Category Archives: Activity

Winter Field Day

Winter Field Day is coming up soon, on January 27 & 28th. And past year’s WVARA participants want you to have as much fun as we did.

WVARA will be taking over an area of Henry W. Coe State Park to operate four stations on CW, SSB and FM phone, and assorted digital modes, on all allowed bands from 3.5_MHz to 1.2_GHz. We plan to operate continuously from 11am-pst on Saturday through 11am-pst on Sunday.

We’ll start setting up a bit after noon on Friday, January 26th. All are
welcome to check out our set-up and participate.

Watch the WVARA “chat” group for details on our organization meeting, to be held online on January 22nd. For more details on Winter Field Day in general, see [ ].

To get there: As you drive toward the park on E. Dunne Ave. from highway 101 in Morgan Hill, CA, look for us in the first parking lot on your right immediately past the park’s entrance sign.

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:

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): .   Feel free to drop by and join us for dinner.

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
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

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:

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:

Jim Peterson, K6EI

WVARA Field Day Coordinator

January 11 WVARA Meeting

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person at 7pm on Wednesday, January 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.  

Two things to remember:

 1) 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.  

 2) We will be in Meeting Room 3 — 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.

To start the new year, we will have a presentation by Kaitlyn Handelman (KN6MAN) on Cybersecurity and Radios In Space.  Radio transmitters surround us on the ground, in the air, and increasingly in space. Space is the place for amateur radio, telecommunications, and scientific transmissions. Space is awesome, but what could happen if a bad actor decided to attack satellite systems? More importantly, what fun can good actors have exploring satellite transmissions?

Kaitlyn Handelman (KN6MAN) is an offensive security engineer at Amazon where she secures ground, air, and space-based hardware. Kaitlyn has previous experience securing air and space systems at NASA.

BTW, several of us meet for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:45pm nearby at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  Some WVARA members also dine at Panera Bread a few miles further to the south at 503 Coleman Avenue at Autumn Parkway at the San Jose Market Center.  Feel free to drop by either location for dinner.

Although we will be meeting in person, Kaitlyn’s presentation will also be streamed via Zoom.  For Zoom log-on details contact Jim at k6ei at

.Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President

Radio Swap Meet This Sunday, June 19 in Santa Cruz

Greetings, All,
Please plan to join us this Sunday, June 19, for the monthly Swap Meet at the Santa Cruz County Club Repeater Station parking lot, 8am-2pm. 
Vendors bring own tables, tarps, shade canopy. No need to RSVP.

Tentative FOX HUNT at 10am.

Free admission. Free hot dogs and drinks. 
Take Morrissey Blvd. exit from Highway One, and follow signs to the DeLaveaga Golf Course and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

Good clean fun! Please share this information with others you feel would be interested.