May 14th Fox Hunt! What Fun!
SARA Work Party 1
Split Rock 2013
SARA Work Party 3
Ice Station WØJH 2014
2023 Simonet Memorial Award
Kilo Parks Award
SARA Does Skywarn
OXB Special Install
2014 SARA Officers

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – March 11, 2023

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – March 11, 2023

Stillwater Amateur Radio Association

The Membership Meeting took place at Boutwells Landing, Stillwater, MN, and was streamed via Zoom for virtual attendees.

President:  Joe KCØOIO

The meeting was called to order at 9:26 AM by Joe KCØOIO.

Program:

Transceiver Performance and Selection of a New Radio – Rob Sherwood NCØB

Rob gave a great presentation, with the opening advice –

  • Focus on your antenna!
  • Directivity is a big deal!
  • Consider the overall picture.
  • It may be more than just a new rig!

Rob emphasized the following topics:

  • Optimize operation of your current or future rig.
  • Net Receiver Gain settings very important !
  • When to use a preamp and when to use an attenuator
  • New rigs that cost $1600 or less
  • IC-7300, FTdx10, FT-710, TS-590SG & IC-705
  • Lab measurements to weed out poor choices.
  • On-air evaluation is also very helpful.
  • Are you locked into one brand?

Rob followed this up with a fine discussion of dynamic range, and how to compare rigs and their dynamic range.  Rob concluded with a nice discussion and comparison of currently-available rigs.

For a full understanding of the presentation, here is a link to the PDF of Rob’s presentation slide deck: https://radioham.org/specialinterests/monthly-meeting-presentations/transceiver-performance-and-selection-of-a-new-radio/nc0b-stillwater-ara-minnesota-2023-2c/

Rob’s presentation was also recorded and is shared on the SARA YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/Uvtpg08PvO4.

The presentation concluded at 10:22 AM.

Business Session:

The Business Meeting commenced at 10:32 AM.

Secretary’s ReportDave N9JNQ

The general minutes from the February 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:   02/01/2023     $19,064.21

  • SARA

Balance:                                                   $7035.87

Income:                                                   $82.50

Expenses:                                                $305.22

Ending Balance:     02/28/2023         $6,813.15

  • RBF

Balance:                                                 $12,028.34

Income:                                                  $0.00

Expenses:                                               $0.00

Ending Balance: 02/28/2023        $12,028.34

Ending Total Balance: 02/28/2023       $18,841.49

The largest expense was for the purchase of new Technician Class books; one was for the instructors, one went to the Stillwater Public Library, and the remaining are available for sale to students.  We have sold three of the books so far.

Activities & Events

Tech Topic Thursdays/Eyeballs

A tech topic session is being planned for discussion of logging programs.  The date has yet to be determined.

The Eyeball QSOs will be taking place on March 16 and 23 at the Lake Elmo Public Library due to room availability at the Stillwater Public Library.  The March 30 Eyeball will be at Stillwater.  All Tech classes will take place at the Stillwater library.  Watch the Weekly Broadcast to keep up to date with locations.

Board Meetings

The Board meeting will take place Wednesday March 22, 2023, at 6:30 PM via Zoom.

Special Events

Ice Station WØJH 2023 – Ice Station WØJH went off without a hitch.  If you worked the event and have not received your certificate, check your junk folder.  Dave WØOXB commented that the event had a number of new General licensed hams who got a chance to get their feet wet.  We made somewhere between 800 to 1000 contacts.

Dave asked for ideas regarding other possible special event that could be established, noting that the club has its fully-equipped trailer that can be used for such events, as well as POTA activations.

Field Day 2023 – Field Day takes place this year on the weekend of June 24-25, 2023 (always the fourth full weekend of June).  This year the SARA activities will take place at Valley View Park in Oak Park Heights, MN.  The club’s Thursday night outdoor eyeball on June 8 will take place at the park and we will take that opportunity to do a site assessment for station and antenna locations.  We will operate as a 2A MN Operation, with SSB/CW/Digital operations, and possibly a GOTA (Get On The Air) Station, where even non-hams can experience the hobby (earning SARA extra Field Day points!).

Tri-State Activation – This White Rock, SD event is anticipated to take place this year in early fall.  Further planning to follow.

Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event/Split Rock – The Split Rock special event is on the calendar for November 3-6, 2023, with further planning to take place closer to the date.

SARA POTA Challenge – The year-long SARA POTA (Parks On The Air) Challenge for calendar year 2023 is underway and going strong. As last year, there is a Legends and Leaders category for the hunters (none for the activators) to keep everyone interested.  Bob WØGAF reported on the current standings in the friendly competition. In the mix at the top of the overall board is Shane WØNKA, Shel NØDRX, Dave WØOXB, Dave KØAIF, and Bob.  This year Brian KB9TTB has been pulling the data to give us an update of the leaders in three hunter categories: Phone; CW; and digital.  The leaders in those categories are Shane, Elliot KEØN, and Shane, respectively.  As far as activators are concerned, Brian leads with activations and parks activated, with Dave leading in QSOs.  Club totals are 4,230 hunter QSOs, 63 qualified park activations, 39 parks activated, and 3,474 activator QSOs.

There will be some SARA POTA Activity Days on the calendar.  June 10, 2023 is the first, with multiple park activated, multiple operators, along with rovers.  There will be a SARA POTA Meetup on August 12,2023, which will be set up in one park, most likely Wild River State Park in Almelud, MN, with a picnic planned for the event.  And it is suggested that there may be an afterglow at the QTH of Wild River Bob himself, KGØHZG.

Education and Training

Technician License Class – A spring Technician License Class began Thursday March 2, 2023, with six students attending last Thursday.  Dave WØOXB will be doing the antenna lecture next Thursday.  Bob WØGAF thanked the instructors for their willingness to participate, and gave a bit shout-out to Dan KEØIYF for organizing the rooms for the class.

Metro Skywarn Training Session – Metro Skywarn has announced an in-person training session for Saturday March 6, 10:30-1:30 AM, to take place in the River Room at the Stillwater Public library.  The class is good for new certification and for renewal of your current certification.  Skywarn asks that you sign up online to attend the class.  Skywarn also has a number of online virtual classes for those who cannot attend an in-person class.  Last count they have six in-person classes and five online classes planned.

Member Support/Assistance Initiatives:  M.A.P. &  New Ham Resource Group (NHRG) & More

•M.A.P is readily available for antenna projects and member-to-member assistance.

•New Ham Resource Group, found at newhamhelp@radioham.org, is SARA’s outreach & mentoring program providing technical support and loaner equipment.  Remember gear is available for loan for those without a means to get on the air.  Remember that the NHRG is available to all members, not just new hams.  You can contact Brian KØPU or Mark KEØQQN with any inquiries, as well as Shane WØNKA, the newest member of the group.

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.

SARA Discord Server – The “Stillwater Amateur Radio Association” Discord server was recently established by Brian KB9TBB and is available exclusively for SARA members. The admin team is Brian KB9TBB, Shane WØNKA, and Collin KEØIYN. The SARA Discord Server is open to all current SARA members.  Joe KCØOIO suggests that you bookmark the server page so you do not have to sign in each time you visit the server.  Shane will be putting together a “how to” instruction guide to help users along.  To join, click on this link: https://discord.gg/Z9A8NsCCXh

DX News:  Mike NØODK

To get the latest DX news, subscribe to ARRL DX News, and check on www.ng3k.com for the DX calendar and www.contestcalendar.com for further contest information.

Tomorrow Sunday March 12 is the Wisconsin QSO Party, and Brian KB9TTB will be up in Sawyer County making contacts.

Newsletter: Pat WAØTDA & Dave WØOXB

The March issue of the SARA Signals Newsletter is now available.  Thanks to Pat WAØTDA and Dave WØOXB for getting it out.  Pat noted that this month’s newsletter is 20 pages in length, a significant amount of great content.  The deadline for submittals for the April edition is the April 1 weekend.

Remote Stations: Pat WAØTDA

Pat WAØTDA reported that remote stations are up and running.

ARES and Public Service:

Joe KCØOIO introduced Joe W3QLC, the new Emergency Coordinator (EC) for Washington County ARES. Joe commented noted that the motto of ARES is, “when all else fails, ham radio works.”  He noted that when the Interstate 35 bridge went down, so did cell phones, and ARES/ham radio provided communications for state and local agencies.  Joe provided a nice presentation on upcoming ARES activities, which currently include three events.  First, with the large amount of snow this year, flooding on the St. Croix River is anticipated, Both St. Croix Beach and Stillwater are planning for flooding, and ARES will be involved in monitoring the situation.

Second, the June FEMA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be evaluating the emergency communication system for the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant, with Park High School serving as the evacuation center. ARES mans the evacuation center.  There will be two drills in June – a practice drill amongst participants, and then the actual drill when the federal representatives are present and participating.  ARES needs a big turnout for these events.

Last, Run Stillwater, which puts on a number of foot races around Washington County, needs help, and Washington County ARES has agreed to handle communications for those events, which will need hams.

Joe noted that there will be a meeting at the end of the month, there will be news about that in the next couple of days.  Joe also had applications for those who want to join ARES to participate in these events.  All you need is a ham license to join and participate.  There are a number of online classes that you can take to familiarize yourself with ARES activities and procedures.

Brad VE3MJX introduced himself as the ARES Director up in Thunder Bay, ON, and offered his services to coordinate with Washington County ARES.

Check http://www.mnwashcoares.net/ for the latest information.

Meeting Programs:

Upcoming Membership Meeting programs include “Ask the Elmer 2023” for the April meeting, and a virtual presentation by Michael Walker VA3MW of Flex Radio at the May meeting.

Club Business:

Local Activities: 

  • The MN ARC Club Leaders are organizing to attain the ultimate goal of hosting the ARRL Dakota Division Convention in the Twin Cities area for the first time since the early 2000s.  It is tentatively planned for September 30, 2023, with the location to be determined.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday March 13, 2023.  Bob WØGAF will virtually attend the meeting representing SARA.  The Club Leaders will be looking for financial support as well as warm bodies for presentations at the event.  The group is looking to clubs for some of its financial support.  This will be discussed at the next SARA Board Meeting.  It was reported that the St. Paul Radio Club has donated $200.00 to the cause.
  • The Midwinter Madness Hamfest is scheduled for Saturday 18, 2023, from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Buffalo Civic Center in Buffalo, MN.  It is sponsored by the Maple Grove Radio Club.
  • The South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC), our fellow amateur radio club in Washington County, MN, is holding its next meeting on Tuesday March 28, 2023 at the Zion Lutheran Church, 8500 Hillside Trail South, Cottage Grove, 55016.

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.

New Business:

None to report.

50/50 Raffle:

The sale of raffle tickets brought in $39.00.  Joe WØOIO was the winner of the $19.50, and donated his winnings to the New Ham Resources Group.

On the motion of Greg KØGW, seconded by Dave WØOXB, the Business Meeting concluded at 11:12 AM.

Meeting attendance: 21; Virtual: 13