All posts by wvara

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.

WVARA Annual Summer BBQ

When: 11am – 2pm, Saturday, Aug 12

Where: Sunnyvale’s Baylands Park, Pickleweed Place #1
(When you get to Baylands Park, turn right after going through the main gate.)

There won’t be an evening WVARA meeting in August. Instead, we are having our annual WVARA BBQ. Our location (Pickleweed Place #1 inside Sunnyvale’s Baylands park) includes multiple tables, grill, an AC outlet, and a covered awning for shade. There is an entry fee per car at Baylands Park, so you may prefer to carpool. We’ll have hot charcoal and condiments — please bring your own meat to grill.

This year, our BBQ doesn’t coincide with the SSB portion of the North American QSO Party (NAQP) which means that the serious contesters within our club don’t have to choose between attending our BBQ and racking up a big score in the contest. But feel free to bring a rig and make some contacts if you’d like.

Jim, K6EI

2023 Preliminary Field Day Results

Thank you to everyone on our team for an awesome Field Day experience! This year’s WVARA Team members included: W9KKN, N5YJZ, W6IA, K0XI, K9DK, KF6EMB, W6ESL, AD6RY, AK6BY, KK6VF, KB6NTW, KC7XE, NK6FGH, KN6ZMT, K6XM, KZ2V, KC6LBJ, W6VVQ, AJ6PV, W1MVY, WA2CRQ, and K6BBY.

Our projected score of 27,395 is almost 50% higher than last year’s. And for reference, last year our score placed us at #2 out of roughly 5,000 entries nationwide — second only to the East Coast W3AO mega-station. Not shabby!

Here’s a rundown of our contact totals this year per band and mode:

Band Mode QSOs
80 CW 87
80 DIG 81
80 PH 76
40 CW 368
40 DIG 172
40 PH 155
20 CW 558
20 DIG 228
20 PH 227
15 CW 328
15 DIG 165
15 PH 172
10 CW 33
10 DIG 33
10 PH 0
6 DIG 39
6 PH 12
2 PH 61
222 PH 8
420 PH 39
SAT PH 11
GOTA 24
TOTAL QSOs 2,877 (compared to 2,058 QSOs last year)
Total QSO Points* = 4,945
Claimed QSO score = QSO pts x power mult = 4945 x 5 = 24,725
Total Score = Bonus Points + QSO Score = 2,670 + 24,725 = 27,395

* Each CW or Digital QSO is worth 2 QSO points; each Phone QSO is worth one QSO Point.

According to the ARRL’s propagation bulletin, conditions were favorable over Field Day weekend with the exception of a brief period when the planetary K index rose to 5 on Saturday night. The sunspot number on Saturday peaked at 200 (wow!!!) with a solar flux around 160. There was plenty of action on 15 meters, and 20 meters stayed open the entire 24-hours. Sadly, 10 meters band conditions were a bit of a disappointment.

We had a Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station, three HF CW stations, three HF SSB stations, three HF digital stations, and five VHF/UHF stations including one with satellite link capabilities. Our GOTA station (W6ZZZ) was particularly popular with plenty of drop-in visitors including a good number of kids, and Mark (W6IA) single-handedly netted us eleven satellite contacts.

Being outdoors also meant that we got to put up wild-n-crazy antennas that our spouses and neighbors would never allow back home. Antennas on Mora Hill this year included a pair of 4-band (10/15/20/40) yagi antennas for CW and SSB, and a traditional tribander (with 40m driven element resonator) for the digital tent. SSB, CW, and Digital each had a triplexer which enabled sharing each yagi between multiple transmitters. We also had separate 80m dipoles for each mode. GOTA had a multiband fan dipole and VHF antennas.

In order to minimize interference within our site, we took care to have HF transceivers with well-designed front-ends in order to minimize spur transmissions and receiver pumping/de-sensing. Most of our site’s HF stations used Elecraft or Flex transceivers. We likewise set up most of our antennas in a line pointed at the East Coast, so the side lobe rejection helped reduce interference. Being QRP further helped control cross-mode interference on each band.

Our digital stations benefitted from Bobby K0XI’s van which came with a self-contained 30 foot telescoping mast. In order to minimize interference between the CW and digital stations, we located the digital yagi about 200 feet from the rest of the site. The digital team was able to avoid long runs of coax by installing the digital RF hardware for both of their stations in the van and then running 200 feet of Cat5 Ethernet cable to the main site where the digital tent and the Flex terminals were located.

Be thinking about ideas for how we might improve things next year. And be sure to let us know if you’d be interested in getting involved with our plans for 2024. If you have any thoughts or questions regarding Field Day, you can reach our club via email at CQFieldDay@gmail.com

June 14 Meeting

The next WVARA meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday, June 14, 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 at 6:40pm with the formal meeting starting 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.   

BTW, a half dozen of us meet nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm nearby at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com . Feel free to join us.


Meeting Topic:  AREDN (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network) —  Come hear about RF Microwave Networking here in the South Bay Area.  We will learn about what exists now, and how AREDN can be expanded for experimentation, community support, and emergencies.  This will also be an opportunity for WVARA members to ask questions about setting up multi-Mbps systems at home, portable, and at key community locations.

Our speaker, Jim Moss, N9JIM, is working with a small group of hams to establish a microwave backbone around the SF Bay Area — in particular the South Bay. The first mountaintop station was established in 2013 on 3GHz and demonstrated IPphone & text messaging to flyaway portable setups. In 2022,  Jim helped establish a 5GHz mountaintop node with AREDN firmware.  BTW, Jim also holds the current (2020) 122GHz distance record holder with K6ML & KB6BA. They operated from Mt Umunhum (near San Jose, CA) to Mt Vaca (near Vacaville, CA) a distance of about 80 miles using 18″ dishes and about 1mW. Jim is also active on 1.2GHz EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) communications using 500w and a 1.5m dish.  Very cool!

If you can’t wait until June 14 to learn about AREDN, then check out the AREDN website at:  https://www.arednmesh.org/


Regarding our June 14 meeting, 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.

Although we will be meeting in person, Jim’s presentation will also be streamed via Zoom.  Zoom instructions will be sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ.

2023 Field Day Planning

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 year’s Field Day operation (June 23-25) will once again 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.  

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 one of our previous Field Day operations at: http://www.arrl.org/soapbox/view/9899

Jim Peterson, K6EI

WVARA Field Day Coordinator

April 12th WVARA Meeting

Our next WVARA meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday, April 12, 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.   

BTW, several of us meet for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:40pm nearby at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com . Feel free to join us.

 Kristen McIntyre, K6WX

This month’s speaker will be Kristen McIntyre, K6WX, who will discuss “A Wire in the Air: What Matters Most”.  The magic of radio happens when we couple RF into the fabric of spacetime. We do that with an antenna. These devices are simultaneously simple and complex. It’s easy to get lost in the theory or fooled by the latest anecdote. Let’s look at what’s important in antenna choice and design. There are things that matter more than others, and it’s never perfect. And a bit of theory will guide us. Radiation resistance, loss, pattern gain, terrain, polarization, coupling, loading – they all play a role. Join us to find out what happens and what matters when we put a wire in the air.

Social time will begin at 6:45pm, with greetings and club business at 7pm followed by Kristen’s presentation.   Kristen has been interested in radio since she was about 5 years old.  She started in Amateur Radio in 1979 getting her ticket while at MIT.  Kristen has worked in many diverse areas from analog circuit design to image processing to starting and running an ISP.  She is currently working at Apple in Core Networking, and spent many years at Sun Microsystems Laboratories where she was researching robustness and emergent properties of large distributed computer systems.  She is a long time denizen of Silicon Valley and has worked at or consulted for many of the usual suspects.  Kristen is an active ham and loves to chase DX on HF with her Elecraft K2 which she built while visiting her mother in Florida.  She is ARRL Pacific Division Director, president of the Palo Alto Amateur Radio Assoc., the Q&A columnist for Nuts and Volts magazine, and is active in many local clubs.  Kristen was recently inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame.

Three things to remember:

  1. 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.
  2. The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  
  3. 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 call Tim, KN6FGH, at 408-929-9311.

Although we will be meeting in person, Kristen’s presentation will also be streamed via Zoom.  Zoom instructions will be sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ.