MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – January 8, 2022
MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – January 8, 2022
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
The Membership Meeting took place virtually via Webex due to the COVID-19 concerns.
President: Joe KCØOIO
The meeting was called to order at 9:10 AM.
Joe KCØOIO welcomed all attending via Webex.
On the Waterfall – A Primer for Digital Modes – presented by Joe KCØOIO
This is the third presentation on the sights and sounds of sound card digital modes presented to the club, the first being in 2012, followed by a presentation in 2017.
Joe first discussed the hardware requirements to participate in digital modes. Many of today’s HF radios come equipped with sound cards so that digital modes are basically plug and play without the need for an interface. A computer is also needed for operation with most rigs for most digital modes, with a few exceptions.
For rigs without sound cards, an interface is necessary. The most popular these days is the SignaLink USB, although Rigblaster (West Mountain Radio) and the Timewave Navigator are also used. Some folks actually build their own interface.
Software is plentiful for digital work. By far one of the most popular for most digital modes is FLDigi. It is free and actively updated by its creator, W1HJK and his associates. It can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems. Another popular software is the Ham Radio Deluxe suite. The downside is that it does cost $s. It includes rig control, logging, and rotator controlling. Other software is available, including MLTIPSK and MixW, both free and for a cost. Also WSJT-X is the software of choice for FT8, JS8Call, WSPR, and other low power modes. Joe would suggest FLDigi for the first-timer – it is simple, free, and has a large support group out there to use as a resource.
Joe suggests that power output for digital modes is in the 20 to 30 watt range, although on rare occasions he will use 70 watts thereabouts for the needed DX contact. However, there are folks out there would ignore the fact that low power is the norm and drive QRO. In Joe’s opinion, there is no need for such power.
There are many modes to chose from in the digital realm. Some of the more popular include the old time modes of RTTY and Hellshreiber. RTTY is the old teletype mode, and Hellshreiber was born as a German form of FAXing used in World War II. Others include the all-popular actually BPSK31 (most often referred to as simply PSK31). There is also PSK63 and PSK125, which are progressively faster and wider in bandwidth. MFSK16 is popular, first used commercially and used in the first successful amateur radio implementation. Thor, a version of MFSK, is good for noisy conditions. Olivia is popular, as is Contestia, which is really Olivia Lite. They can be slow modes though, so one must be patient. SSTV (Slow Scan TV) and FreeDV (digital voice) are also modes available.
And, the most popular digital mode of all is FT8, developed by Nobel Prize winner Joe Taylor K1JT. A majority of QSOs reported on Logbook of the World (LOTW) are FT8 contacts.
Joe discussed the use of RSID feature in many software suites that sends out your callsign and other information at the beginning of your digital transmission. It is sent in MFSK16.
WinLink Global Radio Email is also very popular for sending emails without reliance on the internet. The popular software is WinLink Express. Many emergency operations organizations, such as ARES, use WinLink as a form of emergency communications.
If you are looking for more information and resources on digital modes, there are numerous books available, including ARRL books “Work the World with JT65 and JT9”, the “HF Digital Handbook”, and “Get on the Air with HF Digital.” Some of these books may be out of print, but most likely can be found used. Check the ARRL website store for current publications available.
Joe will make this slide deck available to club members shortly.
The program concluded at 10:04 AM. Thanks Joe for the informative and interesting presentation.
Joe KCØOIO then called the Business Session to order at 10:04 AM.
Secretary’s Report: Dave N9JNQ
The general minutes from the Membership and Board meetings are posted on the SARA website. Please report any corrections or additions to: Secretary@radioham.org
Treasurer’s Report: Rich ADØSN
Beginning Total Balance: 012/01/2021 $18,225.84
Ending Balance: 12/31/2021 $6,262.45
Ending Balance: 12/31/2021 $11,757.34
Ending Total Balance: 12/31/2021 $18,019.79
Rich ADØSN reports that we are within $65.00 of last year’s balance, indicating that for the year 2021 the club took in about the same as it spent.
Activities & Events
Thursday Eyeball Sessions
All of the club’s in-person activities have been suspended through the month of February due to COVID-19 concerns. Thus, all eyeball sessions will instead be held virtually via Webex. (The club will be transitioning from Webex to Zoom in May, 2022, when the subscription to Webex expires. Zoom will save the club approximately $65.00 per year for the subscription.) Look for the SARA This Week Bulletin for details on upcoming Eyeballs.
Tech Topic Thursdays
Tech Topic Thursdays take place virtually via Webex on the first Thursdays of the month. The topic for the May, 2022, session will be a presentation on coax presented by Tim Duffy K3LR of DX Engineering.
The Board meeting will take place this coming Wednesday January 12, 2022, at 6:30 PM via Webex. Future board meetings will take place “as scheduled.”
February Monthly Meeting
The February Membership Meeting is scheduled for February 12, 2022, and will be held virtually.
Ice Station WØJH Special Event – Dave WØOXB reported that the Ice Station WØJH Special Event will now be the “Ice-olation” Station WØJH Special Event, as it was last year. That is, there will be no operations out on Lake Elmo in the small hut due to COVID concerns, but rather operations will take place from home stations as was done last year. The event will take place over Presidents Day weekend, February 19-21, 2022. The club will use SignUpGenius to manage operation slots as it did last year. A SARA Broadcast will be sent out in the next few days to all club members with details on the event, including how to sign up for operation slots. The Special Event details will be modified accordingly on the ARRL and the QRZ.com websites. While the announcement in the February 2022 edition of QST states we will be out on the lake, nothing else in the listing is incorrect as far as operations, such as times; bands, frequencies, etc. All members of the club can participate, but you do need to use a digital logging program that generates an ADIF that can be used by the club to generate a master list of contacts.
Field Day 2022 – Joe KCØOIO reports that a permit has been obtained for the Autumn Hills Park Shelter in Oak Park Heights, MN, for this year’s Field Day scheduled for June 25-26, 2022. A beverage permit has also been obtained. More on Field Day as the date approaches.
Member Support/Assistance Initiatives: M.A.P. & New Ham Resource Group (NHRG) & More
M.A.P. & HRG – Joe KCØOIO notes that M.A.P. has been quiet due to the winter weather making antenna raising a bit difficult. Nevertheless, Brian NØBJE reports that the NHRG has been busy, with many loaner rigs, etc., changing hands.
Groups.io – Remember that the SARA email reflector group is now online at https://groups.io/g/StillwaterMNAmateurRadioAssoc. This reflector is available to SARA members only, so you should apply at the groups.io site and you will be given access by the site moderator.
DX News: Mike NØODK
Joe KCØOIO notes that it appears the 3YØJ Bouvet Island DXpedition is still on the books for November 2022. It appears that current plans have them operating up to 22 days from the island.
Get the latest DX news by subscribing to the ARRL DX News www.arrl.org/contest. Also check out www.ng3k.com for DX. For contests try the WA7BNM Contest Calendar contestcalendar.com.
Remote Stations: Pat WAØTDA
Pat WAØTDA that all remotes are up and running, although due to the RFI problem on 40 meters at the WØEQO remote station at the Scout Camp in Park Rapids, MN, 40 meters is receive only for the time being. There is a concern about trying to solve the problem in the middle of winter when so many rely upon that remote for 75 meter activity, such as the PICO net, etc. We will revisit it in the spring.
Newsletter: Pat WAØTDA & Dave WØOXB
There was no issue this month. The deadline for the February issue is February 2, 2022.
We really need content from authors other than the regulars, we should not have to rely solely on the small group for material. Please consider submitting an article, or even just photos, for publication.
Election of club officers: The slate of club officers nominated at the December 2022 membership meeting is as follows:
President: Joe Heitzinger KCØOIO
Vice-President: Bob Jensen WØGAF.
Secretary: Dave Iverson N9JNQ
Treasurer: Rich Smith ADØSN
Director 2022-2023: Brad Harris VE3MXJ
There were no other candidates for each office. Greg KØGW made a motion to approve the “white ballot”; seconded by Dave WØOXB and George KØGCP. The motion passed unanimously by a show of hands.
Joe thanked Doug N9TOW for his service as Director over the past four years, and stated that Doug plans to continue to be an active member of the club.
Joe also welcomed our first international officer, Monsieur Brad VE3MXJ of Thunder Bay, ON, Canada.
SARA POTA Challenge: Bob WØGAF and Brian KB9TBB announced that the club will be running a year-long SARA POTA (Parks On The Air) Challenge. Bob and Brian will be the primary data sources for the event. It will run January 1 though December 31, 2022. Further details and guidance will be provided at and following the January 22, 2022, virtual Eyeball QSO Party. You should let Bob and/or Brian know by email if you are interested in participating. It will be open to both activators (club members transmitting from a park) and hunters (those at their home QTH making contacts with POTA stations activated by club and non-club members). In fact, you can participate by being both a hunter and an activator. You will need to set up an account on the POTA website to participate: https://parksontheair.com. There are many qualifying parks in the Twin Cities Metro area available for activation. Brian suggested that some of the activations could be done with numerous club members, with potluck feeds as a part of the event. Challenge Awards could include Top Activator by activations, Top Activator by Parks, Top Activator by QSOs, and Top Hunter. More awards will be offered as the details of the challenge are finalized.
Local Activities: The South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC), our fellow amateur radio club in Washington County, MN, has invited SARA members to join an upcoming SEMARC Virtual Meeting scheduled for January 11, 2022, at 7:00 PM with special guest Gordon West WB6NOA. Gordo, as he is fondly called, is a well-known amateur radio instructor and a dynamic and interesting public speaker. The session will be held via Microsoft Teams, and can be accessed using the link in the email Joe KCØOIO recently sent club members with the announcement of this event, or check for the link in this past week’s January 9 SARA This Week Bulletin. Please feel free to contact Joe Hibberd W3QLC firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Thanks Joe and SEMARC for the invitation!
Wearables: Do not forget that SARA-labeled hats, shirts, jackets, and other wearables are available from www.hamthreads.com. SARA members will receive a discount on all orders.
The business meeting was adjourned at 10:37 AM.
Virtual Meeting attendance: 22