Category Archives: News

February 7 Meeting

Because of Valentine’s Day, WVARA’s February meeting will be held a week early on Wednesday, February 7.  As usual we will be 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.   Social time begins around 6:45pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm.  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.  

At this month’s meeting Dr Richard G Ranson, G3ZTB,  will speak on the care and feeding of your nanoVNA.  The advent of devices like the NanoVNA brings new measurement capabilities within the budget of amateur radio enthusiasts.   This talk focuses on a non-mathematical understanding of calibration and the practical aspects of making measurements, tips on how to improve them and getting the most out of your device. The nanoVNA is much more than an antenna analyser and a valuable addition to any shack.

Dr Ranson has been a licensed radio amateur since being a schoolboy. It led him to a BSc and Phd in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Leeds, and over 40 years in the RF and microwave electronics industry in the UK and USA. He has specialised in various types of receiver system, but never lost interest in the technical challenges of HF radio. His current interests are on high dynamic range SDR radios and the Raspberry Pi computing platform.  He is a life fellow of the IEEE and a retired fellow of the IET in the UK.

Please note:
• 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 nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to join us.

73,
Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President

January 10 Meeting

Parks-On-The-Air (POTA) is a great opportunity for hams who enjoy the outdoors to activate portable operations from local, state, and national parks.  POTA also promotes the role of amateur radio in emergency awareness and is a great excuse to get on the air from scenic locations.  At this month’s meeting, Clay Couger (N5YJZ) will bring us up to speed on how to get involved with Parks-On-The-Air.  And Scott Nacey (KK6IK) will pass along some lessons learned from his recent POTA activations. 

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday, January 10, 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.   Social time begins around 6:45pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm.  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.  

Please note:
• 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 nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm at Dish-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com .   Feel free to join us.

73s,
Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President

WVARA Holiday BBQ – Saturday December 16

WVARA Holiday BBQ

There won’t be an evening WVARA meeting in December.  Instead, we are having a Holiday BBQ.  We’ll have hot charcoal and condiments — please bring your own meat to grill, and maybe a desert or side dish to share.

And of course, the WVARA tradition of drawings for Holiday Door Prizes is good to go.   Santa Claus is making arrangements for some great prizes.   So be there or be square! 

– Jim, K6EI

When:  11am – 1pm, Saturday, Dec 16

Where:  Silicon Valley Red Cross Building Patio on the east-facing side of the facility.  We can shift indoors to Room 3 if it rains. The Red Cross building is at 2731 N. First Street at Plumeria Drive (southwest corner) in San Jose.

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:

https://contests.arrl.org/ContestResults/2023/Field-Day-2023-FinalQSTResults.pdf

June 14 Meeting

The next WVARA meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday, June 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.   Social time begins at 6:40pm with the formal meeting starting at 7pm.  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.   

BTW, a half dozen of us meet nearby for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:30pm nearby at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com . Feel free to join us.


Meeting Topic:  AREDN (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network) —  Come hear about RF Microwave Networking here in the South Bay Area.  We will learn about what exists now, and how AREDN can be expanded for experimentation, community support, and emergencies.  This will also be an opportunity for WVARA members to ask questions about setting up multi-Mbps systems at home, portable, and at key community locations.

Our speaker, Jim Moss, N9JIM, is working with a small group of hams to establish a microwave backbone around the SF Bay Area — in particular the South Bay. The first mountaintop station was established in 2013 on 3GHz and demonstrated IPphone & text messaging to flyaway portable setups. In 2022,  Jim helped establish a 5GHz mountaintop node with AREDN firmware.  BTW, Jim also holds the current (2020) 122GHz distance record holder with K6ML & KB6BA. They operated from Mt Umunhum (near San Jose, CA) to Mt Vaca (near Vacaville, CA) a distance of about 80 miles using 18″ dishes and about 1mW. Jim is also active on 1.2GHz EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) communications using 500w and a 1.5m dish.  Very cool!

If you can’t wait until June 14 to learn about AREDN, then check out the AREDN website at:  https://www.arednmesh.org/


Regarding our June 14 meeting, three things to remember:
• 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.

Although we will be meeting in person, Jim’s presentation will also be streamed via Zoom.  Zoom instructions will be sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ.

April 12th WVARA Meeting

Our next WVARA meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday, April 12, 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.   

BTW, several of us meet for dinner prior to the meeting at 5:40pm nearby at Disn-N-Dash (2551 N. 1st St. San Jose):  https://dishdash.com . Feel free to join us.

 Kristen McIntyre, K6WX

This month’s speaker will be Kristen McIntyre, K6WX, who will discuss “A Wire in the Air: What Matters Most”.  The magic of radio happens when we couple RF into the fabric of spacetime. We do that with an antenna. These devices are simultaneously simple and complex. It’s easy to get lost in the theory or fooled by the latest anecdote. Let’s look at what’s important in antenna choice and design. There are things that matter more than others, and it’s never perfect. And a bit of theory will guide us. Radiation resistance, loss, pattern gain, terrain, polarization, coupling, loading – they all play a role. Join us to find out what happens and what matters when we put a wire in the air.

Social time will begin at 6:45pm, with greetings and club business at 7pm followed by Kristen’s presentation.   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 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.

Three things to remember:

  1. 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.
  2. The Red Cross locks the main entrance at 7pm sharp, so please come early in order to get access to the building.  
  3. 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 call Tim, KN6FGH, at 408-929-9311.

Although we will be meeting in person, Kristen’s presentation will also be streamed via Zoom.  Zoom instructions will be sent via WVARA reflector and can likewise be obtained by contacting K6EI — his email is available via QRZ.

February 8 WVARA Meeting

This month’s WVARA meeting will be held in-person at 7pm on Wednesday, February 8, 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 presenter is none other than our own Steve Sergeant, KC6ZKT.  Steve will cover some of the highlights of our recent Winter Field Day adventure, followed by a fascinating presentation, “The Model-T of Computers”.  This talk explores two ground-breaking examples of technologies that changed our society. Each one changed important things about how people lived and how civilization worked. As we evolve our technical skills, can we resist the social changes that they bring? Should we? 

KC6ZKT.png

Steve Sergeant holds an Amateur Extra class license, and is a third-generation ham.  He has held lead technical roles for companies that brought digital audio to the music industry and digital video to the largest television broadcasters. Steve currently works as a senior staff engineer at Dolby Laboratories, helping manufacturers design the next generation of high-end audio/video equipment. His colleagues there like to call him their “expert generalist.”

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):  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.

Although we will be meeting in person, Steve’s presentation will also be streamed via Zoom.  

.Jim, K6EI
WVARA Vice President