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Volume 28, Number 3 - MARCH 1998


The speaker for the March meeting will be Vic Black, AB6SO; The topic will be robots.

The talk will feature a short video about industrial light assembly robot systems consisting of articulated robotic arms, microprocessor based controllers and advanced machine vision driven by sophisticated software. The robots are used in the automotive, pharmaceutical, food handling and electronics industries, worldwide. Virtually all hard disk drives are robot assembled as are surface mount PC asemblies in amateur HTs, etc. Highlights of the talk will be the history of this 25 year old industry and significant developments within the past decade.

Vic Black, AB6SO. Originally licensed as KN6IOW. Upgraded to K6IOW then let license lapse during the 1960's. Relicensed as General Class KD6KWA in 1992 to drive for hang glider pilots. At some time or other I have held all classes of license (except Conditional). I like CW as a mode and especially the challenge of QRP and home brewing. I also enjoy VHF and UHF contests and enter some HF SSB contests.

Clubs: I am the immediate past President a board member of Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association. I also served as Secretary and Vice President and for three years was the program chairman. I belong to NorCal QRP, QRP-ARCI, Northwest QRP and Michigan QRP clubs.

Vic Black, AB6SO


There are still some openings on the Board -including some of the top spots. Here is your chance.


At the last meeting, I surveyed people on what radio classes they were interested in. The biggest single topic was CW. Specifically upgrading to tech plus before Field Day. Here is a list of web sites with info on learning Morse code.

Down-loadable MORSE 4.0

Description of Koch Method: start at 15 WPM and learn more letters as you master them.

W7TPQ's story of how he did learned CW

Home page for Morse Enthusiasts Group of Scotland

AA2MZ's story of getting 29 year to get a license

Learning Morse Code By the Koch Method Using the SuperMorse Software Package (Based on SuperMorse Version 4.04)

Learning Morse Code in 2 hours

Paul Zander


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.


President: Jack Eddy WA6YJR
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Training Officer: Paul Zander AA6PZ
Radio Officer: Mikel Lechner KN6QI
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG

Board members: Dirk Thiele, KE6ZUY; Dick, N6ATD; Hans, KE6TGA; Martin, KD6WJW; Herb, KF6BKL

K6YA Station Trustee: Stan Kuhl, K6MA

FARS Web Page:

FARS announcement mailing list is moderated, so you cannot reply directly to the list. To subscribe, send the word "subscribe" to:; For help, send the word "help" to; For human assistance, email to:

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: W6APZ (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 are the various ways to reach the editor:


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Personal Account Statements
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Email: Owen@DeLong.COM


Ham Radio Legal Service formed

New hope for hams and radio clubs plagued by malicious interference and harassment from others who use foul language on the air. An ARRL Director is forming a new legal service aimed at combating this growing problem. But its not an ARRL project.

Joe Falcone, N8TI listened to amateur radio and doesn't like what he hears. "Apparently certain people believe that they can say whatever they want over Amateur Radio (that is injurious to others). The problem is that the average ham doesn't have resources to start a law suit that's going to cost $20,000 to $30,000." Falcone

So Falcone, Director of the ARRL's Great Lakes Division, says he will form a nonprofit organization called the Amateur Radio Legal Aid Association. Its purpose: to provide support for amateurs threatened by other hams who use amateur radio to commit the offenses.

Falcone, speaking with RAIN's Hap Holly, KC9RP, says the association will tackle what many hams have long considered a major problem, and that's the failure by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to act on complaints involving amateur radio.

"I actually have heard of death threats, threats of arson and when I would talk to (the affected) people.

I was in shock -- would ask 'have you gone to the police?' The individuals would say: '...yes, we have gone to the police, but the police won't act on it and the FBI won't act on it. The reason (that law enforcement gives) is if a person a 1,000 miles away -- or 2,000 miles away makes a threat over Amateur Radio, the police and the FBI don't seem to take it seriously.'

This got me extremely upset and I asked myself: 'well, what would I do if somebody did this to me?'" Falcone

The Association will have no connection to the ARRL. Falcone says it will seek donations of time from lawyers and law students, as well as donations from the public. The group may eventually be able to help hams who are victims of radio-borne offenses to take legal action on their own:

"If such lawsuits were brought against these individuals (who harass others on the air), then this, in and of itself would stop this type of activity. The reason is that when someone gets hit with a lawsuit in a federal or state court, and they have to drain their savings to defend it, they are not going to go on doing that (activity). And of coarse, if they disobey a civil injunction, they can be thrown in jail." Falcone

Falcone says the association will conduct research to help hams assess legal options available to them. Ultimately, he hopes the group might even be able to provide financial aid to help bring clear cases of injustice involving amateur radio into the courtroom.

You can hear the complete interview with ARRL Director Joe Falcone, N8TI and learn more of his plans by calling the RAIN Report. That's the new name for the old RAIN Dial-Up and is still at area code (847) 827-RAIN.

(Via Newsline, RAIN)

RAIN change

By the way, the reports producer Hap Holly, KC9RP has a new RealAudio web address at: The RAIN Report still updates Fridays. Again the phone number is area code (847) 827-RAIN. In simple numbers that's (847) 827-7246.

(Via RAIN)

NY Taxi

Is it legal to operate a ham radio station on top of an unlicensed station that's bootlegging on a ham band? And, is it breaking any FCC rule to reek havoc on a bootlegger that's using the amateur spectrum for an obvious commercial purpose? Those are the questions that have arisen in New York City between hams who want to rid ten meters of illegal taxi cab dispatch services, but who are divided on how to do it.

Three lines of reason have developed. The first says that you should ignore the existence of the bootlegger. As such, these hams believe that you can operate any mode to which your license permits in the spectrum -- and do so right on top of a bootlegging station

Another faction says -- wait a minute. Even though the bootleg taxi dispatch and mobile stations have no legal right to be in a ham band, to operate on top of them is still an act of wanton malicious interference to them.

Finally there are those who agree that the taxi operators are breaking the law by using 10 meters, but they also say that for hams to do anything that interferes with their communications is to violate the cabbies civil rights. They believe that only the federal government has the power to move them off of 10 meters but the content of their communications and their ability to communicate is constitutionally protected.

Which if any of these three views is the right one? That's what we asked the FCC. They say they have turned it over to one of their lawyers to research. The answer -- hopefully -- next week.

(Via Newsline)

APRS QSY to begin

APRS digipeters in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska and Wisconsin will switch frequency to 144.39 MHZ on Saturday, March 1st. This as the first part of a national agreement to consolidate all APRS activities onto a single 2 meter frequency nationwide. Called the "APRS QSY," the plan was adopted by the users of APRS so as to get the mode off of the 145.790Mhz two meter experimental use frequency.

(Via N9UUR)

AMSAT on bandplanning

AMSAT North America likes the ARRL's ideas on bandplan controls but it wants to be certain that ham satellites and manned ham radio operations that use FM will continue. This, if the League is successful in persuading the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling on the issue.

AMSAT North America president Bill Tynan, W3XO, says that he supports the intent of ARRL's initiative. But Tynan says that he will suggest to the AMSAT North America Board of Directors for the organization go on record to preserve the current practice of using FM in conjunction with Earth to space and space to Earth communication within the satellite sub-bands.

"There are a number of satellites currently operating in the satellite band that utilize FM. What I was saying was that -- subject to discussion and approval by the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors -- that I felt we should make it clear that there has to be provisions for continuing the use of those satellites -- and possibly future (FM) satellites in those segments." W3XO

But Tynan takes a much stronger position against FM in regard to non-space communications taking place in the ham satellite bands. Tynan says that he will also recommend that the Board support a ban on FM terrestrial only communications within the ham satellite segments.

"It is potentially destructive to satellite operations to have an terrestrial operation in the 145.8 to 146.0 MHz satellite band. That's really the band we are talking about. If an (interfering) operation of that type takes place it is more likely to be FM because most people have FM equipment." W3XO

As previously reported, the ARRL may ask the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling dealing with the problem of inter-mode conflicts. The League wants the Commission to assert that any operation that conflicts with established, voluntary band plans and causes interference or adversely affects others operating in accordance with applicable band plans, is considered poor amateur practice, regardless of the band on which the conflict might occur.

(Via Newsline)

Open the internet

The nation's top telecommunications regulator wants to help ease the world wide wait on the world wide web. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Bill Kennard doesn't have a plan yet but says that he intends to start looking into ways to give companies incentives to provide more high-speed connections into the nations homes. That says Kennard will help ease the congestion that many people experience when browsing the Internet. Kennard also says that the FCC should consider streamlining regulations to give these companies the incentives needed to assure that they will build these networks.

(Via FCC)

CW can combat bootleggers

Gary Smith, W6TER, says that the best way to drive the New York City taxis off 10 meters is to make it hard if not impossible for them to communicate. He adds that hams can do this by using the oldest mode available to the service.

As reported last week, Smith says that the illegal taxi transceivers are channelized units. He says that they are found in the low end of 10 meters on 28.015, 28.045, 28.075 MHZ and so on up the band. And here is where he says that the Morse code really comes into play.

While hams cannot legally operate voice in this spectrum they can use the code. Smith says that to make their communication ineffective takes as little as ten watts of Morse code sent very slowly. He says that slow CW will affect the AGC circuits in their low cost radios and make for a very annoying situation for the illegals. He says that most of the illegals are mobiles, almost any fixed base station will easily overwhelm their radios. And if the Taxi's cannot communicate, says Smith, they will move to frequencies where they can.

But there is one question. Is it or is it not illegal to jam other communications -- even if those signals are coming from unlicensed people who are not supposed to be there? That part of the story, next week.

(Via Hudson Division Loop)

The internet repeater connection

Late last year Newsline reported how amateurs are linking local area repeaters to the Internet for worldwide connection to other amateurs and repeaters. In the December 1996 issue of QST Magazine's FM and Repeaters column, Murray Green, K3BEQ, wrote about the procedural aspect of communicating through repeaters using the Internet. In a follow-up article, to be released in March, Green will provide information on how to go about obtaining the software necessary to access repeaters via the Internet or to talk to other amateurs on a computer to computer basis. Look for it a few weeks.

(Via K3BEQ)

Franklin Institute station to close

A famous ham radio station, long accessible to the public may be closing down for good. Bob Joseweit, WA3PZO, reports via the Hudson Division Loop electronic newsletter that the famous amateur radio station at the Franklin institute and Science Museum in Philadelphia may be done away with. According to Joseweit, plans call for the station floor space to be converted into offices sometime this summer.

(Via WA3PZO, Hudson Division Loop)

The $600 HF Radio

In ham radio industry news, SGC Corporation has announced that it will bring out an under $600 high frequency transceiver. The Bellevue, Washington based company says that it has developed a new twenty watt high frequency transceiver that carries a manufacturers suggested retail price of only $595.

Based on a popular Index Labs design and dubbed the SGC-2020, the radio has tunable coverage 1.8 to 29.7 MHZ, has 40 memory channels, a microprocessor controlled iambic A mode keyer, digital frequency readout, front panel microphone jack and much more.

No reaction yet from the big-four manufacturers to SGC's low priced challenge to a traditionally high ticket item.

(Via press release, CQ Magazine, others)

Newsline, P.O.Box 660937, Arcadia, California 91066

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.

[meeting map]