June 17, 2022
Compact Antennas - Theory and Practice
by Michelle Paquette, AA6MP


Theory behind making a compact antenna, including examples of practical antennas and issues. A couple of “magic” compact antennas are explained and their secrets revealed!

Michelle Paquette, AA6MP
Michelle Paquette has worked in fields from nuclear power plant operations to systems software and software engineering, as both an engineer and an instructor. As an engineer she holds 19 patents for inventions used by hundreds of millions of people every day, in Apple's Macs, iPads, and iPhones. As an instructor she has trained people in such varied areas as nuclear power plant operations, programming in-circuit test systems, and computer graphics software. Michelle is a past president of the Benicia Amateur Radio Club, and an instructor in Mt Diablo Amateur Radio Club’s license classes, as well as a speaker and trainer in a number of other programs. When not teaching she is often found baking, doing finish carpentry, restoring old vacuum tube equipment or tinkering with antennas.

Coming Up:


June 17, 2022
Compact Antennas - Theory and Practice
by Michelle Paquette, AA6MP


July 15, 2022
The Importance of CERT
Cliff Buxton
San Ramon Fire District

August 19, 2022
3D Printing for Ham Radio
by Alan Biocca, W6AKB


September 16, 2022
Kenya Radio Trip
by Spencer Holmes, KM6SJO


Past Presentations:


To review our previous speakers not on this page, see the following pages:

* Speakers-2015 & 2016

* Speakers-2017 & 2018
* Speakers-2019 & 2020

May 20, 2022:
The History of the Log Periodic Dipole Array
by Jim Siemons, W6LK

As far as antennas go, one size doesn’t fill all. Various antennas have different properties for different purposes, and one of the more unique designs is the Log Periodic Dipole Array (LPDA). LPDA antennas are designed to be broadbanded in the frequencies that they cover, be directional, and have some gain. We will discuss their history, evolution, uses and more as we dive into the world of the Log Periodic Dipole Array!

Jim Siemons, W6LK

Jim has had a lifelong interest in science, electronics, and the attempt to understand how the world works. During his formative years he worked as a counselor at Wolfeboro Boy Scout Camp in the Sierra teaching a wide variety of science and environmental based Merit Badges, ultimately becoming Commissioner of Scoutcraft (the Hike Shack!). Those scouting skills still come in handy! Because Jim had a tremendous respect for the women and men of science, he decided not to follow in their path. In spite of that, Jim did earn a Batchelor of Science in the art of recording financial history and pursued a career in direct mail, as a partner in Siemons Mailing Service, Inc. In 2011, Jim decided to follow his passion and purchased Elk Antennas from Ray Gaschk, AG6SI, and Pete Perata, K6SHE. Along with his family, Jim designs and builds Log Periodic Dipole Array antennas (LPDA) and ships them all over the world for use by hams, military, public safety and commercial operators. Over the last year, Jim, his wife Misa, KJ6BUE, son Louis, W7ELX, and daughter Mary have relocated to the wilds of Northwest Wyoming in the community of Clark, Wyoming on 40+ acres. Clark is located at the edge of the Beartooth Mountain Range (part of the Rockies) and is the eastern border of the Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone National Park. Clark is a community that is about 50 square miles in size and has approximately 300 residents. The Siemons Family is currently building a custom Elk Antennas workshop. In the tradition of this region, Jim is very much into farming - antenna farming!

March 18, 2022:
Everything you need to know about Lithium Batteries
by Marcel Stieber, AI6MS

Batteries are a necessity for almost all portable radio operations. With the advent of modern battery chemistries, the choices available to the radio amateur are plentiful. This presentation will focus on the three common battery types: Lead-Acid (SLA/AGM), Lithium (Lion/Lipo), and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP/LiFePO4). We'll discuss the pros and cons of each chemistry, common uses and misuses, and everyday application tips for your latest amateur radio project.

Marcel Stieber, AI6MS
Marcel Stieber, AI6MS, has been an amateur radio operator since 2008 while attending the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He was President of the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club, W6BHZ, and is currently the Industry Advisor to the club. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, concentrating on RF and Communications, and writing his thesis on "Radio Direction Finding Network Receiver Design for Low-cost Public Service Applications". Marcel currently serves as Chair of the Cal Poly Electrical Engineering Industry Advisory Board. He is an Assistant Emergency Coordinator for the City of Cupertino, serving as the trustee and technical lead for the Cupertino ARES UHF repeater, W6TDM, and as the Project Lead for the Cupertino ARES ARKnet Project, which is building up a high-speed wireless intranet for the emergency responders in Cupertino. Marcel regularly volunteers at local repeater workdays as an RF technician and tower climber and enjoys providing communications for local bike rides and triathlons. He also volunteers as a Technical Advisor to several event management companies and local repeater groups and was appointed as an ARRL Technical Specialist in 2021. He is an ARRL Life Member and has helped license over 1700 hams since 2009, mostly recently working to develop processes and train teams using fully-remote examination methods using ExamTools. More info at www.qrz.com/db/ai6ms



February 18, 2022:
GOTA Band Tour using Junk Box Antennas
by JB Still, NR5NN

A "tour of the bands" with a participants' panel
recapping their experiences and moderated by JB. The panel will discuss what they have done, what they have "experienced", with bands or modes many had not tried before, mainly on 160m, 60m, 30m, 12m, 10m FM, and 1.25m. JB's objectives are to encourage operators to TRY:
NEW BANDS

New Antennas

Different Antennas

Different Rigs

Different Modes

But most of all - Try Something Different!

JB Still, NR5NN
Now retired, JB
has over 55 years of experience in field engineering management, support, service and training at companies such as Collins Radio Company; CalComp Inc.; Pfizer Inc. and Bio-Rad Laboratories. He's been a ham over two distinct periods - 1959 to 1970 and 2010 to 2022 (and counting).

January 21, 2022:
The ARRL Field Organization in Action
by Steve Ewald, WV1X, ARRL Field Organization Supervisor;
and Mike Patterson, N6JGA, ARRL East Bay Section Manager


The ARRL Field Organization is structured to lead and train volunteer personnel to provide services to amateur radio operators, to their communities and to the public as well at the local, section and national levels. ARRL Headquarters helps to support the work of the Field Organization.

Steve Ewald, WV1X
Steve is the Field Organization Supervisor and has been working at ARRL Headquarters since 1982. A licensed radio amateur since December 1972 and an ARRL Life Member, Steve is a University of Tennessee graduate with a B.S. degree in Communications. Knoxville is his hometown. He works closely with Section Managers and Field Organization leaders and has supported the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and National Traffic System over the years. Steve has also been providing administrative support to the ARRL Hamfest and Convention program since February of 2021.

Mike Patterson, N6JGA
Mike is the ARRL East Bay Section Manager. He received his first ham license in 1994 and is now an Extra Class operator. His amateur radio background is strong in mentoring, emergency communications, public service, and club leadership. He's an ARRL Life Member, a Volunteer Examiner and on the Board of the Northern Amateur Relay Council of California (NARCC). Mike is also on the Board of the Pacificon, active in the local CERT communications group (including trustee of the group's repeater); a past president of the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club (MDARC), and a member of several clubs within and outside the Section.

December 17:
Kilroy Key and Ham of the Year awards.
Open Forum asking members to share some their radio highlights for the year.


1. In lieu of our usual Speaker, we are inviting You to participate in an open forum to share with all of us what radio highlights you did during 2021, so start to give it some thought;

2. Announcing the Ham of the Year and Kilroy Key awards to the deserving recipients;

3. The meeting will be presented using both virtual and in-person, so choose your preference.


November 19:
What is Ham Radio: *Introduction to the Magic
by Pete Harris, KE6ZIW

Note: The meeting will be in the church Sanctuary this month, so park in the upper parking lot.

Pete’s presentation to MDARC will demonstrate ideas for licensed hams to present ham radio to the general public, to help educate and inspire our community about ham radio. He is making his PowerPoint presentation and notes available to other interested club members to use, or adapt, in future public presentations about ham radio.


Pete’s 30 minute presentation will include the following topics:


* The Magic of Radio.

* How Did Ham Radio Begin?

* What Makes Ham Radio So Powerful?

* Different Ways of Communicating.

* Antenna Examples.

* What Do Hams Do?

* How Do You Become a Ham Radio Operator?

* How Do You Prepare for Taking the Ham Radio License Test?

Pete Harris, KE6ZIW
Pete is a retired Children’s Services Social Worker/Supervisor. He lives with his wife Donna in Martinez. They have been married for 50 years, have two adult children, and 4 grandchildren whom they love spending time with. Pete’s hobbies are ham radio, astronomy, guitar playing, photography, gardening, book club, and running.


Pete has been fascinated with the magic of radio since he was 3 years old, before television. That love for radio was further sparked when he learned as an older child that the lives of his parents were literally saved during the period 1941-1944 by the illicit use of Nazi-banned shortwave radio in Europe during WWII.


Pete has been a licensed ham radio operator since getting his first Technician License about 25 years ago at the age of 50. His favorite activities with ham radio include participating in Public Service events, working on MDARC’s annual ham radio convention (“Pacificon”), and making long distance radio contacts over hundreds and thousands of miles, over state lines, countries, oceans and continents – using a fold-out, telescoping antenna, from home or from remote locations.

October 15th (at Pacificon):

Hot DX From Baker Island

by John Miller, K6MM


September 17, 2021:

DXing From Strict HOA: Using a temporary antenna with a mast and tripod made from military mast sections

by Dave Piersall, N6ORB


Dave will demonstrate on how to work in an environment defined by strict HOA rules using LNR 20 meter end-fed wire antenna and a 10 meter horizontal loop antenna with a mast and tripod made from military mast sections. His presentation will include overview of his latest DX activities via phone and digital modes such as FT8 during the start of the Solar Cycle 25.

Underwater Wireless Transmission of Data and Energy

by Lucas Katz


August 20, 2021:

SDR for Dummies

by Ed Morales, KJ6KYT


Ed Morales, KJ6KYT

Ed Morales is a native San Franciscan and has been a resident of Contra Costa County for over 20 years. He is an expert in environmental risk management and works for the Environmental Practice at Willis Towers Watson. Ed is involved with local community emergency response groups in the cities of Martinez and Concord. His volunteer work also includes being a trainer for local CERT classes and participating and running various local amateur radio nets. Ed has more recently engaged with local groups to promote sustainability.

July 16, 2021:

The miraculous nanoVNA

by Rob Rowlands, NZ6J


Rob Rowlands, NZ6J

Rob Rowlands is a semi retired electrical engineer from New Zealand, but is involved in teaching RF and selling part time. The first part of his career was with New Zealand Telecom, and since 1989 with Hewlett-Packard /Agilent /Keysight test equipment in the SF Bay Area. Rob has a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch NZ and is a life member of the IEEE.


Rob has been licensed since 1963, when is first call was ZL3TAR; and is interested in Mountain top operating, APRS and public service events.

---------------

Here's a link to the recording of Rob's presentation. Note that the Club business meeting takes up the first several minutes of the recording. Rob's presentation begins at about the 0:15:40 point.

June 18, 2021:
DMR and D-Star
by Jim Moen, K6JM

The Club is making changes to the W6CX D-STAR repeater. My presentation at tonight’s meeting will cover a bit about digital stuff, what’s called Multi-Mode and what the upcoming changes are all about.

Jim Moen, K6JM

I got my Novice license in 1959, and got on the air with a Collins 75A-2 receiver and WRL Globe Chief Deluxe CW transmitter. I upgraded to General in 1960 and added a screen modulator and VFO for AM phone. I then traded for a Collins 75A-4 and got a Central Electronics 100V for SSB, using a Mosley TA-33 Jr beam and a folded dipole. I was active through the 1960s (using the club station at Brown University), but my career in computers took over and I unfortunately let my license expire.

In mid 2003, I re-tested and got back on the air using my original call K0ZXU as a vanity call. I upgraded in 2006 and got vanity call K6XZ. Finally in 2009, I was able to get this call.


I have done little HF over the last decade, focusing instead of digital voice modes -- DStar is my favorite, but I have 3 multi-mode hotspots and DMR and Fusion radios to go with them. My primary HF station now is an ICOM 7100, but I still like my Kenwood TS-2000, sometimes with an Ameritron ALS-600 amp. I recently put up a new HF sloper antenna, and hope to get active there again.


I did QRP for a while, and am thinking I should get back into it with my FT-817ND and the NUE-PSK Digital Mode. I have taken them to the field using a Pacific Antennas PAC-12 ground mounted vertical.


Below are links to Jim's slides and to a recording of his presentation. Note that I could not run the recording directly from this link. Apparently, my browser doesn't have the required driver. However, I was able to download the file from this link and play it on my PC.


Jim's Slides Jim's Presentation Recording

May 21, 2021

Walnut Creek CERT Winlink Test System

by John Trinterud, K9ONR


A VHF Winlink System - from design through equipment selection, installation and system test.


In Walnut Creek, our 300+ Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) team members receive basic training to safely respond to the needs of their neighborhoods following disaster, and to serve as the eyes and ears of the City’s Emergency Operations Center and first responders. Additionally, our CERTs have helped police search for missing minors, run welfare checks during planned power shutdowns, and distribute materials for safety alerts.


Ham radio communications and our 100+ licensed CERT hams play a critical role interconnecting Walnut Creek CERT forces both within their areas and to the CERT Emergency Radio Operator (CERO) radio room serving the Emergency Operations Center in City Hall.


Tonight’s presentation covers a technology and process upgrade on the critical link between our CERT command posts and the EOC, changing from an ineffective paper and people-intensive manual process to electronic messaging using amateur radio. We’ll briefly explain the current manual situation and the many alternatives we evaluated before choosing a somewhat atypical configuration of Winlink Express, VARA FM Wide, RMS Relay and RMS Packet over simplex VHF.

John Trinterud (JT) K9ONR, Project Lead

Background of 55+ years in communications, telephony, computer operations, UNIX software support, organic farming and organic inspections (!). My wife Colene is the Red Cross External Affairs rep for Pleasant Hill. Finally retired in 2020 after graduating several times.


First licensed in 2012 as KJ6PAP, now General Class, graduated from CERT after 10 years.


Mike Patterson, N6JGA, Lead documentarian/disciplinarian

Retired telecom engineer for Chevron, then MDARC, Pacificon, NARCCC, CERT Repeater Trustee, VE, etc. Widely known throughout the radio community.


First licensed in 1994, now Extra Class, Walnut Creek CERO Operator.


Jim “Sharky” Turnbull, WW1ACE, Lead tester

Teacher of special needs children, VE, volunteer traffic cop for the Vaccine Distribution Center in Concord, Ham Cram/GOTA instructor for Walnut Creek CERT, Winlink Express onboarding for the CERT hams working with us on the test system, just about anything else that needs to be done…


First licensed in 2015 as KK6IDN, now Extra Class, Walnut Creek CERO Lead.

April 16, 2021:

Annual Auction!!

Our Auction will be virtual this year, held on Zoom.

See our Auction page for details.

March 19, 2021:

K1N DXpedition To Navassa: The Caribbean’s Secret Island

by John Miller, K6MM


Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1504, this was a rare opportunity to visit an important but remote Wildlife Refuge in the Caribbean. For 80 years the still-standing lighthouse served as a beacon for ships traveling through the Windward passage from the Panama Canal. Only accessible via helicopter, uninhabited Navassa screams “Stay Away”. Those attending the presentation will soon discover “why”.

John Miller, K6MM

John was first licensed as WV2BQJ in 1958 while living in Syracuse, NY. In 1976, John'.s career took him to Silicon Valley, where he reconnected with amateur radio in the late 90s. Since then John has focused heavily on DXing, contesting, and recruiting new operators into the hobby. A DXCC Honor Roll member, John holds 8-Band DXCC, and is working on completing 160M for the 9th band. His article entitled "The No Excuses 160M Vertical" won the cover plaque award for the June 2009 issue of QST.

John was a DXpedition operator at PJ7E Sint Maarten, K9W Wake Atoll, K1N Navassa Island, K5P Palmyra Atoll, and KH1/KH7Z KH1 Baker Island. He was also a pilot and/or webmaster for NH8S (Swains Island), C82DX (Mozambique), FT4TA (Tromelin), 3G0ZC (Juan Fernandez), and VK0EK (Heard Island).

John is the current President of the Northern California DX Foundation, a Past-President of the Northern California Contest Club, a former Director of the Northern California DX Club, and a founding member of the CW Operators . Club. He is also a member of the editorial staff of the National Contest Journal, and Co-Chairman of the International DX Convention for 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021.

In addition to his four grandchildren, John's interests include website design, piano composition, and exploring the back roads of the Bay Area on his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

February 19, 2021:

Mesh Networks Revisited

by Mathison Ott, KJ6DZB


The amateur mesh data networking in 2021.


Mathison Ott, KJ6DZB

20 years of experience in commercial entertainment and theatrical production.

Journeyman in International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 107.

CTS Certified Technology Specialist.

First Licenced in 2009 KJ6DZB

Employed as a Senior Scene Technician for Audio and Video System a Cal Performances.


Note: A PDF of Mathison's slide deck is available here.

January 15, 2021:

Donating a Vehicle to Cars2ndChance.com

by Rich Lueck, K6REL


Raise money for MDARC and get a tax deduction.


Also:

Preparing for Emergencies

by Trish Beirne

Emergency & Volunteer Programs Manager

City of Concord


Trish Beirne

Trish earned a degree in Public Administration from University College Dublin in Ireland, then spent several years in Irish government service and private corporations in Europe. During this time, she completed her MBA in Strategic Management with Oxford Brookes University. She moved to the U.S. in 1994, where she continued her career before taking a break to raise her new daughter, and then a son.


Trish returned to her career and public service in 2017 when she was hired by the City of Concord. She worked as the executive assistant to the City Manager and City Council for almost 3 years and was then promoted to her current position as the Emergency & Volunteer Programs Manager for the City assigned to Concord Police Department.



Speakers at our

Club Meetings



NOTE: Our general membership meetings are currently be held in a hybrid manner; both in person and on Zoom. A link for the Zoom session will be sent out to all those belonging to our Club's MDARC@Groups.io forum a few days before the meeting. If you're not a member of that forum, see the Groups.io section of our Communicating With You page.