2019 SARA Executive Officers
2014 SARA Officers
Split Rock 2013
Ice Station WØJH 2014
The Joe Simonet WØTBC Memorial Award
OXB Special Install
AGØH 2013
New Radio Gear For Some SARA Members!
Kilo Parks Award
2017 SARA Officers

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – April 3, 2020

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – April 2, 2020

Stillwater Amateur Radio Association

Cisco Webex online meeting due to COVID-19 Shelter at Home order

Roll Call of Officers – All Officers present.

President: Joe KCØOIO

The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM.

Secretary’s Report – Dave N9JNQ

February Board Meeting minutes have been posted to the club website by Dave N9JNQ.

​Treasurer’s Report – Rich ADØSN

Beginning Total Balance:   03/01/2020     $16,876.04

  • SARA

Balance:                                                   $3,160.27

Income:                                                   $40.00

Expenses:                                                $0.00

Ending Balance:      03/31/2020              $3,200.27

  • RBF

Balance:                                                 $13,715.77

Income:                                                  $0.00

Expenses:                                               $0.00

Ending Balance:    3/31/2020          $13,715.77

Ending Total Balance: 3/31/2020       $16,916.04

SARA Income

  • Dues                     $40.00
  • 50/50 Raffle       $0.00
  • Donations           $0.00
  • Sticker sales        $0.00

SARA Expenses  $0.00

Trustee’s Report – Shel NØDRX

Shel N0DRX reports that the club’s website hosting service, chi.midphase.com, expires June 4, 2020.  The cost was $99.34 last year with early payment discount, renewal this year is $107.40/year prior to the discount.  Currently payment is set up through auto-pay.  Early payment to obtain discount is preferred.

The club’s Flickr account expires November 20, 2020.  Last year the cost was $49.99/year, renewal this year is $59.99/year or $117.99/2 years.  The question was raised whether the club should continue the expense for Flickr, or whether there is a cheaper alternative.  Keith AG0H noted that there are ten-years worth of photos on the site at this time.  Google Drive is not a viable option due to its limited free storage.  Instagram is not a storage site, so would not be an appropriate alternative.  With Flickr, any member can view and/or download any of the photos by using the link that Keith sends when new photos are uploaded.  Any member who has deleted the link can contact Keith for the link.  It was suggested that notice be put in the Newsletter to that effect.  The Flickr site is not generally available to the public, and members are not able to login without using the provided link.  Besides Flickr, Shel N0DRX regularly provides Joe KC0OIO, Dave W0OXB, and Keith AG0H with the recent photos in a digital format, so from the historical perspective the photos are currently backed up in an alternative manner.

Consensus was reached that the issue should be brought to the membership for guidance.  It is planned to use Survey Monkey or similar means to survey the membership on the issue.  As no decision needs to be made until the fall, it was suggested that the survey also include other questions as they develop.

Shel N0DRX reports the following matters have been completed:

  • Liability Insurance: paid thru 12/31/2020
  • IRS 990-N: filed 3/5/2020 for 2019 fiscal year (next due 5/15/2021 for fiscal 2020 -due the 15th of the 5th month following end of fiscal year)
  • MN Non-profit under Article 317A: filed 3/5/2020 (was not due until 12/31/2020) (next due 12/31/2021 for 2021 -annual report is due last day of the year)
  • ARRL Affiliation Report: filed 3/5/2020 (due annually, next due 3/5/2021, usually filed twice a year – spring & fall)
  • ARRL Special Service Club: last filed 1/21/2019 (due every other year, next due 1/21/2021)
  • Website Domain Name: register.com (for radioham.org) (paid thru 2/19/2021, last paid $150/3years)

Reports of Committees:

Activities & Events:  Dave WØOXB

Two-Meter Tuesday – Dave W0OXB noted that we are seeing much more use of the SARA 2-meter repeater since initiating the Two-Meter Tuesday Round-Robin Ragchew (“RRR”).  Thursday has also been added as a 2-meter RRR in place of the weekly suspended Thursday Night Eyeballs, and has had good participation.  Joe KC0OIO reports that the new “Lunch Room” net held weekdays at noon has been a success as well, with a recent record of 16 check-ins.  Discussion was had regarding the apparent confusion as to when the Tuesday and Thursday 2-meter RRRs get underway as up the Tuesday session has begun at 8:00pm and the Thursday session at 7:00pm.  It was decided to hold both RRRs at 7:00pm to avoid confusion.  The 160 Top Band get-together will continue at 8:00pm immediately after the RRRs.

Stillwater Lift Bridge Spring Reopening – Joe KC0OIO reports that the event originally scheduled for May 16, 2020, as been indefinitely postponed.  Initial discussion proposed such options has having SARA members posted to the buses used to transport participants, but no decisions had yet been made.  SARA is working with Nate Timm, Washington County Sheriff’s Department Radio Communications Manager, and Washington County ARES on this event.   

Field Day – Joe KC0OIO reports that the ARRL is considering alternatives to the typical Field Day activities.  ARRL Division Director Matt Holden K0BBC noted in a recent Webinar that there is thought of having everyone operate from their own homes rather than having participants congregate in a single location.  Matt noted that, no matter what is decided, it will difficult to please everyone.  Joe noted that operating individually from home would be a good emergency exercise as that is likely how a majority of operations would take place in a true emergency.

MAP:  Dave WØOXB

Dave W0OXB notes that antenna projects are on hiatus due to COVID-19 and the weather, but that he has approximately half-dozen members in need of antennas.  Joe KC0OIO noted that two members recently borrowed the club coax crimping kit, taking the appropriate precautions in the hand-off to avoid the virus.

Meetings & Programs – Joe KCØOIO

Joe KC0OIO that “virtual meetings” appear to be a viable alternative using Webex after the success of a recent test session and the apparent success of this Board Meeting.  A big shout-out to Doug N9TOW for hosting the meetings and for being the general expert on the platform.

Joe proposes that the upcoming April membership meeting be done by Webex, and possibly the May membership meeting as well.  At this point, Randy KC0VKB is scheduled for his presentation at the April meeting, but Joe will be checking with ARRL Division Director Matt Holden K0BBC to provide a presentation at one of the upcoming meetings, so Randy’s presentation may be postponed to May.  Board members agreed to initiate the April meeting, and possibly the May meeting, by Webex.  Notice/Webex Invitation to membership will be handled by Joe.

It was suggested that the club consider holding the Thursday night eyeballs by Webex, including the Tech Nights.  Joe noted that perhaps in the future the club could use Webex or a similar platform to broadcast all membership meetings so that snowbirds, the home bound, and those who are unable to attend in person could view and participate in a monthly meeting.

Subject to change, the upcoming programs include:

  • April:           The Art of QSL cards – Randy KD0VKB
  • May:            Antenna Modeling – “Before You Cut Any Wire Model That Antenna Using EZNEC” – Jon Platt WØZQ

Future Ideas: RPi Digital Stations;  Propagation – Can I get there from here?;  Station grounding;  Tuners:  Manual vs. Automatic and Care & Feeding;  Setting up your shack;  New Technicians: Here’s what you can do now.

Room Reservations – John N5JLZ

No report as we are unable to book rooms at the library at this time.

Eyeball Sessions – Tech Night

As noted above, the club is considering holding the Thursday night eyeballs by Webex or other video/streaming platform, including the Tech Nights, during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Radios in the Park currently scheduled for May 21 (New Ham Night), June 11, July 2, July 23, August 13, and September 3, subject to change due to COVID-19.

Other ideas include: Tune a duplexer (Doug N9TOW); Using toroids to reduce noise and RFI; Learning CW and building speed (Bob WØGAF); How to read the Solar Reports; The “Tech” in Technician; Antenna Lab: Theory & Design Discussions; SWR Bridge calibration.

Education & Training – Bob WØGAF

The Tech Class 2020 , previously scheduled February 27 through April, has been suspended.  Bob W0GAF reports that he will be talking with Pat WA0TDA regarding using prerecorded content in place of the class.  Webex is also a possibility for continuing the classes.  The next step is to canvas the students to determine interest.  The classes could in fact take place during the day as many of the class participants are high school students who now are at home all the day.  Dan KE0IYF stated that the Doug Petty, the Stillwater High School physics teacher whose students get extra credit for taking the class, may have thoughts on it.  Bob W0GAF will communicate with the class students to determine interest, and then work with Dave W0OXB, whose antenna lecture was the next scheduled session, on preparing an online class if there is a positive response in continuing in this alternative format.

Joe KC0OIO notes that he is unaware of any VE sessions scheduled and available at this time.  However, Joe noted that online testing is a possibility.  W5YI VEC of Texas recently held an online session.  Joe noted that the FCC already enables remote testing, so it is a possibility.

VE Team – Shel NØDRX

The April VE test session has been canceled due to COVID-19.

New Ham Resource Group (NHRG) – Brian NØBJE, Mark KEØQQN

Brian N0BJE reports that the KD0OTB HF loaner kit is available.  It includes an IC-718, a tuner, coax, and an endfed antenna. Brian asked whether anyone had a two or three foot coax jumper that could be donated to the kit for connection up the rig to the tuner.  Also available are the two HTs.

Newsletter & Website – Pat WAØTDA, Dave WØOXB

Deadline for the April Newsletter is this coming weekend, April 4-5.  As always, there is a need for additional contributors.

Joe KC0OIO reported he has received positive feedback regarding his Sunday membership email that lists all events for the week.  He is posting it also, with slight modification, on the SARA website and the Facebook page.

Brian N0BJE encouraged everyone to subscribe to Instagram and join the SARA group.  Instagram supports posting of photos in real time.  Brian notes that it is good social media platform to attract younger members, younger hams in general, or those who might be interested in the hobby.

Nets & Roundtables

As noted above, Two-Meter Tuesday as been a success, as well as the new Thursday Two-Meter RRR, both followed by the usual 160 Top Band get together.  The weekday noon hour “Lunch Room” RRR has also been successful.

Remote Bases Technical Committee – Pat WA0TDA

Pat WA0TDA stated that he was looking at Netbook computers for the remote bases, but they only operate a Microsoft windows 10S version, so you can only download apps from the Microsoft store, limiting the options for use for the the remote bases.  Windows 10 can be downloaded to the Netbook, but it may be buggy due to the computing power of the Netbook.  Doug N9TOW suggested the Windows 10 pro minicomputer that has been purchased for use with the SARA repeater Wires-X setup as it has a four core processor at a price of $358.69 including tax.  Pat noted that there are cheaper China-made mini-computers that could be purchased for around $150; however, they are only 2 core.  He in fact is running one on WA0TDA remote.  However, for up in Park Rapids, we need a computer with a monitor/screen for the caretaker’s use and convenience.  More thought needed on this issue.

Repeater – Henry KØHAS & Shel NØDRX & Doug N9TOW

Doug N9TOW reports that the Wires-X system is ready for installation.  He noted that a script would need to be written to address changes made to the IP address by the internet provider.  For a fee his provider will give you a static IP address.  Zach AA0U will contact Comcast to determine whether a static IP address can be obtained and, if so, the cost to the club.  Doug has set up a YSF reflector for the system.  Zach has an antenna available.  The IP address issue will need to be addressed before the system can be up and running.  Doug and Zach will coordinate installation.

Builders Group

Deferred – Nothing happening at this time.

Unfinished Business

Audio distribution box build update:  Doug N9TOW is still working on it, solving a few issues, but has tested it and it should be ready to go shortly.  Although, with the COVID-19 issue, completion by Field Day is no longer a necessity.

KDØOTB SK gear deposition:  Available for sale at some date:

  • FT 897 HF/VHF/UHF radio – Joe has it cleaned up.
  • FT 990 HF radio – An FT990 was sold at the recent St. Paul Radio Club auction for approximately $300.
  • Nye Viking Antenna Tuner – Dave W0OXB reports that it is non-functioning.  Henry K0HAS notes that these tuners are notoriously touchy.

New Business

No new business.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40pm on the motion of Bob W0GAF, seconded by Dave N9JNQ, passed unanimously.