BOARD MEETING MINUTES – February 18, 2021
BOARD MEETING MINUTES – February 18, 2021
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
Cisco Webex online meeting due to COVID-19 social distancing
Roll Call of Officers – Present: Joe KCØOIO, Bob WØGAF, Dave N9JNQ, Rich ADØSN, Zack AAØU, Shel NØDRX, Doug N9TOW
President: Joe KCØOIO
The meeting was called to order at 6:39 pm.
Secretary’s Report – Dave N9JNQ
January 21, 2021, Board Meeting minutes have been posted to the club website by Dave N9JNQ. Check your junk mail folder for the draft of the February Membership meeting minutes.
Treasurer’s Report – Rich ADØSN
Rich ADØSN reports that the books are perfect to the penny, he went back in the record and found the $12.00 discrepancy mentioned last Board meeting and cleared it up.
SARA received another $100.00 rebate check from Icom from the recent purchase of the Icom 7300; it has been deposited in the account.
Keith AGØH reported back to the Board on the audit he performed on the SARA books as directed by the Board at the January Board meeting. Keith commended Rich on the condition of the books and the time Rich has put in to assure an accurate accounting, and determined that all was in order and in fine shape. Thank you Keith for your auditing efforts and expertise.
Trustee’s Report – Shel NØDRX
Shel NØDRX has nothing new to report this month.
Reports of Committees/Work Groups:
Website: Collin KEØIYN
Collin KEØIYN reported on the security certificate issue that raised its ugly head this week. Collin reports that the initial certificate was supposed to be good for 90 days, but expired mid-month and did not “roll over.” He corrected the problem manually by renewing the certificate and will monitor this coming month to see if the problem has been corrected and it will automatically renew. We should be good for 90 days, but will need to be monitored as we get near the end of that period. Joe KCØOIO thanked Collin for getting on the problem promptly during his busy work week.
Collin reported that the transfer of the domain name registration from Register.com to Namecheap.com has not gone off without a hitch; Register.com did not want to transfer configs. Collin has taken care of the issue.
For purposes of the upgrade of WordPress for the SARA website, Collin has addressed the issue regarding the encryption apps and Bob WØGAF will take a look at the forms apps. Collin will then do the upgrade this coming weekend.
Activities & Events: Dave WØOXB
Ice-olation Station WØJH – Dave WØOXB reported that the 2021 version of this special event. utilizing stay-at-home operations, was a big success considering we are still in a learning phase. There were 13 on-air participants, with two others helping on the logging. We could improve a bit with more activity on 40 and 20 meters when the bands are open. Thanks to Lionel N5LB for sticking by the Vibroplex bug making CW contacts even after he lost his furnace, and Mark KEØQQN operating from his unheated porch. And thanks to Eliot KEØN for his remote digital operation of FT8, which added more than 400 contacts to the log.
The take away from this year’s operation is that the club should consider some sort of remote operation even when we are back doing on-site special event operations, such as the Edmund Fitzgerald special event. That is, we should consider incorporating such things as digital operation from a member’s home QTH while operating a special event at another location.
Shel NØDRX reported the metrics of the operation: We had a total of 1535 contacts. There were 488 FT8 contacts spread across 15, 20, 40, and 80 meters. There were 24 CW contacts on 20 and 40 meters, thanks to Lionel. For SSB, there were 715 contacts on 20 meters, 265 on 40 meters, and 45 on 80 meters. Peak times of operation were 1:00 to 4:00 PM on 40 meters, and 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM on 20 meters, although Dave had a big bump on 20 meters on Monday evening beginning at 6:00 PM, actually pushing the special event into the next day UTC. So far we have received requests for certificates for 310 QSOs, some of which were for multiple QSOs by the same operator, so the number of actually certificates sent will be less. Last year we sent out 190 certificates. The SARA website says we will get the certificates out within tow to three weeks, so we have some work ahead of us.
A hardy attaboy to all participants!
MAP: Dave WØOXB
Dave WØOXB noted that the weather has put a crimp in the antenna-raising efforts, although we may be able to get an endfed up for recently-upgraded Tom KD9RFJ/AG. Dave reported working “remotely” by telephone with Carl KØCFL and Paul KFØAQF on solving a tuner issue at Paul’s QTH.
Meetings & Programs – Joe KCØOIO
Membership Meeting Programs – Joe KCØOIO has asked for suggestions for the upcoming March, April, and May Membership Meeting programs, he has nothing in the queue at the moment.
Tech Topic Thursday – Mike KFØCCL did a fine job in getting Martin Jue K5FLU, founder of MFJ, to discuss operation and use of the MFJ 259 and 269 antenna analyzers at the February 11 session. It was enjoyed by all. Joe . KCØOIO notes that Mike has gotten John Kruk N9UPC, rep for Yaesu, for an upcoming session, with the date being firmed up. Mike is also trying to secure the Icom rep, Ray Novak N9JA, for an upcoming session.
The March 11 session is tentatively scheduled to have Dick Philstrom WØTLE discussing his amateur and Navy radio history.
Room Reservations – Dan KEØIYF
Joe KCØOIO reported that John N5JLZ recently received a survey from the Stillwater Library asking questions about room use, etc. It appears to be a review to determine future use of the available Library meeting rooms. Joe responded to the survey.
Education and Training – Bob WØGAF
Bob WØGAF reports that the General class is about half way through its sessions. It already has its first graduate – Tom KD9RFJ/AG recently upgraded through virtual testing sponsored by the Maple Grove Radio Club. Bob reports having four to six students, depending upon the week. Dan KEØIYF taught the last two classes as a first-time instructor. Thanks much Dan! Classes are being recorded.
There was preliminary discussion whether the club should try to get back on its typical schedule of having Tech classes in the spring and General classes in the Fall. Bob stated that a change would be dependent upon the availability of the instructors. He also noted that he likes to have Tech classes in-person, which would not be an option this spring. The Tech sessions often rely upon the publicity and recruiting from the Skywarn class, which this year is virtual, and from the Stillwater High School physics class. Dan KEØIYF reported that, when he spoke to him last fall, the physic teacher was overwhelmed at the time with getting his virtual class up and running. Dave WØOXB noted that having Tech sessions in the fall with General in the fall would avoid the three month “down time” during the summer.
New Ham Resource Group – Brian NØBJE
Brian NØBJE reports that the HTs have been a success, with the two radios going in and out. We also have the Icom IC-718 HF setup, as will as the newly available Yaesu FT-840 HF setup with power supply. Brian is trying to pair the FT-840 with a manageable antenna tuner. Rich ADØSN offered an antenna tuner for use if needed. The B&W tuner is currently being “test driven” by a member for possible purchase.
Newsletter – Pat WAØTDA, Dave WØOXB
Joe KCØOIO reports that the deadline for the upcoming newsletter is March 6, with a publication goal of March 9.
Repeater – Henry KØHAS, Shel NØDRX, Doug N9TOW
Nothing to report.
Remote Bases Technical Committee – Pat WA0TDA
Joe KCØOIO referred folks to WAØTDA Pat’s report in a recent newsletter on the remote bases. Pat is still considering computer options, but wishes to do a ‘hands on” evaluation, so will wait until the COVID crisis diminishes.
KBØOHI equipment donation – Dave N9JNQ reported that the equipment was made available to membership in the last Signals Newsletter, as well as advertised at the last Membership meeting, but there as been no takers. Dave suggested that some of the equipment, such as the two meter mobile and HT, may be something the NHRG may be interested in. Dave will send photos to Brian NØBJE for consideration.
Metro Skywarn WØJH Repeater Use – As Greg KØGW reported he has not heard from Metro Skywarn on its interest in using the WØJH repeater for Skywarn activities in order to cover the east side of the Twin Cities area and western Wisconsin. Greg will try again to determine Metro Skywarn’s interest and capability.
Uploading WØJH Logs to LOTW – Discussion was again had as to whether the club should begin to upload special event logs to LOTW. Bob WØGAF noted that he has gotten questions from special event contacts whether the club uploads to LOTW, and there appears to be interest from some contacts that are trying to confirm the state or the grid square. Rich ADØSN pointed out that, as an ARRL affiliated club, we should probably support LOTW as a ARRL program. Shel NØDRX reported that he had secured a “certificate” for the club call some time back, but it is now expired and a new one would need to be obtained. Shel notes that he also gets requests for eQSL and QRZ confirmations, but the Board agreed that we will not at this time consider those options. Shel mentioned that he has in the past reported contacts for POTA, but that is fairly easy as you only need to send an ADIF file.
Keith AGØH noted that, using the N3FJP logging software, reporting to LOTW should not be a problem. Greg KØGW noted that we can report to LOTW using different location designators to account for distributed operations such as the recent Ice-olation Station WØJH and Edmund Fitzgerald special events. The accuracy of our logs, or visa versa, should not be a problem because if there is no match on LOTW, no harm no foul.
Shel as trustee will make efforts to secure a new certificate for the club call. The Board will then discuss the logistics of the LOTW reporting process.
NHRG QRP Loaner Kit – Discussion was again had on NØBJE Brian’s suggestion that the Board consider the purchase of a more portable HF rig, such as a 20-watt Xiegu G90, for members who may want to try portable work. Brian had asked at the last Board meeting whether there was a a separate fund set up for the NHRG. Rich ADØSN did some investigation and reported that money from the sale of KB0OTB (SK) equipment has been accounted for in an NHRG column of the treasurer’s transaction file in the amount of $666.27. This includes $40.00 that was donated to NHRG by Joe KCØOIO from his winnings from the April 13, 2019 50/50 raffle that was discovered by Dave N9JNQ after looking through past minutes.
Brian stated that he has heard from club members who have expressed interest in trying QRP and portable/remote operating activities. The NHRG’s charge has tended to expand from serving not just new hams, but members who want to try new things. Brian proposes that the club “put together a modern SDR type portable station to loan out to qualified club members who wish to try portable operating on the HF bands. It should be battery operated, lightweight, relatively easy to use by a ham with some operating experience, and have an easy to erect antenna (like an end fed wire antenna) that could be tossed into a tree with minimal effort, perhaps all packaged in an easy to carry bag or backpack. Simple and practical, designed for success.” A “qualified club member” would be a defined as a “General class and above with verified skill proficiency on the HF bands and comfort level with modern SDR radio.” Brian asks the Board to consider the purchase of such a setup, perhaps using the NHRG earmarked funds. Brian provided the Board with a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons of the Xiegu G9 and the Icom IC-705 for consideration.
A question was raised as to whether the funds collected through the sale of the KBØOTB equipment is a proper source for such a purchase. Joe KCØOIO noted that Bill KBØOTB (SK) did not specifically limit the use of the funds to just new ham use. In any event, what pot the money would come from is a question for down the line once it is decided whether the club should go in this direction.
Bob WØGAF questioned whether there is adequate interest by the club membership in QRP and using such a package. He also raised concern that, if it is a function of the NHRG, some members may not think it is available to them for use.
As a next step, Bob offered to do a “pitch” the idea in an article for an upcoming SARA Signals Newsletter, as well as put together a survey on the club website to gauge interest. Joe will also pitch the idea through the weekly SARA email Broadcast to gauge interest.
Suggestions for Washington County ARES EC– Joe KCØOIO noted that John Regan KAØHYR is resigning his position as Emergency Coordinator for the Washington County ARES organization effective the end of February. John has held that role admirably for over 12 years. No replacement has been reportedly found as of this date. Joe, in discussions with the leadership of SEMARC, concluded that the two clubs should take on the role of helping recruit a new EC. Any ideas should be referred to Joe
It has been suggested that SEMARC and SARA jointly purchase a plaque to be awarded to John recognizing his service. Initial investigation indicates that a purchase should be in the thirty to forty dollar range.
Dave N9JNQ moved that SARA pay for half the cost of the purchase of a plaque recognizing John’s service; Zack AAØU seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Outdoor Eyeball QSO Parties/Radio in the Park in the Spring – Joe KCØOIO asked whether there was interest in having Radios in the Park this year considering COVID and, if so, how often. The group agreed that we should make efforts to have such events this year, of course implementing all CDC and State recommendations. After discussion as to how often they should run, it was concluded that for the time being we will stick to the every third Thursday routine. The next stop is to secure reservations for the pavilion for those dates settled upon. In the event the club decides to run the Radio in the Park Eyeballs more often, Bob WØGAF offered to host a Webex eyeball on the same nights so that members who chose not to or cannot attend the event have a virtual alternative.
Field Day 2021 – The ARRL Class D and E waivers will remain in place for 2021, but there will be a 150 watt power limit this year. There was discussion as to whether SARA will sponsor an actual in-the-field operation, or be exclusively distributed operations. Bob WØGAF suggested that we keep the idea of a hybrid with distributed operations as well as a field operation open as conditions may allow for a small gathering/operation. It was noted that our in-person field days usually result in wider participation than our experience has been with the recent distributed operations.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm on the motion of Dave N9JNQ, seconded by Bob WØGAF, passed unanimously.