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Volume 29, Number 11 NOVEMBER 1999

November Meeting:  Friday November 19, 1999

Restoring Old Radios

Les Zwiebel WB6ORZ

Before I ever met Les, I found out it was a good idea to get to the flea market before he did. There aren't so many bargains today at our fleamarkets. Now you have to know somebody getting rid of old electronic gear or haunt the church rummage sales. 

Aside from the psychological implications of the hobby, there is a certain delight in having someone spot one of these "boat anchors" in your living room and saying, "What in the Heaven is that?" This gives one the opening to regale the questioner with all of the intimate details of the device and just what it took to restore it. 

New FARS Email Addresses

The FARS Announcement mailing lists moved on Sept. 25, 1999. The new address for sending announcements is:
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
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(eg. Subscribe fars-announce 

President's Corner

November is the meeting that we elect officers for the next year. We are still looking for a training officer. I hope someone from this club will be brave enough to step forward and do this job for us. 

The banquet in January will have a very interesting speaker (details below). If you are going to attend you need to make your reservation now. 

This next year the board has approved incorporating as a non-profit organization. One of the main advantages of this is that the officers and board members can be held liable in case there is a lawsuit. We will be asking you as a club to vote on doing this at the next meeting. 

The next meeting should be interesting with Les ORZ talking about restoring old radios. Remember the next meeting is Nov. 19th -- one week early because of Thanksgiving. 

Jack WA6YJR 


Moved: Jack Eddy. See President's Message.

Moved: The FARS email lists. See article from Mikel.


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.

Jim, WE6V is running W1AW code practice sessions on the 145.23 repeater every Tuesday evening 8:00 to 8:30.


President: Jack Eddy WA6YJR
Vice President: Howard Califf, KE6PWH
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW
Training Officer: Paul Zander AA6PZ
Radio Officer: Mikel Lechner KN6QI
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG (See address below)

Board members: Dirk Thiele KE6ZUY, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD; Hans Neumann KE6TGA; Herb Davidson KF6BKL, Arv Hamer WA6UUT, Larry Moore KM6IU, Charles Arney KF6CUU.

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 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 is how 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.


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Scouting Jamboree on the Air, JOTA

The reason I enjoy the annual Scouting Jamboree On The Air, JOTA is that something amazing always happens. 

This year, an 11 year old boy came to the FARS station with his dad. We showed him the beam and how it rotated. Then came in and sat down to operate. He looked at the iambic paddle and asked what it was. Omri, AA6TA, put 

the rig in "code practice" mode and I showed him how to make dots and dashes. His name was Tom. Those are good first letters to learn in Morse Code. After he mastered his name, he asked about other letters. 

Quite a while later, I turned the receiver to the CW end of the band and looked for some station sending at a modest speed. OK, there is someone around 15 wpm. "What is he saying?" N - A - M - E name I - S is T - O - M 

That was totally unplanned! Tom now has a disk with SuperMorse to install in his computer. 

73, Paul AA6PZ
The Four Horsemen of the FCC?

The FCC is saying that you will have to pay $6.66 to take an Amateur Service exam in the year 2000. The $6.66 figure is based on this year's 2.6 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index. The ARRL VEC has already said that it will be rounding the figure off to $6.65 when it begins collecting the new fee next year. 

(FCC, ARRL, others)
[That's OK, When the Reagans bought their ranch, its address was 666. They changed it to 668. DW]

Board Meeting

November 2, 1999. Present were Jack, WA6YJR, David, KD6WRG, Larry, KM6IU, Arv, WA6UUT, Dick, N6ATD, Mikel, KN6QI, Dirk, KE6ZUY, and Martin, KD6WJW. The speaker for the joint banquet with PARA in January will be Bonnie Crystal. She will be talking about cave exploration.

Various ways of earthquake-proofing the club station were discussed.

The board approved a motion to pursue incorporation of the club as a non-profit corporation.

Martin, KD6WJW

Amateur restructuring details possible by year's end 

Knowledgeable sources in Washington say the amateur license restructuring issue has moved to the front burner at the FCC, and a Report and Order could be released before the end of 1999. 

The Amateur Radio community has been awaiting license restructuring -- known officially as the 1998 Biennial Regulatory Review of Part 97 (WT Docket 98-143) -- for nearly one year now. While no one has mentioned a hard-and-fast date to wrap up the long-awaited proceeding, reports from several sources suggest that the RO draft is in its final stages and could be complete within a month or so. 

During a recent a visit to top FCC officials in Washington, League officials pressed again for early action on the license restructuring rulemaking. They were assured that the issue was not stalled and that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau was ''working very actively'' to move restructuring along. There is no information on what the anticipated Report Order will contain. 

The restructuring debate generated more than 2200 comments to the FCC, many of them from individual amateurs. Once the FCC approves the Report Order, a Public Notice will be issued, and the actual R&O will be released probably within a few days. 

[From ARRL Members Only sent in by Paul AA6PZ]

Amateur Radio Newsline

Check out the complete Amateur Radio Newsline homepage featuring an archive of over 300 scripts, information about Newsline such as history, phone numbers to record Newsline audio, where to submit stories, and more being added... 

AMSAT to FCC: No on LAPD on 2.4 GHz 

AMSAT North America has told the FCC to deny any request from the County of Los Angeles, California aimed at giving them access to the 2.4 Gigahertz amateur band. It did this in its filing to the FCC in opposition to a proposal from the county which seeks access to the band for use in public safety communications. 

Back on August 9th Los Angeles County has applied to the commission for an experimental license to make available the spectrum for a public safety video system in the 2.4 GHZ band. The county wants to develop a system that will use four 10 MHz wide channels to transmit video images from gyro stabilized helicopter mounted cameras to five remote receiving sites equipped with active tracking antennas. 

The American Radio Rely League has already gone on record in its opposition to the plan. The league has now been joined by AMSAT North America. Its leaders say that the system holds the potential to severely interfere with the operation of the yet to be launched Phase 3D ham radio satellite. Keith Baker, KB1SF, is the President of AMSAT North America: 

"It has the potential of impacting on Phase 3D in that we have not only uplinks, we have downlinks in the 2.4 GHz band. Particularly from a receiving stand point of somebody in the local area could possibly get some harmful interference while trying to do weak signal work off of the Phase 3D in that band. So, it would have a very definite impact in the local area. And then of course on the receive side, if there were harmful interference or other signals coming out of that area. Then they certainly and could conceivable be received by the satellite and then repeated all over creation." Keith Baker, KB1SF 

AMSAT also says that such a grant violates the spirit of the FCC's own order that gives radio amateurs primary status on most of the spectrum under consideration by Los Angeles county. 

"AMSAT-NA is concerned about any kind of encroachment on those particular frequencies particularly since we have been granted primary status in some of those areas. And we view this as a nose under the tent. As an operation that could possibly end up being something more permanent then an just an experimental kind of operations. So, we believe its in Amateur Radios best interest that this kind of activity not proceed." Baker 

The proposal targets the 2402 to 2448 MHz band. Amateurs have a primary domestic allocation at 2402 to 2417 MHz. The decision to grant or deny the proposed license is up to the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology's Experimental Licensing Division. 

LA on 2.4 GHz - Is it so bad? 

At least one ham is saying that welcoming Los Angeles emergency services to the 2.4 Gigahertz band could prevent that spectrum from be sold off by congress at some later date. In a public posting on the Communications General Corporation website, Richard Rudman, W6TIA admits that the public safety attempt to strike a sharing arrangement in the Amateur Radio microwave spectrum is controversial, but he also says that it might be the only way to keep the band in the hands of radio amateurs. 

Rudman, is the Engineering Manager at KFWB Radio in Los Angeles. He has been a licensed ham since 1956 and is the 2 Gigahertz subcommittee chairman of the Southern California Frequency Coordinating Committee Incorporated. This is the broadcast spectrum coordinating body serving the metro Los Angeles area. Most important, he is the man most likely to devise or at least broker an acceptable arrangement. He says that he is doing all within his power to bring to the attention of the American Radio Relay League and others that such a sharing arrangement might actually help the Amateur Radio community hold on to that spectrum. 

According to Rudman, the economic pressures on Congress may not be enough to save the entire 2.4 Gigahertz band including the exclusive Amateur allocation from going to the auction block unless what he calls a new white knight compatible sharing partner can be found. He also says that a spectrum usage study is underway that he believes will prove that there is simply too little Amateur Radio activity taking place in the band to maintain the status quo. 

The complete text of the W6TIA posting can be found on the web at:


(W6TIA, CGC Communicator) 

Air Force warns of possible meteor damage 

Hams may be waiting with bated breath for some exotic contacts, but the Air Force will be looking for something else when the earth passes through the Leonid Meteor Storm on November 17th. During the shower, Air Force scientists will be watching very closely for any damage to missile-warning, communications and other military satellites from the fiery grain of sand sized pellets. 

The Leonids are actually tiny particles traveling through space at about 165,000 miles per hour and are a remnant of the tail of the Temple-Tuttle comet. Although there was some concern when the earth first passed through the comet's tail in 1998, the Air Force says that it expects this year to be the largest display since 1966. Therefore it also holds the greatest potential to cause physical damage to space based communications systems. 

(Published news reports) 

Russian launch problems will impact ISS 

Another possible setback for construction of the International Space Station and putting manned ham radio back into Earth orbit. It took place on Wednesday, October 27th when the Russians suffered the loss of a Proton launcher. 

This has caused yet another suspension of all launches from the Baikonur Cosmodeome. The halting of launch operations from Bikenour is of major concern because the Russians are scheduled to use the facility to orbit the ISS Zvezda module in about 2 months using a similar Proton launcher. Zvezda is the initial location for the ham radio gear on the space station and includes the bulkhead connector that allows the ham radio payload to have a decent outside antenna. No word yet on when launches from Bikenour might resume. 


P3D may launch early in 2000 

The long awaited launch of AMSAT's Phase 3D satellite may be even closer than thought. This as the launch contractor says that it will make orbiting Phase 3D a priority. Jeramy Boot, G4NJH, has more: 

Arianespace has announced that the Phase 3D amateur satellite will be launched early next year and that it will be one of the first secondary payloads to be boosted by Ariane 5. As this script was being written, Phase 3D was receiving its final once, over before being shipped to the launch site at Korou in French Guiana. 

Arianespace says that Phase 3D will be injected into a geostationary transfer orbit. The satellite will then use its own propulsion system to achieve an elliptical orbit range from approximately 2480 miles to more than 27,000 miles from the Earth. 

Jeramy Boot, G4NJH 

If you are a ham with interest in satellite communications, this could be a good time to begin planning for the new bird. 


For those into 6m DXing, a reminder that the 28.885 MHz 6m DX liaison frequency continues to be an excellent source for up to the minute activity reports and DX alerts. According to VE9A, numerous international DX stations appear there rather than on the various DX packet clusters. So take a listen there to find out where the DX is on six. 


The history of the battery 

And finally, we all know that electric battery was discovered by Allessandro Volta but do you know how? It happened as the result of Volta investigating an effect first noticed by Anatomist Luigi Galvani. 

Galvani was researching the muscles on frogs. He cut the frog through the waist and pushed an iron wire into the remaining backbone as a handle. When he placed the legs on his zinc cutting board the legs would twitch every time the iron wire touched the zinc. 

Galvani referred to this effect in his notes but made no effort to deduce it's meaning. He did notice however that when the iron wire was left on the zinc for some time it became coated in zinc and the process became known as Galvanising. 

So what did Volta do? He placed dissimilar metals together separated by a piece of cloth soaked in brine. A stack of these cells became known as the Voltaic Pile which generates around a volt per cell. And that's how the first battery came into being. 


FARS Banquet 2000

The speaker for the joint banquet with PARA in January will be Bonnie Crystal. She will be talking about cave exploration. Spelunking with radios (No I did not make that word up. I have read several articles on her and her fellow explorers. It will be interesting. DW


Larry Moore and I made arrangements for our banquet. 

We are going to go back to Michael's at Shoreline where we had our banquet in January 1998. The date we selected is January 14, 2000. This is a Friday night It seems that January has become very popular for holiday parties as well as November and December.

We have decided on three menus. Roast Prime Rib of jus $29.80. Breast of Chicken. Piccata $24.65. Broiled Salmon,Lemon Beurre Blanc $27.55. Each entree is served with seasonal greens, "intermezzo" pasta, fresh vegetables, potato du jour, french rolls and coffee. We have selected cheesecake for dessert. The above prices include service at 17% and tax of 8.25%. 

[Please fill out form below as soon as you know you are coming to the banquet. DW]

We will have a NO HOST BAR. Wine can be purchased for dinner by anyone desiring it. Incidentally house wine from the bar will cost $3.75.

We have chosen not to have Hors D'oeuvres during the cocktail hour. We felt it would increase to the price too much and weren't really necessary since it is a big dinner with the separate pasta dish. An alternative might be to have the Club buy the Hors D'oeuvres. To do it right would cost $200 to @ $250 for four to five trays with 50 items per tray. This can be discussed if anyone thinks we really need them.

The sooner people get this on their calendars the greater our chances of a good turnout. Of course a good program is important to a good turnout. The program committee should get busy. We have done our part. 

We have indicated to Michaels a group of 50-60 with a tentative possibility of up to 100 if Paara joins us. They are flexible on this. We will discuss guarantees when it is time for the deposit. 

Dick N6ATD

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]