MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – May 9, 2020
MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – May 9, 2020
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
Virtual membership meeting held via Webex due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order.
President: Joe KCØOIO
The meeting was called to order at 9:01 AM.
Joe KC0OIO welcomed all to the on-line virtual membership meeting using Cisco Webex, and noted that we have multinational attendance with Brad VE3MXJ joining us from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Secretary’s Report: Dave N9JNQ
The general minutes from the April Membership and April 29 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: 04/01/20 $16,916.04
Ending Balance: 04/30/20 $3170.93
Ending Balance: 04/30/2020 $13,357.08
Ending Total Balance: 04/30/2020 $16,528.01
- Dues $70.00
- Payment of $99.34 to Midphase for web hosting the SARA radiohams.org website
RBP Income – none
- Reimbursement of $358.69 to Doug N9TOW for the purchase of a computer for the operation of Wires-X for the Fusion digital operation of the SARA W0JH 2-meter repeater.
Activities & Events:
Joe KC0OIO reported that SARA began the virtual Thursday Night Tech Session this past Thursday via Webex on the topic of Interpreting Solar Data for HF Propagation, presented by Joe. There will be a similar Thursday Night Tech Session every other two weeks for the foreseeable future, the next scheduled for May 21 at 7:30 pm. There is no topic yet, but suggestions are welcome as well as possible presenters.
There will also be a virtual social gathering, appropriately referred to as “The Manhattan Project,” every other Friday at 7:30 pm opposite of the week of the Thursday Night Tech Session. The next two gatherings are scheduled for May 15 and 28.
No Board meeting has yet been scheduled.
Field Day is still scheduled for June 27-28, 2020. Bob W0GAF noted that we are operating under a couple of assumptions: first that SARA will not be operating from Autumn Hills Park as we have in the past several years; and second, that “Plan B” will be put in place with members being active from their own QTHs. If things change and operating from the park once again becomes an option, SARA does still have the park reservation and can act accordingly.
Under Plan B, participants will be able to work from home as individuals or small family groups as Class D – Home Stations or Class E – Home Stations/Emergency Power. Class B (one or two person portable) and C (mobile) are also an option if it can be safely undertaken. ARRL will not be issuing total contacts by clubs, but will identify club affiliations provided by participants. The League also suggests friendly competitions between member of clubs or between clubs. Bob is looking into both options. We have approximately six weeks before Field Day to hammer out how we wish to proceed with the event, and Joe will schedule a Webex meeting for May 14 at 7:30 to specifically discuss Field Day planning.
Collin KE0IYN has developed and made available to members and the general public an application that generates ham radio bingo cards, found at http://ham-radio-bingo.com. The cards can be populated with a variety of ham radio topic areas of your choice, tailor-made to reflect your interests, and be used during the Field Day event to challenge yourself or to compete against others. Collin welcomes comments for additions to the topic fields. Collin is highly commended for his hard work in adapting his bingo card generator for ham radio activities.
SARA Nets & Ragchews – Dave W0OXB & Joe KC0OIO
160 Top Band Evening Round Robin Ragchew (“RRR”) has continued to be popular, with Dave W0OXB reporting that in the past week, running Saturday though Friday, not including Thursday, had 76 check-ins, averaging 12.7 a night, with 1.6 of those non-SARA members. The alternative frequency in times of high noise or poor propagation is 3.966 mhz, although we have not gone there often.
The Monday morning net starts at 8:115 am at 3.856 mhz, with an averaging of 9 check-ins. The last net had 13 check-ins, with one non-member. Conditions have been generally good. This past Monday some in the group did try 60 meters after the 80 meter net concluded.
The SARA W0JH 2 meter repeater has been getting more use in the last few weeks than it has in years. The noon hour “Lunch Room” runs through the noon hour Monday thru Friday, with 41 check-ins this past week, 10 who were non-members, averaging a total of about 8 per day. A shout out to Collin Ke0IYN for filling in for regular Lunch Room host Joe KC0OIO when Joe has been unavailable or otherwise busy during the lunch hour.
Two-meter Tuesday (TMT) has had a successful run on the SARA repeater, operating 7:00 – 8:00 pm, with a 160 meter afterglow at 1.966 beginning at 8 pm. Most of the 2-meter participants have been sticking around for the afterglow. The RRR has been averaging about 10 check-ins. Two-meter Thursday (TMT2) has also been a success, running from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, also averaging 10 check-ins. The April 28th TMT2 was ran as a simulcast between 2-meters and 160 meters with success.
The Wednesday night 2-meter net, hosted by Rick K0BR, continues its long run, beginning at 9:00 pm. This past week there were 7 check-ins, up from 2 the week before.
Joe KC0OIO reports that the Digital Net continues Sundays at 7 PM CST. Due to the seasonal fluctuation of the band, the last session of the season will be Sunday May 17. The recent net had four check-ins, down from eight the week before, reflecting the fact that folks are occupied with spring and summer activities later into the evening and unavailable for the net. Joe reports that, in the opinion of the group, the mode DominoEX has worked real well , better than Thor 16.
Joe noted that there is interest in the club to try CW as a digital mode, so the May 17 session will tackle CW. Participants can use keys or use a keyboard program such as Fldigi. Joe asked for suggestions for a frequency as the digital allocation is not an appropriate location for CW. Dave W0OXB noted that past attempts at running a CW net have run into the problem of being able to find a band with propagation that will cover the Twin Cities area so that all can participate.
M.A.P.: Dave WØOXB
Five site surveys for antennas have taken place in the last few weeks, incorporating appropriate social distancing. One of the five is critical as the antenna is on or near the ground and the member is not capable of repairing it himself. Two of the priority projects have materials on order. SARA has no wire or ladder line available, but the club does have four center connectors available free to members. The club does have crimper kit available for member’s use in feed line construction. There are also two antenna analyzers in the club toolkit for loan.
Please contact Dave W0OXB or a SARA officer if you need help, antenna or otherwise.
The WIRES X Link Node and YSFReflector additions are about ready to go, coming online hopefully this month. Thanks go to Doug N9TOW for putting the system together and Zack AAØU for his offer to use his QTH for the station, as well as for his installation of an antenna at his house with the associated feedline routing.
New Ham Resource Team: Brian N0BJE, Holly KE0RZZ, and Mark KE0QQN
Brian N0BJE reports that the NHRT has received a couple of emails from nonmembers looking for help. If any is aware of a new ham with questions, send them to the Team.
Available for loan are two Yaesu FT70DR HTs. With the installation of the Wires-X system on the W0JH 2-meter repeater coming up soon, these HTs will provide members with an opportunity to try out the Fusion digital system.
The KD0OTB Memorial Station is available for loan and 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). There is no reason for new hams, young and old, not to get on the air, and this Team is also a great resource for all members to use.
Washington County ARES: John KAØHYR
The ARES net takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. May 20th will be the next net on the 146.985- repeater at 6:30 PM.
The Hands-On Training for REP Drill originally scheduled for May 5 has been canceled. The June 10 REP Relocation Drill at Park High School, Cottage Grove, MN, has also been canceled.
John KA0HYR reports that there is expanded coverage with the 147.180 repeater, which is running at the Newport site (PL 74.4) and the Forest Lake site (PL 100). This system covers the entirety of Washington County.
John reports that there was a Red Cross ARES drill in Massachusetts a couple months back that was written up in a recent issue of QST. A May 30 National Red Cross drill is currently planned, and John has been in contact with local Red Cross to determine how Washington County ARES could participate, but at this point the Red Cross does not have any guidance. John will keep tabs on this and keep all informed.
Check the web site regularly for current events, net schedule, and other items of significance: www.mnwashcoares.net.
DX News: Mike N0ODK
Joe KC0OIO noted that the ARRL DX Newsletter comes out every Thursday – you can subscribe to the electronic newletter at the ARRL website if you are a member of the League. Get the latest DX news by subscribing to the ARRL DX News. Also check out www.ng3k.com for active DXpeditions and the current contest calendar.
Mount Athos, Greece, is on the air this weekend manned by Monk Iakovos SV2RSG, who has taken over the microphone for the late Mount Athos Monk Apollo, SV2ASP, SK.
Contest University, usually active at the Dayton Hamfest, is offering an online class on Thursday May 14, 2020. Registration is free. Details for registration can be found at https://www.contestuniversity.com. There are currently 1200 registrants, and by the close of registration it is expected that there will be a class of 3000.
The highlighted special event next weekend is the Hamvention QSO Party, taking place Saturday May 16 from 8 am to 8 pm (1200 to 2400 UTC). Full details can be found at www.wwrof. org.
Remote Base Project (RBP): Pat WA0TDA
Pat WA0TDA reports there is a problem with the remote W0ZSW Icom 7200 rig located at his QTH. It appears to be an encoder problem that improperly interfaces with RCForbes and switches the input from USB to the microphone. The encoder can not be switched back without physically doing it on-site. Joe KC0OIO reports that SARA will temporarily swap out the Icom 7200 with the club Icom 7300, while the Icom 7200 will be sent off for repairs. Pat proposes that it be sent to the Michigan Icom Service Center. Pat will check to see that the Service Center is operational during the COVID-19 situation.
W0EQO is operational, and working well. Pat’s own remote station, WA0TDA, is also available for use.
If you would like access to the remote stations, go to RemoteHams website to download the program, and contact Pat for permission to use the three remote base stations available.
Newsletter & Website: Pat WA0TDA & Dave W0OXB
Pat WA0TDA reports that there has been some discussion of issuing a midsummer version of the SARA Signals Newsletter. Pat has been experimenting with Word for Windows to put the newsletter rather than the usual Microsoft Publisher.
Deadline for the September issue of the Newsletter is August 26th. Additional contributors are always needed and welcome. Photos are also welcome.
Canadian Activity Update: Brad VE3MXJ
Brad VE3MXJ, SARA’s sole international member, noted that he became a member of the club 10 years ago when the late Bill Unger VE3XT SK learned of the Split Rock Special Event from QST and contacted Dave W0OXB about participating. Dave grudgingly agreed, and Bill brought Brad along for support. The rest is history.
Brad is a net control for the Maritime Mobile Service Network, the Hurricane Watch Net, and the Ontario ARES Net, as well as the Emergency Coordinator for Thunder Bay, Ontario, ARES. It is a good thing he is retired! Brad reports that Thunder Bay ARES now has a full-time station located at the local Fire Hall, with an Icom 7300 and a VHF/UHF radio, and is equipped to operate digital as well as Winlink. This is the first time the ARES group has had a permanent home.
Woody VE3JJA of Sioux Narrows, Ontario, has established a Northwest Ontario Situation/Social Health and Welfare Net in response to the COVID-19 situation pm 3.675 mhz daily at 10 am CDT. All stations are welcome to check in.
Brad reports that ARES Winlink training took place on April 26, 2020, using Zoom and states that Winlink has been working well. Further information on the training can be found at http://www.ve3rib.ca/ares-wl2k101.html.
Brad also signed up and participated in a Skywarn class out of Duluth, Minnesota, taking the Saturday four hour course and the Monday advanced course.
Last, Brad reports that there will be an international emergency training in June, 2021, involving the simulated collision of two freighters, one from Thunder Bay, ON, and one from Duluth, MN, carrying fuel oil, off the coast of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. The control center will be out of Houghton, Michigan, up in the Upper Peninsula. There will be participation from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario.
SARA Equipment stored at K0GW QTH: Greg K0GW has informed the club that his barn is being torn down, and the club is currently storing some equipment there that must be picked up or it will be thrown in with the barn refuse for disposal. The remaining equipment includes tower sections, masts, and an antenna. The materials need to be moved and stored for club use or may be acquired by members with an appropriate donation. Contact Joe KC0OIO or Greg K0GW if interested in inspection and/or acquiring.
Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp Radio Donation: At the April 29 Board meeting, Brian N0BJE asked the club to consider a radio donation to the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp located in Houlton, Wisconsin. Some members are familiar with the Camp as a JOTA event was held there last year as a joint event between SARA and SEMARC (third weekend of October each year), and SARA used to conduct Field Day at the Camp. There is an immediate need to replace five HT radios the Camp received around ten years ago for emergency and general communication within the Camp facility. Only three of the current radios are operational. The location of the upper and lower campsites make cell phones useless. The radios are used on a business band frequency and would be used by camp masters who communicate with each other was well as the Camp Ranger, using a repeater that was donated by a local VFW. The radios are not used for “fun and games,” but for transaction of camp operation and emergencies.
The Board approved the purchase of the five Baofeng handhelds and cases identified by Brian for approximately $235 from the SARA account. The Board also has asked membership to consider donating whatever they can afford to the club to underwrite the donation. Donations can be directed by mail to the club address, Stillwater Amateur Radio Association, 1618 Pine St. West, Stillwater, MN 55082.
Webex Subscription: Joe KC0OIO noted that SARA has been using N9TOW Doug’s subscription to Webex for recent club meetings and events. Doug reported that he recently heard from Webex that it is going to be making some updates to its services that makes it prudent for the club to consider purchasing its own subscription.
Joe recommends that the club purchase its own subscription as, among other advantages, it would allow members other than Doug to schedule meetings. Also, with the Stillwater Library closure and, once open, the crowded conditions for eyeballs, the club may be meeting “virtually” for the foreseeable future. Plus, Webex would allow the club to make club meetings, once we can meet again at Boutwell’s Landing, available through streaming to those who can not otherwise attend the meeting.
Joe proposes that the membership chose the “Plus Account,” which includes the following elements:
- Host up to 100 participants
- Customizable Webex site URL
- Allow others to schedule meetings on behalf of the host
- Meet as long as you want
- Call-in for audio
- 5 GB of cloud storage
- Recording transcriptions
- MP4 Cloud Recordings
- Desktop, application, file & whiteboard sharing options
- Calendar integrations
- 24/7 Customer support
- Ability to assign alternate hosts
- Webex Meetings integrations with other applications
- Join from a video system or application
- User management
- Administrative feature controls
- Administrative portal
- Analytics and troubleshooting
The cost of an annual plan is $17.95 per month, with four months free. The total for a year would then be $143.60.
Greg K0GW made a motion to authorize the club to purchase the annual “Plus Account” at $17.95 per month. The motion was seconded by Greg KD0EAP. The motion was approved by the membership.
The business portion of the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 am.
Randy KD0VKB presented “The Art of QSL Cards,” a wonderful look at the history and art of QSL cards and ham radio through the ages. The cards provided an interesting look at ham radio gear over the years, which Randy, the King of Boat Anchors, had little trouble identifying. Most of the cards came from Randy’s collection. Many of the early cards were comical hand drawn cartoons, from the amateurish to the professional, the latter represented by cards that appear to have been drawn by professional cartoonists for Disney. There were also artful cards from YLs and XYLs, cards that represented the art deco tastes of the times, as well as many cards drawn by Otto Eppers, who was professional cartoonist and an active ham who contributed characters to personalized QSL cards.
Many thanks to Randy for the very entertaining program. The presentation slides will be made available on the SARA website shortly so you can take a closer look at these wonderful cards.
The program was concluded at 11:06 AM.
Meeting attendance: 35