Site Map

The FARS Relay

Volume 30, Number 12 DECEMBER 2000

December Meeting Wednesday December 20

The meeting starts at 7:30. Chris Verbil N5CV will speak on GPS and cell phones. 

Learn morse code at 5 wpm. Code practice will start at 7:00 PM in the FARS meeting room in Covington School in Los Altos December 20.

Michael's at Shoreline
2960 No. Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View

Michael's is located within Shoreline Park, at the northern most end of Shoreline Blvd, in Mountain View. 

Map to Michael's at Shoreline. North is at the top.

  • Get yourself on Shoreline Blvd, north of Highway 101. 
  • Follow Shoreline all the way into Shoreline Park. 
  • Go about a mile into Shoreline Park past the ranger booth. 
  • Turn left into the parking lot at the roundabout (before the Victorian house and the sailboard place). 



President: Jack Eddy, WA6YJR
Vice President: Howard Califf, KE6PWH
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
Training Officer: Steve Stearns, K6OIK/AE
Radio Officer: Omri Serlin, AA6TA
Newsletter: David Wilkes, KD6WRG (See address below)

Board members: Dirk Thiele KE6ZUY, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD, Herb Davidson KF6BKL, 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: 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.


FARS December meeting will be on the third Wednesday, Dec. 20th

FARS Winter banquet January 19, 2001 at Michael's

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.

FARS NET on 145.23 repeater Thursday nights at 8 PM.

President's Corner

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

It has been a good year for FARS and I hope that each of you will pitch in and make the next year a successful one.

We are in the process of getting new classes started and I hope that many of you will be willing to help teach and then Elmer new hams.

We are still looking for a new home for the radio station and if any of you have any ideas as to where that might be please contact me or any of the other board members.

Our banquet is coming up on January 19th and I hope that you will come and participate. We are again having a joint banquet with the PAARA club. We all had a great time last year and we are looking forward to another good time.

This is a great country and many of us have different views about things but remember we are still free to express them. As I continue on as President I hope you will express your ideas about the club and what can be done to make it better.

We have a good board for the next year but they can not be the ones who do all the work. You as members also must be willing to help or FARS will soon disappear.

de Jack WA6JYR

Secretary's Report

The FARS board held its monthly meeting on the evening of December 5, 2000. Present were Jack, WA6YJR, Rich, W6APZ, Howard, KE6PWH, Herb, KF6BKL, Steve, K6OIK, Omri, AA6TA, David, KD6WRG, Dick, N6ATD, Dave, KE6PFF, Shel, N6RD, Dirk, KE6ZUY, Hans, KE6TGA, Mikel, KN6QI, and Martin, KD6WJW. Information from PAARA indicates that a speaker for the banquet has been found. There has been no further information on a new location for the club station. The training officer, Rich, W6APZ, presented his ideas for licensing classes.
- Martin, KD6WJW
Training - A Different Approach
de Rich Stiebel, W6APZ 

A number of ham clubs in the area sponsor "quickie" one-day cram sessions where people memorize the answers to the Tech Exam questions and get an entry-level ham radio license. I have spoken to several of these successful new hams. Yes, they have their licenses, but no, they don't know much about being a radio amateur. They have many questions, but don?t know whom to ask.

For hams to be other than "appliance operators," they need to understand basic electronics. For our Tech members to upgrade, they need to learn Morse code as well as more electronics theory.

For 2001, FARS will concentrate on ham education, enabling people to think creatively rather than just training people to memorize answers. This approach consists of several parts:

  1. Morse Code practice from 7-7:30 PM at every FARS meeting starting with the basic alphabet, including numbers and the procedural signs, starting at our December 20th meeting.
  2. Morse code transmissions via the 523 repeater on Wednesday evenings, at 8 PM for about a half hour. This assumes our members will share the responsibility of putting the tapes on.
  3. Ham License Education classes for which:
    1. The book, course outline, and assignments would be distributed one month before the classes start, with a list of Elmers.
    2. The students will be encouraged to read assignments before class. Between classes, they will be encouraged to contact the Elmers with questions.
    3. Classes will present explanations of the theory behind the questions.
    4. In-class problems/quizzes will be given. The answers will be provided after the quiz, with Elmers available to help individual students understand what they missed.
  4. The target audience for the classes will be:
    1. Non-hams, adults, and students 
    2. New hams who have passed the cram exams but want to understand what it all means
    3. Club members who wish to upgrade and/or refresh their knowledge
  5. A similar approach will be used for the General Class ham information. We will try to have the General class approximately a month after the Technician class is completed.
This is a very ambitious undertaking. I am out of town a lot, so the success of the above depends on a sufficient number of club members willing to:
  1. Make themselves available as Elmers and actively participate 
  2. Help teach portions of the classes
  3. Play prerecorded tapes over the repeater at agreed upon times/days and at club meetings when I cannot attend.
  4. Help get the word out about our classes: on-the-air, by personal contacts and by distributing flyers to electronics stores, Girl/Boy Scout troops, schools, City EOC people, and making five- minute presentations at area neighbor disaster assistance workshops such as PANDA classes in Palo Alto.
  5. Providing on-the-air demonstrations from your homes and/or cars to show what is possible with amateur radio. 
If you are willing to help in any of the above areas, please email me at: and let me know how you would like to help. 




Covington School in Los Altos on December 20.

This will be the first of many practice sessions. Bring a pad of paper, several pencils or pens and be prepared to learn the Morse code. 

No prior experience is necessary. We will be starting with the basic a b c and progress from there. The code practice will be sent with 5 words per minute (wpm) spacing but each letter will be sent at speeds close to 18 wpm which is the way the VECs give the code exams.

We plan to have these CW practice sessions before every meeting for about 20 minutes which will provide a ten minute break before the meeting actually starts.

One problem: I cannot attend every meeting, so we need volunteers to put on the code practice when I can't be there. You do NOT need to know the Morse code to do this. I will give you the practice tapes and the FARS club tape player. All you need do is show up just before 7 PM to plug in the tape machine, and start the tape stopping it at 7:20.

Please send me an email letting me know that you can help. Thanks.

de Rich Stiebel,

Station Tear Down

Thanks to all the FARS members who pitched in on the station / tower / antenna take down. Because of the large turn out, we were able to finish the tower / antenna take down in just two hours, far faster than we had anticipated.


Dick N6ATD
Jack KR6CD
Mikel KN6QI
Steve K6OIK
John KF6OTX (Steve's son)
Martin KD6WJW
Paul AA6PZ
Omri AA6TA
Charlie, KF6CUU, who not only contributed to the take down effort, but also volunteered to store the tower and antenna at his Los Altos Hills spread. 

My apologies to anyone I've missed!

73 de Omri AA6TA

Steve's Stuff

I am sorry to report that ARRL has chosen to stop selling its Radio Designer software for circuit analysis and design. ARRL noted that most of ARD's features are available in Serenade SV, which can be downloaded for free from Ansoft's web site Unfortunately the optimizer in Serenade SV is more limited than the one in ARD.

Those lucky few who bought ARD may discover happily, as I did, that ARD's optimizer works on the netlist files created by Serenade SV. You merely create a netlist in Serenade SV, save it, close Serenade, then reopen the netlist from within ARD and run the optimizer. To avoid problems, save the ARD results under a different name.

There are many other web sites devoted to RF design. Here are three that I found recently.

Hittite Microwave Corp's site has application notes and an interactive spurious response calculator for mixer circuit design

The RF Cafe site has lots of information and links. You will find information and engineering formulas on topics such as analog-to-digital converter parameters, attenuators, bit-error rate, boolean algebra, capacitance, damped responses, filters, Fourier series, second and third-order intercept points, link budgets, noise figure, amplitude modulation, atmospheric absorption, atmospheric refraction, antennas, batteries, wireless communication standards, wireless-local area networks, and dielectric constants. There are links to free downloadable software and other good links.

Hewlett-Packard offers application notes and downloadable software, including a 7-Mb file containing a windows program AppCAD version 2.0, an RF design suite for active and passive circuit and system analysis modules, cascaded chain analysis routine for noise figure analysis, mixer spurious response analysis, and third-order intermodulation analysis, and calculators for designing microstrip and stripline transmission lines and coplanar waveguide.

  • Steve, K6OIK
Two stocking stuffers for a ham's Christmas list. Two excellent books on the history of amateur radio are published by ARRL: Clinton B. DeSoto's 200 Meters and Down and Debra A. Jahnke and Katherine A. Fay's From Spark to Space. The latter is hard bound and is illustrated with many photographs that are sure to bring back memories. See the ARRL web site for details.
- Steve, K6OIK



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


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.