By Ken Hower

Rubicon Toilets Upgrade

Last Fall, Edio Delfino and All Coast Builders ( ) and James Hardie Building Products (, offered to El Dorado County via Rubicon Trail Foundation to donate materials and services to rehab all the Rubicon toilets with new more durable siding.

Last week, with coordination from RTF and All Coast Builders, seven of the ten Rubicon Rest Stops (trail bathrooms) were stripped and rehabilitated with new concrete siding and trim provided by James Hardie Building Products. This was a coordinated effort to move material, strip, and re-side the public bathrooms with a superior product that will last for decades and be non-combustible, resistant to sun, wind, animals, and insects.

The result is a transformation!

Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to thank El Dorado County Parks, All Coast Builders, and James Hardie Building Products for their collaboration to make this project possible. Look for the rest of the toilets to be updated and all to be painted to their former colors before season end.

Each toilet was rehabbed removing rotten wood, and woodpecker holed wood.

They were properly wrapped for the elements.

Arnold’s rock toilet was in the worst condition, given it is one of the oldest toilets on the trail. It now has decades of new life.

By Chris Cowan

Bio Response/ Spill Kits

There you are enjoying your trip and then snap, pop, creak! What is that dripping now?

El Dorado County has been providing spill kits for several years now, implemented by the El Dorado County Environmental Management Dept. and funded by a grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. However, the Rubicon Trail Foundation knows that you may head to different areas to explore or like to have spares in your rig or just need the Bio Response. We have the Bio Response and spill kits on our website just for YOU. If you are local (Placerville area) we can possibly meet up with you or if you need them shipped order below.

In the Kit your will find an absorbent pad that is used to soak up oil off the ground or even water, an RTF oil rag, and there is also Bio Response in there that is friendly to the environment. Just follow the directions on the bottle on how to use. You will find Disposable bins at the trail heads for safe disposal of your used Oil Spill Kits.

One of the best ways to prevent spills is to do a simple pre- trip inspection of your rig and address any issues before you get to the Rubicon. Tighten bolts replace gaskets and such.

If everyone does their part the Rubicon will be Oil free.

By Chris Cowan

Why is having a HAM Radio license important?

What happens if you break down on the trail?

My husband(family) left and has not returned home yet?

The Rubicon Trail Foundation fields many questions about the Rubicon Trail each day especially during the summer & winter months.  This year we have noticed many more coming in with people from all over heading to the Rubicon as a lot of vacation venues are closed or cancelled due to the pandemic.

There is little to NO Cell Service on the Rubicon Trail.  HAM Radios are great because you can communicate with people all over the world if licensed and get help if needed in an emergency situation.  It is very important to pack appropriately (food and clothes/blankets) and always tell people where you are going and when you will return.

Recently RTF bought a new Daniels UHF transmitter and receiver for the ham repeater.  This $5000 commercial quality repeater will make the ham repeater very reliable for years into the future.  Frequent users of the system are aware that the radio team (Frank Yost, Ray Pledger, and John Arenz) work on the system consistently through the season.  This new repeater will be super sensitive with great audio, and will not need the constant tweaking and repair the current system does.  Best of all, it will continue to be reliable when no one is around to fix it!

How to get a HAM Radio License:

You will need a License to Operate A Ham Radio, you can contact any local amateur radio club for more info, or take Advantage of the classes that RTF sponsors. This Class is designed to take you from zero to HAM radio operator in no time at all. Its typically held in the Sacramento Valley area, in El Dorado Hills.  Due to COVID, we aren’t anticipating a class until 2021. [email protected]    or

If you already have a Ham Radio License here the frequencies used on the Rubicon-

146.805 -.600 PL123.0
The KA6GWY repeater, covers the west slope of El Dorado County and the Sacramento area.

145.350 (repeater transmitter), odd split to 146.205 (repeater receiver), PL123.0 
The Tahoe Basin KA6GWY repeater, linked 24/7 to the 805 ELD repeater, coverage in the Tahoe Basin.

146.805 simplex, no PL
This is the repeater output frequency of the KA6GWY repeater. Nice to have so that you can talk to
your friends right in front of you, still listen to the repeater, but not tie it up when simplex will work just fine.

444.9875 +5.00 PL156.7 
The Rubicon repeater located near Spider Lake, coverage on all of the Rubicon Trail except east of Barker
Meadows OHV trail.

444.9875 +5.00 PL 107.2
Same as RUBI except that when using this PL it links to 805ELD and 805 TAH.

444.9875 simplex, PL107.2 
This is the repeater output frequency of the Spider repeater. Nice to have so that you can talk to your
friends right in front of you, still listen to the repeater, but not tie it up when simplex will work just fine.
Note, PL is used because some users decode PL on their handheld radios.