2017 SARA Officers
Split Rock 2013
Ice Station WØJH 2014
The Joe Simonet WØTBC Memorial Award
SARA Work Party 1
SARA Does Skywarn
Split Rock Lighthouse 2012
AGØH 2013
SARA Work Party 2
SARA Field Day 2011

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – September 12, 2020

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – September 12, 2020

Stillwater Amateur Radio Association

Virtual membership meeting held via Webex due to the COVID-19 and the unavailability of Boutwells Landing meeting room.

President:  Joe KCØOIO

The meeting was called to order at 9:04 AM. 

Joe KC0OIO welcomed all to the on-line virtual membership meeting using Cisco Webex, and noted that we have ARRL Dakota Division Director Matt Holden K0BBC with us today to give us an ARRL report.

Secretary’s ReportDave N9JNQ

The general minutes from the May Membership and August 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:   05/01/20     $16,528.01

  • SARA

Balance:                                                   $3,107.93

Income:                                                   $623.00

Expenses:                                                $438.76

Ending Balance:      08/31/20              $3,355.17

  • RBF

Balance:                                                 $13,357.08

Income:                                                  $0.00

Expenses:                                               $240.00

Ending Balance:    08/31/2020         $13,117.08

Ending Total Balance: 08/31/2020       $16,472.25

SARA Expenses include:

  • Payment of $194.94 for Baufeng Radio HTs for Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp donation

RBP Income – none

RBP Expenses

  • A $120 payment for a static IP address for the Remote Base W0EQO, and a $120 donation to Camp Wilderness for hosting the Remote Base.

Rich AD0SN noted that approximately a half dozen members have already paid their 2021 dues, which will be reflected on next month’s report.

Activities & Events:

Eyeballs/Tech/Skills Sessions

Joe KC0OIO reported that the Webex option for meetings and get-togethers has been working well.  Thursday Night Tech Session have been popular.  They are currently suspended due to restarting the Thursday night Tech classes, which are being done virtually as well.  The Tech Sessions have been recorded and are made available on SARA’s private YouTube channel to members, accessible through the link sent by Joe to members.  There currently are four sessions available with eleven views so far. 

“The Manhattan Project,” held every other Friday at 7:30 pm have also been successful as well as very entertaining.  The next sessions will be held September 18 and October 2.

A Board meeting for September has yet to be scheduled.

Field Day

Bob W0GAF reports that Field Day held remotely on June 27-28, 2020, was a success. Prizes are yet to be distributed.  It is no surprise that Dave W0OXB was the first place point winner.  We keep our fingers crossed that we will not need to do a remote Field Day again next year.

Training and Education

Bob W0GAF reported that the Tech class resumed this past Thursday in a virtual session.  As SARA is unable to provide testing to graduates due to the unavailability of our Boutwells Landing testing room, Joe KC0OIO contacted SEMARC which offered to accommodate SARA graduates at an October 17 session at its facility.  Many thanks to Dan WD0GUP of SEMARC to make this testing possible.  Dave W0OXB gave his antenna lecture this past Thursday to the class.  We currently have five students, a couple are new students that are just joining the class.  The attendance by the high school students is lacking due to their just getting back to school and working through the changes brought by COVID.  The General class will follow the Tech class and will be scheduled based on the testing success of the current Tech class and obtaining a date for the General test.

Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event

The Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event will take place this year on November 6 through 8, 2020, although not on site.  Dave W0OXB reports that there will be distributed operations by individual operators working from home stations or portable stations.  An email was recently sent out to members with details regarding the operation.  We will be using two call signs: W0JH for SSB and W0F for CW and digital operations.  Dave may invite nonmember Rich W8VS of Brighton, Michigan, to participate as he got the club going on this special event.
Online operator sign up via SignupGenius will start October 1.  If you have some pileup experience and can use a digital logging program, consider signing up.

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 few weeks the group has been moving to 75 meters due to poor conditions on 160 and/or to accommodate folks that do not have 160 capabilities.    The alternate frequencies on 75 meters are between 3.950 and 3.980 MHz, so listen in at around 8:15 PM for the group.  Dave reports that August had an average of 12 to 14 check-ins every night, with an average of 2 non-members.

The Monday morning 75 meter net starts at 8:15 AM at 3.856 MHZ, with an averaging of 5 to 7 check-ins in August, which includes about one non-member.  The net will move to 9:00 AM as winter conditions move in.

The SARA W0JH 2 meter repeater noon hour “Lunch Room” runs through the noon hour Monday thru Friday, with three to five folks checking in on the average, which includes two to three non-members.  Thanks to Joe KC0OIO for helming the Lunch Room.

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.  The RRR has been averaging between 5 to 8 check-ins, mostly all SARA members.  Two-meter Thursday (TMT2) has been suspended due to conflicts with Thursday night club activities.

The Wednesday night 2-meter net, hosted by Rick K0BR, continues its long run, beginning at 9:00 pm.  Check-ins run two to four folks, which usually includes two non-members.

Joe KC0OIO reports that the Digital Net will return Sundays at 7 PM CST beginning on September 27, earlier than in years past.  Found at 3.584.15 MHz on your radio dial using USB unless the NCS indicates otherwise.

Thanks to the six members who have agreed to be group leaders for the various nets.  SARA is always looking for volunteers to man the nets, scripts are available to help you along.  Let Dave W0OXB or a SARA Officer know if you are interested.

M.A.P.:  Dave WØOXB

Some repairs and new installations have been done, keeping in mind social distancing.  However, M.A.P. has also provided member to member assistance via non-contact methods, such as email, video chats, on air, etc.  Any type of help can be provided, not just antenna raising parties.

Please contact Dave W0OXB or a SARA officer if you need help, antenna or otherwise.

At this point, Joe KC0OIO asked members to keep Tom N9ILW and his wife, Barb, in their thoughts as they recover from COVID.

New Ham Resource Team: Brian N0BJE, Holly KE0RZZ, and Mark KE0QQN

Brian N0BJE notes that the club has available for loan are two Yaesu FT70DR HTs.  With the installation of the Wires-X system on the W0JH 2-meter repeater, these HTs will provide members with an opportunity to try out the Fusion digital system and make DX contacts.  This offer is for any member that would like to try fusion, not just new hams.

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 is available to new hams and members who may be without equipment at the moment.

Brian reports that a few emails have been received from folks interested in getting licensed or asking generally for help, and Brian has provided help such as programming HTs, etc.  Brian notes he has been seeing more and more interest.

As a Scout Camp Master for the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp, Brian passed along the Camp’s thank you for the club donation of five HT radios to be used for emergency and general communication within the Camp facility.  The location of the upper and lower campsites make cell phones useless.  The radios are used by Camp Masters who communicate with each other was well as the Camp Ranger.  Brian also thanked the club for the donations of radios made by a couple of club members to the Camp.

Holly KE0RZZ noted that the ARRL is now publishing a magazine entitled “On The Air” that is targeted to new hams, eschewing the technical language typically found in QST.

Holly also suggested that some thought be given to renaming the work group to include all members as much of the assistance can be provided to veteran hams as well as new hams.  Joe KC0OIO noted that there is some overlap with M.A.P.  The issue will be considered by the Board at its upcoming meeting.

Washington County ARES:  John KAØHYR

John KA0HYR is participating in online ARC/ARES November 14 Drill training today at 9:00 AM.  He was able to join the virtual gathering before this SARA Membership meeting.

The ARES net takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month on the 146.985- repeater at 6:30 PM.  

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.

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 DXpeditions have been canceled or delayed due to COVID.  However, DX is still out there for the picking.  Get the latest DX news by subscribing to the ARRL DX News.  Also check out www.ng3k.com for DX and the Contest Calendar.

The inaugural FoxMikeHotel Portable Operating Challenge is taking place October 3-4.  Participants operate during a consecutive 8 hour period out of the 48 hour contest window.  Scoring is weighted to portable and low power operations.  Full details can be found at www.foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

Joe threw down the gauntlet and made the following SARA Challenge: which SARA member can achieve the greatest
kilometers per watt?  The winner receives a custom SARA “KPW” certificate and the title “Kilometer King” for the
ensuing year.

Remote Base Project (RBP):  Pat WA0TDA

Pat WA0TDA provided a detailed description of the current RBP status in the current “Signals from SARA” and members are referred to the newsletter for more information.

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 Signals from SARA has a new fresh look, courtesy of  Word for Windows rather than the usual Microsoft Publisher.

Deadline for the October issue of the Newsletter is October 1st.  Additional contributors are always needed and welcome.  Photos are also welcome.

North of the Border Report:  Brad VE3MXJ

Brad VE3MXJ, SARA’s sole long-time (10 to 11 years) international member reported on his recent activities.

Brad is a net control for the Maritime Mobile Service Network, the Hurricane Watch Net, and the Ontario ARES Net, as well as is the Emergency Coordinator for Thunder Bay, Ontario, ARES. He is also a recent member of CFARS, the Canadian equivalent of MARS.

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.  Northwest Ontario ARES has weekly nets on Wednesdays at 21:00 UTC (5:00 PM EDT, 4:00 PM CDT) on the primary frequency of 3.675 MHz LSB , with a 21:15 UTC secondary net with a second net control operator at 7.135 MHz LSB to take check-ins from more distant Ontario stations.

Brad has been active on Winlink Wednesdays coordinated by an amateur from TX.

Brad reports that he is a member of two local clubs:  The Lakehead Amateur Radio Club; and the Northwestern Ontario Senior Radio Club.  The latter club has a substantial station and a couple of towers at the local senior center.

Joe KC0OIO commended Brad for his efforts with the Hurricane Watch Net, noting the recent hurricane activity.

Club Business:

SARA Dues Joe KC0OIO noted that 2021 dues, which run from January 1 through December 31, can be sent to the club address:

Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
1618 Pine Street W
Stillwater, MN 55082

Please include your name and call sign with your payment.  Coming soon is the option to pay online at the radioham.org website through PayPal.  Payment by PayPal will include a $1.00 service fee.

Repeater News:  The SARA 2-meter fusion repeater and its WIRES X Link Node are up and running and getting a lot of use.  The YSF hotspot is getting finishing touches by Doug N9TOW and will be installed at the QTH of Zack AAØU who has offered, an offer that has been accepted, his digs for the WIRES X station.

Skip Jackson KS0J:  Club member Skip Jackson is stepping down as ARRL Minnesota Section Manager after an impressive 16 years in the position.  SARA commends and thanks Skip on his service to ARRL and amateur radio, and wishes him well.

The business portion of the meeting was adjourned at 9:57 AM.

Program:

ARRL HQ Update presented by ARRL Dakota Division Director Matt Holden KØBBC.

Matt reported that there are approximately 158,000 ARRL members out of a pool of approximately 755,000 licensed amateurs.  Minnesota has 2,608 members; North Dakota has 303 members; South Dakota has 417 members; for a total of 3328 Division members.

Matt noted that the ARRL Board elected two honorary Vice Presidents:  Jay Bellows, K0QB, long-time ARRL International Affairs Vice President; and SARA member Greg Widin, K0GW, ARRL First Vice President and 12-year veteran of the Board.  Both have recently retired from their positions, although both are still providing their expertise to the hobby –  Jay continues as the IARU Region 2 Treasurer; and Greg continues to chair the ARRL LOTW committee.  Congratulations to both.

The ARRL Board has hired a new CEO, David Minster NA2AA.  David was licensed in 1977, is an active contester and an AMSAT members.  In his non-ham life, he has built and sold several businesses, and is a proud Ohio State University graduate.

The Board picked David from 15 original candidates, which was winnowed to 5, with 4 interviewed.  David is a great passionate speaker who can hold a room.  He rose to the top as a “hams’ ham” who can connect with membership, and at the same time has the business acumen to administer the ARRL.  David starts October 1, and be presenting his “action plan” to the Board in January.

ARRL has also hired a new Director of Emergency Communications, Paul Z. Gilbert KE5ZW.  The position has been elevated from a manager position to a director position.  It is a full-time position, and Paul will be working remotely from his home in Cedar Park, Texas, until the COVID situation stabilizes.  Paul has been a Public Safety Radio Coordinator for the State of Texas, and been involved in Army Mars program.  Paul is being asked to update the ARES programs and curriculum and to reestablish and strengthen relationships with FEMA, Homeland Security, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and other agencies.  He will also be asked to modernize the National Traffic System.

Matt reports that the ARRL Legislative Advocacy Committee’s efforts with the Amateur Radio Parity Act are basically back to square one with the loss of our elected officials in Congress who were shouldering the bills, as well as Congress’ focus now on nothing but COVID.

The FCC has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) Docket 20-270 to require new and renewing license applicants in the wireless program to pay a $50 fee.  No fee would be charged for address changes.  The ARRL is preparing comments for the FCC that members can use in their personal comments, which can be filed online.  The FCC received 1000-plus comments in the first week.  The fee originally-charged for vanity calls resulted in the administrative cost of collecting the fee exceeding the fee income, leading to the cancellation of the fee.  ARRL is bringing that history to the attention of the current FCC staff, who were not around for that experience.

The HF Band Plan is under review by the ARRL.  Under consideration is the impact on the plan of the popularity of FT8, which comprises 90% of the contacts uploaded to LOTW.  It is proposed to enhance the digital band width.   Also under discussion is revamping Technician privileges to include digital uses, as well as giving some phone privileges in the 40 and 80 meter bands, as well as expanding phone privileges in the 10 meter band.

The ARRL is also making efforts to protect the microwave privileges in the 3 and 5 GHZ spectrum, which is being eyed by the cell phone industry for 6G expansion.  We are losing the fight for the 3 GHZ band, but holding our own with the 5 GHZ.  For 3 GHZ, ARRL is trying to hold on to our secondary user status, or get assigned a sliver of the band for amateur use.

The four ARRL magazines are now available online for all members at no cost above their membership fee.  On The Air magazine hit the racks in January.  The plan is to have two years worth of topics to rotate through the magazine, working under the theory that the magazine must always provide the basic information to new amateurs, who will then graduate to QST.  QST, the National Contest Journal, and QEX are also available to all members in electronic form.

ARRL Headquarters is now open with 10% of its staff on site on any particular day, which is 8 staff members.  Tests and awards are being processed, and the QSL bureau is receiving cards from some countries again and are being sorted.

Information technology projects are underway at ARRL Headquarters, including a new membership database being compiled by Personify.  The database had been languishing for years.  The Life-Long Learning program is getting started as well, and it is hoped that the new CEO will be a catalyst with these projects due to his IT background.

VE process has gone digital so that ARRL employees can process the materials at home during the COVID situation.  This brings to the fore the fact that the VE process needs to move to a digital platform.

LOTW is floundering due to a lack of funding and human resources due to retirements.

As noted above, Skip Jackson KS0J has stepped down as Minnesota Section Manager after a stellar 16 year career, and kudos are in order for his many years of service to ARRL and the amateur community.  Bill Mitchell AE0EE will be stepping into Skip’s large shoes on October 1.  Bill has been involved in the Twin Cities DX Association, has been past president of the Bloomington Amateur Radio Association, is an active contester with a hankering for CW, and has participated in DXpeditions.

The program was concluded at 10:44 AM.

Meeting attendance: 25