FARS Meeting Programs - 2009
Friday January 23, 2009 - FARS/PAARA Winter Banquet
What Will the Real ET Be Like?
Dr. Shostak updates us on the Search for
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 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
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
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 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
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
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 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
Jerry covers the system design choices,
including which combination of internal and
external media were chosen by the three major utilities
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
2009 by FARS