Volume 29, Number 12 - DECEMBER 1999
December Meeting: Friday December 17, 1999.
Rich Stiebel, W6APZ will talk about Family Radio Service at the meeting
on 12/17. People start showing up at 7 PM, but the meeting does not start
Why should hams be interested in FRS? Most of us have relatives or friends
who have seen us communicating via ham radio and would like to have the
same convenience, but for whatever reason, will not get a ham license.
FRS provides one way to be able to talk to them. As hams, we are expected
to know "everything" about radio. This talk will arm you with important
information so you can be an "expert" on FRS.
Topics we'll discuss
What FRS is
The speaker, Rich Stiebel, W6APZ, became interested in FRS when friends
wanted to be able to communicate but had no interest in getting a ham license.
He researched the topic and collected information from numerous sources
to enable them to make an intelligent choice of FRS radios.
Features allowed in FRS radios
Prohibited types of communication
What to look for when buying an FRS radio
Frequency channels available
Power output allowed
Typical uses of FRS
Real-life performance to expect
Cost of FRS radios and who sells them
Thank you Les Zwiebel, WB6ORZ for an interesting program on restoring
old radios at our November meeting (No, you can't have my mother's lunchbox
6 meter transceiver).
I found this RF safety calculator during one of my searches on the Internet.
Maybe you would like to post the URL: [www.k1dwu.net]
Takes you to the home page with many interesting things in addition to
the calculator DW]
January is the month of our banquet and
I encourage each of you to attend. It is going to be a great time, more
in this Relay.
IF YOU ARE COMING, PLEASE TELL US NOW.
This year we will provide transportation for anyone who needs it. If
you need a ride please call David Wilkes at 408-996-1613.
We are starting to plan for Field Day and we need your participation.
We are going to ask you to commit early this year. In the past we have
set up several stations to try to meet the wants of all. Last year we were
very short of operators. This year if we do not have commitments to man
the stations we will set only the ones that have operators.
We need a coordinator, captains and operators. We are asking you to
commit early so you can get the last weekend of June marked on your calendar.
REMEMBER THE BANQUET GET YOUR
There is no reason for someone to stay away from the banquet
because they are not comfortable driving at night. Hams are supposed to
be caring people so we are trying an experiment. If you want to come and
need a ride, call me. I will call a ham near you and arrange a ride. As
a secondary consideration, I would like to make a list of hams who do not
drink at the banquet so as to
provide drivers for those who do. We are not getting puritanical here (God
forbid), but it just makes good sense not to drink and drive with the consequences
being so high (They even got a judge recently and dragged her through the
press even though she was not legally drunk. Call me to arrange a ride,
but please call early.
President: Jack Eddy, WA6YJR
Vice President: Howard Califf, KE6PWH
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 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:
subscribe fars-announce YOUR-EMAIL-ADDRESS
(e.g. "subscribe fars-announce 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 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 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.
14 Years Industry Experience
Individuals, Trusts, Retirement Plans
No-Load Mutual Funds
Personal Account Statements
Peter W. Johnson, Jr., PFP (KN6MO)
Registered Investment Advisor
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
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.
December Board Meeting
This month's FARS board meeting was held the evening of December 7, 1999.
Present were Jack, WA6YJR, Arv, WA6UUT, Larry, KM6IU, David, KD6WRG, Howard,
KE6PWH, Herb, KF6BKL, Dick, N6ATD, Paul, AA6PZ, Shel, N6RD, and Martin
The subject was brought up of early preparation for the flea market
(April) and Field Day (June). This is to avoid excess last moment activity
looking for participants, etc.
Awards for net participation were suggested.
PARA and FARS will divide the expenses of the banquet
Amateur Radio Newsline
The low cost Ham Aid Box
Repeater owners and trustees might want to take note of a very intriguing
article by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR that appears in the Fall 1999 issue of
Amateur Television Quarterly magazine. Its called the Ham Aid Box and Bruninga
says that it's a way to distribute text messages using an off the shelf
piece of consumer electronic gear.
According to WB4APR, the caller ID units that many of us have in our
homes use the same 1200 baud ASCII and Bell 202 standards as used on packet
radio. He goes on to say that a caller ID unit hooked to the speaker of
a mobile or base ham radio station can display up to four lines of text
messaging. Since all caller ID units have memories, multiple messages can
The text message would have been generated by any ASCII capable TNC
connected to the repeater. Bruninga says that this could make it possible
to implement a universal and low cost amateur radio text distribution system,
(WB4APR Internet Posting)
Repeater sites: What hams are doing
As more and more radio sites come under the manage-ment of a small number
of mega-corporations, free or low price radio sites for hams are quickly
disappearing. And there have been reports of the mega owners doing all
within their power to keep experimenters like hams off hilltops and roofs
that they share with other site administrators. As a result some ham radio
repeater operators have taken the extreme alternative of buying property
and putting up their own sites.
Frosty Oden is also the owner of the site that hosts his systems. We
asked him why he decided to make such a large investment for a hobby:
"When you are a tenant in somebody's building. First of all they feel
like you are bending over backward to give you a lower rent. Second of
all they are always in fear that you will bring an entourage up there and
expose their expensive clients and radio equipment to some sort of a problem,
lets say. And third of all, they seem to feel as though amateurs are, don't
have the technological knowledge of exactly of how to keep from interfering
anybody else. They kind of let you in with a sort of freighted look on
their face." Frosty Oden, N6ENV
"If a group of Amateurs who want to put a repeater up get together with
other Amateurs and try to pool their forces. Whether it's, oh I have a
pole climber in my club, and I've got a technocrat who knows how to work
on that, and Joe's club has a guy who has control of a sight, and somebody
who knows how to build a simple cinder block building. If they join forces,
I think that is the only way to conquer the problem.
Also I think those who do own sites like I do should try to open up,
or at least make known that we do have vault space for the Amateurs." Oden
Oden says that the best way for hams to survive the coming repeater
site crunch is begin pooling our resources and learning to share.
Unfortunately, more and more hams are now finding that the same mega-managers
that evicted them from where they had been are also filing in opposition
to building permits and even challenging land sales. They don't want hams
near their sites for fear of interference from Amateur Station equipment
and the possibility that some ham radio clubs might decide to rent their
excess space to commercial customers. We will deal with this part of the
story in a future Newsline report.
Solar Maximum could zap power grids
Communications satellites and power grids could be disrupted for the next
three years because of intense solar activity associated with the upcoming
Solar Maximum. Newsline's Bill Burnett, KT4SB, reports from Miami:
According to a report on the program This Week in Amateur Radio that
in turn quotes other published news reports, starting in the year 2000,
space storms, radiation showers and their affects on power grids are all
expected during the upcoming maximum, which is expected to last about three
years. And, according to administrators at the National Oceanographic and
Atmospheric Administration, the United States is especially vulnerable
because of its increasing dependence on satellites.
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration officials say
that these storms act to alter the Earth's magnetic field. Because of this,
they may send strong enough electrical impulses that could overwhelm vulnerable
One of the strongest impacts occurred during the last solar cycle in
1989. That's when the entire Province of Quebec in Canada went dark because
a geomagnetic storm caused a power grid overload.
To prepare for the possibility of a more widespread problem, NOAA scientists
are using state-of-the-art scales designed to depict the severity and impact
of upcoming solar storms on public safety and vital services. And while
amateur radio operators await the solar maximum hoping for improved conditions
on all High Frequency and VHF band conditions, others are at work in another
important area. They are getting their emergency communications equipment
and back up power systems ready, just in case.
FARS Banquet 2000
The speaker for the joint banquet
with PARA on January 14 will be Bonnie Crystal. She will be talking about
cave exploration. Spelunking with radios (No I did not make that word up).
I have read several articles on her and her fellow explorers. It will be
Larry Moore and I made arrangements for our banquet.
We are going to go back to Michael's at Shoreline where we had our banquet
in January 1998. The date we selected is January 14, 2000. This is a Friday
night. It seems that January has become very popular for holiday parties
as well as November and December.
We have decided on three menus. Roast Prime Rib of Beef.au jus $29.80.
Breast of Chicken. Piccata $24.65. Broiled Salmon,Lemon Beurre Blanc $27.55.
Each entree is served with seasonal greens, "intermezzo" pasta, fresh vegetables,
potato du jour, french rolls and coffee. We have selected cheesecake for
dessert. The above prices include service at 17% and tax of 8.25%.
[Please fill out form below as soon as you know you are coming to the
We will have a NO HOST BAR. Wine can be purchased for dinner by anyone
desiring it. Incidentally house wine from the bar will cost $3.75.
We have chosen not to have Hors D'oeuvres during the cocktail hour.
We felt it would increase to the price too much and weren't really necessary
since it is a big dinner with the separate pasta dish. An alternative might
be to have the Club buy the Hors D'oeuvres. To do it right would cost $200
to @ $250 for four to five trays with 50 items per tray. This can be discussed
if anyone thinks we really need them.
The sooner people get this on their calendars the greater our chances
of a good turnout. Of course a good program is important to a good turnout.
The program committee should get busy. We have done our part.
We have indicated to Michaels a group of 50-60 with a tentative possibility
of up to 100 if Paara joins us. They are flexible on this. We will discuss
guarantees when it is time for the deposit.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael's only does banquets. There is no restaurant service
available. There may be some sort of vegetarian meal available if ordered
well ahead of time. At this time we have no requests for special meals.
Please get your reservations in early; it is very difficult to plan
and negotiate when we don't know how many are coming. This will be
the last newsletter before the banquet.
There is no meeting in January. Would someone like to make up direction
signs for the banquet area?
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.