Archive for the ‘Maker’ Tag

Maker Faire Bay Area 2015: Recap Part 1   Leave a comment

Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 T-Shirts for Makers

Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 T-Shirts for Makers

Maker Faire Bay Area is now history. Our booth, “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio” included new projects and demonstrations. This was our fourth year as Makers and the fifth year as visitors to the Maker Faire in San Mateo.

This is a short overview of our display. Stay tuned for more images, stories and videos.

Here is the text from our handout. It answers some of our most-often asked questions:

What are we doing?
Thank you for your interest in our Maker Faire display “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio.” This is our fourth consecutive year as “Makers,” and our goal is to show people what today’s ham radio operators are doing with the newest technology.

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

Is this like CB?
Yes and no. Ham radio is similar in that we use two-way radios and antennas to talk with 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 US and licensees are required to pass a written test on electronics theory, radio regulations and operating procedures.

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 operates on frequencies that generally follow line-of-sight paths. However, hams have discovered 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?
We are builders and experimenters in microwave radio communications. 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 communications services, such as satellite TV, cell phone and long-distance telephone.

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?
American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and QST Magazine

CQ Magazine

If you are a licensed ham and want to try a new challenge, contact your local VHF and up club:

The 50 MHz and Up Group

The San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS)

The Microwave Group of San Diego

Wayne Yoshida KH6WZ: YouTube


 Broadband Hamnet-REV2

Broadband Ham Radio Network Under Construction

Broadband Ham Radio Network Under Construction. Photo by Dennis Kidder W6DQ

Software Defined Radio

Elements for the SDR. Photo by Dennis Kidder, W6DQ

Elements for the SDR. Photo by Dennis Kidder W6DQ


Old vs New Antenna Tuner Technology

Old vs New Antenna Tuner Technology

KH6WZ 10GHz rig-Poster

Microwave transverter system by Brian Yee W6BY. Photo by Brian Yee W6BY

Microwave transverter system by Brian Yee W6BY. Photo by Brian Yee W6BY


APRS Poster

APRS demonstration

APRS demonstration



The Greeter

The Greeter


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


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!

D25 – A Boat in the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade   Leave a comment

Celebrating 10 Consecutive Years of Winning

Peter Barbour, a fellow ham radio operator and volunteer of the Huntington Beach Fire Department RACES group, has been sharing his holiday cheer and enthusiasm of the Christmas season by decorating his sailboat and entering the Newport Beach (CA) Christmas Boat Parade. As this is being written, winners for 2014 have not been announced, so stay tuned and cheer for D25!

Peter combines his computer programming and hardware-hacking skills with his knowledge of sailing that result in a series of award-winning and crowd-pleasing displays.

I am proud to be one of Peter’s helpers in constructing some of his award-winning entries.

2014 marks Peter’s tenth entry and it continues the D25 tradition of “more is better.”

Here are some pictures of D25 under construction:

IMG_0756 wayne yoshida D25 light matrix 1


IMG_0753 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 light matrix 2


IMG_0751 wayne yoshida D25 light matrix 3


IMG_0748 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 Peter inspecting


IMG_0755 wayne yoshida tech writer - clock discussion


IMG_0766 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 mast day


IMG_0771 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 mast work at night


IMG_0775 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 mast


IMG_0779 wayne yoshida tech writer - computer




Where is D25 Right Now?

D25 is equipped with an Amateur Radio tracking system called APRS. Click here to see D25’s real-time location and map.

For more information on ham radio APRS, the Automatic Packet Reporting System, click here.

D25’s Records
D25 2004: 2nd Place Best Use of Lights and Animation
Theme: Santa’s Sailing Sled

D25’s debut design was inspired by the idea of Santa’s sailing sled being borrowed by a mischievous elf.

D25 2005: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Classic Christmas

D25’s second design was inspired by a classic Christmas living room scene. A large decorated Christmas tree with presents stacked below the bows and a star atop, red brick fireplace with a roaring fire and stockings hung below a mantle.

D25 2006: Best Boat Under 30 Feet
Theme: North Pole Holiday Magic

In the middle of November, Original Productions, Inc. asked Peter to appear on a documentary on intense holiday decorations for TLC: The Learning Channel. The episode “More Crazy Christmas Lights” premiered on December 8, 2007.

D25 2007: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Surf’s Up – Light Wave

Surf’s Up on D25 features over 5,025 lights brilliantly illuminating a holiday surfer’s dream wave. D25’s strobe light marks the lip of the wave and a hot-doggin’ holiday penguin is in the cave catching some gnarly tubular action.

D25 2008: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Tropical Island Cheer – Lanterns to Lights

D25 for 2008 was inspired by the origins of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade on July 4, 1908. John Scarpa, an obscure Italian gondolier, led a parade with eight fellow small boat operators. The boats were illuminated by Japanese lanterns.

D25 2009: 1st Place Best Animation & Special Effects
Theme: Joys of Christmas Toys

In 2009, D25 demonstrated one of the most complex designs in the series. The entry included a matrix of colored ornaments, made with hundreds of individual bulbs. The matrix enabled the computer controller to make an amazing array of “bouncing ball” images that danced across a black background.

D25 2010: Best Boat Under 30 Feet

D25 2011: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality

D25 2012: Best Sailboat

D25 2013: 1st Place Animation & Special Effects

Some facts and figures of the Christmas vessel D25

The boat: 11-foot dinghy with a Nissan 4-stroke, 5HP engine. Oars for backup

Typical number of lights: Over 10,000 (Peter counted them once, but now simply adds lights up to the generator capacity)

Current consumption: Approx. 33 amps at 120 VAC

Power source: Two Honda EU2000i generators providing a total of 4,000 watts at 120 VAC

Wiring: Over 625 feet of custom extension cords

Safety items: GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) on all circuits and an automatic bilge pump

Communications: A 5 Watt VHF ham radio is interfaced to a GPS for reporting location, and is available for emergency

Sound system: 150W audio power with wireless mike for music and personal greetings

Computer controllers: Four Light-O-Rama (LOR) controllers 

Other items:
A masthead rotating strobe
An automobile classic “AH-OO-GA” horn
Fog Machine
Simulated flames & coals in fireplace
Chasing rope lights


Urban Workshop Open House – A Hacker Space in Irvine   Leave a comment

I discovered an announcement of this open house the night before the event. The lead came from a Meet Up post from  Make: OC, since I have been displaying at Maker Faire for several years now. It was a very short notice — but I am glad I saw it — especially since the Urban Workshop is less than 5 minutes away from my office.

Steve Trindade is the Founder and CEO of the Urban Workshop.

Urban Workshop is a hacker space, a membership organization where creative and talented people can get together and learn from each other. Urban Workshop provides the tools and support staff to help people build what they imagine.

They have an impressive array of stationary power tools for wood as well as metal, including a laser cutter and CNC mill. They have all types of welding equipment, too. And of course, they have a very expensive-looking 3D printer.

There is a full page of classes on a variety of subjects, including automotive alignments and race car chassis setups, CAD concepts, CNC router programming, electronics soldering basics and Arduino programming, machine tool instruction and more.

The equipment is all high-end, professional gear, and looks brand new.

Click here for more information on Urban Workshop.

Here are some pictures. . . .