Annual Holiday Celebration – December Meeting
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!