Category Archives: News

WVARA’s Annual BBQ

It’s official.  Sunnyvale has opened their picnic facilities for summer reservations, and we’ve been approved for Baylands Park Pickleweed Picnic Area.  So mark your calendar for WVARA’s Annual BBQ on August 21 starting at 11am.  This coincides with the North America QSO Party / SSB, so we’ll be making contacts during our BBQ via a portable station.  (More details to follow.)

March Membership Meeting

Our monthly meeting will be next week on Wednesday, March 10, at 7:00pm via Zoom.  Zoom instructions will be emailed.

 
This month’s topic is one of interest to all hams.  Jim Aspinwall, NO1PC, will unlock the secrets of “Elmering in the Age of Devices” — how we can each get more involved in mentoring (i.e. elmering) — helping younger folks get excited about the magic of ham radio.  Jim points out that since “shop class” is a thing of the past, and Maker events are mostly focused on Arduino, robots and i-devices, there are few places for the average person to learn and really practice electronics except amateur radio.  Mentoring by those of us in the ham community is the key!   

Jim Aspinwall, NO1PC

Bio:  Jim was originally licensed as WN9GVF in 1970 and eventually upgraded to Extra in 2005.  In addition to a full career in the tech world, Jim served for 8 years as a volunteer firefighter/engineer, eventually transitioning that experience into working with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services as a telecommunications deployment specialist.  Jim has created and moderates a fantastic amateur radio Elmer forum on Facebook devoted to Amateur Radio Elmers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmateurRadioElmers) and maintains a web-site devoted to ham radio reference information for newcomers at http://www.No1PC.org.

Congratulations to WVARA – CA QSO Party

Dear WVARA Members,
Congratulations to WVARA for a competitive 3rd place finish among 32 clubs in the Small CA Club category.  Thank you for participating in the California QSO Party last October!

California QSO Party 2020 results are now available at:
https://cqp.org/Results.html

Highlights:
* 1,365 logs received.  48% increase in logs over 2019.  Beats all-time CQP record logs received by a margin of 360 logs.

* Records shattered.  104 new records set.  All-time CA S/O HP record set by KI6RRN and all-time CA S/O LP record set by N5ZO.  New club records set by SCCC, REDXA and TCG.

* Strongest Top 10 CA S/O scores in the history of CQP.  The threshold to place in the Top 10 of all Single-Ops inside CA was over 300,000 points, an all-time high.

* SEQUOIA 1×1 station success.  Over 42,000 QSOs were made by our 21 1×1 SEQUOIA stations.  11 stations outside of CA made more than 100 overall QSOs with the SEQUOIA stations.  Over 500 stations spelled SEQUOIA at least once.

* 57 plaques, 40 bottles of wine, 13 SEQUOIA calendars and hundreds of certificates will be awarded.

* Largest results package in CQP history.  19 PDF files, links to two SEQUOIA station blogs, and a link to your 2020 CQP Certificate of Achievement await you at https://cqp.org/Results.html
Stand by for more information about the SEQUOIA certificates.

* Make sure to look for your callsign listed in all of these files.  You may very well find yourself listed in a Top 10 table of the comeback award, operating time improvement award or the top 10 SEQUOIA QSO counts by operating class.

Thank you for participating in CQP 2020!

73…
-Dean – N6DE
CQP Organizing Team: K6MM, NS6T, W6GJB, N6DE

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

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

Press Release

LOS ANGELES – QSO Today host Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, announced that the next QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will commence on March 13-14, 2021, over a period of 48 hours.  The first QSO Today Expo was a great success with over 16,000 attendees and the March 2021 event is anticipated to be even larger.  The QSO Today team has been working hard to make this upcoming Expo even better with new speakers, panel discussions, kit building workshops, and much more.  Anyone can attend from their home or office. Early Bird Tickets are just $10 (to help cover the cost of this event, $12.50 at the “door”) and include entry for the Live 2 day period as well as the 30-day on-demand period).  Registration can be found at www.qsotodayhamexpo.com.  

 Eric and his team have put together a world-class line-up of 60+ speakers to address this conference from the virtual Expo’s auditorium.  ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio® in the United States, is a QSO Today Expo Partner.  Flexradio is the Expo’s Platinum Sponsor, and Gold sponsors as of this time include Elecraft, RFinder, and CSI.  

At the Expo, amateur radio operators will be able to:

  • Learn from a packed line-up of renowned ham radio speakers such as Bob Allphin, K4UEE, on “My Favorite DXpeditions to DXCC Top 10 Most Wanted”; Michael Foerster, W0IH, on “Using the Arduino In Your Shack”; and Ron Jones, K7RJ, on “3D Printer Basics”.
  • Take part in Live virtual kit building workshops.  Kits will be available for purchase and delivered to you in time for the Expo so you can participate and build from the convenience of your home.
  • Walkthrough the virtual exhibit hall filled with popular amateur radio suppliers. Watch live product demos of the latest equipment.  New video technology will be used to provide a better experience for attendees to engage with exhibitors.
  • Prior to the Expo, take advantage of our new speaker calendar technology to download speaker times in your local time zones to your Google or Outlook calendar.  You’ll then have a complete schedule of the sessions you want to join.
  • Return over the next 30 days to listen to speakers you missed during the Live period, explore, and re-engage exhibitor offerings.

“While attendance is expected from traditional in-person convention “goers” not traveling due to Covid, the virtual Expo is a great opportunity for those that don’t typically attend in-person events – the vast majority of amateur radio operators.  At our last Expo, we found that 60% of attendees don’t go to in-person national conferences and 40% don’t attend state or local events – mostly because of distance or because of the thousands of dollars typically spent on travel and lodging.” said Eric, 4Z1UG.

“The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo has all of the familiar hallmarks of an in-person hamfest, including opportunities to connect and learn. Expect to bump into friends and well known experts and personalities from throughout our worldwide ham radio community!” said Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, ARRL Product Development Manager

For more information, go to www.qsotodayhamexpo.com

January Membership Meeting

WVARA’s January Zoom Meeting:   The Quest for the Ultimate DX — Are We Alone in the Universe?

January 13, 2021 at 7pm PST.  (Zoom log-in details are available via the WVARA email reflector.)

In addition, Steve KC6ZKT will give us an update on plans for Winter Field Day and how you can get involved — Winter Field Day will be January 30/31.

The Allen Telescope Array, formerly known as the One Hectare Telescope, is a radio telescope array dedicated to astronomical observations and a simultaneous search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Are you curious about how radio technology is being used for alien exploration in the universe?  Join Dr. Seth Shostak, N6UDK, Senior Astronomer with the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, for a discussion on the possibility of discovering sophisticated civilizations much like our own. Learn about the approaches being applied to alien detection including RF- and signal-related technology.  And if you can’t wait until January, you can get started now by reading Dr Shostak’s book Confessions of an Alien Hunter (published by National Geographic). 

About our January speaker:   In addition to being a licensed radio amateur, Dr Seth Shostak has a B.A. in physics from Princeton and a PhD. in astronomy from Caltech. He did research in radio astronomy at several observatories before joining SETI. He has published numerous articles in professional journals as well as a number of popular magazines. He is the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly radio program on science. He is also responsible for many outreach activities for the SETI Institute.

December Monthly Meeting

WVARA’s December 9 Zoom Meeting:  “Repeaters To Go… Wild” 

WVARA will not be holding a holiday party this year.  Instead, we will hold a standard monthly Zoom meeting on Wednesday, December 9.  Steve Sergeant, KC6ZKT, will tell us about: “Repeaters To Go… Wild”.   Zoom details will be released via the WVARA email reflector.  If you aren’t yet a WVARA member and would like to attend this meeting, feel free to contact Jim Peterson, K6EI, via k6ei@wvara.org.


Summary:  What if you’re organizing a backcountry event where there is no communications infrastructure?  It’s the kind of problem that amateur radio operators are uniquely suited to solve.  What if your repeater site is only accessible on foot?  Then you need a portable repeater system that can be carried to site in a backpack.  Steve will talk about design requirements for highly portable repeaters systems, and show and demonstrate two 70-cm systems he has built for public service events, and review events where they were used.

Steve built repeater for public service events

November 11 Monthly Meeting

WVARA’s monthly meeting will be  on Wednesday, November 11, at 7pm via Zoom.  Please contact a WVARA board member for Zoom Information.

At this month’s meeting, Keith Snyder (KI6BDR) will give a virtual presentation on the Russian Woodpecker Over the Horizon Radar – A Real Blast from the Past.   I’m really looking forward to this one since many of us older hams remember encountering this signal on-the-air.

In addition, Steve KC6ZKT will give us an update on plans for Winter Field Day and how you can get involved.   (Winter Field Day will be January 30/31).
Jim, K6EIWVARA Vice President

“Duga 3” antenna array

Hidden deep in a serene forest yet taller than the clouds, standing in surreal beauty is an antenna array like none other on earth, having an aperture area greater than 15 U.S. football fields. One of the great wonders of the world – a top secret Soviet HF radar, so secret that even the name is uncertain, for it had many. It was the Russian Woodpecker. It was the Steel Yard. It was Duga.

The story of this top secret place is one of mystery and intrigue. Now abandoned, a rusting testament to man’s cold war hubris, almost all popular accounts on the web are seriously flawed – victims of deliberate disinformation. Where did it come from? What did it do? Did it transmit? Did it receive? Was it the first of three, or the third of two?

Keith Snyder, KI6BDR

Keith Snyder, KI6BDR, has been busy reverse engineering to uncover truth before time erases history. Keith shows visible engineering clues that reveal the mission and correct the history of the huge “Duga 3” antenna array. The Duga 3 is located a few kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site. Although it has fallen into disrepair, it stands today due only to a hasty exit forced by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. The nuclear accident ironically protected the array from dismantlement, a reprieve from all but the ravages of time. The antenna array today attracts tourists who visit Chernobyl. It is one of the 8th Wonders of the World due to its titanic size.