2017 SARA Officers
AGØH 2013
SARA Does Skywarn
Fitzgerald Crew 2012
SARA Work Party 1
WØJH 2004
SARA Work Party 3
New Radio Gear For Some SARA Members!
May 14th Fox Hunt! What Fun!
Ice Station WØJH 2014

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – May 11, 2024

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – May 11, 2024

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 9:33 AM by Joe KCØOIO.

Program:

The Bouvet Island 3YØJ DXpedition by Adrian Ciuperca KO8SCA

Adrian, a recent recipient of the CQ DX Hall of Fame Award, gave a very interesting and well received presentation on the recent Bouvet Island DXpedition.  Those who missed it are encouraged to watch the video of the presentation accessible on the SARA YouTube channel listed as the May Membership Meeting.  Further information is available at the DXpedition website www.3y0j.com.

The DXpedition took place in January and February of 2023, the high summer for the far south.  Bouvet Island, a Norwegian territory, is the most remote uninhabited place on earth.  More people have flown to space than have been on the island.   As it is far from the shipping lanes, to get there one must charter their own boat.  The DXpedition chose a large 101-foot sailboat, or ketch, the Mavama.  They sailed from the Falkland Islands to Bouvet and then to Cape Town, South Africa, to take advantage of the west-to-east prevailing winds.  There have been nine activations, but most were from hams who were there to service the weather station and, therefore, were of short duration.  It took 14 days to get there, and 10 days to get to Cape Town upon completion of the activation.  They brought over seven tons of equipment and supplies with them.

As many know, the DXpedition ran into rough weather on the island, which reduced the number of tents, radios, etc., that could be set up.  They did, however, spend two weeks on the island.  When they finally had a good stretch of weather, which was eight hours, they pulled up stakes and headed home (for steaks!).

Adrian reported that HF conditions on the island included SØ noise levels.  Propagation was good to Asia and Europe, not so good into North America.  Even with reduced radios and radio time, they did make over 20,000 QSOs.

While they raised $800,000 for the trip, they only spent $750,000.  Thus, they were able to reimburse some of the large donators.

When asked if he would do it again, Adrian did not hesitate in emphatically saying “yes!”.

Next on the bill is a DXpedition to Peter the First Island.  You cannot land on the island from the sea, so they need to use a helicopter, and you always need a backup helicopter, so this should be some DXpedition!

The program concluded at 10:45 AM.

Business Session:

The Business meeting got underway at 10:56 AM.

Secretary’s ReportDave 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:  Dave KØAIF

Beginning Total Balance:   04/01/2024     $17,894.63

  • SARA

Balance:                                                   $6,592.07

Income:                                                   $93.50

Expenses:                                                $153.35

Ending Balance:     04/30/2024         $6,532.22

  • RBF

Balance:                                                 $10,584.55

Income:                                                  $0.00

Expenses:                                               $0.00

Ending Balance: 04/30/2024        $10,584.55

Ending Total Balance: 04/30/2024       $17,116.77

Activities & Events

Board Meetings

The Board meeting will take place Wednesday May 15, 2024, at 6:30 PM via Zoom.  All members may virtually attend; only the Board members may vote.

Tech Topic Thursdays/Eyeballs

The Eyeball QSOs moved outside for summer in the form of SARA’s Radios in the Park Summer.  We have booked Valley View Park in Oak Park Heights, MN for six Thursdays.  The remainder of the Thursday Eyeballs will take place at other parks around the area; those parks are to be determined later.  May 16 will be “New Ham Night” at Valley View Park.  June 6 will also take place at Valley View and will be a site planning night in preparation for Field Day, which will take place at the park.  June 27, July 18, and August 8 and 29 Eyeballs will also take place at Valley View.  The July 18 Eyeball at Valley View Park will be a Fox Hunt organized by member Dan Franz WDØGUP.  Dan has up to five “foxes” to hide out at the park.  If you never participated in a fox hunt, now is the time to learn about this great aspect of the hobby.

Special Events

Father Metcalf WØJH Special Event – As Dave WØOXB has noted earlier, our club call WØJH was originally held by Father George Metcalf.  Father Metcalf had a distinguished military career during WWII, which included being the chaplain for General George Patton.  Later in life, Father Metcalf settled in Afton, MN.  Father Metcalf’s homestead is now the Belwin Conservancy.

The club is still planning for a special event to take place at the Belwin Conservancy In honor of Father Metcalf.  Buck KA9CWM and Jim KIØB have agreed to help with the planning for the event.  Dave has had discussions with the Conservancy staff, who are positive about the event.  Dave hopes to have more information within the next two weeks.  The timing of the event will need to be modified as the Conservancy buildings are not open on weekends.  We are looking at the running the event late in September.  There will be a scouting visit to determine possible station and antenna locations, with possibly two stations and the trailer.

White Rock Special Event – Dave reports that the club may hold a White Rock SD Special Event this year, most likely in October.

Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event – Save the dates – the event will take place the weekend of November 1-3. 2024.  We are looking at suggestions as to programs or other activities that could take place during the event to keep participants busy and the pavilion less noisy.  It may be a bit early to get motel reservations – contact Dave WØOXB if you need contact information on the usual accommodations.

Field Day 2024 – Ray KFØEKD and Tim KFØJEL are co-chairs of the event.  Field Day will take place June 22 & 23 at Valley View Park in Oak Park Heights, MN.  Tim and Ray have already done some early reconnaissance of the site with the goal of improving operations for this year, such as finding better antenna orientations.  Meals have been planned and Ray is working on the computers for networking.  The June 6 Eyeball will be a site planning event out at the park.

SARA POTA Challenge – The year-long SARA POTA (Parks On The Air) Challenge for calendar year 2024 is underway and going strong.  Brian KB9TBB reported the standings for April 2024.

Shel NØDRX has taken the lead in the hunter category, followed by Bob WØGAF.  Both Shel and Bob have reached the Legends category.  Third place is filled by Pat WAØTDA.  Breaking down the leaders by mode, Shel leads the phone category, Bob leads in CW, and Pat is the digital leader.

For the activators, Brian is leading with 56 activations as well as in parks activated with 47.  Dave WØOXB, however, leads in total activator QSOs with 2,116.

With 57 members participating in the event, the year-to-date hunter QSOs are 13,385, with 359 qualified activations, 221 parks activated, and 10,884 activator QSOs.  We are on track to break last year’s totals through all the categories.

MN POTA Day – Minnesota POTA Day will take place June 8, 2024, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM CDT, coinciding with the Minnesota Free State Parks Day, so all activators are encouraged to activate from a Minnesota state park, although any qualifying park is fine.

The 3rd Annual SARA POTA Day will be run on the same weekend, so there will be SARA-specific activities underway as well.  We plan on meeting in the morning for breakfast at Perkins in Stillwater, MN, as it is our usual second Saturday get-together, and at the end of the day meet at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant in Stillwater for a celebratory dinner.

To liven things up, SARA is setting up a five park POTA run – that is, five stations will be set up in five different parks with a club host at each station.  Members are encouraged to visit each station as you would be the recipient of a Rover Warthog Award.  Also, each station will have a deck of cards from which you will draw one card.  At the end of the day, all recipients of the Rover Warthog Award who attend the Acapulco end-of-the-day dinner and get-together will compare their five cards to see who has the best poker hand.  The winner will receive a prize generously donated by members Buck KA9CWM and Mickey WD9GYT (the Hudson boys).

The stations will be set up at the following locations:

  • WØJH Afton State park hosted by Dave WØOXB.
  • WØA St. Croix Savana SNA hosted by a Collin KEØIYN.  This is a walk-in site from parking.
  • WØB Browns Creek State Trail hosted by Joe KCØOIO and any volunteer.
  • WØC Gateway State Trail in North St. Paul hosted by Dave KØAIF.
  • WØD St. Croix Scenic Overlook hosted by Brad VE3MXJ.

(The special calls are tentative, they have not yet been requested.)

The Minnesota POTA Day website is up and running (mnpota.com).  You can post on the website your activation if who are interested in being a mentor to new POTA folks, we will be publishing a list for interested folks to use to visit you out in the field.  There are already a number of activations listed.

MN POTA Meet-Up – As done last year, SARA will hold its own Minnesota POTA Meet-Up on August 8, 2024 at the Wild River State Park Picnic Shelter from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM.  Thanks to Wild River Bob KFØHZG for securing the shelter and for hosting an after-event tippling get-together.

Education and Training

The spring Technician License class the Amateur Extra License study group have both wrapped up, and many took their tests at the April 25 SARA VE session.  Joe KCØOIO reported that we have 13 newly licensed hams, two of which received their General License.  Eleven of the new Technician Licensees were participants in the SARA Tech class.  Two of our members are now new Amateur Extras – Allen KFØMNS and Bill WØWTD.  Congratulations to all!

A reminder that the May 16 Eyeball at Valley View Park in Oak Park Heights, MN will be New Ham night.  A great event to attend as a new licensee to answer questions such as “Now What?”.  There was a suggestion that any members attending that have recent ham radio equipment catalogs that they can part with to bring them along to make available to new hams.

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.  Keep in mind that  M.A.P. is available for more than just antenna raisings, contact Dave WØOXB with any issues you may have.

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

Joe KCØOIO announced that there will be new equipment available from the loaner program due to a generous donation.  The Board will be discussion the disposition of this equipment at its upcoming meeting.  But as a teaser, one of the donated pieces of equipment is a Begali key, which most likely will be made available for sale through a club auction.  For those unfamiliar, Begali keys are the Lamborghini of the CW key world.

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 is available exclusively for SARA members. The admin team is Brian KB9TBB and Collin KEØIYN.  To join, click on this link: https://discord.gg/Z9A8NsCCXh 

DX News:  Mike NØODK

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, it always current.

Joe KCØOIO noted that we have been hit with a big G5 solar storm this weekend, negatively impacting HF communications.

Remote Stations: Pat WAØTDA

Joe KCØOIO reported that remote stations are up and running, including WØJH which is back on-line.

SARA Signals Newsletter:

Thank you to Dale KØDTM for stepping up and volunteering to be SARA’s new Newsletter editor!  And he has already gotten a fine issue out for the month of May.  The next issue will be coming out in September.  Please send any content contributions to K0DTM73@gmail.com.

ARES and Public Service:

John KAØHYR reported on upcoming events, including the May 16 Hands-on Training for the Radiological Emergency Plan Reception Center Drill, which will take place at the Washington County LEC.  this will be followed by the official June 26 Drill at the Park High School in Cottage Grove, MN.

Check http://www.mnwashcoares.net/ for the latest information on Washington County ARES.  Check the links for new information recently added.

Program Committee:

Dave N9JNQ reported on two programs planned for the fall both given by SARA club members.  First, Don KCØDWZ, will be presented on “My Journey to CW and Beyond with the Long Island CW Club.”  Also planned is a presentation by Dan WDØGUP on the Quarter Century Wireless Association, of which Dan is the Secretary of the QCWA Upper Midwest Chapter #8.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future programs, you can contact committee members Dave N9JNQ, Zack AAØU, or Mike N9MA.

Club Business:

There is still a need for a new Membership Meeting audio-visual producer, a role that has opened up with WØNKA Shane’s move to Texas.  Please contact Joe KCØOIO if you have interest in this role.

Local Activities:

  • The South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC), our fellow amateur radio club in Washington County, MN, is holding its next meeting on Tuesday May 28, 2024 at 7:00 PM at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 7000 Hinton Avenue South, Cottage Grove, 55016.  There will be a SEMARC-sponsored VE session this coming Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 9:00 AM, at the same location.  Advanced registration required.  See the SEMARC website for more information on the club, its activities, and its VE sessions.

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.  There is a link to the preferred hat, shirt, and jacket design will now be found in the SARA Signals Newsletter.

Announcements:

Doug KEØGOM announced that he would be setting up his telescope in the parking lot across from Boutwells after the meeting for anyone who would like to take a look at the sunspots that have caused all the troubles this weekend.

50/50 Raffle:

The sale of raffle tickets brought in $57.00.  The winner of $28.50 was Earl KAØZJG.  Congratulations Earl!

On the motion of Mary KDØPKY, seconded by Jim KIØB, the Business Meeting was adjourned at 11:34 AM.

Meeting attendance: 24; Virtual: 2