Dave W4SAR, club president opened the meeting with introductions, the topic for tonight’s meeting being Field Day Planning and call for officer reports. He reported that at the last VE Session on June 8th, 6 candidates were tested with 5 passing the exam earning their license.
Dan, KR4UB, treasurer reported 74 members are current with their dues with 25 members needing renewal. Club treasury balance is in line with ongoing expenses.
Dan also covered the need for attendees who plan to have a Saturday dinner or Sunday breakfast meal from the field day grill to pre-pay for the food to be purchased on their behalf. Costs for some food items have increased as much as 15% from last year and we need your help in keeping the cost per meal low.
Nick, KA1HPM made an announcement of a request he had made to the ARRL via Carl Bowman, Section Manager requesting that an ARRL contest be organized to celebrate the 150th birthday of Hiram Percy Maxim on September 2nd, 2019. The ARRL responded with an alternative option of a Special Event Station be set up to celebrate the event. Nick made the call for volunteers to set up and run such a station, using his call sign KA1 H(iram) P(ercy) M(axim) on September 2nd from 8am to 8pm.
Next, Dave W4SAR began the planning discussion for the 9A class battery powered 5 watt station operation for 2019 OCRA/DFMA Field Day to be held at the Wilson, W4BOH QTH on 3117 Moorefields Road , Hillsborough.
Starting Friday morning at 8am focus will be on tower setup and all other outdoor ground activity to get as much as possible done prior to mid day heat.
Stations and Band Captains are as follows:
CW Stations – Bruce N1LN Captain – 3 stations located inthe MCU covering 80 -10M CW operating antennas onf 3 towers. 2 sets of headphones are on each radio so interested observers can listen in on the operation. Operator slots are available.
80M SSB Station – Steve, W3AHL Captain – located in the W3AHL motorhome using two 75M dipoles. Typically band conditions mean 75M is a 6pm to 6am operation. New operators are welcome.
40/15M SSB Station – Joe, K4SAR Captain – located in an air conditioned trailer using a 3 element 40M wire beam and 3 element 15M beam. Joe needs operators to sign up.
20M SSB Station – Lad, W4ORD Captain – located in an air conditioned trailer using tower mounted team, solar power charged batteries.
10M SSB/Digi Station – Dave, NA4VY Captain – located in the air conditioned “red barn” using a Moxon beam.
40/20M Digi Operation – Dave, W4SAR & Sherri, WB4OSU are co-captains operating PSK-31 and maybe FT-8 located in the handicap accesible garage at the food area.
6M VHF Station – Doug, KA5ETS principle operator also located in the “red barn” building.
Satellite Contact: Dan KR4UB & Bill N8BR will be out on the grounds at the scheduled times for satellite overflights.
Additional operators are needed on all stations.
Bonus Point areas were covered next. Volunteers signed up for the various areas are listed OCRA website home page.
Bruce, N1LN then gave a presentation and demo of the N1MM logging software to be used at field day. The presention is available on the OCRA website home page.
Steve, W3AHL discussed the networked logging setup using the pre loaded and configured laptaps that will be available to each station. All stations need to be ready to participate in the isolated WiFi network setup test at 9AM Saturday morning.
Scroll down for further detail for Field Day planning in the next article.
Dan, KR4UB filling in for Keith, W1KES club secretary.
Join us on June 21st through June 23rd for another wonderful field day event on the grounds of W4BOH near Hillsborough. There is something of interest for almost everyone at our Field Day event. It is certainly an excellent opportunity to learn a wide range of skills relevant to emergency communications and amateur radio in general for new and experienced hams alike. Field Day Photos from prior years, Join us this year!
There are multiple ways for you to express your field day interests areas you would like to participate in:
Plan to attend the upcoming OCRA club meetings Monday May 13th, June 10th, and DFMA club meeting Tuesday, June 4th to express your interests and learn more about getting involved.
If you already have a membership or interest profile on this website, you can indicate your field day participation interests by simply updating your profile.
If you have misplaced your profile private access link, simply click on the OCRA website menu “Members” then “Retrieve Access Link” and the link will be sent to your email address listed in your profile.
Once you have access to your profile, scroll down to the lower part of your profile and place a check mark and add any necessary text for your field day participation interest to be listed below. Click here for sample view
Or any other way that works for you, e.g. use the “Click Here to Email OCRA” link on the right side of this page to send an email with your name, callsign and list of interests.
2019 Field Day Sign Up Summary
Volunteers in multiple roles (e.g. station op, FD setup & food) are counted multiple times, once in each role
Although Microsoft Document and Excel Spreadsheets can be posted, PDF file format is preferred as some members may not have MicroSoft Office installed on their computers and have the ability to open .doc and .xls or later version .docx and .xlsx files.
The festive DFMA/OCRA Potluck Dinner hosted by Wilson, W4BOH and Dee Ann will be on Friday night, June 21st at 6pm with attendees signing up to bring a tasty salad, vegetable, main courses and dessert.
Wilson will be cooking a number of pork butts in his smoker and the rest of us will provide the accompanying items for dinner. Please bring your favorite vegetable dishes, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, desserts, etc., to compliment Wilson’s fine cooking. Chips & dip and vegetable platters are always welcome too.
If you do not prefer the BBQ pork as your main entree, feel free to bring your choice, but be sure to bring it early enough so it can be ready for dinner. A grill will be available.
We will have Iced Tea, Water, and assorted sodas available as well as ice. If you prefer something else, you are welcome to bring your own drinks.
Saturday 5pm Dinner & Sunday Breakfast Meal Attendees Requested to Prepay to Keep Costs Low
Food Pre-Pay, done for the first time last year, was a great success in providing a firm count of of those attending Field Day meals, and ensuring that just right amount of food was purchased.
For the June 22 Saturday 5PM Dinner & June 23 Sunday Breakfast…
OCRA and DFMA are asking attendees to prepay (the same price as always, $5.00 each meal) for the Field Day June 22nd Saturday 5 PM Dinner and June 23rd Sunday Breakfast in order to have an accurate count. This will keep cost low, and avoid those who do show up to avoid paying a higher amount to cover those who do not. Although recent price checks found that some field day food items have increased as much as 15% from last year, we are still asking only $5.00 for each meal. These payments also go to fund the availability of free bottled water during the Friday set up day.
Prepayment authorizes the club to buy food on your behalf and can be by cash or check payment at your convenience as described below. Vegetarian meals can be requested. PayPal is not used as small payment cost is excessive. Based on the food purchase date, meal orders must be received by OCRA by June 15th.If you pay, and later mustcancel due to unforeseen circumstances, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the June 16th food order date, and your payment will be refunded or, you can use it as a tax-deductible donation to the club, or to extend your membership.
Confirmed Meals: 26 Members for a Total of 31 Dinners,
6 Vegetarian based, and 20 Total for Breakfast, 4 Vegetarian based
Plan to Attend Saturday 5pm Dinners & Sunday Morning Breakfasts
There will be some amount of extra food ordered for non prepay, but it is an estimated amount to account for “NoShows” and may not be sufficient for all “May Attend” or folks showing up that did not sign up for a meal. This is to avoid excessive cost to the club and excess food being thrown away.
Unconfirmed Meals: 4 Members for a Total of 5 Dinners, 0 Vegetarian based,
and 3 Total for Breakfast, 0 Vegetarian based
Using checks, or cash in an envelope as annotated below will help with record keeping (and refunds for timely cancellations). Checks and cash will be held and not deposited until food purchase. Cancellations received before food purchase will be refunded.
In addition to opportunities to pre pay by mail or at upcoming club meetings, the following OCRA/DFMA contacts at the Saturday morning breakfast locations below will accept your payment:
Payment to OCRA, P.O. Box 294, Carrboro, NC 27510
Each Saturday Ham Breakfast – June 1, 8, 15
Egg & I Chapel Hill on NC 54 East – Dan, KR4UB or M.K. W4MKR
Virlies Pittsboro – Bill N8BR or Nick, KA1HPM
BoJangles at Hillsborough – Andy W4KIL
DFMA Club Meeting June 4, (Lenore, KF4PAB)
OCRA Meeting May 13 & June 10 (Dan, KR4UB)
Checks or cash in envelopes marked with the same information shown on the check below will help with record keeping e.g. name, callsign, number attending dinner and breakfast meals, and preference for veggie meals.
Checking Receipt of your Meal Sign up Status
As prepay checks and cash are received as described above, the above food pre-pay listing will be frequently updated.
Thanks in advance for helping this part of Field Day to be a success!
Dan (KR4UB) Balance is still strong, current membership is 67 with 30 needing renewing.The cost for maintaining our repeater is increasing. The high cost of tower climbers is one reason OCRA maintains a heathy financial balance. You can easily assist in keeping our financial balance strong.For those who purchase from Amazon and want to add to OCRA’s coffers, Amazon Smile donates 0.5% to eligible charitable organizations.For more information, please visit the following site.
The 45th Annual Durham Fest occurs over Memorial Weekend.OCRA will provide a table to sell members items.We would ask for a small donation or percentage of sales to off-set the cost of the table.Admission is $5 and prizes may be won.For more information, please scroll down for more information.
The OCRA 442.150 MHz PL 131.8 repeater is programmed to notify the club of cancellation due to poor weather.We encourage all members to listen for announcements and check the groups.io email reflector if storms are present on meeting days.
Field Day – June 22-23:
Field day will again be hosted on Wilson’s (W4BOH) property over the weekend of June 22-23.
Bruce (N1LN) Station setup will occur on Friday, June 21.Band captains are responsible for procuring the necessary bill of material and station coverage throughout the event. Please register your station of interest and availability on the website under Events, OCRA/DFMA Field Day Signup Summary. Again, Elecraft radios are the standard for this year.Band captains that borrowed radios last year need to ensure their availability again this year.
Bruce will provide N1MM logging software instruction training in June.
Steve (W3AHL) mentioned wireless connectivity for multiple computers with N1MM is difficult to manage. However with the laptops donated for Field Day by Adam Caudill (WX4WNC) this will be much easier. Thanks to Adam!The computers will contain a standard configuration image, providing a more stable and consistent approach for management.
Bruce will provide N1MM software training in June.Elecraft radios are rig of choice, making interfacing and configuration easier.
John (KM4MDR) will be facilitating Potluck on Friday around 6:00 PM night.Saturday 5:00 dinner and Sunday breakfast. Attendees will need to prepay for meals. Please see payment options and meal details on the 2019 Field Day post.
Field Day Materials – Operators may want to have present the following as conditions are likely to be hot and humid.
Helmet – if assisting with tower construction and placement
Attending:Wilson W4BOH, Nick KA1HPM, Lad W4ORD, Karen KD4YJZ, Dave W4SAR, Steve W3AHL, Dan KR4UB, Dee KU4GC.
President, Dave W4SAR, called meeting to order at 7:00pm
Treasurer: Dan KR4UB, gave the current treasury balance and membership status. The checking and saving balances are in line with ongoing expenses. 68 member’s dues are current with 28 members needing renewal. He suggested dues renewal be focused on at the next club meeting. 14 new members have joined the club over the past year.
Then Dan gave the Annual Financial Report for OCRA. It showed a modest increase over the previous year. Insurance, PO Box and safe deposit box rental were regular unavoidable expenses. He also noted that pre-pay worked well for both Field Day and the Christmas Dinner. We came out ahead for Field Day and came out about even for the Christmas meeting except that the club paid for the Exchange Club rental. A motion was made and passed unanimously to accept the report.
Dan presented the report using a brand new video projector. There had been plans for the OCRA and DFMA clubs to jointly purchase a projector for meeting use. However, Jimmy Dixon KF4KHU, made a gift of a brand new projector to DFMA and this was the first shared use of this great new asset.
It was reported that the aborted Bouvet DXpedition gave a partial refund to donors. (Both clubs had sent $410 with each club’s treasury providing $200 in “matching” funds and respective members providing $210.) OCRA’s net (PayPal charges deducted) refund was $192 or approximately 47%. Donors can request a 47% percent refund or they can leave their share in the club treasury (thank you!).
Dan also discussed using the web site and its database capabilities for hams to list their interests, any areas needing assiatance and participating in the joint OCRA/DFMA Field Day. Provisions have been made for members of both clubs to enter their information.
In addition, provision has been made for currently licensed, non DFMA or OCRA members to participate who meet one of the following criteria:
Current or future planned participation in OCRA, DFMA or Chatham AuxComm training and emergency exercise activity.
Current or future planned participation in the combined OCRA/DFMA ARRL Field Day Event
Licensed amateurs, not a member of the OCRA or DFMA, but desiring to list their interests may do so by by attending the next OCRA or DFMA meeting and complete an interest/assistance needed sheet and if desired an OCRA/DFMA Field Day participation sign up sheet. This can also be done on the OCRA website by clicking on “Members, Interest Registry Signup to Apply for OCRA Interest Registry Listing.
Hamfests: Dee KU4GC reported on the club tables at RARSfest. He expressed some disappointment in participation in the club table from both clubs Main income to OCRA was from the gift of a non-member. With rare exceptions people did not bring anything to sell. (A large part of DFMA income also was due to a gift from a non-member). The net income to OCRA after paying for the tables was $34. (There is yet one big item from the gift to be sold that could provide additional income.)
Dee announced DurHamFest is on May 25th, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Dave W4SAR has registered the VE session and will again coordinate that. Wilson, W4BOH will again produce delicious BOH-burgers on the grill. MK W4MKR and Dee KU4GC will take care of food logistics.
Auxcomm/ARES: Steve W3AHL announced that the Tar Heel 10 Miler had no ham involvement this year.
Repeaters: Nick KA1HPM, reported on activities in Chatham county. There will be a ham antenna at 230’ on the 300’ tower. Provisions for ham antennas have been planned for all coming towers.
Dan KR4UB reported that OCRA has an almost new Comprod 2M antenna (never installed) which could be sold at a good price to an interested party.
Field Day: Dave, W4SAR reported that nice laptops were donated for Field Day use through the efforts of Adam Caudill WX4WNC. They are Lenovo T440’s with 128Gb SSDs. The Windows 10 systems still need update to the Bios and Drivers. A general discussion about Field Day computers and logging ensued.
New Business: Lad W4ORD asked if we want to continue to use the Exchange Club even if we go to a potluck format. The consensus was “yes”.
We have 68 paid membership current and 33 requiring renewal.You can renew membership easily and securely on the website under the heading of “Members.”
Chatham county continues moving forward with establishing new radio towers.Currently they are writing specifications to publicly bid the work.They plan to establish additional towers beyond current need for anticipated growth, with the understanding it is more cost-effective to erect the additional towers now than re-bid the work at a future date.
WordPress is the most common blog and website platform in use around the globe.OCRA uses WordPress as our primary club communication channel.WordPress has many additional features and functionality that we can leverage for multiple uses.One such use is capturing interest and availability for Field Day.
With just under four months to go, Field Day 2019 is quickly approaching. However, we can more easily start planning now.Dan has created an on-line sign-up form to capture availability to volunteer for food, station, and field site preparation, staffing, and dismantling.
You can easily complete the sign up form on your computer or even phone!The steps for expressing your interest and availability follow:
1.On the site, navigate to the “Member” tab and click “Receive Access Link”.
2.Enter your call sign, answer the math question, and click “Submit”.An email will be sent to your registered public email address.
3.You will receive a confirmation screen notifying you the link has been sent to your email.
4.Login to your registered email address and click the link.If you bookmark this link, it can be used to update your profile…be sure to bookmark!
5.Complete the Field Day sign-up sheet.Be sure to click the “Save” button located at the end of the form.If there are any data corrections, they will be highlighted in red.Band captains will reach out to you regarding the specifics. We look forward to seeing you during Field Day!
As many Hams know, it is important when making decisions about getting the right coax for your Ham Station to understand that there are trade-offs that have to be considered between transmitter power, antenna gain, coax loss, and your total Ham Station system performance.Your bank account may also enter into the equation like most Hams.
Cables and connectors are no exception to the above as they make up the lifeline of your entire station, allowing all of the components to work together.Steve (KZ1X) shared that oxygen is the enemy of every connector, as oxidation due to poor connections will limit the performance and life of the connector. Dan (KR4UB) and Steve (KZ1X) further explain the importance of having the right connectors, wires, and crimpers to produce a gas tight crimp.As Dan shared, in his experience most poor transmissions are the result of bad connectors.However, with quality material and practice you can build connectors that provide decades worth of radio fun and enjoyment.
Dan (KR4UB) explaining contact spring tension Steve (KZ1X) explaining Power pole connectors
Vendors who sell quality connectors and supplies include the following:
Steve (W3AHL), Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Bill (N8BR), Wilson (W4BOH), Dan (KR4UB), Dee (KU4GC), Keith (W1KES)
Savings balance is strong, with 78 member’s dues current and 23 needing renewal.
Bill (N8BR) offered his resignation from the Board. While we hate to see Bill leave, his vacancy presents an opportunity to install Nick (KA1HPM) on the Board in the capacity of Chatham County liaison officer. Nick is currently actively working with the Chatham County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to establish radio infrastructure at several fire stations and other county premises. OCRA has agreed to support this effort by lending Chatham county our repeater. Nick will serve as OCRA’s repeater custodian. OCRA and Chatham EOC still need to finalize and formalize scope, responsibilities, and draft a document of understanding. However, strengthening county relationships and providing assistance in support of emergency response is a primary goal of amateur radio, and OCRA is happy to help.
Dan (KR4UB) has done an outstanding job of enhancing OCRA’s on-line presence. The website is quickly become data central for all of OCRA’s general announcements, membership information, activities calendar and historical records. The site captures personal interest for use in program development and field day assignments.
Dan is exploring the websites survey function this year to match interest and availability in staffing Field Day 2019. We would encourage each member to login and update their areas of amateur radio interest.
From the interest list we have identified several topics for future membership meetings: Fox hunting, Satellites, and Dxing. Please update your interest profile and let us know what topics you would like discussed at a membership meeting.
Our next membership meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11 at the Efland Baha’i Center. Topic considerations include building jumper cables, powerpole connectors, and crimping. This is a great opportunity to learn something new and refresh skills. Hope to see your there.
The 2019 Durham Fest will be held on Saturday of Memorial weekend. Please bookmark the following link to DFMA as more details will be posted shortly. OCRA Board approved renting two tables to sell items at RARS Fest. Hope to see you there. 73
Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Wilson (W4BOH), Steve (W3AHL), Lad (W4ORD), Keith (W1KES)
A primary focus for OCRA in 2019 is establishing monthly programs of interest. The Elfand Baha’i Center’s location is ideal for hosting various amateur radio programs. The large gathering area near the kitchen provides ample space for converting dining tables to workshop stations. The large yard provides opportunities for establishing a quick HF station for educating club members on best practices and new techniques.
Several program ideas were discussed:
Understanding coax options and appropriate use
Creating and connecting Anderson power poles.
There are many wonderful videos on Youtube providing understanding on the topics above.
25 member’s presence, with 2 candidates for exams.
NCOCRA WordPress upgrade now provides website access on mobile phones…check us out.
Savings balance is strong, with 74 member’s current on dues, with 24 needing renewal.
The club has added 15 new members over the past 12 months.
Prepay for Holiday meal worked well, and may well use prepay moving forward.
Members approved 2019 Board:
David Snyder (W4SAR), President
Lad Carrington (W4ORD), Vice-President, Program Committee
Dan Eddleman (KR4UB), Treasurer
Keith Stouder (W1KES), Secretary
Steve Ahlbom (W3HAL), ARES EC
Karen Snyder (KD4YJZ), Member at Large
Dee Ramm (KU4GC), Member at Large
Wilson Lamb (W4BOH), Member at Large, Program Committee
Bill Bishchoff (N8BR), Program Committee
If you have ideas for enriching your club experience, we would like to know. Please reply below.
Chatham County Radio Club Update, Nick (KA1HPM):
Chatham County radio club has established a club station at the county emergency operation center (EOC) with two VHF and two HR radios, and Winlink. The club as applied for a vanity call, but with the FCC currently on furlough, it may be some time before the call is issued.
The club is preparing for an April 30 communication exercise at the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant. Rehearsal for the event will be March 28. Please join the club net every Tuesday night on 442.15 MHz, PL tone 131.8. Hope to hear you on the air!
Vice President: Lad (W4ORD) – The Holiday Meal was well received. However, suggestions to explore new food options are being considered.
“When All Else Fails:”
With the recent weather events in Wilmington, NC, hospitals are encouraging employees to become amateur radio operators offering communications when “all else fails.” Opportunities for local radio clubs to assist may be forth coming.
NC QSO Party:
The NC QSO Party is quickly approaching. This year, the event will occur on Saturday, February 24 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST. This is a great event to sharpen your SSB skills with running or search and pounce. Click on link above for more information.
If you are new to amateur radio, or would like to refresh your knowledge, the Program Committee would like your ideas. Considerations are being given for having instructions on coax termination with soldiering or crimpers. Or, how to build an affordable wire dipole. Do you have any suggestions on program content? If so, leave a reply below.
Pete (WA1YYN) provided an overview of several emergency and life saving devices. First, Pete created a GPRS enabled apparatus comprised of a raspberry pi that can be attached to a fire fighter’s outfit that captures both health and situation metrics. For example, the apparatus can capture, record, and transmit fire fighters body temperature, pulse oximetry, acceleration, etc. such data is vital for ensuring situational safety.
Pete also explained that many emergency response communication technologies are proprietary and expensive. He mentioned that the national fire protection association (NFPA) and NIST, national institute of standards and technology are working together to develop emergency response data interoperability and deployment standards.
Pete (WA1YYN) discussing his use of GPRS and amateur radio in emergency response communication and coordination.
Pete demonstrated an open source solution providing GPRS tracking with real time monitoring and visual overlay perspectives of the rescuer, drone, and incident command. This solution will more accuracy and quickly identify persons in need improving resource coordination thus reducing response time in saving lives.
Pete’s work in supporting emergency response fulfills several key goals of amateur radio:
Supports the awareness and growth of Amateur Radio worldwide;
Advocates for meaningful access to radio spectrum;
Strives for every member to get involved, get active, and get on the air;
Encourages radio experimentation and, through its members, advances radio technology and education; and
Organizes and trains volunteers to serve their communities by providing public service and emergency communications.
What is your passion? What aspects of amateur radio keeps you involved? Let us know by leaving a response below.