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FARS Meeting Programs - 2009 [2008] [2007]


Friday January 23, 2009 - FARS/PAARA Winter Banquet

What Will the Real ET Be Like?
Seth Shostak, N6UDK

Dr. Shostak updates us on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Seth Shostak has a B.A. in physics from Princeton and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Caltech. He did research in radio astronomy at several observatories before joining SETI. He has published numerous articles in professional journals as well as a number of popular magazines. He is the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly radio program on science. He is also responsible for many outreach activities for the SETI Institute.


Friday February 27, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Echo of the Future - Early Radio in the Valley Before Silicon
Ben Koning

Ben Koning talks about the making of his documentary "Echo of the Future: A Tale of Sunnyvale." He shows excerpts from the film, and demonstrate a working 3-tube regenerative 1920 Echophone V3 receiver. (The mother of all boatanchors!)

While interviewing long-time Sunnyvale resident Ann Zarko, he met the late Jack Rowe (a Radio Amateur) who had documented "The Radio Shop," one of Sunnyvale’s first businesses and quite possibly the first and biggest consumer technology factory in the Valley at that time. It didn’t last long, however. The film weaves this surprising little story together within the larger context of the often-ignored history of Sunnyvale, providing a glimpse of the Valley’s future to come.


Friday March 27, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Wilderness Emergency Communications
Steve Stearns, K6OIK

When Radio Amateurs think about "emergency" communications, they often think about big emergencies, mass disasters, and networks of volunteer communicators. However, emergencies come in all sizes.

In this talk, Steve considers personal emergencies. Consider an injured hiker in a wilderness location who needs to be rescued. Among the various methods for getting the word out so help comes in, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each method? What electronic tools work? How do cell and satellite phones compare to different kinds of two-way radios or rescue beacons?

Steve describe both traditional and modern methods just in time for your Spring and Summer adventure activities.


Friday April 24, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Keyboarding on HF
Mikel Lechner, KN6QI

Digital modes are great for sending messages and data, and are the preferred mode for emergency disaster communications when Radio Amateurs work in concert with Public Safety or Homeland Security. In his last installment, Mikel, KN6QI, explains the different digital modes. This time he shows us the "how to" of setting up a digital station - everything from equipment to cables and connectors - plus the latest software for sending and receiving. This presentation appeals to emergency communicators and the experimenters alike.


Friday May 22, 2009 - Membership Meeting

From Antenna Model to Match Network
Steve Stearns, K6OIK

Steve, K6OIK, shows the steps in antenna system design. He starts by running an antenna model in one of several programs. He shows how much variation to expect among different programs. EZNEC is subject to the limitations of its NEC2 engine. Steve shows a comparison to other programs for computational electromagnetics.

Then he shows the steps in exporting the data to a file and modifying it to a standard format used by circuit modeling programs. Finally he shows the steps in designing a simple impedance matching network for the antenna. The circuit program calculates all losses. The result is a full characterization of a transmission system from transmitter to antenna and into space.


Friday June 19, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Repeater Controller: Adventures in Thailand
Nimit, K6XOX

Nimit recently installed a repeater controller in Thailand for his ham friends there. He talks a bit about what was involved in that process.

Also, Mikel, KN6QI talks about the GenLog logging software we are using for Field Day. He describes how to set up the software and how to use it.


Friday July 24, 2009 - Membership Meeting

The K6BEN ATV Repeater System
Michael Wright, K6MFW

The K6BEN ATV repeater system, located high in the eastern foothills of San Jose, is a cross-band repeater for amateur television transmission. Repeater output is in the 70 cm band on the same frequency as cable channel 57. Consequently, you can "watch" the repeater from an analog TV tuned to cable channel 57 merely by connecting your rooftop antenna to the TV’s cable input connector and pointing the antenna toward Mount Hamilton.

More details are at http://www.mfwright.com/k6ben. Michael Wright, K6MFW, describes the system and the equipment needed to get started in this fun aspect of Amateur radio.

You can find the presentation along with other articles in our documents section.


Friday August 28, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Antennas I Have Known
John E. Hill, N6CRA

John Hill, N6CRA, has been involved with advanced antenna development during a long career. He describes some interesting antennas that may be unfamiliar to many Radio Amateurs, most notably microwave antennas that operate above 1 GHz., such as the space shuttle antennas. He also covers some antenna theory without invoking James Clerk Maxwell or his equations. You may remember John Hill from his presentation at Am-Tech Day last year (May, 2008).


Friday September 25, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Annual Amateur Radio Homebrew Contest

We invite you to bring a project to show and and share with our audience. Each participant has 5 - 10 minutes to present a project and answer questions about it.

Projects must not have been presented at a previous Homebrew contest. Projects must be amateur radio related, but they may be something you have made (kits are OK) or simply something you have done.

We award small cash prizes for the best projects as determined by the audience.


Friday October 23, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Microwave Office Capabilities and Demonstration
Khaled Nikro, Applied Wave Research

Every household appliance and electronic device you own already has or soon have analog and digital electronic circuits embedded in it. Even so-called digital televisions and software defined radios have analog RF front-end electronics. Appliances may soon communicate wirelessly back to the electric power meter and ultimately the electric utility. Analog RFID tags are finding their way into everything you buy. Analog electronics is implemented at the chip level or board level. Have you ever opened up your HT and looked at all of the beautifully soldered surface-mount components and wondered how the designers designed something so complex? Modern circuit design has improved immeasurably in the past 30 years. Today circuits are designed by using software programs called Electronic Design Automation or EDA software. Modern EDA software permits a circuit designer to lay out a circuit and perform numerical simulations to determine its performance. Just as antenna modeling programs like EZNEC make it easy to analyze antennas, a circuit design program makes it easy to design circuits. Khaled Nikro, an Applications Engineer at Applied Wave Research, describes the professional grade EDA program Microwave Office. He introduces many of the advanced features that make a designer’s job easy, such as layout, linear and nonlinear performance simulation, electromagnetic simulation, and optimization. Along the way, Khaled shows us how one can quickly design filters, match networks, amplifiers and generate graphs of predicted performance measurements such as return loss, noise figure, and compression and intercept points of nonlinear amplifiers - perhaps even graph a waveform or two. Come and learn how professional circuit designers get their jobs done!


Friday November 20, 2009 - Membership Meeting

Utility Communications in the Modern Power Grid
Jerry Ramie, KI6LGY, iNCT
ARC Technical Resources

Jerry describes communications in the smart grid and its attributes, including the strengths and weaknesses of all utility communications media choices with emphasis on their potential to cause interference to the amateur service and be interfered with by the amateur service.

Jerry covers the system design choices, including which combination of internal and external media were chosen by the three major utilities in California. Jerry talks about the "smart" meters that PG&E is installing. The smart meters apparently involve two different communication techniques: The link between the meter and home uses ZigBee at 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz. The link between the meter and the utility uses frequency hop spread spectrum (FHSS).

PG&E is placing orders for millions of these meters before trials, which are scheduled for later this year. Without tests, the new meters immunity to interference from amateur transmissions is unknown. It’s not clear if these devices have any immunity considerations in their designs.

This meeting is our Annual Membership Meeting where we elect five directors for the Board of Directors. FARS members are encouraged to attend this important meeting. The following are up for election at the meeting:


Friday December 18, 2009 - Membership Meeting

New and Exciting Goodies for the Ham Shack
Howard Califf, W6HOC from Ham Radio Outlet - Sunnyvale

Howard repeats his popular pre-holiday show of new and exciting "goodies" for the ham shack. He shows the latest in gear and accessories for the well-equipped home, mobile, and portable Amateur Radio station.



Past Programs 2008