Archive for July 2013

Microwave Radio Tune Up Party in Costa Mesa   Leave a comment

028-wayne yoshida-microwave radio

This past weekend, some of the active San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS) gathered at Fairview Park in the early morning to perform a field test of their microwave systems. Since I did not do anything with my rigs this past year, I decided to skip this field test, and take some pictures of any new more interesting rigs for this contest season.

Here are some pictures of the various station equipment SBMS club members built and tested that day . . .

A post-Tune Up Party party and BBQ was held at Dennis W6DQ’s house. It was nice to relax and visit with the other SBMS members and enjoy some great BBQ chicken….. In the picture below, Walt, WALT explains one of his radio wave demonstrations to a captive audience… Watching and learning, from left to right are Bill Preston, KZ3G; Dan Slater, AG6HF and wife Sandy Slater; Walt, and Jason Sogolow, W6IEE.

KH6WZ tune up and KH6WZ-5 050

If you are curious about the test setup, here is an article written by Kerry Banke, N6IZW, with some small edits by me:

Checking Microwave Radio Performance with a Simple ERP/MDS Test Unit

By Kerry Banke, N6IZW (Edited by Wayne Yoshida, KH6WZ)

Before heading for the hills with 10 GHz equipment around contest time, members of the San Diego Microwave Group (SDMG) and the San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS) check the Effective Radiated Power (ERP, transmit) and Minimum Discernible Signal (MDS, receive) with the simple setup described in this article. We hold the test sessions at the June and July meetings in preparation for the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest in August and September. The advantage to having two sessions is that it provides a second opportunity to verify improvements or allow participation if the first session is missed. The test unit works with both wide band and narrow-band radios.

The Pole-Mounted Test Setup

The setup consists of a pole mounted X-Band converter unit connected by coax to a signal source (for MDS) and an amplifier/power meter located near the radios to be tested some 200-300 feet away. The MDS test must be performed first to align the radio antennas with that of the converter. A signal generator is connected to the IF coax and a suitable frequency (145 MHz) and power level (-40 dBm set to transmit an easily detectable carrier around 10368 MHz at the output of the converter.

MDS for Receive

Each participant adjusts their equipment and the system antenna for maximum signal as the power level of the signal generator is reduced to the point where it is no longer detectable by the radios. The level at which the signal can just be detected is considered the MDS.

ERP for Transmit

The ERP measurement is performed by connecting the IF coax to the amplifier and power meter. Each radio transmits one at a time and the power meter reading recorded. The variable attenuator is adjusted to keep the reading in a suitable power range for the power meter and amplifier. For the amplifier used, the maximum output power was about +10 dBm and the power meter range is about –20 to + 10 dBm so the attenuator was adjusted to keep the reading in the –20 to 0 dBm range.

The choice of the IF frequency for the converter depends on what is available for a 10 GHz local oscillator but needs to be low enough to keep the losses reasonable through hundreds of feet of coax. The amplifier gain and maximum output need to be based on the power meter characteristics. The signal generator needs to match the IF frequency chosen, have suitable stability for CW work (NB only), and have variable output (may be an external attenuator).

The converter consists of a Frequency West Brick as a 10,223 MHz local oscillator for a mixer used as an upconverter for MDS and down converter for ERP. The converter has a 13 dB horn antenna connected to the mixer RF port. Power is supplied by a 12V battery on the ground with a DC/DC converter supplying the required voltage for the local oscillator. The coax used is 300 feet of RG-59 which was readily available. No attempt to correct matching losses for the 75 ohm coax has been made. The loss of the coax and mixer as well as the amplifier gain was measured at the operating frequencies. It is not really necessary if only relative measurements are to be performed but it does allow a good comparison between measured and calculated values.

The results of the test are entered into a spreadsheet, which then calculates the ERP based on dish size in inches and estimated PA output of the radio under test. The distance in feet from the radios to the converter is input to the sheet, which then calculates the path loss in dB. For ERP, the sheet provides calculated ERP, measured ERP and the difference between them. For MDS at this time, only the signal generator level is recorded and is used for relative measurements.

Block diagrams for the 10 GHz and 24 GHz units are described in the PDFs below:

10 GHz ERP-MDS Block Diagram

24 GHz ERP – MDS Block Diagram

Intro to the MDS/ERP Event Results

(From an entry on the SBMS website on August 10, 2012)

These spreadsheets show the results of workshops/picnics where amateur microwave stations were compared on a unique test range for both transmitting and receiving performance. The test setup was developed by Kerry Banke, N6IZW and has been used by the San Diego Microwave Group (SDMG) and the San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS) over the past few years. The test setup consists of a remote TX/RX transmitter/sensor unit installed on a pole about 15 ft. high at a distance of approximately 220 ft. from the stations being tested.

The remote transmitter produces a stable signal on the operating frequency, such as 10368 MHz. Operators tune this in with their rigs and peak their antennas. The signal is then reduced in level until barely discernible (MDS). That level is logged. The operator then transmits with maximum CW power and the RX sensor power level is logged. The spreadsheet is used with the logged data and with data on each rigs claimed antenna size and transmit power to allow comparison of measured versus expected performance.

The results have been useful, not from an absolute basis, but by allowing operators to compare their rig’s results against other amateur’s rigs having similar TX, RX, and antenna characteristics. Any major performance differences between systems can help focus on problems that can be solved before upcoming contest events.

In past events, operators have discovered problems with relays, cables, connectors and even non-functioning power supplies.

Interpreting Results

Receive (MDS) performance is shown in the column marked “MDS Gen dBm.” You want the largest negative value compared to other stations having the same size or performance antenna on that frequency band.

In the last column marked “Meas-Calc,” transmit ERP performance is shown. A zero means that the ERP came out exactly as expected given the claimed transmitter power and antenna gain. A positive number indicates an ERP that is better than expected by that many dB. A negative number indicates system performance measures worse than expected.

Here are some results over the past years – 2013 results added!

TuneUp2013

SDMG ERP-MDS-2013 Results

TuneUp-2012

TuneUp-2011

TuneUp-2010

TuneUp-2009

Tune-Up-2008

TuneUp-2007

TuneUp-2006

TuneUp-2005

TuneUp-2004

TuneUp-2003

TuneUp-2002

TuneUp-2001

TuneUp-2000

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Second KH6WZ APRS Unit Completed   Leave a comment

KH6WZ APRS Unit Two (KH6WZ-5)

My “high power” version of the tracker box is complete. This unit is housed in an aluminum instrument case, and uses a mobile radio (Radio Shack HTX-252) with 10W and 25W capability for remote locations. The GPS unit is an old Garmin Street Pilot Color Map.

The bottom of the box (on the left) is used to store cables, the original microphone in case I need to use it as a “radio,” a GPS and a two meter whip antenna. A gel-cell would fit nicely in this space for “truly portable” operation.

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KH6WZ tune up and KH6WZ-5 008

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KH6WZ tune up and KH6WZ-5 002

The KH6WZ Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) Beacons   2 comments

After Field Day and the demonstration at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA last month, I decided to add information on my TinyTrak APRS units on this site.

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I re-packaged the unit to simplify deployment and to make it more practical for a “grab and go” event. On the left is a two meter (144MHz) hand-held radio, with the battery pack removed, and powered by external 12V via the DC IN jack. The TinyTrak 2 is next to the HT, in a die cast aluminum case (Hammond 1590B). On the bottom of the box is an old Garmin GPS 45XL and a 12V wall-wart type AC power supply. The bottom of the box also stores a magnet mount antenna for radio, an external GPS antenna and a DC power cable. There’s plenty of room for a gel-cell.

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Under Construction

After completing the HB RACES KH6WZ APRS Beacon above, I decided to do a similar thing for my old Garmin Street Pilot. In this version, the GPS unit will be mounted on the outside of the cabinet so the map display will be visible. An inexpensive Radio Shack HTX-252 two meter mobile rig (bought new on a close-out sale years ago) is mounted to the top panel. This unit will be capable of high power operation (10 Watts low power, 25 Watts on high power) to get the signals out in fringe areas. Here are some pictures of the unit under construction. The aluminum chassis box is a surplus instrument case. It is nice and rugged, with a handle on the top.

Here you can see the mobile rig at the top left, a row of LEDs to indicate APRS status, the TinyTrak unit and a small perf board with RCA jacks for the GPS signals coming out of the Street Pilot.

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Here is a close-up of the TinyTrak PCB and a break-out board for the unit. Switch M1/M2 selects the primary or secondary message programmed in the TinyTrak; switch D1/D2 selects internal display (D1) or the external display (D2). More details on these functions appear below in “One Way to APRS Beaconing.”

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Here is a bottom view of the TinyTrak motherboard…. Mounting the TinyTrak this way will help preserve the PCB trace pads and should help simplify access to the wiring when and if it needs repair.

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The following information is based on my original article called “Where in the World – A Look at APRS” in the CQ Magazine Beginner’s Corner for November 2003. Click here to see the table of contents of this issue.

I’ve always been fascinated by those “tracker systems” used in the movies and television. You know, like the scene in the movie “Armageddon,” where the ground controllers are watching each member of the “A” and “B” Shuttle teams. Or the “homer” made by “Q” in the James Bond movie “Goldfinger.” I found an expensive and fake homer here, but it is just a fancy sound maker with an LED – take a look at this thing. . . 

Today, and in the real world, hams have access to this interesting technology: It’s called the automatic position reporting system (APRS), developed by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. Basically, it uses latitude and longitude information from the global positioning system (GPS) satellites and transfers the data via packet radio on 2 meters. Mix an APRS station with the Internet, and we have a system in which hams can keep track of moving objects remotely. Interfaced with a suitable weather station, local “micro-weather reports” can be viewed. If you know anyone into APRS, take a look at the N1BQ Web site and plug in their callsign into the search field. You’ll be able to see what he or she has been up to (or at least where they went) lately.

Several members in the local radio amateur civil emergency service (RACES) group made “tracker boxes” and use them for special events, like the Baker-to-Vegas Challenge Cup Relay race. When I saw their APRS systems for the first time, I thought, “Hey, that’s really neat.” Then I went, “Hmmm. What would I do with such a thing?”

Like a lot of hi-tech gadgets, if you think hard enough, you will come up with a lot of reasons to build, buy or otherwise own one.  Here are some examples of what you can do with an APRS tracker box:

  • When interfaced with a compatible weather station, the APRS beacon can also transmit weather information
  • If you are involved with a public service group, you can watch where a person or vehicle is in near real time
  • You can re-trace and display your driving, sailing or boating routes via the Internet, and friends and relatives can watch, too
  • Put that working but old and un-used 2M HT or mobile radio to good use

Remember that an APRS unit is an Amateur Radio beacon, and must comply with FCC Rules on Beacons, One Way Transmissions, Station Identification and Stations Under Remote Control.

In order to have a moving APRS station, you will need a 2 meter station (rig, antenna, power source), a terminal node controller (TNC) with APRS capability, a computer and a GPS unit. If you are doing packet radio now, or have some packet gear in the closet someplace, you are already more than half way there. By the same token, if you enjoy boating or camping, you may already have a GPS unit.

2013 UPDATE: Many VHF mobile rigs – and some HTs too – come with an APRS capability either built-in or have this feature available as an internal option. This is pretty amazing and shows how fast technology can change.

Here are some notes about what you need to make a simple APRS beacon.

The GPS Receiver and Antenna

The GPS unit does not have to be new – and, in fact, older units might actually be better, since the newer units have gone to the small MCX and other exotic connectors, rather than the easy to use and adapt BNC or SMA connector. I use an old Garmin GPS 45XL and a Street Pilot Color Map, both units have been discontinued many years ago.

Almost any GPS receiver can be used for APRS, but a critical feature the GPS unit must have is a connector port for serial data output in the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) format. Just about all “camping” and “marine” GPS units have this data interface.

I suggest looking for the following features, in this order of importance:

1) Ability to access the GPS data output via a serial port. Check to see if the data interface cable is available, or can be easily made or modified. See an interesting alternative source for Garmin-compatible accessory plugs in the Reference section.

2) Ability to use an external antenna. In essence, all GPS units are radio receivers, and, just like your radios, require a good antenna for the best performance.

I have found amplified GPS antennas on eBay and other places for as little as $20. Some GPS modules include a patch type antenna built-in. This may or may not be optimum for use in the field, but today’s GPS units have much more channels than the 10-plus year old units I am using for my system.

3) Ability to apply external 12VDC power. Small penlite cells can get expensive after a while, so the ability to plug into an alternative power source would be good. Be aware that some units need a power source lower than 12V to 15V, and can be damaged if 12V is applied directly to the unit. But do not fret, if your GPS unit needs something other than 12V, you can build or buy a suitable voltage converter to handle this. The simplest way to use external power is to see if the unit has a cigarette lighter accessory or some other external DC cable, and use that. For non-automotive use (like pedestrian mobile), you can remove the cigarette lighter plug and use a gel-cell or other 12V power source.

Garmin seems to be the most popular GPS units for APRS. I think their excellent customer service contributes to this, based on personal experience.

Full-featured GPS units might be a bit extravagant for just APRS applications, so if you are not into flying, backpacking, sailing or other activities requiring navigation, you might want to consider a GPS “module,” rather than a GPS “receiver.” The GPS module is just a “plain data receiver box” with no display, and is intended for use with some other gadget, such as a computer. Because no other “support electronics” is involved, prices for GPS modules are much cheaper than GPS navigation units.

The Interface and the Rest of the Components

An APRS interface is the “brain” that transfers the digital location data from the satellites and instructs the radio transceiver when to transmit and when to receive. More sophisticated units can interpret more GPS information, and transmit more than simple latitude and longitude. For example, on a moving vehicle, the APRS unit can send not only position, but also speed, rate of climb or rate and direction of turn, altitude, a station identifier and an icon.

There are dozens of different symbols used in APRS to indicate what sort of object is being tracked. For example, my friend Peter Barbour, N6RAS, is an avid sailor, and uses a boat icon when he is “beaconing.” Bill Honeyman, KG6CNL, uses a jeep, and Steve Graboff, W6GOS uses a “running man” symbol during the Baker to Vegas race. The eye icon was used during the demonstration at the Discovery Science Center, see the screen capture below.

KH6WZ-DiscoveryCubeMap2

One Way to APRS Beaconing

There is a simple way to try APRS. The TinyTrak unit, by Byon Garrabrant, N6BG, is a wonderful little circuit that eliminates the packet TNC. If you have a “TT,” all you need is a GPS receiver, a two-meter radio, antennas for the GPS and radio and a power source. The unit is configured via the serial port in your personal computer.

Now in its fourth generation, the TinyTrak units are available in a “fully-assembled” version, complete with a small 2 meter transceiver. The older generation small PC board versions of the TinyTrak are still available.

My units vary somewhat from the “out-of-the-book” instructions. I added an SPDT, center-off toggle switch to make a “test” function: In the test mode, the unit is powered up normally, and the LEDs blink to verify operation. After checking the blinking lights and verifying the two meter rig transmits data, the switch is thrown into the “operate” mode, which simply cuts off the ground connection to the LEDs (making them go off) to conserve battery power.

I recently added another modification: I added another SPDT switch (not center-off) so I can select either the small internal LEDs or the large front panel mounted LEDs when the unit is in operation. This is done to create a “light show” to attract attention during demonstrations.

Remember that the TinyTrak is a simplified beacon device. It will not receive and decode APRS data for display purposes. It is the “data transmitter beacon” or “homer” part of an APRS set up, but they are fun nonetheless.

Once you get your APRS beacon going, I am sure you will want to do more. In the meantime, the simple starter system will enable you to beacon your position while you do your favorite radio-activity, from public service to outdoor events. James Bond’s homer technology is here for hams, and is an exciting and interesting bit of technology we can use just for kicks or for serious public service assistance.

Links to More Information

General APRS info

http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/aprs.html

http://www.aprs.net

http://www.tapr.org

APRS Symbols

http://www.aprs.net/vm/DOS/SYMBOLS.HTM

See Beacon Locations on the Internet

http://www.wulfden.org/APRSQuery.shtml

TinyTrak “TNC-less” APRS kits

http://www.byonics.com

Carter, Jim WB6HAG, “Build an APRS Encoder Tracker,” QST, February, 2002, page 28

GPS Modules

http://www.makershed.com/default.asp

An Interesting Connector Source for Garmin GPS Units

http://pfranc.com

Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay

http://www.bakervegas.com

House Guest: Guinea Pig   1 comment

kh6wz - aprs- 002

I have a house guest this week: a guinea pig. It’s been hot here so I placed an ice pack wrapped in a towel to help keep her comfortable. A guinea pigs’ safe operating area is between 65 to 75 degrees F (18 to 24 degrees C) since they cannot sweat. . .

Here are some links to hot weather guinea pig care:

http://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/2577239.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Your-Guinea-Pig-Cool-in-Hot-Weather

National Public Radio (NPR) posted a story on eating guinea pigs….

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/12/174105739/from-pets-to-plates-why-more-people-are-eating-guinea-pigs

Harris-Farinon 10 GHz Amplifier for Amateur Radio Use   9 comments

The ARRL 10GHz and Up contests are coming up soon (August 17 to 18 and September 21 to 22), so I thought I’d re-publish my article that originally appeared in The Proceedings of Microwave Update 2005.

The Harris-Farinon Model SD-108175 / 076-108687-001 solid state power amplifier (SSPA) has been seen globally on the surplus market over the last few years. This amplifier is a part of a large rack of equipment running on the traditional 24VDC, positive ground telecom power system bus.

In its original form, the amplifier is very robust and heavy, since it is rated for continuous duty, Class A operation. Figure 1 shows the unit as received. It is mostly heatsink, and the RF unit, where the microwaves are amplified, is the tiny silver box on top.

The SSPA unit (Model SD-108175) measures about 15-1/2 inches wide, 4-1/4 inches high and 10 inches deep, and weighs over 15 pounds. The little silver box (part number 076-108687-001) with SMA isolators at the input and output, is about 3 inches wide, 1 inch high and 2-1/2 inches deep.

Important: Be careful if you see these units for sale, I have seen some inaccurate descriptions of these units – for ham radio use, the only item we want is just the amplifier (076-108687-001) and not the heatsink/chassis assembly or the power supply DC-DC converter.

Farinon10GHz2wSSPA (2)

Figure 1. The Harris-Farinon 10GHz amplifier is very beefy, but it is mostly heatsink. The little silver box is where the RF is amplified.

I took the unit to Dave Glawson’s lab (WA6CGR) to see if we could integrate this SSPA into my X-band rig. It is a 1W unit, but I have several that put out as much as 3W on 10368 MHz. I purchased several of these units at a very reasonable price, and am pleased with their performance on the 10 GHz Amateur Radio band.

The terminals on the amplifier as well as the power supply PCB are marked, simplifying some of the guesswork about what-goes-where. The amplifier includes a “POWER MON” SMA female jack, which should probably be capped with a 50Ohm termination to prevent oscillations or weird things from happening while the amplifier is operating. A “DET OUT” pin is useful to verify amplifier operation.

It may be prudent to read Chuck Houghton’s article, “Above and Beyond, Microwave Stripline Retuning Procedures” on tweaking circuits before any “poking around” is done on any SHF amplifier, to prevent damage. Links to references are at the end of this article.

The first step is to power it up and verify operation in its “as-is” state. With about +17dBm (about 60mW) input, power output is about +35dBm, or a little over 3W at 10368MHz. Current consumption is about 2.6A during standby and about 3A at 10V with RF applied. Dave and I wondered whether or not we could tweak the amplifier to get more power out, so we took a look under the lid of the little silver box, see Figure 2. We decided not to tweak anything inside the tiny box.

Figure 2. A peek inside the SSPA. No tuning is required to get two to three watts output on 10368MHz.

Figure 2. A peek inside the SSPA. No tuning is required to get two to three watts output on 10368MHz.

Since the amplifier passed its first tests, the next step is to re-package the unit so it would be more suitable for portable and roving operations. Certainly, a weight reduction could be done by shrinking the size of the RF module heatsink, and adding a fan or two.

Since the amplifier passed its first tests, the next step is to re-package the unit so it would be more suitable for portable and roving operations. Certainly, a weight reduction could be done by shrinking the size of the RF module heatsink, and adding a fan or two.

The DC-DC Converter
The original power supply board appears in Figure 3. A casual inspection of the unit showed that the 24V input was buck-regulated down to 12V, and then further reduced to minus 2.1V for the bias and +10V for each stage in the amplifier. The DC-DC power supply looks like it can be modified and re-used, by applying 12VDC where the brick converter has its output. However, this modification was not attempted.

Figure 3. The DC-DC supply board. A 24V to 12V brick converter is mounted to a 14-1/4 inch by 7-1/4 inch heatsink under the PCB. The existing DC-DC converter may possibly be modified to make the unit work on 12VDC input. See text.

Figure 3. The DC-DC supply board. A 24V to 12V brick converter is mounted to a 14-1/4 inch by 7-1/4 inch heatsink under the PCB. The existing DC-DC converter may possibly be modified to make the unit work on 12VDC input. See text.

I thought a better, lighter, more modern power supply could be built fairly easily, and the large heatsink for the power supply could be deleted.

With Dave’s help, I made a simple DC-DC converter using a Linear Technology LT-1083 adjustable regulator and a few resistors for the +10V supply. The negative bias supply was made from a surplus 99-cent DC-DC converter. I built the power converters into separate chassis boxes, since I had them on-hand. A single box is also acceptable.

Like all FET power amplifiers, one must make sure that the minus (gate) bias supply is always connected before the supply voltage to prevent damage to the devices. I am sure there are several solutions for power-on sequencing to prevent this from happening, including relay or other switching or timing schemes. However, I chose a very simple route: I simply wired the minus voltage directly to the amplifier bias feed-thru capacitor, with no switching in-between. The plus 10V supply line is switched to the amplifier via a power relay, actuated by the sequencer. This way, whenever the rig is powered up, the minus bias voltage is “automatically” applied (it was never off in the first place), and the plus 10V is applied only when the rig is put into transmit mode.

I had a pair of 24V brushless DC motor fans in the junk box, so I am using these to blow on the heatsink. Since I have both 24V and 12V running around in my rig, I wired up a two-speed fan control using a pair of spare relay contacts. When the radio is in the receive mode, 12V is applied to the fans, reducing the noise. When the rig goes into transmit mode, 24V is applied to the fans, running them at full speed.

The final result is shown below. The amplifier is mounted in one of my 10GHz rigs, “Ms. June.” 3 The SSPA puts out 2W at the antenna port, and now measures about 4 inches by 7 inches by 1-1/2 inches, including the cooling fans. A re-labeled, surplus CB panel meter (1mA movement) connected to the DET OUT pin indicates SSPA operation. (Update: Ms. June was cannibalized for parts. However, many of her parts were used in other radios, including my latest, record-setting 10GHz transverter.)

Figure 5. The Farinon SSPA installed in “Ms. June,” my latest 10GHz rig. Two watts appears at the waveguide port at the antenna relay in transmit. The DC-DC converters are enclosed in separate chassis boxes, and can be seen just to the right of the amplifier. A re-labeled surplus meter monitors amplifier operation.

Figure 4. The Farinon SSPA installed in “Ms. June,” one of my early 10GHz rigs. Two watts appears at the waveguide port at the antenna relay in transmit. The DC-DC converters are enclosed in separate chassis boxes, and can be seen just to the right of the amplifier. A re-labeled surplus meter monitors amplifier operation.

References

1 – “Above and Beyond, Microwave Stripline Retuning Procedures,” by C. L. Houghton, WB6IGP, San Diego Microwave Group:

http://www.nitehawk.com/rasmit/mstrp_tu.html

2 – The surplus TDK DC-DC converter is described as a “5V in +/-5V DC/DC converter” at MPJA Online, as part number 1042518. This unit is under a “closeout” deal, so supplies may be limited. Go to http://www.mpja.com, and look under “Power Supplies,” “DC-DC Converters.” Their phone number is 800-652-6733, 9AM to 5PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Although probably not necessary, I removed the TO-220 device from the board and re-mounted it to the metal chassis box for heat-sinking.

3 – Most of the SBMS members have names for their rigs, mainly because, as many of you know, microwave radios tend to have personalities of their own. Ms. June is my sixth 10GHz radio re-build. “Morpheus” was my first attempt, see CQ magazine for December 2003 and January 2004 for my dubious start on the microwave bands.

 

Huntington Beach RACES Field Day 2013 Recap   Leave a comment

Field Day weekend 2013 is now history. Our new location helped to further increase visibility from both Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and the bike path along the beach.

This year, we had many more visitors – Fire Department management, local dignitaries, licensed hams, ex-hams and ordinary people. Our local cable TV channel (HBTV-3) shot lots of video of our operation. There were several minutes of live video from the Huntington Beach Police helicopter via amateur television (ATV).

Below: Huntington Beach Emergency Manager Brevyn Mettler, KI6FRG (left) and Huntington Beach Council Member Jim Katapodis, discuss the Field Day layout and the objectives of the Field Day drill as HB RACES Chief Radio Officer Dr Steve Graboff, W6GOS makes 20 meter SSB contacts.

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Al KJ6RIX and Jennifer did an amazingly great job keeping all of us well fed and even sheltered – a huge thanks for their hospitality!

Sometime in the late evening, Tim WD6AWP succeeded in getting a 2-way contact via satellite (OSCAR – Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) – this is a first for HB RACES – way to go, Tim!

Huntington Beach RACES looks forward to another Field Day next year, hopefully with an improved score and even more participation.

Some videos are posted on my YouTube Channel, KH6WZ

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Highlights – City of Huntington Beach RACES Field Day Visitors

Jim Katapodis, Huntington Beach Council Member

Fred Wilson, Huntington Beach City Manager

The guys from Station 46: Bob, Brian, Keith, Mike

Here are some random pictures from the weekend. . . 

Below: Robert Thompson, KE6RKG, making contacts at the VHF-UHF station at the W6O Field Day operation in Huntington Beach, Calif.

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Below: A view of the trailer and the open grassy area just before antenna installation.

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Below: Pete Zilliox, K5PZ working the keyer on 40 meters.

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Below: Brevyn getting 15 minutes of fame on HBTV-3, the Huntington Beach cable TV channel.

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Below: Tim Sawyer, WD6AWP (left) and Pete Zilliox, K5PZ (right), scanning the sky for an Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio (OSCAR) contact. Tim successfully completed a two-way contact via satellite late Saturday evening.

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Below:  Brevyn, KI6FRG, making some contacts on 15 meter phone.

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Below: The HB RACES Field Day group, 2013: 4A Orange.

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City of Huntington Beach RACES Field Day Participants

K5PZ Pete

K6DAA Gordon

KA6HMS Bill

KB6JOE Joe

KB6PAL David

KC6ZOW Shelley

KE6BNS Jeff

KE6OCE Steve

KE6RKG Robert

KE6WUO Michael

KG6IQL Manny

KG6SKD Marshall

KG6ZDP Jim

KH6FL Marilyn

KH6WZ Wayne

KI6FME Mike

KI6FRG Brevyn

KJ6RIX Al

Jennifer

KK6ANY Gus

N6PBW Ginny

N6RAS Peter

N6SLD Roy

N6YDX Darrell

N9KVN Steve

WD6AWP Tim

More images are posted on the City of Huntington Beach RACES website

73,

Wayne KH6WZ

Huntington Beach RACES Public Information Officer