Meet the Makers Event, Discovery Science Center   Leave a comment

Discovery Science Center – Advanced Ham Radio on Display at the Meet the Makers Event

Signage at The Discovery Cube announces the Meet the Makers Event

Signage at The Discovery Cube announces the Meet the Makers Event

Dennis Kidder (W6DQ), Walter Clark and I demonstrated our Maker Faire ham radio projects at the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana on June 29 and 30, 2013. We used my TinyTrak APRS beacon to indicate our location during the event. In case the plot is removed or expires, here is an image of the map showing our location. KH6WZ is indicated by the eye icon near the Interstate 5 freeway in Santa Ana.

This is a screen capture showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon data from the Discovery Science Center - Meet the Makers event.

This is a screen capture showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon data from the Discovery Science Center – Meet the Makers event.

This was a great opportunity to expose people to today’s technology Amateur Radio, and continued along my Maker Faire theme, “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio.”

Dennis brought his dual band 10 GHz and 24 GHz transverter, controlled and interfaced to his software-defined radio (SDR).

Walt brought his polarization demonstration units, which helped people visualize how radio signals propagate and change as they travel through the air. Here’s how Walt explains his demos:

Two demonstrations show the structure of radio waves – in this case microwaves.

One

The structure of a radio wave in angle around the direction of travel: This is called polarization. A spinning bargraph that has a receiving antenna that also spins will reveal the way radio waves “look” to a receiving antenna. The lesson here is that the receiving and transmitting antennas have to be oriented to the same angle.

Two

The structure of a radio wave along the direction of travel: When a receiver is arranged to look exactly in [or along] the direction the radio waves are going out, reflections can be measured; just like in radar. The reflection off of the hand or the chest of a person causes the speaker to be loud or quiet depending on the exact position. It cycles from loud to quiet every 1.5 cm whether inches or many feet away. The lesson here is that with this equipment, you can picture in your mind the wavelength and especially note that the wavelength is the same no matter how far the radio wave travels.

We did not establish any goals for this event, but there were several memorable visitors to our little table display, including teachers, Maker Faire participants, some current and ex-ham radio operators, many engineers and retired engineers as well as engineering students.

This “Meet the Makers” event was a double treat for me, since this was the first time I visited the Science Center, and I had a blast talking about the new technologies being used by today’s  ham radio enthusiasts.

Here are some pictures of this event . . .

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Bequi Howarth, of the Orange County Mini Maker Faire, who introduced us to the Discovery Science Center.

Links to More Information

Byonics (TinyTrak APRS and Weather Units)

Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, CA

Orange County Mini Maker Faire, University of California, Irvine (UCI)

Maker Faire

Make: Magazine

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)

CQ Magazine

San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS)

Wayne Yoshida LinkedIn Profile

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