. While not requirements, preference is given to applicants who are graduating from a high school in Santa Barbara County and who hold an active FCC amateur radio license. Donations to the scholarship fund and applications for members of the class of 2023 may be submitted at scholarships.sbwireless.org.

The Santa Barbara Wireless Foundation together with the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club form a nonprofit, public benefit organization that develops and supports wireless telecommunications technologies in support of public safety, emergency communications, community service and scientific research in the Santa Barbara region. More information can be found at www.sbarc.org and www.sbwireless.org.

Bill Talanian, W1UUQ Joins the Ranks of The All Eight Club

SBARC Trustee Emeritus has set foot on each of the eight California Channel Islands

Talanian visited San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands on Tuesday. (courtesy photo)

Bill Talanian, W1UUQ has set foot on each of the eight California Channel Islands. The SBARC Trustee Emeritus visited San Miguel and San Clemente Islands this week checking off the last two islands on the list in his quest to visit each of the coastal outposts, an accomplishment that few can claim. More people have actually been to the International Space Station than have set foot on all eight Channel Islands.

Marla Daily, a California Channel Islands research historian and president of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, founded the All Eight Club to recognize those who have achieved the feat. Visiting all eight islands is not a simple task. Each requires different visitation arrangements. Five of the eight islands comprise Channel Islands National Park and are open to the public, while two, San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands are controlled by the U.S. military.

“Soon after passing my 90th birthday, I finally got to join the exclusive All Eight Club,” said Talanian. “Perhaps I am only the second SBARC member after Ken Owen, N6KTH, of Channel Islands Restoration. In actuality I have nine islands after spending two days on the little known Rincon Island.”

Members of the All Eight Club. include biologists anthropologists, botanists, ornithologists, zoologists, educators, helicopter and fixed wing pilots, a retired National Park superintendent and park employees, a museum director, a lichenologist, a photographer, a retired judge, and a sea captain. According to Daily, it is the most exclusive recognized geographic club in the world with membership in the low 200s—a tenth of the famous 7 Summits Club.

Listen to “Little Known Club On South Coast has Unique Admissions Test; You Must Visit All 8 Channel Islands” a 2018 KCLU story on the All Eight Club.