At Friday night's ARCA meeting, Al KG6HM, presented a program on his experiences designing radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for wireless communications applications. Al has been active in the RFIC field for many years, both designing die for clients around the world, and teaching RFIC design to graduate students at Santa Clara University. The types of RFICs discussed will be low noise amplifiers, gain blocks, power amplifiers, mixers, and VCOs.
The blog of the Amateur Radio Club of Alameda.
ARCA will be hosting a farewell dinner for David (KI6AWR) and Elizebeth (K0EAH) Haycock on Wednesday, April 8th at 6 pm. Join us at the Pier 29 Restaurant in Alameda to celebrate their many years with the Amateur Radio Club of Alameda.
David has led the club in so many capacities, taught so many classes and mentored so many members that it is difficult to know where to begin crediting him for his contributions.
Jim Wright, KJ6UHT, gave a demo on setting up a packet BBS and connecting to it. As Jim showed us, a packet BBS means that users are able to pass digital messages (mail) back and forth using the BBS as a post office of sorts. His BBS demo setup uses the BPQ32 Mail BBS server software, an FT-60R HT and a the MFJ TNC-X packet controller. Two additional packet radio stations use the South Bay ARES Outlook Packet Message Manager to easily create, send and retrieve the messages from the BBS. Both Outlook stations employ the Signalink USB sound card (commonly used for HF digital) to connect to standard VHF radios. All setups are fairly portable, and have the potential to pass EMCOMM messages in the field.
PDF of presentation: Packet_Radio_Demo.pdf
Bruce Gillis KI6CYT gave a presentation titled "Ideas and Short Cuts to Use for Working for your Worked All States Award". It was interesting hearing how a number of topics came together to provide guidelines for getting this award. From antenna modeling to contests and logging, there were lots of different aspects to getting this award. He modeled his antenna, got it situated on his dock (over salt water!) and participated in a variety of contests. This allowed him to earn WAS on multiple bands and modes.
We had a nice presentation from Rich Holoch KY6R called "DXCC Honor Roll in One Solar Cycle". Rich made Honor Roll on New Year's Day 2013, and he did it in only 11 years between solar peaks using simple antennas – none of which were mounted very high (except the dipole). He presented on the process of improving his antennas to get over the "wall" -- a period of 3 years where he was stuck at 325, and had no new DXCC entities. One of the more interesting points for the club was his use of EZNEC and HFTA. We've had several presentations on using EZNEC as an antenna modeling program, but he went further and used a program called HFTA. This allowed him to take his antenna model, and see how his QTH affected HF gain, in the direction of the entities that he would need for DXCC Honor Roll.
Current PDF of his presentation: http://eastbayarc.org/pdf/pacificon_2013.pdf
Rich is currently working on DXCC on 160 meters, and will be presenting at Pacificon 2013. We are looking forward to seeing more from Rich. If you want to follow him, he's on twitter and has a blog here: http://ky6r.wordpress.com/
This year's Field Day came off smoothly. Not only did ARCA pull together to implement Fred (KI6BES) and Bruce's (KI6CYT) plan, but the enthusiastic participation of CERT and ARES members did a lot to make it a success.
Ron (KF6LSY), Dean and Wade arrived early towing two CERT Mobile Disaster Units from Fire Station 4 to the Bay Farm Shopping Center. These were set up quickly, with Bruce's vertical and dipole antennas going up soon thereafter. Al's (KG6HM) G5RV was raised along with various VHF/UHF antennas.
One MDU was dedicated for use as a PSK31 operating position for Howard (K6SID) and Lea (KJ6BNS). The other MDU hosted Sam (KJ6AF), Cass (AG6NT) and others for HF voice. Joe (KC6ZZT), Michael John (KF6YRG), Doug (KI6BZT) and Al held down the fort in the CW pavilion, while Fran (KF6UVB) and Al manned the GOTA pavilion, talking with Boy Scouts in Texas and getting Bruce's grandson on the air for the first time.
Rose (K6LEZ), Ruth (KI6TYZ), Marianne (KI6MTU), Fred and Joann teamed up in the VHF/UHF pavilion. They signed in visitors, explained Field Day activities and provided literature.
The CERT and ARES folks were very active. Jerry (KT6CRT) set up a complete, self-contained emergency radio position including antenna, battery, generator, solar energy and shelter. In the CERT pavilion, Dean, Carmen, Wade, Jerry and Eric (KJ6UHP) showed visitors an impressive display of emergency tools, including a full MDU medical kit.
One innovation this year was the addition of bandpass filters to the HF stations. The filters enabled simultaneous activity for voice, data and CW without interference. David (KI6AWR), along with Cass and Bruce, spearheaded this initiative, which was a success.
Later in the day we had visitors from the Red Cross, including Madeleine Biskintaoui (AF6NL) and Richard Fateman. Chief Ricci Zombeck came by from the Alameda Fire Department, and Jim Latham (AF6AQ), Jim Tiemstra (K6JAT), Bob Vallio (W6RGG) and John Rabold (KS6M) represented the ARRL.
All in all it was an excellent day, with beautiful weather, good contacts on 15 and 20 meters and a much appreciated dinner at Harbor Bay's Penca Azul.
Saturday the 22nd is ARRL Field Day, when Alameda's Amateur Radio Club shows what can be accomplished by setting up from scratch under emergency power and making as many contacts as possible. Field Day will be held in the Harbor Bay Shopping Center in front of CVS. You can't miss it - there will be two Alameda CERT Mobile Disaster Units, several pavilions and antennas everywhere.
On June 8th the team rehearsed pulling everything together to work out the kinks. In two hours ARCA members were on the air and talking to other hams. Here is the tired, but proud crew at the end of the morning.
Join us Saturday!
ARCA is holding 2013 Field Day this year at the Harbor Bay Landing shopping center on Bay Farm Island. We have permission to set up in a section of the CVS parking lot. This will give us great public exposure, parking is easy and there are no strict requirements which force us to close down early. The promises to be a great event and we want to make it especially successful by having a brief Field Day rehearsal.
We will be hollding the Field Day rehearsal on Saturday June 8th 2013 at 885 Island Dr Alameda 94502. There will be one MDU in position and the objective will be to get it set up as it will be for the real event (Saturday June 22nd 2013).
The event will begin at 10:00 am and will last approximately 2 hours. A succesful event will get us on the air and iron out the kinks so that we will be well prepared for the great event later in the month. We will be getting the MDU ready, setting up the antennas, firing up the generator and getting on the air too! Whether you are interested in setup, operating, logging or just observing at the real event, please come along and participate. The more the merrier.
Jerry Juhala KT6CRT presented "Setting up a self sufficient EMCOMM station in the field" during our monthly meeting. He covered public service events, portable operations, vehicle operations and setting up a base station amongst other things. He also brought the equipment that he covered in his presentation. For more information, see his slide deck:
Presentation, documents, power point and handouts: http://tinyurl.com/JerryHam.
Briefcase and battery boxes information: http://tinyurl.com/Jerrygokit.
We had our April Shop Night outing yesterday at the usual meeting room at 731 Stardust Place in Alameda. There was an interesting mix of activities. One ham showed up with a new handheld and needed help getting connected to the local repeaters. David KI6AWR was able to help him with his new hand held. Joe KC6ZZT worked on wiring up a J38 CW key to the club's HF radio. There was even some soldering involved before the night was done. And finally, Jim KJ6UHT brought a new book edited by a Palo Alto ham (Leigh Klotz, WA5ZNU), titled Ham Radio for Arduino and Picaxe. And he also brought a small embedded device, an Arduino Duo. The Arduino looked like a lot of fun -- Jim was able to get going with it and load the first project from the book onto the Arduino. Working with the Arduino looked a lot easier than the older embedded systems. No EPROM to burn, just loading it through a USB cable! Several folks were interested, and I think several people might get the book (available at the ARRL, AES, and Amazon among others) and work through some of the projects.
If all this sounds interesting, why don't you come to our next shop night? It is on the calendar to your left, and is always the first Monday of the month. See you soon!
The Oakland Marathon (aka "Oakland Running Festival") took place last Saturday. Sixteen amateur radio operators supported the event, which included over 9,000 runners. There was a full marathon, a four person marathon relay, a half marathon and a 5k run, with the various courses overlapping. The fastest marathon time was two hours, thirty-seven minutes, while the slowest time was a little over seven hours. This meant that radio operators supported the run from 7:30 AM to about 3 PM.
There were three amateur radio operators on bicycles, four at net control, and nine at fixed locations on the course. The operators on bicycles roamed over the length of the course. Three operators were from the ARCA club: Cass AG6NT at net control, Jerry KT6CRT on bicycle mobile, and Bruce KI6CYT stationed at 10th and Alice St. Happily, there were no major medical incidents during the various runs. The biggest issue seemed to be hearing the operators over the cheering of the crowd. Definitely a fun event to take part in. Hopefully we'll see you next year!
Al Sweet KG6HM presented "Operating with Morse Code" at our monthly meeting. He covered the early history of Morse and signaling, as well as what it's like to operate CW. From coherers to spark gaps, he managed to convey the musicality of the original digital mode.
After the break, we discussed what we think Field Day will be like this year. We are planning to operate on Saturday from the CVS parking lot on Bay Farm. We'll have both MDU's setup, and probably run 3 or 4 stations. More details to follow!
We had our February Club meeting last night. The presentation was given by David Haycock, KI6AWR and was an overview of Field Day 2013 -- because it is never too late to begin planning! The presentation was an overview of the various decision points that need to be made, as well as some of the roles that need to be filled. For example:
- Do Field Day on our own, or with another club?
- Location, outside the meeting house, or at a park, or somewhere else?
- Saturday only operation, or both days?
- Will someone be operating through the night?
One of the emphasized points was that in order to be successful, we need to have a wide variety of volunteers in different roles, such as Field Day coordinator, food, operation, etc.
After the presentation, we had a social period and then did some of the club business.
We had elections for club officers. The new officers are:
- President: Cass Carrigan AG6NT
- Vice President: Jim Wright KJ6UHT
- Secretary: David Haycock KI6AWR
- Treasurer: Tom Schweich KI6JRB (returning!)
I want to thank all those who participate as officers in the club, past and present. The time you put in is what helps make the club great!
We also had three members pay their membership dues for 2013. If you haven't already paid for 2013, please do so.
Hams are needed for the 2013 Oakland Running Festival on Sunday March 24.
Last year several members of ARCA volunteered, including Jerry, who was 'bicycle mobile'. That proved to be especially effective in monitoring public safety in segments of the course lacking course marshals. Other members of ARCA took part as Course Marshalls and Net Control Operators.
Ham radio jobs include:
Net Control Operators and Scribe
Race Director Shadows
Bicycle (or moto) mobile
You can suggest your job preference and time availability. The marathon length starts first, around 7 AM and ends around 4 PM. The 10K length starts around 9 AM. Half the runners are back by around noon, but the stragglers need the most monitoring. Course marshals along the early parts of the route start early but end quickly. In later parts of the marathon route, you can arrive later, but you must remain there longer.