50 MHz & Up Group

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The 50 MHz and Up Group is an educational and public service amateur radio organization centered in the San Francisco Bay area. The group is interested in developing and utilizing communications on frequencies from 50MHz up through light-waves. The group is open to any related topics that might be of interest to members, such as: technology, design, construction, operation, public service, contesting and antennas. Learn more . . .


For questions about this group or about programs and activities, please contact the 2017 President, Paul Zander AA6PZ:  AA6PZ (at) arrl [dot] net

2017 dues and member information must be updated

If you do not have any changes at all in your contact information, then simply send an email with a sentance to Jeffrey Pawlan satating that nothing has changed. Please use jpawlan@yahoo.com
To send a memberform with your updated information or to join, please go to the Membership tab of this website.
Dues are $10 for a year, $15 for two years. This can be brought to a meeting or sent to the new Treasurer:
Oliver Barrett
1111 Pecos Way
Sunnyvale CA 94089

Make your check payable to 50MHz and Up Group of N. Calif Inc

Special Joint Meeting Announcement

Our next meeting of the 50MHz and Up Group of N. Calif will be combined with the IEEE Communications Society meeting on Wednesday, Dec 13 beginning at 6:30pm. This will include free pizza, cake, and other food (available while the food lasts; food available on first come first serve basis.) You must register so we have enough food:
Click here to register

This is not our usual night so please note that it is a Wednesday and at 6:30pm with food. This joint meeting will be large and therefore in the main conference auditorium within the TI conference building.

The topic of the talks will be Amateur Radio Satellites.

The open-source movement in software and hardware has dramatically changed our engineering culture and economy for the better. With open-source on the ascendancy, and all the obvious advantages, amateur radio seems to be the perfect place for open-source software to triumph. Amateur radio experimenters have access to and an increasingly large amount of involvement within one of the most interesting and powerful open source projects in the radio world: GNU Radio. The amateur radio service includes satellites.

The history of amateur satellite service in the United States dates back to 1961 when the satellite Oscar 1 hitch-hiked a ride to space along with a government spy satellite. Quietly, hams pursued a half-century long, astonishingly successful private space program that is still little-known outside of ham radio today, but has launched over 80 satellites, almost all of them as hitch-hikers along with other payloads that were the main purpose of the launch.

The challenge that we face as amateur satellite developers is that Communications satellites were regulated as munitions under ITAR for many years. ITAR is the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Both amateur and commercial satellite development in the United States were very negatively impacted by ITAR. Open Source development, which we pursue, is all about openness and sharing.

This talk will cover the impact of regulatory decisions on the collaborative history of AMSAT, the current efforts to get back on track within AMSAT, how one particular AMSAT project was restructured to avoid ITAR, and how both AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-NA are working together to implement an amateur-radio centric open source version of DVB-S2 for use in amateur satellite payloads and satellite simulators. Technical details of the DVB-S2 and S2X protocol will be discussed. This project is called Phase 4 Ground and is ongoing.

First speaker: Jeffrey Pawlan, WA6KBL

Title: Historical Perspectives of Project OSCAR in the Bay area

There are few people remaining who remember that the early non-commercial satellites were built by amateur radio "ham" people at Lockheed in Sunnyvale. Jeffrey Pawlan will present some documents and early photos and drawings showing this work. This was called Project OSCAR. When it ended, it transitioned into the formation of the 50MHz and Up Group of Northern California. Some of the original builders of amateur radio satellites who are no longer with us will be honored. The AMSAT program grew separately when Project OSCAR finished because the satellites became very costly and needed international support. This history and the main talk will be presented by Michelle.

Main Speaker: Michelle Thompson, W5NYV

Bio: Michelle Thompson W5NYV enjoys thinking and doing. Not necessary in that order. MSEE Information Theory from USC. Long-time DEFCON, Burning Man, and amateur radio participant. Vice Chair San Diego IEEE Information Theory Society Chapter. Lead for AMSAT Phase 4 Ground. Director of Organ Donor, an artificially intelligent pipe organ project. Lives in San Diego, CA and can be found as @abraxas3d on social media and at w5nyv@arrl.net.

Here is the presentation by Jeffrey Pawlan, WA6KBL on the history of circular waveguide, the use of low loss circular waveguide, transitions to rectangular waveguide, and expremely high performance dual mode feedhorns for 10GHz and 24GHz with builtin adapters to standard rectangular waveguide.

Please click here to view or download.Circular waveguide and horn antenna talk. This is a Powerpoint.


Microwave Beacons in operation The following beacons are known to be operating as of 04-16-2016:

Mt Vaca CM88wj 38.415, -122.116 10368.325 W6ASL +30dBm 10dBi omni CW ID
Mt Allison CM97bl 37.500, -121.872 10369.192

+30dBm total out

10dBi omni

12dBi omni
open WG
CW ID, drifts ~10 kHz
Linear translator: Output is 11-55 kHz above beacon
Input 600 kHz below desired output
FM ID, aimed to Los Gatos
Mt Leeson CM97ae 37.167, -121.924 10367.990
KF6KVG +20dBm
2.5" horn
1.5" horn
1.25" horn
0.6" horn
FM ID, locked, aimed NW
FM ID, locked, aimed NW
FM ID, unlocked, aimed NW
no ID, locked, aimed NW
Bear Mtn. DM06ir 37.747, -119.281 24191.990 W6BY/B +27dBm 20 slot omni locked, IDs as DM07IC, will fix
Mt Frazier DM04ms 34.775, -118.969 10368.310 N6CA/B +31dBm 14dBi omni CW ID, locked
Heaps Peak DM14kf 34.235, -117.141 10368.370 ? +?? dBm ??dBi omni CW ID
Palos Verdes DM03ts 33.747, -118.336 10368.300 N6CA/B +32dBm 14dBi omni CW ID, locked
Santiago DM13fr 33.712, -117.534 10368.330 KE6JUV +27dBm 10dBi omni CW ID, locked
San Miguel DM12mq 32.697, -116.935 5760.000
+34dBm EIRP
10dBi omni
12dBi omni
CW ID, locked
CW ID, locked, aimed to LA