Sunday, November 11, 2018

2018 ~ The Year of SSB Transceivers

When your Hobby May Save Your Life!

11/14/2018 ~ A movie …

11/13/2018 ~ The Hills are Alive with FIRE!

This was a shot taken this morning about 2 miles due south of my home around 9:30 AM. To our imperial emperor (small e) this is  a brush fire coupled with high winds and lack of rain. No amount of Forest Management would have helped. You best get the facts straight before making your pronouncements. 

Pete N6QW

[This being Veteran's Day (see my later note) my XYL and I went out to lunch. I wore my very special US Navy Seabee baseball cap. I received several Thank You for Your Service Comments and several handshakes. When I asked for the bill, the waitress informed me that someone had paid for our lunch. That was far different from the reception I got when I returned from Vietnam the second time. 

What was also amazing was a group of firefighters that left after having a spot of lunch and returning to the fire lines -- a rousing round of applause as they exited the restaurant. Yes there are many Americans who really care about those who served.]

I live in Newbury Park, California a bedroom community about 40 Miles Northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is adjacent to and once was a part of Thousand Oaks. There were two tragedies that struck our community this past week. One was a mass shooting of twelve people less than four miles from me and the second is the Hill wildfire to the west of me and the Woolsey wildfire to the east of me. With somewhat of TRGHS our small neighborhood was the only one not given a mandatory evacuation order, which is either an oversight as all around us were, or it was a case it was not our time.

The very 1st photo was taken about 15 minutes after the Hill wildfire started and shortly thereafter there was so much smoke that the sun was obliterated. (You can barely see my tri-band beam and it was only 30 feet from the camera shot).

This was the first time in my lifetime that I had to pack my car with "life's stuff" to be ready for an evacuation. Packing the car is not the time to be thinking about what to take with you. So here is my list in case you are faced with such a situation.

  • Important papers that you will need in the event all goes up in smoke. [Wills Passports, Birth Certificates, DD214's Insurance Policies, Auto Pink Slips, a few photo albums. A few might argue that they use a Bank Safety Deposit Box for these. One bad experience  convinced me to purchase several small fire proof containers to keep at home. Several years ago my wife was admitted to the hospital on the weekend and I was asked to provide proof that I had Power of Attorney. It was in the Bank Safety Deposit Box which I could not access until Monday. I had to contact our lawyer who was also a local Judge Pro-Temp and he validated that he had duplicate records of my Power of Attorney. Imagine trying to do that if you are not a friend of the Judge.]
  • Medications. I keep up with the medications that are prescribed for my XYL and always insure she has a ready supply for just such events.
  • Get in the habit of assuring your car always has at least a half tank of fuel or for you Tesla guys that your batteries are charged. The whole city of Malibu was evacuated (Yes, lots of Movie Stars  had to leave the mansions) and the one problem was folks ran out of gas. Many gas stations were open; but had no power so could not pump fuel. Several deaths in the Woolsey (Malibu) fire involved individuals trapped in their car. RIP
  • Clothing. Take two changes of clothing aside from what you are wearing. You will need enough for a week -- yes three sets will have to stretch you through the week; but space will be limited as to what you can carry. If all is a loss --just think of it a whole new wardrobe --not all bad.
  • Communications. Have your phone at full charge and don't forget your charger. I keep a charger/cord in the car so I can charge the phone from the car battery. I also have a battery operated ham rig something other than a Baoefeng or 2 Meter Handheld. Many of the repeater sites are on mountain tops that are on fire. Luckily I have the skills to homebrew a rig and I keep the Gel-Cell always on charge. See the 4th Photo.  The two amp battery will provide hours of listening time and about an hour of transmit time. One of my latest projects, the Sudden Transceiver is at the ready. Oh another small addition -- I bought a 12 VDC to 115 VAC inverter good for 150 watts and it is small. Perfect for running things like chargers to charge the Gel-Cell, Cell Phone or Computer. Don't forget a portable antenna kit like an end fed wire with antenna tuner. Your life may depend on having communications. Many reported that cell phone and internet service was down.  Now what do you do?
  • Securing your QTH. I need to add that I have shutting off utilities like the main gas shut off on the list.When I moved to this QTH I had the garage rewired so all things ham radio are on a separate power panel. One crank of the main breaker and all things ham radio have no power connection -- that also includes the CNC Mill and other powered shop equipment. Be safe.

To our somewhat out of touch emperor (with a small e) the wildfires have nothing to do with forest management. 

Let us not forget this is Veteran's Day in the USA and Remembrance Day in places like the UK. If you have served, this day has great meaning. To our friends who are current or former Marines, Happy 243rd Birthday, Semper Fi.


Pete N6QW

Photos added as of 1PM 11/11/2018 ~ View to the direct south and east of Pt Mugu.

Some have said "A Preview of Hell!


  1. ohh my god !!!
    is it ok now Pete ???

    1. We are all safe and we dodged the bullet. Thanks for asking.

  2. I m glad to hear that you are safe...ohhhh

  3. Hi Pete,

    I hope all is okay? Thanks for the timely reminder to always be ready for natural disasters. We don't get wildfires around here, but we do get tornados, heavy snow and ice storms. Oh and don't forget flooding. I agree, thanks to you and to all that served our great country.

    Take care......73 de AC9JQ

  4. It's good to read that you and the XYL are safe. I have been out of touch for a week and had not realized how devastating the fires have been until today.


    1. Hi David, Thanks for your post and concern . Things seem to be dying down.


  5. Wishing you and your family well Pete, that looks rather scary.

    1. Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your well wishes. All good here.


  6. Just another stark reminder of how dangerous the situation is in California. I hope that you and your family stay safe......btw, don't even listen to our crazy president. He obviously doesn't understand a thing about natural disasters.

    73 de AC9JQ

  7. Glad you and your XYL are OK, Pete. That's an excellent "check list" for anyone preparing for an evacuation, something that seems to be happening with unusual regularity lately.

    73 - Steve N8NM

  8. HI Steve,

    I did forget (or should say omit) to add to the list , that I have a Collector's bottle of Hendrix Electric Vodka that was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in a safe place in the car. If we were to go it might as well be in style. There was also a bottle of single malt that was there purely for medicinal purposes. This category is as important as the papers.


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