*Winterfest* 2022 Speaker Schedule & Biographies

as of 1/9/2022

We are very excited to announce the Forums speaker lineup for Winterfest 2022, which will be held on Saturday, January 22nd at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. Forums will begin at 9:00am. Schedule subject to change please check the website for changes. 

Below are the speakers, their bios, topic titles and a synopsis of their presentations.  

Ward Silver    

Mississippian  9:00 am   

Bio: Licensed since 1972, Ward (NØAX) is the Lead Editor of the ARRL Handbook and the ARRL Antenna Book, and is the author of all three ARRL License Manuals and study guides.  He wrote the well-received “Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur” (now in its 2nd edition) and “Ham Radio for Dummies”. (now in its 4th edition) An electrical engineer, he designed microprocessor-based products and medical devices for twenty years before beginning a second career as a teacher and writer. He is a co-founder of the World Radiosport Team Championships, was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2015, and is President of the Yasme Foundation (yasme.org).

Topic: EFHW Antennas – Where They Come From and How They Work

Synopsis:  This presentation explains how the EFHW, a very popular antenna, works.  It covers the antenna itself and the matching system used to convert the antenna’s high feed point impedance to 50 ohms for coaxial cable.  Along the way, we’ll touch on harmonic operation, how to build an EFHW, and how to put one up.

Bob Heil    

Mississippian  10:00 am  

Bio: Bob (K9EID) has been an innovator in the field of amateur radio, manufacturing microphones and satellite dishes for broadcasters and live sound engineers. In the late 1980s Heil Sound became one of the first American companies to create and install Home Theaters, and Bob has lectured at major electronic conventions and taught classes at various institutions.

Topic: How Important is Ham Radio Audio

Synopsis: Watch live demonstrations of how to adjust transmitters and receivers for maximum speech articulation, how phasing works and how it affects all in Amateur Radio. Plus, review some interesting antenna ideas.

Nick Tusa      

Mississippian  11:00

Bio: Dominic (Nick) (K5EF) is a principal radio communications consultant and founder of Tusa Consulting Services. Nick has, for over forty-two years, provided technical services involving the design, implementation and maintenance of land mobile radio and microwave communication systems for both public safety and private industry. 

Nick earned his first Amateur Radio license at age 11 and has been continuously active in the hobby for 57 years. He is an experienced homebrewer and restorer of vintage Collins, TMC and Central Electronics gear and is an author, having recently published Wes Schum – Amateur Radio’s Unsung Hero. Nick received his electrical engineering degree from Tulane University in 1975 and holds both FCC Amateur Extra Class and General Radio Telephone Licenses. 

Topic: Vintage Radio Restoration

Synopsis: Ever wanted to restore the ‘boat anchor’ radio or accessory of your dreams, but had no clue how or where to start?   Or are you interested in learning more about this growing aspect of our Ham Radio hobby?  If so, then add this forum to your ‘must see’ list!   Nick Tusa, K5EF will explain why the restoration hobby has taken off and how you can get started. 

Here, you’ll learn about spotting a ‘first project’ and the types of tools you’ll need for a first-class job that will make you the envy of your radio pals.  Worried about finding parts?  Fret not as ample parts sources exist on the Internet, Hamfests like Winterfest, and for the many like-minded restorer friends you’ll make along the way. 

Joe Eisenberg      

Mississippian 12:00

Bio: Joe (KØNEB) is the Kit Building Editor for CQ Magazine and has been for over 12 years. He is also a contributing author for the ARRL Handbook. 

Topic: Kit Building Techniques for Success

Synopsis: Joe will go over tips and hints to help builders from beginner to advanced experience levels.  He will also go over parts handling and sorting, proper tools, test equipment and soldering techniques to give a much better chance of success.  

Rod Blocksome 

Marquette  9:00 am

Bio: Rod (KØDAS) was first licensed as KNØDAS in June 1960 in western Kansas and on the air for the past 61 years. Amateur Radio led to BSEE and MSEE degrees at Kansas State University and a 42 year career with Collins Radio, later Rockwell Collins, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Included was 4-years service as a USAF communications officer. 

He has worked in or visited over 50 DX entities over the years and operated in several including Hawaii (KØDAS/KH6), Australia (VK2IHY), Guam (KØDAS/KH2), Tarawa (T32CXX), Christmas Island (T30DAS) and Majuro Island (KØDAS/V7).

Besides casual DX-ing, Rod’s main interests over the years have been weak signal CW/SSB on 50 MHz through 2.3 GHz, Antenna/Equipment design, and Classic Radio History and Restoration. Rod is a life member of ARRL and served the Midwest Division as Vice-Director, then Director, from 2010 through 2020.

Topic:  The ARRL Forum

Synopsis:  The ARRL Forum will be hosted by past Midwest Division Director Rod Blocksome, KØDAS. He is “standing in” for Director Art Zygielbaum, KØAIZ and Vice-director Dave Propper, K2DP who are away attending the Annual ARRL Board Meeting. Rod and the attending Section Managers will introduce and update on current ARRL topics and issues followed by a Q&A dialog with members. So bring your questions and concerns and make your viewpoints heard.

Mark Siegesmund       

Marquette  10:00 am

Bio: Mark Siegesmund (W9WMR), President of West Mountain Radio, is a software engineer with over 35 years of experience in embedded systems within the military, industrial, amateur radio and commercial sectors. He is the founder of CCS (Custom Computer Services, Inc) that specializes in embedded hardware and software development tools. His extensive development experience is being channeled into improving and providing additional technology to DC power, battery analyzers, and radio interfaces in the ham radio market.

Topic:  DC Power, Distribution, and Batteries

Synopsis:  This presentation covers the special considerations involved with low voltage high current DC power as is used in Amateur Radio.  Cable loss as well as connector suitability are discussed.  An overview of the state of battery technology will be presented with a good comparison of the technologies as it applies to Amateur Radio. Battery configurations, safety and the use of solar power are all  included in this session.  

Rob Sherwood       

Marquette  11:00 am

Bio: Ham radio began for Rob (NCØB) in 1961 in Cincinnati, Ohio, as both a novice and general-class operator. After graduating college in 1969 with a degree in physics, Rob moved to Denver and worked for KOA radio as an engineer until 1987. While at KOA, he maintained their 50 KW AM and FM transmitters, microwave links and studio equipment.

1974 saw the beginning of Sherwood Engineering, offering roofing filters and upgrade kits for the Drake R-4C. In 1976 Rob started measuring receiver performance on dozens of radios, since reviews in QST did not correlate with actual on-air observations at crunch time in CW contests. In 1977 “ham radio magazine” published the first of several of Rob’s articles on receiver problems and cures, vertical antenna ground systems and mobile antenna efficiency. Those articles are available on his web site as PDF files. Receiver test data is now web based with 150 transceiver and receiver listings.  www.nc0b.com/table.html.

In the 80s Rob was invited to be a forum speaker at the Dayton Hamvention on several occasions, discussing both receiver and antenna performance issues. In 2004 he returned to the Dayton Contest Forum, giving a talk on the status of receivers both old and new, with special emphasis on the Orion and the Icom 7800. In 2007 the Drake Forum had him present a talk on the pros and cons of the new batch of DSP transceivers. In 2009 he made a presentation at the Dayton Hamvention Antenna Forum on ground systems for vertical antennas.

2016 included a presentation at the Visalia DX Convention. In 2017 Rob spoke at ARRL Hamcon in Cody Wyoming, and a second appearance at the Duke City Hamfest in Albuquerque, NM. Contest University 2021 was his 14th annual presentation at this event.

Other speaking invitations at ham events have included WØDXCC, W9DXCC, W4DXCC, YCCC, New Orleans, Austin, Huntsville, Tucson & St. Louis. Locally around Colorado he has discussed receiver performance at the Boulder Amateur Radio, Northern Colorado Amateur Radio, Colorado QRP & 285 TechConnect Radio Clubs.

Fourteen years ago, Rob’s XYL encouraged him to build his dream contest station on 10 acres east of Ft. Collins, Colorado on the Pawnee Grassland. This has made it possible to evaluate top transceivers in major contests in a real-world environment to augment his laboratory data. This rural setting has allowed him to focus his interest on effective antennas. Six towers support 9 mono-band HF Yagis, plus 6m, 2m and 70cm Yagis, plus wire antennas for 160, 40 and 30 meters.

Four years ago Rob began operating on the new 475 kHz band with a 160 meter to 630 meter transverter manufactured in Australia. An IC-7610 on 160 meters handles receiver and transmitter converted to 630m. He uses his 160-meter Marconi T antenna with a separate tuner on 475 kHz.

Topic:  Transceiver Performance for the HF Contest & DX Operator

Synopsis:  RX Performance is now so good, TX limitations may dominate today.

Glen Popiel         

Marquette  12:00 pm

Bio: Glen (KW5GP) has been in ham radio since 1973. He is the author of ARRL’s “Arduino for Ham Radio”, “High Speed Multimedia for Amateur Radio”, “More Arduino Projects for Ham Radio”, and “More Arduino for Ham Radio”. Glen is also a frequent contributor to QST magazine and a co-host on the weekly W5KUB.com webcast. By day, he is a Network Engineer and Technology Consultant for HTC Global and has worked in the computer and electronics field for over 45 years

Topic: Welcome Back to the World of Arduino

Synopsis: Join ARRL author and builder Glen Popiel, KW5GP, in an all-new presentation as he introduces and discusses the exciting world of the Arduino microcontroller. Learn just how easy and fun it is to create your own feature-rich Arduino-based projects for your home and ham shack. 

Jay Underdown       

Illini  10:00 am

Bio: Jay (WØPS) was first licensed in 1958 as KN8LVR in Toledo, Ohio. Retired President of Spectrum Resources Inc., a public safety communications consulting firm for 35 years. Retired Senior Member, IEEE, Retired Senior Member and Charter Member of National Assn. of Radio & Telcom. Engineers. Fellow, Radio Club of America. Life member QCWA with a 60 year certificate.

Topic:  DB’s….DB’s, or how to save your finals.

Synopsis: Jay will discuss how decibels work and how they are used in Ham Radio. He will also discuss how decibels will allow you to turn down your power without losing range or coverage, and what the “S” meter REALLY tells you.

Mel Whitten        

Illini  11:00 am

Bio: Mel (KØPFX) is an early adopter of Digital Voice over HF putting together a team of alpha testers back in 2012 to provide feedback on the usability and design of a new free and open source HF digital voice program he named FreeDV.  On its tenth anniversary, FreeDV has evolved into many improvements through innovation by its authors and feedback from its users.  Mel has been a long-time presenter at many hamfests across the country and ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conferences.  He is a retired telecom engineer spending his last 12 years as a consultant in the industry.

Topic: FreeDV – Digital Voice over HF

Synopsis: Learn how to set up your HF station with an open source (free!) Digital Voice program called FreeDV now in its tenth year of development.  HF voice eliminates noise, fading and other interference normally associated with SSB. Come and see how easy it is for you to join in on the fun too!

Ken Norris        

Illini     12:00 pm

Bio: Ken (KK9N) was originally licensed as a Novice in 1977 in west central IL with the help of his mentor W9ACU. During his college years he upgraded to General and moved up to Advanced class in 1993. In 2000 he upgraded to Extra and received his current vanity call. 

Over the last 40 years, Ken has participated in several facets of Amateur Radio, including EMCOM, satellites DXCC, VUCC, EME, microwave, SOTA, IOTA, DXpeditions. Ken is an active CW and RTTY contester, but currently with a limited remote station and time. 

Topic: Space Weather 101

Synopsis: Ken’s presentation will discuss how the sun affects the earth and radio communications. He will include an explanation of what the K/A and Solar Index numbers really mean. 

Bill Wiley

Illini 1:00 pm 

Bio: Bill (WAØBSW), was first licensed in 1962 as a Novice.  He earned his Tech, General and FCC 2nd Radiotelephone in 1963-64 in High School. Served in the Navy 1965-9 ETN2.  Earned FCC 1st Radiotelephone (1967).  Earned Advanced-class license in 1972, and earned his Amateur Extra class license in 2000. He holds a BSEE from UMSL/WU 1997 and is a Certified Power Quality Professional from the AEE  2000.

He has retired after spending 60 + years in the land mobile comm and Electrical Power Quality arenas. One topic that has followed me through these years is the Art & Science of Grounding & Bonding to provide protection from damage transient energy events. The common event here is a lightning strike.  Second, I must give credit for the title ‘Grounding Guru’ to Ron ‘Rusty’ Gipson (Ret) of R G Computer.

Bill has been an ARRL Member for over 25 years, and his amateur radio interests are chasing DX and RTTY.  Bill was an Army Brat for 10 years. He lived in Des Moines, IA (1956-1984) was active in KØGHZ DM Tech HS and DMRAA WØAK. He relocated to St Louis, MO in 1985.  He can be reached at WAØBSW@ARRL.NET

Topic: The evolution of ‘Single Point Grounding’

Synopsis: Bill will be defining and explaining the terms that are used in implementing a grounding project.

Thom Beebe         

Education Alley   9:00 am

Bio: Thomas (Thom) Beebe, W9RY, is the Illinois ARRL Section Manager.

Thom was originally licensed as WN9QXW over 60 years ago. He is an active member of most of the amateur radio clubs in the southern part of the state as well as being active in ARES and the National Traffic System. In addition to serving as the Illinois Section Manager he holds appointments as an Official Emergency Station, ARRL licensed instructor, ARRL Field Instructor, Volunteer Examiner, Volunteer Examiner Liaison, and AUXCOMM operator. He is also an Intro to AUXCOMM instructor, MARS operator and NWS Skywarn spotter.

He holds a PhD and is a retired university administrator as well as a past corporate CEO. He is also a strong proponent of recruiting young people to the radio hobby and frequently talks with young people about amateur radio.

In his spare time he enjoys operating CW on an Icom 718, a FT857 for NTS messages and tinkering with technology. He runs a Raspberry Pi (single board computer) powered 2 meter Winlink Illinois Digital Emergency Network gateway on 145.610 MHz as part of ARES and his PSK, RTTY, Olivia, ARDOP, and VARA modes run on other Raspberry Pi’s connected to a TS-50 and FT-857.

Topic:  Earthquake Did You Feel It: Winlink DYFI

Synopsis: The presentation discusses the potential hazards associated with an area earthquake and how we can combine amateur radio with citizen science to promote community resilience.

Bob Gale & Jackie Mann        

Education Alley  10:00 am

Bio: Bob (WA4GDX) is an Assistant Emergency Coordinator with St. Louis Metro ARES/RACES. He was initially licensed in 1970. Bob is a member of the St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club and the St Louis Chapter of CQWA. Bob is a retired chemical engineer from Monsanto/Solutia and Emerson Process Management OSHA General Industry Outreach Instructor.

Bio: Jackie (KEØHLC) is a Volunteer with St Louis Metro ARES, and is an IT Professional. He was initially licensed in 2016.

Topic: 2022 SKYWARN Operator Awareness Training 

Synopsis: Bob & Jackie will be reviewing the importance of Amateur Radio and SKYWARN. What SKYWARN does in the St Louis Metro area. What you should and shouldn’t report, and the importance of storm spotters, and how Amateur Radio works in the SKYWARN program. 

Kyle Krieg         

Education Alley  11:00 am

Bio: Kyle (AAØZ) received his ham radio license in 1995 while attending college at Mizzou.  Over the past 25+ years Kyle has been involved with net operations, ARES, SLSRC leadership, AREDN, repeaters, HF, POTA, SOTA, portable ops and contesting.  He runs the WØW Missouri QSO party team and loves operating expedition style.  Past president of the St. Louis & Suburban Radio club, he currently is the interim chair for the Engineering Committee for SLSRC.  When he is not on the air, you can find him programming something in Node Red or producing videos on his YouTube channel -> https://www.youtube.com/c/kyleaa0z 

Topic: How To Get Started with POTA – Parks on the Air

Synopsis: This presentation will review how to be an activator and hunter for POTA and navigate the POTA website to get the most out of it.  He will share tips and tricks for POTA activating and hunting. 

   Jocelyn Brault                   Chris Brault                  Sterling Mann             Neil Rapp

Education Alley  12:00 pm

Bio:  Jocelyn, (KD8VRX) (and VA2VRX) first became interested in ham radio as a boy scout. He became licensed in 2013, and now holds an extra class license. He is a technical analyst and systems administrator with Vertical Solutions in Cincinnati. He was a scout leader, and is now a radio merit badge counselor, a mentor with VEX robotics, and a member of the West Chester ARA, Dayton ARA, Ohio Valley Experimenter Club and the Greater Cincinnati Builders Group. He is the proud father of Chris, KD8YVJ, the 2015 Hiram Percy Maxim Award winner, and member of the 2017 Youth DX Adventure to Costa Rica.

Bio:  Chris, (KD8YVJ) was first licensed in 2014.  He is the 2020 Bill Pasternak WA6ITF Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year, 2015 ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Award winner, and the 2017 ARRL Great Lakes Division Young Amateur of the Year.  In 2017, he went on the Dave Kalter Youth DX Adventure to Costa Rica. Also in 2017, he was a Youth Forum presenter at Dayton Hamvention® and HamCation in Orlando. Chris serves as social media director for the Youth on the Air organization and was the director’s assistant for the 2021 camp.  He is a tour guide for the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester, Ohio, and assists in mentoring young operators at its ham station, WC8VOA.  Chris is 19 years old, a pilot, and is currently studying avionics at Saint Louis University.

Bio:  Sterling, (NØSSC), is from St. Louis, MO. Sterling is currently an avionics antenna design engineer in St Louis.  Sterling became a ham at age 16, is one of the former youth editors at ARRL, and has his own YouTube channel about ham radio. He is a 2014 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he was the president of the WØEEE Amateur Radio Club. His degree is in electrical engineering with an emphasis in electromagnetics.  Contesting is Sterling’s favorite ham radio activity, but also enjoys portable and remote operation, QRP, kit building, as well as advocating for the young people in amateur radio. Sterling is the current president of the Young Amateurs Radio Club, better known as YARC. He is also the IARU Region 2 Organization’s Youth Liaison. He attended YOTA camp in IARU Region 1 in the summer of 2016, held in Austria.

Bio:  Neil, (WB9VPG) (Camp Director) has been a chemistry teacher and the sponsor of high school radio clubs for 28 years.  Neil was at one time the World’s Youngest Ham, licensed at age 5 in 1976. He upgraded through to Advanced by age 9, and Extra at 20.  He became the youngest member of QCWA in history at age 29. Neil is currently teaching at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and Bluegrass Community & Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky.  Prior to moving to Northern Kentucky in 2021, Neil taught at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Indiana where he guided the radio club to international recognition for their contesting efforts.  He is the 2021 HamCation Carole Perry Educator of the Year, 2004 ARRL Professional Educator of the Year, the 2014 Indiana Radio Club Council Amateur of the Year, and a graduate of the ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology I and II. Neil is a member of several organizations, including ARRL, AMSAT, QCWA, Southern Indiana ARA, Northern KY ARC and the West Chester ARA. He also brings youth camp experience with over 15 years of service as a faculty or staff member at summer church camps and basketball camps.  Neil is an anchor for Amateur Radio Newsline, the Next-Gen Contesters contributing editor for the National Contest Journal, a member of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) US Education Committee, and the host of his own live webcast show, Ham Talk Live!.

Topic: Youth On The Air

Synopsis:  Youth on the Air (YOTA) is the version of the Youngsters on the Air program for the Americas.  YOTA operates a summer camp for ages 15 to 25 and hosts bi-weekly meetings with youth leaders across the Americas.  YOTA Americas also participates in the annual December YOTA Month worldwide special event, where all the operators of the special event callsigns are under the age of 26.  After a very successful first camp in 2021, plans are now underway for 2022 and beyond.  We will share the highlights and results of the 2021 camp with you and talk about the plans to keep the program going for years to come.

Mickey Lee

Education Alley  1:00 pm

Bio: Mickey is VP, Enterprise Solutions at Early Alert, Inc.  Mickey has over 30 years experience in weather forecasting and applied meteorology for business and industry. During that time he has provided planning and preparation for major weather disasters and directly supported and advised operational and corporate emergency response efforts in the energy, healthcare, finance, and retail industries during extreme weather events.

Mickey holds a BS in Meteorology from Texas A&M University.

Topic:  Advancements in Tools for Tornado & Weather Alerting

Synopsis: It is well known that tornadoes can be identified visually or by analysis of doppler radar.  Advances in technology have allowed sensors that measure electrical energy, lightning and other sources, to determine how intense the thunderstorm is that is generating the energy.  One device, tornadoAlert, even determines distance and movement as it updates every minute.  This talk will describe the technology and how it can be utilized – for household protection, storm spotter activity, or lightning threat awareness. www.tornadoalert.com