The FARS Relay
Volume 30, Numbers 1 & 2 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2000
Friday February 25, 2000
Mike Wimble, KM6WP of AltaVista will speak on search engines.
Michael attended a college back East. He went to many classes and managed
to get a degree. He is more than 5 feet tall, and despite the ravages of
entropy he still has his original teeth. He had a ham license as a kid,
back in the days just after the electron was discovered. He might have
let his license lapse, but in the interest of any possible future political
career, he refuses to confirm that. Nonetheless, he managed to get another
license through perfectly legal means and is heard often, perhaps too often,
on local repeaters. To members of the Buffalo Radio Nitwit Network, he
is known as Mr. Mike. To the members of the Talk Net, he is known at the
guy who gives the surreal "Cloud Reports". To his coworkers as AltaVista,
he is know as the guy who decides what answers are most relevant to the
questions you ask.
I'm thinking that the talk will be: "Search engines - one quarter of
everything you wanted to know about them." Or how search engines find information
on the Internet and answer your questions. With obvious prejudice for the
AltaVista search engine."
I will try to do a quick 20 minutes on web crawlers, 30 to 40 minutes
on how to search, and 10 minutes on why search engines fail to get you
the information you want. [See page 3 for future speakers]
March 4 & 5 is the ARRL DX SSB contest
March 25-26 it is the CQ WW WPX SSB Contest. Take part and bring log
to the April meeting. Ten dollars and a certificate to the one with the
highest score per the contest rules.
PRESIDENT'S CORNER February, 2000
We had a great banquet with the PARRA club joining us for the first
time. We hope this will become a yearly event for the two clubs. We are
planning to have a picnic this spring with the two clubs involved.
We have the Flea Market in April and we need your help. I will be passing
around a sign up sheet at the next meeting please offer your help so we
don't have to make dozens of phone calls.
As I mentioned in an earlier Relay Field Day is coming soon. We are
going to be passing a sign up sheet at the next meeting for you to indicate
where you can help and where you are will to operate. If we do not have
the people signed up this year to operate a station then we will not operate
in that mode. Last year our stations were very poorly manned. If you want
Field Day to happen then you as a member must be a part of it.
In this issue you will find a calendar for future contest that the club
encourages you to participate in -also a listing of speakers for the next
I hope to see many more of you at the meetings.
de Jack WA6YJR
The FARS board held its monthly meeting during the evening of February
1, 2000. Present were Mikel, KN6QI, David, KD6WRG, Howard, KE6PWH, Herb,
KF6BKL. Charlie, KF6CUU, Arv, WA6UUT, Jack, WA6YJR, Dick, N6ATD, Dirk,
KE6ZUY, and Martin, KD6WJW.
The board thanked members Dick, Larry, and David for their work on the
banquet. Thanks were also tendered by PAARA, the joint sponsor. There were
64 attendees. Another potential joint venture between the two clubs is
a picnic before Field Day.
Flea Market (April 8) and Field Day preparations and participation
were discussed, as were the numerous upcoming contests.
President: Jack Eddy WA6YJR
Vice President: Howard Califf KE6PWH
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
Radio Officer: Mikel Lechner KN6QI
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG (See address below)
Board members: Dirk Thiele KE6ZUY, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD; Hans Neumann
KE6TGA; Herb Davidson KF6BKL, Arv Hamer WA6UUT, Larry Moore KM6IU, Charles
K6YA Station Trustee: Stan Kuhl, K6MA
FARS Web Page: www.fars.k6ya.org/
FARS announcement mailing list is moderated, so you cannot reply directly
to the list.
Also, note you can contact the FARS board of directors at
To subscribe/unsubscribe, send a message to:
In the e-mail message (in plain text) put one of:
unsubscribe fars-announce YOUR-EMAIL-ADDRESS
The FARS Relay is the official monthly newsletter of the Foothills
Amateur Radio Society Meetings are held at 7 PM on the fourth Friday of
each month except January (Winter Banquet); and 3rd Friday in June, Nov.
& Dec. Annual membership $20; family $25. Visitors are always welcome!
Directions on the back page. Talk-in: W6APZ (145.23-, 100Hz) or W6ASH repeater
(145.27 or 224.36). Contributions to the newsletter from members, family,
and guests are earnestly solicited! Contributions subject to editing and/or
compression. ASCII files via packet, Internet or diskettes preferred; but
all readable forms welcome. Here is how to reach the editor:
subscribe fars-announce YOUR-EMAIL-ADDRESS (eg. Subscribe fars-announce
Internet: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
VHF voice: KD6WRG on W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL) FARS net Thursdays 8
PM; Various other times.
Mail: 1093 Kelly Drive San Jose CA 95129-3222 Voice: 408-996-1613 (Until
9 PM); Fax: 408-725-1036, and at FARS meetings.
o DeLong Consulting o
Internet - Firewalls - E-Mail - UNIX
Bridging the gap - Your net -> Internet
3251 Firth Way, San Jose, CA 95121
408-322-3741 - Fax: 408-532-9362
For those who would like to have their email translated. I have NOT
used this site so I don't know how good it is. Nor do I know how 'safe'
it is. I sure wouldn't send anything sensitive to a 'free' site.
TRANSLATE BY EMAIL. Several past issues of Neat Net Tricks
have contained translation services, but this is the first I've seen that
does the work automatically by email. You simply compose email in your
native language to your English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese
friend; and in the CC address of your email, you include the address for
language conversion that's listed at www.t-mail.com
. The result, as the site emphasizes, is a machine translation and is not
precise. It handles straight text only and no html or attachments. But,
T-Mail is fast, it's automatic, and no one but the intended recipient will
read your mail.
For more like this, subscribe FREE at the Web site, www.NeatNetTricks.com
or send a blank email to email@example.com.
Web Sites for Non-profits and Candidates
Dennis Paull firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Syte Design www.websytedesign.com
814 Echo Drive, Los Altos, CA 94024 650-948-9275
Livermore Swap Meet - 1st Sunday of each month at Las Positas College
in Livermore, 7:00 AM to noon, all year. Talk in 147.045 from the west,
145.35 from the east. Contact Noel Anklam, KC6QZK, (510) 447-3857 eves.
Foothill Flea Market - 2nd Saturday of each month from March to October
at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills. FARS NET on 145.23 repeater Thursday
nights at 8 PM.
Jim, WE6V is running W1AW code practice sessions on the 145.23 repeater
every Tuesday evening 8:00 to 8:30.
Amplifier Retrofit Kits
If you have an SB-200 or SB-220 amplifier, check out the retrofit kits
In my opinion, the most important offering is the kit for eliminating
parasitic oscillation. If not carefully tuned, these amplifiers are prone
to oscillations and arcing which can lead to serious damage. While I was
at it, I also ordered the kit for soft turn-on. This reduces the power
supply in-rush current when the power is switched on.
The instructions were a clear step by step procedure, not unlike Heathkit
assembly manuals. It was fun to work on point to point wiring instead of
a crowded circuit board. I could easily have completed installing both
kits in a single evening, but for one thing. The power supply kit has a
small module which needs to be glued to the chassis. Since I was going
to have to wait for the glue to set, I decided to wash the disassembled
cabinet and give it overnight to dry. It is amazing how much dust and dirt
and accumulate over the years.
After reassembling the case, I tried tuning the amplifier on all bands,
including trying different band positions for 30, 17, and 12 meters which
do not have specific positions on the switch. There was not hint of any
oscillation at any time.
The web site also has some hardware for antennas. We might see some
of it come next Field Day.
For an explanation of the parasitic oscillation, check the series of
articles by Richard Measures, AG6K, in QST. His general series on Parasitic
Oscillation were titles "Parasitics Revisited" and appeared in two parts
in the September and October 1990 issues. Then, in the November and December
issues of the same year he had a two part article entitled "Circuit Improvements
for the Heath SB-220 Amplifier". The November section discussed parasitic
oscillations in the 220 as well as many other things.
73, Paul AA6PZ
for Southern California is a free, e-mail based newsletter that provides
notification of upcoming missile launches from Vandenberg AFB and coverage
of southern California astronomy and space news.
To subscribe, send the following e-mail message:
Subject: Leave blank. If your e-mail software won't send a message that
lacks a subject, enter "hi"
Message Text: subscribe launch-alert
Brian Webb, KD6NRP, Editor
Astronomy/Space Alert for Southern California E-Mail:
email@example.com (primary address)
firstname.lastname@example.org (secondary address)
Good-bye W6APZ; Hello N6NFI
N6NFI will be the call sign heard on the 145.230 repeater beginning
the second week in February, 2000. Rich, W6APZ, is turning over the trusteeship
of the repeater to Rolf Klibo, N6NFI. Rich will continue to serve as one
of the control operators for the repeater.
Rolf has been an active control operator for many years. In addition,
Rolf has done design work on repeater features such as the Digital Voice
Recorder that provides notices of club and ham-related events in the area,
the S-Meter and other repeater functions. All trustee-related functions
and questions should be directed to Rolf after February 14. This includes
requests for announcements of club meetings, requests for ham volunteers
to provide communications for special events, permission to use the repeater
for a particular net or special event, etc. 145.23 will continue to be
an open repeater available to the ham community as a resource. The main
reason for requesting permission to use the machine is to avoid having
two groups each assuming the repeater will be available for their use when
they want it. The trustee serves as a clearinghouse to minimize conflicting
requests and maximize community use of the repeater.
All prior repeater commitments will continue to be honored, such as
the dedication of the machine for the Hospital Net in times of emergency
or for drills, as well as existing club nets.
Rolf can be reached via email at: email@example.com
. Tom Holden, KN6KL, who has also served as a control operator for many
years and has done much design work on the repeater, will act as a backup
to Rolf. Tom can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operation of the 145.230 repeater has been and will continue to be a
joint effort by the SRI Amateur Radio Society (SARS) and the South Peninsula
Amateur Radio Klub (SPARK). Over the years, many hams from both groups
have pitched in to do everything from the grunt work of cleaning up the
repeater site to designing new repeater hardware, to normal repeater maintenance,
to dropping everything to provide repairs needed to keep the repeater on
the air. This has been a cooperative group effort over the years, and Rich,
W6APZ, is appreciative of everyone's efforts.
Speakers for future meetings.
March: Crystal radios
April: Either Easter egg coloring or Mike, K6PUD on contesting
May: Loop antennas
FEDS RAID ELECTRONIC HOBBY VENDORS 12/18/99
2600 has learned that several small electronic hobbyist vendors were
recently raided by federal agents brandishing semiautomatic weapons. News
of these raids has been kept out of the media and many of those involved
fear retribution if they openly discuss the case. Until now, these companies
had operated for years selling harmless educational electronic kits (like
wireless microphones) to students, hobbyists, ham radio operators, and
hackers. Now their inventories are being seized at gunpoint--and their
owners could be facing bankruptcy and prison time.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice is apparently re-interpreting federal wiretapping
and smuggling laws to include small hobby radio transmitters. Even possessing
so-called "Mr. Microphone" type toys can now put hobbyists at risk of looking
down the barrel of a federal agent's loaded gun, a felony conviction, federal
prison time, loss of property, and legal fees into the tens of thousands
Ramsey Electronics and Super Circuits are just two of the companies
recently raided at gunpoint. Both have good and longstanding reputations
for selling inexpensive, quality educational kits and components to electronics
hobbyists for many years through ads in electronic hobby magazines and
A high-ranking Justice Dept. official told one of the business owners
the orders for these raids are politically motivated and originated from
a very high level in the Clinton administration as a result of the Linda
Tripp wiretapping case. "They just need convictions," the official said.
Earlier this year the Justice Dept. indicted Bill Cheek, the well-known
and loved author of books on radio scanner modifications and Monitoring
Times column writer. Bill was selling very simple "data-slicer" circuits
(made from parts available at any Radio Shack) that could be used with
a PC and a scanner to monitor radio data transmissions--including unencrypted
police mobile data terminal (MDT) transmissions. Even after Bill had been
diagnosed with terminal cancer, the Federal government refused to back
off, even issuing a summons to court on the same day he was to begin chemotherapy.
In 1995 2600's BernieS was locked up in five different maximum-security
prisons over 14 months by the Secret Service for possessing his laptop
computer, his software, and ordinary electronic parts available at Radio
Shack. He had been distributing parts, software, books, and pamphlets about
cellular and coin telephones. The Justice Department's final investigation
report stated "There were no victims in the offense."
This is a clear pattern of harassment and abuse of power by our Federal
government against people teaching others about electronic communications.
It appears our government doesn't want people to know this information.
2600 strongly feels this knowledge is important for people to have, and
will continue spreading it at every opportunity. Write and call your legislators
to complain about this injustice. You could be next!
Comments on preceding
I read the whole thing at each URL -- the last one is real long, but
it has some dilly responses! That must be a joke at about the middle of
the long one: "I bought it to keep an eye on my husband. Hillary". Then
again, maybe not! Maybe that's exactly why this is going on!
The Ramsey circuit is similar to one in a Radio Shack "300 Projects"
Amateur Radio Newsline
Israel restructures but retains high speed Morse
One of America's strongest allies in the Mid-East has restructured its
Amateur Radio Service. But unlike the rest of the world, Israeli telecommunications
regulators have opted to continue testing for high speed Morse.
Canada to abandon 12 WPM Morse
Meanwhile our neighbor to the North appears ready to follow the trend
toward lowering the Morse requirement to five words per minute. This as
the Board of Directors of Radio Amateurs Canada voted unanimously in favor
of a motion to approach Industry Canada with a proposal to drop the requirement
for a 12 words per minute Morse code test in Canada.
Full CW credit to any U.S. Novice
Here in the United States, our FCC now says that anyone who has ever
passed the old Novice Morse Code test and can prove it will be given indefinite
credit for that test element. Even if that license expired long ago. Rick
Lindquist, N1RL, of the ARRL Audio News has the details on this unexpected
Anyone who ever held a Novice ticket, expired or otherwise, will be
able to claim credit for Element 1, the 5 WPM Morse code examination, under
revised Amateur Radio licensing rules going into effect April 15. The change
was included in the version of the FCC's restructuring rules, published
February 10 in The Federal Register.
The change affects Section 97.505(a)(5) of the rules that spells out
element credit. That sentence now says: "An expired or unexpired FCC granted
Novice Class operator license grant: Element 1."
The rules already give Element 1 credit for those holding an expired
or unexpired FCC-issued Technician Class operator license document granted
before February 14, 1991, as well as to applicants possessing an FCC issued
commercial radiotelegraph operator license or permit that's valid or expired
less than 5 years.
There's no indication, however, that the FCC intends to extend Element
1 credit to applicants who once held any other FCC-issued licenses now
expired, including Tech Plus, General, Advanced, or Amateur Extra.
Because of other anomalies in the new rules, the ARRL is recommending
for now that holders of Novice or Tech Plus licenses retain their license
documents or copies in the event they need to claim Element 1 credit when
upgrading under the new rules. When renewed after April 15, 2000, Technician
Plus licenses will come back stamped "Technician," and the FCC has said
it does not plan to keep track of which Technicians have Morse code element
credit and which do not.
The FCC also has indicated to the ARRL that post April 15 Technicians
who subsequently qualify for HF operation by passing Element 1 will retain
element credit for upgrading purposes only for 365 days, the term of a
Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination, not permanently, although
this will not affect their ongoing Novice/Technician HF privileges. Without
a change in the rules, affected Technicians attempting to upgrade more
than a year after passing Element 1 would have to retake the Morse code
The ARRL plans to file a petition for partial reconsideration asking
the FCC to continue to keep track of which Technicians have Morse code
element credit and which do not. The League also will ask the FCC to make
Element 1 credit permanent for post April 15 Technicians who successfully
pass the Morse exam.
Rick Lindquist, N1RL
Again, if you know anyone who has ever held a Novice class ticket,
let that person know that he or she is part of the way to a 5 word per
minute General or Extra Class license after April 15th.
How to get to meetings:
(Visitors always welcome)
FARS meets at the Covington School District building, 201 Covington
Road, Los Altos. Take the El Monte exit (The same exit as for the Foothill
Fleamarket) off of I-280 and go East on El Monte. Cross Foothill Expressway
and turn right at the next light on to Covington (Note Saint William church
on corner). Stay to your left as the road forks. Just past the fork, turn
left into the school parking lot. Walk through the center hallway and turn
right. The meeting room is the first door on the left. Talk in on 145.23
or 145.27, negative offset, 100 PL.