Date   
Re: Power outage experiences and plans thread

Greg D
 

Good info, Gary. Lucky that you had power.

Do you know if the 2200i is beefy enough to run a standard home
refrigerator? There are some "guides" that suggest the starting current
for a fridge would be something like 2200 watts, which would be right at
the limit for the Honda.

Thanks,

Greg KO6TH


Gary KC3PO wrote:

Less eventful for me.

I got warning emails while I was up in Carson City. I was concerned
mainly about my freezers thawing, and realized that generators would
be a scarce resource down here so I bought a generator up there before
heading down the hill (Honda eu2200i - companion version). I got down
the hill and waited for the power to go out, but it never did. It went
out all around me. I even lost cell service for awhile even though MY
power was good. Looking on the map, I was on a skinny little peninsula
extending into darkness. I've got gas appliances and plumbed gas BBQ
so wasn't worried about cooking. I'll be checking into what it will
take to power the furnace too. The eu2200 might be a little light for
the furnace blower, but I'm fairly sure paralleling another 2200 in
would be plenty. I successfully powered a furnace several years ago in
WA state during an extended outage (snow/ice storm - power out 10
days). That was a 4k Generac generator.

- Gary KC3PO

Re: Power outage experiences and plans thread

Gary KC3PO
 

Less eventful for me.

I got warning emails while I was up in Carson City. I was concerned mainly about my freezers thawing, and realized that generators would be a scarce resource down here so I bought a generator up there before heading down the hill (Honda eu2200i - companion version). I got down the hill and waited for the power to go out, but it never did. It went out all around me. I even lost cell service for awhile even though MY power was good. Looking on the map, I was on a skinny little peninsula extending into darkness. I've got gas appliances and plumbed gas BBQ so wasn't worried about cooking. I'll be checking into what it will take to power the furnace too. The eu2200 might be a little light for the furnace blower, but I'm fairly sure paralleling another 2200 in would be plenty. I successfully powered a furnace several years ago in WA state during an extended outage (snow/ice storm - power out 10 days). That was a 4k Generac generator.

- Gary  KC3PO

Re: Power outage experiences and plans thread

Greg D
 

Hi Carl,

Excellent. How big a generator did it take to run the heater in the attic?

Thanks,

Greg KO6TH


Carl - N6CKV wrote:

Living in Penryn we lose power for a few hours several times a year.
About 8 years ago we lost power for 20 hours, I ended up climbing into
the attic to power my heater. To prevent this from happening again we
had a whole house generator installed, a Generac 20KW unit with an
automatic transfer switch, running on Propane. The generator kicks in
within 20 seconds of losing power.

For the PSPS we lost PG&E power at 12:17 Wednesday morning and did not
regain PG&E power until Friday at 12:47 PM (just past noon) about 60
hours.. During that period my Propane tank went from 70% to 50%, so I
could have lasted for a few more days.

Cell was OK and my POTS phone worked. My internet is RF based
(Cal.NET) and was out for Wednesday, but returned Thursday and had no
other issues.

Re: Power outage experiences and plans thread

Carl - N6CKV
 

Living in Penryn we lose power for a few hours several times a year.  About 8 years ago we lost power for 20 hours, I ended up climbing into the attic to power my heater.  To prevent this from happening again we had a whole house generator installed, a Generac 20KW unit with an automatic transfer switch, running on Propane.  The generator kicks in within 20 seconds of losing power.  

For the PSPS we lost PG&E power at 12:17 Wednesday morning and did not regain PG&E power until Friday at 12:47 PM (just past noon) about 60 hours..  During that period my Propane tank went from 70% to 50%, so I could have lasted for a few more days.

Cell was OK and my POTS phone worked.  My internet is RF based (Cal.NET) and was out for Wednesday, but returned Thursday and had no other issues.

Power outage experiences and plans thread

Greg D
 

Hi folks,

I think it might be instructive for us to document our experiences
during the recent power outage, before we forget the details. This can
be a way to learn from our own experience and that of others, and to
support a discussion on how to perhaps cope with it better next time.

My experience:

I had understood that most likely if they did shut off power (they
didn't last time there was a warning) it would be around 4am. Since I
knew I didn't want to get up in the middle of the night to shut off the
battery backup (UPS) units that run the Internet, computer, lights, and
ham equipment, I had already shut everything down when the outage
actually hit just after midnight. My mobile carrier is T-Mobile, and
based on the arrival of email to my cell phone, cell service went down
between 1 and 3 hours later. Checking other services in the morning, I
was surprised to find that my AT&T Land Line phone (the original POTS
service, not DSL) stayed up. I say surprised because for the past
several years any local power outage took it out too (no dial tone), and
I've been complaining to them about this lack of backup power. It's the
only reason I still have a land-line phone, and this time it actually
worked throughout the outage. Unfortunately, dial-up Internet is no
longer an option, or at least I didn't consider trying it.

I tried firing up the UPS that powers the computer and cable modem to
check email, and found that the cable modem would not get a signal, so
no Internet from any readily available source. I didn't try Cable TV,
since the TV itself is not UPS powered. Cable provider is Wave
Broadband. In the past, the cable continued to run during outages, but
those outages were relatively brief and likely more localized. I don't
know when it went down, but it was out by the time I checked, some 8
hours after the outage started.

In terms of other "stuff for living", it was pretty uneventful. Our
home has natural gas hot water and a gas range (and I have matches), and
city water and sewer. No pumps needed, nor backup power needed to run
them. Backup for the gas appliances would be a propane BBQ. Home heat
is gas powered, but not operational without mains power. Fireplace can
burn wood, if needed.

I have both a 12v 55AH SLA battery that I use for ham events, and a
smaller 20-ish AH unit "crafted" from a set of three 8 AH SLA batteries
that were pulled from the computer's UPS after their service life was
up. The smaller unit kept my phone and ham HT charged, and the larger
one could be used with a small (175w) inverter to run a few CFL or LED
lights around the house for quite some time, if needed. Extension cords
are at the ready. Heat was not needed, as the weather has been pleasant
recently. I have separate UPS supplies; one for the computer /router /
Internet, one for all the ham stuff, and a pair of small units for a
lamp in the living room, and for a lamp and the cordless phone in the
Shack. There are land line phones (which do not require power) in the
kitchen, bedroom, and guest room, so the other cordless phones in the
house can go dead without impact.

The morning of the outage I got on APRS with my Kenwood TH-D74 HT and
sent an email to my daughter explaining what was going on, and to call
me on the land line when she got to her home to Lincoln. She was
enroute from the Bay Area at the time of the message, and I didn't want
to call her while she was driving. That email was received and
appreciated. The HT also was able to hit our club repeater by taking
the 2m antenna feed off the base station, and was used to access the
Power Net from home during the outage. I have this pre-wired through a
rotary antenna switch. Using the HT saved the battery on the Ham UPS
for later, in case I needed to get on the higher-powered equipment.

During the day, I realized that my preparedness was all good, except for
the Fridge. Not enough ice. So late morning I went for a drive around
town with a big Styrofoam ice chest in search of "stored absence of
energy" as my brother calls it. Brian's hosting of the Power Net was a
great resource, as I found no ice to be had in Auburn and reported
such. The net let me know that none was to be found as far down the
hill as Loomis, and that saved me from what would have been a wasted
drive.

As I was driving around, however, I found that some areas around town
did have a weak but usable cell signal, and my phone was able to
download the day's email. Signals were never really strong, and
download was definitely slowed by all the traffic. Surprisingly, I even
got a few SMS messages, including one from Placer Alerts, when I
returned home. This was in spite of the zero reported "bars". I've
found SMS is often usable, though with some delay, even without an
apparently usable service. I brought the smaller SLA battery pack with
me during the drive, and recharged it from the car as I drove by
plugging it into the Accessory port. I had previously prepared a set of
pigtail adapters, male and female accessory connectors to power pole,
along with some splitters and a power meter. So recharging the battery
from the car was simply a matter of plugging the battery's power pole
into the accessory plug pigtail, then the pigtail into the car. The
larger battery was not used in this event.

I live in North Auburn, and was fortunate to be among the first to get
power restored Wednesday afternoon (16 hrs of outage, nearly to the
minute). I was thinking that the proximity to the hospital was part of
the reason for this, but I heard from someone who lives even closer, and
their home never lost power. I did not try to view the outage map
during the outage, since Internet wasn't generally available.
Mid-afternoon (slightly before power restoration), I noticed that there
was a weak but usable cell signal in one part of the house that my
tablet could lock on to. Perhaps the larger device footprint of the
tablet (i.e. bigger antenna?) made this possible.

Once power was restored, the cable Internet came right up, but cell
signals remained weak, and this weak signal state remained for some
time. I was able to use T-Mobile's "WiFi Calling" to get full "5-bars"
access to cellular services over the cable-provided Internet
connection. I don't know when cell service returned to "normal"; it's
not great here anyway, so hard to tell. With the restoration of power
and Internet, my Ham APRS iGate returned to the air. I haven't checked,
but expect it saw a lot of service.

Some folks have asked how my electric car did during the outage. Answer
is that it was fine. EVs are typically plugged in whenever at home, so
you've got a full battery every morning. Contrast that with a
gas/diesel car where you refill it when it gets low, so, on average, an
EV might actually have more range than an ICE car on any particular
day. Gas cars, of course, can be pre-filled before the event, but we
did see gas lines and outages during the event. I only charge my car to
80% normally (it helps with battery life), which gives a range of about
160-180 miles at freeway speeds. This is more than ample for errands
around town (which increases range), or an escape to the low lands if
necessary. I did use my wife's SUV during the failed hunt for ice, but
that was more because the ice chest didn't fit in the Roadster than the
fact that it is an electric car.

Thinking forward, the lack of a way to keep food cold was probably my
biggest issue with the outage. Three general approaches come to mind.

1. Continue as I did this time, perhaps with a bit more emphasis on ice
vs food in the freezer section of the fridge. Stock up on ice before a
"planned" event. This would probably be acceptable for events up to 24
to 36 hours, but some areas were without power for twice that long. I
did crank the temps down in both the freezer and fridge before the
outage, to store up as much "cold" as possible, and that definitely
helped. Buying a separate small freezer (~$170) for increased ice
storage might be an option here. This is what the neighbors across the
street do.

2. Get a portable generator (~$400-$700), enough for the fridge and a
few lights. Lines at gas stations were significant around town with
folks needing fuel for their generators, and a number of them ran out of
fuel. Some generators are "dual fuel" units, and are able to run from
Propane. I believe they can be converted to natural gas, so that could
solve the fuel and refueling problem since I have natural gas at home.
It's never gone out in the 35 years we've been here. Otherwise, it can
share the tank I already have for the BBQ. Either non-gasoline
configuration also solves the long-term fuel storage challenge, since
this unit will be (hopefully) infrequently used.

One idea that came up on the Power Net was that homes with natural gas
or propane heat, and which happen to have a "split system" (one with a
furnace in the attic, and the A/C compressor outside) seem to use 120v
power for the furnace section. They might be able to run the furnace
from a small generator too. I will attempt to verify this with my HVAC
technician. I have a split system in part of the house (2nd story
addition), which could serve as a retreat, but it would be a long run
for the extension cord to get power to it. It might be better just to
use the fireplace, or convert the fireplace to a gas insert.

3. Get a larger generator (240v, several $k?) and tie it into the house
mains through a proper "transfer switch" (as required by code). Likely
won't go this route, as it would be significantly expensive and the
outage was not really that big a deal. We had a much larger outage back
in 1990 after a huge (by Auburn standards) snow storm dumped 8" of snow
on us in one day. It knocked out power for 3 days. We got by without
losing any food by filling a spaghetti pot with snow and putting it in
the fridge. Heat was from the fireplace; not great but it worked well
enough to get within an "ugly sweater" range of comfort.

I'll be investigating option #2 shortly... Any suggestions or opinions
on options are welcome!

Greg KO6TH

Photos Rocklin Mini Maker Faire

Michael - KK6GLP
 

Rocklin Mini Maker Faire photos are posted here:

https://w6ek.groups.io/g/sfarc/album?id=96304&p=Created,,,20,1,0,0

On October 12, ARRL Sacramento Valley Section had a booth promoting Amateur Radio at the Rocklin Mini Maker Faire. Volunteers from Sierra Foothills ARC and River City ARC participated. The Faire had many attendees and we fielded many questions. We displayed our homebrew amateur radio projects. The Morse Code keyers as always were a big hit with the kids.

73

Mike Perry KK6GLP

Re: El Dorado County Communications System Failures During The Blackout

Greg D
 

Hi Alan,

Yeah, really good point about the usefulness of CodeRed.  The power shutdown was for safety, but if a fire is started for whatever reason (e.g. spark from a generator?), the situation could have been worse since the infrastructure for carrying those messages often fails.

My experience.  I'm on T-Mobile for cell service, and also have an AT&T land-line (the old POTS system, not DSL) for the home phone, and Wave Broadband for Internet.  I'm just down the hill a bit from the intersection of Dry Creek Road and Highway 49 in North Auburn.  Power went out just after midnight.  AT&T land line stayed up (a change this time from prior events), but both cable internet and cell went down.  I don't know how long the cable stayed up, if it did, but cell service went out somewhere between 1 and 3 hours after the outage began.  During the day I did get a few SMS messages through, but it was really spotty.  There was one place in the house where I could get a bit of Internet on my tablet on Wednesday afternoon.

At one point I got a Placer-Alert phone call on the ATT line from the City of Auburn (we're outside the city limits BTW) with the same content as an SMS from them.  Good to see that some communication paths were working.

Power came back on Wednesday afternoon, after being out for 16 hours.

Greg  KO6TH


Alan Thompson wrote:

First of all, thanks to everyone for running the Power 'Net during the Black Out. I didn't hear any other Clubs doing that, which is yet another thing that sets SFARC apart. 

This last Thursday, I was scheduled to give a presentation about the Camp Fire communications failures before our local Pleasant Valley Fire Safe Council in El Dorado County. But the power was shut off, so the FSC wisely decided it would be better to postpone and reschedule the meeting.

In some ways, the power cut was right in line with my topic since Internet and cell phone service was either down or impaired across El Dorado and Placer County, and several others directly due to the power loss.
 
Comcast Internet service in our area north of Placerville went down almost immediately.
 
Depending on which cell phone service provider you had, service was either impaired or unavailable. I could not make any calls or get Internet over my StraightTalk/Verizon service. Text messages still worked, with occasional delays.
 
Had our CodeRed Alert system been activated for a fire, it makes me question how many would have actually received an alert.
 
I'd like to hear from other Club members your own Internet/phone communications failure story during the power outage? Where are you located? When did you lose Internet and/or phone service? Who are your service providers? Did you lose all cell service connectivity or just part?
 
Your information becomes vital in urging the state of California and local governments to compel service providers to harden their sites and reduce these potentially life-threatening service failures.

White Elephant Auction - Molly

carl.wf6j@gmail.com
 

Wanted to thank everyone for “contributing” to the HT purchase for Molly. She was so delighted and now wants to get her license. Her Dad has been helping with that already.

Brian, AI6US - brillant idea to get several folks to “pitch in” that was my highlight of the evening. All Elmers would be proud of you!

Here is our YL with her HT and Dad


73, Carl, WF6J



Re: El Dorado County Communications System Failures During The Blackout

Nathan Chilton - K6NDC
 

I live in North Auburn, just west of Hwy 49 & Atwood Rd. Our power was out for approximately 16 hours. During that time, our cellular service was functioning as normal.  I plugged my laptop into a Bioenno power battery, turned on the hotspot feature of my phone, and worked from home without any connectivity issues. We have service through Cricket Wireless, using AT&T's network. 

El Dorado County Communications System Failures During The Blackout

Alan Thompson
 

First of all, thanks to everyone for running the Power 'Net during the Black Out. I didn't hear any other Clubs doing that, which is yet another thing that sets SFARC apart. 

This last Thursday, I was scheduled to give a presentation about the Camp Fire communications failures before our local Pleasant Valley Fire Safe Council in El Dorado County. But the power was shut off, so the FSC wisely decided it would be better to postpone and reschedule the meeting.

In some ways, the power cut was right in line with my topic since Internet and cell phone service was either down or impaired across El Dorado and Placer County, and several others directly due to the power loss.
 
Comcast Internet service in our area north of Placerville went down almost immediately.
 
Depending on which cell phone service provider you had, service was either impaired or unavailable. I could not make any calls or get Internet over my StraightTalk/Verizon service. Text messages still worked, with occasional delays.
 
Had our CodeRed Alert system been activated for a fire, it makes me question how many would have actually received an alert.
 
I'd like to hear from other Club members your own Internet/phone communications failure story during the power outage? Where are you located? When did you lose Internet and/or phone service? Who are your service providers? Did you lose all cell service connectivity or just part?
 
Your information becomes vital in urging the state of California and local governments to compel service providers to harden their sites and reduce these potentially life-threatening service failures.

SFARC Net - Thu, 10/10/2019 #cal-notice

sfarc@w6ek.groups.io Calendar <noreply@...>
 

SFARC Net

When:
Thursday, 10 October 2019
7:30pm to 8:30pm
(GMT-07:00) America/Los Angeles

Where:
W6EK Repeater - 145.430 -600, PL162.2

Description:
Check-in for Club updates from Officers and members, QSTs and more. Everyone is welcome!

Upcoming Event: SFARC Board Meeting - Fri, 10/11/2019 6:00pm-7:00pm #cal-reminder

sfarc@w6ek.groups.io Calendar <sfarc@...>
 

Reminder: SFARC Board Meeting

When: Friday, 11 October 2019, 6:00pm to 7:00pm, (GMT-07:00) America/Los Angeles

Where:Mel's Diner, 1730 Grass Valley Hwy, Auburn

View Event

Description: Monthly SFARC Board meeting. The venue may change from time to time ... Inquire on the repeater or www.W6EK.org for updates

Re: California QSO Party (CQP) 2019 #contest

Orion, AI6JB
 

2019 CQP Wrap-Up!

This year we ran the California QSO Party (CAP) as a Low Power Multi/Multi County Expedition up near Robinsons Flat Campground at the end of Foresthill Divide Road.  "Low Power" means less than 200 watts. "Multi/Multi" means multiple operators, 6 total, and multiple stations, 2 total.  "Expedition" means we setup a temporary station using temporary antennas.

A total of 6 operators took the mic over a period of 30 hours to amass 340 contacts and 53 multipliers (note there are only 58 multipliers, 50 States + 8 Canadian provinces).  In addition, we made contacts with stations in 37 of the 58 California Counties.  This year we made 3 DX contacts with 1 each to Chile, Honduras, and the Slovak Republic.  All told we made contact with 4 of the world's 7 continents.  Only Asia, Antarctica, and Australia, proved to be elusive.

20 meters was once again king with 186 Q's (short for QSO's or contacts) followed by 80m with 58, 40m with 53, and 15m with 43.  Yes, it was a good weekend for 15 meters!

This year we had 6 operators put Q's in the logbook.  They were Brian, AI6US, with 105, Peter, WB6POT with 72, Ken, K6KEC with 27, Dustin, W6YUE, with 12, Al, NI2U with 8 CW contacts, and me, AI6JB with 2 CW and 114 SSB.

The highlight of the event was 4 students and their instructor from Mc Clatchy High School visited us.  What an enthusiastic bunch?  Brian and I tried our best to bore them with our limited knowledge of amateur radio, but they wanted more.  Al, NI2U, had them all keying their names in CW.  Two of which pronounced they were going to get their license just so they could do CW.  But perhaps the best moment of the day was when they accepted an invitation to the mic and each, including their instructor made their first HF contacts!

Special thank you's go out to Clyde, AB4CC, and Al, NI2U, who helped us setup on Friday.  AND, Ken, K6KEC and Chip, KM6MDF, who showed up Sunday to help us break-down.  Your help made the wonderful weekend that it was.  THANK YOU!

Definitely a very successful event.  Check-out the photo album here on Groups.io for pictures.

73 All,
Orion, AI6JB

PG&E shut down map

carl.wf6j@gmail.com
 

Hope you guys have power.  Also battery power for radios.  Stay safe.

The map:  (doesn’t look good) 

Upcoming Event: General Meeting - Fri, 10/11/2019 7:30pm-9:30pm #cal-reminder

sfarc@w6ek.groups.io Calendar <sfarc@...>
 

Reminder: General Meeting

When: Friday, 11 October 2019, 7:30pm to 9:30pm, (GMT-07:00) America/Los Angeles

Where:1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA - City Hall, Rose Room

View Event

Description: Come a little early and visit! Ample parking in back of the building. See map at http://www.w6ek.org for details (Hwy49 & Lincoln Way)

Re: Jamboree On the Air (JOTA) 2019 - October 19th

Orion, AI6JB
 

Good Morning Everyone,

I meet with Troop 22's Scoutmaster, Greg Kramer, at Gibson Ranch Park yesterday afternoon.  What a great site!!  See the pictures in the Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) sub-group.  We have plenty of green grass to spread out with open areas to erect antenna masts and even a few trees to hang an antenna or two.

Greg has a guy who will setup solar power for us to use and they will provide lunch!!

They now have over 200 scouts registered to attend!!  I was so excited that I told him to advertise we will be there.  We agreed SFARC would have a JOTA station running from about 9:00 to 15:00.  We can start setup on Friday at 16:00, maybe a little earlier (he will let me know).

Our JOTA station will be a part of a larger BSA Scouts event called The Eternal Flame.  They will be retiring American Flags non-stop starting at 20:00 on Friday, 10/18/19, night until 10:00 Sunday, 10/20/19.  He said you are all welcome to come watch at anytime.  Gibson Ranch Park is located in Elverta, CA.  If you point your GPS to 8554 Gibson Ranch Park Rd, Elverta, CA 95626, it will get you very close to our position.

If you are interested in coming on out or working a station, please let me know or subscribe to the JOTA Sub-Group.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

73
Orion, AI6JB

Re: Donations for the Club Auction

Brian Gohl - AI6US
 

I am in Meadow Vista, but if you need a place to drop off the items, I'll make sure they get to the sale.

Best Regards! 
Brian Gohl - AI6US 
(916) 770-7751 cell

-------- Original message --------
From: Michael - W6QB <radioman@...>
Date: 10/8/19 5:11 PM (GMT-08:00)
To: sfarc@w6ek.groups.io
Subject: [from W6EK Groups.io] Donations for the Club Auction

 

I have some donations for the club auction on Friday from Gary Willett – kb7qwc.

I have them because Gary is recovering from Gall Bladder surgery.

I may not be able to make it to the meeting Friday in part because of the pending power interruption, I’m in Foresthill.

Would someone be willing to take them to the meeting?  I can deliver to the Auburn area.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

 

_._,_._,_

 


--
Brian- AI6US

Upcoming Event: SFARC Net - Thu, 10/10/2019 7:30pm-8:30pm #cal-reminder

sfarc@w6ek.groups.io Calendar <sfarc@...>
 

Reminder: SFARC Net

When: Thursday, 10 October 2019, 7:30pm to 8:30pm, (GMT-07:00) America/Los Angeles

Where:W6EK Repeater - 145.430 -600, PL162.2

View Event

Description: Check-in for Club updates from Officers and members, QSTs and more. Everyone is welcome!

Re: Donations for the Club Auction

Greg D
 

Auburn's in the cross-hairs for power outage, too. 

Hopefully power will either remain on, or be back in time for the meeting!

Greg  KO6TH


Michael - W6QB wrote:

 

I have some donations for the club auction on Friday from Gary Willett – kb7qwc.

I have them because Gary is recovering from Gall Bladder surgery.

I may not be able to make it to the meeting Friday in part because of the pending power interruption, I’m in Foresthill.

Would someone be willing to take them to the meeting?  I can deliver to the Auburn area.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

 


Donations for the Club Auction

Michael - W6QB
 

 

I have some donations for the club auction on Friday from Gary Willett – kb7qwc.

I have them because Gary is recovering from Gall Bladder surgery.

I may not be able to make it to the meeting Friday in part because of the pending power interruption, I’m in Foresthill.

Would someone be willing to take them to the meeting?  I can deliver to the Auburn area.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

 

_._,_._,_