The FARS Relay

Volume 31, Number 5 - MAY 2001

May Meeting

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

The meeting is at 7:30 on May 23. Five WPM code practice at 7 PM. I do not know who the speaker is at this time and I must mail the Relay. All I can say is to listen to the repeater and I will try to let those on the email list know when I do.


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

April Meeting

Mikel Lechner, KN6QI spoke about the theory and practice of the new HF digital modes: PSK31, MFSK16, etc.

If you missed it, you missed what the meetings are about. This is where we get information for someone who is doing it. In this case it doesn't cost much either.

President's Corner

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.

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.

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.


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 May, we are continuing with information we should all know from the Technician Class question pool. I tried the website and took one of the Tech exams generated at random. I completed the test in less than 15 minutes. That's the good news. The bad news is that I got one wrong out of the 36 questions! Why am I concerned about missing only one question in 36 when 75% correct is passing? Before I got involved in teaching the current no-code Tech class, I'm sure I would have missed more questions, as there ARE some new rules in ham radio and a better technical understanding about how things work. Maybe it IS a good idea for FARS members (especially those of us who have been licensed for a long time) to review the following questions and see how many answers immediately jump come to mind.

How must you identify messages sent during a RACES drill?
What is a digipeater?
When should digital transmissions be used on 2-meter simplex voice frequencies?
When may you operate your amateur station abroad a commercial aircraft?
What type of solar radiation is most responsible for ionization in the outer atmosphere?
Ducting occurs in which region of the atmosphere?
What weather condition may cause tropospheric ducting?


Schematic for HTX-252, Radio Shacks 25 Watt, two-meter mobile rig. If you don't have the schematic, but know who the actual manufacturer is, that might also be helpful. I am experiencing low audio on transmit, and adjusting the mic gain control seems to have no effect. (I do have the board layout which shows which pot to tweak). Please contact Rich W6APZ; phone (650-494-0128) or email:

FARS 2001 Flea Market Not So Good Buyer-Wise

But Good Money-Wise Nonetheless

by Shel N6RD

May 12, 2001 has come and gone, and our flea market of that date is now history. I'm pleased to report that, financially, it was a good market for the club. Speaking from the vantage point of eight or nine seasons managing the market, first for EMARC now for FARS, I can say that the current net is not as good as it's been historically, but it's very good for this season and last (much better, in fact, than I and others thought it would be), since the markets have been going downhill rapidly.

We sold 152 tickets for seller spaces. This figure is probably 50 spaces less than a reasonably good market in the past, and about 80 spaces less than a really good one.

The food table [was] within the historic range [. . .]. We did this in spite of much-cut-back buys of hot dogs, sodas, and donuts and in spite of a relatively poor buyer turnout. What saved our bacon here (pun intended) was the higher food prices that the markets have been getting; had we stayed with the earlier, lower pricing structure, I estimate we would have netted [much less] from the food table. As it turned out, the day started gray and chilly (which helped with the coffee sales), and the crowd, such as it was, peaked (if you can call it that) sometime before mid-morning.

Since I had been very worried about the possibility of a poor turnout by sellers or buyers or both, my plan for the food table was to buy only enough perishables so that, with luck, we would sell out by 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. Historically, even in the heyday of the markets, the day managers bought only enough perishables to last until 11:00 a.m. latest, if they were smart. Hence I bought only 300 hot dogs, which we sold out by 10:00 or 10:15 a.m.; that was pretty good timing, as it turned out, since after that there was very little demand for dogs -- maybe a dozen -- and the market was dead by 11:00 a.m. We also bought only 35-dozen donuts, and managed to sell all but five dozen of them. Besides the donuts and 105 lbs. of ice left over (out of 350 lbs. bought), we also had one bottle each of catsup, mustard, and relish left.

I bought two 32-bottle cases of water and the equivalent of twenty-three 24-can cases of soda, and we sold most of it, as follows (figures in parentheses are 24-can cases or equivalents).

Beverage Count % Sold
Coke (6) 83
Diet Coke (3) 90
Pepsi (1.9) 77
Diet Pepsi (1.3) 92
Sunkist Orange (2) 65
Dr. Pepper (2) 81
7-Up (2) 75
Dad's Root Beer (20) 56
Xtal Geyser Water (1.3) 75

The left-over sodas and water [. . .] will be used over Field Day.

I thank everyone who committed their time to help make this market a success, either by picking up and hauling supplies, by working at the food table, or by doing both:

Charley Arney KF6CUU, Joy Ho, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD, Mikel Lechner KN6QI.

Prabhdeep Brar KC2HEM, Martin Liberman KD6WJW, Tom Cascone KF6LWZ, Dennis Paull KC6PUN.

Dave Cooper KE6PFF, Walt Read W6ASH, Jack Eddy WA6YJR, Norm Rehbein W6IQX.

Ray Egan W6FQY, John Stearns KF6OTX, Ben Friedlander AD6JA*, Steve Stearns K6OIK.

Erik Friedlander KF6VEY*, Rich Stiebel W6APZ, Peter Griffith WA6VAQ, David Wilkes KD6WRG

(*Not FARS, but PAARA members, would you believe! Thanks, guys.)

FARS No-Code Tech Course Progress

de Rich, W6APZ

We have 29 students registered in the class that started on Thursday, April 24. Many thanks to all of you who helped with publicity, both in distributing flyers and offering suggestions on how to get the word out. Special thanks to Steve, K6OIK, who single-handedly took charge of not only the registration and collecting of money from the students, but also distributing the texts to the students before the first class, so they could study prior to coming to class. Steve also fought off the hordes that wanted to join the class after it had filled. We have 24 names on the waiting list!

With the FARS Board approval, we have decided that instead of holding a General Class course in July, we will do another no-code Tech class at that time. I have already sent "Priority Registration" notices to those on the waiting list. Realizing that those on the list signed up for a Thursday night during the school year, and this next class will be on Tuesday nights during the summer vacation season, I do not expect that all of those on the list will actually be able to come. We have set the date of May 23rd as the cut-off for Priority Registration. After that, we will begin to publicize the class to the general public. Registration (this time) is by receipt of a check made out to FARS. As of the second week in May, FARS has received 5 checks for the new class from those on the waiting list. This number of checks in hand is a good indication.

Thanks to Herb, KF6BKL, who brought sodas and cookies to the first class. Thanks also to all of you who helped with the equipment survey that I emailed to the membership. Your inputs were compiled on 13 pages of good information which was Xeroxed and passed out to each student. I appreciate the time and trouble you took responding about your choice of equipment.

Thanks also to Peter, WA6VAQ, for schlepping his station to our class site, setting up an inverted V dipole in the parking lot, and demonstrating a live 40 meter SSB contact to the class. Peter managed to join in a roundtable of hams from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Indiana, and Texas. The class was duly impressed, and Peter demonstrated that he is prepared for Field Day or any emergency!

We have had a good FARS representation at all classes to date (the first three). Thanks to the Elmers and instructors who have taken their time to support this important activity. On April 26, we had KN6QI, AA6TA, WA6YJR, K6OIK, KF6BKL, WA6VAQ, and W6APZ. On May 3, we had AA6TA, WB8TDA, KN6QI, WA6YJR, K6OIK, WA6VAQ, and W6APZ. On May 10, we had AA6PZ, KN6QI, WA6YJR, AA6TA, and W6APZ. Your efforts at instruction and responding to questions are very important in helping these future hams, as well as making them feel comfortable among FARS members.

Thanks to Peter, WA6VAQ, and Charlie, KF6CUU, for sending the Morse code practice on the Wednesday nights when I could not do it. Anyone who can help out for future Wednesday nights when I will be tied up, please contact me. All you need is a 2-meter radio and the willingness to place the tape (which Ill give you) into the tape recorder (which Ill also give you) and use a rubber band on the PTT button of your mic or HT to key the radio. You don't have to know the code. Contact me at: 650-494-0128, or by email at: .


People have alerted me to two websites where one can take practice tests. One is Once at the home page, in the lower left hand corner you will see "General Services." Under that heading, click on "Practice Tests." That will take you to a screen where you can click on practice Tech exams or General, or Extra exams. Each time you take the test, a random set of 35 possible questions will come up. Each time you answer a question, it will tell you if you were correct, or if not, what was the correct answer. This website keeps track of the percentage of correct answers you responded to and tells you at the end whether you passed.

The second website was created by Owen DeLong, KB6MER. This is: I used this site to create a sample short quiz for the last class. Both sites select questions at random from the question pool and can be very helpful in studying for any class of ham license.

de Rich, W6APZ


As drill or test messages. (This is one I have recently heard being violated. Someone scanning the band may come across a RACES drill, but hearing the traffic being passed may reasonably conclude that a real disaster has occurred. Remember Orson Wells' Halloween broadcast of “The War of the Worlds?” Therefore, every RACES drill message should be proceeded by the words: “drill” or “test message.”)
A packet-radio station that retransmits only data that is marked to be retransmitted. (Note: while this seems self-evident, this answer is not so obvious when shown next to the three other choices given in the exam.)
Digital operations should be avoided on simplex voice frequencies.
Only with the pilot's specific permission and not while the aircraft is operating under Instrument Flight Rules.
A stable high pressure system

FARS Monthly Board Meeting

The FARS Board held its monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, May 1, 2001. Present were Jack, WA6YJR, Herb, KF6BKL, Dick, N6ATD, Rich,W6APZ, Omri, AA6TA, Dave, KD6WRG, Charlie, KF6CUU, Shel, N6RD, Mikel, KN6QI, and Martin, KD6WJW.

Preparations for the flea market were reported to be complete while those for Field Day are progressing. It was decided to continue using the room at the Los Altos Town Crier for the monthly club meeting until a larger facility is found. The no-code class has 29 paid students and appears to broken even financially. A repeat of this class in July or August was proposed because of a large number of potential attendees.

- Martin, KD6WJW

Not Fair Game

According to an article in the May-June issue of Audubon magazine, some public land managers are considering banning the possession of radio receivers in natural / wilderness areas because poachers are using scanners to find and kill the animals that biologists previously tagged with transmitters for scientific study. While I am appalled that a poacher would misuse electronic technology in this way, I bring my HT in the woods when hiking and camping, and do not want any new laws or regulations that would prevent radio amateurs from using their equipment in such places. I hope the League could lobby to make sure that any new laws focus on scanners and exempt amateur gear possessed by licensed hams. See and read the second to last paragraph.

Steve K6OIK

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