Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA] ~ W8QQQ

Welcome to the Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA] internet Web site. SARA is a non-profit amateur radio organization in lower central Michigan (Shiawassee County) dedicated to public service, emergency communications, and the advancement of amateur radio through education and technical excellence. Our club station operates with the club call sign, W8QQQ. Members are allowed to operate the station on a scheduled basis. Listen for "Quack-Quack-Quack" and give us a call!

For monthly meeting schedule information see: SARA Meeting Schedule.

Check out more club details on the 'top menu tab' labeled "SARA Club". That page links to various club details.

SARA invites anyone with an interest in amateur radio or public service to come to a meeting and/or join our club. Meetings are generally the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM (check meeting schedule link as we do not always meet on all months). Dues are $15.00 a year prorated at 1/2 year intervals {New license - we give a period of 'no club dues' to new licensees - come check us out!}. You can join our group at any of our monthly meetings or by contacting Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW, Treasurer at KC8ETW or email us, W8QQQ.

Review and report you status for the SARA's ARPSC [ARES/RACES] Local Inventory Form.  We are keeping a log of capabilities and contact information for the Emergency Management in the County. This is for ALL Shiawassee County Hams (not just club members). Email your data to:   W8QQQ at


Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

February, 2019 = No testing

VE Testing Sessions - SARA = W8QQQ

Our club members are very active in supporting the ARRL VEC program and are accredited through the ARRL. However, February, 2019 is a 'no testing date' due to 'snow-bird' travels. Please see details on SARA's VE testing page.


Christmas 2019 Winner Bob Wilcox, W8OMS with door prize

December (Christmas) Meeting 11 Dec 2018

  The Dinner held at Roma's Backdoor ~ Owosso -- it was a Great Evening Event!

The dinner meeting was well attended with 16 joining all of the activities. Bob Wilcox, K8OMS, took home the 'ADALM - Pluto {Analog Devices}' SDR evaluation development board. Six member scored 'ESP32 bit' microcontroller boards. All these were made possible by a generous donation from Digi-key and SARA wishes them a Merry Christmas! and thank you. All winners are to have a report at a club meeting before November, 2019. We all want to know what they are being used for. {Congratulations to the winners!}

Roma's Backdoor (Owosso) worked great for the venue along with the 6:30 PM greeting and dinner at 7:00 PM.

Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW, will be nominated to continue on the door prize committee (January, 2019 meeting) if the table talk was any indication. Thank you for the great effort!

Christmas 2019 Group

Those attending had a good time and the conversation was activive around the table ~ imagine that Hams talking together. 73's to all and hoping we do something similar next year.

ESP32 winners might like to look at a small tutorial 'Playing with the ESP32 on Adduino IDE'.

Some other ESP32 links:


'Quick Member Notices':

CoCoRaHS   Wx Reporting Network ~ Posted 09 Nov. 2018

In July, 2008 Michigan joined a National Weather Community called: Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network [CoCoRaHS] which is a network of volunteers who measure and report precipitation amounts.

The CoCoRaHS program needs Michigan volunteers. They would like urban coverage of one reporter per square mile and rural reporters one every 6 square miles.

The Michigan CoCoRaHS site is at

National Page for CoCoRaHS is: Or Facebook "Like" CoCoRaHS Headquarters.

There four steps to become a part of the network:

  1. submit a completed application.

  2. use an official 4" rain gauge (about $40 off of the National CoCoRaHS site w/ shipping).

  3. watch a 90 minute training video (online).

  4. an internet or phone connection for doing the reporting.


Smart 911 ~ For use by everyone in Shiawassee County!   New ~ 13 Sep. 2018

To sign up for 'Smart 911' text alerts from Shiawassee county dispatch and others - 'Nation Wide', text "smart911" to 67283 or go to: Smart911 Homepage" and select "Sign Up Today" button. If you ever need 911 support, the information you provide will be instantly available to the dispatch center and Emergency Responders. Information you can supply is: People & Household Info; Medical Information; Address and Location (includes GPS if on a supported cell phone; and Other Info you may wish to share. It is quick and accurate method to provide information to 9-1-1 for support to you.

Go back to top ↑


Digi-Key Design Aids   New ~ 13 Jan. 2019

DigiKey has several electronic design tools available. Their 'Scheme-It', 'KiCad', and 'SnapEDA' packages look like something we can use in our electronic based hobby! Check them out at: Digi-Key EDA & Design Tools. Enjoy!

You need to do the free registeration process on their site, but it is painless and the tools are worth the effort.

American Radio ~ History Site   New ~ 10 Oct. 2018

If you want to look through older electronics magazines then check out the American Radio History. It has Electronics Illustrated, Popular Electronics, and many other 'heritage' electronic magazines for your reading pleasure (pdf files).

Mapping Site Links   New ~ 8 Dec. 2018

The APRS system and the Marine Traffic sites are a couple of sites you may wish to look up:


Browsing HINT: Remember you can alway hit 'Ctrl-F' on any web page to quickly find words on that page. The search box on each of our pages will search the entire SARA site OR all the Web (it is a button choice).

We have a line at the top of each page that displays where you are viewing (a 'path').

Use for data mining searches... it has almost anything you may desire to lookup!

For example, want to learn about a particular radio band? Try 40-meter band or 60-meter band. Be sure to checkout the 'External links" at the bottom of Wikipedia pages for further detailed information. Bet you had not run accross those. We'll let you explore others as you desire.

Go back to top ↑



More Information about SARA

SARA Club History

The Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA] was founded in January, 1958 (over 60 year old). The club received the call W8QQQ in honor of Richard Sternaman of Owosso. Richard was one of the club founders and passed away shortly after the club began. The callsign, W8QQQ, was Richard Sternaman's from the fall of 1952 through 1956 (probably until his death). The club started their usage of W8QQQ in 1958 and 'Wiskey Eight Quack Quack Quack' has been active on the aire since that time.

Emergency Communications and Public Service were important to the SARA club in the 1960s. In 1961, the club was contacted by the State of Michigan to provide communications for the dedication and opening of the freeway M78/M69 (now called I-69). Also in 1961, the SARA club was incorporated as a non-profit organization by the State of Michigan. Then on 20 Nov 1961 SARA became an affiliated club with the ARRL, thus 2018 marks 59 years of ARRL support! In July, 1964, SARA members were on hand to help county health officials distribute the Sabine polio vaccine which was a large undertaking at the time. In a project called SOS, over 300 radio messages were handled for recipients of the drug by the club.

In the early 1970's the club participated in the First Annual River Daze Event (later to become the 'Curwood Festival). SARA held it's first Swap and Shop in 1975. In January, 1978, a very bad snow storm hit the mid-Michigan area and SARA emergency communcations assisted several county and local government agencies communicate. On the first night of the storm word was passed through SARA's communication system that a kidney dialysis patient in Owosso needed transportation to Flint for a treatment (a critical need). While trying to arrange that transportation, a second patient was found to need similar transportation. In trying to work through the system it was decided that SARA members would take the lead in the getting action required. Ground transportation was provided to get both patients to Durand, where a special 'snow train' had been setup for transportation to Flint (by the SARA group). The patients got to Flint for their treatments and were spared facing the threat to their lives. SARA members were very proud of getting through this experience and proving that hams are a great community resource.

The 1980's brought SARA to the forefront in fighting for amateur radio rights. Members stood firm in the opposition to restrictive tower and antenna ordances and had them removed from the books. This was a year prior to when the FCC issued it's ruling on PRB-1. PRB-1 was a ruling limiting local authority from imposing restrictions on amateur radio antenna's. Also, SARA was involved when local cable TV companies started broadcasting on amateur frequencies. SARA was able to force the cable companies to 'clean up their act' and use proper frequencies. At one point the FCC was in the area checking to make sure the signals were legal, this based on SARA's inputs.

The 1990's and 2000's brought addtitional challenges to the group. The use of personal cell phones and home computers utiling the internet have greatly changed the communication needs of the general public. The terror attack on the World Trade Center (2000) and a revised focus on emergency communication coordination resulted in Homeland Security being formed. SARA continues to train and work with the Depeartment of Emergency Management to retain coordination and support for emergency communications.

SARA works with the NOAA and National Weather Service in the 'Skywarn' program to provide weather/storm spotting and severe weather evaluation programs. So the club still retains a focus on community communications support. We help support the local repeater networks that have continued to progress with digital processes and connection to world networks through use of the internet. We hold our annual Field Day operations and display to practice setting up in emergency conditions and demonstrating our ability to communcate. So, SARA is still doing good things for our local community. If you have a desire to assist (and have some fun), come join us.

We meet at the County EOC / Homeland Office in Corunna (James P. Capitan Center) the second Tuesday of each month (except December). We know that in the Fall of 1962 Club was at 219 W. Exchange St. (downtown) and then in the Fall of 1969 at the Red Cross; 1302 W. Main St. The Red Cross moved to 708 Corunna Avenue, Corunna in 2000, SARA went with them and the club had an operating station room at that location (W8QQQ). The club was asked to exit the Red Cross building (2015) and moved first to a county facility (in Corunna)for a few meetings and then to Baker College Bldg 16 (room 1632).

At the October 2017 meeting the club voted to move the club meeting to the James P. Capitan builing in Corunna, the EOC building (lower level). Starting in November of 2017 we have been using the James P. Capitan Center location for meetings. Our current station trustee is: Tom Carpender, KI8AS. Moving our station, W8QQQ, to the Capitain Center allows operation from the Shaiwassee county EOC for when/if it is required.

We are going through the older minutes files for more information and we hope to post more when complete.


Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

"Quick Find" Member Links

Links that appear to be very frequently viewed by club members:

  Hamfests & SWAPS - SARA's list of ham swaps for club members - about 100 miles from Owosso, plus Dayton/Findely SWAPS - due to local interests.

  VE Testing - SARA's VE Testing Information.

  SARA Minutes Index - SARA's minutes listings.

  SARA Club Officers - The SARA officers and contact information are listed.

  Michigan Ham Clubs - SARA's list of Michigan Ham Clubs (not every Michigan Club is on our list, but a good sample for lower peninsula).

  Broadcastify Link for W8CMN Michigan DMP Repeater System ~ Listen to W8CNM Repeater System (Durand, Fenton, etc.)

Ham Call Lookups:

  QRZ Home Page (Callsign Server) - Ham Call Sign Lookups

  HamCall - World-Wide Hamcall Callsign Server

Go back to top ↑


Owosso VHF/UHF Repeaters:

The repeaters are not club owned or operated but are used by many members who do assist with the repeater operations. Get "On-The-Air" / stop by / say "Hello".

  • Analog - N8DVH ~ 147.020 MHz +offset (100 Hz) C4 Fusion & Analog/ 442.400 +offset (100 Hz) Analog Only

    This page also has some D-Star and C4FM Fusion Information and is the SARA page for 'voice repeater' information in the local area. It has some details about the N8DVH repeater.

  • DStar - W8SHI ~ 145.240 MHz -offset / 444.30 MHz +offset

    This link is direct to an 'External Page' for the Owosso D-Star Repeater [W8SHI] website.

SARA's Social Grouping:

We have a Facebook page that is open for all to join. Just search for us!

SARA has a Yahoo Group called "W8QQQ" and invites anyone interested to join us (it is free to join). We have photos of various SARA events posted, automatic emailing of club meeting reminders and information, club file postings & notices, etc. You must register to join the group which you can do on the 'enter group' link for our group. We do not spam but if you sign up for email notifications we do send meeting notices and items occasionally. Your ultimate protection is based on Yahoo's protection level. NOTE: We are transitioning to 'Google Groups' in fall of 2018 ~ look for changes.

Go to our group page here. W8QQQ Yahoo Groups Page.  You can join our group from that page.

We have an annual restaurant dinner in place of the December meeting with spouses and guests invited. Recently we have given out door prizes for some of the attendees.

... and a GREAT BIG 73! de W8QQQ  

Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

Ham Information Links - from Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA] ~ W8QQQ "Quack-Quack-Quack"

New Interest in Ham Radio or want to 'upgrade'?

Please see the SARA's "Ham License Help" for detailed information on getting a "Technician License" which many links with further information. Drop in on one of our club meetings and ask for assistance, we have members who can guide your learning and assist you in the licensing process {We call these people 'Elmer'}. We support an ARRL VE team for administrating amateur radio exams. See our 'Testing Link' for precise details, "VE Testing". We usually test on most 'even numbered' months at our meeting location. No Testing in Februrary, reserving June for Field Day and Testing at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds (Saturday), and flexibility for December (Christmas) ~ check the link for current details!. Another online license study, check out these sites:

Ham Test Online-- A GREAT site for Beginner's study and any License Upgrade study.

AA9PW Morse Code Site - links to Practice Exams and a good site to start CW training for all the classes of amateur radio licenses.

Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

To get an 'Official Copy' of your Ham Radio License, follow these steps:

You can use this to check on your new license or upgrade status!

  1. Go to FCC ULS system.
  2. In the box on their form just type in your hamcall and hit 'enter'. Make sure you are searching "By Call Sign".
  3. When it finds your call in their database it will be a form with your call displayed as a 'hyperllink', then click your call.
  4. At the top of the next form {near the top in small print}, click on the "Reference Copy" link.
  5. The ULS will then send your browser a PDF file that contains a copy of your license as originally mailed to you {a 'download'}. Write down the downloaded file name.
  6. Find the file that was downloaded and print, email, etc. as you please.
       Hint: Rename the file so you can later locate and use it on your computer easily.
  7. Hint: you an look for any call in the US system.

Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

Maidenhead Grid Square

The globe has been divided into 32,400 grid squares of 1 degree latitude by 2 degrees longitude in size. Finding the correct value can be done with an online Grid Square Calculator by K2DSL, David Levine. You can enter a postal address, zip code, or a call sign to find the correct grid square value. A call sign returns the 'home address' and maybe different if they are operating portable / mobile. The first two field characters (capital alpha characters) give a defined field location, the 3rd and 4th characters are the count number of the square. The next two (5th & 6th characters) will establish a sub-square position. Two locations within the same 'sub-square are always less than 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from each other. In degree terms, a sub square is 2.5 minutes of latitude) by 5.0 minutes of longitude, these usually shown as 'alpha small characters'. For even more precise measurements/mapping, two more digits have been approved as extended locator (making it eight characters in length). Usually the square and sub-square precision are all that are used, thus six characters is the 'norm'. Check 'Wikipedia" using "Maidenhead Locator System" for lots of additional detail. You will need this basic knowledge for the 2018 ARRL Maidenhead Contest.

A new ARRL contest starts 01 Jan 2018, to work as many maidnhead squares as possible. See the ARRL Grid Chase Contest for details. It runs the entire calendar year of 2018. You need just the first four indicaters, the club station value is 'EN72', you can follow the link on the ARRL site to a calculator to find yours. Good Luck!

Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

W1AW's Phone Bulletin Frequencies:

Listen to W1AW's phone bulletin 0145 UTC on 1.855, 3.990, 14.290, 18.160, 21.390, 28.590, and 50.350 MHz (SSB), as well as on 7.290 MHz (full-carrier, double sideband AM), and on 147.555 MHz (FM simplex). There are CW, Digital transmissions as well. The CW practice transmissions are very popular for those wanting to learn and improve their CW skill sets. See the W1AW operating schedule for more details.

Go back to top ↑


Coax that connects things! topic divider

Web Site Language Translation(s) Hint

If you need to display a website but it's not in your language, try using Google Translate ( Just type or 'copy & paste' the URL link into the box on the Google Translate page. You can choose the 'targeted language' if it is not detected automatically.


Go back to top ↑




Special Links and Widgets of Interest:


Amateur Radio Time!

   UTC           Owosso


Current Solar Conditions

Solar Data


Go back to top ↑


Local Weather

Click inside below to get detailed local weather.

Find more about Weather in Owosso, MI
Click for weather forecast

Free Software

Completely FREE software, has a five doves award.

Used for Our Site Web Link's Checkout:

Xenu Link Sleuth finds broken and dead WEB links.


Go back to top ↑