AGØH 2013
SARA Does Skywarn
SARA Work Party 2
Release to Listen Award 2013
Ice Station WØJH 2014
SARA Field Day 2011
Split Rock 2013
The Joe Simonet WØTBC Memorial Award
2017 SARA Officers
2014 SARA Officers

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – February 8, 2020

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – February 8, 2020

Stillwater Amateur Radio Association

1618 Pine Street West

Stillwater, Minnesota 55082

President:  Joe KCØOIO

The meeting was called to order at 9:01 AM, with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Joe KC0OIO noted that the club received a card from Rita Unger, wife of member Bill Unger VE3XT (SK – November 16, 2019), thanking club members for their condolences to the family upon Bill’s passing.  Dave W0OXB reminisced that he first heard from Bill about 10 years ago asking to participate in the Split Rock Special Event.  According to Rita, Bill looked forward to participating in the Special Event each year.  Bill was unable to attend this year due to his illness, but the club sent a signed Special Event poster back to Bill after the event, which Rita said was still hanging in Bill’s shack.

Secretary’s ReportDave N9JNQ

The general meeting minutes from the January Membership and Board meetings are posted on the website.

Please report any corrections or additions to: Secretary@radioham.org

Treasurer’s Report:  Rich ADØSN

Rich was not in attendance as he is currently touring Egypt.  Thus, an updated treasure’s report is unavailable at the time of the membership meeting.  Current figures will be available upon Rich’s return.

Education and Training:  Bob WØGAF

Skywarn 2020 will be held February 29th at 10:30 am in the Rivers Room at the Stillwater Public Library.

A SEMARC Skywarn class is scheduled for April 25 in Cottage Grove.

The first Technician Class will be held February 27th, concluding April 16.  The Technician class will take place in the Margaret Rivers Room of the Stillwater Public Library, Stillwater, MN.  Bob W0GAF stated that he is still making adjustments to the teaching schedule, those who will be instructing are asked to check the schedule and let Bob know whether they have any problems with the date they have been scheduled to teach.  Bob noted that the science teacher at Stillwater High School who had directed students to the Tech class for extra credit has retired, and it is unknown at this time whether that program will continue.

Activities & Events:  Dave WØOXB 

The SARA Board meeting will be held at the Thursday February 13, 2020, Eyeball Session.

Thursday Night Eyeball Sessions are held at the Stillwater Public Library at 6 PM.

Tech/Skill Session Topics:

The Oscilloscope Basics session held January 30, 2020, facilitated by Dan KE0IYF was a success, with overflow seating in the commons area.  Many different oscilloscopes were brought in for inspection, testing, and repair.

  • February 20, 2020:  A discussion of Smith charts, suggested by Doug N9TOW will take place facilitated by the group.
  • February 27, 2020:   A demonstration of GridTracker, a Windows-based WSJT companion program, will be facilitated by Joe KC0OIO.  GridTracker monitors WSJT-X or JTDX  and decodes and displays stations on a map.

Ice Station W0JH Special Event

Ice station W0JH Special Event will take place Presidents’ weekend, February 15-17, 2020, on frozen (we hope) Lake Elmo adjacent to the home of Dave K0AIF.  Parking is available.  There will be two stations operating, one on the ice and one in the SARA trailer on the mainland.  120V shore power will be used, along with tree-hung antennas.  A third station may be operational.  All equipment must be set up and taken down each day.  We will not be roughing it, the “ice shack” is heated.  Times of operation can be found in the last two SARA Newsletters.  A critique session will take place after the daily breakdown, most likely focusing on the quality of the mincemeat pie.  All are welcome to come to watch, log, operate, or just chew the fat (or mincemeat).

This year SARA will emphasize Youth on the Air (YOTA), intending to encourage the young members of the club to observe and operate the special event stations.

Thanks once again to our gracious hosts Dave K0AIF, Anne K0VOB, and Julie KE0ROH.

Contact Dave W0OXB for details and to provide your availability.

M.A.P. – Dave WØOXB

Dave W0OXB noted that we have 6 to 7 members in need of center-fed zepps.  With that in mind, two antennas were constructed at this past eyeball session.  Mark KE0QQN may put his antenna up this weekend.

M.A.P. is not limited to antenna-raising; if you are in need of assistance in other areas of hamming, such as assistance with Signalink issues, hardware and software issues, etc., give us a call.

Please let any officers know if help is needed or are willing to assist.

New Ham Help

It was noted that the KD0OTB Memorial Station has been added to the New Ham Help supplies and is available for use by members.  The station includes an Icom 718 with power supply, an MFJ 949E tuner, coax, and an antenna.  This equipment was generously bequeathed to the club by the late SARA member Bill Eggers, KD0OTB (SK).  Also available for loan are to Yaesu FT70DR HTs.  There is no reason for new hams, young and old, not to get on the air.

New Ham Resource Cards are available at the meeting – see Mark KEØQQN for more information.

Remote Base Project (RBP)

Pat WA0TDA reports that both of the remote stations are currently up and running, and that we are still adding new people to the list of approved users through the Handiham program.  We are still considering new computer hardware for the running of the systems, but at the moment things are working.

If you would like access to the remote stations, contact Pat WA0TDA.

Washington County ARES:  John KAØHYR

John KA0HYR was attending an ARES-related meeting and was unable to attend.

The ARES net takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.  February 19th will be the next net on 146.985- repeater at 6:30 PM.  

The Association for Emergency Radio Organizations (AERO) will hold classes on various topics, including amateur radio communications and net control duties, in the new year.  The following classes are currently scheduled:

AERO 101
Saturday, February 22, 2020 09:0015:00
Room 218, Woodbury High School, 2665 Woodlane Drive, Woodbury, MN
AERO 102
Saturday, April 25, 2020 09:0015:00
Room 218, Woodbury High School, 2665 Woodlane Drive, Woodbury, MN.

For further information and to register, see the AERO website, www.aeromn.org.  More information can be found at the Washington County ARES website, www.mnwashcoares.net.

SARA Nets & Ragchews:  Joe KCØOIO & Dave W0OXB

2 meter ragchew is held every Wednesday night at 9 PM CST.  You can find us at 147.060 MHz DCS code 026N.  Collin KE0IYN reports 3 check-in this past Wednesday.  Joe asked for comments regarding the two meter net.  The Board has been discussion the possibility of making some changes to the net to increase participation, such as moving to a different night and/or time, changing the format, or the Top Band Group using the repeater on Tuesday nights.

160 meters SARA Top Band Ragchew is at 1.966 MHz or close by depending on band conditions and interference.  They operate every night except Tuesday & Thursday at 8 PM CST, although the Renegades have been found on frequency on the off nights.  An informal pre-ragchew ragchew can often be found starting at 7:30 or thereabouts.

SARA Monday morning Round Robin Ragchew  is operating at 3.856 MHz at 9:00 AM CST.  There have been a good number of checkins.

The Digital Net is Sundays at 7 PM CST.   The frequency will be 3.582.15 USB or as directed by the NCS.  The Net Coordinator will email details (mode, frequency, & NCS) on the day of the net.  There will be a net this Sunday, February 9, most likely using THOR.

Newsletter & Website:  Pat WAØTDA & Dave WØOXB

Thanks to Pat and Dave for putting together the newsletter!  A special thanks to Pat for fighting through the flu to get this month’s issue out.  Deadline for the next issue is March 2nd, or the first week of March at the latest, although the earlier, the better.

Additional contributors are always needed and welcome.  Photos are also welcome.

 DX News:  Mike NØODK

Joe KC0OIO noted the following DX:

  • HU1DL El Salvador through February 13 (CW, SSB, RTTY, FT8)
  • 5I5TT (CW, SSB, RTTY) 5I4ZZ (FT4, FT8) from Tanzania through February 18 (Italian team)
  • 5H4WZ from Tanzania through February 18 (Czech/Slovak Team)
  • VP8PJ South Orkney Island February 20 through March 5
  • W8S Swains Island March 10 through March 25

The ARRL DX CW contest is the weekend of February 15-16, 2020.

It was mentioned that the Vermont QSO Party held last weekend used the 17 meter (WARC) band for FT8 as a part of the contest.  This has stirred up some controversy regarding use of the normally off-limits WARC bands for contesting.  While not legally prohibited, it is a gentlemen’s agreement usually adhered to by contesters and contest sponsors.  The fear is that, once the door is open to use, other uses, such as SSB and CW that can monopolize the band to a greater degree than digital modes that typically use a small dedicated frequency band, will occur.

Wearables:

SARA wearables are available from www.hamthreads.com.  You can order individually just be sure to give the club name since they have all our logos prepared and on hand.  A SARA discount will be applied to your order.

Program Schedule:

  • March:  “The Art of QSL Cards” – Randy KD0VKB
  • April:  “Doing Ham Radio Safely” Roundtable – A group discussion facilitated by Joe KC0OIO.  Discussion to include climbing, RF, electrical, and site safety.  We will have an abbreviated business meeting in order to have more time for the program.
  • May:  “Before You Cut Any Wire Model That Antenna Using EZNEC” – Jon Platt WØZQ of Bloomington, MN, has graciously agreed to give an actual hands-on presentation where a wire antenna will be modeled using EZNEC at the meeting.

Old Business:

SARA coffee mugs are on sale for $3 each, although none were available at the meeting in Keith’s absence – See Keith AGØH.

The SARA Oval Sticker/Decals are on sale for $1 each or you can get the reflective one for $2 from Rich ADØSN upon his return.  Shel N0DRX had stickers available at the meeting.

New Business:

Joe KC0OIO reported that the new location for the repeater at 725 foot on the stack and the use of a new (to SARA) antenna has improved performance with a nice pattern, other than directly east of the stack.  Jim KD0IPI, however, reported he had a nice QSO with a fellow ham located east of the repeater in New Richmond, WI.

Joe KC0OIO noted that the Board has discussed having the repeater linked to the WIRES-X system, which would enable it to be tied into a fusion “room,” such as the MNWIS or Darknet room.  The Handiham program also has a room that we could tie into.  While the stack has high speed internet, it is used by the Sheriff’s office for investigative activities, and we probably would not want to be on that system.  So the RF link would be preferable.  We would need a location with high speed internet for the link, preferably close to the stack.  Also, we would need to acquire an FTM 100DR radio ($275), an HRI 200 WIRES X node ($125), a power supply ($125), a beam antenna ($65), coax, and a small dedicated computer ($200), with a projected cost of $800 to $900.  It appears to be a good use of the remote base fund as it can be used by the Handiham program members.

A member has located close to the repeater has offered his location for the link.  Don Rice N0BVE of Minnetonka, MN, the owner of numerous repeaters, including a WIRE-X system, has offered to provide any technical assistance the club may need.  Doug N9TOW already has a WIRES-X link on his internet at his home, and has much experience on the setting up and operation of such a system.

Further discussion will be had on this item.

Joe KC0OIO discussed the City of Stillwater-organized event planned for the spring opening of the old Stillwater bridge.  It is currently planned to attempt to break a Guinness Book world record by having 5000 to 6000 people line up along the Stillwater bridge bike trail and simultaneously hold hands.  The City organizers would like the help of local hams to coordinate the holding of hands along the route.  Project planning is still underway.  It most likely would be on a Saturday morning or afternoon.  Joe will reach out to the St. Croix Valley Radio Amateurs club.  The event has been mentioned in the St. Paul Radio Club Groundwave Newsletter.  The SARA repeater could be used, and there was a suggestion that possibly a Special Event station could be planned.

Joe KC0OIO announced that John N5JLZ donated a large tool kit for use in the SARA trailer.  Thanks much to John for the useful and needed gift!

Good of Association

SEMARC Meeting – The next regular member meeting is February 25th.  Location is Zion Lutheran Church, Hastings, MN, at 7:00 pm.

The SEMARC monthly breakfast is scheduled for the 3rd Saturday of the month at the North Pole Restaurant in Newport at 7:30 AM.

SEMARC’s VE session is held on the third Saturday of month (except December) at 9 AM at the Zion Lutheran Church, 8500 Hillside Trail in Cottage Grove.

The St. Cloud Amateur Radio Club’s “W0SV Cabin Fever Reliever 2020 Hamfest” is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, at 9:00 am at the St. Cloud Eagles Club Aerie 622, 730 41st Avenue North, St. Cloud, MN.  General admission is $10.  Tables for vendors are $20, bring your own table for $15; vendors allowed entry at 7:00 am.  VE Session starting at 10:00 am.  Most importantly, the Bar and Grill opens at 11:00 am.

50/50 Drawing:

$71 was taken in; and Greg KD0EAP won $35.50.

Program – Amateur Radio Digital Voice Hotspots – Bob W0GAF

A very interesting and engaging presentation was made by Bob W0GAF regarding the technology and use of Hotspots.  The presentation discussed:

  • What is a Hotspot?
  • How does it work?
  • Why would I own one?
  • How do I get started?

A number of members have and use Hotspots, and others are encouraged to contact them with any questions or for help setting one up and working with you on how to use it with your radio.

The program and meeting concluded at 10:54 AM.

Meeting attendance: 28