Who and What We Are
The Benicia Amateur Radio Club (BARC) is a very active group of Ham Radio operators based in the City of Benicia, CA, with emphasis on Emergency Communications. BARC partners with the Benicia Fire Department and the Benicia Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Our members are quite diversified, with interests in HF, Contesting, CW, Satellites, DFing, Antenna building, USS Hornet, Scout training, IRLP/Echolink, Conducting Classes & Exams, Nets, Emcomm, Packet, Raspberry Pi, HSMM MESH, and much more.
Working under the umbrella of the Benicia Fire Department and the Solano County Sheriff Office’s Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) organization, many of our members possess Sheriff Dept issued ACS identification cards and/or Fire Department issued Disaster Service Worker (DSW) ID cards.
The Club meets on the Second Tuesday of most months the downtown Fire Station at 150 Military West, Benicia, at 7:00 PM, doors open at 6:30. Entry is via the West 2nd Street side door. Each meeting consists of a business meeting and either a guest speaker presentation, a training session, a mini-drill or even a transmitter hunt has popped up from time to time. The Club does not meet in December as the annual party is held in its place. See the Events page for details of upcoming meetings.
BARC’s two UHF repeaters (KR6BEN) are at an elevation of 600 feet above Benicia and can operate for days on the diesel powered generator at the repeater site during power outages.
- Primary repeater: 442.750 MHz (PL 100 HZ) + Offset
- Secondary repeater: 441.250 MHz (PL 100 HZ) + Offset
- FM Simplex 146.550 MHz (No PL)
- Should both repeaters be inoperative, use Simplex on the Primary Repeater Output frequency: 442.750 MHz (PL 100 HZ)
- Packet Digipeater: KR6BEN 145.730 MHz, Connect via: BENNOD
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Ham Station (KB6EOC)
BARC operates the EOC Ham Radio stations KB6EOC in the Emergency Operations Center in the downtown Fire Station. This station has multiple VHF/UHF operator positions, a packet station on 145.730 MHz (KB6EOC-1), D-Star digital and D-Star and FM on 1.2 GHz.
The club conducts informal conversational nets each morning at 10:30 and 7:30 each evening on the primary repeater, except on Monday evening we hold a formal directed net for emergency preparedness, usually on the primary repeater. On the last Monday of the month, the net is conducted on the secondary repeater. We also conduct two HF nets each day: 10 meters (28,400 kHz) at 10 am, and 15 meters (28,315 kHz) at 3 pm.
Echolink and IRLP Nodes
Internet connectivity is available via the secondary repeater, KR6BEN, on 441.250, PL:100.
IRLP node # 7405
Echolink node # 809965
The Club also has five deployable GoKits on wheels. Three are VHF/UHF stations and two are HF/VHF/UHF. Tripod mounted antennas are easily deployable, including an 18 foot tall All-Band Buddipole Deluxe HF antenna system and DXCC and G5RV dipoles. All GoKits are operable “off the grid” using high capacity gel cell batteries, solar chargers or a 6KW gasoline powered generator. These GoKits can be quickly configured to operate as “Cross-band Repeaters” should the Primary and Secondary repeaters be lost in a disaster. The Club also has an Icom HF Station and Fan Dipole Antenna available as a loaner to any Club member (upon Board approval).
BARC is proud of its Mentoring program. Mentors, called “Elmers” by Ham Operators, are ready to provide guidance to its members. Whether it’s solving antenna challenges, programming an HT, studying to upgrade, or maybe simply learning how to solder, just drop a request to info@BeniciaARC.com for assistance. With the combined years of experience of our veterans well into the hundreds, BARC’s Elmers are ready to help.
Exams and Licensing Classes
Teams of BARC Accredited Volunteer Examiners (VE) are certified by both the ARRL and W5YI VEC’s. Ham Radio Exam sessions are conducted quarterly. Contact us at HamRadioClass@beniciaarc.com for more information.
Field Day and Drills & Exercises
The Club also participates annually in Field Day where multiple HF portable stations participate in the ARRL’s emergency test and contest. Amateurs of any license class are invited to operate under the supervision of an Extra Class control operator. Unlicensed guests are also welcome and given the opportunity to operate one of the radios under these same guidelines. BARC also conducts Emergency Radio drills throughout the year. These training exercises allow our members to test their communications equipment and practice their skills and procedures.
Membership and Elections
Dues are $25 annually. Membership runs from April 1st through March 31. New members joining between Jan 1st and March 31st will receive membership through March 31st of the following year. Family membership is included so those with multiple Hams in the family only need to pay a single $25 fee. Membership is not a requirement for participation but is encouraged.
Click here to download a printable membership form.
Click here to complete a membership application online.
Election of Officers is conducted annually at the February meeting.
Questions or comments can be sent to info@BeniciaARC.com.