Ice Station WØJH 2014
Fitzgerald Crew 2011
Fitzgerald Crew 2012
WØJH 2004
2018 WØTBC Memorial Award-NØDRX
Split Rock Lighthouse 2012
SARA Work Party 3
May 14th Fox Hunt! What Fun!
OXB Special Install
2020 S.A.R.A. EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – September 9, 2023

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – September 9, 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 by Joe KCØOIO at 9:30 AM.

Program:

The NanoVNA – Vector Network Analyzer – presented by Chuck CK Hanson NAØL.

Chuck NAØL presented a great discussion of the operation and use of the NanoVNA, the little gizmo available at very affordable prices on the internet.  Chuck noted that he has been a licensed ham for two years, and gives credit to the great help and support provided by his home club, SEMARC.

Chuck walked us through the operation of a NanoVNA-H, focusing on checking antenna SWR with the unit.  Chuck noted that there are a lot of knock-offs and suggested you try to acquire an actual unit from the developers, who suggest going to www.nanovna.com for information on the best unit to acquire and how to operate it.  Chuck noted that there is a good groups.io on the unit and recommends going there with questions.  He also noted that there are many good YouTube videos on the topic that are very helpful.

The presentation will be posted on the SARA YouTube channel, and you are encouraged to view the presentation for details on the operation and use of the NanoVNA.

The program concluded at 10:31 AM.

Business Session:

Joe KCØOIO then called the Business Session to order at 10:38 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:  Rich ADØSN

Beginning Total Balance:   05/01/2023     $18,884.78

  • SARA

Balance:                                                   $6,856.44

Income:                                                   $336.10

Expenses:                                                $857.45

Ending Balance:      08/31/2023        $6,335.09

  • RBF

Balance:                                                 $12,028.34

Income:                                                  $0.00

Expenses:                                               $60.00

Ending Balance: 08/31/2023        $11,968.34

Ending Total Balance: 08/31/2023       $18,303.43

Income for the month of August for the SARA account includes:

  • Dues:                            $90.00
  • Cups and decals:        $0.00
  • 50/50 Raffle:              $0.00
  • Donations:                   $0.00

Expenses for the SARA account for the month of August include:

  • VW session space rental:                                      $25.00
  • AV equipment:                                                      $320.38
  • POTA donation:                                                    $100.00
  • General Class license manuals:                            $53.06

Joe KCØOIO noted that the expenses for the summer included Field Day incidentals.  In addition, a new camera for streaming purposes was purchased by direction of the Board.  This setup ran about $300.00 for the camera and accessories.  It will make streaming of meetings much easier as the system will follow the speaker and otherwise swing into position.

Joe announce that the club is looking for a member or two who would agree to the the Audio Visual techs for membership meetings to free Joe to preside over the meeting as club president.  It would involve pre-meeting setup and breakdown, operation of the camera, microphones, and the stream during the meeting.  Please contact Joe or one of the Board members if you have interest.

Activities & Events

Tech Topic Thursdays/Eyeballs

The eyeballs return to the Stillwater Public Library after another successful summer of meetings in the various parks.  No eyeballs were canceled due to rain, although a couple meetings were moved indoors due to excessive heat.  The last outdoor eyeball was the annual swap meet.  We had more sellers than buyers; in the future we will try to ask SEMARC members to attend as well as they may have more disposable income HI.

Board Meetings

The Board meeting will take place Wednesday September 14, 2023, at 6:30 PM via Zoom

Special Events

Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event – The Edmund Fitzgerald special event will take place November 3 though 6, 2023 at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.  Dave WØOXB has sent out an initial invite email to members.  There is no update of the Mariner Motel; voicemail says they are not taking reservations at this time due to medical issues.  Note also that the former AmericInn in Silver Bay goes by a new name, the Black Beach Inn.  Rates are higher than the Mariner.  You are encouraged to find a roommate if you are looking to cut expenses.

SARA POTA Challenge – Bob WØGAF reported on the standings for the month of August, our first get-together after the summer.  Bob presented the SARA POTA Challenge leader board.  At the moment, there are six participants who are now in the Legends category.  Fifty-four members of the club are on the list participating in the Challenge.  There are quite a few activators this year, with Elliot KEØN leading with 112.  Brian KB9TTB leads with number of parks activated.  The activation QSOs leader is Aaron WØADL.

Club totals: 23,614 hunter QSOs; 505 activations by club members; 254 parks activated; and 18,245 activator QSOs.

All stats are available throughout the challenge on the SARA club website, and Bob will post these most recent statistics shortly.  To participate, all you need to do is register with POTA on its website; the club will take care of the rest, getting the data of your contacts off of the website.

August POTA Meet-up – Bob WØGAF reported the August POTA meet-up was a success. Well-known Minnesota POTA participant Pat W0YES was in attendance.  Pat has activated every park in Minnesota but two, which are only accessible by water.   Shane KD9NJJ has put together a coupe of nice videos on YouTube regarding the Meet-Up.  Brain KB9TTB made a presentation of graphs of the SARA POTA Challenge standings at the meetup.

Education and Training

General License Class – The General License Class is to begin September 21, 2023, at the Stillwater Public Library.  Thanks in advance to all instructors and to Dan KEØIYF for securing the class rooms.  If you have an interest in being an instructor, let Bob know.  You will not be thrown to the wolves; we will mentor you through.  A draft calendar has been sent to instructors, let Bob know if it works for you.  There is a new General License Manual this year, so make sure you are buying the correct manual.  Four have signed up for the class so far, expect more to join.  All are welcome, even if you are already a General.

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 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.  But keep in mind this is a service for new hams that need the guidance and equipment.  Seasoned hams can look to the club’s groups.io and discord for help and assistance.

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, Shane WØNKA, and Collin KEØIYN.  The SARA Discord Server is open to all current SARA members.  To join, click on this link: https://discord.gg/Z9A8NsCCXh

DX News:  Mike NØODK

There a number of DXpeditions in the works now that we are entering the fall season.

Today the ARRL HF and up contest starts at 1800 UTC.  The North American CW Sprint is also on today.

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 reported that remote station WØEQO is now off the air.  It has been replaced by the new WØJH remote station which has been tested and is ready for installation up at its new location in Hayward, Wisconsin, and the property of SARA member Brian KB9TTB.  There is ongoing discussion as to what equipment is needed to get on the air, such as cabinet, antenna, remote software, etc.  Note that W0JH will start from zero folks in the database; you will want to contact Pat WAØTDA if you want to be on the list of operators of the remote base.  New hams who may have questions about how to set up Remotehams software on your computer and/or how to operate it can ask one of the Brians, KB9TTB or KØPU, for assistance.

Newsletter: Pat WAØTDA & Dave WØOXB

The September issue of the SARA Signals Newsletter is now available.  Thanks to Pat WAØTDA for getting the issue out even though he is on vacation the past week.  We always can use new content for the newsletter, we have been relying on only a couple folks for some time and could use some new material.

ARES and Public Service:

John W3QLC is the Washington County ARES Emergency Coordinator.  If you are interested in participating in ARES, please let Joe know.  More particulars can be obtained from www.mnwashcoares.org.

Program Committee:

Joe KCØOIO announced that the SARA POTA 2023 Awards Ceremony will take place at the February 2024 Membership meeting.  So far, the committee has lined up programs through February.

ARRL Section Conference October 14, 2023

The October Membership Meeting has been moved up to Saturday October 7, 2023, to free up October 14 for the ARRL Section Conference to be held 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM a the Hennepin Tech College in Brooklyn Park, MN.  There will be forums, vendors, and lunch provide to those who register on or before October 8.  The cost is $30 before through September 30; $40 after that.  SARA is a founding sponsor and, as a result, will have a table at the event.  The club will be looking for volunteers to man the table.  Bob WØGAF is the Credential Manager for the event.  Bob noted that there will be four or five classrooms with ongoing forums.  The event is focusing on newer hams.

Club Business:

SARA Portable Ops Battery Replacement:  Joe KCØOIO informed membership that the current SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries used by the club at various remote activations have been failing on multiple occasions and are over five years old, which is close to the usable life for such power sources.  Bob WØGAF reported that the batteries recently failed on him at the POTA Meet-up after a short time of use.

The Board has had discussions regarding replacing these batteries with LIFEPO4 batteries.  The technology of LIFEPO4 batteries currently available provides many benefits over SLA batteries.  The are 50% to 70% lighter than SLA batteries, which makes moving these batteries from storage to use much easier for our members (let’s face it, we aren’t young anymore!).  In addition, the new technology allows for extraction of greater than 80% of the rated capacity of the battery, whereas an SLA battery only allows for around 50% of the rated capacity.  Also the service life of these batteries is five to ten years, and over 2000 charging cycles.

The Board concluded that the club should not consider “no-name” batteries that can often be found on the internet as they often have poor customer service and short warranties.  The Board considers Bioenno batteries to be the preferred brand.  Many of the batteries on Amazon have two to five year warranties; the Boards preferred brand Bioenno has a 20 year warranty.

Joe passed around an 40 amp/hour Bioenno battery to demonstrate the size and weight advantage of the battery.  It was noted that our current SLA batteries are 70 ah, but when you consider that you only draw about half the power, the 40 ah LIFEPO4 batteries are comparable.

The Board recommends to the membership the purchase of two 40 ah Bioenno batteries to replace the aging SLA batteries.  Two batteries is considered needed as we have two stations running at field day as well as at the White Rock Special Event.  The Board is coming to the membership with this request as the batteries cost approximately $349.00 apiece, and a charger is an additional $40.00, for a total of approximately $800.00 plus tax.  This is well over the $350.00 limit that the Board has to make purchases without membership approval.  The preferred provider would be Ham Radio Outlet, as it can ship within two days, has the batteries in stock, and has fee shipping.

There was discussion regarding the need to keep such batteries out of extreme cold.  Joe noted that the batteries are currently stored inside and the LIFEPO4 batteries would be stored in the same manner, and would be transported in cold months within the cab of the vehicle to assure that they do not experience extreme cold.

Rich ADØSN noted that the SLA batteries were purchased five years ago for a total of $412.00.  As we should expect twice the life span for LIFEPO4 batteries, the cost is a wash.

Greg KØGW made a motion to authorize the purchase of two Bioenno 40 ah LIFEPO4 batteries with a charger at the cost of approximately $800.00 plus tax; the motion was seconded by Jim KIØB; the motion passed unanimously.

Budget for W0JH Remote Base:  The Board has discussed that we should not skimp on the equipment needed to reliably operate the remote station for the benefit of Handi-hams and SARA members as there is adequate funds in the Remote Base account in the treasury. For that reason, the Board requests a $1000.00 budget for the equipment, hardware, and software allocated from the remote base funds.  No motion is needed for the expenditure from this fund, but the Board asks for the membership’s support.

2024 club officers:  Our club Treasurer Rich ADØSN has informed the Board that he will not be running for the office for 2024.  Joe KCØOIO asked that folks who would be willing and able to run for this office consider throwing their hat into the ring.  If anyone has a suggestion for a candidate, please bring the name to Joe’s attention.

Local Activities: 

  • The South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC), our fellow amateur radio club in Washington County, MN, is holding a POTA Day on September 16 at Schaar’s Bluff at Spring Lake Park Reserve in Hastings, MN.  It is K-3381 Mississippi River NRA.  It will be held 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM.
  •  The monthly SEMARC Membership Meeting will be held Tuesday September 26, 2023 at 7:00 PM.  However, it is taking place at a new location at the St. Luke Lutheran Church, 7000 Hinton Avenue in South Cottage Grove.  The old location has changed hands and is no longer available to SEMARC.
  • Hams in the Park is taking place today September 9 from 12:00 PM until 3:00 or 4:00 PM at Long Lake Park, New Brighton, MN

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 new design on the jacket, so remember to update your wardrobe!

New Business:

None to report.

50/50 Raffle:

The sale of raffle tickets brought in $39.00.  Bill WØWTD was the winner of $19.50, which he generously donated back to the club.  Thank you Bill!

Greg KØGW made a motion to adjourn the meeting; the motion was seconded by Jim KIØB; the motion passed unanimously.  The business meeting was therein adjourned at 11:29 AM.

Meeting attendance: 27; Virtual: 7