Category Archives: Meeting

September 14, WVARA Meeting

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person at 7pm on Wednesday, Sept 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.   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 a few lessons-learned from WVARA members who in recent years have activated three rare counties during CQP.  Bobby (K0XI) ran an expedition to Lassen County in 2020.   Mark (W6IA) co-ran a M/M expedition to Glenn County in 2021.  And Jim (K6EI) and Tom (W6ESL) helped activate W6BO’s M/M station in Sutter County in 2021. 

By the way . . . although we will be meeting in person, Dean will be giving his presentation via Zoom.  So if you can’t make it to the Red Cross Building on Sept 14, feel free to join us via Zoom.  Zoom instructions have been sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ.

Several of us meet nearbyfor dinner prior to the meeting at 5:45pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com  Some WVARA members likewise 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.

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.

June 8 Membership Meeting

Our next WVARA meeting will be at 7pm on Wednesday, June 8, 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 final details related to Field Day preparations and see a presentation about the wonders of nano VNA.

Three 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 — 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.
  • 3) 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.

BTW, several of us meet for dinner at 5:45pm nearby at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com  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.


Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President


Meeting Presentation:  The Nano Virtual Network Analyzer.  The speaker at our June 8 meeting will be Stan Dye, KC7XE.  This presentation will describe and demonstrate the nanoVNA and some of its 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.  Stan has found the nanoVNA to be 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.  Stan reports that while far from an expert on the nanoVNA, he has learned a great deal using it and interacting with other users.

Stan 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.

May Meeting – All Things Field Day

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.

Oh, and if you haven’t already done so, please take our on-line Field Dayparticipant survey (at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7HWZMDB) to assist us in planning.

January Virtual Membership Meeting

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

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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. 

June Membership Meeting

WVARA’s next virtual meeting will be via Zoom at 7pm on June 9.  Our speaker will be Clint Bradford, K6LCS.  Clint’s presentation covers how to work amateur satellites with your HT. You do not need 100W of transmit power nor expensive antenna arrays to work the FM amateur satellites!  Many hams already have the necessary equipment to “work the birds.” This presentation will walk you through ALL the steps needed to successfully work several ham satellites.  (Since this presentation is 90 minutes, we will shorten our meeting’s normal introductions to allow more time for the presentation.)

Speaker Bio:  Clint K6LCS has been a ham since 1994, and found his niche in the hobby: working amateur satellites with minimal equipment and telling ALL about it! He has served a liaison between NASA, the ARISS team, and schools coordinating amateur radio contacts between the International Space Station and students (and orchestrated a wlldly successfulARISS contact).  Professionally, Clint was sales manager for ADI / Premier Communications / Pryme, worked for a Motorola commercial two-way dealer a couple of years, and for Ham Radio Outlet a couple more. He resides in Jurupa Valley, California, with his wife, Karen, and their rescued lab, Freja.

May Membership Meeting

Our May 12 speaker will be Kristen McIntyre, K6WX, who will speak on the topic of “SWR — Who Cares?” And will debunk some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding the widest used measurement in ham radio — the Standing Wave Ratio.  Topics covered will include what it is, how it is calculated, what SWR actually measures, and what we should care about – including what an impedance match is, the impact of SWR on real transmission line loss, how to match a transmitter to a load and how to measure feedpoint impedance.  I’m looking forward to learning a thing or two!

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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 Vice 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.

April Membership Meeting

Our April 14 speaker will be Brian Tanner, AG6GX, who will talk about “The Art of Voice Communications: Techniques for Technician & HF-class licensees”.  Brian will cover voice operating practices, including how best to format and communicate information for accuracy and precision via phone nets.  While this presentation will be especially useful for newer hams, even old timers may learn something new.

Bio:  Brian started by getting his Tech license in 1995.  After several years of activity on the VHF and UHF bands, Brian upgraded and became radioactive on the HF bands in 2013.  He participates in the Cupertino ARES group (CARES) as well as the city ARES net Cupertino_Net.  Brian also enjoys tinkering with hardware and recently built a 100W HF solid state power amplifier. 

February Membership Meeting

WVARA’s next monthly meeting will be on Wednesday, February 10, at 7pm via Zoom.  

Gary Johnson, NA6O, will tell us how to reduce/eliminate RF noise before it gets into your transceiver.  Gary will discuss how RF interference to amateur radio is steadily increasing due to the wide-spread use of poorly-filtered commercial electronic devices. In this talk, we will learn about these noise sources, how to locate them, and a number of techniques to reduce their effects. Lists of references and resources will be provided.

Bio:    Gary Johnson, NA6O, is a retired electronics engineer with a degree from the University of Illinois. His entire career was spent at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he used his diverse skills in measurement and control systems, electro-optics, transducers, circuit design, and technical writing. Gary holds nine patents and wrote two books. He grew up near Chicago and was first licensed as a junior high student in 1972. These days, he enjoys station building, contesting, and anything to do with CW, in addition to his other hobbies of woodworking and metalworking. He and his wife, Katharine, live in Livermore.

Zoom meeting information will be sent via email.

Hope to see you there!Jim, K6EI, WVARA Vice President

June 10 Virtual Meeting

Due to the coronavirus, this month’s WVARA meeting will not be held at the Red Cross Building. Instead, we will hold a virtual meeting via Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday, June 10.  At this month’s meeting, Jim Deloach (WU0I) will give a virtual presentation on his Field Day operation from a remote location in the wilds of Southeast Alaska.  

Time: Jun 10, 2020 19:00 Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83252301029?pwd=cG0vNDZGS1J2NzJ1ZXZ2VUY2S1l4Zz09

Meeting ID: 832 5230 1029
Password: w6piy     

I have placed my Alaska DXpedition presentation on my website here:

http://www.deloach.net/AlaskaDXpedition.pdf

Tales of an Alaskan Field Day:   Have you ever wanted to participate in a DXpedition but did not want to wander too far or spend a lot of money?  Then you should try Alaska!  Alaska makes a great vacation destination, it is rare enough and exotic enough (with its own DXCC listing) to be a fun DX spot, and adding an Amateur Radio component to your vacation is easier than you think!  In his presentation, Jim explains how he and his lovely XYL mounted a Field Day DXpedition to Alaska in 2017, and nearly won the state! 

Jim DeLoach, WU0I, is a Silicon Valley wireless and location technology systems engineer specialized in data analytics, field testing, product definition, and tools development.  For fun, Jim loves to build high-performance temporary contest stations, but prefers to get out of the way and let the real operators take over as soon as the station is up and running!  Jim and XYL Maggie (KK6DZS) are WVARA members, live in Sunnyvale, and love to travel.  Jim can be reached at jim@deloach.net.

May 13 Virtual Meeting

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held via Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday, May 13.  George Zafiropoulos (KJ6VU) will give a virtual presentation on PackTennas — lightweight, compact, portable HF antenna systems ideal for a simple, solo Field Day.  George will tell us the story of these antennas, explain their design, and give tips on how to get the most from them.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86292324465?pwd=Q3RxWGdaZnJ0S3hyM2hzcXJ6ZVN5Zz09
Meeting ID: 862 9232 4465
Password: 505589