Category Archives: News

WVARA Meeting – Wednesday 10/10 – John Miller K6MM – Hot DX from Baker Island

Hello Everyone,

With CQP just happening this last weekend, apologies for not sending this out sooner, but we have a meeting this Wednesday (10/10) at the Red Cross 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.

This month, we have a visit from our dear friend John Miller, K6MM to talk to us about his recent DXpedition to Baker Island at the end of June / early July. While we were out at field day and thought we had some warm weather, John and rest of the Baker team were baking in the South Pacific.

If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that FT8 is starting to see major use in DXpeditions with its new DXpedition mode. Baker Island was one of the first DXpeditions to give it a full shakedown, find out how it worked out for them!

Baker Island is an uninhabited atoll located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean about 3,090 km (1,920 mi) southwest of Honolulu. The island lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbor is Howland Island, 42 mi (68 km) to the north-northwest; both have been territories of the United States since 1857, though the United Kingdom considered them part of the British Empire between 1897 and 1936. Located at 0°11′41″N 176°28′46″W, the island covers 2.1 km (0.81 sq mi), with 4.8 km (3.0 mi) of coastline. The climate is equatorial, with little rainfall, constant wind, and strong sunshine. The terrain is low-lying and sandy: a coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef with a depressed central area devoid of a lagoon with its highest point being 8 m (26 ft) above sea level. The island now forms the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge and is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the U.S. which vouches for its defense. It is visited annually by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For statistical purposes, Baker is grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands. Baker Island is also the last piece of land that experiences the New Year (earliest time zone).
Pre-meeting dinner:
A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting and anyone is welcome to join. This month we’re going to go back to Dish’n’Dash just a block down the street: https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose

Hope to see you at the meeting!

73,
Bill/W9KKN

May 9th WVARA Meeting – Jim Peterson K6EI – Field Day!

CQ field day CQ field day, kilo six echo india, kilowatt six echo italy….

It’s time for the May WVARA meeting! May 9th 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. Our speaker this month is Jim (K6EI), who is going to unveil the plan he’s been cooking up for ARRL Field Day.

For some radio clubs, ARRL Field Day could almost be called a casual event. Perhaps they find a park somewhere, bring some batteries or a generator, stand up some temporary antennas, make a few contacts on the radio… That’s fine, and we look forward to working them, but this is the West Valley Amateur Radio Association. For this club, Field Day is the most fun that we can legally have on the radio in one weekend.

Mark your calendars, June 23rd and 24th (and setup on Friday, June 22nd if you’re willing.) This is easily one of the most ambitious (if not the most ambitious) field day efforts on the west coast. Under the guidance of our fearless field day veteran, Jim Peterson (K6EI), our tower/antenna deployment engineer Svend (KF6EMB), our VHF/UHF/Satellite solar-powered el presidente Bobby (K0XI), our band/mode captains, our GOTA captain, and numerous other volunteers, we are looking forward to another record-setting performance for team WVARA.

A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting. This month, it’s back to Panera Bread located at 503 Coleman Avenue: https://www.yelp.com/biz/panera-bread-san-jose-2

See you there!

Bill/W9KKN

April 11th WVARA Meeting – CWOps – Rob Brownstein (K6RB)

Hello Everyone!
It’s time for our April WVARA meeting. Please join us this Wednesday (April 11th) at 7 pm 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.

Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks. Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome! If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters; 2m/220 are good choices, and our 6-meter machine is working pretty well these days I hear!

At the beginning of the year, we asked “What is your amateur radio-related new years resolution?” and several of us (including myself) answered that 2018 was the year to get into CW.

Learning CW can be intimidating, though; you might tune to the CW subbands on one of these contest weekends and hear a blur of dits and dahs at 45+ WPM and wonder if anyone could possibly be decoding or sending at that speed.

Our guest might be able to help with that: Rob Brownstein (K6RB) is one of the founding members of CWOps and the CW Academy. CWOps is a club of CW operators that sponsors a weekly CW contest that occurs every Wednesday at three different times. CW Academy is a program put on by the CW Operators’ Club aimed at increasing the number of competent CW operators on the HF CW sub-bands. It addresses all levels of enthusiasts: from those aspiring to become licensed operators who want to learn and use Morse code; to veteran operators who are intent on increasing their CW skills, speed and activity.

Rob Brownstein, K6RB, was first licensed at age 11 as KN2UMU in New York City’s borough of Queens. He has maintained a consistent level of operational activity for 56 years. His preferred operating mode is CW and he spends nearly 99 percent of his time ‘pounding brass.’ His preferred activities are rag chewing and contesting with CW.

Bobby (K0XI) will also talk about Back Country Weekend at Henry Coe State Park, it’s not too late to get involved. Our May meeting will be dedicated to All Things Field Day.
A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting and anyone is welcome to join. This month we’re going to go back to Dish’n’Dash just a block down the street: https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose
Don’t worry, we’ll keep Panera Bread in the rotation, and if Dish’n’Dash isn’t your first choice, there will likely be a few still going to Panera, just ask on the repeater.
Hope to see you there!
73, Bill/W9KKN

March Meeting – Wednesday, March 14th – PARASET: A Clandestine Spy Radio from WWII

Hello Everyone!

It’s time for our March WVARA meeting. Please join us this Wednesday (March 14th) at 7 pm 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.

Our guest speaker for the evening is Hiroki Kato (AH6CY) who will tell us a story of a QRP spy radio of WWII: how it was developed and how it was used in the war against Nazi Germany. Hiroki delivered a similar talk at Pacificon this last year, and from what I hear, we’re in for a real treat.

Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks. Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome!

If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters; 2m/220 are good choices, and our 6-meter machine is working pretty well these days I hear!

A few of us usually meet for dinner somewhere near the Red Cross around 6 pm prior to the meeting.  If this applies to you, please read: This month, we’re going to take a small break from Dish’n’Dash and instead meet at Panera Bread located at 503 Coleman Avenue: https://www.yelp.com/biz/panera-bread-san-jose-2

Don’t worry, we’ll keep Dish’n’Dash in the rotation, but it’s not everyone’s favorite, and that’s fine.
Looking forward to seeing everyone!
73,
Bill, W9KKN

February Meeting – Wednesday, January 14th 2018 – RTTY

Hello Everyone!

It’s time for our February WVARA meeting. Please join us this Wednesday (February 14th) at 7pm 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.  Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks. Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome!

If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters, normally 2m/220 are good choices.

A few of us usually meet for dinner a block down the street around 6 pm prior to the meeting, and anyone is welcome to join https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose

For this Valentine’s day meeting, I’m going to tell you why I love HF digital modes and cover some of the basics in getting started with RTTY, FT8, JT65 as well as some advanced topics. If you’ve traditionally stuck with CW or Voice modes, there are many DX and contest contacts you’re missing out on! FT8 is even starting to show up in DXpeditions and there are some interesting changes around that planned for a future version of WSJT-X that you’ll hear about here first. We won’t be able to cover everything, but I hope to recruit you in our digital efforts at a future WVARA Field Day. Also, the RTTY edition of the North America QSO Party contest is Saturday, February 24th. Get on and make a few contacts!
Hope to see you there!
73,
Bill, W9KKN

January Meeting – Wednesday, January 10th 2018 – Wake Atoll DXpedition

It’s time for our first WVARA meeting of 2018. Please join us this Wednesday (Jan 10th) at 7pm 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.  Most of us come in through the side entrance on the southwest side of the building — look for our red WVARA sign on the side where they park all the Red Cross trucks.  Cookies will be served, and of course, visitors are welcome!

If you haven’t been to the Red Cross, “talk-in” is usually available on the Association’s repeaters, normally 2m/220 are good choices.

A few of us usually meet for dinner a block down the street around 6 pm prior to the meeting, and anyone is welcome to join. We’ll try to mix the pre-meeting restaurant up a bit this year, but we’ll start with https://www.yelp.com/biz/dish-n-dash-san-jose

John Miller will be talking to us about the 2013 K9W DXpedition to Wake Atoll. John has been on many DXpeditions and always tells an awesome story.
John’s Bio:  

John was first licensed as WV2BQJ in 1958 while living in Syracuse, NY.  In 1976, John’s career took him to Silicon Valley, where he reconnected with amateur radio in the late 90s.  In addition to his own website, he has created websites for a number of amateur radio organizations:
For the last decade, John has focused heavily on DXing, contesting, and recruiting new operators into the hobby.
John is a member of ARRL, INDEXA, MLDXCC, and PAARA. He is Past-President of the Northern California Contest Club, a Director of the Northern California DX Club, a founding member of the CW Operators’ Club, a member of the editorial staff of the National Contest Journal, and a Director of the Northern California DX Foundation.
Hope to see you there!

FARS-WVARA Joint Winter Banquet on Jan 19

This year, it isn’t just a FARS banquet – we are co-sponsoring the event. Come on out and enjoy the evening! Just be sure to bring cash for the raffle, as the ATM was recently removed.

Date: Friday, January 19.

Signup deadline: Postal, January 12, online January 15.

Location:
Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 No. Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA
650-962-1014

Further information signup link, raffle prizes etc.:
http://www.fars.k6ya.org/events/banquet
      The raffle 1st prize will be an Elecraft KX2 transceiver.

Schedule:   6:00PM – Open Bar (No Host)
            7:00PM – Dinner
            8:00PM – Presentation
            9:00PM – Announcements, Awards, Raffle

Presentation Title:  The Pre-Silicon History of Radio in Santa Clara Valley and the Peninsula

Summary:  Early radio development history including local figures Lee De Forest, Charles “Doc” Herrold and others.

Mike Adams

About the Speaker:  Mike Adams has been a radio personality and a film maker.  Currently he is professor emeritus of radio, television, and film at San Jose State University, where he has been a department chair and the Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts. Adams has taught at the Shanghai Theatre Academy School of Television and Film.  As a researcher and writer of broadcast and early technology history, he created two award-winning documentaries for PBS, the Emmy-nominated “Radio Collector,” and “Broadcasting’s Forgotten Father.”  Mike is the Board Chair of the California Historical Radio Society, CHRS.  For his service to historical radio research and publication he received the AWA (Antique Wireless Association) Houck Award, the SCARS (Southern California Historical Radio Society) President’s Award, the TCA (Tube Collectors of America) Stokes Award, the RCA (Radio Club of America) Ralph Batcher Award, and he was named a CHRS History Fellow.  He has had published numerous articles and six books, including Lee de Forest, King of Radio, Television and Film, 2012, Springer Science, The Radio Boys and Girls: Radio, Telegraph, Telephone and Wireless Adventures for Juvenile Readers, 1890-1945, McFarland Press, 2015, and Columbus Radio, Arcadia, 2016.