Archive for May 2014

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

The Software Defined Radio (SDR) at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014   Leave a comment

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio

Dennis W6DQ displayed his Flex 1500 software defined radio with 10 GHz and 24 GHz transverters. There were many questions about SDRs and many visitors were surprised to learn ham radio operators have this technology. But this is another example of what radio hams are using these days. The system Dennis showed is actually three systems in one: The SDR, which is being used as the “intermediate system,” and transverters (transmitter-receiver-converters) for 10 GHz and 24 GHz microwave ham radio. The posters briefly explain the transverter system:

Dual band 10-24 GHz SDR 1

Dual band 10-24 GHz SDR 2

IMG_0016 - kh6wz - W6DQ Maker Faire 2014



The SDR is a Flex-1500, made by FlexRadio Systems

2014 Maker Faire Bay Area – Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio   Leave a comment


IMG_0247 KH6WZ balloon APRS parts


APRS: Automatic Packet Reporting System – and High Altitude Ballooning

Someone asked if it would be possible to track a high altitude balloon using ham radio. It is possible to track a vehicle, aircraft or person using the amateur radio application called APRS, the automatic packet reporting system. Basically, the system consists of a two-way radio (usually for the 2m ham band), a GPS receiver, a modem to interface/control the data to and from the GPS, and an antenna for the radio and the GPS.

By coincidence, I am collecting parts for such a system, see the photo above. The radio antenna is on the left –  it is a piano wire dipole for the 2 meter ham band. On the upper right is a Byonics Tiny Trak SMT – the interface between the two-way radio and the GPS. Inside the orange plastic box is an old 2m handie-talkie, with its cabinet parts and battery pack removed. Not shown in the picture are the other ingredients, which include a tiny GPS module and the video cameras for Amateur Television (ATV).

KH6WZ - W6DQ APRS poster


KH6WZ - W6DQ APRS poster 2

Here are some links I used in my research.
Byonics – Makers of the Tiny Trak series of APRS beacons

Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning

Sparkfun – High Altitude Balloon Launch

Low-cost Near Space Without HAM Radios or Cellphones

Breaking the Amateur Radio Balloon Altitude Record

BEAR (Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio)

Watch this space for more Bay Area Maker Faire stories and pictures!

2014 Bay Area Maker Faire – Anouk Wipprecht, Fashions and Tesla Coils   Leave a comment

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Here are some amazing photos of Anouk Wipprecht and some of her costumes at the Maker Faire Bay Area. The photos were taken by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace, in Culver City, CA

In these photos, you can see lightning effects created by a giant Tesla coil, made and “played” by ArcAttack!

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace


Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace


Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace


Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace


Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace

Photo by Kyle Cothern of CrashSpace


Learn more about Anouk Wipprecht in this CNN article!

Stay tuned for more Bay Area Maker Faire images and stories!

2014 Maker Faire Bay Area Recap – Setup Day   Leave a comment

The 2014 Bay Area Maker Faire is now history.

One of the Maker Faire team members, Brian Yee, W6BY, was not able to join us – we are all hoping Brian recovers quickly from his injury.

Dennis Kidder, W6DQ and Marty Woll, N6VI (ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director) – along with several University of California, Davis engineering students and their faculty advisor, Professor Leo Liu, displayed and demonstrated their projects to the Maker Faire crowd. Estimated attendance: 120,000.

Here’s a two minute “drones eye view” of the Maker Faire 2014

Highlights during setup day included meeting Anouk Wipprecht, the fashion designer;  Tenaya Hurst, the Arduino Woman; and the paella dinner, sponsored by Liquid Wrench.

This year, I included a handout of frequently asked questions about Amateur Radio, and it turned out to be useful. However, we quickly ran out of copies, so I am pasting the text here:

What Are We Doing at Maker Faire 2014
Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio

Thank you for your interest in our Maker Faire display. We are radio communications experimenters using the microwave Amateur Radio (ham) frequencies.

Who are we?
We are licensed Amateur radio operators (“hams”).

Is this like CB?
Yes and no. Ham radio is similar to CB because we use two-way radios to talk to each other, but hams can communicate using Morse code and computers in addition to voice, and we even have our own satellites. Ham radio requires a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA.

How far can you talk?
We can communicate with other ham stations around the corner or across the globe, depending on a variety of factors that affect the way radio waves travel. The equipment we are using here operates on frequencies that generally follow line-of-sight paths. However, through experimentation, we find that signals can be reflected against objects such as buildings, trees, islands and mountains, to extend the range. Using these techniques, we are able to contact other stations hundreds of miles away.

What kind of radios are you using?
No commercially-built, “off-the-shelf” equipment for these frequencies exists, so we must build our own equipment, or modify commercially-made equipment meant for other services, such as cell phone, wireless links and radar systems.

How much does this equipment cost?
Like any other hobby, people spend as much or as little as they can afford. Most people involved in ham radio spend as much as any serious stereo enthusiast, amateur photographer or woodworker.

Where can I get more information?
Wayne Yoshida KH6WZ

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)

CQ, and CQ-VHF Magazines

The 50 MHz and Up Group
Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at 7pm at the TI (formerly National Semiconductor) Conference Center, Building E, in Sunnyvale, CA

The San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS)
Meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7pm at the American Legion Hall, 1024 Main St., Corona, CA

The Microwave Group of San Diego
Workshops and informal meetings are held each month on the third Monday at 7pm in La Mesa, CA

Here are some images from setup day, Friday May 16.

. . . More to follow. . .




Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio at the Bay Area Maker Faire 2014   Leave a comment

This is our third consecutive appearance at the Bay Area MF, and continues my theme of showing how some ham radio operators continue the tradition of “teaching, mentoring, making, modifying, repairing and improving” radio and radio-related technology. Read my post about ham radio and the Maker movement.

Today’s ham radio operators have an incredible amount of exotic surplus material that can be converted into everyday use on the ham radio bands. Grandpa certainly never heard of surface-mount technology, talking on homemade 47 GHz transmitter-receiver systems or pocket-sized, satellite navigation systems (GPS). But he sure did mentor, make, modify, repair and improve the equipment in his bedroom radio station…..

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio – Maker Faire 2014 Team

Wayne Yoshida KH6WZ

Dennis Kidder W6DQ

Brian Yee W6BY

Marty Woll N6VI

More information on the Maker Faire Bay area.

Here is a gallery of our booth posters for the 2014 Bay Area Maker Faire. More photos, videos and stories will follow. . . . .

What Does Fashion Lack? Microcontrollers, Says Fashion Designer Anouk Wipprecht   Leave a comment


Dutch fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht – who mixes high fashion with microprocessors and fiberoptic fabrics, is scheduled to present “Robotic Fashion and Intimate Interfaces” on Saturday May 17 at 11:30 AM on the Center Stage at Maker Faire Bay Area.

Anouk made the microprocessor-controlled fibre optic and LED costumes for the Black Eyed Peas for the Super Bowl XLV half time show.

I met Anouk at a Crash Space meeting in 2011 – she is fascinating!

Learn more about Anouk and her work with Pseudomorphs 

She talks about her experience and how her interest in microcontrollers and robotics made their way into her fashion designs on YouTube

Here is Anouk’s official website

Maker Faire Bay Area is May 17 and 18!   Leave a comment

Maker Faire 2012-2 010



The big show is coming soon. Last year, over 120,000 people attended this science-art-food-engineering-fun-educational event.

This year, my team (Dennis Kidder W6DQ, Brian Yee W6BY and Marty Woll N6VI) will bring their newest ham radio projects to show. We will continue with my original theme called “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio.”

A group of University of California, Davis (UCD) engineering students will join us to demonstrate their experiments and projects. These new engineers are getting a great head-start by doing hands-on, practical experiments and projects that go beyond their lecture and textbook learning.

Read my LinkedIn post to understand my personal passion about amateur radio, Makers, the Maker Faire and education.



A Quick Look at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo 2014 / NGV Global 2014 Tradeshow in Long Beach, CA   Leave a comment

kh6wz - 2014 Top 20 award


Today’s lead photo — an award we received…. The Agility Fuel Systems 116 DGE CNG Fuel System won a Top 20 Award from Heavy Duty Trucking – see more on the HDT website.


IMG_8724 - kh6wz Agility Fuel Systems booth location



Our excellent booth location made it easy for visitors to find us. . . .


kh6wz - Luis Salem John Kelter DTNA


Left: Luis Salem, VP Marketing and Sales, explains the features and advantages of the new Agility Fuel Systems behind the cab (BTC) CNG fuel system to John Keltner of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).


IMG_8704 - kh6wz - gas prices vs cng


I wish regular gas is less than $4 per gallon. I paid four-something per gallon last week filling my Prius . . .

And perhaps the biggest buzz on the show floor was the reaction to this news release we issued during the ACT show. . . 

And this one, too. . .