All posts by Bill Fehring

June 13th WVARA Meeting – N1MM+ Logger Review + Field Day Strategies

It’s time for the June WVARA meeting! June 13th at 19:00 in Meeting Room 5 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose. Talk in is available on the association repeaters, 2m is a good choice.
I’m sure none of us have forgotten, but just in case, Field Day is June 22nd-24th, and when we’re this close to Field Day, it’s hard not to talk about Field Day.
In this meeting, we’re going to do a deep dive into N1MM+, the logging software we’ll be using at field day this year. Last year, standardizing on it ended up working out really well — but this year we’ve refined some rough edges, learned from a few mistakes, and are using a few new features. Specifically, the waterfall bandmap will likely be of interest to a few people as well as the use of skimmers (which according to the ARRL, believe it or not, is allowed on Field Day.) You don’t have to have to be an expert at N1MM+ to use it by any means, but knowing a few shortcuts probably won’t hurt our score. Additionally, we’ll talk about some strategies and operating tips for the various modes. Perhaps we’ll even have time to make some eyeball-QSOs. I’ll lead the discussion and present some slides, but there’s quite a bit of wisdom elsewhere in the room, so we’re sure to learn something.
Field Day isn’t a contest, but they do keep score and publish/rank the results at the end, so it sure feels like one sometimes. There are some folks in this club that almost never contest, and others, who can’t stop contesting (hi.) No problem, but one of the most important goals of Field Day is to a) get as many of us on the air as possible, and who knows, maybe we’ll even get you hooked and talk you into taking a road trip for a real contest in the not-so-distant future.
A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross (I’ve been rotating between a few locations) around 6 pm prior to the meeting. This month, it’s back to Dish’n’Dash just a block down the street: https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose  I’m thinking of trying somewhere new entirely for our September meeting, so look for that!
See you there!

Bill/W9KKN

May 9th WVARA Meeting – Jim Peterson K6EI – Field Day!

CQ field day CQ field day, kilo six echo india, kilowatt six echo italy….

It’s time for the May WVARA meeting! May 9th at 19:00 in Meeting Room 5 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose. Our speaker this month is Jim (K6EI), who is going to unveil the plan he’s been cooking up for ARRL Field Day.

For some radio clubs, ARRL Field Day could almost be called a casual event. Perhaps they find a park somewhere, bring some batteries or a generator, stand up some temporary antennas, make a few contacts on the radio… That’s fine, and we look forward to working them, but this is the West Valley Amateur Radio Association. For this club, Field Day is the most fun that we can legally have on the radio in one weekend.

Mark your calendars, June 23rd and 24th (and setup on Friday, June 22nd if you’re willing.) This is easily one of the most ambitious (if not the most ambitious) field day efforts on the west coast. Under the guidance of our fearless field day veteran, Jim Peterson (K6EI), our tower/antenna deployment engineer Svend (KF6EMB), our VHF/UHF/Satellite solar-powered el presidente Bobby (K0XI), our band/mode captains, our GOTA captain, and numerous other volunteers, we are looking forward to another record-setting performance for team WVARA.

A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting. This month, it’s back to Panera Bread located at 503 Coleman Avenue: https://www.yelp.com/biz/panera-bread-san-jose-2

See you there!

Bill/W9KKN

April 11th WVARA Meeting – CWOps – Rob Brownstein (K6RB)

Hello Everyone!
It’s time for our April WVARA meeting. Please join us this Wednesday (April 11th) at 7 pm in Meeting Room 5 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.

Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks. Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome! If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters; 2m/220 are good choices, and our 6-meter machine is working pretty well these days I hear!

At the beginning of the year, we asked “What is your amateur radio-related new years resolution?” and several of us (including myself) answered that 2018 was the year to get into CW.

Learning CW can be intimidating, though; you might tune to the CW subbands on one of these contest weekends and hear a blur of dits and dahs at 45+ WPM and wonder if anyone could possibly be decoding or sending at that speed.

Our guest might be able to help with that: Rob Brownstein (K6RB) is one of the founding members of CWOps and the CW Academy. CWOps is a club of CW operators that sponsors a weekly CW contest that occurs every Wednesday at three different times. CW Academy is a program put on by the CW Operators’ Club aimed at increasing the number of competent CW operators on the HF CW sub-bands. It addresses all levels of enthusiasts: from those aspiring to become licensed operators who want to learn and use Morse code; to veteran operators who are intent on increasing their CW skills, speed and activity.

Rob Brownstein, K6RB, was first licensed at age 11 as KN2UMU in New York City’s borough of Queens. He has maintained a consistent level of operational activity for 56 years. His preferred operating mode is CW and he spends nearly 99 percent of his time ‘pounding brass.’ His preferred activities are rag chewing and contesting with CW.

Bobby (K0XI) will also talk about Back Country Weekend at Henry Coe State Park, it’s not too late to get involved. Our May meeting will be dedicated to All Things Field Day.
A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting and anyone is welcome to join. This month we’re going to go back to Dish’n’Dash just a block down the street: https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose
Don’t worry, we’ll keep Panera Bread in the rotation, and if Dish’n’Dash isn’t your first choice, there will likely be a few still going to Panera, just ask on the repeater.
Hope to see you there!
73, Bill/W9KKN

March Meeting – Wednesday, March 14th – PARASET: A Clandestine Spy Radio from WWII

Hello Everyone!

It’s time for our March WVARA meeting. Please join us this Wednesday (March 14th) at 7 pm in Meeting Room 5 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.

Our guest speaker for the evening is Hiroki Kato (AH6CY) who will tell us a story of a QRP spy radio of WWII: how it was developed and how it was used in the war against Nazi Germany. Hiroki delivered a similar talk at Pacificon this last year, and from what I hear, we’re in for a real treat.

Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks. Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome!

If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters; 2m/220 are good choices, and our 6-meter machine is working pretty well these days I hear!

A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting.  If this applies to you, please read: This month, we’re going to take a small break from Dish’n’Dash and instead meet at Panera Bread located at 503 Coleman Avenue: https://www.yelp.com/biz/panera-bread-san-jose-2

Don’t worry, we’ll keep Dish’n’Dash in the rotation, but it’s not everyone’s favorite, and that’s fine.
Looking forward to seeing everyone!
73,
Bill, W9KKN

February Meeting – Wednesday, January 14th 2018 – RTTY

Hello Everyone!

It’s time for our February WVARA meeting. Please join us this Wednesday (February 14th) at 7pm in Meeting Room 5 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.  Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks. Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome!

If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters, normally 2m/220 are good choices.

A few of us usually meet for dinner a block down the street around 6 pm prior to the meeting, and anyone is welcome to join https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose

For this Valentine’s day meeting, I’m going to tell you why I love HF digital modes and cover some of the basics in getting started with RTTY, FT8, JT65 as well as some advanced topics. If you’ve traditionally stuck with CW or Voice modes, there are many DX and contest contacts you’re missing out on! FT8 is even starting to show up in DXpeditions and there are some interesting changes around that planned for a future version of WSJT-X that you’ll hear about here first. We won’t be able to cover everything, but I hope to recruit you in our digital efforts at a future WVARA Field Day. Also, the RTTY edition of the North America QSO Party contest is Saturday, February 24th. Get on and make a few contacts!
Hope to see you there!
73,
Bill, W9KKN

January Meeting – Wednesday, January 10th 2018 – Wake Atoll DXpedition

It’s time for our first WVARA meeting of 2018. Please join us this Wednesday (Jan 10th) at 7pm in Meeting Room 5 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.  Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks.  Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome!

If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters, normally 2m/220 are good choices.

A few of us usually meet for dinner a block down the street around 6 pm prior to the meeting, and anyone is welcome to join. We’ll try to mix the pre-meeting restaurant up a bit this year, but we’ll start with https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose

John Miller will be talking to us about the 2013 K9W DXpedition to Wake Atoll. John has been on many DXpeditions and always tells an awesome story.
John’s Bio:  

John was first licensed as WV2BQJ in 1958 while living in Syracuse, NY.  In 1976, John’s career took him to Silicon Valley, where he reconnected with amateur radio in the late 90s.  In addition to his own website, he has created websites for a number of amateur radio organizations:
For the last decade, John has focused heavily on DXing, contesting, and recruiting new operators into the hobby.
John is a member of ARRL, INDEXA, MLDXCC, and PAARA. He is Past-President of the Northern California Contest Club, a Director of the Northern California DX Club, a founding member of the CW Operators’ Club, a member of the editorial staff of the National Contest Journal, and a Director of the Northern California DX Foundation.
Hope to see you there!