Volume 28, Number 3 - MARCH 1998
The speaker for the March meeting will be Vic Black, AB6SO; The topic
will be robots.
The talk will feature a short video about industrial light assembly
robot systems consisting of articulated robotic arms, microprocessor based
controllers and advanced machine vision driven by sophisticated software.
The robots are used in the automotive, pharmaceutical, food handling and
electronics industries, worldwide. Virtually all hard disk drives are robot
assembled as are surface mount PC asemblies in amateur HTs, etc. Highlights
of the talk will be the history of this 25 year old industry and significant
developments within the past decade.
Vic Black, AB6SO. Originally licensed as KN6IOW. Upgraded to K6IOW then
let license lapse during the 1960's. Relicensed as General Class KD6KWA
in 1992 to drive for hang glider pilots. At some time or other I have held
all classes of license (except Conditional). I like CW as a mode and especially
the challenge of QRP and home brewing. I also enjoy VHF and UHF contests
and enter some HF SSB contests.
Clubs: I am the immediate past President a board member of Palo Alto
Amateur Radio Association. I also served as Secretary and Vice President
and for three years was the program chairman. I belong to NorCal QRP, QRP-ARCI,
Northwest QRP and Michigan QRP clubs.
Vic Black, AB6SO
DECISION MAKERS WANTED
There are still some openings on the Board -including some of the
top spots. Here is your chance.
MORSE CODE ON THE INTERNET
At the last meeting, I surveyed people on what radio classes they were
interested in. The biggest single topic was CW. Specifically upgrading
to tech plus before Field Day. Here is a list of web sites with info on
learning Morse code.
Down-loadable MORSE 4.0
Description of Koch Method: start at 15 WPM and learn more letters as
you master them.
W7TPQ's story of how he did learned CW
Home page for Morse Enthusiasts Group of Scotland
AA2MZ's story of getting 29 year to get a license
Learning Morse Code By the Koch Method Using the SuperMorse Software
Package (Based on SuperMorse Version 4.04)
Learning Morse Code in 2 hours
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.
President: Jack Eddy WA6YJR
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Training Officer: Paul Zander AA6PZ
Radio Officer: Mikel Lechner KN6QI
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG
Board members: Dirk Thiele, KE6ZUY; Dick, N6ATD; Hans, KE6TGA; Martin,
KD6WJW; Herb, KF6BKL
K6YA Station Trustee: Stan Kuhl, K6MA
FARS Web Page:
FARS announcement mailing list is moderated, so you cannot reply directly
to the list. To subscribe, send the word "subscribe" to: email@example.com;
For help, send the word "help" to firstname.lastname@example.org;
For human assistance, email to: email@example.com.
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
(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 are the various ways to reach the editor:
Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
14 Years Industry Experience
Individuals, Trusts, Retirement Plans
No-Load Mutual Funds
Personal Account Statements
Peter W. Johnson, Jr., PFP (KN6MO)
Registered Investment Advisor
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
AMATEUR RADIO NEWSLINE
Ham Radio Legal Service formed
New hope for hams and radio clubs plagued by malicious interference
and harassment from others who use foul language on the air. An ARRL Director
is forming a new legal service aimed at combating this growing problem.
But its not an ARRL project.
Joe Falcone, N8TI listened to amateur radio and doesn't like what he
hears. "Apparently certain people believe that they can say whatever they
want over Amateur Radio (that is injurious to others). The problem is that
the average ham doesn't have resources to start a law suit that's going
to cost $20,000 to $30,000." Falcone
So Falcone, Director of the ARRL's Great Lakes Division, says he will
form a nonprofit organization called the Amateur Radio Legal Aid Association.
Its purpose: to provide support for amateurs threatened by other hams who
use amateur radio to commit the offenses.
Falcone, speaking with RAIN's Hap Holly, KC9RP, says the association
will tackle what many hams have long considered a major problem, and that's
the failure by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to act
on complaints involving amateur radio.
"I actually have heard of death threats, threats of arson and when I
would talk to (the affected) people.
I was in shock -- would ask 'have you gone to the police?' The individuals
would say: '...yes, we have gone to the police, but the police won't act
on it and the FBI won't act on it. The reason (that law enforcement gives)
is if a person a 1,000 miles away -- or 2,000 miles away makes a threat
over Amateur Radio, the police and the FBI don't seem to take it seriously.'
This got me extremely upset and I asked myself: 'well, what would I
do if somebody did this to me?'" Falcone
The Association will have no connection to the ARRL. Falcone says it
will seek donations of time from lawyers and law students, as well as donations
from the public. The group may eventually be able to help hams who are
victims of radio-borne offenses to take legal action on their own:
"If such lawsuits were brought against these individuals (who harass
others on the air), then this, in and of itself would stop this type of
activity. The reason is that when someone gets hit with a lawsuit in a
federal or state court, and they have to drain their savings to defend
it, they are not going to go on doing that (activity). And of coarse, if
they disobey a civil injunction, they can be thrown in jail." Falcone
Falcone says the association will conduct research to help hams assess
legal options available to them. Ultimately, he hopes the group might even
be able to provide financial aid to help bring clear cases of injustice
involving amateur radio into the courtroom.
You can hear the complete interview with ARRL Director Joe Falcone,
N8TI and learn more of his plans by calling the RAIN Report. That's the
new name for the old RAIN Dial-Up and is still at area code (847) 827-RAIN.
(Via Newsline, RAIN)
By the way, the reports producer Hap Holly, KC9RP has a new RealAudio
web address at:
The RAIN Report still updates Fridays. Again the phone number is area code
(847) 827-RAIN. In simple numbers that's (847) 827-7246.
Is it legal to operate a ham radio station on top of an unlicensed station
that's bootlegging on a ham band? And, is it breaking any FCC rule to reek
havoc on a bootlegger that's using the amateur spectrum for an obvious
commercial purpose? Those are the questions that have arisen in New York
City between hams who want to rid ten meters of illegal taxi cab dispatch
services, but who are divided on how to do it.
Three lines of reason have developed. The first says that you should
ignore the existence of the bootlegger. As such, these hams believe that
you can operate any mode to which your license permits in the spectrum
-- and do so right on top of a bootlegging station
Another faction says -- wait a minute. Even though the bootleg taxi
dispatch and mobile stations have no legal right to be in a ham band, to
operate on top of them is still an act of wanton malicious interference
Finally there are those who agree that the taxi operators are breaking
the law by using 10 meters, but they also say that for hams to do anything
that interferes with their communications is to violate the cabbies civil
rights. They believe that only the federal government has the power to
move them off of 10 meters but the content of their communications and
their ability to communicate is constitutionally protected.
Which if any of these three views is the right one? That's what we asked
the FCC. They say they have turned it over to one of their lawyers to research.
The answer -- hopefully -- next week.
APRS QSY to begin
APRS digipeters in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska and Wisconsin
will switch frequency to 144.39 MHZ on Saturday, March 1st. This as the
first part of a national agreement to consolidate all APRS activities onto
a single 2 meter frequency nationwide. Called the "APRS QSY," the plan
was adopted by the users of APRS so as to get the mode off of the 145.790Mhz
two meter experimental use frequency.
AMSAT on bandplanning
AMSAT North America likes the ARRL's ideas on bandplan controls but
it wants to be certain that ham satellites and manned ham radio operations
that use FM will continue. This, if the League is successful in persuading
the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling on the issue.
AMSAT North America president Bill Tynan, W3XO, says that he supports
the intent of ARRL's initiative. But Tynan says that he will suggest to
the AMSAT North America Board of Directors for the organization go on record
to preserve the current practice of using FM in conjunction with Earth
to space and space to Earth communication within the satellite sub-bands.
"There are a number of satellites currently operating in the satellite
band that utilize FM. What I was saying was that -- subject to discussion
and approval by the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors -- that I felt we should
make it clear that there has to be provisions for continuing the use of
those satellites -- and possibly future (FM) satellites in those segments."
But Tynan takes a much stronger position against FM in regard to non-space
communications taking place in the ham satellite bands. Tynan says that
he will also recommend that the Board support a ban on FM terrestrial only
communications within the ham satellite segments.
"It is potentially destructive to satellite operations to have
operation in the 145.8 to 146.0 MHz satellite band. That's really the band
we are talking about. If an (interfering) operation of that type takes
place it is more likely to be FM because most people have FM equipment."
As previously reported, the ARRL may ask the FCC to issue a declaratory
ruling dealing with the problem of inter-mode conflicts. The League wants
the Commission to assert that any operation that conflicts with established,
voluntary band plans and causes interference or adversely affects others
operating in accordance with applicable band plans, is considered poor
amateur practice, regardless of the band on which the conflict might occur.
Open the internet
The nation's top telecommunications regulator wants to help ease the
world wide wait on the world wide web. Federal Communications Commission
Chairman Bill Kennard doesn't have a plan yet but says that he intends
to start looking into ways to give companies incentives to provide more
high-speed connections into the nations homes. That says Kennard will help
ease the congestion that many people experience when browsing the Internet.
Kennard also says that the FCC should consider streamlining regulations
to give these companies the incentives needed to assure that they will
build these networks.
CW can combat bootleggers
Gary Smith, W6TER, says that the best way to drive the New York City
taxis off 10 meters is to make it hard if not impossible for them
He adds that hams can do this by using the oldest mode available to the
As reported last week, Smith says that the illegal taxi transceivers
are channelized units. He says that they are found in the low end of 10
meters on 28.015, 28.045, 28.075 MHZ and so on up the band. And here is
where he says that the Morse code really comes into play.
While hams cannot legally operate voice in this spectrum they can use
the code. Smith says that to make their communication ineffective takes
as little as ten watts of Morse code sent very slowly. He says that slow
CW will affect the AGC circuits in their low cost radios and make for a
very annoying situation for the illegals. He says that most of the illegals
are mobiles, almost any fixed base station will easily overwhelm their
radios. And if the Taxi's cannot communicate, says Smith, they will move
to frequencies where they can.
But there is one question. Is it or is it not illegal to jam
-- even if those signals are coming from unlicensed people who are not
supposed to be there? That part of the story, next week.
(Via Hudson Division Loop)
The internet repeater connection
Late last year Newsline reported how amateurs are linking local area
repeaters to the Internet for worldwide connection to other amateurs and
repeaters. In the December 1996 issue of QST Magazine's FM and Repeaters
column, Murray Green, K3BEQ, wrote about the procedural aspect of communicating
through repeaters using the Internet. In a follow-up article, to be released
in March, Green will provide information on how to go about obtaining the
software necessary to access repeaters via the Internet or to talk to other
amateurs on a computer to computer basis. Look for it a few weeks.
Franklin Institute station to close
A famous ham radio station, long accessible to the public may be closing
down for good. Bob Joseweit, WA3PZO, reports via the Hudson Division Loop
electronic newsletter that the famous amateur radio station at the Franklin
institute and Science Museum in Philadelphia may be done away with. According
to Joseweit, plans call for the station floor space to be converted into
offices sometime this summer.
(Via WA3PZO, Hudson Division Loop)
The $600 HF Radio
In ham radio industry news, SGC Corporation has announced that it will
bring out an under $600 high frequency transceiver. The Bellevue, Washington
based company says that it has developed a new twenty watt high frequency
transceiver that carries a manufacturers suggested retail price of only
Based on a popular Index Labs design and dubbed the SGC-2020, the radio
has tunable coverage 1.8 to 29.7 MHZ, has 40 memory channels, a microprocessor
controlled iambic A mode keyer, digital frequency readout, front panel
microphone jack and much more.
No reaction yet from the big-four manufacturers to SGC's low priced
challenge to a traditionally high ticket item.
(Via press release, CQ Magazine, others)
Newsline, P.O.Box 660937, Arcadia, California 91066
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.