Believe it or not, we are returning to the Red Cross Building for our next WVARA meeting, which occurs at 7pm on Wednesday, May 11. It’s been over two years since we were last there, and several major changes have occurred:
The Red Cross locks the exterior doors at 7pm sharp, so please come a few minutes early in order to get access to the building.
We will be in Meeting Room 3 — not our traditional meeting room. Room 3 is about 100 feet from the side door. As a result, late comers who knock on the side door won’t be heard from our meeting room. If you are late and need access, you can call my cellphone (408 636-6172) and someone will come let you in. But please try to arrive before 7pm to avoid this hassle.
The Red Cross policy is that everyone must wear a mask when entering the building, but that masks are optional once you are in a meeting room. Please be considerate to others regarding COVID.
Meeting Topic: All Things Field Day. We have a permit from the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve to operate Field Day from Mora Hill June 24-26. We only have a couple of months to get ready and there’s lots to do. The focus on our May 11 meeting will be to discuss our plans and coordinate tasks.
This year’s Field Day operation (June 24-26) will be at the top of Mora Hill located in the San Antonio Open Space Reserve. We will likely be running HF/SSB, HF/CW, HF/Digital, as well as VHF/UHF stations at 5 watts output in the Battery category. There will also be a Get On The Air (GOTA) station for rusty hams. As a COVID precaution, we will not be providing a GOTA coach this year, and will be encouraging social distancing at all our stations.
We will operate for the entire 24-hour period (11am Saturday to 11am Sunday). This means we will need operators throughout the event. Your involvement is welcome during set-up, tear-down, and throughout the 24-hour on-the-air period! You can see a description of our previous 2019 Mora Hill Field Day operation at: http://www.arrl.org/soapbox/view/9899
In preparation for Field Day, we want to get an idea of who is likely to be around to assist with set-up, tear-down, and operating. If you are planning to participate at Mora Hill, please complete the following on-line survey. We want to ensure that everyone who has a desire to operate gets an opportunity: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7HWZMDB
This month’s WVARA meeting will be at 7pm on Wednesday, April 13, via Zoom. Zoom details can be found at the end of this email. (By the way, this will be our last meeting via Zoom. Beginning in May, we will be back at the Red Cross Building. More details to come.)
Our original April speaker, Stan Dye, has asked to be rescheduled to our June meeting. So instead, this month we’ll be learning all about how to get active on 160 meters.
Our April 13 presentation will be all about Top Band — the 160 meters band. We’ll discuss the features that make this band unique, including several myths about this mysterious. We’ll also cover ideas for how the average city dweller can install an effective antenna on this band.
Our speaker is none other than Jim Peterson, K6EI, WVARA’s Vice President. Jim holds the Pacific Division’s all-time top score in the ARRL 160 contest (QRP category) and has been active on this band for over three decades. He has an MSEE focused on electromagnetic and signal processing from Ohio State and spent 38 years at ESL / TRW / Northrop Grumman.
Our April 13 presentation will describe and demonstrate the nanoVNA and some of its basic capabilities and practical uses for amateur radio, along with a couple of the available software packages that can be used to control it from your computer. The nanoVNA is a very useful and educational tool. It is far less expensive than commercial antenna analyzers, but is more versatile and fun to use. You do have to be a bit adventurous, since the nanoVNA started as an open-source community supported project, without much good documentation – but it has an excellent and very active online user community that is very knowledgeable and helpful.
Our speaker, Stan Dye (KC7XE) is an active WVARA member. He was first licensed over 45 years ago as a novice with callsign KA7JPQ. This call seemed to him to take forever to send in morse code, so only a few months later he upgraded to Advanced Class and received call sign KC7XE. A few years later he upgraded to Extra class. In 1984 Stan received a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Brigham Young University, and began his career in Silicon Valley at a small high-tech think-tank named ESL, where he met several other ham radio operators who are (or have been) members of this club. Stan worked his entire career at ESL, which became part of TRW and later Northrop Grumman, doing advanced projects for defense intelligence operations. He became an expert in specialized digital communications signals and systems, designing and building hardware processors, DSP software and digital signal analysis algorithms. Stan received several honors and commendations for his work, including being named a Northrop Grumman Technical Fellow in 2005, and receiving the NGMS President’s Award for Innovation.
Our March 9 presentation will cover the theory behind compact loop antennas. The practical usage and unexpected quirks of popular magnetic loop antennas will be explored.
Our speaker, Michelle Paquette (AA6MP) has worked in fields from nuclear power plant operations to systems software and software engineering, as both an engineer and an instructor. As an engineer she holds 19 patents for inventions used by hundreds of millions of people every day, in Apple’s Macs, iPads, and iPhones. As an instructor she has trained people in such varied areas as nuclear power plant operations, programming of in-circuit test systems and factory robots. Michelle is a past president of the Benicia Amateur Radio Club, and an instructor in Mt Diablo Amateur Radio Club’s license classes, as well as a speaker and trainer in a number of other programs. When not teaching she is often found baking, doing finish carpentry, restoring old vacuum tube equipment or tinkering with compact antennas.
Our February 9 presentation will be “12 grams Around the World: Picoballoons and Radiosondes”. Bryan Klofas will discuss launching high-altitude picoballoons from Berkeley with the goal of floating around the world, and tracking radiosondes launched from Oakland Airport.
Bryan KF6ZEO got his Technician license back in high school, and was a WVARA member until he went off to college. He studied Electrical Engineering at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, and was the president of the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club. He now works on satellite ground stations.
The next monthly WVARA meeting will be at 7pm on Wednesday, January 12, via Zoom. Zoom instructions have been sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ. Hope to see you there! Jim, K6EI WVARA Vice President
Tim Duffy, K3LR
Our January 12 presentation will be everything you might want to know about grounding and bonding — critical knowledge for reducing RFI in your shack. Tim will show us examples of what not to do, examples of proper installations, and the how they are put together. Tim Duffy, K3LR, has been an active amateur radio operator for 48 years – starting as WN3SZX in 1972. He has hosted 145 different operators from around the world as part of the K3LR Multi operator radio sport contest efforts since 1992. Tim has built a 13 tower station with 11 operating positions. He was the ARRL Atlantic Division Technical Achievement award winner in 1998.
Where: Sunnyvale’s Baylands Park, near Pickleweed Place
(Sunnyvale doesn’t take reservations during the winter, and so all picnic areas are on a first-come-first-served basis. We plan to be at a picnic site near Pickleweed.)
There won’t be an evening WVARA meeting in December. Instead, we are having a Holiday BBQ. Our location includes multiple tables, grill, and an AC outlet. We’ll have hot charcoal and condiments — please bring your own meat to grill.
And of course, the WVARA tradition of a Holiday Raffle is good to go. Santa Claus (better known as club treasurer Russ WD9DD) is making arrangements for some great door prizes at the BBQ. So be there or be square!
BTW, let me know if you are interested in volunteering to set up a VHF station for event coordination through the WVARA repeater
If you’ve enjoyed Field Day with WVARA, then you should definitely join WVARA’s Winter Field Day team! WVARA’s next meeting will be on Nov 10 and will include a presentation on Winter Field Day by Steve Sergeant, KC6ZKT. Steve will present our plans for WVARA’s Winter Field Day participation on January 29-30. Winter Field Day is an emergency communications exercise focused on providing communications services in some of our area’s most challenging conditions. Our WVARA team will be operating from a 2,840’ hilltop in Henry W. Coe State Park east of Morgan Hill, where we had a great time and scored some impressive points in 2019! You can learn more about WFD at [ https://www.winterfieldday.com/ ].
Steve Sergeant is a third-generation ham. Originally licensed Novice class in 1972, his licensed expired and later in 1991 he was granted KC6ZKT as a Technician, and has since upgraded to Extra. Steve has a long career in audio engineering for professional and later consumer audio system integration. He currently works at Dolby Laboratories as an Applications Engineer. Steve is on the boards of the WVARA and the Nature Sounds Society. He is also a volunteer backpacking instructor for the Sierra Club, and a Uniformed Volunteer for California State Parks.This WVARA meeting will be at 7pm on Wednesday, Nov 10, via Zoom. Zoom instructions have been sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ.