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.
Due to the coronavirus, the April WVARA meeting will NOT be held at the Red Cross Building. Instead, we will hold a virtual meeting via Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday, April 8.
At this month’s meeting Edison Fong, WB6IQN, will bring us up to speed on DMR (Digital Mobile Radio). This mode is getting really popular. The radios cost about $100-$150 depending on the quality you want. All of them also have conventional FM. DMR is a full digital format that is interfaced via the internet where one can 24/7 talk all over the world. The dream of working DX sitting on your couch is here. Since it is an open system originally set up by Motorola there are over 15 manufacturers of DMR radios – both hand held and mobiles. Learn how to get register as a DMR user, where to purchase a radio, how to program the radio and talk to the world without depending on propagation conditions.
Ed is a design consultant and has worked at Loral Space System, Microsoft and National Semiconductor. He has 25 years of experience in analog design for communications, data conversion and RF systems. Fong has 12 issued patents and has published more than 40 papers. He is a senior member of the IEEE. He also is on the faculty of UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley, where he teaches RF Wireless Communications and I/O Design Fundamentals. Looking forward to seeing you at Wednesday’s VIRTUAL meeting!Jim, K6EIWVARA Vice President
One tap mobile +16699006833,,660067844# US (San Jose) +13462487799,,660067844# US (Houston)
Dial by your location +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 253 215 8782 US +1 301 715 8592 US +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 929 436 2866 US (New York) Meeting ID: 660 067 844
Due to the CoronaVirus, the March 2020 WVARA meeting will NOT be held at the Red Cross Building. Instead, we will hold a virtual meeting via Zoom. Below are the specifics: Time: Mar 11, 2020 19:00 Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Our annual Field Day Brainstorm Lunch will be 12:30pm this Sunday, Feb 23. We’ll meet at Burger King (W. Trimble Road just north of Hwy 101 in Santa Clara). Bring your thoughts on what you liked last year, what could be improved, and any ideas that you’d like us to consider for 2020.
The next WVARA meeting will be 7pm on Wednesday, February 12. This will be at our usual meeting place: the Red Cross Building on 2731 N. First Street (Meeting Room #5) in San Jose. Entry is via the side door on the west side of the building — look for the red WVARA sign. Visitors are welcome, and of course there will be chocolate chip cookies. If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters. Best choice would be 2m/220.
At this month’s meeting Ron Quan, KI6AZB, will give a presentation based on his latest book, “Troubleshooting Electronic Circuits: A Guide to Learning Analog Electronics”. Ron’s presentation will cover selected topics from the book, including electronic components, LEDs, and ham radio circuits such as oscillators, Software Defined Radio mixers and audio amplifiers. Ron will discuss how to debug circuit problems and fix via re-design.
Ron built his first crystal radio in the mid 1960s. Since then he has repaired radios, Hi Fi stereos, TVs, oscilloscopes, signal generators, lab power supplies, and broadcast equipment. Before passing his Extra Class License, he was a broadcast engineer in the 1970s for radio stations KALX FM and KNEW AM. He received his engineering degree that led to working at Ampex, Sony, and finally Macrovision where he was a Principal Engineer. Ron has written three electronics books and has taught at the university level on analog RF communications systems, signals, and circuits.
Looking forward to seeing you at next Wednesday’s meeting! BTW, several of us meet for dinner near the Red Cross around 5:45pm prior to the meeting at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose): https://dishdash.com/ Feel free to drop by and join us for dinner! WVARA members also dine at Panera Bread at Coleman Avenue at Autumn Parkway, at the San Jose Market Center at 6 p.m.
Join us to hear about Clay’s suitcase DX expedition and communications support for International Health Services (IHS) work in Honduras. IHS Found in 1982, International Health Service is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) medical organization that provides medical and dental care to the impoverished people of Honduras. Each February approximately 100 people from all over the world head out on teams to various regions of Honduras and spend two weeks helping the people of Honduras and Nicaragua. IHS uses Pactor III & amateur radio as the main communication link for the field medical teams as they are often working in locations that are outreach of phone / cell service. Ham radio is used to arrange transportation, housing and schedule surgery or other medical service that the field team is not able to provide.
The DX expedition was in West Palm Beach on Roatan Inland for two days before moving to Rus Rus near the Nicaragua boarder for 8 days. Rus Rus DX expedition was done jointly with IHS field work as time & power allow.
Clay Couger was licensed in 92 as N5YJZ and was active in amateur radio throughout the 90’s while in college at Oklahoma State Univ. He severed one term as president of W5YJ OSU amateur radio club. Clay officially joined the Okie club by moving to California in 1999 and fell away from the hobby as he got caught in the Silicon Valley rat race. He became active again in 2016 due to a renewed interest in disaster support (wife says he needed a new reason to shop). He prefers to build things then get on air but has found FT8/FT4 to be wonderful mode as it can be run in the background while doing other things at the workbench.
International Health Services is actively recrewing for the Feb 2020 mission on February 14 to February 28. IHS are looking for licensed medical (DDS, DDO, MD, RN, OD, Dental Ass’t, NP, LPN, RDH, PA, CRNA, RPh, Pharmacist, Paramedic and EMT) professionals, amateur radio operators (general Lic and above), translators (Spanish, Garifuna, Miskito, Sumo, Pech, and Jicaque). We engorge spouses to join as there is always a need for next extra hands need to support the teams. For more information on IHS see their website at http://www.ihsmn.org/.
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!
We all spend the year getting on the air in new ways, in new places, with new modulation modes, with new toys, and with new friends. This meeting is centered on this last item: friends. There will be no guest speaker, but there will be food, prizes, and (hopefully) many stories of good times on the air as part of our annual free-form holiday party.
The meeting place is the same as always (San Jose Red Cross). The meeting time is the same as always (7pm), though anyone coming to help setup is invited to join us at 6pm.
There is no planned pre-meeting for food, since, well, this meeting has lots of it there.
This particular question will be answered by our very own Bill Fehring, who will take us through space weather and how it affects terrestrial propagation. In the end, the question we all consider when turning on a rig is “How will the bands be today?” Bill will take us through some online resources that work to predict band performance based not on beacon networks, but on the solar activity of our little corner of the universe. He will help us understand how to interpret the data they present in order to answer that question, what metrics are used, and hopefully allow us some better experiences during this low period of sunspot activity.
As well, this Wednesday evening will be your chance to participate in some home grown democracy while you vote for next year’s WVARA officers.