Antenna Seminar

Friday- October 18, 2019
8:00am - 5:00pm

Bishop Ranch Ballroom
Salon E-H

David Fannin, KK6DF and Vicki Zumwalt, N6KLS, have put together a new and outstanding lineup of speakers who will provide informative and state-of-the-art presentations never heard before 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 so far to present in 2019:   Kristen McIntyre, K6WX; Tom Schiller, N6BT, John Portune, W6NBC, and  Chip Margelli, K7JA.   Three other individuals are being confirmed at this time.  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 and remain the same as last year's price. There is a $20 additional charge for this Friday all-day Forum which includes the ability to download all the speaker presentations.  Additionally, you will be able to ask the experts questions during the “Panel of Experts” session at the end of the day.

One major change this year is that the presentations will be distributed to attendees from a document distribution website.  No more fumbling around with USB drives!  The website will have all presentations available at the publications deadline;  You will be able to use a browser (such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari) to login and download the documents in PDF format.  Instructions with the download site link and access code information will be provided at the Antenna Seminar and in your registration packet.  
The download site will be available from October 19th (day of the seminar) until November 19th. . This change was implemented to streamline the logistics and distribution of the presentations.

If desired a small number of additional thumb drives may be purchased at the registration desk if you are unable to 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.

Seminar Schedule

8:00 am -
8:50 am
Amateur Radio Antenna Towers
Tom Schiller, N6BT
 9:00 am -
9:50 am
   Minimalist Moonbounce Antennas
Chip Margelli, K7JA

 10:00 am -
10:50 am
  Slot Antennas, the Forgotten Antenna in Ham Radio
John Portune, W6NBC
 11:00 am -
11:50 am
Operating Portable - What Went Wrong?
Kristen McIntyre, K6WX
 11:50 am -
12:50 pm
 Lunch Break
Please return promptly for afternoon speaker, as we will start on time.
 1:00 pm -
1:50 pm
Dipole Basics
Steve Stearns, K6OIK
 2:00 pm -
2:50 pm
Severe RFI: Neighbors, ARRL, FCC, and Me
Gary Johnson, NA6O
 3:00 pm -
3:50 pm
Practical and Effective SOTA Antennas
Evan Duffey, KN3O
 4:00 pm -
4:45 pm
Moderated Panel Discussion
 4:45 pm -
5:00 pm

 Antenna Drawing

Topics and Speakers

Here is a list of topics and speakers presenting at our Antenna Forum.
Note they are listed alphabetically by speaker's last name, not in order of appearance.

Practical and Effective SOTA Antennas
by Evan Duffey, KN3O

SOTA (Summits on the Air) is one of the most demanding portable applications in the ham radio hobby. Operating from summits all over the world, SOTA activators must bring an effective radio station to summit they plan to activate. There are many difficult decisions to make when creating that station, but the most difficult for activators to decide on is likely the antenna system. The right antenna system must meet your needs while being effective. This often involves compromise, but where should that compromise be made.

Evan Duffey, KN3O, takes his experience from activating SOTA summits, activating National Park units, and his contest winning portable operations and condenses it into an engaging conversation about antenna systems for highly portable situations. Getting you station portable is not expensive, nor is it difficult. But there are compromises that must be made and choosing where to make those compromises is critical to your success! Come learn what the mountain goats use, and how you can become a more effective activator/portable operator!

Severe RFI: Neighbors, ARRL, FCC, and Me
by Gary Johnson, NA6O

When my home station began suffering incapacitating interference from LED lights next door, I received help from the ARRL and FCC in an attempt to cure the problem. This talk will walk you through the entire process from detection through mitigation, with my own experience serving as an example.

Gary Johnson, NA6O, has been licensed since 1973 and is a dedicated contester and CW operator. His very limited home station is under heavy assault by RF interference, motivating him to help others cure those kinds of problems. He’s a retired electronics engineer, having spent 35 years at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. His website is

Minimalist Moonbounce Antennas
by Chip Margelli, K7JA

Making QSOs by bouncing signals off our Moon has often been called "The Ultimate DX." It's a half-million-mile round trip involving massive path loss, requiring massive antennas, high power, and expensive equipment. Or does it?

Recent advances in receiver technology, as well as weak signal detection software like WSJT, have greatly reduced the hardware requirements for EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) communications. Still. . .how small can you go in terms of antennas, how expensive and complicated are the station components, and do I need a degree in Computer Science in order to understand the software involved in detecting these signals coming in from outer space?

Chip Margelli, K7JA, presents a hands-on, practical seminar on how you can put together a "minimalist" EME station capable of making lots of DX contacts on the VHF and UHF bands. Although the antenna discussion primarily involves DIY (Do It Yourself) homebrew projects, references will be provided for manufactured antenna products that you may even have on hand. And these antennas, being capable of making half-million-mile QSOs, also work great for VHF contest or satellite work, and the entire project is ideal for school or club meeting presentations that can show new Hams how to move beyond the "shack on the belt" stage into the world of Ultimate DX!

Operating Portable - What Went Wrong?
by Kristen McIntyre, K6WX

Have you had great plans to set up a station in a fun place? Have you hiked all the gear in, just dreaming of all the Qs you’re going to make? You set everything up and then ... you call and call and ... nothing. What could be going on? There are many possibilities, some less obvious than others. Let’s talk about what went wrong. And you can share your experiences too.

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.

Slot Antennas, the Forgotten Antenna in Ham Radio
by John Portune, W6NBC

Introduced in the 1930’s for television broadcasting, slot antennas have never been popular with hams. To this day, an aura of mystery yet surrounds them for many. Yet there are many practical applications for VHF, UHF and HF amateur radio slot antennas that remain explored by the ham community.

John Portune, W6NBC shows how he cut through the mystery of slot antennas to the basic key concepts of how they work. This is his voyage of discovery from simple classical slots through to numerous, innovative and practical home-brew designs for VHF, UHF and even HF. Several have appeared in QST, two winning cover plaque awards and have received enthusiastic emails from DIY hams around the world. If you are a home builder, the simple intuitive principles he’ll explain, gained from his three-year “love affair” with slots, will have you soon creating your own slot designs. Slots need no longer be a forgotten realm in ham radio.

John was first licensed in !965, and received his Extra License in 1972.  He is a native of Los Angeles, CA.  10 yr. resident of UK. Current British license MØGCK. Commercial Licenses: GROL, General Radio Telegraph. Bachelor’s degree in Physics, Oregon State University 1960. Career (Retired) as TV broadcast television engineer/instructor, KNBC Ch 4 Burbank, CA, Sony Broadcast, San Francisco area. Team Leader for amateur radio and commercial license testing. Quarterly “Ham License in One Day” seminars. Published magazine author: QST (23 articles thru 2019), World Radio, 73 and others. QST Cover Plaque Awards: Oct. 2009, April 2018, August 2018. First Place (VHF) 2017 QST Antenna Design Competition, Honorable Mention (HF) 2018 QST Antenna Design Competition. Active on HF, VHF and UHF – SSB, AM, CW, FM, and digital modes. AMSAT satellite user. ARRL/W5YI/Laurel VE team leader. National Radio Examiners, Commercial License CE and team leader. Frequent speaker at ham radio clubs. Past President, Satellite ARC, Vandenberg AFB, San Gabriel Valley Radio Club. Steam railroading, pipe organ and sushi enthusiast.

Amateur Radio Antenna Towers
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:

Dipole Basics
by Steve Stearns, K6OIK
The dipole is the most basic of antennas. A proper understanding of dipole properties and characteristics is essential to understanding many other antennas including complementary antennas such as slots. In this tutorial, Steve Stearns, K6OIK, explains the basic characteristics of dipoles for transmitting and receiving. Some surprises await as we learn that a dipole’s transmit current distribution is not exactly sinusoidal, and the receive distribution is entirely different. Steve will explain the physics of the much misunderstood dipole shortening factor K. And why a dipole’s effective receiving capture area is different from its physical cross-sectional area. And that resonance is a poor indicator of match. Steve will indicate which dipole properties are better determined from graphs and equations, and which other properties are better determined by numerical computation, known as modeling. Steve will speak on computational antenna modeling on Sunday.

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's 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 was Senior Vice President of Research at VStar Systems Inc., where he was 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.