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2020 S.A.R.A. EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – August 6, 2020

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – August 6, 2020

Stillwater Amateur Radio Association

Cisco Webex online meeting due to COVID-19 social distancing

Roll Call of Officers – Present:  Joe KC0OIO, Bob W0GAF, Dave N9JNQ, Rich AD0SN, Dan KE0IYF, Doug N9TOW, Shel N0DRX

President: Joe KCØOIO

The meeting was called to order at 7:06 pm.

Secretary’s Report – Dave N9JNQ

April 29, 2020, Board Meeting minutes have been posted to the club website by Dave N9JNQ.

​Treasurer’s Report – Rich ADØSN

Beginning Total Balance:   07/01/2020     $16,864.19

  • SARA

Balance:                                                   $3,507.11

Income:                                                   $0.00

Expenses:                                                $0.00

Ending Balance:      07/31/2020              $3,507.11

  • RBF

Balance:                                                 $13,357.08

Income:                                                  $0.00

Expenses:                                               $0.00

Ending Balance:    07/31/2020          $13,357.08

Ending Total Balance: 07/31/2020       $16,864.19

SARA had no income or expenses for the month of July 2020.

Trustee’s Report – Shel NØDRX

Shel N0DRX reported that the club’s payments have been made for such items as liability insurance,website domain name and web hosting, and all reports are up to date (IRS 990-N, MN Non-profit under Article 317A, and ARRL Affiliation Report).  The only upcoming payment is for the club Flicker account, which is due November 20, 2020.

Shel has been in contact with the MN Department of Natural Resources park ranger for Split Rock Lighthouse State Park regarding the club shelter reservation for the November 6-8 Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event.  Shel was informed that the shelter has been recently opened for public use, but use is limited to 50% capacity, maximum 15 people, and masks and social distancing is required.  What the requirements, or even shelter availability, for November will be is unknown.  SARA has a deposit put down for this year’s use of the shelter, but cannot have it applied for next year 2021 as the park only works four months out on reservations.  Thus, if the club cancels, it will receive a refund.  We will monitor the situation, but Shel would like not to wait until the last minute to cancel this year’s reservation.

Reports of Committees:

Activities & Events:  Dave WØOXB & Bob W0GAF

Nets and Ragchews – Dave W0OXB noted that there has been great participation each day on the SARA-sponsored 2-meter and HF nets and ragchews, and the club has done a good job to provide members with the opportunity to get on the air.  Statistics are as follows:

  • 160m Ragchew:  For June, the average SARA members participation was 11.2, for nonmembers 2.2.  For July, the average SARA members participation was 10.6, the average non-members was 0.7.
  • 75m Monday Morning Ragchew:  For June, the average SARA members participation was 8.8, for nonmembers 0.5.  For July, the average SARA members participation was 8.0, the average non-members was 0.5.
  • Two Meter Tuesday Ragchew:  For June, the average participation was 7.8.  For July, the average participation was 10.0.
  • Two Meter Tuesday, the Thursday Night Edition, Ragchew:  For June, the average participation was 6.5.  For July, the average participation was 7.5.
  • Two Meter Wednesday Net:  For June, the average participation was 3.8.  For July, the average participation was 3.3.  Both months the average non-member participation was approximately 2.
  • Two Meter Lunchroom:  For June, the average participation was 5.6.  For July, the average participation was 4.6.  Joe KC0OIO reports that a couple times last month, there were no check-ins at all.

Dave W0OXB recommends dropping the Two Meter Tuesday, the Thursday Night Edition, Ragchew due to it conflicting with the Thursday night Skills/Tech sessions and, as with this evening, the board meetings, resulting in only two sessions at most per month.  Other group leaders in attendance agreed (Collin KE0IYN, Zack AA0U).  The Board agreed that the Thursday night session will be discontinued, and a note will be sent to membership informing them as such.

Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event  – Dave W0OXB noted that SARA will need to do things differently for this year’s special event.  Dave noted that SARA should have a presence on the air for the event even if the club does not go to Split Rock State Park.  One option is for members to work from their own QTH, working on a  schedule, using the club call, W0JH.  He suggested that a work group be set up to consider options.  Approximately ten attendees volunteered to be part of the group, which will be scheduled for Thursday August 20, at 7 PM via Webex.  Joe KC0OIO will let the general membership know of the creation of the work group and welcome volunteers.

Field Day – Bob W0GAF noted the need to close out the competition portion of the event, and shared a leader board of scores currently reported by club participants.  One more call-out for logs/scores will be made to members.  Prizes will then be awarded.  Brad VE3MXJ offered a shirt and a hat from his local club as prizes.

MAP:  Dave WØOXB

Dave W0OXB reported that he has been busy lately.  Dave noted that several antennas have been put up, antennas have been repaired, and a few more members are interested in having antennas installed.  At this time, three more antennas need to be raised.  Brian N0BJE, as a member of the New Ham Resource Group, has helped out a member with programming a radio, and helped another in the two meter area.  Joe KC0OIO has a request from a member for help in trouble-shooting Winlink and his Rigblaster, and Rich AD0SN as been helping a member get on PSK31.

Meetings & Programs – Joe KCØOIO

Joe KC0OIO reports that the “virtual meetings” using Webex are working and appears to be a viable alternative.   Joe is strongly leaning toward continuing the virtual Saturday morning Membership Meetings.  Shel N0DRX recently spoke with his contact at Boutwells Landing and was informed that the facility is not planning to open up to outside groups until this winter at the earliest, and it may be spring before the club can again use the meeting room.  The club is currently credited by Boutwells for four canceled room rental dates.  So Boutwells is not an option for the immediate future, nor is the library available (see below), making Membership meetings by Webex the only option at this time.

Dan KE0IYF has contacted the Stillwater Library about its room availability for Thursday Night Eyeball meetings, but was informed that library staff would not discuss the matter with him until they receive word from John N5JLZ that Dan is taking over that role.  Dan will contact John and ask him to notify the library staff accordingly.  The library did inform Dan that it is not taking reservations for rooms at this time, so the library remains out as an option for Eyeballs or Membership meetings.

Joe KC0OIO notes that the Thursday night virtual eyeballs via Webex have been successful, in including the Tech/Skill Sessions.  There were 28 check-ins logged for the last program regarding HF antennas.  Joe noted that the uploaded YouTube video of the presentation has also gotten views.  The YouTube videos are “hidden” so that they are only accessible via a link rather than through a general search on the YouTube site.  Doug N9TOW suggested that the videos, of which there are two at the moment, be put on a “playlist” which then would allow one link to be used to access all the SARA videos.  The Board agree with the suggestion.

Joe reports that the Friday night 7:30 pm “Manhattan Project” has been a success, with another one scheduled for this Friday.

There is a Radios in the Park currently scheduled for September 3 in Valley View Park.  It was agreed that the club will keep this one on the schedule and try to do it with proper social distancing and other safety measures, subject to cancellation if necessary.  The shelter is still reserved for this date.

Education & Training – Bob WØGAF

The Tech Class 2020 , previously scheduled February 27 through April, has been suspended.  Bob W0GAF suggested that the classes could be restarted virtually as we have found that the Tech/Skills sessions have worked well.  Bob could assist the instructors by monitoring for raised hands, etc.  Bob will reach out to instructors to determine whether any has concerns about doing their session via Webex, but does not anticipate any concerns.  Instructors in attendance at the Board meeting did not raise any concerns.  As SARA does not have access to Boutwells for purposes of holding VE sessions, the club could possibly coordinate with SEMARC, which has restarted its testing program as it has access to its facility, Zion Lutheran Church.  Joe KC0OIO noted that holding virtual VE sessions are logistically complicated and, thus, not really an option for SARA.

Joe KC0OIO will reach out to the SEMARC VEC to determine if that club is willing to test SARA’s students.  Joe reports that the SEMARC monthly testing sessions have involved using four VEs and having six examinees per session, with two sessions on the monthly testing date.  VEs use masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, and examinees are socially distanced for the exam.  Health questions are asked and temperatures are taken before entering the building.  Examinees must preregister.

Bob suggests that we restart the Technician class soon, with testing possibly at the October SEMARC session.  Three classes have already been completed, with five remaining.  Bob will contact the participants, including the three non-high school participants, to gauge interest.  Dan KE0IYF will contact the Stillwater High School physics department to determine whether the school still has interest in providing incentives to high school students to take the class.  It was suggested that the classes could be recorded and then made available as we do with the Tech/Skills programs through a hidden YouTube link, making it easier for high school students.  Bob suggests that we move ahead with offering a General class this fall as the club has done in the past.

VE Team – Shel NØDRX

As noted above, SARA does not have access to Boutwells for testing, and virtual testing is not really an option, so testing is suspended for the immediate future.

Newsletter & Website – Pat WAØTDA, Dave WØOXB

Deadline for the September Newsletter is August 30, with publication by September 6.

Repeater – Henry KØHAS, Shel NØDRX, Doug N9TOW

Joe KC0OIO reports that the Wires-X system is up and running.  Doug N9TOW is finishing up work on the YSFReflector.

Remote Bases Technical Committee – Pat WA0TDA

Joe KC0OIO reports that Pat WA0TDA is still looking at selecting new computers for the bases, and will be working with Collin KE0IYN for technical help on reviewing options.  A W0EQO port forwarding issue has been resolved by Pat.

Unfinished Business

Doug N9TOW and Mark KE0QQN are working on the audio distribution box build.

The radio donation to the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp located in Houlton, Wisconsin, is on hold due to the fact that the camp is not operating this summer due to Covid-19 concerns.

The SARA Equipment stored at the K0GW QTH has been moved.  The beams and coax that remained unclaimed have been moved to the Rich AD0SN QTH.

New Business

Dues payment options:  Discussion was had on providing a PayPal option for the payment of dues, considering that the usual in-person payment at Membership meetings is not available.  It was noted that the younger generation often do not have checks or checking accounts; rather, they make payments electronically.  Costs incurred by the club in accepting PayPal payments would be 2.9% of the payment plus 30 cents.  Payment could be made by providing the club’s PayPal address, or through the use of a payment button on the SARA website.  Doug N9TOW reports that setting up a payment button on the website is fairly easy.  Bob W0GAF, Keith AG0H, and Joe KC0OIO have access rights to the club website.  Rich AD0SN agreed to look into setting up a PayPal account for the club, but asks for technical assistance for setting up a PayPal button on the website.

Bob W0GAF moved that SARA, through Rich AD0SN, set up a PayPal account and authorize the expense for doing so (a first payment of a negligible amount must be made to initiate the account).  Seconded by Dave N9JNQ.  The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:26 pm on the motion of Bob W0GAF, seconded by Dan KE0IYF, passed unanimously.