OCRA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – May 11th, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Executive Board Meeting – May 11, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YJZ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member) and W4BOH Wilson (Board member)

W4SAR (Dave): Welcome. Call to order. The agenda for this meeting contains a continuation of field day planning, presentation of a report by our treasurer and a commentary on club officer training.

FIELD DAY PLANNING: N1LN (Bruce): The following points were made during this presentation: (1.) We are currently into the 5th revision of the survey of planned Field Day activities submitted by club members during recent weeks. As was the case last year, twenty-seven members have indicated their intentions to come on-board to represent our club in Field Day this June. (2.) The next step in our planning is to agree on software training for our operators. Bruce has revised his presentation on N1MM software and to be available for individualized instruction to anyone needing help with that platform. (3) W4SAR (David) has agreed to provide instruction on N3FJP contesting software to whomever might be interested in using it, and (4). KR4UB (Dan) has graciously offered his services in helping set up and operating digital modes.

QUARTERLY TREASURER’S REPORT: KR4UB (Dan) provided the Quarterly Treasurer’s report. Data presented therein is managed and archived by Quicken. Since OCRA’s primary source of income is from membership dues, the presentation was tailored to provide a clear picture of the number of membership dues payments it takes to cover the club’s re-occurring fixed costs such as insurance, a permanent mailing address (post office box) needed to ensure timely receipt of IRS correspondence, insurance invoices, etc and the safe deposit box for storage of the club’s key documents. Significant fund expenditures for repeater maintenance and discretionary spending such as the RF filters purchased for Field Day were also highlighted.

This and future treasurer quarterly report formats will be a look back over a rolling past 12 month income/expense period for comparison to the club meeting monthly membership trend reports for easy comparison of the balance of income and expense.

Membership turn-over was also discussed. During the past year with Covid-19, and no face to face meetings possible, the number of new members joining the club has reached a record high and exceeded the number of memberships expiring.  Initial club contact by new applicants was largely through the club website. Very positive feedback has been received on the use of the Zoom video conferencing during nets, club meetings, special interest gatherings (HamPiE) to provide the opportunity for new members to get to know other members in the club and get their questions and assistance needs met.

ANNUAL BOARD MEMBER TRAINING: KR4UB (Dan) The following information URL links were sent to the board membership for the annual board education guidance in carrying out their respective duties and responsibilities.

MEETING ADJOURNMENT: 9:24 PM

WLB/DE/s

 

N1LN Field Day – 2020 Audio Recording of Laurie

This article posted after 2020 Field Day contains some very useful information about “Running” and excellent example of Laurie N1YXU controlling the run to achieve maximum contacts

Because we could not get together this year for a club Field Day weekend, Laurie and I decided to participate from home in the 1D classification.   We would only use one station and take turns operating with Laurie operating SSB and me operating CW. We would run 100 watts and band selections would change based on time of day and propagation.  We had a great time and made lots of QSOs.  When it was all over I ended up with more CW QSOs, but we pretty much attribute that to on-the-air time.  We were on the air for a total of 18 hours.  I was on for 11.5 hours and Laurie was on for 6.5 hours.  During that time we mostly RAN (we called CQ and other stations called us) but did some S/P (Search and Pounce – calling other stations that were calling CQ).  Running is much more effective to get the QSO count up.  To that point, we ended up with a tie for one key metric.  In the QSO/Hour metric we both had a maximum rate of 144.  Perhaps some of you have “run” before and some of you are hesitant to give it a try.  There are a couple of key factors when running.  First, don’t assume it is mandatory to copy the call of the station calling first time.  You can ask for repeats, clarifications, or whatever may be needed to copy and accurate exchange of information.  Second, you are in control of the speed, what station you come back to, etc.  Listen to this recording and hopefully you will hear how easily Laurie manages the pile-up.  At this time her rate is 135 QSO/hr.  It is only 4 minutes – enjoy!


© 2021 recording by N1YXU, N1LN, OCRA Inc

73,

Bruce N1LN

OCRA/DFMA Field Day Operating Tips

This article by Dave, W4SAR originally posted June 2020 for our first 1D/1E “at home” Field Day is good information for the 2021 OCRA/DFMA Field Day

Hi All from Dave, W4SAR

So pleased to see so many of us will be participating in Field Day this year, despite the fact that for safety’s sake, the two clubs cannot run the usual top-ranking mega-operation. In stead most of us will operate out of our homes, but as part of your score submission, you can still declare your club affiliation which will allow us to show an aggregate club score. I will talk about logging contacts and score submission on a separate posting.

Here , I will tell you a bit about how Field Day works, and some tips from a number of us who have operated over the years, to help make your participation more enjoyable.

First off, Field Day is a bit different than most contests. As a matter of fact, The ARRL officially does not call it a contest, it is a very big disaster drill involving all of the United States and Canada. No prizes for high scorers, just bragging rights. Although our fantastic joint club operation got us as high as #2 in the total rankings, the real contest has always been with ourselves, can we outdo what we did the year before? In most cases, we did, and we have learned how to make our stations more efficient as a result.

So, how do I take part in Field Day?

THE EXCHANGE-

In most contests, stations make a quick exchange of information, usually callsigns, locations , signal reports, possibly a listing number.

For Field Day , the exchange is very simple: CALLSIGN, STATION TYPE , LOCATION.

You will note there is no signal report , if you can hear them well enough to exchange info, that is enough. (It is amusing to hear on other contests things like “What is your callsign…again… again…got it, you are 5X9!)

CALLSIGN – Yours if you are using your own station. If you are a guest operator, then use the control operator’s callsign

STATION TYPE: For a full run down, look at the Field Day rules. either online or download the PDF. For most of us , we will be either “DELTA” stations, or “ECHO” stations
DELTA- A home station using commercial power. A rule waiver this year allows Delta stations to work *all* stations, under the usual rules, Deltas could not work other Deltas.
ECHO- A home station using emergency power. You may use batteries (not recharged by commercial power during FD), generators, solar panels. Echo stations continue to work everybody.

The other part of station type is a number indicating the number of transmitters that can put out a signal at the same time. So if you are a Delta station with only one radio , you will be a “One Delta”. If you are an Echo station that is running two transmitters at the same time, you will be a “Two Echo”. I noticed some confusion regarding number of operators, that is irrelevant for the exchange information. Whether you have one operator for all of Field Day, or have 20 operators rotating in for relief, your “One Delta” will stay “One Delta”.

Lastly, your location is part of the exchange, which will be either the ARRL Section, or RAC section for Canadian stations. For us it will be “North Carolina”.

So I will give you examples of an exchange by both Phone  and by CW/Digi.

By Phone:
My station – “Whiskey Four Sierra Alpha Romeo, One Echo, North Carolina”
Other Station, “Whiskey Four Sierra Alpha Romeo, this is Kilo Three Zulu Papa, Two Delta, Eastern Pennsylvania”
My Station- “Kilo Three Zulu Papa from Whiskey Four Sierra Alpha Romeo,  I copy Two Delta Eastern Pennsylvania, Thanks and 73”

By CW or Digital:

My Station: “W4SAR 1E NC”
Other Station: “W4SAR DE K3ZP PSE COPY 2D EPA”
My Station: “K3ZP DE  W4SAR  QSL 2D EPA, TU and 73”

Both stations have exchanged the necessary info and have politely moved on. Depending on who you talk to, it may be even more terse or more wordy.

Now some operating tips:

You may work the same station on different bands and different modes. For Example I can work K3ZP on 80, 40 and 20 meters by phone. I can also work him on 20 meters alone by phone, CW and Digital modes. Do note that Digital contacts only may be done once , by whatever method is used. You can’t work someone on FT8 and then work them again on PSK31,only one digital contact is allowed.

Have a comfortable chair, you can operate longer with good back support.

If a lot of people are working a station you are trying to get, move down the band and work one without so much competition, you can get back to them later when the big guns have moved on.

Even if they sound in the clear, if a station does not respond to you after three tries, move on and try again later. The propagation may improve in the meantime and then they may hear you, this is especially true if you are running QRP (5 Watts max).

Mix it up, I usually “hunt and pounce” running up and down the band and calling to stations I hear, but occasionally stop in a clear zone and call CQ for them to come to me.

Just have fun with it, take breaks and let other operators relieve you. If you are operating solo, take breaks and be sure to eat and stay hydrated.

Keep an eye on the weather, if thunderstorms are approaching, shut down your station and disconnect the antenna feed line until the storms are well past.

Listen on different bands for activity, even ones not likely to be productive. At FD’s past, even with poor solar indices, occasionally 10 meters had productive openings.

Jus plain have fun with it!

In my next post, I will talk a bit more about logging your exchanges, ways to maximize your score, bonus points you can catch, final score submission.

73,

Dave, W4SAR

_._,_._,_

OCRA/DFMA Field Day – Logging Contacts, Bonus Points, Maximizing Score

More useful information for 2021 Field Day from Dave W4SAR, originally posted June 2020 for our first 1D/1E “at home” Field Day

Hi All from Dave, W4SAR,

In my last post, I wrote a bit about how Field Day works, and what the information exchange consisted of. Here I will talk about recording those contacts, strategies to maximize the number of contacts, and using multipliers and bonus points to get yourself the biggest final score. My next and final message in this series will go over the submission of your final score to the ARRL.

First off, though getting the maximum score you can is the primary goal of any amateur radio competition, it is not the only goal. You need to make it an enjoyable experience for yourself, and learn a few things in the process so you can do it better later on. In other words, don’t obsess about not getting 500 QSO’s, glory in making your first contact, your 10th contact, your 100th. Hey look I just worked South Dakota! Look , I just worked N1LN on three bands! Set yourself some fun goals, and celebrate them with us. We’d love to see how you are doing on Field Day, post messages to this reflector so everyone can see each other’s accomplishments.

Now on to LOGGING:

Logging your contacts:

You need to preserve a record of the contacts you have made, your logging entries will be the exchange information of the stations you had worked, and the time you worked them. It is best to use UTC, Coordinated Universal Time, rather than local time, that avoids the problems of logs listing a variety of local time zones, in short, everyone will be on the same page for time signatures. Field Day will run from 2:00pm local time on Saturday, June 27 to 2:00 pm local time on Sunday June 28. In UTC, that translates to 1600 hours Saturday to 1600 hours Sunday.

If you are logging by computer, make sure your computer is set to the correct local time and date. Electronic logging programs have the ability, based on local time, to correctly record the entry in UTC, but you will need to check your settings to make sure that the time offset is correct.

For those of you performing paper logging, I suggest setting a digital clock to 24 hour format, and then set it to UTC.

Here is what a string of log entries should look like, it will have the time/date in UTC, callsign, station type and location of the station worked:

1601     6/27/2020      N1LN        2E      NC
1605    6/27/2020       W2LOP     5A      NNJ
1608    6/27//2020      N6HHI      1D      LAX
1611    6/27/2020       XE1L        1D      DX
1615   6/27/2020       W3AO       45A    MDC
1616   6/27/2020       VE1AA      1E      GTA

Notice that the locations are abbreviated to 2 or 3 characters. Electronic logging programs will have this standard list ready to plug in (more on that later). For paper loggers, on page 47 of the PDF packet for Field Day is a list of the ARRL/RAC sections and their standard abbreviations, I suggest printing it out for reference. There is a misconception that we may only work stations from the USA (and it’s territories) and Canada. Not so! You will notice a station from Mexico in the list above. Just mark any station outside the USA and Canada as “DX”, if they don’t provide a correct station type, just ask them if they are a home station using commercial or emergency power, and mark it down accordingly, a little bit of work, but it nets you another QSO point.

Electronic Logging:

Likely most of us will do this as it offers a number of advantages, especially when you have managed to work a few hundred contacts. Among those advantages are:

Backing up of information- most will automatically back up at set intervals, Additionally, you can backup to a USB drive as often as you like. I do this on a frequent basis just in case the laptop crashes.

Duplicate checking- When you type in the callsign, it will automatically warn you that you had already worked this station. saving you time so you can move on. If you ignore the warning, most will not let you make the entry.

Autofill- If you have already worked a station on another band/mode, when you type in the callsign it will automatically y fill in the station type and location. Again, a time saver (BTW, working the same stations on a different band or mode is not a Duplicate entry).

Statistics- If it interests you, you can see how quickly you are making contacts and see how many you are making on different bands/modes. A fun one for me is looking at the map of the USA and Canada and seeing it fill in with locations I have worked.

Report generation- I will cover this in my next posting regarding submission of final scores to the ARRL.

By far, the most popular electronic logging programs are N1MM, and N3FJP, there a few others out there , but I am not familiar with them. Those of you who are Excel capable can also like set up a spreadsheet for logging, including Duplicate checking. I will speak to the two I know:

N1MM- Probably THE most popular amateur radio logging program. It is an open-source collaboration, and the price cannot be beat, it is FREE. It is fully capable in dupe-checking and autofill and statistics, you can customize the windows, and generate a Cabrillo file for your report (again, more on that later). If you are new, there is a bit of a learning curve on using it. Bruce, N1LN, is probably our best local resource regarding the use of N1MM. He can answer questions, but with less than a week to Field Day, I don’t see us having much , if any time for a clinic on this. I you want to use it, the download is free, as are any updates. If you already have it,make sure you have the latest update before using it for FD 2020. Keep in mind that when we go back to regular Field Days as a large group, this is the program we will use.

N3FJP- I have used this one for many years, until I started learning to use N1MM for the past few years. As I am operating my station by itself, I am once again using the N3FJP Field Day Logger. It is not free, you can download and test drive it for up to 20 QSO’s, but to validate it for perpetual use, the licensing fee is quite reasonable at $8.99. The interface, in my opinion , is more user-friendly for a new user, the template is dedicated for field day . So just set your laptop correct local date and time, use the settings to input your callsign, station type, and location. Then, just plug in the info from your QSO’s as they come. The report generation id Field Day dedicated, so a summary sheet and dupe sheet can be readily generated for that final submission. I am very familiar with this program and can be a resource if anyone wants to go with it.

One other thing with these programs is to make sure to have it set for input on the same band and mode you are working (i.e. 20 M Phone , 40 M CW, etc). when you change bands or modes on your radio, be sure to match the change on your logging program, or you will have Dupes flagged incorrectly or have new QSO’s with incorrect information. I speak to this from experience.

Paper Logging;

If you just plan to casually work Field Day, and don’t plan on lots of contacts, or just plain don’t want to use a computer while working that radio, you can go old school and just do paper logging. Page 46 of the PDF for the FD information packet (downloadable from the ARRL website) has a logging template you can print out and use. Again , the info is the time of contact in UTC, callsign, station type , location, and what band and mode was used. However, you would be on your own for duplicate checking. If you have a short list, you can just scan it to see if you already worked that station. If you have gone to multiple pages, this is more difficult and time-consuming. The ARRL has not recently added the manual dupe sheet to their info packets, with so many now doing computer logging. However, I have found the old template from years past and will attach it to this message. It is a grid divided up by call sign prefixes and call zones . Just fill in the call sign suffix on the proper grid square. Now you have a quick reference you can scan for duplicates. For the final report, you will have a bit more work than most, to be covered later.

Multipliers:

Each QSO by phone that you log is 1 point, whereas QSO’s by CW or Digital modes count as two points each. Additionally , there is a multiplier applied to these based on power level used and power source. The multiplier applies to the highest power level used by that station throughout Field Day, you cannot break them down between power levels.

5X Multiplier- 5 Watts maximum output at the feedpoint for your coax AND power source other than commercial grid or fossil-fuel driven generators. By definition, this would only apply to Echo Stations (home station using emergency power), or Bravo stations if any of you are doing that. So with a 5X multiplier, each phone QSO equals 5 points, each CW or Digi QSO equals 10 points.

2X Multiplier- If your power output at the feedpoint will be between 5 and 150 watts, the 2X multiplier applies for all station types. If you are a Delta station (home station using commercial grid), your multiplier remains 2X even if you are using 5 Watts or less. Phone QSO’s equal 2 points, CW and DIGI are 4points.

1X Multiplier- Between 150 and 1500 Watts.

The multiplier is up to you, based on your capabilities and strategy. If you have really efficient antenna systems, going for 5X is an option, as that strategy is what helped our FD operation place so high in the rankings. But you will hear a lot of stations that will not hear you.

I personally plan on going with the 2X multiplier, since I only have a G5RV multiband wire antenna and a 1/4 wave vertical for 40 meter digital to use. The strategy is that I’d make more then 2.5 X the number of contacts at this power level to make up the difference from a 5X multiplier at QRP levels.

As for the 1X  level, they will be heard! When the lights brown out in Orange County, that is Bruce and Laurie keying down.

Bonus points;

In addition to QSO points, there are bonus points to add to the score (multipliers do not apply to these). The information packet goes into detail on these, I will just do a quick run-through on those that apply to home stations (Deltas and Echoes).

Emergency Power- 100 point bonus for each transmitter using emergency power only for entirety of Field Day (100 points for one transmitter, 200 for two, and so on).
Media Publicity- sending out a notice to news media about your station. You need to retain a copy of the press release and who you contacted for documentation, document any media response. 100 points
Message Origination to Section Manager- report on your station , number of personnel, ARES personnel. Must be sent via RF. 100 points.
Message Handling- 10 points for each message sent through traffic nets, up to 100 points.
Alternate Power- at least 5 QSO’s made using anything other than direct power or battery power derived from the commercial power grid or fossil fuel driven generators. Examples are solar panels, batteries charged solely by solar panels, manually driven generators, fuel cells etc. Document which QSO’s in your log were done vis Alternate power.100 points
W1AW Field Day Bulletin- These are generated by phone, CW and digital modes. Copy must be submitted for documentation. See the ARRL FD Info packet for the schedule. Personally, I use PSK 31 to copy the message, and then cut and paste it into a Notepad file for documentation. If you go by phone, try to record it for transcription. Tip- The bulletin is first put out on the Friday evening before FD itself, it is a good time to catch it and it is perfectly within the rules to do so. 100 points
Elected Official- If you can get one to come to your QTH, document it. 100 points.
Served Agency Official- A visit to your QTH by any representative of an agency served by ARES, these include Emergency Management, American Red Cross, Municipal Fire Departments. 100 points
Youth Participation- 20 points for each operator 18 years of age or younger at your station, up to 100 points total. You must document Name or Call sign and age of each youth op, and document which QSO’s are theirs on your log (at least one QSO for each).
Web Submission- Using the ARRL’s web interface to submit your final score (details later). 50 points.

Other bonus points are available only to Class A, B and F stations. Unfortunately, the 100 point Satellite contact bonus does not apply to home stations. But you do get the hugest of bragging rights.

I will add the ARRL Field Day Info Packet and the Dupe Sheet template to the files section of this IO group. I can also email those directly to anyone that requests them.

Okay, my next and last message will go over the final submission of scores, and maybe a few more operating tips. Stay tuned.

73,

Dave Snyder, W4SAR

_._,_._,_

OCRA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – April 13, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Board of Directors Meeting – April 13, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom.

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YJZ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member) and W4BOH Wilson (Board member)

W4SAR (Dave): Welcome. Call to order. The agenda for this meeting is to consider the most recent draft of our proposed revision of the club’s repeater code of conduct and to continue our discussion of field day plans.

KR4UB (Dan): Moved that the revised Code of Conduct for OCRA Repeaters be approved and adopted by The OCRA Board of Directors.

The motion was passed unanimously.

W4SAR (David) led a spirited discussion about this year’s field day operation. A statement to the club outlining the board’s recommendations will be forthcoming.

Meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM

WLB/s

 

 

Club Membership Meeting Minutes- April 12, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Monthly Membership Meeting – April 12, 2021

Platforms: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom.

Minutes

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM.

MEMBER CHECK-IN – W4SAR (David)

OCRA UHF REPEATER: W4SAR (Dave); KD4YJZ (Karen); KU4GC (Dee); KA5ETS (Doug); W4CFO (James); W4AEN (Ed); W3AHL (Steve); KA1HPM (Nick); W4ORD (Lad); N4JQR (James); N1LN (Bruce); KI4MXP (Gerald); KN4JYP (Kathy); N4KF (Kenneth); KM4MBG (Jack); WB4OSU (Sherri); WA4PSC (Howie); KK4RRT (Michael); N1YXU (Laurie); KI4RAN (Bill); KO4DHJ (Ken); KR4UB (Dan); KM4WXW (Jeffrey) KN4VXB (Aurora); N2XZF (Paul); KF4PAB (Lenore); KN4QBZ (Fred); KR3AM (Mark); KN4JYP (Kathy); W4CFO (Jim); KW4JY (Calvin); KZ1X (Steve); W4BOH (Wilson); KZ1X (Steve); K2HJX (Jeremy); ZOOM: N8BR (Bill); KR4UB (Dan)

OFFICERS’ REPORTS:

President – W4SAR (Dave): Introduction and General Remarks

Vice Present – W4ORD (Lad): No formal report. Noteworthy is the fact that he contacted Virginia, the director of Aux Comm, and informed her that if there are no candidates for the coordinator of Aux Comm in Durham County he would be happy to be considered for the position.

Repeater Committee Reports – KR4UB (Dan – Orange County) and KA1HPM (Nick – Chatham County): No new information to report.

Treasurer – KR4UB (Dan): Currently 99 members are current with dues paid for 2021, 6 members need to renew and 5 memberships are expiring. This past year 32 new members joined 15 of whom are newly licensed.

MEETING AGENDA

Revised Job Descriptions for Executive Committee Members – W4SAR (Dave) We will now vote on proposed changes in the club bylaws that govern the position descriptions for officers and executive board members. We will accomplish this task via the club repeater and Zoom. For several weeks documents containing both current position descriptions and those being proposed have been posted on the club website for perusal. In order to vote you must be a club member in good standing (paid-up dues for the current year). When your call sign is announced, please reply “yes” if you favor adoption of the proposal, “no” if you do not favor adoption, and “abstain” if you are not a member in good standing or you choose not to vote for some other reason. The foregoing procedure resulted in the club’s adoption of the revised bylaws with a final vote of yes=28, no=0, and abstain=1 (new member abstaining due to not yet being familiar with the club’s bylaws).

Our second issue for discussion is the proposed revision of the club’s repeater code of conduct.

KR4UB (Dan) A copy of the proposed revision of our Repeater Code of Conduct which has been prepared over a period of several months has been posted on our Club’s website since the last club general meeting. It has gone through at least 3 revisions. An adopted code of conduct better positions the club when action must be taken on violations on the club’s repeater systems as required by FCC regulations. Comments on the document are now needed. We hope that you will be in agreement with its message. It has been a long time in coming!

KM4MBG (Jack)-The Durham AuxCom group is also looking for a coordinator to re-establish relationships with the county.

Field Day 2021- W4SAR (Dave): We are starting to round the corner on our planning for this year’s field day. The pandemic is still alive and we need to make some important decisions rather quickly. The basic issue we need to resolve concerns the format of this year’s club effort. To establish perspective most of you will recall that before the Covid 19 pandemic began OCRA participated in field day as a large multi-station group operating together at the W4BOH home. Last year in 2020, because of restrictions in group activities stemming from the pandemic, individual club members operated field day at their respective home stations with each contributing to an aggregate score for the club. This format was actually encouraged by and facilitated through changes made in contest rules by the ARRL. Noteworthy is the fact that over the years both of these formats have yielded impressive scores placing our club efforts among the top 9 of several thousand Field Day entrants. So, will our operation this year be a large group activity, a number of isolated individual activities, or a hybrid effort that can include both? General Discussion: W4BOH (Wilson): Generously offered his home and facilities for a group effort. He further recommended that if we do this we could require vaccinations and masks. N1LN (Bruce):suggested that this year’s field day might be a good opportunity for small groups to develop and operate in very safe ways. KR4UB (Dan): If we work FD individually from home stations it might be valuable to maintain contact with each other using Zoom. This could be especially useful for sharing information about band conditions and activity levels or simply exchanging conversation between operators. Zoom contact with other stations was a great resource for Dan this past field day.

Additional respondents presented various positions on the question of which mode for field day is best for the club. Some were supportive of a large group setting while others liked the notion of single operators working in isolation from home stations. All were sympathetic with the need for protecting the health of all participants.

Field day activities will be further discussed at the next meeting of the Executive Board tomorrow evening.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

WLB/s

 

2021 OCRA/DFMA Field Day Announcement

If you received the May copy of QST, you probably read that, due to ongoing health and safety concerns, the ARRL has extended the COVID-19 pandemic-modified ARRL Field Day rules from 2020 to apply to this June’s Field Day event. Due to the extension of the ARRL rules waiver and club members raising concerns about the dangers of large group gatherings, the Board of Directors of the OCRA/DFMA clubs have made the decision to not host and sponsor a large, joint Field Day operation this year.

Fortunately, this decision does not mean that members of the OCRA and DFMA clubs will be excluded from operating Field Day. However, it does mean that we will need to modify the ways we participate and accommodate changes from our traditional in-person, multi-station event.

Specifically, it means that members will be encouraged to participate in Field Day from home stations, as they did last year. As an alternative to this scenario, several club members have expressed interest in getting together in smaller groups to operate in Field Day.

The next step in understanding the membership plans will be to collect information about operations. To do this, information will be collected from three sources – this email reflector, the OCRA Saturday morning AUXCOMM net, and the DFMA Thursday night net. A separate email will be sent to this reflector that will include examples of the information that will be requested and collected. The summary information will be collated and distributed.

Last year, the combined score of the OCRA/DFMA Field Day activities put us in the top 10 nationally. Hopefully, this year we will be able to do well again. As with last year, your individual scores can be aggregated into the overall OCRA/DFMA club total. More instructions will be communicated in June informing all OCRA/DFMA Field Day stations the steps that will be required to make this happen.

In closing, we hope this COVID-19 pandemic will be behind us for next year’s Field Day event. We all want our lives to be back to as normal as possible, with one of those normal actions being a large group, single location Field Day 2022.

Regards,

OCRA/DFMA Board of Directors

OCRA Board of Directors Policy Statement – OCRA Repeater Code of Conduct

Approved by the Orange County Board of Directors, April 13th 2021 Meeting

Introduction

Orange County Radio Amateurs, Inc has over the years been very fortunate regarding licensed amateur transmissions on its repeaters, especially the 442.150 repeater with its wide regional coverage. The vast majority of the licensed operators using OCRA repeaters set an exemplary example of ham radio communications.

OCRA repeaters are one of the more visible assets of the club and are “G-Rated” 24 hours a day. We want non-hams to know that Amateur Radio is an interesting hobby and a good group of people to know.

Incidents occurring in 2020 have necessitated closing the repeater as required by FCC regulations to prevent radio transmissions in violation of FCC & other Federal Laws. When the repeater must be closed, it will be available only for scheduled nets or when sufficient control operators are scheduled to monitor transmissions and shut it down upon further violations. When these situations occur, status information will be posted on the OCRA website home page. Information regarding violations can be sent via this link to the OCRA Board of Directors .

The acceptable use policy proposed below is drawn from policies published by a number of other amateur radio clubs who have faced similar situations on their repeaters.

Illegal Practices

    1. Violations of FCC Regulations and the Federal Decency Act for Radio Transmissions e.g. profanity, racial, ethnic derogatory comments require the repeater to be immediately shut down.
    2. Repeater users shall not make any transmissions suggesting, advising, or otherwise recommending any illegal activity or “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning. read more…
    3. Unidentified transmissions including “kerchunking” are not allowed per FCC regulations. If you need to test your radio, just say your call sign and the repeater will respond with the courtesy tone. read more…
    4. Dealing with illegal interference. If the person is unlicensed, it is against FCC regulations to communicate with them. It is best to not acknowledge or let the interferer know the effect their transmissions may cause. To do so only feeds the “attention seeking” of the individual causing the interference. read more… read more…
    5. Prohibited Transmissions (Part 97.113 Sections 2 & 3) No amateur station shall transmit communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised. See FCC Section 97.113 for further details. An amateur operator may notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis.
    6. Prohibited Transmissions per 47 CFR 97.113 (Recommend Review of 97.113 in its entirety)

In brief:

    • Rebroadcasting law enforcement or public safety radio transmissions at any time is not permitted. No station shall retransmit programs or signals emanating from any type of radio station other than an amateur station (with limited exceptions in 97.113)
    • Retransmissions must be for the exclusive use of amateur radio operators and may not be conducted on a regular basis, but only occasionally, as an incident of normal amateur radio communications.

Best Practices in Communications, Common Courtesy, Use of Repeater as a Shared Resource

  1. Repeaters are a shared resource & require cooperation in its use. Be attentive to the amount of time you use the repeater to allow time for others. Be a considerate operator.
  2. Long winded, reoccurring conversations by the same users or, conversations in poor judgement have led to:
    1. Illegal interfering transmissions from others tired of hearing an individual on the repeater.
    2. Others to stop using or listening to the repeater.
  3. Using the repeater as a platform for soap boxing is not allowed. Soap boxing is when a user carries on a conversation on the repeater that is a thinly disguised broadcast. The subject is generally to “put down” an institution, group, or individual over as wide as possible audience.

How to sound like a pro when operating on a repeater. https://rmrl.org/dl/operating_on_a_repeater.pdf

Enforcement Pathways include the following:

  1. First Warning: Verbal reminder (not over the air), email, phone call.
  2. Written Warning: Formal Warning from the Board of Directors and placed under routine moderation by designated repeater Control Operators.
  3. Continued Violation after Written Warning. Individuals may be formally banned by the Board of Directors. Attempts to use the repeater for other than bona fide emergencies after being banned will lead to a filing for enforcement action by the FCC.

Repeater transmissions may be recorded at any time for the express purpose of diagnosing technical problems, for minutes of official club meetings and for gathering evidence of FCC rule & code of conduct violations for review by the OCRA Board of Directors and submission to the appropriate Federal agency for enforcement action.

The FCC and SERA (South Eastern Repeater Association) suggest the use of recordings for reporting violations. Re: fcc.gov quote:

When filing a complaint….. include a recording or transcript of a broadcast when possible, though any documentation you provide becomes part of the FCC’s records and may not be returned”

Reference Quotes from FCC Enforcement Action

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Federal Communications Commission can prohibit a certain type of conversation over a particular frequency where the alternative would be to deny many intended users any access to the frequency. Finally, the court held that the prohibitions in Section 97.113 are reasonable exercises of the Commission’s authority to “©lassify radio stations” and to “[p]rescribe the nature of the service to be rendered by each class of licensed stations and each station within any class. (paragraph 46) ….“It is well-established that regulation of radio in general does not violate the First Amendment or Section 326, 33 and courts have made clear this conclusion.” (paragraph 12) read more…

Reference Sources for OCRA Acceptable Use Policy.

W7ARA Arizona Repeater Association

WB4GBI Repeater System – Tennessee

AA5RO Alamo Repeater Association

WB4GBI Acceptable Use Policy (PDF file)

KB5UJM Repeater Code of Conduct

K9WZ Repeater.org

Escondido Amateur Radio Society Rules of Conduct

Rocky Mountain Radio League

Google Search – Amateur Radio Repeater Code of Conduct

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations – FCC Part 97 – Amateur Radio

Telecommunications Act of 1996 – Obscene, Indecent, Profane Language

FCC – Amateur Communications & Operations FAQ

FCC EDOCS – Amateur Proceedings, Decisions, Enforcement Action

FCC – Interception and Divulgence of Radio Communications

Radio Television Digital News Association (Rules regarding re-broadcasting of Police Scanner Traffic

Monthly Membership Meeting Minutes – March 8th, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Monthly Membership Meeting – March 8, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom.

MINUTES

MEMBER CHECK-IN – W4SAR (David) and KR4UB (Dan):

OCRA UHF REPEATER: W4SAR (David), KU4GC (Dee), W4ORD (Lad), KA1HPM (Nick), W1AEN (Ed), KO4GJO (Boyd), KK4RRT (Michael), KO4DHJ (Ken), KM4MBG (Jack), KR4UB (Dan), KA5ETS (Doug), KD4YJZ (Karen), KO4JAW (Mark), KO4ICM (Doug), KI4RAN (Bill), W4APM (Alan), N1LN (Bruce); N7RYN (Ryan), K2RRT (Mark), WB4OSU (Sherry), N1YXU (Laurie), KM4IWI (Bill) and N2XZF (Paul).

ZOOM: N8BR (Bill), NA4VY (Dave), and KR4UB, Dan),

OFFICER’S REPORTS:

President – W4SAR (David): Introduction and General Remarks

Vice president – W4ORD-(Lad): We are still in limbo with respect to arrangements for a holiday party. The final decision to have a party depends on the situation with Covid 19.

Treasurer – KR4UB (Dan): Current Club Membership stands at 96 current active paid-up members and 30 requiring renewal. 32 new members have been added during the past 12 months with 16 of those being newly licensed.

Secretary – N8BR (Bill): No formal report. But, in response to David’s request I will briefly review the Club’s proposal for processing club minutes.

  1. Executive Board Meeting Minutes – The club secretary will prepare draft minutes of executive board meetings and distribute them electronically to board members for review and approval within seven (7) days of the board meeting.  Board Members will be permitted seven (7) days to review those draft minutes, articulate recommended revisions to the secretary, and for him/her to post the revised minutes on the club website for the general membership.
  2. General Membership Meeting Minutes – The club secretary will prepare draft minutes of general membership meetings and distribute them electronically to board members for review and approval within seven (7) days of the general membership meeting.  Board Members will be permitted seven (7) days to review those draft minutes, articulate recommended revisions to the secretary, and for him/her to post the revised minutes on the club website for the general membership. Approval or disapproval of the minutes will be voted upon by general membership present at the following general meeting. Proposals #1 & #2 above were discussed at length by the executive board, revised pursuant to their recommendations, and adopted unanimously by their vote.

KR4UB (Dan): The report this evening is focused on our club’s development of a comprehensive code of conduct for amateur operators using our repeaters. For many years we have been blessed with repeater users who follow accepted protocol and practice common sense guidelines on the repeater. But unfortunately, in 2020 we have witnessed a disturbing increase in the number of transmissions violating FCC regulations. A number of these events required that our repeater be temporarily shut down as required by the FCC for a period of time. The OCRA Board of Director’s response has been to develop a set of guidelines which succinctly articulates the standards of behavior we expect our users to adhere to. Our executive committee along with representatives from the DFMA have worked hard to draft a document that accomplishes that goal, It has now gone through a number of iterations the most recent of which is posted on our club’s website. We are currently seeking input on that document from our membership, and plan to vote acceptance of the final version as policy before the next general meeting.

W4SAR (David): We are making progress with the development of revised job descriptions for our officers and board members at large. The document has gone through several iterations and will be adopted by the board shortly.

N1LN (Bruce): This report is relevant to the development of a club based equipment Loan Program. It is a new initiative for the Orange County Amateur Radio Club, having been launched in January, 2021. Its goal is to help club members who are new to the hobby borrow a piece of club-owned-equipment for a period of up to one year in order to get a new station up and running, or to replace failed gear in an existing setup. Our goal is to compile a list of club-owned equipment that is available to loan and give that information to club members. Club members familiar with loaned items will be available to help with their installation and use. Noteworthy is the fact that one Kenwood transceiver has been loaned to a club member via this initiative,

Action Item: Bruce will be finalizing the document and putting it on Google Docs. Also, Bruce will start to build a list of loanable equipment by sending an email to all club members requesting info about potential items they would like to add to the list. Some of the equipment could be OCRA owned and some owned or donated by members to the club.

W4SAR (David): A number of folks have applied to the club for license exams. Currently we are not using the B’Hai center for meeting purposes. When the CDC comes through with new guidelines and the parish is happy with the safety of its facility we will go back to holding face-to-face meetings there once again. Lad (W4ORD): commented on a recent covid 19 report that up-dated the proposed interval thought to exist between vaccination time and the development of immunity. A discussion about field day arrangements ensued. It was recalled that some weeks ago the ARRL renewed the modifications in traditional field day rules that applied last year regarding home based (D and E classified) stations. The current plan is to go with last year’s plan until further discussion yields a change in club perspective.

Club Roll Call check-out for the repeater took place at 8:10 pm. WLB/s

 

Updated Descriptions – OCRA Officer and Board Member Responsibilities

President The President shall be the chief executive Officer (CEO) of the club and shall, subject to the control of the Membership, supervise the affairs of the club and the activities of the Officers. He or she shall perform all duties incident to his or her office and such other duties as may be required by law, or by these Bylaws, or which may be prescribed from time to time by the Membership. The President will preside over and maintain order in all meetings. In consultation with the Board of Directors, the President will set agenda for meetings. He/She shall enforce the due observance of the constitution and by-laws, decide all questions of order and sign all official documents.

Vice President The Vice President shall assume the duties of President in his absence. The Vice President shall provide leadership in the identification and presentation of programs for club meetings. The Vice-President shall also serve as a liaison with the Durham FM Association or other clubs with which we are holding joint activities (i.e Amateur Radio Field Day) for the mutual benefit of their members.

Secretary The Secretary shall maintain the Articles of Incorporation and the By-laws and all documents and associated records of the organization. He/She shall keep minutes of the General Membership and the Board of Directors meetings and report the same to the membership. He/She shall manage all club correspondence.

Treasurer The Treasurer shall receive and receipt all moneys paid to the club, keep an accurate record of all receipts and expenditures, and pay bills authorized by the Board of Directors. At the end of each quarter, He/She shall submit an itemized financial statement to the membership. The Treasurer shall also oversee maintenance of documents for taxation status and to assure compliance with federal, state and local taxation laws. At the end of his term, He/She shall transfer all records, funds and documents to his successor.

Board Member-at-Large Board Members shall provide input to Board meetings on behalf of the membership. They will vote to approve or reject all motions, actions or pronouncements of the Board allowable by law, or by these By-Laws, or as amended by the Membership.

OCRA Board of Directors Meeting Feb 9. 2021

                               ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

             Executive Board Meeting – February 9, 2021 20 – 7:30 pm

                                       Platforms Utilized: Zoom.

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YDJ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member); W4CFO Jim, (OCRA Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member): KM4MBG Jack, (DFMA President) and W4BOH Wilson (Board member)

W4SAR (Dave):  Welcome. Call to order. The draft agenda for this meeting is as follows: 1) Officer’s reports  2) ARES/Auxcomm report  3) A quick tutorial on use of the new G-Suite platform  3) Review of Second Draft, Updated Officers and Board Members Role Descriptions  4) Review of Proposed Acceptable Use Policy  5) Preliminary Field Day plans  6) Other items, time allowing.

OFFICER REPORTS

Vice President W4ORD (Ladd): The exchange Club is holding a place for us on their schedule for next December in case COVID 19 restrictions are lowered between now and then.  Or, we may have a potluck, Time will tell.

Treasurer:  

KR4UB (Dan): First, I believe the board should know that when club finances are discussed in open meetings we never announce specific account balances. Second, I want to explain an expenditure I made on behalf of the club since I would like to be reimbursed for the funds.  Specifically, I purchased a new S–com Controller for $580.00 and a Polyphaser for $90.24, and would like to draw $670.24 from the club account for my reimbursement.  Both of these items are to be used on our repeater systems. Dan shared with board members a copy of the paperwork confirming the purchase and a receipt for the payment.  The board voted unanimously to approve this transaction.

Repeater Committee 

KA1HPM (Nick) :  Not much to report.  We will build our new repeaters when the weather warms up. The antenna that Dan is storing at his QTH needs to be tested before it is moved to the new site in Goldston where it will be installed.  Bruce (N1LN) offered to help with moving the antenna, setting it up for testing at Dan’s QTH, and checking the SWR.  It was mentioned that Steve (W3AHL) may like to be involved in this project.

Change in Agenda  

W4SAR (Dave):  I would like for Jim, W4CFO to present a mini-tutorial on our new Google Suite, but I believe it is more appropriate to have him do that later in the meeting.  So let’s move ahead to other items:

Plan for reviewing and approving club minutes

N8BR (Bill)

In response to questions from an earlier meeting regarding the processes used by the club for reviewing and distributing our meeting minutes, I drafted proposals for processing and reviewing meeting outcomes from both the executive board as well as those from the general membership.  The overarching goal of each procedure is that it be as simple as possible and at the same time to maximize transparency in the decision-making functions of our club.  Both draft proposals were discussed at length by the executive board, revised pursuant to their recommendations, and adopted unanimously by their vote. 

1, Executive Board Meeting Minutes:

The club secretary will prepare draft minutes of executive board meetings and distribute them electronically to board members for review and approval within seven (7) days of the board meeting.  Board Members will be permitted seven (7) days to review those draft minutes, articulate recommended revisions to the secretary, and for him/her to post the revised minutes on the club website for the general membership.

2.  General Membership Meeting Minutes:

The club secretary will prepare draft minutes of general membership meetings and distribute them electronically to board members for review and approval within seven (7) days of the general membership meeting.  Board Members will be permitted seven (7) days to review those draft minutes, articulate recommended revisions to the secretary, and for him/her to post the revised minutes on the club website for the general membership. Approval or disapproval of the minutes will be voted upon by general membership present at the following general meeting.

Plan for Loaning of Club Equipment

N8BR (Bill):  At our last executive board meeting N1LN (Bruce) proposed that OCRA establish a program through which club members could borrow club-owned equipment. The concept was approved by the board contingent upon the development of appropriate paperwork and a management strategy to oversee its operation. I have followed up on that charge with the form presented below that has been extensively edited by N1LN (Bruce).  I believe, as does the executive board, that It adequately facilitates the implementation of the new program for club members.  In the near future we will prepare an inventory of club owned equipment that is eligible for loan to members. Discussions concerning liability ensued.  W4ORD (Ladd):  Perhaps we should provide borrowers with specific instructions for grounding the equipment they borrow.so if lightning hits and their house burns down we won’t be sued.  N1LN (Bruce):  I have added a section requiring borrowers of club equipment to install proper grounding to the items they use. Plus, there are waivers of liability in the lending agreement.

W4BOH (Wilson):  Perhaps we need to have an agreement similar to this that will apply to the repeater equipment we loan to Chatham County. Of special concern are the liability issues. KR4UB (Dan): explained that the repeater equipment remains under the ownership of OCRA and is housed in Chatham County secure communications facilities.  The FEMA MOU “Memorandum of Understanding for Auxiliary Support” defined by FEMA for such arrangements, will be used as the instrument to document this long-term agreement.

APPLICATION FOR EQUIPMENT LOAN PROGRAM

Note: The document represented below is a draft of the application form that the board approved for the equipment Loan Program. Printed copies for actual use by those wishing to apply for the program may be obtained from the Club Secretary

The Equipment Loan Program is a new initiative for the Orange County Amateur Radio Club, having been launched in January, 2021.  Its goal is to help club members who are new to the hobby borrow a piece of club-owned-equipment for a period of up to one year in order to get a new station up and running, or to replace failed gear in an existing setup.  The application process is simple.

(1) We ask that you complete the form presented below.  It is a request for your basic contact information.

(2) Please supply the name of the equipment you would like to borrow, its serial number, and the length of time you want to use it.  Keep in mind that the initial loan period we offer is for a maximum of 6 months.  Depending on circumstances and your needs, with club approval this period could be extended to one year.

(3) Along with your application please submit a photocopy of your current valid amateur radio license from the FCC web page. We will use that document to verify your qualifications to legally operate the borrowed equipment.

(4) Sign and date the Loan agreement below, and return to the club officer who manages this program. He/she will advise you on equipment pick-up and return.

Name (last)__________________ (first)_____________________Call Sign________

Address(street)________________________________________Zip______________

Phone(cell)____________________(home)_____________________email________

Equipment Requested

Make___________________ Model No______________________ Serial __________

Additional items included such as a microphone, power supply, morse key, antenna tuner, etc.

        Item                        Make                                  Model                             Serial #

  1.  ________________________________________________________________
  2.  ________________________________________________________________  
  3.  ________________________________________________________________  

Date of loan _______________Agreed date for equipment return_______________

Loan Agreement:  By signing this agreement the borrower agrees to comply with the following terms:

  1. Use/Disclaimer:  The lender disclaims all representations and warranties associated with the loaned  equipment  and any use thereof.  This includes any  damages, losses, claims, causes of actions, expenses and liability of any nature whatsoever associated to or related to the use ol the equipment while under the care of the  borrower.
  2. Borrower will keep their OCRA membership in good standing (dues) and their membership record current with any changes in address, or contact information.
  3.  Borrower agrees to use the loaned equipment for amateur radio activities only and not for commercial application(s).
  4. The borrower shall be responsible for returning the equipment by the date specified above.  Equipment shall be returned to the lender in as good a condition as when received by the borrower except for reasonable wear and tear.
  5. Borrower shall comply with all federal, state, county and municipal laws and ordinances applicable to the use of the loaned equipment.
  6. The borrower shall be responsible for the installation and grounding of the equipment and any associated  antennas.

Signatures:

Borrower___________________________________________________Date_______

Lender (OCRA Board Member)___________________________________________________Date_______
This document has been reviewed by the Executive Board and adopted by the unanimous vote of that body.

 

Review and Revision of Job Descriptions for Club Officers.

W4SAR (David): Presented the second draft of his ideas on proposed duties of executive committee officers and members at large.  The presentation garnered substantial discussion and led to numerous suggestions for additional revisions.  We also have to give consideration to the job descriptions for board members at large. David will consider the committee’s suggestions and craft revisions for consideration at the next executive board meeting.

Review and revision of Acceptable use policy for club repeaters

KR4UB (Dan): Provided an overview of the revisions made in the draft of the club’s acceptable use policy for repeaters. Discussion ensued on the legality and enforcement of repeater rules. The thesis presented is based on FCC regulations and enforcement declaratory rulings that amateur radio repeaters are private property.  And as such, in addition to their responsibility to ensure compliance with FCC regulations, the owners have the right to establish policies that dictate how those facilities are to be used and what behaviors are acceptable for their users. The only extra-organizational body that influences this process is the FCC. So, as long as our repeaters function within the guidelines of the FCC, we can regulate them in whatever way we determine is in the best interest and safety of our users and the hobby they enjoy.  If our guidelines are violated by a user, we can ban that person from using our repeater.  The FCC will support this decision even to the extent of taking action to temporarily suspend or even revoke his or her amateur radio license and possibly level fines..  In practice this is usually done via a multi-step process over a defined period of time.

Dan will place the latest revised acceptable use policy draft on the OCRA G-Suite document system. for another round of board reviews and alterations as needed..

W4CFO (Jim):  Presented a brief but very useful overview of the “big picture” in our club’s struggle to learn and effectively use Google Docs and its associated editorial tools.

Meeting was concluded at 9:11 P.M.

WLB/DE/s

OCRA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – January 12, 2021

 

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Executive Board Meeting – January 12, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom.

Minutes

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YJZ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member), KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member): KM4MBG Jack, (DFMA President) and W4BOH Wilson (Board Member).

PRE-MEETING INFORMAL DISCUSSION AMONG BOARD MEMBERS: 

  • N8BR (Bill) suggested that at some point it might be helpful to develop an organizational chart that incorporates the proposed revisions being made in job descriptions for our club officers.
  • W4SAR (David) agreed to add a discussion of Google G-Suite to the agenda.

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

W4SAR (Dave): Welcome. Call to order. The agenda for this meeting includes:

  • a brief review of club elections,
  • a progress report on our continuing review of position descriptions for club officers,
  • progress with the development of acceptable use policies for club repeaters,
  • the quarterly treasurer’s report,
  • development of a club equipment loan program and
  • a proposal for the development of a club program for recognizing and rewarding member involvement and accomplishment in club functions.

Club Elections- W4SAR, (David): There were 48 responses to the Survey Monkey that served as an electronic ballot for the election. Posted responses were cut off at 40 without paying. Since one of those cut off responses was from Karen, it left 7 that could not be read. However, since all votes accounted for were almost unanimous for the incumbents and one new candidate (exceptions, one write-in for President, one abstention for VP), and any remaining ballots would not change the outcome, it was decided to let it stand. A different platform will be used from now on.

Google G-Suite – KR4UB, (Dan): G-Suite is an organizational application for business data, available at no cost for 501c(3) non-profit organizations. OCRA needs a solution for critical long term records retention.

  • Dan reported that Jim, W4CFO has submitted the application to qualify OCRA for free, non-profit use of G-Suite for the club’s long term record storage needs.
  • Extensive effort was recently spent on a search for some of the club’s key original records that the club can not afford to lose. Past club officers having come and gone in the early years of the club without a long term records storage process made this a challenging task.
  • G-Suite’s first use is planned to serve as the work space for the club secretary to write the drafts of club meeting minutes and for distribution to the board for the review and approval process.
  • Other key club documents such as the by-laws, appointments by the board of key members to carry out club responsibilities on the behalf of the board are in need of revision. To be in good legal standing, documentation requirements  are placed on 501c(3) organizations for this process.

Continuation of Review and Revision of Club Position Descriptions.

  • W4SAR (David): Confirmed that All members of the board have received a copy of the proposed revisions that he has circulated for consideration.
  • KR4UB (Dan): Suggested that these revisions should be merged with existing by-laws which are legally mandated for the club. We would then be best able to study them and vote on their adoption.

N1LN (Bruce) commented on the proposed responsibilities of our club vice president in the job description currently undergoing revision. Specifically, that officer is required to

  • assume the duties of President in his/her absence,
  • assist in coordinating programs for club meetings,
  • assist in the coordination of Field Day activities with other clubs, and
  • To maintain close contact with the Section Emergency Coordinator and with local Emergency Operations officials to further participation in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and /or AUXCOMM.

This list is too specific. It also involves more work than is reasonable for one person. How will we be able to find a person who is willing to seek election to this position?

One possibility for the VP’s revised job description might be to have he or she perform only three principal tasks:

  • assume the duties of President in his/her absence,
  • provide leadership in the identification and presentation of programs for the club, and
  • provide a liaison function to coordinate activities of both OCRA and DFMA clubs for the mutual benefit of their members.

Finally, the person who assumes the VP position should have the prerogative of delegating responsibilities to other club members. This might involve assembling committees to work on program development, or asking the 8 members of the club’s executive board to develop one program each per year for the club, etc.

ACTION ITEM:  Dave will update the position descriptions for BOD review prior to the next BOD meeting.

Progress with Development of Acceptable Use Policies for Club Repeaters

KR4UB (Dan): A draft copy of the proposed acceptable use policy for club repeaters has been circulated to all members of the executive committee. Please study this document carefully and submit your recommendations for revision via Google docs. Dan will consider all feedback, incorporate changes, and make revisions for consideration at our next meeting.

Dan presented an overview of the draft document. He emphasized that while 99% of the hams using the OCRA repeaters set an exemplary example,  2020 had a number of incidents that the club needs to be in a better position to handle.

ACTION ITEM:  Dan will update the document, post on Google Docs with the request that every BOD member to review and comment prior to the next BOD meeting.

Quarterly Treasurer’s Report KR4UB (Dan): A comprehensive quarterly report was presented by our club treasurer. All of the data he presented indicate that our books are in order. Our executive board voted unanimously to accept the report.

Development of an Equipment Loan Program for Club members.

  • N1LN (Bruce): This initiative is designed to help club members who are new to the hobby or financially strained to borrow a piece of equipment owned by OCRA for a period of up to one year in order to get a station up and running.
  • The executive board discussed this proposal at length and voted to approve it contingent upon the development of appropriate managerial paperwork by our club secretary.
  • ACTION ITEM:  Club secretary to develop a document that can be used for this purpose.  It will be placed on Google Docs for all to review prior to the next BOD meeting.

Development of a club wide program for recognizing and rewarding member involvement and accomplishment in club functions.

  • N1LN (Bruce): This proposal is for a program that seeks to get more club members involved and actually contributing to its weekly, monthly and annual activities.
  • ACTION ITEM:  Bruce will put together a list of proposed qualification items for review and modification that will be put on Google Docs. Bruce requested BOD members to please make additions.
  • ACTION ITEM:  Bruce to also post similar qualification lists from other clubs that already have recognition programs – PVRC / CWOps.
  • . Members of the executive board are enthusiastic about this proposal and will consider it for adoption at the next board meeting.

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 9:20.P.M .

WLB/DE/s

 

 

OCRA Board Meeting Minutes – December 20, 2020

Executive Board Meeting – December 20, 2020 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom.

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YDJ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member Nominee); W4CFO Jim, (OCRA Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member); KM4MBG Jack, (DFMA President)

(W4SAR) Dave:

Welcome. Call to order. The agenda for this meeting includes: Board actions needed for scheduling its meetings, officer reports, sponsorship of NCQP, club elections, discussion of repeater code of conduct, ARES, Field Day, club by-laws, establishment of a board committee to oversee and manage its repeaters, development of up-dated job descriptions for club officers and disbursement of funds for club projects.

Scheduling of Board Meetings:

Following extensive discussion, the board voted unanimously to schedule all of its regular meetings for the upcoming year on the second Tuesday of the month.

Club By-Laws:

Dan, KR4UB has located the original OCRA Articles of Incorporation filed with the NC Department of the Secretary of State August 11th, 1992 and the existing bylaws last revised and approved by the membership on December 6th, 1993. These documents filed in a different era, are in need of updating to ensure the executive board and club member volunteers performing duties on the behalf of OCRA are covered by our current insurance policy. The current insurance policy includes coverage exclusions which at best are ambiguious and needs to be reviewed and evaluated by legal-council so appropriate changes can be considered and adopted.

Club Officer and Board Member Roles and Responsibilities:

All board members, officers and other attendees at this meeting enthusiastically supported the need to develop clearly defined job descriptions for club officers and board members. Numerous suggestions were floated concerning what the actual duties of each officer should be. Furthermore, they supported the notion that roles and responsibilities of both DFMA officers and board members and their OCRA counterparts should be designed to foster cooperation between the two clubs and be agreed upon by both. In that context it was proposed that the vice presidents of each club be responsible for coordinating field day, as well as programs for club meetings and liaison functions between clubs. David Snyder (W4SAR) has agreed to prepare a draft proposal of these job descriptions for presentation at the next full membership meeting.

Establishment of a Board Committee to Oversee and Manage Club Repeaters:

In our current era, the nature of the work load to keep the OCRA repeaters on the air has changed. Two repeaters have been re-deployed to new site locations due to loss of the original repeater sites, and in to areas where they will better serve our expanding base of club members in Chatham County and also better positioned to provide emergency back up communications. During that time the majority of the managerial duties necessary to keep our machinery operating were carried out by Dan, KR4UB. While repeaters remain high on Dan’s list of favorite things, the existing club responsibilities such as treasurer, webmaster for the OCRA website, involvement in club recruitment, and DFMA secretary is too much. At the end of the current year, he will step down the repeater manager role.

Accordingly, the OCRA Board of Directors voted unanimously to establish a Repeater Committee. This group will be comprised of Nick (KA1HPM-Chair), Dan (KR4UB), and Jim (W4CFO). The first action of this newly formed committee will be to establish its rules, duties and responsibilities.

Development of a Code of Conduct for Users of Our Club Repeaters:

Dan (KR4UB) reported that in 2020, the number of repeater misuse/illegal transmissions were significant and of the nature that required the 442.150 repeater to be shutdown for periods of time. Due to some of the issues involved, discussion of these incidents is limited to the Board of Directors, Control Operators and with SERA our repeater coordination agency.  A Code of Conduct policy adopted by OCRA would put the club in a better position to deal with these situations. Jack (KM4MBG) DFMA President, discussed issues of misuse and suggested that any Code of Conduct we develop should be similar between our clubs. He further recommended that we make these regulations for all club activities and not just for repeaters. Executive Board members and officers unanimously agreed that this project should move forward. Dan (KR4UB) will develop a draft document to start the process, first being worked on by the OCRA & DFMA boards, then draft distribution to the respective memberships for discussion and feedback, then distribution to the ham community at large and lastly, adoption and publication as policy.

Club Elections:

W4SAR (Dave) has sent out ballots to club members on Survey Monkey.

Treasurer’s Report: KR4UB (Dan) OCRA currently has 118 active members, 89 of which are current with dues and 29 needing to renew their memberships. 24 new members have joined over the past 12 months.

A more detailed treasurer’s report was given to the board.

  1. Additional items are needed for repeater projects related to the installation of new towers.
  2. Board approval was given to expenditures in the amount of $750.00 for this purpose.
  3. Board approval was also given for Nick, KA1HPM  to move the new, but never deployed (due to loss of the UNC campus repeater site) VHF antenna from storage at Dan’s QTH for installation on a tower at Goldston, in lower central Chatham County.

Auxcom Report:

W4SAR (David) reported that Steve, W3AHL, who has done a wonderful job with the development and management of AUXCOM in Orange County will likely be moving sometime in the future, and we must start thinking about designating a replacement. Attention must be given to this issue early in the coming year.

Club Sponsorship of the North Carolina QSO PARTY:

(David and Dan): A check from the club for $50.00 has been approved and sent to support this endeavor.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 pm.

WLB/DE/s

 

 

Monthly Membership Meeting – December 14, 2020 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom.

Meeting Minutes

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT – W4SAR (David): Introduction and General Remarks- Good evening all. As has been the case for most of this past year, we are convening tonight’s meeting using both Zoom and UHF repeater platforms rather that our regular in person format. This is being done to conform with statewide requirements for social distancing to deter the spread of Covid 19. Hopefully, with the upcoming availability of the new anti-virus vaccines, this requirement will soon be relaxed and we will be able to have our monthly gatherings at the B’hai center in Efland. As we embark on tonight’s meeting please keep in mind that irrespective of which platform you use, please check into the net using phonetics so that your call may be accurately included on the meeting roster. Also, please be aware that video and audio generated at this meeting is being recorded so that information presented can be accurately included in meeting minutes.

On a different note and as many of you might already be aware, my mother passed away some weeks ago, and I would like to thank those of you who sent well-wishes to my family and me. You will be pleased to know that my father is doing well.

MEMBER CHECK-IN – by  W4SAR (David) Net Control and KR4UB (Dan) Zoom Host Control:

OCRA UHF REPEATER: W4SAR (David), KU4GC (Dee), W4ORD (Ladd), KA1HPM (Nick), KM4MBG (Jack), KF4PAB (Lenore), KZ1X (Steve), KO4DHJ (Ken), KR4UB (Dan), W4BOH (Wilson), KN4BTI (Mark), KA5ETS (Doug), N4JQR (JR), WB1AJJ (Jonathan), KI4MXP (Gerald), KM4WXW (Jeffrey), KD4YJZ (Karen), KR4UB (Dan), KR3AM (Mark), KO4JAW (Mark), KO4ICM (Doug), KI4RAN (Bill), WA4AHR (Dewey), KN4EOO (Richard), and W3AHL (Steve).

ZOOM: N8BR (Bill), NA4VY (Dave), KN4QBZ (Fred), and KR4UB, Dan),

TREASURER’S REPORT: KR4UB (Dan): Current Club Membership stands at 118 (89 current active paid up members, 29 requiring renewal). 24 new members have been added during the past 12 months.

REPEATER REPORTS: KR4UB (Dan): All of the OCRA repeaters are now working and on the air for the first time in 5 years. The 145.230 machine has been moved to a temporary location in Pittsboro.

The OCRA savings and checking account has a good reserve amount available for expenses, as it needs to have for costs we will face in the future.

  • Another repeater needs to be built, a replacement machine on standby and ready to go into service for when the 442.150 repeater high up on the tower eventually fails. The current repeater was installed in February, 2016 and hopefully has another 4 – 5 years or so life left before it eventually fails. While only high reliability components are used to build the OCRA repeaters, the exposure to extreme beyond mil-spec temperatures in the sealed cabinets on the tower eventually takes it toll. 
  • With tower crews now required to replace the machine, a completely self contained ready to go replacement repeater must be available to minimize the tower crew trips and time up on the tower to contain the escalating tower crew costs.
  • A spare Kenwood TKR-850 repeater deck and duplexer are already on hand. Additional parts to complete the spare repeater include another power supply, SCOM 7330 controller, and an additional pass band cavity. The power supply and SCOM controller will cost around $1100 – $1200.  Hopefully a good used pass band cavity filter can be located and purchased.
  • In addition, we have to keep in mind that the 442.150 repeater antenna is the original antenna installed approximately 25 years ago and when it has to be replaced, tower crew and antenna cost could easily be in the $4-5K neighborhood.

KA1HPM (Nick): We installed the 145.230 machine in Pittsboro last Wednesday at a site on Fire Tower Road. The antenna is up at about 130 feet. It is a good installation and many folks are using it. We are also planning for at least two additional towers in Chatham County.

FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS: W4SAR (David):

  1. Field Day: The scores for the 2020 ARRL Field Day are now posted in QST and on the ARRL website. OCRA did very well and placed 9th among clubs submitting aggregate scores. Noteworthy is the fact that our primary regular competitor, a station in California, placed 32nd. Club certificates for member participation will be prepared and handed out at a future meeting.
  2. Elections: Club elections will be held at the next meeting in January. Positions that will be available include that of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Board Member. Individuals currently occupying those positions have indicated that they are willing to continue. Specifically, our current president, David (W4SAR) indicated that he would be willing to continue in that post but will step down after another term. Ladd, W4ORD, is willing to continue as vice president, Bill (N8BR) is willing to continue as secretary. Dan (KR4UB) is willing to continue as treasurer but will step down from the repeater responsibilities he has also carried for over 20 years. He will continue to manage the club website, provide technical support to those taking responsibility for the club’s repeaters and work on club recruitment. Finally, Karen (KD4YJZ) is willing to continue as board member. Prior to our next membership meeting I will prepare ballots and circulate instructions for the election.
  3. Code of Conduct for Club Repeaters: Most repeater sponsoring clubs have developed documents that define organizational expectations for appropriate conduct during use of its repeater(s). OCRA should be no exception. Therefore, your OCRA board will be discussing the issue with the desired outcome of producing a draft document for club discussion, revision and potential adoption. Note: Input from KM4MBG (Jack) indicated that these discussions are also going on in DFMA (Durham FM Association), and focused on a code of conduct that covers all club activities rather than just those pertaining to the use of repeaters.
  4. Future Meetings: There will be a meeting of the OCRA Executive Board next Monday at 7:30 PM.

ADJOURNMENT: Meeting Adjourned at 8:45p.m.

WLB/DE/s

Monthly Membership Meeting Minutes – November 9, 2020

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS
Monthly Membership Meeting – November 9, 2020 – 7:30 pm
Platforms Utilized: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom

Minutes

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM
N1LN (Bruce): Introduction and General Remarks- Good evening all. I am again serving as host this evening in place of W4SAR, David, our club president who is still occupied with family issues. While he may check in this evening, we can expect him to be back with us regularly again by the December meeting. Additionally, please keep in mind the following points:

  • The majority of the membership present at this meeting are participating through the OCRA UHF repeater which may time-out occasionally.
  • This is not an ARES net so I will be using my own call sign.
  • Some of our members do not have VHF/UHF equipment and will be joining us via Zoom.
  • Irrespective of which platform you use, please check into the net using phonetics so that your call may be accurately included on the meeting roster.

KR4UB (Dan) has posted and mailed out the agenda for tonight’s meeting. It includes (1) a formal check-in, (2) general remarks, (3) reports from our treasurer, repeater gurus, our holiday party chairperson and (4) A round-table during which all members will have an opportunity to report on their ongoing and new radio-related activities since our last meeting. During this part of the meeting all attendees are strongly encouraged to present their ideas for future club presentations and projects.

Finally, please be aware that video and audio generated at this meeting is being recorded so that information presented can be accurately included in meeting minutes.

MEMBER CHECK-IN:

  • OCRA VHF/UHF REPEATER: N1LN (Bruce),KU4GC (Dee), W4ORD (Lad), KA1HPM (Nick), KM4MBG (Jack), KF4PAB (Lenore), KZ1X (Steve), N2XZF (Paul), KN4ZHP (Mike), KO4DHJ (Ken), KR4UB (Dan), W4BOH (Wilson), KX4P (John), KN4BTI (Mark), KA5ETS (Doug), N4JQR (JR) KM4JZA (Mike), KN4JYP (Cathy), WB1AJJ (Jon), KI4RAN (Bill)
  • VIA ZOOM: N8BR (Bill), NA4VY (Dave), KN4QBZ (Fred), and KR4UB (Dan)

TREASURER’S REPORT (Dan KR4UB): Current Club Membership stands at 114 (87 current active paid up members, 27 requiring renewal). 22 new members have been added during the past 12 months.

REPEATER REPORTS:
KR4UB (Dan), KA1HPM (Nick), N2XZF (Paul) and W4CFO (Jim): All participated in a repeater work day at Dan’s home.

KA1HPM (Nick): Presented the report for Chatham repeaters. Antennas will be going up soon. Installers are saying they will be placed at 100’ but the committee would like to see them higher so they will be more effective. The two meter repeater audio test went well, and the machine should be on the air by early December. The Auxcom net meetings have been taking place on alternate Tuesdays. Members are looking forward to taking part in in a WinLink event this coming Saturday. With that technology hams will be able to handle e-mail messages without use of the internet.

HOLIDAY PARTY UPDATE:
KR4UB (Dan): A note from David, our president, informs us that because of the Covid 19 pandemic and our inability to provide adequate protection for attendees at a dinner event, the club board members have decided that the Christmas party is cancelled for this year.

W4ORD (Lad): As chair of the Christmas Party Committee Ladd reaffirmed for the club membership that the facility folks and catering operation have already been notified that the party is cancelled.

MEMBERSHIP ROUNDTABLE:
N1LN (Bruce) Officially opened the membership roundtable. This part of the monthly meeting is especially important because it provides an open forum in which each member has an opportunity to talk about his or her own ham radio activities and how they contribute to the cohesiveness and mission of our wonderful hobby. We are further emphasizing that this part of the meeting provides a venue for members to make suggestions about potential subjects for future club projects and presentations.

KO4DHJ (Ken): Thanks to AB4OZ for spearheading the mini-hamfest last Saturday. It provided an opportunity for me to sell lots of surplus stuff which made my XYL very happy.

KN4BTI (Mark): I Have been in Richmond with some medical issues and minor surgery that required fairly extensive rehabilitation. We now have 16 “chatters” on the Carbon Link, a packet radio link headed up by K4KZ. If the club would like a presentation on this initiative please feel free to let me know and I will set it up.

KA5ETS (Doug): Has been monitoring the bands for DX conditions on FT8. There has been a noticeable paucity of stations from the middle east. He is also doing some antenna work in preparation for the winter. Sporadic E openings on 6 meters have been observed.

KA1HPM (Nick): Not much radio activity. Very busy with AuxCom and attendance at virtual breakfasts at Virlies in Pittsboro.

N4JQR (JR): Is enjoying Zoom communication within the club and doing lots of jobs around the house.

KM4JZA (Mike): Requests that club information be forwarded so he can become an official member. He is enjoying this net.

KM4MBG (Jack): Congratulations to Dan (KR4UB) for doing a great job on the OCRA website (ncocra.org). He has done a great handling of emails to the benefit of both the OCRA and DFMA clubs. He announced that DFMA is not yet sure that Durham Fest will take place this year because of Covid 19. Suggested that both clubs design “show and tell” presentations consisting of short videos that can be replayed at various times so members can view them on the web when it is convenient. Q and A sessions could logically follow. Jack would be happy to give a presentation about free linux software that has useful ham radio applications.

KN4JYP (Cathy): Signed on to tonight’s net using a handheld on her back deck. Says working entirely from home is a nightmare. The remodeling projects at her home are complete and she is now ready to challenge her Home Owners Association for antenna privileges.

W4ORD (Lad): Recent storms have taken down literally all of his antennas. He has had minor foot surgery and eye surgery recently and is recovering from both.

KF4PFB (Lenore): Not too much radio going on. Always looking forward to Jack’s cooking.

KX4P (John): Having fun playing with a new Kenwood VHF/UHF duo bander for 2M and 440 mhz. .Recent ham radio activity included participation in the Classic Exchange. He wasn’t able to contact N1LN but had a lot of fun anyway. Has been trying to replace the dial cord on his Collins 75A1 but is finding it to be a complicated and time-consuming job.

KZ1X (Steve): Looking forward to beginning his antenna/tower rebuilding project which is scheduled to begin one week from today. Wants to know if the repeater on 53.45 has come back yet. Dan replied for that the last several years, summer time propagation brings in a signal from some distant source that times the repeater out and takes it off the air. A google search indicates historically there have been some beacons on this frequency

NA4VY (Dave): Noted that he and his XYL spent some vacation time on the lake. The weather was great. Has been participating in numerous local nets. Would like to give a club presentation about the radio telescope he visited in Green Banks, WV.

N2XZF (Paul): Helped with repeater work at Dan’s and attended a virtual meeting at Mikes.

KU4GC (Dee): is spending some time in Wilmington working on settling his son’s estate.

KN4QBZ (Fred): Would be available to present a program on AuxCom for the club.

WB1AJJ (Jon) Agrees that having club members present programs on how they developed their interest in ham radio and actually got into the hobby would be useful and entertaining. He also feels that this approach would be more appealing if the presentations were organized by decades during which members’ interests in the hobby bloomed.

N8BR (Bill): has just acquired a new Kenwood duo-band VHF/UHF mobile transceiver and is building a low-visability tilt-over mast for the duo-band vertical antenna that he has assembled to use with it. He hopes that this choice of toys will allow him to join our virtual club meetings via the repeater in a manner that pleases the home owners association where he lives.

KR4UB (Dan): hosted a repeater building session with Paul N2XZF, Nick KA1HPM and Jim W4CFO. He also worked on the board agenda and began writing software to make setting up the Net/Zoom meetings. Per Mike, KM4JZA’s request, Dan will add him to the club email distribution list.

W4BOH (Wilson): Prepared a beautiful new operating position for his radios. He also made 44 contacts in the Classic Exchange Contest that took place last week end. Refurbishment of the ’34 Chevy truck is coming along well as is repair of the steering box in his Ford tractor.

KI4RAN (Bill): requested to be added to the OCRA Zoom list.  Dan, KR4UB replied to Bill that he is already on the OCRA Meeting email distribution list (which includes the Zoom information) and that his email SPAM settings should be checked.

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 8:45 pm
WLB/DE/s