CAKE  Notes for  March 25, 2017

Those taking part were  Gary K6PDL, Fred KJ6OOV, Richard W1WUH and Ron W6WO

Gary showed the Antenna Analyzer he is building from the VC2 Kit sold by HamRadio360workbench.com. Their podcast is also worth listening to. Neat work Gary we look forward to seeing it in operation.

Clearly there is growing number of such sophisticated, low cost kits on the market these days. One such is for the collection of data on Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances . This is a project on space weather research at Stanford U developed principally for high school students. It would appeal to hams who are taking an interest in the new LF bands .Find out more at Solar-center.Stanford.Edu/sid/sidmonitor/. A total eclipse of the sun will occur in August and will be a very interesting period to observe how the ionosphere behaves. How quiet will it be ? 

Fred showed us a real-time display of 20m on his cellphone of his Anan SDR by making a remote on-line connection to his PC using a program called TeamViewer. The spectrum was well populated with signals in a contest. As you may recall Fred previously reported some serious noise on 40 meters. He has narrowed the location of the source (not the cause) to two likely units in an apartment block near his home. This will be a text-book exercise of RFI detection which we can look forward to. 

Ron mentioned reading a book about WWII which described in detail the many techniques used to mislead the enemy. The ability to decrypt enemy wireless communications together with radar, played a vital role. Richard explained how Doppler Shift had been employed in smart munitions. Here’s a brain teaser.  A special agent was dropped by parachute behind enemy lines and told he must immediately report his arrival back to his base in England. He had no radio so how did he communicate? First correct answerer is entitled to a cup of coffee at our next CAKE session on April 8th

We viewed a document by G7FEK entitled “HF Antennas For Small Gardens”. It comprises an All band  Off Center Fed inverted L dipole with a 46ft long top and 24 ft high, twin wire feed-line as a vertical radiator; no balun/ transformer involved. We discussed this form of antenna which originates from the original Windom. Craig N6SBN recently constructed one in his small backyard and Ron gave him assistance in tuning it for SWR readings of 1.3:1 on 80 and 40m.  No doubt Craig will report operational performance in due course.

Thanks for your interest, plan on joining us at The Abbey on April 8 th  

73  Ron W6WO


Ham Radio Technical Breakthroughs

If anyone is beginning to feel  Ham Radio may have “had its day ” I suggest they look at the list of true pioneering  items on this current QRP-labs newsletter.

This newsletter can also be read online at http://www.qrp-labs.com/newsmar2017 

1. New VFO/SigGen kit firmware s1.04 has Quadrature output mode
2. U3S UHF DX: 4000+km on 432MHz, Hawaii to California
3. 24GHz Opera first, using Ultimate3S 
4. U3S 60m DX: First G-ZL QRSS
5. 3D printed QLG1 enclosure by Chris OE1CGS 
6. New ProgRock firmware pr1.01a adds serial port for configuration
7. Balloon flights and ZL1RS ocean buoy news
8. Peter G4HSO transatlantic voyage planned in April
9. Social media, Feedback, unsubscribing.

73  Ron W6WO

 PS CAKE sessions are fine opportunities to mix the old with the new, next will be on April 8th I hope you can join us 


Interesting gadgets I wish I had time for

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

I’m on a lot of mailing lists and participate in a bunch of amateur radio forums. As a result, I see a lot of interesting gadgets that guys are buying or are thinking about buying. Here are three of the latest that look interesting to me. I wish I had time (and money) to purchase all of these and try them out.

Android antenna analyzer

On Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/amateurradio/comments/60nnp1/finally_got_my_mini60_ebay_antenna_analyzer_time/), some of the guys have been talking about the Mini60 Antenna Analyzer (http://www.ebay.com/itm/CW-USB-Interface-Cable-WINKEYER-compatible-3-5mm-plug-/132121085623?hash=item1ec307c6b7:g:up8AAOSw241YeTei). Its frequency range is 1 – 60MHz, but the cool thing about this device is that you can use it standalone with the built-in LCD display or with some software (http://www.jtelectronics.co.nz/information_links/MINI60/Add-Bluetooth-Module-To-MINI60-Antenna-Analyser.htm) and a tablet with a Bluetooth interface to get fancy frequency vs. SWR plots. See http://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/mini60-ant-analyzer.jpg for a photo of the Mini60 Antenna Analyzer being used with an Android tablet.

Of course, this is made in China, but how can you beat the price? It costs $112 shipped.

Multi-functional component tester

Here’s another marvel of Chinese engineering and manufacture – a smart component tester (http://www.banggood.com/3_5inch-Colorful-Display-Multi-functional-TFT-Backlight-Transistor-Tester-p-1083042.html) for only $30, shipped. It identifies and characterizes NPN and PNP transistors, capacitors, resistors, diodes (including Zener diodes), N-channel and P-channel MOSFET, IGBT, JFET, triacs, and batteries.

This isn’t the first smart component tester to hit the market, but the unique thing about this unit is that it has a graphical display that not only identifies the type of component that you’ve connected to it, but also draws the schematic symbol of the part. You can see a video of this tester in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07FH6tjzwWg.

Make your Raspberry Pi into a desktop PC

Newark/element 14 will soon start selling a kit of part that will make it easier to turn your Raspberry Pi into a desktop PC (https://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-83477?CMP=e-email-SEPO-210317-e14PI&et_cid=28941683&et_rid=1231362216&cmp=). The kit includes:

•Intelligent and Safe Power Controller

•Interface to connect mSATA SSD (upto 1TB)

•Real Time Clock to keep track of time

•Heat Sink


They don’t list the price just yet, but this might be what I need to actually make use of the Raspberry Pi 3 I bought several months ago.

If you have one of these gadgets, or buy one in the future, please let me know how you like it. I’ll put your review up on my blog, so that everyone can benefit from your experience.

When he’s not drooling over electronic gadgets, Dan blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU.Com, writes the “No Nonsense” amateur radio study guides, and teaches ham classes. You can contact him by e-mailing cwgeek@kb6nu.com.


Beth Peterson W6RYL, SK

Beth W6RYL and Norm N6DAC, now both Silent Keys, were longtime members of our Club, always very friendly, generous and encouraging to new hams including me. -ke6afe

Beth’s Obituary was Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Mar. 14, 2017


CAKE  March 11, 2017

On this glorious Spring morning we were happy to hold our regular session in the courtyard of The Abbey coffee shop.Taking time out from their routines were Ward AE6TY, Fred KJ6OOV, Kerry K3RRY, John N5HPB, Tom KW6S, Don K6GHA, Reed N1WC and Ron W6WO.

 Ward is searching for fundamental equations that govern the behavior of filters. Ron recently logged into a webinar on the subject which showed exotic simulation tools, clearly understanding the equations is a tall order. Good luck and keep us posted Ward.

 Soldering small components with inaccessible contacts can be a challenge. Ward recommended the use of solder paste and baking in an oven. A few experiments first was recommended.

 The mystery item was an image of part of the 40m band provided by Fred. We saw bands of high level noise each roughly 50kHz wide. Fred told us these appear regularly around 4:30 AM and cease around noon. Fred’s loop antenna provided some sense of direction. Many suggestions came forth but were inconclusive. If anyone reading this can offer ideas please contact Fred.

Fred had questions about feeding Off Center Fed antennas. These are often called “Windoms”following the article by L G Windom W8GZ in QST1929. It is a subject Ron has studied extensively and deserves more space than is appropriate in these notes. The following articles are highly recommended.

1.     Impedance Characteristics of Harmonic Antennas by W4UCW in QST Feb 1954

2.     The OCF Antenna – some less explored facets by W4RNL  (no date)

3.     Articles by W6WO in QEX  March/April 2009, Nov/Dec 2011

 Several guys had been to the Foothill flea market that morning and displayed  their treasures. Among these were a couple of useful coax switches and a vacuum relay switch. Don was attracted by a couple of high current ammeters; old style but useful as well as being decorative. Kerry (in his inimical hi-tech and professional fashion) showed how he was rewiring his garage. Ron showed the replacement synthesizer kit obtained for the QRPLabs U3S digital mode beacon TX  (subsequently built and operational).

 Thanks go to all who have supported these sessions for well over a decade and to those who often comment from afar. We welcome questions and will do our best to attend to them.

 Our next CAKE session will be on the 25th and we hope to BCNU
Ron W6WO

The International DX Convention – Visalia

I would like to once again extend a personal invitation to you and Members of your Club to attend the International DX Convention 2017 in Visalia, California on April 21-22-23, 2017.

 IDXC 2017 will be our 68th annual International DX Convention.   DXers from around the world will gather once again to meet their fellow DXers, attend interesting and informative programs, see the latest in new products from the top vendors – and have a chance to win some great raffle prizes!   This year Friday, April 21, 2017 will be a full day of training, presentations and vendor exhibits.

 Over 500 DXers have registered to attend the Convention.  DXers from around the world will be at IDXC 2017.  We have registered DXers from Germany, France, England, Scotland, Hungary, Columbia, Japan, Norway, Isle of Man, Sweden, Puerto Rico, Brazil, St. Kitts & Nevis, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand – so far!

 Full details of IDXC 2017 are at this website:  http://www.dxconvention.com/

Local Ham Exams

Success is measured in percent. The last local licensing exam session
added a number of new licensees. New Technicians, or upgrades to
General, and Extra class awards were achieved with a 100% passage rate!!

Congratulation to all VE’s and VC’s throughout Santa Cruz County
who made this training and exam session possible and successful.

For those who can study quickly, the next licensing exam session
will be Saturday, March 25:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
220 Elk Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

The exam runs 1-5 pm and the cost is $15.
All three tests can be taken for $15.


The 32nd Big Sur Marathon

The 32nd presentation of the Big Sur International Marathon is quickly approaching, 4-30-17.  I would like to invite all of you getting this email back for this years marathon.  If you are interested in volunteering to operate this years marathon please respond back,
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me in a new email, your questions, comments or concerns. If you know of anybody else that would be interested in volunteering please forward this onto them and have them email me.  
Jeff Ackerman