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The FARS Relay

Volume 30, Numbers 1 & 2 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2000

February Meeting

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]

Howard, KE6PWH


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.


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 several months.

I hope to see many more of you at the meetings. 

de Jack WA6YJR

Secretary's Report

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.

Martin, KD6WJW


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 Arney KF6CUU.

K6YA Station Trustee: Stan Kuhl, K6MA

FARS Web Page:

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 
subscribe fars-announce YOUR-EMAIL-ADDRESS (eg. Subscribe fars-announce 
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:

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

Owen DeLong

3251 Firth Way, San Jose, CA 95121
408-322-3741 - Fax: 408-532-9362
Email: Owen@DeLong.COM


Translation Fun

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.

Dennis KC6PUN

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 . 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, or send a blank email to


Web Sites for Non-profits and Candidates

Dennis Paull

Web Syte Design

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 at

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

Astronomy/Space Alert

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: (primary address) (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: . 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: .

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.

Rich, W6APZ

Speakers for future meetings.

March: Crystal radios

April: Either Easter egg coloring or Mike, K6PUD on contesting

May: Loop antennas


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 of dollars. 

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 their websites. 

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! 

Andy, VE3FZK

The Ramsey circuit is similar to one in a Radio Shack "300 Projects" kit.

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 FCC action:

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 examination.

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.