The FARS Relay
Volume 30, Number 7 JULY 2000
July 28, 2000 7:30 We're back to the fourth Friday.
The Speaker for July has changed to W6OEB, Dean Babcock. The Topic
of discussion will be a Collins Vari-Filter.
Jack Ruckman, AC6FU will speak at the August 25 meeting on the 10-10
The September 22 Meeting will be Home brew Night as usual.
- Howard, KE6PWH VP FARS
Well, there it is gang. Howard is way ahead of the game and
you have enough warning to get your home-brew project done and your patter
The FARS board held its monthly meeting on the evening of July 11, 2000.
Members present were Jack, WA6YJR, Dirk, KE6ZUY, Dick, N6ATD, Omri, AA6TA,
Charlie, KF6CUU, Shel, N6RD, Howard, KE6PWH, Herb, KF6BKL, Steve, K6OIK,
Mikel, KN6QI, and Martin, KD6WJW.
The need to search for new club officers was expressed. Many current
officers do not wish to continue. The club may be asked to change
the night of the monthly meeting from Friday to another day. Several
members believe that this might increase attendance. Also expressed
was the need for sources of club income to replace or as alternatives to
the flea market. Finally, it was decided that next year's banquet
will again be held at Michael's in January.
- Martin, KD6WJW
We had a great time at Field Day; wish more of you had been out.
I want to thank all who came out and helped in the operation. A big
thank you to Charlie Arney who has made his place available to store the
antennas and towers and many thanks to Arv who did this for many years.
It is time for FARS members to start thinking about whom they want to
be officers for next year. It is up to each one of you to think about
this and then take the action of asking the person you have thought about.
This is not a board only responsibility but one that each of you must participate
in if FARS is to continue. We must nominate in October and elect in November.
Have you upgraded, changed calls, moved, changed your e-mail address
etc.? If this applies to you, we need this updated information for
our records. Please send any changes to Shel N6RD Thanks.
Omri, our Radio Officer has posted a set of rules for those who operate
the club station please help us by abiding with them.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - The banquet will be on Friday, January
19, 2001 at Michael's. We had a great time last year and I hope that
many of you will come. More on this later.
de Jack WA6YJR
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
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.
President: Jack Eddy WA6YJR
Vice President: Howard Califf KE6PWH
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
Training Officer: Steve Stearns KF6OIK/AE
Radio Officer: Omri Serlin AA6TA
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG (See address below)
Board members: Dirk Thiele KE6ZUY, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD; Hans Neumann
KE6TGA; Herb Davidson KF6BKL, Omri Serlin AA6TA, Larry Moore KM6IU, Charles
Arney KF6CUU, Steve Stearns KF6OIK, David Wilkes KD6WRG.
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:
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(eg. Subscribe fars-announce email@example.com)
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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: N6NFI (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:
Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
VHF voice: KD6WRG on N6NFI, 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
5 July 2000
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any and all interested
parties, or to reproduce it in any other publication. All we ask is that
you give credit where it is due.
SHORT NOTES: Now that the N2TY PSK list reflector is QRT, you might
need a place to ask questions, seek assistance on some project, or post
DX or product news. At least for the time being, use the GAZETTE's new
PSK31 Hangout. Either go to the home page and click PSK31, or go direct
This is where you will find both questions and answers that have already
been posted. As soon as the messages come in to me, I process them and
get them uploaded as quickly as possible.
To submit a question, answer or any other information, go to the service
page and fill in the blank spaces. The service page address is: www.n2hos.com/digital/pskservice.html.
If there is not enough space on the submission form for your particular
use, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There
are no size limits through the Email portal.
And remember, there may be stupid answers, but there are no stupid questions
for those trying to master this new mode. So please feel free to ask about
any aspect of PSK.
Now that I have so much experience with PSK31 (I'm somewhere over 50
Q's, including 22 DX countries), I finally got around to reading the Help
files packaged with DigiPan v1.2. I highly recommend them to all for they
are loaded with good information and tips. If you do nothing more than
print out the macro list, Help will have proved its merit. Some of the
tips are helpful as well. The one I like best is the use of <RXANDCLEAR>
in place of <RX>. This stops transmission AND clears the lower window
of DigiPan. Embed this in all your outbound macros and you'll find that
this erasure helps you keep track of what's going on. Try it! You might
even find out how to send small pictures along with your next QSO.
After printing out several of the Help pages, I decided to take a look
at the DigiPan website again. It's at members.home.com/hteller/digipan.
I reviewed the entire site and came away with one piece of information
I want to pass on to you. This product is free and is produced by Nick
UT2UZ and Skip KH6TY. They hope to keep it free. But there are times when
we want to do something more than just send an Email thanks to the authors,
simply because the free product is so darned good. Well, now's the time.
Nick is suffering severe health problems to the point where it has become
difficult to hold a job. He needs our help and Skip has agreed to serve
as the middleman. Please get your check book now, make one out to the NICK
FUND and send it to Howard (Skip) Teller, KH6TY, 335 Plantation View Lane,
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. Do that and enjoy the product even more.
ANARTS speaks out on the subject of the "Single Transmitter" question.
Unlike BARTG, they place no restrictions on the use of more than one. To
quote "We have no objection whatever to a station having more than one
transceiver for his/her use. Any station can have 100 of them ready for
use, as long as it only keys ONE at a time." Fuel for the fire.
Overheard: I'm watching a lot of print on the screen, trying to figure
out how many new, new operators are entering the digital world because
of PSK31. I've worked three first-timers recently. Here are three special
newcomers I discovered yesterday-one is 84 years old and has been a ham
for 67 years, the other 82 and a ham for 64 years, the third, a mere child,
is 75 and licensed 60 years! Let's hear it for the newbies!
FIELD DAY. Dean N6DE reports that RTTY activity was significantly below
last year's level, and that seems to be the general opinion. Dean suggested
that perhaps PSK31 sort of took over the digital arena during the test.
Probably so, at least from my vantage point. There were quite a few stations
on the air. We applaud their sense of adventure. I worked a few and tried,
in vain, to work several more. But it appeared that most of the operators
had little or no experience with PSK or RTTY protocol. Over and over I
witnessed a confusing series of exchanges. They were efficient, for they
left out things like the ID of either sending or receiving station. That
sort of "stealth" QSO may be a lot of fun for some, but it is always nice
to know that the report coming from the other station is aimed at you.
Not so, this time. The FD station would often come right back after my
report with a QRZ??, but still no station ID. Maybe a training session
or two would be in order, one entitled "Buffer construction and their use
on Field Day."
One very good thing about FD was recognized after the test was over.
Both Ray WF1B and Brian K6STI gave any and all participating stations the
right to use the software without any payment. As Andy N3OGT said, ?I'd
like to publicly compliment both Ray and Brian for the very positive and
helpful attitude toward Field Day use of their software. I hope this continues
in future years.' Amen, for it is indeed the spirit of amateur radio at
Please note: the return address is not my normal Email address, which
remains email@example.com. I have to borrow
the use of a friend's server to deliver these newsletters in this era of
73 de Jim N2HOS firstname.lastname@example.org www.n2hos.com/digital
PSK31 and Field Day
I had just heard about PSK31 for the first time a few months ago. There
was an article in the May QST, and significant discussion about the subject.
I thought it would be interesting to try it on Field Day and began working
on a cable for the club station. With some help from Omri Serlin, AA6TA,
I managed to assemble a cable to connect to the ACC2 port on the club's
570. I squeezed the PTT electronics inside the DB-9 connector for the PC,
thereby eliminating an extra box. Since 570 ACC2 port is designed for digital
connections, I simply connected the pins on the DIN-13 directly to the
plugs for the PC soundcard audio-in and audio-out plugs. This made for
a simple cable to connect the PC to the radio.
Since the 570 has separate audio level settings for the ACC2 connector,
you can set this independently from the speaker audio. A little adjustment
of these levels and the ones on PC side is all that was needed to get the
setup to work. Then connect the DB-9 to the PC serial port for PTT, using
the serial port's RTS pin (the DTR pin is an alternate method). See the
May 2000 QST for details on the wiring for this cable.
In the club station a few days before Field Day, Omri and I tried out
the new cable. Our first contact with this new mode was a station in Poland
on 20 meters. We were both quite excited about this and continued to make
a few more contacts that evening. Clearly this mode was going be a lot
of fun. We did in spite of the fact the we were manually keying the PTT
with out fingers (since I had not quite finished the PTT circuit).
Then on Field Day we set up a laptop at the CW station for RTTY and
PSK31 operation. We started out right away using PSK31 and began making
contacts on 20 meters. Omri and I alternated operation and managed to make
over 100 contacts. When Omri switched over to RTTY on Sunday morning he
commented that RTTY seemed to faster than PSK31. This may be true because
RTTY is operating at 45 baud, while PSK31 is operating at 31 baud. However,
since PSK31 uses a varicode scheme to encode characters in fewer bits,
you would expect it be nearly the same speed. However, in spite of this
speed difference I think PSK31 is going to be very popular. It works better
with weak signals because of redundant transmission of each character.
It uses less bandwidth and therefore supports more concurrent QSOs. The
digital spectrum display makes it easier for find stations. With the correct
cable, any SSB radio can be used to operate this mode. This will not make
RTTY obsolete, but will encourage more hams to use digital modes on the
You can try out PSK31 very easily if you have a Pentium PC with a sound
card. Download the PSK31 software (check out aintel.bi.ehu.es/software.html
for a number of choices). I personally like DigiPan best because of the
macro functions and the nice large spectrum display. Connect a microphone
to your PC and place the microphone near your SSB radio's speaker. Tune
your radio for USB, start up your PSK31 software and watch the spectrum
display for signals. When you are ready to join-in on the conversations,
then make or buy a cable and get on the air!
K6YA Station Report
Recent notable catches at the club station include:
All are on the "100 Most Wanted" country list:
73 de Omri AA6TA
Tom Bohnsack W6PEQ-SK
The obituary of Thomas Tischer Bohnsack appeared in the June 14 Los Altos
Town Crier. He died April 26 in Boise, Idaho. Tom was W6PEQ, W9PEQ before
that, and was a long time member of FARS. He was a frequent prize winner
in the Home Brew Contests through the years as he had the talent to construct
complex projects that looked like commercial prototypes.
Tom suffered one or more strokes in later life. In 1998, he and his
wife Lucile sold their Los Altos home and moved into a retirement home
A condition of the house sale was the removal of his 60' guyed tower
and all antennas. He needed help so a work party of Larry Moore KM6IU,
Dick Baldwinson N6ATD, Arv Hamer WA6UUT, Stan Kuhl K6MA, Fred Canham K6YT,
and George Raven K6OG, took down the antennas, dismantled the tower and
removed everything from the site. Tom donated his KLM KT34 tri-band beam
to the club and it has been atop the Red Cross tower the past three Field
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.