All posts by wvara

February 7 Meeting

Because of Valentine’s Day, WVARA’s February meeting will be held a week early on Wednesday, February 7.  As usual we will be in Meeting Room 3 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.   Social time begins around 6:45pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm.  If you haven’t been to the Red Cross in a while, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters. Best choice would be 2m/220.  

At this month’s meeting Dr Richard G Ranson, G3ZTB,  will speak on the care and feeding of your nanoVNA.  The advent of devices like the NanoVNA brings new measurement capabilities within the budget of amateur radio enthusiasts.   This talk focuses on a non-mathematical understanding of calibration and the practical aspects of making measurements, tips on how to improve them and getting the most out of your device. The nanoVNA is much more than an antenna analyser and a valuable addition to any shack.

Dr Ranson has been a licensed radio amateur since being a schoolboy. It led him to a BSc and Phd in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Leeds, and over 40 years in the RF and microwave electronics industry in the UK and USA. He has specialised in various types of receiver system, but never lost interest in the technical challenges of HF radio. His current interests are on high dynamic range SDR radios and the Raspberry Pi computing platform.  He is a life fellow of the IEEE and a retired fellow of the IET in the UK.

Please note:
• Since the west side entrance to the Red Cross Building is always locked, we recommend entering the Red Cross Building through the main entrance situated on the north side of the building.
• The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  
• We will be in Meeting Room 3 — about 100 feet from any entrance.  As a result, late comers who knock on an outside door won’t be heard from our meeting room.  If you need help getting in the door, you can my cellphone:  408-636-6172.
• The meeting will be in-person only and not streamed via Zoom.

By the way, several of us meet nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to join us.

73,
Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President

January 10 Meeting

Parks-On-The-Air (POTA) is a great opportunity for hams who enjoy the outdoors to activate portable operations from local, state, and national parks.  POTA also promotes the role of amateur radio in emergency awareness and is a great excuse to get on the air from scenic locations.  At this month’s meeting, Clay Couger (N5YJZ) will bring us up to speed on how to get involved with Parks-On-The-Air.  And Scott Nacey (KK6IK) will pass along some lessons learned from his recent POTA activations. 

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday, January 10, in Meeting Room 3 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.   Social time begins around 6:45pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm.  If you haven’t been to the Red Cross in a while, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters. Best choice would be 2m/220.  

Please note:
• Since the west side entrance to the Red Cross Building is always locked, we recommend entering the Red Cross Building through the main entrance situated on the north side of the building.
• The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  
• We will be in Meeting Room 3 — about 100 feet from any entrance.  As a result, late comers who knock on an outside door won’t be heard from our meeting room.  If you need help getting in the door, you can my cellphone:  408-636-6172.
• The meeting will be in-person only and not streamed via Zoom.

By the way, several of us meet nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to join us.

73s,
Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President

WVARA Holiday BBQ – Saturday December 16

WVARA Holiday BBQ

There won’t be an evening WVARA meeting in December.  Instead, we are having a Holiday BBQ.  We’ll have hot charcoal and condiments — please bring your own meat to grill, and maybe a desert or side dish to share.

And of course, the WVARA tradition of drawings for Holiday Door Prizes is good to go.   Santa Claus is making arrangements for some great prizes.   So be there or be square! 

– Jim, K6EI

When:  11am – 1pm, Saturday, Dec 16

Where:  Silicon Valley Red Cross Building Patio on the east-facing side of the facility.  We can shift indoors to Room 3 if it rains. The Red Cross building is at 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.

2023 Field Day Results

The ARRL has posted this year’s Field Day results.  While we all recognize that Field Day is not a contest, the scores still get published each November.  

We were in the 12 Alpha Battery category and finished with 2,878 QSOs completed and a final score of 27,570 — a 30% jump from our score in 2022.  Awesome job!

And in case you were wondering, that score puts us at #2 out of all 4,445 submitted logs from this year’s Field Day, with the only score ahead of us being from the Potomac Valley Radio Club (W3AO) — their final score was 35,633. 

In 2022 we were likewise #2 nationwide, and our score was 35% below that of the Potomac Club.  In contrast, this year our score was only 23% behind the Potomac team.  So I guess you can say we’re gaining on ‘em.     

So start thinking about ideas for Field Day 2024.  We’ll hold our annual brainstorm session in January or early February.

You can see the ARRL’s new Field Day write-up at:

https://contests.arrl.org/ContestResults/2023/Field-Day-2023-FinalQSTResults.pdf

November 8 Monthly Meeting

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person  on Wednesday, November 8, in Meeting Room 3 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.   Social time begins around 6:45pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm.  If you haven’t been to the Red Cross in a while, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters. Best choice would be 2m/220.  

Ed Fong, WB6IQN, will bring us up to speed on a central part of all modern radios — the phase-lock loop (PLL).  PLLs are used everywhere.  Not only in our transceivers, but cell phones, televisions, computers, etc.   We could not live without them. PLL’s where not practical until the invention of the modern day integrated circuit which allowed thousands of transistors on a single chip.  Prior to the PLL, we used single crystals for VHF FM.  This was very expensive and most of us could only afford a few channels.    

Ed will explain how PLL’s work in a non mathematical presentation.  He will explain where phase noise originates and techniques engineers have used minimize it.  Ed will bring his HP 8591 spectrum analyzer and compare the phase noise of various HT’s to a crystal control radio.  Bring your HT and see how yours performs against a crystal control radio.  Ed is an enthusiastic speaker and is guaranteed to both enlighten and enliven with his presentation.


Ed Fong was first licensed in 1968 as WN6IQN.  He later upgraded to Extra Class (when 20 WPM was required ) with his present call of WB6IQN.  He obtained the BSEE and MSEE degrees from the Univ. of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. from the Univ. of San Francisco.  A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, he has 12 patents and over 40  published papers and books in the area of communications and integrated circuit design.  Presently, he is employed by the University of California,  Santa Cruz (previously with Berkeley from 1997-2010) as an instructor teaching graduate classes in Antenna Design,  RF design and high speed interface.  In his 35 year career, he has done work for Stanford University, National Semiconductor, Advanced Micro Devices, numerous startup companies in the Silicon Valley.
Please note:
• Since the west side entrance to the Red Cross Building is always locked, we recommend entering the Red Cross Building through the main entrance situated on the north side of the building.
• The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  
• We will be in Meeting Room 3 — about 100 feet from any entrance.  As a result, late comers who knock on an outside door won’t be heard from our meeting room.  If you need help getting in the door, you can my cellphone:  408-636-6172.
• The meeting will be in-person only and not streamed via Zoom.


By the way, several of us meet nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to join us.

73s,
Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President

October 11 Monthly Meeting


This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person at 7pm on Wednesday, October 11, in Meeting Room 3 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.   If you haven’t been to the Red Cross in a while, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters. Best choice would be 2m/220.  

Jim Peterson, K6EI, will be giving this month’s presentation, which will cover a topic relevant to all radio amateurs — reducing your RF exposure risk.  While the exposure risk associated with amateur radio is generally low, there are practical steps that every ham should take to quantify the risk associated with their equipment, and actions we can all take reduce our exposure risk.  We’ll cover what the FCC recommends in terms of RF safety, as well as practical safety tips that every ham should consider.  

Other details:

• Since the west side entrance to the Red Cross Building is always locked, we recommend entering the Red Cross Building through the main entrance situated on the north side of the building.

• The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  

• We will be in Meeting Room 3 — about 100 feet from any entrance.  As a result, late comers who knock on an outside door won’t be heard from our meeting room.  If you need help getting in the door, you can my cellphone:  408-636-6172.

  • The meeting will be in-person only and not streamed via Zoom.

By the way, several of us meet nearbyfor dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to drop by and join us for dinner.

September 13 General Meeting

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person at 7pm on Wednesday, Sept 13, in Meeting Room 3 at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.   If you haven’t been to the Red Cross in a while, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters. Best choice would be 2m/220.  

This month’s meeting will cover the California QSO Party.  This terrific event occurs each year during the first weekend in October when hams across the country (and the globe) try to contact all 58 California counties. 

Our primary speaker will be Dean Wood, N6DE, who will update us on plans for the California QSO Party.  Among other things, Dean will cover the various ways that WVARA members can have fun participating in this great contest.  

In addition to Dean’s presentation, we’ll also hear tips from four WVARA members who last year activated four rare counties during CQP: Bobby (K0XI), Mark (W6IA), Kevin (KK6VF), and Jim (K6EI).

Three things to remember:

• Since the west side entrance to the Red Cross Building is always locked, we recommend entering the Red Cross Building through the main entrance situated on the north side of the building.

• The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  

• We will be in Meeting Room 3 — about 100 feet from any entrance.  As a result, late comers who knock on an outside door won’t be heard from our meeting room.  If you need help getting in the door, you can my cellphone:  408-636-6172.

If you can’t make it to the Red Cross Building on Sept 13, feel free to join us via Zoom.  Zoom instructions are at the end of this email.

By the way, several of us meet nearbyfor dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to drop by and join us for dinner.

When not contesting, Dean works as a hardware design engineer for networking companies in Silicon Valley. Dean’s involvement with WVARA spans two decades, with responsibilities including past WVARA President, Vice President, Secretary, Board Member, Field Day Coordinator, Flea Market helper, meeting presenter, and other things I’ve forgotten.