OCRA Board Meeting, March 27, 2017

The minutes of the 3/27 Board Meeting were approved at the 4/24 Board Meeting


The OCRA Board met on Monday, March 27th at Mike Carwile’s QTH.

Attendees: Dee Ramm KU4GC (Board Member), MK Ramm W4MKR, Lad Carrington W4ORD (Board Member), Keith Stouter W1KES (Board Member), Mike Carwile KK4BPH (Board Member), Dan Eddleman KR4UB (Treasurer/Repeater Manager), Joel Dunn KM4NOU (Secretary), Dave Snyder W4SAR (President/Field Day Coordinator), Karen Snyder KD4YJZ (Vice President), Steve Ahlbom W3AHL (Board Member/OC ARES EC) and Sherri Rapp WB4OSU (Board Member).

The first order of business was the Officers reports.

Dan KR4UB, Treasurer, reported that we had a total of 68 members with dues current and that we maintain an appropriate reserve balance in our accounts.

Joel KM4NOU, Secretary, presented the minutes from the 2/27 Board Meeting for approval, and they were approved with corrections.

Dan KR4UB, wearing his Repeater Manager hat, gave a repeater update and said that we are still waiting for drawings on the UNC-CH Neurosciences repeater, which Michael North KK4EIB is working on.

For RARSFest, Dee KU4GC reported that he may have the ICOM 706 sold. Dee also emphasized that doors open Friday at 12 noon for setup, with open setup until 10PM. Then, it is open for setup at 6AM on Saturday.

Steve W3AHL gave the ARES report. He needs volunteers for the two upcoming running events on 4/2 and on 4/22. Volunteer participation has been low, and he will have to trim the number of stations manned without additional participation.

Dave W4SAR gave the President’s report. He worked on title page of the Yahoo group, which he found he could change without affecting archives. He has added DFMA to title page reflecting the joint focus of the group. We also discussed the NCOCRA website, and making it more interesting. Joel KM4NOU will work on getting pictures in a rotation on the banner.

The main topic was Field Day. Dave W4SAR said that we would have 9A battery operation, with 2 digital stations. The 10M team won’t do phone. Dave will put out a blog post summarizing Field Day prep so far. We need to work on the food plan, and may break out food planning from beverage and ice planning.

Additionally, on Field day, we are looking for ways to get bonus points, and will review opportunities for continuous education and traffic passing. Joel KM4NOU mentioned that he would reach out to Shakori District BSA to see if anyone was interested in youth participation or education, for an introduction to radio.

N1MM will be used for logging this year, and at the April 10th member meeting, we will have a presentation on using the Zoom videoconferencing software, which will be used for training by Bruce Meier N1LN.

There was additional discussion about grounding the Field Day operation from Dan KR4UB and Steve W3AHL. Steve also asked about using Elecraft equipment for all stations; it looks like we do have enough transceivers to make that happen.

We adjourned at 7:56PM

OCRA Monthly Meeting, April 2017

The OCRA meeting for March was held on Monday, April 10, and was well attended with 25  operators and two CERT volunteers in attendance.  introductions and roundtable.

We started with the usual monthly introductions and roundtable.

Then, we had the Treasurer’s report from Dan KR4UB. We have 68 members paid at this point in time. Dan also said that we should all contact our NC General Assembly to include an amateur radio exemption in legislation currently under consideration (Dan posted an update after the meeting).

Secretary Joel KM4NOU encouraged all to contribute to the website in their areas of expertise. Contact Joel for an account if you are interested.

Dee KU4GC reported that preparations for RARSFest on 4/15 were well underway, and he implored members working at the table to keep documentation on what was sold, but also to volunteer to help!

Steve W3AHL gave the ARES report. While we had problems filling our slots for the “Not So Normal Run,” all volunteer slots for the Tarheel 10-miler are full, for this community service event. Steve also introduced our CERT guests.

Dan KR4UB, wearing his repeater hat, said that we are still working on the the UNC Neurosciences installation, and right now we owe UNC some drawings, on which we are working.

Dave W4SAR gave the President’s report, which focused on Field Day.  He explained that Field Day is a combination disaster drill and contest, and that our club (partnering with DFMA) was #3 of 1,500 clubs entering nationwide! He said we are still fine tuning the bands and working with Band Captains, but should have as many as last year. We are working on a wireless networking installation that will allow communication among logging stations but which will not create RFI. John KM4MDR is coordinating the pot luck, Lad W4ORD is running the Sunday grill, and we’ll be getting help from DFMA (Noble Phelps N4UOQ) for Saturday. Dave is still working to try to make sure we can get as many bonus points as possible. Joel KM4NOU reached out to County Commissioner Barry Jacobs, who has tentatively agreed to visit. See Dave’s April post on Field Day for more information.

For the program, Joel KM4NOU presented the Zoom videoconferencing tool, and turned things over to Bruce N1LN to describe how training on the N1MM software to be used for Field Day will be managed using Zoom.


W4MKR – MK Ramm
KU4GC – Dee Ramm
Cert Volunteer – Ken Morgan
Cert Volunteer – Tom Milledge
KA5JUJ – Martin Brody
KD4YJZ – Karen Snyder
N4ZAK – Robert Little
KM4LBW – Chris Florio
N2XZF – Paul Robertson
WA4HHR – Dewey Thompson
Kw4KZ – Chuck Anoia
W1KES – Keith Stouder
N1LN – Bruce Meier
W4BOH – Wilson Lamb
KG4NEL – Jim Jingozian
K4TY – Charles Battig
KB4BM – Rose-Marie Battig
WA4PSC – Howie Hoyt
W3AHL – Steve Ahlbom
W4KIL – Andy Yates
N8BR – Bill Bischoff
W4ORD – Lad Carrington
KW4XL – David Vielbaum
NA4VY – Dave Belt
KR4UB – Dan Eddlemon
KM4NOU – Joel Dunn


Field Day Update April 2017

Hi All, more of the plans are starting to gel, we do need to solidify more of the logistics for Field Day. For one, I was mistaken when I said we were on track to be a 9A operation. As it turns out the CW operation out of the MCU will be running only three transmitters, not the four transmitters I had presumed, so we are an 8A operation as it now stands. Here are the current stations planned and band captains:

CW in the MCU: three transmitters on 80/40/20/15 meters. Bruce N1LN and the CW gang.

40 Digital- in barn loft, Dave W4SAR
20 Digital- in barn loft, John, KM4MDR

80 Phone- Steve , W3AHL in his RV
40/15 Phone- Adriano KV7D and Joe K4SAR in camper
20 Phone- Lad, W4ORD in tent.

Currently, there are no plans to work 10 meters due to very poor prospects for propagation. VHF is open if anyone wants to try it, that station will not change the count of stations for our category. I am working on a possible temporary split out of 15M phone so that we do keep a 9A designation, stand by for more on that later.

Bruce N1LN has agreed to run a teleconferenced class to get the band captains (and anyone interested in helping out with logging) up to speed on using the N1MM logging program. See the NCOCRA Yahoogroup for postings on this, I believe Bruce wants to start the initial session this coming Wednesday.

I will be contacting the band captains on their final arrangements for radios, to confirm what antennas they are using and where they will be placed, an updated site plan will be posted shortly after that is done.

Food- Lad W4ORD and Noble N4UOQ have agreed to step up and form the nucleus of the group operating the field canteen, they will be needing some more people to help with that work. Besides providing cold water and soft drinks throughout the operation, he canteen will also grill dinner on that Saturday and Breakfast on Sunday morning. John KM4MDR will coordinate the Pot Luck planned for that Friday night. Skip N4SKP will be providing a sandwich spread for the work crews on Friday around noon.

Bonus Points- We have several members volunteering to help chase down some of these points for us. Stand by, I will get all of you more solid information shortly.

Things are moving for Field Day, and the pace is picking up considerably the closer we get. I will be putting out notices on a more frequent basis now as we deal with the inevitable changes and tweaks that occur to every plan. I am looking forward to another great Field Day this year!


Dave Snyder, W4SAR

Monday Night 10 Meter SSB Net – April 17, 2017

Tonight we had 14 check-ins.

1. KZ1X – Steve: Very interesting RARS with fewer dealers this year. Some not there due to illness.
2. NC4CX – Butch: Really enjoyed the RARS fest and seeing folks that he has not seen in quite some time. Good to finally meet Bruce and Laurie. Also saw many of the regulars on the Monday night net. Very little radio activity but did get his 6 meter beam up with some good preliminary reports. Now he can switch from his 40 meter I-V to the new antenna.
3. KX4P – John: Able to copy everyone so far. Really enjoyed going to the RARS fest with a friend that drove in for the weekend. Brought lots to sell but ended up bringing everything home again. Did end up purchasing a few things. Using a Collins S-line tonight.
4. KR4UB – Dan: Also enjoyed RARS fest – the most enjoyable part were the eye-ball QSOs. Enjoyed the after RARS trip for super hamburger lunch. Looking forward to the Tar Heel 10 mile run.
5. KJ4UZU – Clint: Real good to see so many familiar faces at RARS. Did not bring a new HF radio home from RARS. Did purchase a couple 6 meter FM HTs and they both work! Great to see Wayne after such a long time. Now up to 93 on 80 meters – getting closer. Got South Shetland for a new country and it was on 80! Now at 280 total confirmed. Now looking forward to Durham Fest.
6. K4FD – Dan: Good evening to everyone – been off the air for a couple years and got back on a couple weeks ago. Heard about the 10 meter net and wanted to check in. This is the first time he checked in. Been spending some time working on antennas. Also really enjoying 17 meters. The band noise has been very low allowing Q5 contacts without huge signals. Also enjoyed RARS and purchased a few things including some small tools. Able to copy everyone on the net!
7. KU4GC – Dee: RARS was fun and the club tables did fairly well. DFMA made about $300.00 net after paying for the tables. Don’t yet have the OCRA final $$ but in the last minute one of the ICOM rigs went for $400.00 that will certainly help the final results. Have a DFMA Board meeting tomorrow night. Also looking forward to the Tar Heel 10 mile race. Not much HF work – Clint is 1 ahead on 80 with Dee’s total being 92. At 236 on all band DXCC. Still have an ICOM 706 for sale – had 2 one left so Dave (NA4VY) still has an opportunity.
8. W4BOH – Wilson: Also enjoyed RARS and controlled his purchases. First time ever he did not purchase anything from the club table. Enjoyed seeing Laurie – hope she did well. Saw a couple Hammarlund receivers. Bought JR’s amp – it is a big Heath Kit with (2) 3-500s. This will be one of the next Land of Magic amps. (Perhaps a SB-220 or SB-221 depending on age.) Good to see some regulars but some of the regulars were missed. Been working on taxes almost all day. Greta was visiting for a few days and just went back home. Still in need for a food committee for Field Day – really needed to keep the food moving on Saturday night / Sunday morning.
9. NA4VY – Dave: Running the Yaesu FT1200 today. Hope it sounds good as he is using he mic that was purchased from Bruce. Made it to RARS and enjoyed walking around seeing people and checking out the boat anchors. Want to get rid of some stuff, so nothing was purchased. Was tempted to purchase the ICOM 706 that was on the OCRA table. Also busy with taxes.
10. KG4NNT – JR: Good to see everyone at RARS last Saturday. Looking forward to the Durham Fest in a few weeks.
11. KK4PH – Lowell: Had company so got to the net late but made it!
12. WQ8U –Mac: Using his only modern radio, the Ten Tec Jupiter. Wilson showed up in Mac’s driveway to help solve a noise problem and pointed out a few antenna related issues. One issue was lack of use – this helps by checking in on the net!
13. KE4VNC/M – Joe in Knightdale – very light copy.
14. N1LN – Bruce: Net Control

Proposed Brian Garlock Act – Senate Bill 364 and Amateur Radio Mobile Use

The recent ARRL North Carolina Newsletter contained information suggested to be included in letters hams may wish to write to their senators regarding Senate Bill 364. This topic was discussed at the OCRA April 10 club meeting. Members asked that the following additional information be put up on OCRA website.

When the city of Chapel Hill considered a similar cell phone use ban while driving, the following information regarding federal pre-emption was presented at public hearing and accepted by the city council to be incorporated into that proposed ordinance. That proposed ordinance was later withdrawn and did not become law.

In further research of NC General Statute 20-79.4 which authorizes and establishes the terms and conditions for issuance of Amateur Radio license plates, it would appear that this statute requiring applicants to “assert to the Division that a portable transceiver is carried in the vehicle” and then have SB364 declare usage of such equipment illegal to be a contradiction of logic.

While positions taken by the ARRL and the FCC are summarized below, I recommend you read the documents at the URL links below and use that information in letters you may choose to write to your senator on SB364.

Federal Pre-emption – FCC asserting sole rights to regulate Amateur Radio

suggested wording to your senator…
In reading about the proposed ban on the use of electronic devices in automobiles, it would appear that broad wording also covers mobile operation of Amateur Radio which is regulated solely by the Federal Communications Commission.

I am sure you are aware of Federal Pre-Emption, that is, the principle of federal law that not only regulates certain areas, federal law pre-empts further State and Local law in conflict with federal law. Over the years there have of course been legislation proposed by State and Local authorities in conflict with federal law. The FCC has a vigorous history of defending its sole authority to regulate areas in its domain as authorized by Congress.

If SB-364 goes forward, I strongly recommend the bill incorporate wording as included in the link below, excluding Amateur Radio Operation in order to avoid your ordinance be in conflict with federal law.


The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) also has a long track record of bringing before the Commission, Requests for Issuance of Declaratory Rulings on ordinances affecting amateur radio that go beyond the scope of authority granted to States and Local Governments.

Lastly, for your information, the link below is a ruling by the FCC that, while not specific to the cell phone issue, does include a number of findings on the safety of mobile Amateur Radio operations and recites the authority of the FCC to act and respond to state and local laws that are in conflict with federal law.


SB 364 in conflict with requirements of NC Statute Chapter_20/GS_20-79.4

excerpt from North Carolina General Statute 20-79.4. Special registration plates.
(a1)      Qualifying for a Special Plate. – In order to qualify for a special plate, an applicant shall meet all of the qualifications set out in this section. The Division of Motor Vehicles shall verify the qualifications of an individual to whom any special plate is issued to ensure only qualified applicants receive the requested special plates.

(9)        Amateur Radio Operator. – Issueable to an amateur radio operator who holds an un-expired and un-revoked amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and who asserts to the Division that a portable transceiver is carried in the vehicle.  The plate shall bear the phrase “Amateur Radio”. The plate shall bear the operator’s official amateur radio call letters, or call letters with numerical or letter suffixes so that an owner of more than one vehicle may have the call letters on each.

Link to NC General Statute 20-79.4  http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_20/GS_20-79.4.html