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FARS Meeting Programs - 2016 [2015] [2014]


FARS meetings take place on the 4th Friday of each month, except for no meeting in January (Winter Banquet), and meetings on a different Friday in June (Field Day), November (Thanksgiving), and December (Christmas). See the calendar for specific dates.

Meeting Schedule

7:00PM - General socializing.

7:30PM - Introductions, Show and Tell.

7:45PM - The evening’s program.

8:45PM - FARS business.

After the program, and FARS business, we hold a prize raffle and the “Wish You Were Here” drawing for all the cash in the jar!

Visitors are welcome to attend our regular meetings. (directions)
Covington School, 205 Covington Road, Los Altos, CA.


Friday January 22, 2016 - FARS/PAARA Winter Banquet

Go Big or Go Home: The First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable and the Birth of Electrical Engineering
Professor Thomas H. Lee

Electrical engineers are the children of a failure so traumatic that we don't even talk about it. American paper magnate Cyrus West Field drove the Victorian era's equivalent of a moon-shot: Spanning the Atlantic with a telegraph cable. Amplifiers would not exist for another half-century, so success would require mastery of a number of complex technical disciplines. Regrettably, the project's technical head was a medical doctor.

A British board of inquiry convened to assess the resulting failures noted that the electrical arts lacked even a basic vocabulary to describe the failure. William Thomson was eventually named the new head of the project, and final success followed in 1866. The volt, ohm and ampere were formally defined shortly thereafter and the profession of electrical engineering was born. Thomson — arguably the first professional electrical engineer — became Lord Kelvin, and EEs have been busy making mischief ever since.

Bio:
Tom Lee paid his way through MIT by working at places like Frank Kent's TV and Radio Service and Hughes Aircraft. His 1989 doctoral thesis at MIT described the world's first CMOS radio. He has been at Stanford University since 1994, helped design PLLs for several microprocessors from DEC and AMD, and has founded or co-founded several companies.

He is an IEEE and Packard Foundation Fellow, and is also the 2011 recipient of the Ho-Am Prize in Engineering (informally known as "The Korean Nobel"). He is a past Director of DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office, and owns between 100 and 200 oscilloscopes, thousands of vacuum tubes and kilograms of obsolete semiconductors. No one, including himself, quite knows why.

Friday February 26, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[K6OIK]
[K6OIK]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
John, KF6YXN (1st)

Not Present:
Mark, K6FJC (WYWH)

VHF/UHF Propagation Planning for Amateur Radio Repeaters (also Land Mobile Radio, Cellular/PCS, and DTV)
Steve Stearns, K6OIK

Terrestrial radio, TV, cellular, and wireless systems are not “line-of-sight” despite what you've heard. Otherwise, your HT and smart phone would not work indoors, and your WiFi router signal would not reach other rooms. Today, powerful computer programs are used universally to design such systems. The hard part of the calculation is to determine RF path loss while properly accounting for reflection, refraction, diffraction, and shadowing effects. Steve, K6OIK, talks about this subject. One algorithm, the Longley-Rice algorithm, was developed to specifically model radio propagation over irregular terrain. This algorithm became the basis for the government's Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) software, which, in turn, was adopted by the FCC as the approved method for computing service contours and interference between fixed stations. As a challenge, Steve demos the capability of a free software tool to compute radio and repeater coverage in one of the hilliest places in the Bay Area - Henry Coe State Park.

Bio:
HF phone: Golden Bear Amateur Radio Net, 3,975 kHz LSB at 1900 Pacific time daily.

E-Mail: k6oik AT arrl.net

Articles: /docs/k6oik

Steve Stearns, K6OIK, started in ham radio while in high school at the height of the Heathkit era. He holds an FCC Amateur Extra and a commercial General Radio Operator license with Radar endorsement. He previously held Novice, Technician, and 1st Class Radiotelephone licenses.

He studied electrical engineering at California State University Fullerton, the University of Southern California, and Stanford, specializing in electromagnetic theory, communication, engineering and signal processing.

Steve was Chief Technologist for TRW Firestorm Wireless Communication Products (now part of Northrop Grumman Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory), where he led the development of digital array signal processing technology for smart antennas, commercial wireless, and government communication systems.

Steve served as assistant director of ARRL Pacific Division under Jim Maxwell W6CF, and is vice-president of the Foothills Amateur Radio Society. He holds ten U.S. patents and has over 50 professional publications. Steve has received numerous awards for professional and community volunteer activities.

Friday March 25, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[K6WX]
[K6WX]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
Steve, K6OIK (3rd)
Dave, W6VYC (1st)
Richard, N6ATD (2nd)

Not Present:
John, K2RDX (WYWH)

The Mighty Transistor
Kristen McIntyre, K6WX

What's so great about transistors? Everything! They are in most of what we use these days, performing as amplifiers, switches, and the basic elements of logic. Do you know how they work? How to design with them? Some of the fundamental circuit topologies? The different kinds? If not, let's learn about them. There are many things that you can learn that allow you design simple circuits that make life easier. We explores semiconductor physics, bipolars, FETs, the three basic topologies of simple amplifiers, differential amps, Darlingtons, cascodes, and much more. Throw away those black boxes, and design with The Mighty Transistor.

Bio:
Kristen McIntyre, K6WX, has been interested in radio since she was 5 years old. She started in Amateur Radio in 1979 getting her ticket while at MIT.

Kristen has worked in many diverse areas from analog circuit design to image processing to starting and running an ISP. She is currently working at Apple in Core OS and spent many years at Sun Microsystems Laboratories, where she was researching robustness and emergent properties of large distributed computer systems.

She is a long time denizen of Silicon Valley and has worked at or consulted for many of the usual suspects. Kristen is an active ham and loves to chase DX on HF with her Elecraft K2, which she built while visiting her mother in Florida. She is an ARRL Technical Coordinator for the East Bay Section, president of the Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association (PAARA), and is active in many local clubs.

Friday April 22, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[WA6PWW]
[WA6PWW]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle: (L-R):
Mikel, KN6QI (5th-6th)
Steve, K6OIK (4th)
Richard, N6ATD (1st)
Jose, AJ0SE (3rd)
Carrol, KG6YPH (7th)

Not shown:
Bob, K6RWY (2nd)

Not Present:
Jon, KI6RT (WYWH)

QRP Kits: Useful and Fun Amateur Radio Projects
Kit Blanke, WA6PWW

Pacific Antenna and QRP Kits, http://www.qrpkits.com/, offers a comprehensive product line of interest to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Radio Amateurs and electronic hobbyists. Products include antennas, antenna tuners, transmitters, receivers, transceivers, station accessories, test equipment and parts. Kit's kits encourage you to hone your soldering skills as you build useful and fun projects.

This meeting has been moved to Loyola Elementary School at 770 Berry Avenue, Los Altos. This is just a few blocks away from Covington.

Bio:
Kit is a long time member of FARS and owner of Pacific Antenna and QRP Kits, http://www.qrpkits.com/. Kit is serving as Technical Coordinator, and served previously as Section Manager, of the ARRL Santa Clara Valley Section.

Friday May 27, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[K6OIK]
[K6OIK]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle: (L-R):
Richard, N6ATD (1st)
Pete, WA6ECH (2nd)

Not Present:
Kent, K6KWW (WHWH)

The G5RV and Related Antennas
Steve Stearns, K6OIK

Did you see Zack Lau's 3-band HF antenna in QST (March 2016, p. 45)? Did you recognize it? It is a G5RV, or rather a mini G5RV. What exactly is a G5RV antenna, and on what principle do they work? These antennas depend on jointly optimizing the antenna and a matching device. Steve shows a design trick that greatly simplifies finding the solution and bypasses a huge amount of antenna modeling computation. Steve further shows how multi-band dipoles like the G5RV can be obtained for any combination of bands that one desires. You may not need your brain to design multiband antennas again.

Bio:
HF phone: Golden Bear Amateur Radio Net, 3,975 kHz LSB at 1900 Pacific time daily.

E-Mail: k6oik AT arrl.net

Articles: /docs/k6oik

Steve Stearns, K6OIK, started in ham radio while in high school at the height of the Heathkit era. He holds an FCC Amateur Extra and a commercial General Radio Operator license with Radar endorsement. He previously held Novice, Technician, and 1st Class Radiotelephone licenses.

He studied electrical engineering at California State University Fullerton, the University of Southern California, and Stanford, specializing in electromagnetic theory, communication, engineering and signal processing.

Steve was Chief Technologist for TRW Firestorm Wireless Communication Products (now part of Northrop Grumman Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory), where he led the development of digital array signal processing technology for smart antennas, commercial wireless, and government communication systems.

Steve served as assistant director of ARRL Pacific Division under Jim Maxwell W6CF, and is vice-president of the Foothills Amateur Radio Society. He holds ten U.S. patents and has over 50 professional publications. Steve has received numerous awards for professional and community volunteer activities.

Friday June 17, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[W6KWF]
[W6KWF]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
Jim, W5MEZ (1st)
Wilko, AG6DK (2nd)

Not shown:
Richard, N6ATD (WYWH: $35)

Using Solar Electrical Power for Radio Equipment
Kenneth Finnegan, W6KWF

Kenneth gives an introduction to the electrical characteristics of solar panels and how best to use them to power radio equipment. He talks about what the IV (Current-Voltage) curve of a solar cell looks like and what the different parameters on a solar panel datasheet mean, before moving on to explain what to look for in a solar charge controller, and finishes with design examples for powering radio sites on solar.

Bio:
Kenneth Finnegan, W6KWF was first licensed in 2008 while attending UC Davis studying mechanical engineering. After graduating with his BS, he transferred to Cal Poly SLO to get an MS in electrical engineering and became involved with the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club - so involved that his master's thesis ended up being related to amateur radio: "Examining Ambiguities in the Automatic Packet Reporting System."

He now works as a Solar Applications and Test Engineer at a small solar cell supplier called Solar Junction where he tests record-breaking GaInNAsSb solar cells (cf. U.S. patent nos. 9,018,522 and 9,252,315 et al.) for a living.

Friday July 22, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[K6OIK]
[K6OIK]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
John, W1JDS (1st)
Mark, KM6BHE (2nd)

Not Present:
Rohan, KJ6LXV (WYWH)

Amateur Radio Free Information Resources
Steve Stearns, K6OIK

If you buy too much ham stuff, your house will overflow with Amateur Radio equipment. Steve, K6OIK shows how to continue collecting ham stuff even if your house is overflowing. The secret is to collect stuff that occupies no space. Radio information, in the form of articles, papers, books, or other publications, is available online. Whether it is an article from Popular Electronics, a home-study course from National Radio Institute, a book on antennas, an NAB Engineering Handbook, or papers from the Bell System Technical Journal, it is available online if you know where and how to look. Steve shows the sources of information (software, archival articles, papers, and books) that Google often fails to find and yet is free and will occupy no space other than on your hard drive.

Download this talk.

Bio:
HF phone: Golden Bear Amateur Radio Net, 3,975 kHz LSB at 1900 Pacific time daily.

E-Mail: k6oik AT arrl.net

Articles: /docs/k6oik

Steve Stearns, K6OIK, started in ham radio while in high school at the height of the Heathkit era. He holds an FCC Amateur Extra and a commercial General Radio Operator license with Radar endorsement. He previously held Novice, Technician, and 1st Class Radiotelephone licenses.

He studied electrical engineering at California State University Fullerton, the University of Southern California, and Stanford, specializing in electromagnetic theory, communication, engineering and signal processing.

Steve was Chief Technologist for TRW Firestorm Wireless Communication Products (now part of Northrop Grumman Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory), where he led the development of digital array signal processing technology for smart antennas, commercial wireless, and government communication systems.

Steve served as assistant director of ARRL Pacific Division under Jim Maxwell W6CF, and is vice-president of the Foothills Amateur Radio Society. He holds ten U.S. patents and has over 50 professional publications. Steve has received numerous awards for professional and community volunteer activities.

Friday August 26, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[K6GFJ]
[K6GFJ]



Raffle:
Mikel, KN6QI (1st)
Ed, WB6IQN (2nd)
? (3rd)

Not Present:
Byron, N6UOB (WYWH)

Chesterfield Island DXpedition
Ross Forbes K6GFJ

The TX3X Chesterfield Island DXpedition was held October 1-12, 2015. Chesterfield Islands (also known as Chesterfield Reefs) are uninhabited coral atolls in the Coral Sea located approximately 550 miles northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia, a French possession.

The archipelago is made up of 11 islets and many reefs. The islands are a loose collection of elongated reefs that enclose a deep, semi-sheltered, lagoon.

Ross Forbes, K6GFJ, tells us all about the DXpedition before, during and after the operation occurred with pictures and video.

Bio:
Bio:
Ross Forbes, K6GFJ, has been licensed since 1964 and currently holds an Amateur Extra Class license.

Ross has traveled and operated extensively throughout the South Pacific. His previous call signs include: FO0FB, KH6GJW, 3D2FB, ZK1XE, ZL0AKO, VK3BZZ, KL7FFT, XE0GFJ, and WB6GFJ.

Ross is a member of NCDXF, NCDXC, NCCC, RSGB, CDXC, and ARRL. Ross is currently an advisor to the Northern California DX Foundation, is a past president of the Northern California DX Club, was a Vice-Director of the ARRL Pacific Division (1981), and is a former manager of the Incoming W6 QSL Bureau.

His current DX totals are 357/339 mixed overall and he is on the DXCC Honor Roll and CQ Magazine DX Honor Roll.

Ross operates SSB, RTTY and CW. Currently retired, Ross has been an IT Manager for Sevin Rosen Funds, held various IT positions for a large Palo Alto law firm, and ran his own import/export company in the 80s. Early in his career he held various positions in commercial broadcasting.

Ross is a long time resident of Silicon Valley.

Friday September 23, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[Home Brew Winners]

Home Brew (L-R):
Dave, W6DLF, (4th)
Peter, WA6VAQ (3rd)
Dave, W6VYC (1st)
Paul, AA6PZ (2nd)




[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
Simon, KK6IJZ (1st & 2nd)
Steve, WB6KIO (3rd)

Not Present:
Bob, KG6AF (WYWH)

FARS Annual Home Brew Contest

This meeting is about you. Yes you, our members and guests. Our Annual Amateur Radio Homebrew Contest is a opportunity to show off a project that you have worked on in the past year. Each participant has a few minutes to show and explain his project to our audience and has a chance to win one of our four prizes:

$40 First prize
$30 Second prize
$20 Third prize
$10 Fourth prize

Friday October 28, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[AA6W]
[AA6W]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
Jose, AJ0SE, (1st)
Mikel, KN6QI, (5th)
Steve, K6OIK, (4th)
Joanna, K6YL, (3rd)
John, KF6YXN, (2nd)
set-ma

Not Present:
Keith, KJ6PUO (WYWH)

A Celebration and Overview of 100 years of ARRL Activity
Don Anastasia, AA6W

Don, AA6W, traveled to the ARRL Centennial Convention, held in Hartford, Connecticut on July 17-19, 2014. Don shows his photos of W1AW headquarters. He also shows the surrounding areas such as the Connecticut River, and he describes the Connecticut Science Center nearby the convention center in Hartford. As a bonus, Don gives away a 100-year centennial coin issued for the event. This presentation promises to be a great celebration of Amateur Radio's history.



[AA6W as a Novice ca 1973]

[AA6W as an Extra ca 2014]

Bio:
Don Anastasia, AA6W, was first licensed as Novice WD6EPV in 1977. After advancing to Extra, Don earned his Satellite DXCC award from ARRL in 1989. He confirmed 125 countries via 2-way satellite. Don has been a member of AMSAT since 1998 and has operated through Amsat AO-40, AO-13, AO-10 and many others.

Don has organized numerous ARISS (Amateur Radio Onboard International Space Station) school contacts, to allow school children to successfully communicate with onboard astronauts and ask them science questions from school via 2-way Amateur Radio.

Don is a substitute school teacher in Saratoga and Menlo Park, where he teaches language arts, social sciences (history), and other subjects to K-8 children. Don holds an AA degree in liberal arts from West Valley College and a B.A in social sciences - history from Santa Clara University. You can meet him at Ham Radio Outlet in Sunnyvale, where he works part time.

Friday November 18, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[K6YA]
[K6YA]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
LLoyd, KD6FJI (1st)
Vic, AB6SO (2nd)
Dave, W6DLF (3rd)

Not Present:
Cliff, KN6DH (WYWH)

Geomagnetism
Josef Berger

[Meeting scheduled in Room 32 this month]

The Earth and the sun both contribute to the geomagnetic field we experience. Apart from magnetic pole reversals every 400,000 years, the Earth's contribution is stable and constant. The sun's contribution, however, is where the action and excitement are! Since his retirement in 2001, Joe Berger has been busy building equipment to monitor the Earth's geomagnetic field. He will explain the how solar weather affects Earth's geomagnetic field, how geomagnetic storms arise, and how simple antennas and circuits can be used to detect sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs) which indicate storms in progress.

[Earth's Magnetic Fields]
Earth's Magnetic Fields

Bio:
Dr. Josef Berger came to Silicon Valley in the fall of 1968. He joined Stanford University as Research Associate at the Integrated Circuits Laboratory, were he worked on a bipolar and MOS integrated circuits for biomedical applications. In 1972, he joined the Solid-State Laboratory of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, where he was responsible for the development of Charge Coupled Devices for digital and analog applications. In 1977, he became R&D Manager of the Computer System Group of Hewlett-Packard. In 1978, he joined HP's Cupertino Integrated Circuits Operation (CICO) division, and in 1979, he became R&E Manager of CICO responsible for SOS process development. In 1980, he joined Trilogy Systems as Director of Semiconductor Operations to guide the development of fault-tolerant whole wafer technology. In 1984 he founded VLSI Standards, Inc., the first company dedicated to production of measurement standards for semiconductor and related industries. Dr. Berger was president of VLSI Standards until April 1990 when he joined Tencor Instruments as Corporate Vice President in charge of Engineering. In 1997 Dr. Berger joined a start-up company, Silicon Light Machines as Vice President of Engineering. SLM developed very high resolution MEMS based display projection technology that was licensed to Sony Corp. Joe Berger retired in 2001.

Friday December 16, 2016 - Membership Meeting

[KJ6FOI]
[KJ6FOI]



[Raffle Winners]

Raffle (L-R):
Wolfgang, AI6SL (3rd)
Bob, WB2URF (2nd)
Rachael, KK6DAC (1st)

Not Present:
Peter, WA6VAQ (WYWH)

CAL FIRE 1629: Mobile Command Post
Nick Arnett, KJ6FOI

CAL FIRE 1629 is a mobile command vehicle designed, built, and operated by volunteer ham radio operators. Nick Arnett, KJ6FOI, and other participating hams describe 1629's capabilities and their role in emergency responses. Nick and colleagues tell their firsthand account of their exciting role in communications support during the Loma Fire in September, which included deploying a portable repeater on the summit of Loma Prieta during the fire!

[CAL FIRE 1629]
CAL FIRE 1629

Bio:
Nick Arnett, KJ6FOI, wears many hats. He is a Critical Incident Stress Management instructor, fire chaplain, nationally registered EMT and former paramedic with experience in domestic and international disaster response in medical, communications, crisis intervention and chaplain roles.

He has led hundreds of crisis intervention responses for schools, the public and first responder agencies, including as a contractor for CAL FIRE. He is a member of the California Fire Chaplain Association, on the executive board of the California Peer Support Association and a member of the Contra Costa County CISM / Peer Support / Chaplain Task Force. He received a Volunteer of the Year award from the Santa Clara County Emergency Managers Association in 2012. His occupation for the last 20 years has been product management leadership in the software industry.



Past Programs 2015