Yolo Amateur Radio Society
Serving Yolo County, California

Demonstration at Sacramento City College, Electronics Club

August 27, 2005

Dan, KF6HHH and president of the electronics club at Sacramento City College, asked for YARS members to come on August 27th 2005 and show off ham radio (and get a free lunch). A few of us were able to attend, Dave W6OT, Tom W6EO, and Shayne N6SPE. Also there was Lou AB6AU. There wasn't a huge turnout of people at this event, but it was respectable. We had time to talk to several people about each of our displays. The two professors in the electronics department, Shishir Kumar and Mel Duval, seem very supportive of ham radio activities and even seem interested in getting into it themselves. In fact, one of them used to hold an amatuer license.

The electronics department is amazingly well equipped to do radio work. They have a dipole, Butternut vertical, and 11 m beam on the roof. The beam is down in need of repair and the dipole needs a little help, but they have easy access to the top of a three story building to create quite an antenna farm should they choose to. There was even a general coverage receiver there that I believe belongs to the school.

We set up in the electronics laboratory on the third floor of North Rodda Hall. Dan had conveniently run a bunch of coax for us up to the roof ahead of time. Tom brought his QRP rig and connected to the existing dipole on the roof to do some CW operation. He also brought a very nice collection of QSL cards. Dave brought the club's IC-706 to operate voice and used his portable antenna wedged into a discarded chair on the roof. Dan showed off VHF/UHF FM operation and Echolink. Lou brought a full station worth of equipment and made it available to help debug antenna problems. I brought my TS-440 and computer to operate PSK31 using my mobile whip clamped to the ladder that goes to the top of the elevator shaft.

Initial operating experience wasn't too great. Tom didn't find many useful resonance points on the dipole. Dave wasn't hearing much of anything and neither was I. We swapped around antennas and tuners a bit, but didn't really figure anything out except that all the antennas work working equally crummy (or so we thought).

Soon after giving up on it, Dave was able to make a contact and started seeing stations on my display. It appeared that the band had just decided to open up a little. About this time Dan gave a great overview of ham radio to all the attendees. Just before he started, I had called cq and got a response from a guy in Tucson who said I was putting in a great signal there.

After the talk, we enjoyed lunch and Dave was able to make a few more contacts including Hawaii and Italy. After this, we were feeling pretty successful for such a quickly thrown together operation. It certainly worked good enough to impress the visitors and give them a good idea of some of the activities in ham radio.

Below are a couple pictures of the setup:

Dan giving his talk:
Dan talks to the group

Dave's station:
Dave demonstrates radio

Tom showing off his QSL cards:
Tom talks about QSL cards

If Dan thinks it's a good idea, I would suggest that the club consider donating a multiband dipole, some better coax, and connectors to the electronics club to get them started on having a respectable permanent station.