Antenna Seminar

Friday- October 19, 2018
8:00am - 5:00pm

Bishop Ranch Ballroom
Salon E-H

Vicki Zumwalt, N6KLS, is putting together an outstanding lineup of speakers who provide informative and state-of-the-art presentations on the science of antennas. The Antenna Seminar is a full-day event. Topics range from the basics to more complex antenna concepts. We have the following speakers committed to present in 2018:  Ted Algren, KA6W;  Kristen McIntyre, K6WX; Tom Schiller, N6BT; Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA; Ward Harriman, AE6TY; Dean Straw, N6BV; and Steve Stearns, K6OIK.  Please check the web site for further details closer to our event.

This seminar sells out each year, even standing-room-only attendance. So get your ticket early, if you don't want to miss this outstanding amateur radio event.


Antenna Seminar tickets must be purchased in advance. There is a $20 charge for this Friday all-day Forum.
This includes a USB thumb drive containing all handouts and presentations
available at the publications deadline.

Additional thumb drives may be purchased during your registration, if desired or if you cannot attend the Seminar.

A Pacificon General Admission ticket (aka "Convention Badge") is also required to attend.

Buy tickets now for Pacificon and the Antenna Seminar. Space is limited.

Topics and Speakers

Here is a partial list of topics and speakers presenting at our Antenna Forum.
Note they are listed alphabetically by topic, not in order of appearance.
We'll add to this list as we confirm more speakers and provide a complete schedule when we have it ready.

A Wire In The Air - what matters most
by Kristen McIntyre, K6WX

The magic of radio happens when we couple RF into the fabric of spacetime.  We do that with an antenna.  These devices are simultaneously simple and complex.  It’s easy to get lost in the theory or fooled by the latest anecdote.  Let’s look at what’s important in antenna choice and design.  There are things that matter more than others, and it’s never perfect.  And a bit of theory will guide us.  Radiation resistance, loss, pattern gain, terrain, polarization, coupling, loading - they all play a role.  Join me to find out what happens and what matters when we put a wire in the air.

Kristen McIntyre, K6WX, has been interested in radio since she was about 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 Networking, 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 ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director, president of the Palo Alto Amateur Radio Assoc., the Q&A columnist for Nuts and Volts magazine, and is active in many local clubs.  Kristen was recently inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame.

Designing H.F. Loops for Best DX
by Ted Algren, KA6W

Ted Algren, KA6W, was born and raised in Minnesota and has been a licensed Radio Amateur since 1953. Earned a BSEE degree from the U of Minnesota and a MSEE degree from Santa Clara University. Retired in 1998 from careers in Electronic Warfare Engineering and owning an Electron-Systems Manufacturer’s Representative Firm. He is the First-place winner in the 2017 QST Antenna Design Competition, ‘160 Meters and Lower Frequencies’ category. Ted has two children, five grandchildren and lives in Meadow Vista, CA with wife Kim of 32 years.

How to Blow Up Your Balun and Other Stuff
by Dean Straw, N6BV

Dean Straw, N6BV has been licensed for 50 years, starting with WH6DKD in 1959 and has held 6 calls.  He was trained as an electronic engineer at Yale University.  Dean’s first job out of college was at National Radio Company, where he designed SSB and VHF radios. He was in the marine electronics industry for 25 years, eventually ending up in technical marketing.  Dean worked for ARRL HQ for 15 years, specializing in antennas, transmission lines and propagation.  Few folks are blessed by the Good Lord to combine their work and hobby together!  Dean has been retired for 10 years and enjoys every minute of it, spending quite a bit of time contesting!

SimSmith Tools
by Ward Harriman, AE6TY

Ward Harriman is retired computer hardware engineer and ham radio enthusiast.  Mr. Harriman spent 25 years building Internet switching equipment at a variety of startup companies.  In 2005, Ward changed gears returning to the study of RF circuits and Digital Signal Processing.  He obtained his extra class license (AE6TY). He has designed, built, programmed, and operated his own CW/QRP/SDR radio ever since.

Mr. Harriman is the author of SimSmith, a highly interactive RF circuit analysis tool. While early versions of SimSmith were limited to single frequency ladder circuits, recent versions have expanded to arbitrary RF networks.  Ward spends much of his amateur radio time on expanding SimSmith’s capabilities and refining the user experience.

SimSmith is the subject of dozens of instructional videos available on YouTube.

So you have antenna challenges?  Let’s try this……..
by Tom Schiller, N6BT

Tom Schiller, N6BT is an antenna developer, author and speaker, as well as an active operator.  He has been researching antenna designs since the early 1980’s, and in 2014 he began incorporating a highly sophisticated drone and spectrum analyzer into his testing of antenna patterns resulting in monumental findings primarily on vertical antennas.  This empirical data and information is shared through his presentations at ham conventions, amateur radio club meetings and in his very popular book “Array of Light”.  This book is now in its third Edition and is based on straight talk about antennas and related subjects.  Founder of Force 12 Inc. in 1991, he continues to develop, manufacture and sell his new line of antennas under the name Next Generation Antennas.  He has several patents relating to antennas and communications and a couple more pending.  Tom brings the experience of a manufacturer having sold over 25,000 HF antennas world wide with 150,000 elements in the field, however he is not just a manufacturer, he has participated in over 25 DXpeditions and has several world records.  He continues to get on the air everyday researching antenna performance in order to apply his expertise to make antenna performance increase for every amateur.  You can learn more about Tom and his work by looking at his website:

Antennas:  The Story from Physics to Computational Electromagnetics
by Steve Stearns, K6OIK
In this tutorial introduction to antennas, Steve will talk about topics of interest, focusing on performance description but also touching on physics and history.  He will review the historical timeline of events that led to modern computational electromagnetics.  He will talk about the methods used by antenna engineers for antenna analysis and synthesis, including modern numerical modeling.  Steve will tell the surprising tale of the mysterious multiplying factor K that defines dipole resonant length and reveal why the ARRL and RSGB graphs of K still disagree after 71 years.  Steve will tell which antenna modeling programs are free or inexpensive, the capabilities of different software to handle various shapes and materials, and which show results as graphs, 3D depictions, or movies of full-wave simulations.  Also covered is meshing by 1D segments, 2D surface patches, and 3D voxels needed to compute wave propagation over irregular terrain or the fields inside inhomogeneous dielectric objects such as biological tissues.  This presentation will show the power of modern computational electromagnetics to solve practical problems in antenna engineering and Amateur Radio.
Steve Stearns, K6OIK, started in ham radio while in high school at the height of the Heathkit era.  He holds 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 electromagnetics, communication engineering and signal processing.  Steve is Senior Vice President of Research at VStar Systems Inc., where he is leading the development of advanced antennas and algorithms for communication signal processing for reception, radio direction finding, and geo-locating systems.  He was previously Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory in San Jose, California.  Steve is serving as vice-president of the Foothills Amateur Radio Society, and served previously as assistant director of ARRL Pacific Division.  He has over 100 professional publications and presentations and ten patents.  Steve has received numerous awards for professional and community volunteer activities.

Understanding Propagation With Respect To Unusual QSOs
by Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA

Carl will talk about some unusual QSOs, review our model of the ionosphere and explain the difficulties we sometimes have trying to understand these unusual QSOs. Also included will be a brief update on Cycle 24, and a look towards Cycle 25.

Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA started his radio career as a short wave listener in the late 1950s using a National NC-60 receiver. After discovering Amateur Radio, he received his Novice license in 1961. He selected K9LA in 1977.

Carl enjoys propagation, DXing (he’s on the Top of the Honor Roll and needs 4 zones on 80m for 5BWAZ), contesting (he was NCJ Editor from 2002-2007), playing with antennas and fixing/using vintage equipment (he recently completed an SX-100).

Carl is a graduate of Purdue University (BSEE 1969, MSEE 1972) and worked for Motorola (in Schaumburg, IL and in Ft Worth, TX) and Magnavox in Ft Wayne, IN (now Raytheon) as an RF design engineer (designing RF power amplifiers). He retired in October 2013.

He and his wife Vicky AE9YL reside in Fort Wayne and enjoy traveling, which has included DXpeditions to Syria (YK9A in 2001), to Market Reef in 2002 (OJ0/AE9YL and OJ0/K9LA) and many trips to ZF (ZF2YL and ZF2LA).

Carl is currently the ARRL Central Division Vice Director.