Notes from the CAKE meeting  CAKE notes for March 23 2019

No two days are exactly alike at our rendezvous of The Abbey and today it was conspicuously empty. All the usual “heads down in their laptops” were missing, end of final’s apparently. Ron W6WO was joined by Glen KG0T, Fred KJ6OOV, Kerry K3RRY and John N5HPB. At the previous session John amazed us by describing the 3D printer he was building, today it was a laser engraving machine.  This involved constructing a high current DC supply comprising a bank of diodes and power resistors all meticulously designed and constructed as we have come to expect. For hard-to-find parts John spoke highly of Anchor Electronics and Excess Solutions in San Jose. Anyone interested in joining Ron for a field trip??

We had more conversation about PCB layout software including the ability to deal with a variety of components from edge mounted SMA connectors to 0.65 mm parts. Contact Ron if you are interested in such very small capacitors. Fred showed an ARRL book on oscilloscopes which seemed to have most to say about “vintage”analog equipment. However a digital scope from Rigol was described with an attractive price of $350. Fred suspects that with relevant software this scope may become a spectrum analyzer.
A youngish fellow came up and asked if we were Radio Hams (are we so obvious?) then introduced himself as Nick a software engineer involved with geographic data and was familiar with APRS. Nick lives up in the hills so we alerted him to the SLVARC and informed him of their meeting place and time. Fred spent much of our session giving Nick a concentrated tutorial on Amateur Radio and on digital modes in particular. Good work Fred.

 Ron posed two mystery items one was the meaning of this string of characters ATC: 100C101JW2500X.  John identified it as an American Technical Ceramics TC100 series 100pF capacitor with a specific tolerance, needless to say this can not fit on a SMD component. It may take some time to realize that either a resistor or capacitor marked as 100 has a value of 10 and one marked as 101 has a value of 100, 102 a value of 1,000  etc. My XYL also has problems with the amount of zeros in a number !
The second mystery was the meaning of the term “Negative Dissipation” which came up in Ron’s  measurement of very small values of the Equivalent Series Resistance of capacitors. One of his measurements had a negative value. Resistors only positively dissipate power, hence the mystery.  Errors introduced in calibration and measurement techniques are known to cause a negative value. This is fully described in an excellent Impedance Measurement Handbook published by Agilent Technologies aka  Keysight. This is available online at https://literature.cdn.keysight.com/litweb/pdf/5950-3000.pdf section 5-6 . Hint don’t attempt to copy the full 140 pages as many include unprintable labels, at least by my PC/Printer combination.

 Here’s wishing you a better information to noise ratio in all you do.

Ron  W6WO

Can Indoor Antennas Work? Yes!

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

Recently, a reader asked:
I am studying your “No Nonsense” book as I prep for the Technician test. I am also learning CW. I am going to buy a Yaesu FT 450D as my first radio, and I want to use an indoor antenna as my first antenna. What do you recommend for CW?
I replied:
To be honest, I’ve never had a lot of luck with indoor antennas. Don’t let that dissuade you, though. I have worked many hams with indoor antennas. Just recently, for example, I worked a guy who was using a Buddipole (http://www.buddipole.com/) inside his apartment.
If you have an attic, you could easily install a dipole up there. The ARRL web page on indoor antennas (http://arrl.org/indoor-antennas) notes:
“Attics are great locations for indoor antennas. For example, you can install a wire dipole in almost any attic space. Don’t worry if you lack the room to run the dipole in a straight line. Bend the wires as much as necessary to make the dipole fit into the available space.
“Ladder-line fed dipoles are ideal for attic use—assuming that you can route the ladder line to your radio without too much metal contact. In the case of the ladder-line dipole, just make it as long as possible and stuff it into your attic any way you can. Let your antenna tuner worry about getting the best SWR out of this system.”
There are plenty of remote tuners now, too. You could install a doublet with elements as long as you can make them, connect them directly to the remote tuner, and then run coax to your shack.
I have also worked guys who have used Slinky antennas inside a house. The advantage of using a Slinky is that it is electrically longer than a wire of the same length.
An attached garage might also make a good location for an indoor antenna. VE3SO, who I’ve worked several times, uses a magnetic loop antenna installed in his garage (https://www.kb6nu.com/magnetic-loop-antenna-at-ve3so/).
If you do a web search for “indoor amateur radio antennas,” you’ll get many more ideas. Here are a few that looked promising to me:
•    Indoor antenna for 7 Mhz (http://www.iw5edi.com/ham-radio/37/indoor-antenna-for-7-mhz)
•    An Indoor Reduced Size Rectangular Loop (http://hamuniverse.com/kl7jrindoorloop4010.html)
Another option might be to load up your gutters! I’ve worked a couple of guy who use gutter antennas, including WA8KOQ (https://www.kb6nu.com/operating-notes-gutter-antenna-rac-contest-161-countries-worked/) and K3DY (https://www.kb6nu.com/operating-notes-computer-virus-club-net-gutter-antenna/).
This blog post garnered a couple of interesting comments. K2MUN wrote, “For many years I’ve used an attic mounted off-center fed 40 meter dipole. With an automatic antenna tunner and a 4:1 balun I’ve worked lots of dx with both qrp and, more easily, 100 watts! Certainly, outdoors is much superior but an attic is a nice location in bad weather making playing with your antenna a pleasure :-).
John, KD0JPE, said, ‘If you have an attic available, check out the following 6-band coax trap-based antenna: http://degood.org/coaxtrap/. I constructed one of these 9 years ago and have had great results with it.
The bottom line is that indoor antennas can definitely work. They may take more work to put up than outside antennas, but as the saying goes, “Any antenna is better than no antenna.”


CAKE Notes for March 9 2019

The heavy rain did not deter Peter K6UNO or Glen KG0T from joining Ron W6WO at The Abbey.

We discussed the way methods for designing and fabricating Printed Circuit Boards have evolved from crude techniques involving tape and chemicals . Peter spoke highly of KICAD 5.0.2 which is open source software that automates component placement, routing and ordering of components. There are several choices for board fabrication PCB Express being just one of many. Expert help is an advantage to becoming familiar with such powerful software, Peter has found folk at APCircuits very helpful.

We discussed how to handle Surface Mounted Devices (tip: order a few extra as they tend to take wings). Soldering them to a PCB is not as onerous as may be thought. It was generally agreed that working in a good light was important as was using a very fine tip to a temperature controlled iron. A wooden toothpick is popular for holding a component in place. Ron believes that it is of utmost importance to have surfaces clean and preferably those that have been “tinned” in advance. Using a microscope seems to be a personal preference . Even now the simple use of VeroBoard and Dremmel tools is expedient.

Problem solving has also evolved over time and Glen recalls the days of using a “bed of nails” to access test points. Finding problems in software without detailed documentation has probably become more difficult over time. In contrast fixing the loss of network access was simply a matter of locating an obscure on-off switch.

Ron has progressed in gaining knowledge of his Vector Network Analyzer and showed some results from making measurements of capacitors. For those with a VNA here is a simple exercise. After instrument calibration make reflection-mode measurements of resistance and the reactances inherent to your Open-Source-Load standards. My standards are home-brew, so it would be helpful to compare results. Glen asked how can measurements avoid errors due to the resistance incurred by test probes making contact with the device under test. The solution comes from using a technique invented by Lord Kelvin in the 1800s known as the Kelvin 4-point method. This is possible using a two port VNA to measure S21 parameters. Ron will post an image of the technique to Short Skip and provide measurement data in due course.

Better Kelvin picture

On March 6th George Badger W3AB and Ron attended a full day seminar on RF measurements put on by Keysight technologies in Santa Clara, analog and digital topics were presented . Rosenfell detection was mentioned in the context of noise reduction. I note this topic is mentioned in a recent software update for the Anan SDR radio, it (Warren ts) finding out more.about it. Both George and Ron have reasons to make a follow up visit to Keysight. Incidentally the ride in George’s Tesla model 3 was quite intriguing. Imagine driving over the hill in rush hour without having to manually apply the brake.

That’s all for now BCNU March 23 , assume at the Abbey unless other arrangements are selected.

Following the advice of Bob Marley I wish you Positive Vibrations Ron W6WO


CAKE  Notes for Feb 23 2019

Our regular “small group” participants  Reed N1WC, Gary K6PDL,  John N5HPB, Kerry K3RRY , Peter K6UNO and Glen KG0T joined Ron W6WO. It was a cool morning which prompted us to sit in comfortable armchairs – comfort at some expense of easy listening.

Gary mentioned the challenge of training VE (Volunteer Examiners) due to turnover of participants. Some of us have a modicum of teaching experience so it could be useful to show  some of the material used in the VE sessions. The demise of Yahoo groups  seems to have encouraged migration to “groupsio”  QRPlabs  is one example.

John never ceases to amaze us with his multifaceted interests and talents- today he described what it takes to find tiny neon bulbs from the 1950s. He found some but only a few were in working order. The group suggested the glass seal had failed releasing the neon gas. Ron related a similar situation where the fluid in a VHS tape-head cleaning product had failed.. Use of a Q-tip to manually clean the heads was recommended. John astounded us once again by his ability to design useful items with 3D printing. Not content with his printer John is now building one of his own design. 

Glen is making good progress with his knee surgery and we much appreciate his  effort to take part in our sessions. Glen’s micro-processor Dejour is called Blue Pill (nothing to do with blue-tooth). Glen likes this item as the on-board cost was <$2 shipped, supports Linux and includes a debugger. How about a presentation at a Club meeting Glen? There was some conversation about the history of computer memory and once again the evolution is simply incredible. Adding a 30m element to a 40/80m Butternut vertical came up but we decided to defer discussion. Kerry showed a very cool push button switch with internal colored lights. 

 Peter is well known as an audiophile and has loaned Ron a copy of an excellent book entitled  “Linear Audio”. It goes to great length to show how audio quality can deteriorate due to power dissipated  in capacitors. At DC and AF these losses are mainly due to the dielectric  material, Polyethylene derivatives are popular dielectric materials. The concerns at audio for power output, efficiency and quality are similar to those at RF but the choices of component technologies can be quite different. Quiz  What typical insulation resistance should be expected in a quality AF/DC capacitor 1, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000  MOhms ?  What typical Equivalent Series Resistance ESR should be expected in a quality RF capacitor 1,10,100,1000,10,000 mOhms ?

 Ron reported some progress in measuring ESR which wastes power in battery- powered devices such as RF beacons and  medical implants. The expected growth of all manner of IOT devices will emphasize the importance of ESR in determining battery life. Incidentally the typical battery in a pacemaker is expected to last about 8 years. How many ampere hours would that be ?   

We discussed a question Don K6GHA had sent in. This concerned the ability to remotely control a relay to switch a single AC power supply between his water pump and crank up tower motor. The group were sure this would be possible but.wanted  more details on what Don was trying to  avoid. 

Our next session is on March 9th. which coincides with the Flea-market so we can look forward to some interesting items. 73 BCNU  March 9th   

PS Ron is still looking to share a ride to SJC on March 6th to attend a Foresight seminar on RF, 

Volunteers Needed


To Past SOC Volunteers, SBC ARA Members, and neighboring Ham Radio groups

The 29th Sea Otter Classic will be held on April 11-14, 2019.  Help from amateur radio operators has been a vital resource for communication in the Fort Ord National Monument back country and the Gran Fondo (“Great Endurance”) Carmel Valley Route.  Thank you to those of you who have volunteered in the past.

The Sea Otter Classic attracts thousands of athletes and spectators and is now regarded as the world’s premiere cycling festival.  The areas where we assist have little or no cellular or repeater coverage.  It is an excellent opportunity for demonstration and practice of emergency communications and help build readiness for a real disaster.

This year help will be needed for the following times:

Thursday 4/11 – Radio/Communication Support – Morning through early afternoon (only a few volunteers needed for this)

Saturday 4/13 – Gran Fondo Carmel Valley Route Support – Very Early Morning to Early Evening

Saturday 4/13 – Back Country Support – Early Morning to Mid Afternoon

Sunday 4/14 – Back Country Support – Very Early Morning to Mid Afternoon

Camping is available directly from the event or we have the option of camping for no charge in the Laguna Seca paddock.

Ham radio operators will be primarily working radios including ham radios and/or commercial/public safety radios (i.e. you may be asked to coordinate on a public safety frequency to guide in an ambulance while the medic provides care).  We’ll always try to pair experienced hams with new hams as needed. First aid and course marshal support will be provided by Fort Friends and National Ski Patrol as in the past.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you’re interested in volunteering.  We’ll need a volunteer wavier signed and we will have more details available closer to the event.

Volunteers should receive a volunteer T-Shirt, a pass to the Sea Otter Classic Festival (a $50 value), and a lunch.  There will be some other surprise items for the volunteers.  (as supplies last)

Please note that the times and details are subject to change, but we will keep you updated if you volunteer.  Please keep in mind that end times are estimates.  In most cases the event will end earlier, but if we have a significant incident, demobilization may go much later and especially in the back country, exit routes are closed to vehicle traffic during the event.  Updates will be available at http://sbcares.org/otter (It is still early and this page is still being updated for this year – Last year’s information will be available here for now for reference as to what was done last year).

To sign up please go to this link https://goo.gl/forms/CeLEEpC1woLUy0Z32 or if this doesn’t work for you.  Feel free to just reply to takeuchi@sbcares.org via e-mail.


Frank Carrol Jr K6BDK SK,  Bob Perry K6GDI SK

Sadly, two prominent local HAM radio operators have passed away recently.

Frank Carroll, Jr. (K6BDK) passed away in Bend, Oregon on January 26, 2019.  His service will be held Saturday, April 13 at 2pm at the Santa Cruz Memorial Park on Ocean Street Extension in Santa Cruz.  A reception will follow at the Santa Cruz Elks Club on Jewell Street.  Donations in Frank’s memory may be made to the Partner’s in Care Hospice House, Bend, Oregon.  Here is the link to the website: https://www.partnersbend.org/get-involved/donate-to-bend-hospice/

Bob Perry (K6GDI) was a regular voice on the K6RMW repeater, and an active member of the South County ARES and other emergency communications efforts.  He passed away on February 14, 2019, according to his long-time friend Bob Wiser (K6RMW).  No further information is available at this time.

Both will be greatly missed.


Amateur radio (illegally) aiding yacht racers

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

The Golden Globe Race (https://goldengloberace.com), a 30,000 mile, non-stop solo yacht race to celebrate Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic 1968/9 world first solo non-stop circumnavigation. There are 18 sailors in the race, which started on July 1, 2018 from Les Sables-D’Olonne, France.
Amateur radio is at the heart of the latest controversy surrounding the race. Scuttlebutt Sailing News reported (https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2019/01/21/maintaining-information-barrier/) on January 21, 2019 (day 205 of the race):

“Sailors have been making use of the Amateur Radio net (ham radio) for decades, and while National telecommunication authorities have often turned a deaf ear to unlicensed operators using made-up call signs while at sea, warnings from a National regulator to Golden Globe Race skippers has created intrigue into an exciting finale for race leaders.

“Modern navigation and routing tools are restricted from use in the 2018-19 contest, limiting GGR skippers to the type of equipment available for the inaugural Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69. That includes Amateur Radio.
“The skippers have been using this free communication system to gain weather forecasts and maintain contact with their teams, which is allowed under the Race Rules. However, it is the responsibility of each skipper to ensure that they abide by National and International regulations which Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats, in first and second in the race, have not been doing. [[Neither Van den Heede or Slats have valid amateur radio licenses…Dan]]
“Said the warning, ‘You use an amateur callsign and are making connections with amateur radio operators. The call sign letters are not registered, and thus illegal. I ask you to stop. If you have a legal amateur callsign then I urge you to present it.’”

As a result of this warning, Slats is considering dropping out of the race, even though the race is nearly complete. Yachting Monthy reports (https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/boat-events/golden-globe-race/golden-globe-race-slats-considers-quitting-comms-row-68574):

“Mark Slats, who is less than 50 miles from Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, has announced he is thinking about retiring from the race after being banned from broadcasting on the Ham Radio Net.
“Race organisers said the Dutch skipper does not have the required licence, and has been warned by the Dutch authorities to stop broadcasting, which has left him unable to communicate with his shore team.
“Under the rules of the race, all of the entrants are able to use this free communication system to gain weather forecasts and maintain contact with their teams, but, it is the responsibility of each skipper to ensure that they abide by national and international regulations.”

It’s not only the yachters that are flouting the rules, it’s the amateur radio operators who are communicating with them. According to Yachting Monthly, OFCOM, the UK regulator issued the following warning:
“Fair warning both to unregistered GGR skippers and to legitimate Ham radio operators communicating with them. In Britain, the Ham Radio net is controlled by OFCOM, which recently revoked more than 500 licences for non-compliance. This includes communicating with unregistered Ham radio operators. The maximum penalty is 6 months in prison, a £5,000 fine and loss of their licence.”

This is a fascinating story, and I wish that I’d found out about this sooner. It would be interesting to listen in on some of these communications. One question I have is why these guys failed to obtain a valid amateur radio license? The Golden Globe Radio website notes, “[The race] will be sailed under the auspices of the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club in the Kingdom of Tonga. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Tupouto’a Ulukalala is Patron of the Race.” They probably could have issued valid amateur radio licenses to all the racers.
If any of you have heard the communications or know any more about the technical details, I’d love to hear from you.


Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (KB6NU.Com), the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (KB6NU.Com/study-guides/), and one of the hosts of the No Nonsense Amateur Radio Podcast (NoNonsenseAmateurRadio.Com). When he’s not think about operating maritime mobile, you’ll find him on 30m, 40m, and 80m.

CAKE Meeting Feb 9

John N5HPB and his GPS clock John N5HBP and his GPS clock

CAKE Notes 1/12/19

It was truly a pleasure to see Glen (KG60T) following his recent medical experience. Both Glen and Kerry (K3RRY) live on “the far side” of town so their efforts to be with us are especially gratifying. Gary (K6PDL) deserves to be recognized as the most consistent CAKE participant.

This was the second meeting at Dharmas and it seems to be “the spot to beat for now”. We can consider alternatives at any time. Some ideas are for a formal presentation at a suitable room, a visit to N6IJ at Ft Ord, a breakfast meeting at the Golf Club adjacent to our repeater, a possible session in Monterey to meet members of their club. All the above are feasible, let Ron (W6WO) know your wishes.

Kerry was asked how his studies were progressing at UCSC and we gather the end goal might be in sight. I hope he will expand on his studies in a future session. Kerry showed a DG8SAQ VNA and it seemed to be very well documented. Ron can vouch for many new insights these instruments can bring. Another fine exhibit was a book on the Smith Chart by its inventor Philip H. Smith.

Cap outlined the many features  our HF station at K6BJ has and these are currently under review by himself and others; we can look forward to details. Ron mentioned FT8 contacts on 80m made by Craig N6SBN with 20 Watts and a simple vertical. Complete coverage of the US and, almost beyond belief, a few in Europe. Check Short Skip on the K6BJ website to see the map of his contacts .

FT8 On 80m

There was considerable discussion about upgrades in the microprocessor world (Ron regrets no longer being conversant). From the beginning there has been a contest between advances in computing and communicating and today they are inextricably mixed. There is an academic research center at NYU focused on TerraHz ie mm Wave technology. The Director recently stated that “By 2020 the World will see single chip data transceivers which reliably transfer more than 10GB/s over more than 200 meters”. Clearly such wireless technology will accelerate the “Internetworking of Anything”. Ron recalled advising NYU to study 900MHz propagation within buildings some 40 years ago.

We shared our thoughts on the evolution of land line data communications from 300 bps and acoustically coupled modems to multiple Mbps on humble twisted pair. Understanding the communications science in the recovery of detailed images from the remotest parts of our galaxy, deserves our attention. A Club meeting presentation on this topic anyone ??? Several other subjects came up briefly including IP version 6, global time standards, and parametric amplifiers.

Wishing all readers of these notes the very best for 2019

73 Ron


Photos from SCCARC Annual Holiday Celebration

Saturday December 15 at the Capitol Ihop.


IMG_1902k6ext chrismasIMG_1895

David Shoaf KG6IRW, SK

I am very sad to announce that one of our club members is SK.

David Shoaf (KG6IRW) passed last Thursday, Nov. 29th after a short, but valiant, battle with cancer.

Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to David’s family, his wife Sharon, and David’s son, and grandchildren.


Davidl appeared at a CAKE meeting in October, and Ron (W6WO) commented on how everyone was delighted and happy to see him attend the meeting. David had a way of making a conversation light up, especially when he talked of the hobby he enjoyed, and the equipment he supported. Always an ambassador of fun, David’s contribution to any conversation was appreciated, and interesting.

I met David around 2011 when he attended the K6BJ Club meetings, and he soon became a semi-regular at CAKE meetings. Elecraft soon occupied much of his time,  where he became their chief support and event manager.

Through a series of conversations, David and I came to find out that we had crossed paths many times in life. From our shared background working at Hewlett Packard (David for over 20 years), at events when he was representing Elecraft (Dayton, Friedrichshafen, and Visalia), and at his other passion of playing at local musical events, like Bocci’s Cellar and other locations around town. One of my favorite times to say Hi to David was as a runner in the Wharf-to-Wharf 10K race. My annual visit to him was punctuated by a quick wave, and a shouted ‘73’ as I ran past, while he played for the participants, and waved back.

David spent his time helping others. Setting up an HF station, giving inspiring talks to the club on a variety topics like Amplifiers and upcoming digital technologies. In one talk on JT-65 (I still have the link to his slides), not only did he tell us about it, he actually went to peoples shacks (including mine) to get them up and running! All you had to do was ask. 

Storytelling by David was still one of the greatest joys in being around him. His smooth voice incorporated a warm southeastern style, with a little mischief. It was his signature on (and off) the air. When you got him talking, you also found out about his audiophile and engineering background, and his joy just talking to folks. David always had an ease and grace in making you feel like you were his friend, even if you only just had met him. There we many stories told at events, but none where so special to him when he proudly talked about his son as a pilot in the Air Force, and David working him on HF while in flight.

I’ll miss a David as a Ham, a musician, but most of all a friend.

It is unknown at this time if a celebration of life will be held, but please let everyone know if there will be one.
I am sure there will be some wonderful stories, good laughs, and warm friendships continued and created. Something David would enjoy.

73, de Don K6GHA
SCCARC President


Some Images from the December 8 CAKE Meeting

Rene K6XW and old rectifier

Rene K6XW and old rectifier

The CAKE group dec 8 2018

The CAKE group dec 8 2018  The seated group from L-R are Richard K8SQB Tom KW6S Fred KJ6OOV Eric WA6HHQ Ron W6WO and Vic AE6ID

W6WO ESR Test Board

W6WO ESR Test Board

Fine 60s era amp shown by Rene K6XW

Fine 60s era amp shown by Rene K6XW


 November SCCARC Club Meeting Review

If you were unable to attend the November Club Meeting last Friday, perhaps you are wondering what the Club decided to do about the K6BJ equipment upgrades proposed in the information I sent out in advance of the meeting.  To summarize:
1) Cap (KE6AFE) gave a summary of current status of equipment.
2) Robert (KJ6FFP) presented his information and proposals for the Club to consider.
3) Don (K6GHA) led a good discussion among members regarding what the Club wants to do and be able to provide for in times of emergency as well as regular repeater use.
4) An informal Committee has formed to examine more closely the issues raised during discussion, and will continue that discussion on December 1 (10am-noon) at the K6BJ Station while doing some maintenance on the equipment.  They will present some recommendations to the Club at the December 15 Club dinner meeting (6pm at IHOP) for possible action.

Please attend the December 1 work party/Committee discussion or contact Robert Ritchey (copied on this message).  We are asking for monetary donations to possibly purchase new equipment.  You can use PayPal on the K6BJ.org website and let Robert know.


Annual Holiday Celebration – December Meeting

Greetings, All,
Thanks to Mike Doern (KM6IKE), our Club has reserved the banquet room at IHOP on 41st Avenue in Capitola for our annual Holiday Celebration.  Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 15, 6pm for this no-host dinner and celebration.  Each person will be able to order and pay for whatever appeals to you from the menu, with a senior discount provided.
As always, we will offer a free raffle with lots of fun items (bring anything you would like to donate) and encourage Club membership renewal at that time.
RSVP appreciated but not necessary. 

Big changes ahead for ARRL board

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

The results are finally in. No, I’m not talking about the national mid-term election results. As I’m writing this, some of those votes are still being counted. I’m talking about this year’s ARRL board elections. ARRL members have spoken, and they have elected four new faces to the board in what was the most hotly-contested election in a long time.
Three of the five incumbents, plus an incumbent vice director running for the Northwest Division director position, were defeated by candidates calling for more transparency and for changes in the way that the ARRL operates.  
Here are the results:
Central Division Director
•    Kermit Carlson, W9XA 1,898  
•    Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L 1,755  
Hudson Division Director
•    Ria Jairam, N2RJ 1,292  
•    Mike Lisenco, N2YBB 1,239  
New England Division Director
•    Fred Hopengarten, K1VR 1,432  
•    Tom Frenaye, K1KI 1,383  
Northwestern Division Director
•    Mike Ritz, W7VO 1,589  
•    Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ 1,308  
•    Horace Hamby, N7DRW 495  
Roanoke Division Director
•    George Hippisley, W2RU 1,891  
•    Dr. James Boehner, N2ZZ 1,365  
In the only two contested vice director elections, Mark Tharp, KB7HDX  defeated Daniel Stevens, KL7WM and Delvin Bunton, NS7U in the Northwest Division and in the Roanoke Division, William Morine, N2COP defeated John Humphry, W4IM. All newly elected officials will take office at noon on January 1, 2019.
I was kind of surprised here that Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, failed to win in the Central Division. She has certainly made many contributions to amateur radio, both in the DX/contest community and on Ham Nation. Apparently, though, she made some statements that she was forced to retract, and that probably hurt her campaign, and as some pointed out to me, Kermit Carlson, W9XA, was well thought of in the Central Division and in the VHF/UHF community.
Overall, though, I’m very pleased with the results. Although some of the margins of victory were small—K1VR won by only 49 votes and N2RJ won by 53 votes—I think it’s pretty clear that the members want change. Now, it’s up to the board, including its newest members to effect that change. As always, I’m ready to help in any way that I can.
When he’s not keeping up with ARRL politics, Dan blogs about amateur radio, writes exam study guides (www.kb6nu.com/study-guides), and operates CW on the HF bands, and lately some digital modes as well. Look for him on 30m, 40m, and 80m. Please email him your thoughts about the ARRL at cwgeek@kb6nu.com.


CAKE  Crumbs – Session Oct 27 2018

We recovered quickly from the shock of finding the Abbey closed by following Cap’s suggestion to move to Coffee Junction- it worked out fairly well but the table was not large enough for all and I deeply regret not paying sufficient attention due to all who showed up. We were delighted to welcome David KG6IRW (Elecraft’s widely traveled Impresario) and (Elecraft’s expert Metrologist) Rene K6XW. Also with us were Cap KE6AFE, John N5HPB, Eric KK6IZY, Richard K8SQB, Glen KG0T, Reed N1WC, Gary K6PDL, Peter K6UNO and your scribe Ron W6WO.

Richard vividly described GeoCaching as a fun hide and seek game. It has evidently become a very popular outdoor recreational activity where participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device to hide small devices called “geocaches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. I recommend that you check Wikkipedia for more detail and I have included a picture for Short Skip of two examples Richard showed us.

Two Geo Cache responders

Rene brought a high power RF dummy load made by an amateur friend to professional standards. We could compare the degree of professionalism to the images seen at the presentation of the Hubble Telescope the previous night. Thanks to Don K6GHA  and members of the SLVARC for arranging that event. We discussed using modern high power ceramic resistors instead of the carbon types Hams have used for decades. Rene also showed us a rare random noise voltmeter made by Bruel & Kjoer.

The discussion on resistors meshed well with Ron’s current activities. You may recall he has an objective of measuring ESR of capacitors using a N2PK VNA. To be brief, VNA accuracy is dictated in large measure by the precision of calibration components. A 49.9 Ohm 1% leaded resistor is unsuited to  accurately measuring the milliOhms of capacitor ESR. If (like Ron) you think of resistors in terms of color coded bands its time to review the current state of the art ! A great place to start is by downloading the eBook “The Ultimate Guide to Resistors” from the Riedon web site. Ron is waiting on a 50 Ohm +/- 0.01 %  SMD component and a careful layout of a test fixture with gold plated connectors is in progress. To determine the accuracy being achieved also requires some reference components with accurate values down to a few tens of milliOhms There is an amazing selection of them on Mouser or Digikey. Stay tuned if interested.

Peter you will recall is also interested in resistors from a perspective of noise and distortion at audio frequencies. The Riedon guide shows that noise associated with alternative resistor technologies can differ by as much as 30 dB. In the context of noise, Glen mentioned how misleading it is to refer to recovering signals below noise without reverence to Shannon’s Law (note the word “Law” not theory). Eric gave some hints about improving inter-network latency, pity IP V6 didn’t survive.

Finally our CAKE sessions probably began about 18 years ago, and it seems time to celebrate. It would be appropriate to hold a party in Watsonville at a time Eric WA6HHQ (co-originator  of the CAKE idea). will be able to join us. Let’s see if we can make this happen.

Our next session will be on Nov 10 I will determine if the Abbey will be available so please assume so unless you hear to the contrary.

73  Ron

An Evening of Discovery

The Cabrillo College Astronomy Dept and local engineer Don Taylor put together a great evening for our local STEM students, the community of ham radio operators, and the rest of our community. The headliner was Ron Sheffield – the Lockheed engineer who designed the modular interfaces for the science packages and subsystems on the Hubble Space Telescope, and trained the astronauts who accomplished the famous repair mission, and the upgrade Shuttle Missions later on in the very long 28 year mission of Hubble. Also featured were the leaders of the student team heading the CubeSat Project at UC Santa Cruz, designing satellite science packages for launch, and how STEM students can use ham radio to talk to do critical emergency communications, relay to the astronauts of the ISS, and other science.

Here Are some elected photographs more can be found at



TDon Taylor and I kicked off the evening


The many contributions of ham radio operators to science, to communications worldwide, and the opportunities available to people, was the subject of the second talk


On orbit; astronauts on the robotic arm working to repair/replace equipment


Outside, was set up a full-on ham radio mobile shortwave radio station, with communication to the International Space Station astronauts at the close of the program.

 CAKE Slices September 8

 Our CAKE sessions are usually centered on technical topics, today was very different. Our discussions were concentrated almost entirely on a variety of operating and public service activities. In attendance were Gary K6PDL, Fred KJ6OOV. Don K6GHA, Peter K6UNO,.Bob K6XX, Glen KG0T and Reed N1WC. As usual these notes are a labor of love by Ron W6WO.

Don spoke very eloquently about the planning of an ambitious event he is deeply involved with.. It will provide show and tell exhibits of Ham Radio, Space exploration and Astronomy. It is aimed at attracting young people to exciting science. This is event is being planned and funded by ham radio clubs and others in this region.. It is scheduled for October 25th between 7-9 PM at Cabrillo College. Accommodation is limited so keep an eye on the SLV club web site and contact Don if you wish to become involved

Gary described some of his public service activity which included Ham communications in a recent major earthquake drill. He is regularly involved in providing communications at the State Fair and other Emergency Operations with the Sheriffs dept. Kudos to you Gary. His problem with RFI at home was not solved in the usual way with ferrite chokes. Ron suggested externally grounding coax shield(s) before they enter the home. A nearby copper water pipe would be a fair bet.

Peter K6UNO spoke about his interest in high quality audio. The challenge of achieving low distortion and high dynamic range is a familiar objective at RF. Peter is using a powerful PC-based spectrum analyzer 10Hz-50kHz. Glen brought two exhibits, one was a low cost software development platform using a LPC 804 chip. (Ron rues the day he gave up programming). The second item was a RF power amplifier using a pair of MRF 433 MP devices (12 Watt 30 MHz) with input and output transformers but no filter components, built on a 2×3 board with a generous heat sink. We thought Tom KW6S could tell us more about it. Contact Glen if you have an interest.

Bob K6XX spoke about his recent participation in the annual World Radio Team Championship in Germany. This event is designed to determine operator prowess by equalizing the technology (TX power, antennas etc) used by the competitors . It is very strictly defined and monitored, teams practice months ahead to literally get up to speed . If I heard correctly Bob’s team made over 4300 contacts, that’s about 20 seconds per contact for 24 hours.!!!!!!

Bob K6XX, Reed N1WC, Don K6GHA, Fred KJ6OOV ( in car)

Bob K6XX, Reed N1WC, Don K6GHA, Fred KJ6OOV ( in car)

Fred offered the following sage advice “don’t rush into using an electric fence as an antenna”! For a change Ron didn’t say much, he is currently exploring more capabilities of the N2PK VNA. Tom KW6S was at home operating in a VHF contest, Following our session we gathered in the parking lot and gave him a few points on 144, 440 and 1296 MHz .

Finally Ron had some very good news from Jimmy Koger.N1IPP; recently some new medication has literally given him a new lease on life.

That’s all for now so plan to join us on September 22. CAKE participants are friendly, items for discussion and questions at any level are welcome.

73 to one and all Ron W6WO

PS we haven’t been on any visits recently, does anyone have any suggestions ?


Field Day 2018 at Ben Lomomd CDF Camp



Reminiscent of John Reihart’s break  though in 1922/3

First USA – EU amateur QSO on 2200m, used QRP Labs Ultimate3S transmitter at both stations

It’s always nice to be able to report unusual uses of the well established Ultimate3S QRSS/WSPR/etc transmitter kit. The majority of constructors use the kit for WSPR. But it can transmit lots of other modes too! CW, FSKCW, DFCW, QRSS, Hell, Slow-Hell, JT9, JT65, ISCAT, Opera, and PI4. In all their various flavours. DFCW is very slow CW, sending Morse characters but with both “dit” and “dah” having the same duration; to differentiate between them there is a frequency shift so that the “dah” is typically 5Hz higher than the “dit”. It has a very high signal to noise ratio when long symbol durations are used.

Chris 2E0ILY and Paul N1BUG report the first ever USA – EU amateur radio QSO on 2200m band (136kHz band), on 26-Mar-2018. They used DFCW mode with 60 second dits and a frequency shift of 0.25Hz permitting a very high signal to noise ratio. 60 second dits in normal CW would mean about 1 word per HOUR!

Chris and Paul both used their Ultimate3S kits to transmit the DFCW messages. Antennas are necessarily electrically short on 2200m, and so typically high powers are used. Paul N1BUG says he uses a home-made single FET Class E power amplifier, with 175-200W output; the EIRP is estimated at no more than 0.5W. His antenna is a 27m tall vertical with 3x 33m parallel top hat wires spaced 1.5. The receiver is a 9m tall low noise vertical feeding home made band pass filter, pre-amp and Software Defined Radio. Paul says:

“We used an old technique of night by night transmission sequencing and completed the QSO in four nights which is the minimum possible with this method. This QSO would not have been possible without Chris’s kindness and dedication nor without my trust U3S!”

“The receiver is a modified Softrock Lite II. The oscillator has been reworked to provide a suitable LO for 2200m reception, the front end filter reworked and significantly augmented. It is preceded by a 2N5109 preamp and BPF.”

More details are on Paul’s website http://www.n1bug.com/lfmf/

The pictures below show Paul’s Ultimate3S, and Chris 2E0ILY’s transmission mberswith the “O” signal report as received by Paul N1BUG.

Congratulations to Paul N1BUG and Chris 2E0ILY on this achievement!