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The FARS Relay

Volume 30, Number 3 MARCH 2000

March Meeting

Friday, March 24 at 7:30 PM. The speaker will be Lawrence Pizzella on the subject of crystal radios. Says Lawrence: 

I built my first crystal radio in 1958 at age 9, from a kit I had requested as a Christmas gift. It even had a one transistor audio amp. Like most Hams I have phased through several interests ranging from HF mobile operation, Satellites, VHF antenna experimenting, Homebrewing and QRP. My interest in Xtal sets was reawakened when I discovered "The Crystal Set Society", several very nice web sites, and an on-line discussion group called "The Crystal Set Radio Club", and got to know the people on them. I was then able to share my enthusiasm and exchange information with other "serious" crystal and Antique Radio enthusiasts.

I was first licensed as WN3ALA in 1964. Later, while in Navy ETA school I passed the Advanced class exam at the Chicago FCC office, and was licensed as WA3NOQ in 1969. During the Mid 80's when I realized that the 2x1 Extra calls were going fast, (no vanity call program in sight) I realized that if I wanted one (and a "6" call) that I better act. I tested with the Foothill VE's was licensed as WR6K. I lay claim to directly Elmering at least 12 new hams over the years, and using the Xtal Radio venue to introduce young people to Radio, our wonderful hobby and vocation.

My presentation will cover the very early history of radio, complete with pictures of key contributors to the Xtal radio art, as well as Vintage Xtal Radios. It will also cover basic and advanced circuits, high performance design principles, and operating techniques. I will bring several Xtal radios that I have built to display.

I work as an electrical engineer for a small security equipment company designing various types of field sensor equipment products.

Larry WR6K
Larry is especially interested in seeing young people at the talk and promises to include items for them.

His talk is quite thorough and he will not be able to cover everything in one evening. I have heard him speak and I encourage you to invite interested friends. You and they won't be disappointed.



Arv Hamer WA6UUT resigned from the board for medical reasons (Update at the meeting).

Steve Stearns KF6OIK has been named to the Board.

February Meeting

Have your on-line searches been faster, fuller and more to the point. If not, you weren't taking good notes at the February meeting. The talk by Mike Wimble, KM6WP of AltaVista on search engines gave us some good insight and more than a few valuable hints.


March 25-26 it is the CQ WW WPX SSB Contest. Bring your log to the April meeting. Ten dollars and a certificate to the one with the highest score per the contest rules.


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.


FARS has the Foothill Electronic Flea Market for April.
Sign up at the March meeting.


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 Arney KF6CUU, Steve Stearns KF6OIK.

K6YA Station Trustee: Stan Kuhl, K6MA

FARS Web Page:

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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:

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

Owen DeLong

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


March Board Meeting

The FARS board held its monthly meeting on the evening of March 7, 2000. The members present were Jack, WA6YJR, Howard, KE6PWH, Mikel, KN6QI, David, KD6WRG, Herb, KF6BKL, Shel, N6RD, Charlie, KF6CUU, Steve, KF6OIK, Dirk, KE6ZUY, and Martin KD6WJW. Plans were discussed for the April 8 Flea Market to be hosted by the club. Similarly, Field Day was discussed. Mention was made of the loss of power to the club station and problems with the antenna mount. It was decided to move the May meeting to the third Friday of the month because of conflicts with Memorial Day weekend.
- Martin, KD6WJW

Amateur Radio Spectrum Bill Introduced in Senate

The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act bill now has supporting legislation in the US Senate. Idaho Sen Michael Crapo has introduced a bill that mirrors the house bill, HR 783. The Senate measure has been designated S 2183.

ACTION ITEM: Write your Senators and ask them to support this bill. Then write your Congressperson and ask them to get the House bill out of committee.

Changes: 2.4 GHz.

Check out this URL regarding the FCC and possible changes in the 2.4 GHz frequency allocation. The best quote comes from someone in marketing for wireless networks who complains about microwave ovens in that frequency band!
Paul AA6PZ

Technician Class, May 6,7, 2000

The Class is scheduled for May 6th & 7th at the American Red Cross in San Jose. Class will use the book "Now you're Talking". It will start at 0800. Tests will be given after the class ends on Sunday. The contact person for further information is Bill Ashby, N6FFC. You can contact Bill at: They have room for at least 40 students and may need some help if anyone is available.
Howard, KE6PWH

Web Wanderings by Howard Califf, KE6PWH

This is the first in a series of articles I will write about my searches on the Internet to find information for and about my hobby of Ham Radio. Sometimes the URLs will talk about will be related and sometimes they will just be about new ones I have just come upon.

A little bit about myself. I'm a two-finger typist. Currently a No-Code Technician but I have passed my General Written Exam so I'm working on the Code(a means to an end, Hi Hi). Anyway on with the show.

One of my favorite sites is called "How Far Is It" The url is "" I started using this one because it shows not only the Distance to a target but it also shows the Bearing for pointing a beam when working DX. Now you may say why is a No Code Technician working DX. I am a DX'r on both 2M and 6M SSB. From My home in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, Ca) I have worked 4 countries on 6M, 17 States and over 60 grids. My farthest was N & S Carolina about 2300 Miles and on 2M I have worked Amarillo, TX about 1100 miles. "How Far Is It" figured it out for me.

For those of you who are thinking about up grading your license as I have just done you may want to go to one of the "on line" sites where you can take Practice Tests. I used them extensively and attribute my passing to all the practice tests I took. Also my study book was out of date so the tests helped fill in the gaps. The first Practice Site I will talk about is our old favorite "QRZ" This is the one I used mainly because it corrected each question as I answered it with the correct response and it kept a running tally of my correct answers to questions asked. Just go to the web site as if to look up a Call-Sign and click on the button called exams. Then select which test you want out of either the current or the new set of pool questions that takes effect on April 15th. It is simple and easy to do multiple tests for practice. It also times how long it takes you to complete the exam. Good info for scheduling.

The second site is the WVARA Club site. I am a member of this club along with several other clubs. The URL is "" This site was mentioned on Ham Radio Newsline and went from 3,000 hits every 2-3 months to 24,000 in 1 day. Almost smoked the Phone Lines as the server was temporarily located in a member's home. This test service works a bit differently than the QRZ Site. It only has the current test pool of questions (it will be updated). It also has you take the whole test before it corrects your work. More like the real deal.

I think both sites have their uses. I liked QRZ for study purposes but got a more realistic test situation when I used the WVARA site. Both sites will create a new test for you very quickly so you can take multiple practice tests and get a variety of questions out of the Test Pool of Questions.

There are several other sites out there that offer test services but these were the ones I used and am familiar with. There are thousands of Ham radio sites out there, go find some and tell your Ham friends about them.

More to follow, next month. Good luck with your Web Wanderings.

Howard, KE6PWH
[Howard has sent in a lot of material for the newsletter.

I think he is after my job. (Hee, hee, hee) DW]

Baker to Las Vegas 2000

The race is the weekend of April 15 - 16. The next planning meeting is April 1. Advance team departure is on April 10. Send email to if you want to participate in the communications or have equipment to lend.


I don't usually reprint from the Pacific Division Newsletter, QST, or ARRL. I think -perhaps wrongly- most readers already read these publications -or should. This month there are some action items important to the continuance of amateur radio. There are letters to be written and phone calls to be made. Also, it is important to understand the politics of the situation. I ask you to read thoroughly the following and act. It is not fair that some of us to get down and dirty in politics to save our way of life while others keep their hands clean. Who knows? You might like getting dirty.


APRIL 2000
By Jim Maxwell, W6CF, Director, Pacific Division, ARRL
PO Box 473, Redwood Estates, CA 95044

(408) 353-3911 (Phone and FAX)


WWW Pacific Division Home Page -

Update on SB 1714, Proposed California State
Antenna/Tower Legislation

As mentioned in a recent special edition of this Update, legislation has been introduced in the California State Senate with the objective of providing relief to many California hams who live in communities with highly restrictive antenna ordinances. The full text of the proposed law, SB 1714, is reproduced at the end of this issue of the Update.

The bill was introduced through the auspices of Mike Mitchell, W6RW, by State Senator Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga, in Southern California. It will only be enacted if there is vigorous support by the amateur community. Vigorous support means letters and telephone calls to your State Senator and Assembly Member asking them to support the bill and explaining why you feel that way.

The various Assembly members in California are unlikely to know much about Amateur Radio. They need to learn two things: how many of us (who vote) there are and what we do for the community.

You may follow the progress of this bill by going to and following the links to "subscribe" to the bill by number. You will then receive email notice whenever any action takes place. Letters to committees as well as to your own representatives are in order.

SB 1714 has been assigned to the Local Government Committee of the California Senate for hearings. The chair of the Local Government Committee is Senator Richard K. Rainey, of Contra Costa County. Senator Rainey is the former County Sheriff, and was responsible for establishing the Sheriff's Amateur Radio Reserve.

Please make an effort to write to Senator Rainey as chair, noting any local ordinances in your City or County which stop you from getting a permit for an antenna or make it more expensive, how that antenna would be valuable for emergency services, and the fact that antenna regulations, high permit fees and the like hurt all of the amateur service as a disincentive to activity. Where it exists it should help to make a point of cooperation with other services, such as REACT, and to note specific participation in emergency service situations. MARS participants should point out the emergency support role of that service and the fact that it relies extensively on HF frequencies assigned by the military for that purpose. Senator Rainey will understand without being told what RACES is.

Letters to Senator Rainey should be addressed:

Honorable Richard K. Rainey, Chair
Local Government Committee
State Capitol, Room 410
Sacramento, CA 95914

Dear Senator Rainey:

And, by all means, don't forget to include your name and return address!

If you wish to comment by email, Senator Rainey's address is

Please spread the word as widely as possible.

Thanks, Harry Styron, K6HS, Pacific Division Volunteer Counsel Coordinator.

West Valley ARA Operates Web-Based Exam Site

The West Valley Amateur Radio Association (WVARA) continues to provide public access to its WVExam on-line Amateur Radio exam practice software. It's located at
This web-based examination software can be used for all current written exams until April 14. Effective April 15 the new exam pools become effective, and all exams taken April 15 and later will be based on new question pools. Until then, though, the WVARA site can be an effective tool for those who choose to beat the deadline by taking upgrade examinations prior to April 15.

The software generates a random exam on a web form using the same published question pool employed by the various VECs.

ARRL Files on Restructuring Plan

The ARRL has formally asked the FCC to reconsider and modify two aspects of its December 30, 1999, Report and Order that restructured the Amateur Radio rules. The League wants the FCC to continue to maintain records that indicate whether a Technician licensee has Morse code element credit. It also seeks permanent Morse element credit for any Amateur Radio applicant who has ever passed an FCC-recognized Morse exam of at least 5 WPM.

The League filed a Petition for Partial Reconsideration in the WT Docket 98-143 proceeding on March 13.

The League suggested that it would be less of an administrative burden for the FCC to maintain the Technician database as it has been doing. The database now identifies Technician and Tech Plus licensees by encoding the records with a ''T'' or a ''P'' respectively. The ARRL also said the inability to identify those Technicians that have HF privileges and those who do not could hamper voluntary enforcement efforts. It further suggested it would be wrong to put the burden of proof of having passed the Morse examination on licensees.

The League cited the demands of fairness in asking the FCC to afford Morse element credit to all applicants who have ever passed an FCC-recognized 5 WPM code exam. The rules already grant Element 1 credit to those holding an expired or unexpired FCC- issued Novice license or an expired or unexpired Technician Class operator license document granted before February 14, 1991. It also grants Element 1 credit to applicants possessing an FCC-issued commercial radiotelegraph operator license or permit that's valid or expired less than 5 years.

The League has asked the FCC to ''conform the rules'' to give similar credit to those who once held General, Advanced or Amateur Extra class licenses.

Thanks, ARRL.

Speakers for future meetings.

April: Mike, K6PUD on contesting
May: Loop antennas

Anybody have any suggestions for speakers?



INTRODUCED BY Senator Brulte
FEBRUARY 23, 2000

An act to add Section 65850.3 to the Government Code, relating to zoning.


SB 1714, as introduced, Brulte. Zoning ordinances: radio antennas.

Existing law authorizes the legislative body of any county or city to adopt zoning ordinances for various purposes.

This bill would provide that any ordinance enacted by the legislative body of any city or county regulating the placement, screening, or height of antennas shall reasonably accommodate amateur radio antennas and permit radio antenna height to less than 200 feet or 75 feet, depending on the population density of the city or county.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.


SECTION 1. Section 65850.3 is added to the Government Code, to read:

65850.3. (a) Any ordinance enacted by the legislative body of any city or county regulating the placement, screening, or height of antennas shall reasonably accommodate amateur radio antennas and shall impose the minimum regulation necessary to accomplish the legitimate purpose of the city or county.

(b) In a city or county having a population density of 120 persons or less per square mile according to the 1990 United States census, no ordinance shall do either of the following:

(1) Restrict amateur radio antenna height to less than 200 feet above ground level as permitted by the Federal Communications Commission.

(2) Restrict the number of support structures.

(c) In a city or county having a population density of more than 120 persons per square mile according to the 1990 United States census, no ordinance shall do either of the following:

(1) Restrict amateur radio antenna height to less than 75 feet above ground level.

(2) Restrict the number of support structures.

(d) Reasonable and customary engineering practices shall be followed in the erection of amateur radio antennas.

(e) This section shall not preclude a city or county, by ordinance, from regulating amateur radio antennas with regard to reasonable requirements relating to the use of screening, setback, and placement, and health and safety requirements.

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.