Archive for the ‘ham radio’ Tag

2015 Bay Area Maker Faire is Coming – May 16 and 17   Leave a comment



The Maker Faire Team from the San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS) and the 50 MHz and Up Group is once again displaying their newest projects at the Bay Area Maker Faire.

We are “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio” – Maker Number 50122


Technical Conference Alert: Amateur Radio Microwave Update 2015   Leave a comment

IMG_1822 wayne yoshida kh6wz dish envy

SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 19, 2015 — Microwave Update (MUD), the paramount international conference on Amateur Radio experimentation above 1,000MHz, will take place from Thursday, October 15 to Sunday, October 18, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza San Diego.

MUD 2015 will include technical programs, a banquet and the opportunity to network with fellow microwave ham radio enthusiasts from around the world. This year’s event is sponsored jointly by the San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS) and the Microwave Group of San Diego (MGSD).

Special hotel rates are available to MUD 2015 attendees. Be sure to mention the Microwave Update 2015 when making hotel reservations.

Call for Papers and Presentations
MUD is a great opportunity to share your ideas by presenting and writing papers. If you are interested in writing and/or presenting a topic for the 2015 MUD, send an e-mail message to with an abstract or a general idea. This will help the conference planning and scheduling team organize the event.

Presentation and paper guidelines are posted at

The deadline for proceedings submissions is September 1 and deadline for presentations is September 25.

For more information and the latest updates on MUD 2015, go to:

Hotel Information
The hotel is taking reservations now, so take advantage of the discount rate. Remember to ask for the Microwave Update (MUD) special rate.

Crowne Plaza San Diego
2270 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108 USA
Phone: +1-888-233-9527

About the San Bernardino Microwave Society
The SBMS, founded in 1955, is a non-profit technical organization and Amateur Radio club and dedicated to the advancement of communications above 1,000MHz. Affiliated with the ARRL, the SBMS membership includes over 90 Amateurs from Hawaii and Alaska to the East Coast and beyond. Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm at the American Legion Hall, 1024 Main St., Corona, CA. For more SBMS information, go to

About the Microwave Group of San Diego (MGSD)
The MGSD is an informal association of Radio Amateurs interested in the frequencies above 1000 MHz. A net is held on the air each Monday night, except the third Monday of the month, on the Palomar Amateur Radio Club Repeater, 146.730 (-0.600), (tone 107.2) at 9:00 PM. For more MGSD information, go to

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.

Christmas Boat Update: D25 Wins Another First Place Award   Leave a comment

Photo by Bleu Cotton Photography, Inc.

Photo by Bleu Cotton Photography, Inc.

All that hard work paid off. D25, Peter Barbour’s entry in the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade earned First Place, Best Animation/Special Effects. This is the 11th time D25 has won an award in the parade.

The theme for 2014 was “Something’s Cooking in the Kitchen” and included a boiling tea kettle on a stove with smoke (steam) effects. All of the items on the sail area are animated and are controlled by a total of four computers.

If you look closely, a Christmas “Easter Egg” is planted on the stove. Do you see it? Maybe this photo, taken when the decorations were still under construction will help.

An argument about a detail on D25 for 2014

An argument about a detail on D25 for 2014

Still don’t see it? When Steve was painting the final touches on the stove, a heated discussion took place. Should the clock on the stove be analog or digital? What time should it show? Our thinking process went from “I doesn’t matter” to “Midnight. Doesn’t everyone wait until midnight to open all the gifts?” to “Wait. Christmas. December 25. Boat is named D25. 12:25!”

Here are some more images of D25 under construction . . .


Other 2014 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Winners are posted on the official Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade website.

Peter is N6RAS. D25 includes Amateur Radio equipment as well as a GPS and APRS locator/tracking system on board.

What’s in store for Christmas 2015? Only Peter knows – but we can all look forward to something amazing!

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!