BOARD MEETING MINUTES – March 18, 2021
BOARD MEETING MINUTES – March 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. Absent: Doug N9TOW.
President: Joe KCØOIO
The meeting was called to order at 6:38 pm.
Secretary’s Report – Dave N9JNQ
February 18, 2021, Board Meeting minutes have been posted to the club website by Dave N9JNQ.
Treasurer’s Report – Rich ADØSN
Rich ADØSN reports that we have $80.00 in recent March income, $40.00 of which was actually received late in February but did not make it on to the February financial report. This includes dues from two new members.
Rich has not yet seem an invoice or claim for one-half the cost of the plaque purchased in conjunction with SEMARC. Joe KCØOIO will follow up with Brian NØBM who purchased and presented the plaque.
Trustee’s Report – Shel NØDRX
Shel NØDRX reported that the IRS Form 990N was submitted March 9, 2021. the Minnesota Nonprofit Report is due the end of the year, Shel is aiming to get it submitted in May.
The annual payment to the SARA web hosting provider Midphase.com is due June 4,2021. If we decide to continue with this provider, Shel would like to get payment in by mid-April to take advantage of an early payment discount. Collin KEØIYN was going to compare prices with other providers, but is not in attendance tonight to provide a report. However, Shel has the understanding that Collin thought Midphase.com prices and services were in the ballpark.
Reports of Committees/Work Groups:
Website: Bob WØGAF
In response to suggestions made at our recent Membership Meeting program focusing on the “State of the Club” and what we can improve upon, Bob WØGAF is looking into designing a “for sale” page for the SARA website. He is looking at is as a simple table for sale items, broken down into categories such as HF, VHF, Accessories, etc. Brian NØBJE provided the first listing for testing. Bob hopes to have something to present to the membership at the April Membership Meeting. This would be a direct payment sale, seller to buyer, without the club being involved in the exchange. As with the newsletter, this service would only be available to members – Bob would ask that an email be sent describing the listing, and Bob would verify that the seller is a member. The ad would be allowed up only for a limited length of time, unless there is a change in description or price, but ads of items unsold would come down after a limited period.
Bob is looking into pulling some of the Newsletter article for posting on the website to provide some new copy for viewers. He would ask Pat WAØTDA and Dave WØOXB for an opinion on what to post. These articles are already available on the website through the website link to the monthly newsletters, but this would make them more available to the casual browser. Keith AGØH offered Bob help in these endeavors.
Bob agrees that making a specific tab on the website for the New Ham Resource Team would be advantageous, and will work with Brian on setting that up. Collin KEØIYN has offered to help on sorting out how to go about adding this tab. Bob says, once the the tab and page are added, he will turn it over to Brian for content.
Activities & Events: Dave WØOXB
Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald – If the club plans to do an on-site event this year, which at this point appears to be a viable possibility, reservations will need to be secured for the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park site. Shel NØDRX will check with the Minnesota DNR on whether reservations can be secured at this time or whether they can only be make a few months before the date. DNR recently limited making campsite reservations only three months prior to the anticipated visit.
Field Day 2021 – Joe KCØOIO floated the question as to whether the club would want to try to do something face-to-face as a club at a small scale. Bob WØGAF suggested that we need to encourage distributed operations as we did last year, with members operating under their own calls from their own QTH or other site, and submitting their scores to ARRL and using SARA-MN as a club to aggregate scores on behalf of the club. At the same time, we can hold out the possibility of a small park event, perhaps Valley View Park in Oak Park Heights as we do not need a pavilion with a kitchen/food service area as in past years. In short, have an emphasis on remote operations as last year, but with the added bonus of a small “radios in the park” operation. Joe proposed that we gauge interest and get feedback from membership at the next Membership Meeting and at the upcoming Radios in the Park event and see who would be interested in attending. It was agreed, however, that the club is not in a spot to have a full fledged, 24-hour Field Day operation this year due to COVID concerns.
MAP: Dave WØOXB
Dave WØOXB is out of town, but Joe KCØOIO reported that most in-the-field operations are on winter hiatus. There was an audit performed recently, however, for future antenna raising. Joe noted that Dave WØOXB would like to see creating two teams – one for antenna raising, and the other for providing help to the ham on how to tune up the antenna, operate the rig with the antenna, etc., that is, issue related to operation within the shack.
Meetings & Programs – Joe KCØOIO
Membership Meeting Programs – Joe KCØOIO has asked for suggestions for the upcoming April and May Membership Meeting programs. Joe is looking to reach out to Don Wilbanks AE5DW, current reporter for Amateur Radio Newsline, to provide a history of the service. Don can be seen often on the Internet TV show Ham Nation. Joe is also considering reaching out to Martin M1MRB of the ICQ podcast for a presentation, bringing an international flavor to the club presentations.
Tech Topic Thursday – Mike KFØCCL has secured John Kruk N9UPC, representative for Yaesu, for the April 8, 2021 session. Mike will be confirming Joe KØNEB addressing “Kit Building Techniques for Success” for the May presentation. Mike will have to step away from TTT planning and scheduling for the time being as he is in the process of packing up and moving to Wisconsin. Joe KCØOIO noted that our typical TTT for June falls on the same night as Radios in the Park, so there will be no need to prepare a program for that night.
Thanks as always to Mike for his efforts.
Thursday Night Eyeballs – Joe KCØOIO noted that the current plan is to continue with the virtual aspect of the eyeballs and membership meetings once we can meet again in person. Logistics will be worked on as it becomes a reality.
Room Reservations – Dan KEØIYF & Shel NØDRX
Joe KCØOIO reported that Dan KEØIYF has not heard a thing from the Stillwater Library on if and when the library is going to make its meeting rooms available and under what circumstances. Dan will be contacting the library to determine when they plan to once again accept room reservations.
Shel NØDRX reported that Boutwells said things were improving and is looking at perhaps opening up to room use, at the earliest, this fall. He did not hear whether there is a planned rental rate increase; SARA currently has a four-month credit for the canceled room rentals due to the COVID outbreak last winter/spring. In any event, those four months would take us through the end of the year if we get back into the building beginning in September.
Education and Training – Bob WØGAF
Bob WØGAF reports that the final General class was held last night. He believed moving the class to Wednesday nights was a good thing, allowing students the opportunity to take advantage of the Thursday night online activities of the club. Only one person will be testing as other students have conflicts or do not feel ready for the test. The interaction with M.A.P. and NHRG was great, with Brian NØBJE riding along with some of the classes and providing information to students beyond the class material. There is always room for new instructors with other areas of expertise of a different perspective. Bob noted that Tom KD9RFJ had passed his General test early, but continued with the class and provided a great sounding board for the students as to what to expect in the test.
New Ham Resource Group – Brian NØBJE & KEØQQN
Brian NØBJE reports that business is brisk, gear is being loaned out, and Mark KEØQQN is working with someone at the moment. While he does not keep a log of what equipment is used and for how long, he does keep tabs on who currently has equipment and sends emails to follow up with recipients. Tom KD9RFJ offered to do an article for the newsletter noting how helpful the Group has been to him in getting started in the hobby. Brian noted that he is looking for a 2-meter DCS-equiped mobile rig for loan, if anyone is aware of one available.
Newsletter – Pat WAØTDA, Dave WØOXB
Joe KCØOIO reports that the deadline for the upcoming newsletter is April 2, with a publication goal of April 6, 2021.
Repeater – Henry KØHAS, Shel NØDRX, Doug N9TOW
Shel NØDRX notes that there is a virtual meeting of the repeater council coming up, but his personal membership has lapsed. However, any one can log into the meeting.
Comments made during the last Membership Meeting program regarding the SARA repeater included everything from adding a second repeater to questioning whether the club needed a repeater. Joe KCØOIO stated that in his opinion the repeater is a valuable marketing tool for the club. Shel NØDRX agreed, stating that, rather than looking at adding receive sites or a second repeater, the club should concentrate on finding a new site for the current repeater considering the fact that the current site is not long for this world. Joe noted that he has laid the groundwork with Nate Timm, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office radio communications manager, for securing a new site when the power plant stack comes down. Joe noted that he would like someone else to take the reins on this matter.
Regarding Wires-X use, Rich ADØSN asked if there are any logs generated or kept of use. Zack AAØU stated that the Yaesu HRI-200 Internet Linking Kit does provide for some logs, but Zack has not looked at this feature in quite some time. Rich notes that such logs may be helpful in determining usage for discussions on the future of the repeater.
Bob WØGAF would like to see a digital net on the SARA repeater, which would allow folks such as him to use the repeater from his remote location. He believes it would be a great experience for new technicians, as well as an opportunity to use the digital option of the repeater. Bob would be willing to run a digital net.
Remote Bases Technical Committee – Pat WAØTDA
Joe KCØOIO reports that Pat WAØTDA is closing in on considering new laptop computer options now that a “hands on” evaluation at a big box store is getting closer to reality.
KBØOHI equipment donation – Dave N9JNQ reported that he has had no nibbles for the equipment as made available to membership in the February Signals Newsletter and advertised at the last two Membership meetings. Dave noted that he is hanging on to the 2-meter HT and accessories for the NHRG and will get it to Brian NØBJE in the near future. Joe KCØOIO said that it was time to make the equipment available on online sites. Dave suggested that he would bring some of the equipment to an upcoming Radios in the Park for sale. Joe said that he would designate the May 20 Radios in the Park as the date for the planned Tailgate Swapmeet.
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. They had originally expressed interest, but must have different priorities. Clearly any use would not begin this storm season. Greg will try again to determine Metro Skywarn’s interest and capability.
Uploading WØJH Logs to LOTW – Shel NØDRX reported that he had secured the renewed “certificate” for the club call and for his call, but will experiment with his call first to get the hang of it due to the multiple grid square operation with have with the club call. Shel noted that he received some helpful aid from Bart W9JJ at the ARRL.
NHRG QRP Loaner Kit – Discussion was had on NØBJE Brian’s past 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 has not yet had an opportunity to prepare a website article addressing the issue to gauge membership interest. Bob WØGAF will work with Brian to put together a short survey for the website, with Brian providing the survey questions and multiple choice answers or Y/N choice.
Washington County ARES EC recruitment – Washington County is still in the need of a new EC; let Joe know of any possible recruits.
Radios in the Park – Zack AAØU was able to book Valley Creek Park for the club’s upcoming Radios in the Park. Bob has offed to host a live streaming on that Thursday night for those unable to attend. Collin KEØIYN has offered to get the streaming up and running from the park.
Monthly Meeting Format – It was suggested during the March Membership Meeting program that the club consider flipping the order of the program and business meeting at membership meetings as a courtesy to presenters. The Board thought that is would be a good idea to do so, possibly providing the speaker with the option.
Joe KCØOIO has put some thought into the Membership Meeting programs and, in order to distinguish it from the Tech Topic Thursdays, will attempt to focus on more non-technical topics and speakers. For example, securing Don Wilbanks AE5DW, current reporter for Amateur Radio Newsline, to provide a history of the service is a non-technical topic.
SARA Reflector/Groups.io Site – Greg KØGW suggested that the club may want to consider starting an email reflector such as one utilizing Groups.io. It could be an open forum or closed to members only, and the same could be applied to who could post to the forum. Groups.io Basic is free; Premium would cost $20.00 per month. Greg has experience as a moderator for a similar site, and that site has garnered 4000 members. Topics should be to ham-related. Greg reports that setting up and running/moderating such a forum is easy and fairly user friendly. The consensus of the Board was that it was a good idea to explore.
Bob WØGAF made a motion that Joe KCØOIO and Mike NØODK explore setting up and establishing a Groups.io forum on behalf of the club. The motion was seconded by Rich ADØSN. The motion passed unanimously.
Club Buddy System for New Members – Due to meeting time constrains, the issue will be deferred to a later meeting. However, support for the idea was voiced by meeting participants.
NHRG Need for an Antenna Tuner – Brian NØBJE noted that, with the loan and possible sale of the Barker & Williams big-boy tuner, the HF loaner programs is in need of a smaller tuner for the FT-840 set. Rich ADØSN offered at the last Board Meeting to make his surplus MFJ 945E tuner available.
Dave N9JNQ made the motion that the club purchase Rich’s tuner for what Rich has into it ($75.00 plus 10% auction dividend) using NHRG funds for addition to the FT-840 HF loaner kit. The motion was seconded by Zack AAØU. The motion passed unanimously. Rich then offered to donate the tuner.
Brian also noted that the loaner program is in need of a power cord for both the FT-840 and the IC-718 HF loaner kits. Joe KCØOIO directed Brian to make the purchases.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm on the motion of Bob WØGAF, seconded by Shel NØDRX, passed unanimously.