The FARS Relay

Volume 31, Number 7 - JULY 2001

July Meeting


We don't know who the speaker is yet.


I thank all FARS members and non-members, and especially the several graduates of our recent Technician class, who helped make Field Day 2001 an enjoyable experience. I did not have time to write down all the names and call signs of the participants, especially the new members, so please forgive and let me know of any omissions.

Jack WA6YJR, who did most of the heavy lifting and was involved in everything, everywhere;
Dick N6ATD, who helped plan and prepare for the event even though he couldn't participate;
Ray W6FQY, who towed the RC tower-trailer from and to Burlingame;
Arv WA6UUT, who allowed us to store the RC tower-trailer in his driveway (Arv is recovering nicely from a major operation);
Tom KF6LWZ, who transported equipment from and to the Palo Alto RC;
Paul AA6PZ, who lead the effort to put up and take down the towers and beam antennas;

Some of the set-up and/or take-down crew:

Jack KR6CD, Ray W6FQY, Norm W6IQX, Mikel KN6QI, Howard KG6GRO, Peter KG6GRZ, and several more (those omitted, please let me know who you were!);
Phil KA6MZE, who single-handedly set up a complete satellite station and made 7 satellite contacts;

The non-members who helped operate the CW station:

Ori AC6AN and Charlie W4NJK; and our own CW gurus: Walt W6ASH, Kitty WB8TDA, Hans KE6TGA, and Paul AA6PZ;

SSB station operators and loggers:

Bob WB2URF (non-member) and our own Paul AA6PZ, Mikel KN6QI, Dennis KC6PUN, Steve K6OIK, Peter WA6VAQ, Jim KT6W, and new member Mark KG6GRR.

Mikel KN6QI who set up the SSTV, APRS, and Packet demos and logged some 50 PSK31 contacts;

Andy KR6DD who made the 5 solar-powered contacts;

Peter WA6VAQ, who organized the superb pot-luck barbecue;

and all the participants who brought such delightful side dishes;

Charlie KF6CUU who pitched in on set-up and take-down despite a recent golf-course accident;

Dave KD6WRG who despite a heat stroke did put up the Fday.

Herb KF6BKL who arranged for the port-a-potty;

Martin KD6WJW who undertook the onerous task of figuring out our score. Results aren't in yet; but we seem to have qualified for 1400 bonus points, the maximum possible in class 2A.
73 de Omri AA6TA, Field Day Coordinator

President's Corner

I want to express my thanks to all those who helped at field day especially to Omri who put it all together this year. We had an outstanding score so all those who operated can pat themselves on the back.

We are now half way through the year and it is time to start thinking about who you want to run this organization in the following year. I will be completing my fifth year and will not run again. I hope you all realize that this is not just a board function to find officers.

We will be starting another tech class on the 24th of July and if we have the success that we had the last time we will see a lot more new HAMS. If you aren't teaching it would be nice to have some of you show hope just to help answer questions at the break times.

Hope to see you all at the next meeting.

de Jack WA6YJT


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.


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:

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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 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.


de Rich, W6APZ

We are continuing this month with material from the Technician License question pool on Antennas and RF radiation exposure. These RF radiation exposure rules are relatively new to ham radio. I was reluctant to do anything about this subject until I got involved with teaching the FARS no-code Tech classes. I found that the subject is NOT all that difficult and it was actually easy to evaluate my station.

See how many questions you can answer correctly before looking later in this newsletter for the answers. I've included the question pool reference number in case you want to look up the background to the answers.

T9A01 How do you calculate the length (in feet) of a half-wavelength dipole antenna?

T0A02 Over what frequency range are the FCC Regulations the most stringent for RF radiation exposure?

T0A05 In the near field, how does the field strength vary with distance from the source?

T0A10 On what value are the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits based?

T0B03 To determine compliance with the maximum permitted exposure (MPE) levels, safe exposure levels for RF energy are averaged for an "uncontrolled" RF environment over what time period?

T0C02 Is it necessary for you to perform mathematical calculations of the RF radiation exposure if your station transmits with more than 50 watts peak envelope power (PEP)?

This is the last installment of questions from the Technician question pool, as we have addressed all the questions that might be new to hams who have had their licenses for many years. I hope you have learned something from this series of articles. I know I did.

A Personal Tribute to Chet Atkins, W4CGP/ WA4CZD

By Kitty WB8TDA

Every newscast I heard on June 30 reported the passing of Chet Atkins. Many eulogies recognized him for both the great musician that he was and his contributions to the music industry. None, however, mentioned the lives he touched through ham radio. I doubt they knew. But, I did. Chet was a regular on the 147.90/30 repeater. This repeater also attracted many Peabody and Vanderbilt University students, faculty, and alumni. One evening, I was telling the regulars about the fact that I was trying to learn to play guitar for one of my education degree requirements. I asked if anyone knew of someone who could get me started. Who should step forward--none other than WA4CZD. I only knew him as Chet--not Chet Atkins. He offered to pick me up at the college, take me to his office, and show me some guitar basics. Fortunately, one of the hams clued me in by landline. Sure enough, we met and he got me started. Near the end of the semester, he suggested we get together so he could see how I was doing. So, we did. The thought of performing in front of a celebrity was a tad overwhelming to say the least! Much to my surprise, Chet pulled a guitar off the shelf, tuned both our guitars, and began playing and singing along with me. I had so much fun that I honestly forgot about his celebrity status. We were just two friends singing and playing the guitar! I was in awe over how he could be so excited and accepting of my minuscule skill. But, as I got to know him better, I realized that I had witnessed, first hand, a genuine down to earth human being. He was a person first and a celebrity last. His support and encouragement gave me and the rest of us in the college ham club the boost we needed to make our career dreams realities. Chet, thank you first for being yourself and second for giving me one of the most cherished and memorable experiences of a lifetime.

Another side of Chet Atkins,

Chet Atkins had talent and I do own and listen to many of his recordings. I didn't know he had a sense of humor until I caught him on Prairie Home Companion doing a song that had me rolling on the floor. It was during the Tammy and Jimmy and Jimmy TV evangelist scandals. Chet did a song, Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on His Cable TV Show?, which put the scandals in perspective. After he died, Kitty filled me in on just what a concerned and caring person he was. I prefer him playing real, acoustic, guitar.


Steve's Stuff

Congratulations go to Matthew Giebler, KG6GRT, of Boy Scout Troop 33 for completing all requirements for merit badges in Electricity, Electronics, and Radio. Matthew is the first Scout among those in FARS May/June Technician class to complete the merit badge triple crown in addition to passing the Technician license exam. Good job!

Impedance of square-conductor, open-wire transmission lines

My paper appears in CQ, July 2001, pp. 34-35, with acknowledgments to Nelson Blachman, WG6R, and John Eisenberg, K6YP.

73- Steve, K6OIK


As reported earlier, 22 of the 25 people taking the test passed the first time during the last class session. Since then, two other class members have obtained their licenses, bringing the total new hams from the first class to 24. Two class members already had their licenses from a "ham-cram" course and took the class to learn more about ham radio, so they did not need to take the test. Steve, K6OIK, continues to work with two Boy Scouts who did not pass the first time, in an effort to help them obtain Radio Merit badge and their ham ticket. Thanks, Steve, for this extra effort.


Our second no-code Technician class is again full with 30 students paid. 30 people in the room we are using is a squeeze, but doable. Most students have already picked up their study materials and have started to read the books. This class starts on 7 PM on Tuesday, July 24 and finishes on August 28. This being the vacation period, some students will miss a class, which will mean more work for the FARS Elmers, but that's what we are here for. I encourage all Elmers to attend as many of the classes as possible to meet the students and provide help where needed. The relationship of the Elmers to the students is the best way to convince these students to become active FARS members.

We again have a "ham-cram" graduate in this class. The fact that we have attracted "ham-cram" graduates would seem to say that people really DO want to understand what they are doing, rather than just memorize information.

Thanks to all of you who helped distribute the flyers and who talked up the class on the air and at other club meetings.


Morse Code practice continues to be sent every Wednesday evening at 8 PM on the 145.230 repeater. We are currently on the last half of tape # 4 of the Gordon West six-tape series. Code is being sent with a letter spacing of 5 words per minute, but with a character speed of about 15 to 18 words per minute to facilitate learning the code by the sound of each character. This is the method used by the volunteer examiners in giving the code test. On the FARS meeting night, usually the 4th Wednesday of the month, code practice is sent from 7 to 7:25 PM at the meeting site.

For those of you wishing to upgrade to Technician plus code, you will have one year from the time you pass the CW test to upgrade to general, i.e., to take the next technical element test. If you simply wish to add the old Novice CW bands, passing the CW test plus the Technician theory test will do that for life. If, however, you wish to upgrade to General and wait longer than one year to take the written General exam, the code test will have to be repeated. As of July 1 of this year, the requirement is either; perfect copy of 25 letters (one minute's worth of 5 WPM code out of five minutes sent) or, a passing grade on a fill-in-the blanks test based on the message content. Multiple choice questions on message content are no longer used.

Thanks to Steve, K6OIK, and Mikel, KN6QI, for sending the code practice during June and early July when I was unable to do it.

What's an Elmer?

Hi Elmers,

Thanks to all of you for volunteering to be Elmers for FARS' first no-code Tech Class of 2001. As you may have heard, 22 of the 25 taking the exam passed the first time and were presented a year's free membership in FARS. I'd be interested to know how many students contacted you outside of class either by email or by phone.

I would appreciate it if you would make yourselves available to be Elmers during our second Tech class which is from July 24 through August 28.

While being available to respond to email or phone questions IS important whether you are able to come to class or not, IF you are able to attend any of the classes, that would be doubly helpful as students are more apt to contact someone they have already met. Meeting the students can also be an important bridge to encouraging them to become active in FARS.

Please confirm via email that you are willing to be Elmers for our second class.

Thanks for your support.

de Rich, W6APZ

DVMs for 2nd Ham Class

Hi Everyone,

During FARS' second Tech class on August 7, we will again let the students have a hands-on experience with measuring voltages in series and parallel circuits and applying Ohm's law.

For this to be successful, we will need to borrow at least 7 DVMs from club members. Having bent a few meter needles around the meter stop in my early ham days, we are specifically asking to borrow Digital meters, since they auto-range and are more "forgiving" of possible human errors. Prior to handing out the DVMs, we will, of course, instruct the students on the safe way to use the meters.

Please let me know via email if you are able to lend one or more DVMs for the class to use. You are welcome to bring the DVM to the Aug. 7 class and supervise its use or bring it to the July FARS meeting. In either case, I will return the DVMs to you when we have finished using them.


de Rich, W6APZ

Answers to What's New.

T9A01 Divide 468 by the antenna's operating frequency in MHz.

T0A02 Frequencies between 30 MHz and 300 MHz. (note: This is prime Technician territory.)

T0A05 It depends on the type of antenna being used.

T0A10 The whole-body specific absorption rate (SAR).

T0B03 30 minutes.

T0C02 No, there are alternate means to determine if your station meets the RF radiation exposure limits.

de Rich, W6APZ

Secretary's Report

The FARS board held its monthly meeting on the evening of July 3, 2001. Members present were Jack, WA6YJR, Omri, AA6TA, Dave, KE6PFF, David, KD6WRG, Howard, KE6PWH, Mikel, KN6QI, and Martin, KD6WJW. There was a wrap-up discussion of Field Day activities, which were considered to be quite successful. Other topics included plans for the January banquet and club officers for next year. On behalf of FARS, AA6TA will send Maryknoll a letter of thanks and a check of $100 for the use of their facilities for our Field Day activities.

Martin, KD6WJW

Needed: Los Altos Antenna Advice

Alan Childs K6IPM, is getting ready to install a tower in Los Altos and needs help from someone who has done this before. He has already obtained the Los Altos Municipal Code (With PRB1 guidelines!) and done other research, but would like information from Los Altos HAMS who have already applied and received the builder and site permits.

Contact: (Alan Childs), get together with him at the July meeting, or get his telephone number from the roster.

2001 California QSO Party (CQP) sponsored by the Northern California Contest Club

Begins: 1600 UTC - 6 October 2001

Ends: 2200 UTC - 7 October 2001

I'm pleased to announce the 2001 running of the California QSO Party will be on Oct 6-7.

I'm sending this to as many ham clubs as I can find, and I'm asking you as the club representative to please tell your members about this unique operating event. I've attached a Word file which gives an abbreviated set of rules. Please feel free to edit this down to smaller amount of text if you feel like it. The important point is to let your members know about this event, and to let them know that full rules and other information is easily available at Your help is greatly appreciated.

CQP is the premier state QSO party. Last year there were over 7,000 active hams involved in some way or other. The vast majority get on the bands and give a few QSOs to the more serious contesters, but then stick around and join in the activity looking for those CA counties. We are again doing advance planning work to insure that all 58 CA counties will be on the air and active during this event. In fact, if you happen to be in one of the rarer counties you can easily have a pile up.

CQP is not just for HF. It also includes 6 and 2 meters. Unknown to many, CQP also has a club competition. It can be a great club activity to organize your club to get as many members as possible on the air and send in their logs to help your club achieve a high total score.

If anyone needs info and can't get to the Internet address, then have them send me a note by snail mail and I'll be happy to help them out.

Al Maenchen AD6E,

NCCC, c/o Al Maenchen, AD6E, 3330 Farthing Way, San Jose, CA 95132-1908.
A $1.00 donation to help defray costs of printing and mailing results is encouraged.

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