Welcome to 2023!
For the last few months I have had posted on this page an article about the early development and history of the Contra Costa County Public Safety Radio System. I did this to show that the building of a radio system from a new technology concept of the 1930’s called mobile radios was not an easy task or done over a few years. It was done over decades by people of different personalities and skill sets. Alan Burton could foresee Contra Costa County would eventually leave behind the VHF repeater based public safety radio system and transition to a new, multi county, P25 trunked technology based 700/800 MHz East Bay Regional Communications System Authority (EBRCSA).
The CCRA has followed a similar path in its development. The four founding teenager hams wanted to learn about electronics and radio and put together the idea of funding their interests by creating a group called the CCRA. Over the years it too has had growing pains with various founders moving on in the pursuit of education, family and fortune. During the 45 plus years of the development of the CCRA there were at least a half a dozen instances where former members of the CCRA decided to go their own way and establish their vision of radio nirvana. Some were interested building their own repeater systems while others had personalities that mixed as well as oil and water. It was a mixed bag of productive and unproductive years…
The year 2022 would fall into the unproductive year category. It saw the resignation of a longtime friend and chairperson of the CCRA. Another former group officer of the Executive Board should have called for elections but rather set out to create a new CCRA shadow group, get a club callsign of N6TPR and started collecting dues using the CCRA name. While I disagree with what they have done, I can only wish him and his wife the best of health and success in the establishment of their new club called Three Peaks Radio. As others before them, I’d suggest looking at building their new repeaters on 900 or 1200 MHz since radio spectrum is still available there.
Where does the CCRA go in 2023? In 2022 several members recognized that the CCRA Bylaws were flawed and as an association, was not a legal entity. A vote was taken and it was decided to pursue legal status as a not for profit corporation. I have had multiple discussions with many hams in the area. A few advised me of the effort involved in establishing a not for profit corporation while the majority advised that the effort was worthwhile for the longevity of the repeaters and support group.
My perspective is we will do what is needed to keep the repeaters on the air since it is a valuable resource to northern California in the event of an emergency. As part of the effort I have put together a mission statement draft that will provide guidance to us as we move forward.
So here it comes…
1. Provide an auxiliary emergency amateur radio communications repeater system that supports the Public Safety and Public Service needs of Contra Costa County residents.
2. Provide amateur radio operators (HAMS), students, and teachers a county wide communications infrastructure where they can meet and communicate with each other using amateur radio.
3. Teachers and HAMS will work together to develop STEM education programs that allow students to develop their skill sets by managing, building, maintaining, and programming an emergency communications system with the guidance and assistance of the teachers and HAMS.
4. The repeater system will provide an emergency communications resource to the students, teachers, and HAMS during a local or regional emergency.
5. The not for profit corporation will develop funding for the cost of maintaining the repeater infrastructure and provide grants and scholarships to students and teachers.
If you would like to be part of the working group to rebuild the CCRA or believe there is a better way to keep the repeaters on the air in the long term, please send me an email at email@example.com. The creation of the CCRA gave four teenagers a chance to experiment and learn something about electronics and communications systems. As we, the founders of the CCRA, continued our individual educations, we as a group became professors, venture capitalist, patent holders, space science engineers, technicians, and telecommunications managers. We greatly benefited by this opportunity of building an amateur radio repeater thanks to the generosity of our local hams. I think this is the path to revitalize amateur radio and repay those who gave us founders of the CCRA a chance.
One of the Founders of the CCRA, Trustee and Licensee of the WA6HAM repeater system