The FARS Relay

Volume 31, Number 4 - APRIL 2001

April Meeting

Wednesday April 25, 2001 7 PM - Club Meeting

Again, we will meet at the offices of the Los Altos Town Crier. Directions are below.

The speaker is Mikel Lechner, KN6QI, who talks about the theory and practice of the new HF digital modes: PSK31, MFSK16, etc.

The advent of inexpensive DSP hardware has sparked renewed development and use of digital communication on the HF bands.

Mikel Lechner, KN6QI, holds an extra class license and enjoys working CW and PSK31, and home brewing HAM radio hardware and software.

Mikel Lechner, KN6QI

New Location Again

The Town Crier is at 138 Main Street in Los Altos, close to where Main and State Streets converge. Street parking should be available on both Main and State; in addition, there is off-street parking behind the building, accessible from State Street.

USE THE BACK ENTRANCE to the building, accessible from State Street and the off-street parking lot; the front entry via Main Street will be locked. We will be meeting in the conference room on the second floor.

TALK-IN via the 145.230- (100Hz PL) repeater.

To get a map and driving directions go to the FARS web site and click on "meetings".  Click on the link in the meeting notice for a map and to obtain specific driving directions.

Mikel Lechner, KN6QI

President's Corner

The club is again involved with a training class starting April 26 if you are interested in helping please contact Rich W6APZ.

In May we have the flea market and as always we can use your help. In June we have Field Day and we need people to help set up and take down along with operators. Please contact Omri AA6TA if you are able to help.

If you have not paid your dues for this year now is the time, but we do not need just your dues we need each club member to participate in the activities.

We are still looking for a site for the club station and if you have any ideas please let me know so we can follow up them.

I want to say thank you to all those who do help with the many projects.

de Jack WA6YJR


The electronic swap meet is on at Foothill College again. March through October, second Saturday. Get there early (5 AM with miner's helmet is not unusual) and bring $2 in quarters for parking (This may have increased to $3)

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.

Maritime Radio Historical Society

Steve's Stuff

This is the best web site I've come across on the history of Morse code, telegraphy, keys, and paddles:


President: Jack Eddy, WA6YJR
Vice Pres. Steve Stearns, K6OIK
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
Training Officer: Rich, W6APZ
Radio Officer: Omri Serlin, AA6TA
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG (See address below)

Board members: Dick Baldwinson N6ATD; Herb Davidson KF6BKL, Charles Arney KF6CUU, David Cooper KE6PFF, Mikel Lechner KN6QI.

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 Wednesday of each month except January (Winter Banquet); and 3rd Wednesday 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 8PM; 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.


In April, we are continuing with information we all should know from the Technician Class question pool. How many answers immediately jump into your mind?

What should you do before you transmit on any frequency?
What is the proper way to break into a conversation on a repeater?
What is the usual input/output frequency separation for repeaters in the 1.25- meter band? (hint: This is nominally the 222 MHz band.)
Why should one pause briefly between transmissions when using a repeater?
Why should simplex be used where possible, instead of using a repeater?
How should you answer a voice CQ call?
What is the most important accessory to have for a hand-held radio in an emergency?

Answers below

Hybrid Cars

Before you rush out and buy a hybrid car, read:

Paul AA6PZ
[The report cited is somewhat suspect since one of the authors is from Carnegie Mellon U. It even has kind words to say about diesel. The auto makers are clinging to the internal combustion engine beyond all point of reason. Back in the Sixties. I saw a large Ford sedan with a working flash-tube boiler steam engine which had a lot of very good features. I also saw (and I was sober at the time) a steam-driven airplane being tested at Aberdeen. DW]

Steve's Stuff

Book Review

ARRL's newest antenna book "Yagi Antenna Classics" has some great chapters. Among the five articles that comprise Chapter 1, historians will like the two articles on the history of the Yagi-Uda antenna and the biography and picture of Hidetsugu Yagi (1886-1976). Likewise, antenna engineers will like the article by K2PDR titled “Is There a Unique Design for a Maximum-Gain Yagi?.” Chapter 7 has three articles on computer modeling including an excellent history of the method-of-moments technique. Chapter 9 has five articles on towers, masts, and guys. Mechanical issues of strength, foundation, soils, wind loading, guys and anchors are explained, and the electrical effects of conductive versus non-conductive guys on antenna performance are examined via computer models. The rest of the book is a compendium of various practical Yagi antenna designs. Since Yagi beams are among the most popular of amateur antennas, I feel safe predicting this book will become as "classic" as the antennas it contains.

73 - Steve, K6OIK

KPH coastal station gear to be on air for International Marconi Day

Amateur Radio station K6KPH will be on the air for International Marconi Day from the original transmitting and receiving stations of ex-RCA coast station KPH. Operation is set to start at 0700 UTC Saturday, April 21. The frequencies of operation will be 7050 and 14,050 kHz. KPH traces its history back to the days of Marconi operation at the Bolinas transmitting site. K6KPH will be operated using the original transmitters, receivers and antennas of KPH. The operators will be at the Point Reyes receiving station, remotely keying the transmitters in Bolinas, just as was done when the station was in commercial operation. Members of the Maritime Radio Historical Society--which include several original KPH operators--will be at the key. Operators will not be on the air for the full 24 hours of the event. Operators will use commercial procedure as much as possible. Details about International Marconi Day are available on the Cornish Radio Club Web site For more information about the Maritime Radio Historical Society, visit the group's Web site, Note: QSL cards for previous K6KPH special events are at the printer's and should be available soon.

Morse code practice on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

FARS sponsors 5 wpm code practice on Wednesday nights. The practice is transmitted on the Stanford repeater 145.230 (-) PL 100 Hz, from 8 pm to 8:30 pm, except on the fourth Wednesday of the month when the practice is given live at FARS monthly meeting from 7 pm to 7:30 pm.

San Francisco Amateur Radio Club (SFARC) sponsors code practice on Monday nights. The practice is on the W6PW repeater 145.150 (-) no PL, from 7:30 pm to 8 pm.

FYI, I received the reply below from my Congress person regarding the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act, bill no. H.R.817.

- Steve, K6OIK
March 29, 2001

Stephen D. Stearns
P.O. Box 4917
Mountain View, California 94040

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 817, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act.

As a long time supporter of amateur radio operators and the services they provide, I agree that the spectrum allocated for their use should continue to be made available by the FCC. You may be interested to know that I introduced the Amateur Radio Volunteer Act (H.R. 1013) in the 105th Congress. This legislation protects amateur radio operators from liability while monitoring the airwaves on behalf of the FCC. I'm very proud that the legislation passed and became Public Law 106-23 in April 1999.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 requires the FCC to conduct spectrum auctions to raise new revenues, some of which may come from the auction of current amateur radio spectrum. H.R. 783 requires the FCC to provide the Amateur Radio Service with replacement spectrum should any of the Service's current spectrum be reallocated and auctioned. My concern with H.R. 783 is the policy of Congress writing into law specific spectrum allocation protections which limit the FCC's flexibility to adapt to the changing technology and needs of the various spectrum users.

I'd like you to know that I did write to FCC Chairman Kennard supporting the FCC's announcement on low power radio service. The FCC recently announced it would create a new class of low power radio service for local communities. Be assured that I will fight hard to ensure that Amateur Radio use continues to be a spectrum priority and that you will have adequate access to the airwaves.

I appreciate hearing from you and ask you to continue to inform me on issues you care about. I always need and welcome the benefit of your thoughts and ideas.


Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress



(Official answers with comments)

Listen to make sure others are not using the frequency.
Say your call sign during a break between transmissions.
1.6 MHz (If one is using this band, this is obvious; if not, we need to learn it.)
To listen for anyone wanting to break in. (This is one many of us MAY know, but need to put into practice.)
The repeater will not be tied up unnecessarily. (That's the “Official” correct answer. However, while we frequently hear two stations on the repeater that are close together, it is SOMETIMES safer to stay on the repeater frequency than to take one's eyes off the road to change channels. Conversely, it's a good idea to have several simplex frequencies programmed into one's mobile rig [or HT] to facilitate safe frequency changes.)
Say the other station's call sign once, followed by “this is,” then your call sign given phonetically. (Some of us have been on VHF/UHF so long we may have forgotten this one.)
Several sets of charged batteries. (I believe that a case that can hold AA cells and several sets of alkaline cells - or equivalent - is even better than charged Ni-cads. Alkaline cells have a multiyear shelf life and one does not need to worry about charging/overcharging them. Just rotate your HT spares into your flashlight, CD player, or portable radio that you normally use to keep the HT spare batteries within their shelf life.)

That's all for this month. In May we will continue to review some interesting new aspects in ham radio that appear on the Technician exam.

- Rich W6APZ



How would you like to

chat with friends

-- across town, or around the world --



YES, you can - with ham radio!



WHAT: The Foothill Amateur Radio Society (FARS) presents the “No [Morse] Code Technician Class” amateur radio license course. During this course, you will NOT ONLY learn what you need to know to get your first federal amateur radio license, but you will also learn what to do once you have your license and how to use the information you learn. The FCC exam (35 multiple-choice questions - of which you need only 26 correct to pass) covers operating practices, rules and regulations, and basic radio theory. The exam will be given during the last class session. Free further training is available through the FARS club.

Six Thursday evenings, April 26 - May 31 7 PM - 10 PM
Terman Library Conference Room (next to the JCC) 661 Arastradero, Palo Alto, CA
$15 Students (under 18), $25 Adults
Payable upon registration, to cover the cost of study materials.
Additional examination fee of $8, payable to the VEC prior to the FCC exam.
One year FREE membership in The Foothill Amateur Radio Society for course graduates.
This class is open to all. There are no age limits or minimum requirements.
FARS volunteers will help answer your questions before the class starts, during the class, and after you get your ham license.
Contact: Rich Stiebel, (650) 494-0128, email:

Further information:

How to get to meetings:

(Visitors always welcome)

FARS meets at the offices of the Los Altos Town Crier. The Town Crier is located at 138 Main Street in Los Altos, close to where Main and State Streets converge. Street parking should be available on both Main and State; in addition, there is off-street parking behind the building, accessible from State Street.

USE THE BACK ENTRANCE to the building, accessible from State Street and the off-street parking lot; the front entry via Main Street will be locked. We will be meeting in the conference room on the second floor.

TALK-IN via the 145.230- (100Hz PL) repeater.

To get a map and driving directions go to the FARS web site and click on “meetings.” Click on the link in the meeting notice for a map and to obtain specific driving directions.

Map of Los Altos Town Crier