The Original Makers   Leave a comment

Anyone interested in young people education has probably heard of the Maker movement and the Maker Faire. Or, at least, they may have seen a copy of Make: magazine on the newsstands. Many educators understand the connection between science and technology education and how this Maker movement can be used to make learning fun.

Well, I have to say this is a lot of successful marketing hype – since so many people worldwide think this is a new and wonderful phenomenon. Here’s some news for everyone: This is not a new idea. Amateur radio operators (“hams”) have been among the original Makers since the early 20th century.

In case you have not heard about Makers, here is a brief description: The Maker movement is about making something rather than buying something, fixing it rather than throwing it away, pre-cycling or recycling instead of throwing it away and modifying something to make it work better or different.

This “making” refers to anything you can think of, from clothing and costumes and computers to bicycles and cars and aircraft. And for ham radio operators – it’s making or modifying radio communications equipment.

A Personal Passion and Mission
Since ham radio has been and continues to be one of my passions, I want to make sure people understand that today’s ham radio is not an outdated, dying hobby that no one uses any more. It is not necessarily a hobby for old retired engineers talking to strangers from their basements and closets. The Amateur Radio Service is much more chic and many of us are using today’s technology and applying it to ham radio activities. And as a science and an educational tool, ham radio has a lot to offer.

A Timely Showcase
The Bay Area Maker Faire is at the end of May each year. Sponsored by Make magazine, the Maker Faire website describes this event as, “A two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker movement.”

When you actually get there, you may describe it as a giant playground for everyone where science, art, food, clothing, bicycles, fire, machines, lasers, steam, electricity and music all crunch together into one giant gathering. And I can insert ham radio into this cornucopia of educational fun.

In 2012, my ham radio friend Dennis Kidder had some free passes to the Bay Area Maker Faire. Since the tickets were a great bargain, we had to make the all-day drive to the Silicon Valley to see this thing. We had such a great experience that year we decided to create our own display to show off our ham radio projects. Besides, we got to meet Grant Imahara from the Discovery Channel show “Myth Busters,” and a famous female hacker named Jeri Ellsworth. Adam Savage, also from the Myth Busters show, is the Maker Faire emcee.

Amazingly, Maker booths are free. Considering how much commercial exhibitors pay for booth space, electricity, water, compressed air and cleaning for tradeshow booths, this is an incredible deal.

For 2014, my Maker Faire theme, “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio!” continues for the third consecutive year. Our displays include a wide range of experiments, demonstrations and practical wireless communications equipment using a mixture of traditional and the most modern techniques. Here are some examples of our projects from previous Maker Faire events…

 

Ramsay Electronics KH6WZ Laser Communicator

Ramsay Electronics KH6WZ laser communicator

 

W6DQ - Dennis 10 GHz transmitter-receiver with software defined radio (SDR)

W6DQ – Dennis 10 GHz transmitter-receiver with software defined radio (SDR)

 

79 GHz transmitter-receiver system by Tony KC6QHP

79 GHz transmitter-receiver system by Tony KC6QHP

 

Antenna positioning system by Brian W6BY

Antenna positioning system by Brian W6BY

 

See more stories on my LinkedIn pages. . . 

 

 

Warning Sign Too Funny to be Serious   Leave a comment

No speedos or boxers?

No speedos or boxers?

Posted July 12, 2014 by wayneyoshidakh6wz in Is it Just Me?

Tagged with , , , , ,

A Musical Sculpture at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014   Leave a comment

Here is a wonderful musical sculpture crafted by Christopher T. Palmer on display at the Maker Faire. The piece is called “Nicht mit dem Titel, ein” Google translate says this means “Not with the title, a” or something like that.

It uses restored cuckoo clock whistles, a microcontroller, some model servos. It plays every 15 minutes.

IMG_0146 KH6WZ - cuckoo whistles

 

IMG_0147 kh6wz close up cuckoo whistle and bellows

 

More information on Chris and his  studio can be found here.

Watch the video on YouTube Channel KH6WZ!

More Maker Faire pictures and stories to come! Stay tuned!

Intelligent Infrared Sensors at Bay Area Maker Faire 2014   Leave a comment

 

University of California, Davis engineering students  Sam Dawson (left) and Andrew Chung (right) demonstrate their engineering project at the Bay Area Maker Faire. The microprocessors in each box are equipped with infrared sensors and emitters that “talk” to each other and glow different colors to indicate their relationships to another box.

The project provided hands-on experience in both hardware and software to supplement lectures and textbook learning.

Watch the video on YouTube Channel KH6WZ.

For more information on the UC Davis Engineering programs, visit

The Davis Adaptive RF Technology (DART) Lab

UC Davis College of Engineering - Electrical and Computer Engineering

2014 UC Davis Picnic Day

 

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio

Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 – Laser Harp Demo   Leave a comment

IMG_0104 kh6wz laser harp by UCDavis

The laser harp drew a lot of attention from little kids. The string less musical instrument features laser beams, laser sensors and an electronic harp that can actually teach how to play a tune.

Click here for more information on the UC Davis Laser Harp Project.

Watch the video on KH6WZ.

More Bay Area Maker Faire pictures and stories coming soon!

Arduino Radar Shield at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014   Leave a comment

University of California, Davis Engineering Project at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

IMG_0090 kh6wz radar experiment UCDavis

This radar system operates at 2GHz (S-band). The Arduino stack consists of a radio front end, controlled by an Ardunio Uno and signal processing is performed using an Arduino Due. A Bluetooth link moves the data from the radar system to the notebook computer, where the radar information can be seen using a “waterfall” visual display.

IMG_0086 - kh6wz - UCD radar - UNO front end

IMG_0087 - kh6wz UCD radar shield

IMG_0132 - kh6wz - Dr Leo Liu - Daniel - David UCD DART Lab

 

The DART lab is located in Kemper Hall on the UC Davis campus and is led by Dr. Xiaoguang “Leo” Liu, pictured at left. Daniel (center) and David on the right demonstrated the 2GHz radar system to the Maker Faire visitors. For more information on the UC Davis Engineering programs, visit
The Davis Adaptive RF Technology (DART) Lab

UC Davis College of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering

2014 UC Davis Picnic Day

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio
Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

The Paella Feast at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014!   Leave a comment

Every year, the Maker Faire hosts a paella dinner for the Makers. This year, the event was sponsored by Liquid Wrench. Here are some images, and you can watch the Paella video on channel KH6WZ. . . 

Gerard’s Paella feeds 2,500 people very quickly!

IMG_0038 kh6wz Maker Faire 2014 - Paella just starting to cook

 

 

IMG_0041 - kh6wz Paella simmering Maker Faire 2014

 

 

IMG_0043 kh6wz - paella MF 2014

 

 

IMG_0069 kh6wz paella ready to serve

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