BOARD MEETING MINUTES – April 29, 2020
BOARD MEETING MINUTES – April 29, 2020
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
Cisco Webex online meeting due to COVID-19 Shelter at Home order
Roll Call of Officers – Present: Joe KC0OIO, Bob W0GAF, Dave N9JNQ, Rich AD0SN, Dan KE0IYF, Shel N0DRX; Absent: Doug N9TOW
President: Joe KCØOIO
The meeting was called to order at 6:33 PM.
Secretary’s Report – Dave N9JNQ
April 3, 2020, Board Meeting minutes have been posted to the club website by Dave N9JNQ.
Treasurer’s Report – Rich ADØSN
Beginning Total Balance: 04/01/2020 $16,916.04
Ending Balance: 04/29/2020 $3,170.93
Ending Balance: 04/29/2020 $13,357.08
Ending Total Balance: 04/29/2020 $16,528.01
- Dues $70.00
- 50/50 Raffle $0.00
- Donations $0.00
- Sticker sales $0.00
SARA and RBF Expenses $458.03
Income was limited to payments for four memberships.
The only expense for SARA was $99.34 to Midphase for web hosting the SARA radiohams.org website. The expense to RBF was $358.69 for the purchase of a computer for the operation of Wires-X for the Fusion digital operation of the SARA W0JH 2-meter repeater. The computer was acquired for SARA by Doug N9TOW.
Trustee’s Report – Shel NØDRX
As noted in the Treasurer’s report, Shel N0DRX reported that the club’s website hosting service, chi.midphase.com, was to expire June 4, 2020, and an annual payment of $99.34 was made to secure the website for another year. This payment reflected a discount for early payment; renewal this year is $107.40/year prior to the discount. Shel reported that he had previously inquired of Midphase whether there was a better deal for a multi-year payment and was informed there was no multi-year option. Shel suggested that when renewal of the domain name comes due next year, which has in the past been done through Register, he can inquire of Midphase as to its price for domain name registration as it may be cheaper.
Shel N0DRX reported that, with the four recent membership payments, SARA membership now stands at 101.
Reports of Committees:
Activities & Events: Dave WØOXB
Nets and Ragchews – Dave W0OXB reported he had no tallies available, but noted that there has been great participation each day on the SARA-sponsored 2-meter and HF nets and ragchews. Totals will be available in the upcoming Newsletter.
There is now a 160-meter 8 pm ragchew scheduled for every night of the week, with up to 14/15 check-ins at times. The 2-meter “lunch room” round robin ragchew is officially active Monday through Friday at noon, and has been averaging 5 to 6 check-ins. The Tuesday and Thursday 2-meter round robin ragchew, beginning at 7 pm, has seen good participation, averaging 10 to 12 check-ins. The Tuesday and Thursday ragchews have been seeing check-ins from non-members, most likely due to the fact that folks are scanning across the repeaters and stumbling upon us. Rick K0BR reports that the Wednesday night 9 pm net has seen a drop off in participation, dropping recently from 6 to 7 check-ins to only 2 this past Wednesday. The Tuesday April 28 round robin ragchew was done as a 2-meter/160 MHZ simulcast, with good success.
Field Day – Joe KC0OIO reports that it is highly unlikely that the club will do a group activity as in years past. The ARRL has sent an email entitled “A Different Approach,” offering suggestions for alternative operations and encouraging creativity. The ARRL will not be issuing total contacts by clubs, but will identify club affiliations provided by participants. The ARRL suggests friendly competitions between members of clubs or between clubs.
Bob W0GAF offered to contact the SEMARC Field Day coordinator to explore a possible inter-club competition. Bob also offered to sort through club member logs, if provided as ADIF files, to determine such things as longest distance for contact, most contacts, etc. Bob noted that we usually have a couple of informal Field Day planning meetings/activities to flesh out the details of the event and will schedule a meeting or two either through Webex or on-the-air to discuss the specifics. Any suggestions or thoughts should be emailed to Bob so that he can incorporate them into the discussion in advance.
Rich AD0SN asked about any liability the club may incur by lending the SARA trailer to members for club-related activities, such as operating from the trailer on Field Day. The club currently holds liability insurance, but does not have insurance specific to the trailer. It is thought that a member’s auto insurance may cover the trailer if in an auto accident.
MAP: Dave WØOXB
Dave W0OXB reported that he has been busy lately. Dave noted that MAP can and has provided help on things other than antennas, but antenna-raising issues has been in the forefront. Dave has updated the existing list and has about seven projects on the burner. Dave noted that he organizes the list by priority: 1) a member who can not operate without MAP work, has most of the equipment, and personally has getting on the air as a high priority; 2) a member whose ability to get on the air is limited, does not have many of the antenna materials, and has not prioritized getting on the air; 3) a member not that interested in getting on the air or does not have any antenna materials; and 4) unassigned.
Meetings & Programs – Joe KCØOIO
Joe KC0OIO reports that the “virtual meetings” using Webex are working and appears to be a viable alternative. The upcoming May 9, 2020, membership meeting will be done by Webex. Randy KD0VKB is scheduled to make his presentation “The Art of QSL Cards” at the May meeting. Doug N9TOW will establish and schedule the Webex membership meeting. The antenna modeling program by Jon Platt W0ZQ will be rescheduled as Jon would rather do his presentation in person.
Joe proposes that Thursday night eyeballs for the foreseeable future be done by Webex. This including the Tech/Skill Sessions. There is a possibility that even if the Stillwater Library reopens, holding eyeballs in the small conference room may not be in the best interest of members’ health and safety. Joe notes that the virtual eyeball sessions, including “The Manhattan Project” held on a recent Friday evening was highly successful, with another scheduled for this coming Friday.
It was agreed that a Tech/Skills Session would be scheduled for every other Thursday night, with a Friday night 7:30 pm “Manhattan Project” scheduled in the intervening week. Joe would schedule a Tech/Skills Session for Thursday May 8. Possible topics include an introduction to the NanoVNA, using Fusion Wires-X and the YSFReflector on the SARA 2-meter W0JH repeater, and a deep dive on digital voice hotspots. Joe notes that we need to “leverage the knowledge of the herd” for future topics.
Radios in the Park currently scheduled for May 21 (New Ham Night), June 11, July 2, July 23, August 13, and September 3. The May 21 event most likely will be canceled due to COVID-19.
Education & Training – Bob WØGAF
The Tech Class 2020 , previously scheduled February 27 through April, has been suspended. Bob W0GAF reports that we did pick up another student – Bob was contacted by an individual who was interested in joining the class once it is reconstituted. Bob suggested that he review the topics that were already covered and join the class.
VE Team – Shel NØDRX
The April VE test session has been canceled due to COVID-19. Joe KC0OIO and Shel N0DRX note that online testing appears to still be a long way off.
New Ham Resource Group (NHRG) – Brian NØBJE, Mark KEØQQN, Holly KEØRZZ
Brian N0BJE reports that the KD0OTB HF loaner kit is available. It includes an IC-718, a tuner, coax, and an endfed antenna. One of the two HTs has been loaned out to a member, the other is available. Brian tested the IC-718 this weekend and reports it works. Brian and Mark KE0QQN report that the MFJ 949E tuner received from KD0OTB Bill’s estate appears to have a intermittent problem. Zack AA0U and Dave W0OXB offered to take a look at it.
Brian reports that he, Mark, and Holly received an email from a local person interested in getting licensed.
Newsletter & Website – Pat WAØTDA, Dave WØOXB
Deadline for the May Newsletter is April 30, with publication May 4. As always, there is a need for additional contributors.
Dave W0OXB suggested that perhaps the Newsletter should be published once of twice this summer just to keep in contact with members during the COVID-19 shutdown. Joe KC0OIO noted that he does do a weekly email to keep members informed of the upcoming weekly events.
Repeater – Henry KØHAS, Shel NØDRX, Doug N9TOW
Joe KC0OIO reports that Doug N9TOW has informed him that the Wires-X system is ready for installation. Doug has written a script that now addresses changes made to the IP address by the internet provider by checking the address every four hours, so obtaining a static IP address is no longer necessary. Doug is still doing a bit of work on the YSFReflector, and is currently building a small amplifier for it. Zach AA0U noted that he has no problem with Doug coming over to his QTH to install the system.
Joe reports that the SARA W0JH 2-meter repeater is getting a lot of use and that good signals are being reported.
Remote Bases Technical Committee – Pat WA0TDA
A Windows update last week resulted in an IP address issue for the W0ZSW remote station, knocking it temporarily off the air. It is now up and running. Remote stations W0ZSW and WA0TDA are both taken off-line during storms, but W0EQO remains on the air.
In N9TOW Doug’s absence, there is nothing to report on the audio distribution box build.
Brian N0BJE asked the Board to consider a radio donation to the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp located in Houlton, Wisconsin. Some members are familiar with the Camp as a JOTA event was held there last year as a joint event between SARA and SEMARC (third weekend of October each year), and SARA used to conduct Field Day at the Camp. There is an immediate need to replace five HT radios the Camp received around ten years ago for emergency and general communication within the Camp facility. Only three of the current radios are operational. The location of the upper and lower campsites make cell phones useless. The radios are used on a business band frequency and would be used by camp masters who communicate with each other was well as the Camp Ranger, using a repeater that was donated by a local VFW. The radios are not used for “fun and games,” but for transaction of camp operation and emergencies.
Brian has priced out the purchase of a 5-pack of Baofeng GT-#WP radios from Radioddity at $169.99, and 5 radio cases from Amazon at $8.99 each, for a total estimated expenditure of $214.94, plus applicable tax.
Bob W0GAF noted that he would like to see some connection between the donation and amateur radio. It was proposed that the club could fund the purchase, and then ask membership for donations toward the purchase.
Joe KC0OIO made a motion to authorize purchase of the radios and cases at an estimated $214.94, plus tax, and ask membership to donate toward the purchase. Seconded by Bob W0GAF. The motion passed unanimously.
SARA Equipment stored at K0GW QTH: Greg K0GW has informed the club that his barn is being torn down, and the club is currently storing some equipment there that must be picked up or it will be thrown in with the barn refuse for disposal. The equipment includes tower sections, masts, rotors and controllers, and a tribander. The materials need to be moved and stored for club use or may be acquired by members with an appropriate donation. Bob W0GAF expressed some interest in the low-profile tower; Rich AD0SN offered to store whatever materials the club is interested in keeping in his barn. An inspection of the materials will be forthcoming.
Plan B for Fall Membership Meetings: There is a possibility that the club may not have access to Boutwell’s Landing in the fall due to the continuing fallout from COVID-19. Shel N0DRX is keeping tabs on Boutwell’s availability. Plan B would be to continue with Webex meetings. Plan C would be the possibility of in-person meetings at some other location. The consensus was that it is too early to start looking for alternative sites for both the membership meetings and the Thursday Night Eyeballs. Henry K0HAS noted that the close contact of the Stillwater Library conference room may not be preferable to many in the immediate future.
Report from Thunder Bay, Ontario: Brad VE3MXJ reports that he signed up and participated in a Skywarn class out of Duluth, Minnesota, taking the Saturday four hour course and the Monday advanced course. Brad reports that Contest University will be putting on a free online class using Zoom on May 14, 2020, at 9:45 am CDT in lieu of its usual pre-Hamvention class. Brad reports that ARES Winlink training took place on April 26, 2020, using Zoom and states that Winlink has been working well. Further information on the training can be found at http://www.ve3rib.ca/ares-wl2k101.html. Last, Brad reports that there will be an international emergency training in June, 2021, involving the simulated collision of two freighters, one from Thunder Bay, ON, and one from Duluth, MN, carrying fuel oil, off the coast of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.
SARA Promotional Video: Dave W0OXB reports that club member Robb KE0ROJ has offered to put together a promotional video of SARA that could be linked through YouTube to the SARA club website. This may not be the time to take this on due to COVID-19, but it would be a good thing to consider in the future. Robb had indicated that it could be done at a negligible cost to the club.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:43pm on the motion of Bob W0GAF, seconded by Joe KC0OIO, passed unanimously.