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Volume 28, Number 4 - APRIL 1998


Jack Eddy, WA6YJR, will speak on what Hams had to do with the development of Radio Control for models. He will have a couple of Airplanes with him so all can see how it is done today.

We will be presenting Constitution and by-law changes that will be voted on at the May meeting. There will be copies of the proposed changes available at the meeting. Speed readers are requested to scream quietly.


President: Jack Eddy, WA6YJR
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
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:


VHF voice: KD6WRG on W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL) FARS net Thursdays 8 PM; Various other times. Mail: 1093 Kelly Drive San Jose CA 95129-3222
Eyeball: at FARS meetings.


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.


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Dear FARS Members,

Some of you may be wondering why I came along in February to be president of the club. I was asked to do this in December and at that time had to turn it down because of commitments of church work. I have been able to free myself from a lot of the church work and so I am willing to put my energy into the FARS Club.

I am hoping that this can be a good year as the club moves from being EMARC to being FARS.

As many of you know I was curator of the museum when we started the EMARC club. At that time we asked all of the local clubs to help us organize. Most of the clubs helped by sending workers and members. It is for this reason that I feel it has been a good choice to take on the FARS name and call.

I am asking each of you as members to become involved not only in a meeting once month but in the other club activities and needs.

What are our needs? We need information about those you may know that could speak at our meetings. We need a Vice President and two more board members. We need participation in the Thursday night net. This net can be used as a great training tool for emergency communications with some of you being net control operators. You can get checked out in the club station and become a part of the group that operates the station. We need workers for field day which is coming sooner than you think. We have always done well on field day, but it does take a lot of willing workers so I hope we will see a lot more of you taking part.

I want you to remember this is your club and it will only be as great as you the members help make it.

Feel free to contact me with your ideas, needs and complaints.

If you have items to bring up at the club meetings, please let me know before the meetings. This will help me to plan the meeting and have it run smoothly.

Please remember the officers and board members are here to help run the club, but they should not and cannot be the only workers.

Thanks, Jack WA6YJR

I want to thank all those who signed up to help on field day. We are still in need of some workers in the area of food. This is an important need for a successful day.

You voted to buy a Gin pole and Dick N6ATD and Larry KM6IU will be making this purchase. The board has appointed Dick and Larry to head the committee that will oversee the Gin pole use. Club members may use the Gin pole by going through the committee.

The committee will make sure that you have experienced help to oversee its operation. This is for your protection as well as the clubs.

So you can mark your calendars the club meeting in June is the third Friday since the fourth weekend is field day.

Many of you have experiences in the field of electronics or friends that do and we need your help in finding people who are willing to speak at our club meetings. Give it some thought and let me know who you know would make a good speaker.

We still need a Vice President and surely out of 100 members we can find one. Perhaps it is YOU.

I want to personally thank the Officers and board members who have been aboard for several years and I hope each of you will take time to thank them also. Without these few who give every year the club would not be where it is today.



The MS walk last weekend had the benefit of many radio amateurs to coordinate the activities. For once there was no interference with communications. One disturbing item was the use of a cell phone with simplex capabilities. The units worked very well and could replace amateur radio as the communications medium of choice -if the sketchy information I got was true. Apparently, the MS society rented these cell phones for $18 for the weekend. Does anyone know anything more about these evil units?


Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act Introduced in House of Representatives:-

On March 27, Representatives Michael Bilirakis (R-FL-9th) and Ron Klink (D-PA-4th) introduced HR 3572, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 1998. The operational portion of the bill is Section 3 (see below), which, if passed, would require the FCC to provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" if the Commission reallocates any primary or secondary Amateur Radio frequencies. You can look up the full text of the bill on the House THOMAS web site at: The bill has been referred to the House Commerce Committee. While it is too early to offer any prognosis, the House only has about fifty days left actually in-session before the proposed October adjournment. Our strategy must be very straightforward - a simple numbers game of gathering as many House cosponsors as we can. Here is Section Three: "SEC. 3. FEDERAL POLICY REGARDING REALLOCATION OF AMATEUR RADIO SPECTRUM. Section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: (y) Notwithstanding subsection (c), after July 1, 1998-- (1) make no reallocation of primary allocations of bands of frequencies of the amateur radio service; (2) not diminish the secondary allocations of bands of frequencies to the amateur radio service; and (3) make no additional allocations within such bands of frequencies that would substantially reduce the utility thereof to the amateur radio service; unless the Commission, at the same time, provides equivalent replacement spectrum to the amateur radio service." Here is a draft sample letter to send to your Congressman to enlist him/her as a cosponsor:

The Hon. (congressman name)

Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative (congressman name):

As one of the nation's more than 650,000 licensed radio amateurs, I urge you to sign on as a cosponsor to HR 3572, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 1998. This bill, introduced by Representatives Bilirakis and Klink on March 27, is a non-partisan, non-controversial measure designed to afford a measure of protection to Amateur Radio frequencies used by radio amateurs in (state name) and elsewhere to provide emergency communication, technical experimentation and recreation. The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" in the event it becomes necessary to reallocate radio frequencies currently allocated to the Amateur Service. This is a matter of fairness, and is in the national interest. The bill would help ensure Amateur Radio's continued public service role to the people of the State of (state name).


(your signature)

Pacific Division Ham Published in Scientific American:- There was a great article in the April 1998 issue entitled, "Spread Spectrum Radio" by Dewayne Hendricks, WA8DZP, Assistant Director, and David Hughes. Congratulations, Dewayne and David!

Amateur Radio Newsline

VA Antenna Victory: Maybe

Virginia may soon have the most Amateur Radio friendly antenna laws in the nation. This, after that states legislature passes SB-480 and sends it on to the Governor for his signature.

SB-480 gives Virginia hams what amounts to an inalienable right to erect an antenna system. This, because the measure directs that all areas of the state be covered under PRB-1 like preemption language that directs all communities to make reasonable accommodation for ham radio towers and antennas.

But it does not stop there. Areas of Virginia with population densities greater than 120 persons per square mile based on the 1990 Census cannot regulate antenna structures to less than 75 feet. Areas under 120 persons per square mile cannot regulate antenna structures to less than 200 feet. And no area can regulate the number of support structures meaning that hams can put up as many antennas as they want.

As to restrictions? There is only one that is of any consequence. It says that reasonable and customary engineering standards for antenna erection must be followed in all locations. But that in itself is also a positive step because it makes sound engineering a state mandate and takes away the benefit of localities having final say on engineering and structure erection.

In getting the measure passed, Virginia hams defeated two of the most highly influential anti-antenna and pro local government lobbies in the state.

(Via WB5ITT, others)

Emergency Communications Competition

The commercial satellite industry may soon be competing with Amateur Radio to provide free communications carriage for humanitarian efforts.

The March issue of Satellite Communications Magazine reports that Mobile Communications Holdings Incorporated plans to offer free time on the Ellipso network for disaster relief efforts worldwide. According to Ellipso's Joseph Tedino, the company's objective is to offer relief organizations a way to foster good works and alleviate burdens. He says that the company plans to have at least a portion of the Ellipso services to be available by the year 2000.

For years, providing free emergency service communications has traditionally fallen to radio amateurs. This, as commercial service vendors have been hesitant to dip into corporate profits except in times of major disasters.

Now that's changing, but probably not anywhere near as far as the satellite industry might think. This is because Ellipso's decision to furnish free satellite air time is just that. Its free air time to transmit information but it does not include the trained communications personnel needed to get the messages delivered and the responses back.

And that's where trained, volunteer ham radio operators really shine. It's also why they will always be needed. As most emergency service communications directors know, the radio and air time is only half the communications equation.

(Via Newsline)

Dallas heart monitor failure suggests DTV problems

If you think you have RFI problems, a Dallas Texas television station has you beaten by a city mile. When it turned on its new high definition transmitter it caused the wireless heart monitoring system at the Baylor Medical Center to loose all patient contact.

According to news reports, no patients were injured during the system outage. The station involved, WFAA Dallas, Texas, did agree to suspend operations of the new transmitter until the hospital monitoring system was moved to a new set of frequencies not prone to digital television interference.

But the shutdown of wireless heart monitors following launch of DTV service in Dallas is almost certainly is a harbinger of similar problems elsewhere.

According to Communications Daily, the problem centers on the fact that many hospitals have wireless systems which relay patient heart activity data to nursing stations. This lets the patients roam about. Unfortunately, many of these systems rely on previously unused television channels which just now are being occupied by new Digital Television signals. Moving all the hart monitoring systems will be an expensive proposition for the nations hospitals.

And the heart monitors are not alone. Many other types of wireless systems are believed to use currently unused DTV channels as well.

(Via CGC Communicator and other news reports)

The $500 HF Radio

Last week we told you about the under $600 high frequency transceiver. Now comes word that another company may soon an under $500 radio available to the ham radio community. That company is ADI Premiere.

Take a look at amateur radio HF rigs today and you'll see mostly high-end contest models. Prices in the thousands with dozens of features and front panels full of knobs and switches. Premier Communications, maker of ADI radios, believes that's enough to keep some hams off the low bands. So, Premier is thinking about going simple by offering an easy-to-use HF rig at or below $500.

"We're basically targeting it toward the codeless licensees that have come in during the last decade. We are approaching 10 years now of the code-less license. Of course the number of upgrades are very low, so we are targeting those guys. Trying to give those guys a real obtainable thing from them to go after that upgrade." Ken Collier, KO6UX

Ken Collier, KO6UX, is Premier's assistant sales manager. He says the company is getting a lot of response from its request for comments from hams about what features they want in a low cost HF rig.

"Basically what we're looking for is what we can cut out of a radio without severely impacting those, the sales of the radio." Collier

Of course, low cost means the radio would lack certain features like advanced signal processing. But Collier says the new model would include general coverage receive capability. The company knows the price would have to be right.

"We'd like to keep the cost under $500 retail. And that is actual selling price. That's not the suggested retail price. Suggested retail is going to be somewhat higher than that. Whether or not we can actually do that remains to be seen, but the engineering staff would be pretty optimistic." Collier

Collier says Premier may decide later this year on whether to bring the cost and complexity of HF communications down to perhaps the lowest ever.

While ADI may wind up being the first to break the $500 barrier, another company has already come close. As reported last week, the Bellevue, Washington based SGC Corporation has announced that it has developed a new twenty watt out high frequency transceiver that carries a manufacturers suggested retail price of only $595.

(Via Newsline)

W3AA to remain on the air

Some good news from Bob Josuweit, WA3PZO. Bob says that thanks to efforts of the Philmont Mobile Radio Club, the Franklin Institute Station in Philadelphia will remain on the air. According to Club President Russ Stafford, W3CH, discussions have been taking place and the station will be available to visitors at the science museum.

As reported on Newsline a few weeks ago, the station was in danger of becoming an inactive exhibit. The most recent meetings with Institute officials indicate the station will remain an active display.

Originally licensed in 1952 as W3TKQ, this continuously active exhibit has demonstrated to countless thousands of visitors the excitement of radio communications that is available to licensed amateur radio operators, worldwide.

(Via WA3PZO, Newsline)


Also, members of the Hungarian Pannon DX Club will operate from Mongolia in May. According to a report relayed by HA0HW, the team plans to keep 2 to 3 stations simultaneously on the air 24 hours a day, to maximize band openings. All HF bands will be activated, on SSB, CW, & RTTY. The callsign to be used will be announced at a later date.

(Via HA0HW, The DX News Sheet, others)

Missing Owl Hunt

And finally, what do Burrowing Owls have to do with ham radio hidden transmitter hunting? Quite a bit when the owls are lost and there is nobody else really out there to find them. Confused? We asked Joe Moell, K0OV to straighten it all out:

"You've seen the TV nature shows where critters of all kinds are tagged with little transmitters and tracked by radio direction finding. But have you ever listened for these signals yourself? Here's your chance to help researchers from Saskatchewan who are trying to find a dozen endangered Burrowing Owls that migrated south from Canada last fall.

Weather was so bad that aircraft lost the radio collar signals in North Dakota. The owls are thought to have wintered in southern Texas or nearby in Mexico, and they're expected to head north again very soon, if they haven't been bagged by hawks or other predators.

If you live in central states from Texas to North Dakota, you can help the biologists by listening for these owls. They hide in burrows during the day, so you 're most likely to copy the short pulsed signals during hours of darkness. Frequencies are near 170 MHZ. Your scanner or extended-range hand-held may be all you need, but if you have direction finding gear, so much the better.

For all the details including exact frequencies and technical tips, see the Homing In Radio Direction Finding Web site. There's a link on the Amateur Radio Newsline site to get you there. If you're not on the Web, send me an e-mail. The address is homingin -- one word -- . Or you can send a stamped self-addresssed envelope to my callbook address for a hard copy." Moell

As Joe said, for more information on how to help in this electronic owl hunt contact him by e-mail to:

(Via K0OV, Homingin)

T-Hunting Part 1

And finally, a question. Have you ever been on a hidden transmitter hunt? The first National Foxhunting Weekend is coming, April 25 and 26. Mobile hidden transmitter hunts have been popular for a long time. I first tried it as a pre-teen 40 years ago. But today's sensitive receivers, handi talkies and doppler sets make it a lot more fun for both the hunters and the hider. For starters, your club can hold easy two-meter hunts, where someone transmits for 15 seconds every minute or so from a parked car . A good time is when lots of people are listening anyway, such as right after your club's weekly net. Make the signal source easy to find using common directional antennas like small yagis and quads. After everyone has found it and be sure to give plenty of clues the first few times so that everyone does, have a get-together at a nearby restaurant where everyone compares notes and stories. Once everyone has the hang of it, your hunts can get harder, longer, and more intriguing. Move them to simplex, have more than one transmitter, and put them in tricky places like a baby carriage at the zoo, or hanging underneath a bridge you get the idea. For more suggestions and the details of the National Foxhunting Weekend, see the April issue of CQ VHF Magazine. If you're on the Web, surf over to my site for help with simple direction-finding setups. There's a link to it at the Amateur Radio Newsline site.

(Via K0OV, Newsline)

New 220 MHZ handheld by Premier Communications

ADI says it will soon introduce a new handheld radio for the 1.25 meter band. Dubbed the ADI PR-222, the HT is a compact, rugged radio that offers 5 watts of output on the 1.25 Meter amateur band. Other features include built-in CTCSS encode and decode, 40 channel memories, the ability to store a different CTCSS tone and repeater shift in each memory, a real BNC antenna connector and much more. ADI says that the PR-222 should be available at the end of May. A 6 meter HT is expected to follow shortly.

(Via ADI Premier news release)

T-Hunting Special - Part 2

And finally, some hams think that finding hidden transmitters is one of the greatest thrills in ham radio. The CQ VHF National Foxhunting Weekend, April 25 and 26. "Hidden transmitter hunts in the USA have traditionally involved cars, trucks or vans full of direction finding gear, roaring off for miles of fun. But the folks in China, Korea, Japan and many countries of Europe such as Belgium and Sweden, well, they think we're sissies. To them, a ham radio foxhunt involves a couple of hours of running through thick forest, using hand-held direction finding sets to seek out five to seven one-watt transmitters. It's not unusual to have to run or walk three to five miles to punch your ticket at all the transmitters, or "foxes" as they call them. It's a sport for all ages, fit and not-so-fit. They even have national and world championships, the last World Championship was September 1997 in Germany. Competitors are grouped into age and gender categories, and there are medals for individual and national team winners. Just like the Olympics, right? Well, European and Asian foxhunting leaders would indeed like to see it become an Olympic sport. And they would also like it if hams in North and South America would get more involved. Next week, I'll tell you about upcoming opportunities for that to happen. Meantime, consider an international-style foxhunt for one of your activities during the National Foxhunting Weekend. For more information, see the April issue of CQ VHF magazine and my Web site, which you can access by link from the Amateur Radio Newsline site." Joe Moell, K0OV: Be here next week for the conclusion of Joe's 3 part series.

(Via Newsline)


On Sunday, March 15th, about a dozen members of the GVARC visited the Marina Amateur Radio Contest Station. This station occupies the building and grounds previously occupied by the Fort Ord Army MARS station. The invitation to see the station was originally extended to us last summer by Art, W6BV. Art, as many of you remember, was an active CW operator at the our GVARC Field Day events on Fremont Peak recently. During the Monterey Winterfest hamfest, Hal, Tony, & Fred wandered into a DX session given by Pat, AA6EG. After "stumbling" through a simulated CW pileup, we got to talking to Pat. He re-invited us to the station. "OK, we get the hint, time to make the trip finally", we said, simultaneously to ourselves. Sooooo... Pat, AA6EG, the President of MARCS was kind enough to arrange for our visit on the 15th. Tony, KE6YNR, made the arrangements with Art and Pat and coordinated the transportation. Thanks go to Hal for driving several of us in his van. As Hal, AC6LK, put it, the surroundings really tug at ones sense of history and there is a feeling of nostalgia brought on by seeing the many boarded up barracks buildings and homes that you see as you ride through the post on the way to the station. Mark, KF6JZH, mentioned that he had been stationed at the base and this visit had brought back many memories.. Tony recalled that the base had been his home at the age of 5 when his dad was stationed there. For me, the nostalgia was more in the form of memories of my MARS operation in the late 60's. While I had never visited any of the MARS stations I had served while operating from AFA7UGA, I imagined they would have looked like what I was about to see, except they would have had a line of anxious GIs waiting for 5 minute phone patches to loved ones back in "the world". We were met by Ray Moore, KC6BCH, at the corner of 11th Street and 12th Street (an unusual address) Ray is a member of MARCS and he revealed that it hurt to see the post disintegrate before his eyes For 20 years Ray had been the Post's civilian locksmith and twice he had been stationed at the post in the service Ray wished us a pleasant visit and quickly left for home I expect he would rather think of the post in its happier and more vibrant While Fort Ord is no longer an Army base, some services are still provided by the federal government until the transition takes place. One is law enforcement - You want to obey the post's speed limits, we were told! When the transition is complete, the MARCS facility will be actually a park dedicated to recreation. It will share this status with an equestrian (horsies, ya know) facility adjacent to the MARCS property. As you approach MARCS (at 599 DX Drive, Marina CA 93933) you go near a 40 meter log periodic antenna. This antenna, which covers all frequencies from 7 to 30 MHz., is mounted in the corner of a triangular shaped platform (18 ft. on a side) which has been constructed atop three 75 foot telephone poles. Each pole has been buried 9 feet in the ground, making the antenna platform at near the 66 foot level. This antenna, by itself, would be a proud addition for any amateur station. As you enter the grounds of the station, however, your eyes just can get away from looking at the 80 meter discone antenna. This is a real piece of art It is strung using 8 60 foot high telephone poles arranged in a circle about 75 ft. in diameter. Another pole in the center supports the center of the disc of wires that form from the center to the outer circle and the cone of wires that come down at angles to the base of the circle - quite a sight! It is essentially a vertical that operates on 80 to 10 meters without any need for tuning. Something the military would need more that the typical ham, I suppose, but it is something to cherish none the less. Besides these two extraordinary antennas on the property there is a fine looking 20 meter monobander that has just been erected (Pat reports that this is a confirmed "killer antenna" as judged by the testing they've just completed.) There is also a huge 80 meter Double Extended Zepp wire antenna that I listened to on 20 meters It sounded sweet - S1 noise and S9 signals from the east coast. Other beams that are in the MARCS inventory but not yet erected include another 4 element 20 meter Cushcraft monobander, 2 2 element 40 meter monobanders, a 5 element Telrex tribander, a 3 element Wilson tribander, a 6 element 10 meter monobander, a 5 element 15 meter monobander and a KT-34-XA tribander. Pat commented that they have more beams than rotors at present. Rotors are always needed, but strategy may be to mount fixed monobander on the poles fixed in on Europe, Japan and South America, with the rotary beams providing "fill" to places like the Caribbean, or Australia So many poles, so little time (before the peak of the sunspot cycle)! Pat showed us the grounds surrounding the shack and it looks possible to have a rhombic on the property pointed to Japan That requires about 900 feet between the poles at the long ends! What HF buff wouldn't like to just try one of these if he had the room? Jim, KA6GJU, was really impressed with the enormity of the antenna farm. Jim and I, you may know, suffer from CC&R's that allow us to sneak up an antenna once in a while. Gee, after thinking about this, I wonder if I could somehow design a neighborhood rhombic that masquerades as block party decorations? Hmmm... The MARCS "shack" is roomy (1200 square ft.) and houses three individual (sound proofed) operating rooms, a break area and a rest room. The couch in the break area would seem to be just what you'd need to wind down after working furiously to break pileups! Tony said he thought this would be a great contest environment. I agree. As Fred, KG6QV, commented Pat was a very gracious host, indeed. Pat was also very enthusiastic about MARCS and its possibilities. It will take a lot of work but in a sense it is a labor of love. For example, it took Pat 6 months of weekends to disassemble and refurbish the 40 meter log periodic antenna. Now he is now working to replace its balun with a choke balun, consisting of a hunk of coax in a coil about 8 inches long and 8 inches in diameter. We enjoyed the tour immensely and look forward to somehow help the MARCS group in some way in the future in exchange for the thrill of being a small part of what could become the greatest contest station on the west coast! Once registered, $5.00 per month gets you 24 hour access to the site. An electronic card security system controls access. All are welcome to visit - contact Pat via email: -- de Frank, N7FF

(Lifted from the GVARC newsletter)


Learning Morse Code is really a matter of mastering a new skill. It is rather simple, but it does require that the "student" spend a 10 minutes or so of practice every day. Three methods are available to FARS members. 1. I have accumulated an assortment of commercially prepared audio cassette tapes which I will lend to anyone interested. 2. Computer programs. Super Morse can be readily douwnloaded over the intenet. The second also describes how to set up Super Morse for the "Koch" method which is said to teach 13 wpm as fast as most people learn 5 wpm. I'd like to hear from anyone who has tried this. If you do not have access to internet, you can contact me or Charlie

3. The Unofficial EMARC On The Air Morse Code Class. A few years ago, Jim KT6W prepared a set of CW training tapes for a month of daily classes. At least 2 sets of these tapes exist. What we need is volunteer with a reasonable 2 meter rig (25 watts and a roof mounted antenna. ) Pick a time that is convenient for you, say 9 PM every weekday evening. Guarantee: committing yourself to a regular schedule to transmit the tapes will make sure you also listen to them and learn Morse Code!

73, Paul

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]