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 .
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
Make ham radio a habit
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
Every week, I get an email newsletter from Penguin Random House called Signature. Signature includes links to articles about books and writing. Being a writer, I clicked on the link to “5 Good Writing Habits You Need to Learn Now.” As I was reading the article, it occurred to me that the advice could also apply to amateur radio.
So, with apologies to the author, Lorraine Berry, here are five things you can do to make ham radio a habit:
- To get on the air more, or to do more building, set up a time to do it. If you enjoy getting on the air or homebrewing, but never seem to be able to find the time to do it, you need to put it on your schedule. Set aside the time a couple of days, or a week, or even a month in advance, and you’ll be more likely to do it. If you set up a regular time every week, pretty soon it will be a habit.
- If ham radio is important to you, create an environment that encourages you to do ham radio. To make ham radio a habit, you really need a place that’s set up to do ham radio. If you have to dig out and set up your equipment every time that you want to get on the air, you’re just not going to do it. You need a “shack” that makes it easier for you to engage in the hobby. Richards, K8JHR, gave me some great advice back in 2012 on where and how to set up a shack (https://www.kb6nu.com/building-a-new-shack/).
- Create temptations that reward you for your new habit of ham radio. For me, being able to make interesting contacts, or building some new gizmo, is reward enough, but you may want to reward yourself with a beer or some ice cream after an operating session.
- Make it easy to do what you like to do. This is related to #4. Your shack should have everything you need to easily do whatever ham radio activities you enjoy doing. If you enjoy operating, then it should have a nice operating desk. If you enjoy building, then set it up so that all of your tools are readily accessible. The easier it is to do, the more likely it is that you’ll do it. If you enjoy operating portable, then build up a kit that has all the stuff you need, and have it ready to go when you’re ready to go.
- Start with the Two-Minute Rule for new habits and continue from there. The “two minute rule” (https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-stop-procrastinating-and-stick-good-habits-using-the-2-minute-rule.html) is a tool to help you overcome procrastination. The idea is to allot just two minutes to a task that you’d like to complete or a skill that you’d like to develop. It’s a small commitment, but enough to get you started, and the idea is that once you’re started on a particular task or project, continuing work on that task or project becomes a lot easier. Those two minutes could easily become a half hour or an hour once you’ve gotten the ball rolling.
Armed with this advice, I’m expecting you to be a more active ham in 2019. I’ll be listening for you on 40 m.
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). His wife sometimes thinks that amateur radio has become too much of a habit for him.
Photos from SCCARC Annual Holiday Celebration
Saturday December 15 at the Capitol Ihop.
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
Some Images from the December 8 CAKE Meeting
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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
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.!!!!!!
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!