I just got back from Santa Clara, California where I attended the 2012 Microwave Update conference. This is the 27th year of the conference which is a venue for the presentation and discussion of the latest and greatest in Amateur Microwave Radio technology and operation. This year’s conference was held in the heart of Silicon Valley, near numerous RF/Microwave companies as well as surplus electronics hot spots such as the venerable HSC Electronic Supply.
On Thursday I drove up with Doug, K6JEY in the navigator’s seat. We spent the trip solving the world’s problems and discussing a range of microwave related topics.
Our first stop was at HSC to test and pick up a signal generator. I got a good deal on a microphone, but didn’t find any microwave gear I couldn’t live without. We proceeded to the hotel and checked in.
That night after visiting the hospitality suite and chatting with other microwave enthusiasts, I scrambled to finish up my slides for my talk on reflow soldering.
Friday morning I got to see a number of interesting talks including a talk on simple 78-135 GHz equipment by a very creative Aussie, Alan VK3XPD.
Rex KK6MK and Lars AA6IW gave a nice talk on a great board they have put together for enabling 10 and 24 GHz dual band radios. Next, Tom WA1MBA gave an entertaining talk on the culmination of a 1/2 decade project, a 78 GHz LNA for mass (a few dozen) production for amateur use. Finally it was my time to get up and talk about Reflow Soldering for the Microwave Experimenter.
In between talks, the animated and entertaining Kent Britain WA5VJB auctioned off interesting items. This included ovenized oscillators, power amplifier kits, etc. Proceeds go to help pay for the conference.
In addition to technical talks, a room was set up with test equipment, including the latest and greatest spectrum and network analyzers from Anritsu going up to 125 GHz! For most of us it was the equivalent of pacing around a Ferrari at a car show. With prices to match!
Over in the vendor room, a number of us set up shop to sell our stuff. This included my first in-real-life selling. It would appear I need to put in some effort in to building a display of some sort 🙂
No Ham Radio conference would be complete without a swap meet, so at MUD there were TWO! Friday night was an indoor swapmeet…
We were honored to have an excellent keynote talk given by Professor Thomas Lee of Stanford University, and author of a book I used in school, The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits. Dr. Lee gave a great talk on the history of radio communications and the impact of innovations made along the way by amateur radio operators.
Sunday morning brought an end to the activities, but not without another swap meet, this time outdoors, with more great stuff! Some excellent deals were made and some microwave gear both new and decrepit changed hands. This is the stuff that microwavers dream of.
This is my second Microwave Update and certainly not my last! I had a great time meeting people who I have talked to over microwaves, or by email. I met new people, and got to know others better. I learned, was amazed, intrigued, and motivated by the great work that amateur microwavers are doing. These conferences are really a great way to promote activity and fellowship. I’d like to thank the folks in the 50 MHz and Up Group who organized the event and to all those who came to participate.
Next year, Jeff Kruth WA3ZKR is hosting Microwave Update at Morehead State University in Kentucky, I’m already looking forward to it!