Upcoming Ham License Opportunities

The Communications Support Group has sought out additional one-day “Ham cram” classes for anyone interested in becoming a licensed amateur radio operator, as well as for any current licensees looking to upgrade their privileges. CoCoSAR member Ron Huntington attended the recent training in Tracy and earned his technician license.

“I took David Corsey's Ham-cram session in Tracy,” Ron says. “There were all kinds of people taking the course, from kids to seniors. This particular class has a 90-plus-percent success rate. You basically cram for six 45-minute sessions, and then immediately take the exam while everything is fresh in your mind.

If you don't pass, they allow you to take the test multiple times until you pass. (One person passed on the third try, but most pass the first try.) I was surprised at how easy it was to get my license!”

Here is an updated list of upcoming sessions. (Click to be taken to the registration pages.)

Tracy May 25, 2013 0800-1600

Stockton July 6, 2013 0800-1600

Tracy July 27, 2013 0800-1600

Stockton August 17, 2013 0800-1600

Tracy September 28, 2013 0800-1600

Stockton October 19 2013 0800-1600

Tracy November 23 2013 0800-1600

Stockton December 21 2013 0800-1600

Also, the Concord Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has a seven-week traditional technician class beginning in August.  For information, email HamRadioClass@gmail.com.

If you register for any of the above classes, let someone from the Communications Support Group know and he/she will try and put people together for carpooling, etc.

Jeffrey Deuel

Amateur/HAM radio liaison

CoCo SAR Comms Support Group

Hunter Deuel

CoCo SAR Comms Support Group

Changing Channels on the new Motorola Mobile Radios

To find one of the “typical” channels we use in SAR (e.g. TAC 4, CALCORD, CLEMARS) follow these steps:

  1. Press the small rectangular button multiple times under the word “ZONE” to scroll to ZONE 10 (see the small letters above the channel identifier).
  2. Turn the larger channel knob on the right side of the display to change the channel (e.g. TAC 4).

Easy as that! The communications crew will be laminating a full ZONE LIST and placing it in all the SAR vehicles on the visor on the passenger side for reference for other channels if needed.

IMPORTANT - The orange button on the right, behind the channel knob is the “Officer Down” button.  Do NOT push this button unless it is a life or death emergency.



New Radios, Same Procedures (Almost)

If you’ve been in some of the Sheriff’s vehicles lately, you may have noticed a new radio has been installed: the Motorola APX 7500 O5. The change is part of an upgrade to allow the use of additional frequencies and functions. Using this radio is essentially unchanged from any other vehicle radio: turn it on, select the channel, and press the PTT button on the microphone. But how you do this is slightly different.

The biggest visible change is the orange screen that displays the channel along with other information. The layout of the knobs and buttons can be seen on the radio’s Quick Reference Card, available in the Documents section of the SAR website. The three most important controls—power (on/off), volume, and channels—are shown in the photo above. Rotate the channel knob through the 16 Zone-1 channels until you find Tac 4 (see channel list sidebar). The radio also has many advanced capabilities beyond the basic send-and-receive functionality, including secured communications, telephone capabilities, and other features that won’t be used by SAR.

In addition to new radios being put in, the power on/off function in the vehicles is being changed. In the past, the power to the radio was sometimes wired through the ignition switch. In that situation the ignition needs to be on in order to operate the radio. The alternative was to have the radio wired directly to the battery … which then drained the battery if the vehicle was parked and the radio was not specifically turned off. Now all vehicles are standardized so the ignition must be on for the radio to work; the radio will automatically lose power when the key is turned off.

An additional change: All accessories will automatically be powered off by a ‘power tamer’ within 30 to 60 minutes after the ignition switch is turned off. This should help minimize the chance of having a dead battery due to accessories (such as a GPS charger) consuming battery power when the engine is of