Archive for the ‘transverter’ Tag

Maker Faire 2015 Recap – Part 2   Leave a comment

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, here is a 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire recap in images from and around our Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio theme booth.

Click here to see the official Bay Area Maker Faire video from 2015

The Bay Area Maker Faire 2015 team: Team Leader Brian Yee W6BY and his wife Pat and daughter Stephanie, Dennis Kidder W6DQ, Lisa Gibbons KF6QNG and Paul Zander AA6PZ

We had working, hands-on ham radio projects including Brian’s (W6BY) 10 GHz ham radio transverter system, a radio-controlled tractor/forklift (ZigBee controller) and the big screen used as an electronic sign.

Dennis W6DQ brought several brand new projects this year, including a working Amateur Radio broadband (WiFi) network with seven nodes, a software-defined radio (SDR) system.

I brought a demonstration comparing old and new technology in antenna tuners. It uses light bulbs for a substitute (“dummy”) antenna.

 

 

There’s so much to see and do. Here are some pictures of what I get a chance to see.

 

Always great to see Tenaya promoting Arduino and Arduino related projects and products!

IMG_1633 wayne yoshida - TENAYA HURST

 

Great shirts and signage – Only at the Maker Faire!

 

Here are the posters we used to describe our projects on display this year.

Slide1 software defined radio

Slide2 software defined radio

Slide3 software defined radio

Slide4 software defined radio

Slide1 Broadband Hamnet

Slide2 Broadband Hamnet

Slide3 Broadband Hamnet

Slide4 Broadband Hamnet

Slide1 Old vs New Antenna Tuners kh6wz

Slide2 Ols vs New antenna tuners kh6wz

KH6WZ - W6DQ APRS poster

KH6WZ - W6DQ APRS poster 2

Directional coupler - SWR meter 1

Directional coupler - SWR meter 2

 

 

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ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest Sunday Sept 22   Leave a comment

The past weekend was a busy one indeed. I made some time to participate in the microwave contest, dragging my rig out to the bluff overlooking the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and then to El Segundo. The 10 GHz and Up Contest is unique, since it spans over two weekends, the first part is in mid-August and the second part near the end of September. This gives participants a chance to fix broken rigs and continue to add points to their scores.

To be honest, I was not prepared for this contest. I did not have any roving plans, my Prius was not modified to supply my 7 watt 10 GHz rig with power and my mobile radio was not programmed with any of the liaison / coordination frequencies. However, I managed to have some fun testing out my homemade 10 GHz (X-band) rig.

I noticed something during the contest: I was afraid of killing the 12V battery on the Prius, so I left the car on and “ready” during the entire contest. I turned off the air conditioner and the courtesy light. As with normal operation, the gasoline engine will only run when it is needed to charge the system, including the 300V (or whatever voltage it is) traction battery.

Since the rig draws 10 amps in transmit, and transmitting a continuous signal for “beaconing” so that other stations can find me is a routine practice in microwave contesting, I was worried that something might happen to the Prius power system.

However, the car seemed to be fine, and the rig was happy to run under full DC power, producing a clean signal and no “unlock” condition. The engine did start up and ran for less than one or two minutes at a time, and the engine is so quiet, sometimes I did not notice it was on.

Using the Prius as a power system worked out so well that I will eliminate my spare battery idea and mount a power connector on the battery box lid so I can use the DC to power station equipment for the next contest. I have a 100 Ah gel cell battery in a big plastic box that I usually use for radio contesting, so it is independent from the car power system – but I discovered the battery was dead and was not holding a charge when preparing for the Disaster Expo – that is another story. . .

Since I operated from these two locations before, I don’t have too many pictures of these places, but these will give you some idea of what operating a rover station in the 10 GHz contest is like. Well, not really.

My un-official score for about 5 hours of operating time is:

1900 QSO Points + 3341 Distance Points = 5241 Final Score

Best DX is 217 km, when I worked K6NKC and KC6UQH in DM12rr (East San Diego County) from El Segundo, DM03tw

The most fun and challenging contact happened to be my last contact. It was a two-way CW contact with WA6JBD in DM14go (not sure where), from the El Segundo water tower location.

Of the 29 total contacts made, 19 were unique callsigns

Here are some pictures . . .

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

OC Mini Maker Faire 2013 Recap   Leave a comment

FindU.com APRS display of the KH6WZ-5 location beacon at the 2013 OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI

APRS display of the KH6WZ-5 location beacon at the 2013 OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI. Notice the beacon message at the top of the screen capture includes the URL of the event – a great publicity tool!

This past weekend, the second OC Mini Maker Faire happened. And it just so happens to be the second running of my ham radio demonstration called, “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio (2)!” This is my continuing mission to remind people of two things:

First, “The Maker Movement” is nothing new, Amateur Radio operators have been doing this for a almost a century, and nearly 2 million people worldwide are involved in ham radio in some way.

Second, Ham radio is not necessarily an old man’s hobby where weird guys talk to strangers from garages and basements. We are skilled wireless communicators and use today’s technology, from GPS and microprocessors to lasers and microwave frequency linking.

This time I added static and working displays of my various APRS beacons (KH6WZ, KH6WZ-5, and others). I programmed the OC Mini Maker Faire’s URL to the beacon message so people can take a look at what was happening – an excellent publicity tool!

I also planned on making some 10 GHz contacts with my rig, since this was also the same weekend as the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest. The transverter covers were removed so people can see the system’s guts.

Based on previous experience at the Discovery Science Center “Meet the Makers” event, I demonstrated radio wave polarization- horizontal vs vertical – with my rig and the microwave strength meter.

Since I had plenty of space, I shared my booth with a company that makes interesting computer and microprocessor related items. This may sound trivial, until you realize this company is run by these three young guys . . .

UCI maker faire 2013 028

Huxley, Max and Ethan showing one of their products called the SmartPac.

There seemed to be more people at this Faire, probably since not too many other events were happening nearby. The 405/605/22 freeway closure did not affect the MF, since it started after the event ended.

More than a dozen hams – either active or at least licensed – stopped by to visit. We talked about this event as well as the Bay Area Maker Faire, and what ham radio activities we are involved with.

One more thing: I met several guys from the San Diego area – they are finalizing the plans to have a Mini Maker Faire in the San Diego area – this is great news. Stay tuned and I will announce an update as soon as I hear something from the committee!

Here are some pictures from the event. I am already thinking of building some new displays for next year.