Next Radio Practice February 10, 2018

January 30th, 2018 by Peter No comments »

Greetings 2MCM Friends,

Our next Radio Practice will be Saturday, February 10, 2018.

We will meet again at Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park, 36th Ave. and Fulton St., from 1000 hrs. to 1200 hrs.

Bring your radio with the battery fully charged, a clipboard, paper/pencil, and your radio’s operator’s manual. Dress for the predictably unpredictable weather.  And bring your questions.  There is always someone to help and to answer questions.

I have two spare radios in case you haven’t gotten one yet or you can share a radio with someone.

Last month there were 19 of us at the Lake under clear skies- a warm and sunny morning.  After everyone checked in to the Alpha Net we broke up into 4 teams – Bravo, Delta, Echo and Golf, to send and receive messages. We also had a discussion about common radio procedures, ”pro words”, and good message sending practices.

Please join us on the 10th,  if you haven’t used your radio in a while,  if you want more practice using your radio, or  if you want to help other radio operators improve their radio skills.

I look forward to you joining me at the Lake.


Peter McElmury AA6SF

Siren Net Dates Changed

January 17th, 2018 by Peter No comments »

2MCM Friends,

The Siren Net is run by the Auxiliary Communications Service and volunteer Net Control Operators.

ACS has made a change to the days the Siren Net will be run.

The Siren Net, beginning February, will only be run on the “odd” Tuesdays of the month.  Or said another way: only the 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesdays of the month.

The City will continue to sound the sirens every Tuesday at noon.

Besides the Siren Net there is another way to report sirens heard or not heard.

Go to the ACS website: SFACS dot net / then go to the OPWS (Outdoor Public Warning System) page and find a “big button” at the bottom of the page.

Click on the “button” and complete your report.

You might want to first read the information on the OPWS page to learn more about the sirens and the Siren Net, and especially look at the map and list of siren locations.

Best Regards,

Peter McElmury AA6SF

Next Practice Sat. January 13, 2018

December 21st, 2017 by Peter No comments »

Greetings 2MCM Friends,

Our next Radio Practice will be Saturday, January 13, 2018 – our first radio practice of the New Year!

We will meet again at Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate park, 36th Ave. and Fulton St., from 1000 hrs to 1200 hrs.

Bring your radio with the battery fully charged, a clipboard, paper/pencil, and your radio’s operators manual. Dress for the predictably unpredictable weather.  And bring your questions.  There is always someone to help and to answer questions.

Last month there were 14 of us at the lake under clear skies- a warm and sunny morning.  We broke up into 3 teams, Bravo, Charlie & Delta, to send and receive messages.  All of the messages were Fortune Cookie Messages.  We had fun and used our radios.

Check out the NERT website for:

Something New: The Third Saturday of each month is a NERT Training Day.  Each NERT Training Day will offer opportunities to review and improve our NERT Skills.  I will try to attend some of these Saturday Training Days.  Bring your radios, and green NERT gear.  Registration is asked for.

The next NERT Citywide Drill is scheduled for April 21st.  Radio operators always play an important role at the drills and it provides opportunities to use our radios.  I hope to see you at the Citywide Drill. The 2018 HCT Classes will appear on the NERT calendar soon. I will be attending some of these classes in 2018 to brush up on NERT radio protocols and to support the NERT HCT program.

My best wishes to all of you for Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Many thanks to all of you who supported the 2MCM Radio Practices in 2017.

I look forward to seeing all of you again at the Lake.


Peter McElmury AA6SF

Next Radio Practice Saturday, December 9, 2017

November 20th, 2017 by Peter No comments »

Out next Radio Practice will be Saturday, December 9, 2017 – our last practice of the year – 2017! Time sure flies!

We will meet again at Spreckels Lake, 36th Ave. and Fulton St., from 1000hrs to 1200hrs. Try to arrive a few minutes early so you won’t miss any of the briefing.

Bring your radio with the battery fully charged, a clipboard, paper/pencil, and your radio’s operators manual. Dress for the predictably unpredictable weather.  And bring your questions.  There is always someone to help and to answer questions.

Last month there were 15 of us at the lake under clear skies- a warm and sunny morning, which was not forecast/predicted.

After checking in to the Alpha Net by radio we broke up into small teams with a Team Leader/Net Control Operator. The teams sent some short messages to their NCO, and then each team held a short “debriefing”. We were finished by 1200 hours.

My many thanks to all of you who joined me.

Our practices always include changing channels/frequencies, talking/listening, sending/receiving messages, and helping each other.

So far San Francisco has dodged a major event (catastrophe), the type of event we are preparing and training for. Besides having a radio for communications there are other aspects to “being prepared”.

Here is a link to a preparedness FEMA sponsored website. A program to “Being Prepared” one-step at a time. Take a look at it:

I look forward to seeing you at Spreckels Lake.

73 (best regards),

Peter McElmury AA6SF

Next Radio Practice Sat., Nov 11, 2017

November 1st, 2017 by Peter No comments »

2MCM Radio Practice Friends,

Out next Radio Practice will be Saturday, November 11, 2017, Veterans Day.

We will meet again at Spreckels Lake, 36th Ave. and Fulton St., from 1000 hrs to 1200 hrs.

Last month there were 12 of us at the Lake. It was a beautiful straw hat and sunscreen day. A couple of first timers, the rest veterans of 2MCM talked and sent messages, and helped each other.

Gosh! I wish more of you would join us for talking on our radios, asking questions and helping with the answers.

Always lots of smiles at 1200 hrs when we head home.

The NERT October Citywide Drill was postponed to November 18. If you already signed up to participate you do not need to do anything.

Just arrive at Everett Middle School, 450 Church St. & 17th St. by 0830 hrs ,bringing your green NERT gear, appropriate safety clothing/shoes, and a response “go-bag”, with flashlight, NERT Badge, NERT Volunteer Information Card, radio, and be ready to practice – practice – practice. A critical mass is also important for the NERT Drills!

If you haven’t signed up go to: 

Also bring a bottle of water and a “snack”/energy bar.  Lunch will be provided.

I look forward to seeing you at Spreckels Lake and the NERT Citywide Drill.

73 (best regards),

Peter McElmury AA6SF


The Great California Shake Out – 2017

September 27th, 2017 by Peter No comments »

Register now: The Great California Shake Out – 2017

Drop – Cover – Hold On

The Great California Shake Out

What is it?  Join millions of people who will Drop, Cover and Hold On.

Learn all about it at:

When is it?  October 19, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Register!  Register now as an individual

As a Ham what can I do on Oct. 19th at 10:19 AM?:   First Drop, Cover and Hold On. Then tune your radio to the WA6GG repeater 442.050 MHz ( + ) 127.3Hz .  Listen for an ACS Net that may be activated and follow the Net Control Operators instructions for reporting.

Shake Out Volunteer Radio Groups in San Francisco County:  Currently there are only two Volunteer Radio Groups registered in San Francisco:

* The 2 Meter Critical Mass Amateur Radio Practice Team.  That’s US!!!

* SF Auxiliary Communications Service.

Are you ready for the Big One?  Do you know what to do? Have you updated your plans, supplies?  Find answers at The Great California Shake Out website.

It is better to be prepared months too early than seconds too late.

What have you got to loose?

Date change for October 2MCM Radio Practice

September 18th, 2017 by Peter No comments »

Greetings 2MCM Radio Friends,

Please change your calendars to show our next radio practice will be October 21st, and not the 14th.

The reason: SF NERT is holding their October Citywide Drill on the 14th and I want to participate in the SF NERT Drill.

All of you who are NERTs should sign up, before Oct 10, for the Citywide Drill too.

This drill is for NERT graduates. You will need your NERT ID, green paraphernalia, and radio.

Here is the link to sign up for it:
Saturday October 14, 2017, 8:30 am-3:00pm (sign 8:30-9:00a) This is a drill of your Neighborhood Team’s Emergency Response.Bring NERT issued safety gear and wear appropriate safetyclothing/shoes, a response “go bag” with flashlight,water bottle, snack etc. This drill is scheduled to run through lunch., which will be provided. RSVPs for drill and lunch by October 10 for planning purposes Do you friends want to play the victim? Register here:


I hope to see you at the NERT Citywide Drill and the next 2MCM Radio Practice on October 21.   Aargh!  There are so many things to do.  But we need to practice and be prepared.  None of this happens in our dreams.

Let me know if you have any questions.


2MCM Radio Practice Sat. October 21

NERT Citywide Drill Sat. October 14 (pre-register before Oct 10)


Peter McElmury AA6SF

Recap: September 9, 2017 Radio Practice

September 18th, 2017 by Peter No comments »

2MCM Radio Practice Friends,

I missed the radio practice because I was sailing my little remote control boat on the lake for a regional championship regatta.

David KK6JKC kindly took over the radio practice and here is his report of the morning’s radio practice:

We had 12 participants:
We organized 2 message-passing nets: Bravo and Charlie.  Everyone who was not a net control operator was able to check in to both nets and to send and receive messages on both nets.

Dana KM6JLT ran nets Alpha and Bravo, with Martha KM6HZS scribing and Jeff  KC9DPP Elmering.

Joan WA3TSS ran net Charlie.

Events of note:

An early question by Martha KM6HZS about making contacts at the W6PW 2m  QSO Party evolved into a distinction between tone transmitting and tone  squelch.  An incident during the radio practice helped bring this out, as John  N0ZEN and Jeff KC9DPP discovered their radios did not generate a tone of  196.6 Hz.  The workaround was to work without tone squelch, and we  observed this could come up in a mixed group of operators.  Oh right, it had.

Another issue, noticed by Sky AA6AX, was that while some people were
pausing after each group of 5 words, they did not wait for a “continue”
or “go ahead” signal to begin the next group.

Along the same lines, at one point someone asked for a fill “on line 4,”
which would be meaningless to anyone except the 2MCM, because the 5-word  grouping on the 2MCM message form is unique. The proper way to request a  fill would be “say again word after.”

We all gave Anne KK6DFR a round of applause, as today was her first day  on the air.

Feeding seagulls and pigeons provided QRN for many of us, as well as one Canadian goose who seemed to think it was a seagull.  (My note: QRN means “noise from natural sources” as opposed to QRM which means “man-made noise”.)

Betsy KK6JKF gave us a real puzzle when her radio refused to transmit on Channel Alpha.  After checking the frequency and tone, and trying an
alternate antenna, Betsy discovered her HT was transmitting off
frequency.  This prompted a discussion of offset, why it exists, how
Yaesu equipment calculates it automatically, and how to turn it off.  We
never discovered why it had been set on a simplex frequency in the first  place.  Those Yaesu’s can be touchy.

We managed to close the nets at 11:45 and finish the discussion right at  noon.  Several people observed that while Peter AA6AF was sadly missed,  even though he might be enjoying his time racing a boat, I had managed to coordinate a smooth and satisfying game today.

N0ZEN distributed his latest book, “Cut & Paste Zen.”  That was a nice
party favor.

Someone brought donuts to the radio practice, so all diets were effectively suspended.

Thank you David. I knew you would run an excellent radio practice.

Peter McElmury AA6SF


August 22nd, 2017 by Peter No comments »

2 Meter Critical Mass Radio Practice Friends,

This Saturday, August 26, 2017 the San Francisco Radio Club is hosting their 3rd Annual 2 Meter QSO Party.

QSO = a radio exchange that usually consists of an initial call, a response by another amateur radio operator at an amateur radio station, and possibly a report of some kind. A contact is often referred to by the Q code QSO.

Party = a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment. Or an amateur radio operator having fun talking to another ratio operator and exchanging information.

If you are interested, please read the long message below:

The San Francisco Radio Club has two pdf files; one with a logging sheet to use for the QSO Party, and the other with the rules for the event. The rules are really pretty simple.
Use this Link to SFRC 2M FM QSO PARTY (you may have to copy paste):

What is a QSO Party?
An opportunity to use your radio by talking to other hams in the City.
We will become better radio operators by using our radios and this is chance to do just that – use our radios. And have some fun.

Why participate?
We are serious about becoming better radio operators, and helping others, too.
We need to be ready . . . . . when needed.
There are not many opportunities in San Francisco to use our radios or to help others.

Who should participate?
That’s easy. All of us with Amateur Radio Licenses should participate.
We all need to use, and practice using out radios.
And we need to help others do the same.
Critical Mass takes a minimum of two radio operators.
Join in on the fun.

Where do I participate?
From anywhere is the City, or outside the City where your radio can make contact with other ROs in the City.
Drive to the top of a hill, a park or the grocery store parking lot.
If you move around you need to know the zip code you are in for your report.
See the zip code list below.
Try from inside your apartment or house.
Going out on foot with you radio and clipboard with the log sheet might be fun.
Go to a place high in elevation if you can.

When is the QSO Party?
The time period for the QSO Party is 10AM to 2PM local time, Saturday, August 26, 2017.
If you are busy take your radio with you using one or all of the four channels when you can.
Someone mentioned checking in on the quarter hours.
Take your clip board, a list of the suggested frequencies (channels), pen/pencils & the Log Sheet.

How do I participate?:
Go to the SFRC website (SFARC.ORG) and look at and print the log sheet and rules.
Submitting the log sheet is recommended but not required.
But do keep a log sheet of your contacts.
Note that the time period for the QSO Party is 10AM to 2PM local time. (use your smart phone alarm featue?)
Be ready to use one or all four of the suggested radio frequencies ( most of us who are SF NERTs already have them programmed into our radios).
Tune into them and listen for someone to talk to.
Or if the channel is quiet, say your call sign a couple times, say you want to make a contact for the 2 Meter QSO Party. Talk for a minute or two and then listen for someone to reply. Still no one? Start over and do this two or three times.
After you make a contact, exchange your call sign, zip code and give your signal report (use 5 9 for simplicity) and write all this down in the log. Help each other with the exchange. Take your time.
Ask for repeats if needed, and keep up the conversation for a few minutes to keep the channel busy for others to hear you. “How about those Giants?”
If you hear two ROs talking, wait for them to finish their exchange of info and during a pause, say Break & your Call Sign.
One of them will recognize you, then tell them you want to exchange the QSO Party info, with both of them. Don’t be bashful.
You will get the hang of it after a couple contacts.

I apologize for the long message. If you read it all through then you are probably serious about participating.
I hope to talk to you on Saturday the 26th.

73 and good luck,
Peter McElmury AA6SF


Neighborhood Zipcodes
» 94102 – Hayes Valley
» 94103 – SoMa
» 94104 – Financial District
» 94105 – Embarcadero South
» 94107 – Portrero Hill
» 94108 – Chinatown
» 94109 – San Francisco
» 94109 – Nob Hill
» 94109 – Russian Hill
» 94110 – Mission District
» 94111 – Embarcadero North
» 94112 – Ingleside
» 94114 – Castro
» 94115 – Pacific Heights
» 94115 – Western Addition
» 94116 – Outer Sunset
» 94117 – Height District
» 94117 – Cole Valley
» 94118 – Richmond District
» 94121 – Outer Richmond
» 94122 – Sunset District
» 94123 – Cow Hollow
» 94123 – Marina District
» 94124 – Bay view
» 94127 – St Francis Wood
» 94129 – Presidio
» 94131 – Twin Peaks
» 94132 – Lake Merced
» 94133 – North beach
» 94133 – Fisherman’s Wharf
» 94595 – Walnut Creek
» 94601 – Oakland

Practice at Presidio Main Post Lawn Aug 12, 2017

August 10th, 2017 by Peter No comments »

2 MCM Radio Practice Friends,

This is a reminder with additional information.

The August 12, 2017 Radio Practice will be held at The Presidio of San Francisco Main Parade Ground.

Outside Lands Music Festival that weekend prevents us from meeting at Spreckels Lake.

We are going to use our radios and use several different channels / frequencies – which more practice using our radios.

We will help each other. Escape the chaos of Outside Lands and come to the Presidio!

Specifically, for this practice, we will use our radios simulating the SF Radio Club’s 2 Meter QSO Party radio event. Don’t let this scare you off.  Our radio practice will be a low stress opportunity to make contacts on multiple frequencies with multiple stations (hams). We are going to help each other and the more of you that join me at the Presidio the more we will learn and the better the practice.

On a personal note: During my senior year at SF State University, Class of 1972, I made and presented a photo essay of the ecological importance of the US Army’s stewardship of the Presidio of San Francisco, in comparison to what the City of San Francisco was doing with its property. I concluded, in 1972, the US Army had been doing a better job.   The Presidio means a lot to me. It is still a beautiful place that my wife and I drive through every week.

Please join me Saturday for another radio practice.

Park at the South end of the Main Post Lawn, the corner of Sheridan Ave. and Anza AVe.  Look for my red pickup truck.

Bring a bunch of quarters or a DR/CR card to buy a parking ticket to put on the dashboard.

Also bring a folding chair, clipboard and tablet of paper; and your fully charged radio.

Come early.

All experience levels will benefit from this radio practice. Elmers and Wilmas are especially important to help mentor the rest of us.

Here is a link to a map that will help you find your way to the practice location:,-122.457748,557m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

I will be driving in using the Arguello Blvd. entrance.

Start: 1000hrs    Finish:  1200hrs

Give yourself extra time to get there.

I look forward to seeing you at the Presidio,

Peter McElmury AA6SF