Volume 28, Number 8 - AUGUST 1998
Tom Attwood, W6IXP will talk about his recent DXpidition to Little Diomede
Island in the Bering Straits of Alaska (just 2.5 from the Russian island
of Big Diomede). He and Barry Bettman, K6ST spent nearly three weeks on
this little island of 175 residents and 1.9 square miles of land (65 45
N / 169 45 W).
They operated SSB on 14.260MHz for much of that time and racked up hundreds
of contacts for DX seekers of this rare opportunity. Unfortunately, due
to geography, few contacts with the U.S. we made.
Come to the meeting and find out what it takes to mount one of these
trips and how much fun it can be.
Our Training Officer Paul, AA6PZ,
is planning to have a one weekend class for no-code Tech Oct 3-4. The School
district room at Covington, where FARS normally meets, has been reserverd
Oct 3-4 for a no-code Tech Class.
Cost approx $50, including text book, VEC fees, and club dues. I need
to finalize this with the treasurer.
Pass this on to anyone who might be interested.
Also, I will be looking for instructors. The class will be based on
the current edition of the ARRL Now You're Talking. Ideally there will
be enough teachers that each can do one chapter.
Paul Zander, AA6PZ
The August meeting should be a good one and I hope that many of you
will come out to hear Tom W6IXP talk about their DXpidition to Little Diomede
Many of you missed the last meeting and the good report about field
day. Field Day was a great success and we need to give a big thank you
to Mike KE6MDW for the very good job that he did in getting it all organized.
September meeting will be home brew night and many of you have projects
that you can bring and tell about. Remember that prizes are given for the
best projects which is decided by a vote of those attending.
The board has decided that unless there is someone who wants to head
up the Thursday night net that it should be discontinued. I have tried
to spark some interest in the net but we do not have those who want to
be control operators and very few check ins. If you are interested in this
net please let us know and then participate in it.
The new licensing structure proposed by the ARRL seems to be moving
forward so those of you who are TECHS. now need to get your 5 WPM code
passed so when it happens you will be ready to operate on the HF bands.
To all those who help make Field Day a very good one: THANKS.
FARS TO SPONSOR FLEA MARKET
It's Flea Market Time, Again.
FARS will sponsor the last flea market of the current season on Saturday,
October 10 - and the club needs your help to bring it off. The importance
of a successful flea market can not be overstated: It's the club's big
moneymaker for the year. Without a successful flea market, FARS will go
into the (financial) hole; bills can't be paid, and everything gets put
on hold - for a long time.
We need people to pickup goods (not to shop, but to meet me and take
the supplies), hold them, and deliver them to the market. We need someone
to brew coffee and bring it to the early morning setup. We need someone
to buy doughnuts and bring them early. We need people to buy and bring
ice. We need people at setup (4:00-4:30 a.m.); we need hot dog cooks; we
need people to staff the food table in shifts; we need people to close
the proceedings at the market's end. You get the picture.
I am asking you to volunteer a bit of your time. I will have sign-up
forms available at the next meeting, on Friday, August 28. In the meantime,
I urge you to call me or email me at email@example.com,
to tell me you can help and maybe what you might be able to do. Time is
of the essence - please call as soon as possible.
- 73 de Shel, N6RD
President: Jack Eddy, WA6YJR
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
Training Officer: Paul Zander, AA6PZ
Radio Officer: Mikel Lechner, KN6QI
Newsletter: David Wilkes, KD6WRG
Board members: Dirk Thiele, KE6ZUY; Dick Baldwinson, N6ATD; Hans Neumann,
KE6TGA; Herb Vanderbeek, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org;
For help, send the word "help" to email@example.com; For human assistance,
email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 are the various ways to reach the editor:
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; Eyeball: at FARS meetings.;
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
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.
Foothill Flea Market - 2nd Saturday
of each month from March to October at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills.
The Pacific Division - PACIFICON'98 - Convention sponsored by the Mount
Diablo ARC is scheduled for Oct. 16 - 18 at the Airport Sheraton Hotel,
Concord, CA. For information call (925) 932-6125;
Mail reservations to:
Obtain hotel reservations at $76 per night by calling 1-800-325-3535 (mention
PACIFICON'98 to get this rate).
P. O. Box 272613
Concord CA 94527
RELAY BY E-MAIL
In the next month or so I am going to do a test of the e-mail address
we have with an eye to distributing the Relay by e-mail to those
members who have e-mail. If you receive a test message to an address where
it would not be appropriate to receive the Relay, please respond
with an alternate e-mail address or a note to indicate you can't or don't
want to receive the Relay by e-mail. I would also like to know if
you want the Relay in the body of an e-mail message or as a Word
attachment. I also need to know if your Internet provider limits the size
of messages or attachments.
I obtained an automatic folding machine which only does trifolds so
this is the shape of the newsletter from now on. Now I have to find a machine
which puts on mailing labels and stamps. I may go to stickers instead of
AMATEUR RADIO NEWSLINE
What is the FCC?
The Los Angeles Times reports on a strange bust by the FCC. It happened
recently in Columbia, Maryland where District Director Charles Magin used
a car full of high-tech direction finding gear to pinpoint a false marine
radio distress signal.
Magin says that he rounded a corner on Maryland's Kent Island and flashed
his badge to six dumbfounded teenagers. He figured he has the upper hand
so he asked which one has been operating the radio?
But the shocked suspects, ages 13 to 15, had even more pressing questions
of their own. They looked over and asked Magin: "What's the FCC? Are you,
like, part of the Coast Guard or something?"
(CGC Communicator, LA Times)
FCC to act on Ham Radio licensing decline
Volunteers Examiner Coordinators from around the nation have learned
that the FCC plans to take action to stimulate growth in ham radio. This,
as they met with the Commission's staff on July 9th and 10th at their annual
Conference held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The FCC appears to believe
that the decline in Amateur Radio interest and licensing is bad for the
service. As a result D'wana Terry, Chief of the Wireless Division confirmed
that the FCC would soon be issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking intended
to streamline the service and eliminate any unnecessary rules used in governing
Amateur Radio. Terry told the VECs that she was very limited in what she
could say about the NPRM. This is because the FCC is still preparing it.
Ms. Terry did say that the recommendation would include both a discussion
of current problems and specific proposals on how the FCC plans to deal
with them. Ms. Terry did acknowledge that one of the things the FCC is
looking into is a reduction in the Morse code exam speed. This, as a way
around the allegedly abused 13 and 20 words-per-minute handicapped applicant
code examination waivers. As we go to air, no date has been set for the
release of this internally generated NPRM. But it could come as early as
the end of August, if not before.
New battery technology
A new battery technology being developed for military use holds the
promise of longer operating times for all sorts of equipment including
portable ham radio gear. Engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory's
Space Vehicles Directorate are reported to be very excited about their
successful sodium-sulfur battery tests performed on last Novembers' space
shuttle mission. This, according to a press release from the Air Force
Material Command at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico
as reported in the International Space Report News Digest. The new battery
weighs half as much and generates nearly three times the specific power
of nickel-hydrogen technology, or 150 watt hours per kilogram of battery
weight. The sodium-sulfur costs half as much as nickel-hydrogen and is
more reliable due to simpler design.
(Via Space News Digest)
Hams win over surveillance manufacturer
Score a big win for ham radio. This as the FCC turns down a bid by the
manufacturer of theft deterrent equipment to gain access to Amateur Radio
Spectrum. Back on April 28, 1997, Checkpoint Systems, Inc. requested that
the Commission amend Part 15 of its rules. This, to increase the allowed
radiated and power line conducted emission levels for intentional radiators
in the 1.705 to 30 MHZ band. Checkpoint manufactures systems that are used
to prevent the theft of articles from retail stores and other facilities.
In its filing, the company said that such a rule changes would permit an
increase in the operating range for its electronic article surveillance
gear without increasing the risk of interference to other radio services.
The FCC designated Checkpoints request as RM 9092 and put out for public
comment. Responding on behalf of Amateur Radio was the American Radio Relay
League. On June 16th, 1997, the American Radio Relay League filed in opposition
to the Checkpoint petition. The ARRL pointed out that Checkpoint has not
provided any technical analysis of the potential for increased interference
to the amateur radio service. The ARRL believes that Checkpoint's request
would result in increased interference to the amateur radio service which
is allocated spectrum in several frequency bands between 1.705 and 30 MHZ.
But that was not all. The ARRL also noted that such installations are often
located close to amateur operations located in residential areas. Also,
the ARRL also said that such a rule change was unnecessary due
to the availability
of alternative technology that operates in higher frequency bands. On August
4th, Dale Hatfield who is the Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering
and Technology turned down the Checkpoint request. I doing so Hatfield
noted that Checkpoint has not provided sufficient technical analysis to
support its assertion that there is no risk of interference to other radio
services as the ARRL claims. Hatfield also said that Checkpoint had not
submitted any scientific evidence to support its claim that building
attenuation will act to prevent this kind of interference.
FISTS vs. ARRL
Part deux. While all eyes are now on the FCC regarding the future of
ham radio, FISTS -- the British Morse code preservation society with a
chapter in the United States is very critical of the recent ARRL ham radio
restructuring proposal. In part two of her interview with Amateur News
Weekly's Charlie Cotterman KA8OQF, FISTS' Nancy Kott, WZ8C says the ARRL
is not adequately supporting Morse code: "I think by telling the FCC that
it is ok to lower the requirements 12 WPM and by giving away some of our
CW subbands to the sideband portion of the band, I think that they are
setting a precedence and they can only get worse." Nancy Kott, WZ8C What
is FISTS position on the ARRL proposal? FISTS is not against restructuring,
but as the international morse preservation society we are against the
lower of standards as they apply to morse code. Of course we are against
the proposed loss of some of our CW frequencies ." Kott Should the Amateur
Community make their individual opinions in this situation known? And who
should they make them known to? You should definitely raise our voice and
let our opinion be known about this. I would urge everybody let your ARRL
leadership know how you feel. Write your director and the president and
the vice president of the ARRL. Let them know how you feel, because they
are supposed to be representing the majority of the hams." Kott The storm
that is brewing on the horizon has the distinct flavor of the ones that
happened during the change over to incentive licensing. And the introduction
of the codeless entry license to the ham ranks. Reporting for Amateur News
Weekly I'm Charlie Cotterman, KA8OQF. Thanks Charlie.
(Amateur News Weekly)
International Foxhunt results
Closer to home and despite temperatures in the 90's, everyone seemed
to have a great time at a recent international-style foxhunt. This, at
a park in Hacienda Heights, California on Saturday, August 1st. Why report
on a fox hunt in California? Well this was no regular foxhunt. Rather,
it was an official training session for the United States Amateur Radio
Direction Finding team which will be competing at the World Championships
in Hungary during the first week in September. Team Captain Dale Hunt,
WB6BYU of Yamhill, Oregon participated, as did team members Marvin Johnston,
KE6HTS and Dennis Schwendtner, WB6OBB. They joined sixteen other
radio-orienteers who took to the course and attempted to find six
hidden transmitters operating on 146.565 MHZ.
SATELLITE SPOTTING & THE INTERNET
For all you satellite fans, a spectacular sight is now visible in the
skies. The Iridium constellation, 66 satellites that will provide
ground communications starting later this year, is designed and oriented
in such a way that the satellites brilliantly reflect sunlight back to
earth, or "flare", at regular and predictable intervals. I'd like to thank
Omri, AA6TA, for first pointing out this phenomenon last month when the
Space Shuttle and Mir flew overhead on their last mission together. We
were both active on the APZ repeater during the event, and Omri told us
about a pair of Iridium flares that was to happen shortly afterwards. Although
I saw only one of the flares, it was spectacular. A short search of the
Web turned up a location where you can get a list of upcoming Iridium flares
for the next 7 days. They are brief, between 5 and 20 seconds, but some
are brighter than the planet Venus, and at their brightest, visible even
in the daytime! The URL I found for Iridium flare predictions begins at:
This page will set a "cookie" in your browser to remember your location's
latitude and longitude. Your location is important - the ground path of
a flare is only 100 km or so wide and a spectacular flare may be barely
visible only a few dozen miles away. I'll be watching for the brighter
ones (magnitude -4 and above) visible in Mountain View; listen for me on
the APZ repeater a few minutes before the event.
RANDOM INTERNET COMMENTS
I pulled the part of the information from the Internet site (See next
page). There is a lot more information on these and other satellites plus
a page where you can enter your city and get your coordinates. I'm getting
spoiled: Whenever I need some information, there is an Internet site dedicated
to it. The information may not always be accurate, but at least there are
a lot of links to other sites with other opinions. I use Alta Vista almost
because there is translation software for other languages.
An elderly couple I know is having a problem with a bank in Holland.
His teacher's pension is tied up in that bank and communication was difficult
for them. I was able to pry the money loose by communicating with the bank
by email and Internet FAX. At first they tried to stonewall me by replying
in Dutch, but I was able to use Alta Vista to translate the Dutch words
I did not know. They are now getting their money. This same couple has
retirement funds invested in a British Bank which decided not to pay dividends
to people living abroad. One of the investors, who lives in Brazil, instituted
an international class action lawsuit by contacting people on the Internet.
I think that bank is in a heap of trouble.
For more information on Iridium flares, and an explanation of the columns
in the table, see the www2.gsoc.dlr.de Iridium Flare Help Page.
Clicking on the time of the flare will load another page with more details,
including a map showing the track of the flare along the ground, and the
location of the nearest point of maximum intensity.
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.