MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – October 8, 2022
MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – October 8, 2022
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 9:19 AM by Joe KCØOIO.
Learning Morse – Bob WØGAF and Greg KØGW
Bob WØGAF and Greg KØGW gave a helpful presentation regarding how to get started as a CW operator. Greg noted that there were a number of club members and members of the public at the CW tent and this past June’s Field Day event, many expressing and interest in getting into CW, which gave birth to this presentation.
Topics addressed include:
- Reasons to learn Morse
- Learning tips
- Importance of good code
- Modern methods for learning code
- Overview of resources
- SARA’s approach
Reasons to learn code include the fact that it is the first and simplest digital mode and is human decodable, is great for low power, and a lot of gear is not necessary. Remember, “it is more blessed to receive than to give.” One tip for learning is to try to learn code all at once, not learning 5 wpm, then 13 wpm, etc. Start at the speed you want to operate at. But the bottom line is, do what works best for you.
Greg discussed the importance of having well-formed characters and word spacing as it helps the listener. Modern methods include the Farnsworth presentation and the Koch learning method. In addition, here are many online practice sites available. Keep in mind, you do not want to “count” the dits and dahs; rather, you want to hear the entire character.
A bit of history: Morse was created in 1840 and the chose of characters for certain letters was based upon having the most commonly-used letters have the shortest characters, the least frequently-used letters the longer characters. Code was required to acquire a ham radio license until the requirement was modified in 1991, when the requirement was dropped for use of the VHF/UHF bands by Technician Class license holders. In 2000, the FCC reduced the required code proficiency for Amateur Extra Class and General Class licenses to 5 wpm. In 2007, the code requirement was eliminated completely.
There are a number of online and phone app learning aides available. These include G4FON.net, LCWO.net, and CW Ops Trainer. CW Ops Trainer actually provides a two-month online class three times per year at no cost.
SARA will be implementing cooperative Morse learning sessions modeled after the Extra Class License sessions. They will be facilitated by Greg and Bob, along with volunteers from the membership, but will be participant-driven once up and running. The goal is that by working together, participants can have code practice, learn about what works from other participants, perhaps utilize Zoom for practice sessions, etc. This is an experiment and we will see what works and does not work and incorporate that into the sessions now and, hopefully, in the future.
Those who were unable to attend the meeting and see the presentation on YouTube using the link provided in the October 9-15 SARA this week/SARA Broadcast email. That link is reproduced here: https://youtu.be/w5chAIBRkGw
The program concluded at 10:32 AM.
Joe KCØOIO then called the Business Session to order at 10:41 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: 09/01/2022 $17,894.36
Ending Balance: 9/30/2022 $6,536.32
Ending Balance: 9/30/2022 $12,097.34
Ending Total Balance: 9/30/2022 $18,633.66
Income for the month includes $60.00 in dues, $8.00 in decal and cup sales, $18.50 from the September Membership Meeting 50/50 raffle, and $630.00 from equipment sales. Joe KCØOIO noted that a number of dues payments were being made at the meeting, and reminded members that dues can be paid in person at the meeting or by going to the club website and paying via PayPal.
Activities & Events
Tech Topic Thursdays/Eyeballs
There will be no eyeball/TTT on October 13 due to the lack of a room for the eyeball. As an alternative, it was agreed that there will be a virtual eyeball via Zoom, which will include a review of using the logging software used at the Edmund Fitzgerald special event. The November 3 eyeball will be canceled due to the fact that it falls the day before many will be preparing to leave for the special event the following day. The General Class License session, however, will still take place.
The Board meeting will take place Wednesday October 19, 2022, at 6:30 PM via Zoom. A link to the meeting is supplied in the SARA Broadcast for the upcoming week.
Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event – The Edmund Fitzgerald special event is back for another year, to take place November 4 though 6, 2022 at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Dave WØOXB stated that information regarding the event will be sent via email to all members who have signed up to attend in the next day or two. Dave noted that 21 members plus a number of XYLs have signed up to attend. This year we will be also operating as a POTA and Lighthouses on the Air station. Joe KCØOIO noted that it will be a POTA “twofer”, operating from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and within 100 feet of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. If you can not make it to Split Rock, you will also be able to participate from your home QTH with the call WØF (secured for us by Shel NØDRX) during the November 4 through 6 dates. Modes from home include CW, digital, and SSB. In addition, all members can participate on November 10, the actual date of the sinking, from their home QTHs using the WØF call sign. A SignUpGenius on-line sign-up sheet will be set up for home QTH participants to pick operating times and modes. Multiple ops can participate at the same time by using different modes or bands from other participants during that time block.
SARA POTA Challenge – The year-long SARA POTA (Parks On The Air) Challenge is well underway, and an update was provided of the standings via the SARA POTA Challenge leader board.
Bob WØGAF and Brian KB9TBB are the primary data sources for the event. It will run though December 31, 2022. You should let Bob and/or Brian know by email if you are interested in participating, you will be added to the list.
Bob reported that there has been a great increase in participation since the implementation of the “Legends” and “Leaders” categories. Bob provided a thorough review of the current standings, noting that there has been a big push after mid-August and the announcement of the new format from those participants in the middle of the pack. It appears many have an interest in hitting that Legends bar of 500 hunter contacts. Stats are available throughout the challenge on the SARA club website.
Education and Training
A fall 8-week General Class License Study Class is well underway with most classes running from 6 to 8 PM at the Stillwater Public Library. The October 13 session will take place at the Lake Elmo Public Library. When the Stillwater library is unavailable, Dan KEØIYF has been instrumental in securing alternative sites. There are currently six participants, which is a good turnout. A VE testing session will take place on November 17 in Auditorium B at Boutwells Landing.
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 via non-contact or in person methods. Antenna #109 has been raised by the group, with #110 in the planning stage. Dave WØOXB noted that they are trying to get the antenna work done before the snow flies. M.A.P. is available for more than just antenna raisings, contact Dave with any issues you may have.
•New Ham Resource Group, found at email@example.com, 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.
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. There has been some good discussion on the site this past week regarding use of antenna switches between radios.
DX News: Mike NØODK
The 3YØJ DXpedition to Bouvet Island in January 2023 is still on the schedule. Bouvet Island is #2 on the most wanted DXCC entity. The DXpedition participants were reported to have performed a simulated landing using their Zodiac boats.
Upcoming contests include:
- CQ WW DX SSB contest, 0000Z October 29 to 2359Z October 30.
- ARRL CW Sweepstakes contest, 2100Z November 5 to 0300Z November 7.
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.
Remote Stations: Pat WAØTDA
Joe KCØOIO reports that the remote bases are up and running. With the installation of a direct wired Ethernet connection to the camp’s internet system instead of the previously-used wireless connection, the remote site’s 40 meter RFI problem has apparently disappeared. So the site is up and running with no limitations.
Postscript: Since the membership meeting, Pat WAØTDA has reported that high winds on October 12 have taken out the WØZSW remote station antenna, rendering the station indefinitely off the air.
Newsletter: Pat WAØTDA & Dave WØOXB
The October issue of the SARA Signals Newsletter is now available. Thanks to Pat WAØTDA, Dave WØOXB, and Randy KDØVKB for their contributions. The deadline for submittals for the November edition is moved up, due to the special event, to October 31, 2022.
ARES and Public Service:
Nothing to report.
Dues Reminder: Dues run from January 1 through December 31. Payment is $20 for full membership, $10 for associate membership, $30 for family of 2 membership ($10 for each additional). Payment can be made in person (cash or check), by mail (to NØDRX), or online by PayPal at the club website.
Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp antenna issue: Brian NØBJE reported to Joe KCØOIO that the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp is in need of a new UHF antenna and mast to be mounted on the new Swanson Lodge located on the hill within the camp property. The camp is securing a donated Motorola repeater for use with the handhelds that were donated to the camp by SARA a few years back. This system allows for contact among various locations within the camp that do not have reliable cell service. The old antenna that was located in the valley is unusable. The cost of the new antenna and mast would be approximately $120.00 plus shipping from HRO.
A motion was made and seconded authorizing the club to purchase of a new mast/antenna for donation to the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp. The motion passed unanimously.
Membership Meeting Program Committee: Joe KCØOIO noted that there has been no volunteer to take the reins of planning programs for the membership meetings. It was suggested at the last Board meeting that perhaps a program committee with multiple members would be more desirable and increase participation. Two Board members have agreed to be on the committee, and the club is looking for one or more members to join the committee. Please notify Joe if you have interest in joining the committee.
Local Activities: The South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC), our fellow amateur radio club in Washington County, MN, has a membership meeting scheduled for October 25 at 7:00 PM to be held at its usual location – 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. Joe KCØOIO reported that Brian NØBJE and his son are working on a redesign of the logo to be used on hats, incorporating the historic Stillwater Bridge. We are also considering moving to a local supplier.
There was no new business.
The sale of raffle tickets brought in $47.00, with the winner taking home $23.50.
The business meeting was adjourned at 11:14 AM.
Meeting attendance: 19; Virtual: 7