Archive for the ‘10 GHz’ Tag

2015 Bay Area Maker Faire Discount Tickets Available   Leave a comment

 

Maker Faire headquarters announced early bird discounts for Maker Faire Bay Area on May 16 and 17, 2015.

What’s Maker Faire? Take a look at this Drone’s Camera View from Bay Area Maker Faire 2014.

The sale ends on February 28, so don’t delay!

Order your tickets now to take advantage of the discount.

I will see you there – Look for “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio” and our new projects!

Call for 2015 Bay Area Makers is Now Open!   Leave a comment

IMG_0183 wayne yoshida tech writer dragon-head fire

The call for Bay Area Makers is open now. The deadline is Sunday Feb 15.

What’s a Maker? Take a look at what a lot of us are doing in The Maker Movement.

But if you think this idea is new, read this post about re-inventing the wheel. In this case, the wheel is the definition of “Maker.”

More info on the 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire. . .

Just to whet your appetite about the upcoming Maker Faire – take a look at a Drone’s Eye View of Maker Faire 2014!

Search for “Makers” and “Maker Faire” on this site to see some of my previous projects and participation at Maker Faire.

Parts Among Potato Salad – The SBMS Summer BBQ at W6DQ   Leave a comment

 

Immediately after the San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS) Tune-Up Party at the Fairview Park in Costa Mesa, the annual summer BBQ was held at the QTH of Dennis, W6DQ.

As usual, the food was great, and Dennis did a great job at the BBQ. It is nice to be a guest at a BBQ every now and then….

Probably the best thing I enjoy at these events is catching up with the club members and see what projects they are working on.

 

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. . . 

 

 

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 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 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
http://wayneyoshida-kh6wz.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/in/waynetyoshida

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
http://www.arrl.org

CQ, and CQ-VHF Magazines
http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com

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
http://www.50mhzandup.org/

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
http://www.ham-radio.com/sbms/

The Microwave Group of San Diego
Workshops and informal meetings are held each month on the third Monday at 7pm in La Mesa, CA
http://www.ham-radio.com/sbms/sd/mgsd.htm

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. . . . .

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.