OCRA Executive Board 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 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

OCRA General Membership Over the Air Meeting June 10,2020

In compliance with The State of North Carolina’s revised health requirements for preventing the spread of Corvid-19, this meeting could not assemble at our normal gathering place in Efland, NC. Instead it was replaced by a virtual event that made use of the 442.150MHz repeater and ZOOM. This novel functional linking together of a club repeater with Zoom, a popular and widely used video conferencing platform, made it possible for all members of the club to both attend and participate in a virtual meeting. The club gives its special thanks to Dan, KR4UB, our treasurer/website manager, and Mark, KR3AM for spearheading and providing continuing support for this initiative.

MEETING (7:30 PM): The meeting was convened at 7:30 P.M. by club president David W4SAR. The check-in process proceeded smoothly. Callsigns from 32 stations attending stations were recognized.

Introductory Announcements:

  1. Dan KR4UB: We currently have 105 members on the club roster, 75 of which have paid up dues. In addition, new apps have been placed on the club website. One of these is for Zoom conferencing. The club has purchased a site license to use this product
  1. David W4SAR: The club is looking for ways to continue offering its program of volunteer-administered license testing for members in the wake of the pandemic. One approach to solving this problem might be to search out opportunities for collaboration with other clubs to accomplish this important function remotely in a shared fashion. David also reaffirmed that the club will continue to practice social distancing in all of its activities. .

Discussion:

  1. David W4SAR: The main topic for this meeting is to discuss how the club’s participation in field day will be impacted by the recent rule changes proposed and adopted for the event by the ARRL. Before launching that discussion It is important to recall that the rule changes were made to encourage and allow broadened participation of League members and clubs from their home stations rather than stations grouped together in a “field” setting which has traditionally been the desired format. In fact, in past years club rules have dictated that participating stations operating from their homes and obtaining power from commercial mains (Category “D” stations) could only earn contact points for exchanges with traditional non-D stations operating in the field. The new rules recently placed in effect only for field day 2020 permit category ”D” stations to work and earn contact points through exchanges with all other categories of stations participating in the event.
  1. Questions and Comments from Membership

This section contains a synopsis of the commentary offered by club members following David’s introduction.

  1. Wilson W4BOH – Offered operating space to anyone wishing to set up a station at his home. This kind offer is a continuation of Wilson’s generous hosting of the field day operations for OCRA and DFMA members for many years.
  2. Howie WA4PSC – Offered to provide an Elecraft KX3 for someone needing an HF rig for SSB or CW operation in the contest.
  3. Aurora KN4VXB — Announced her interest in making satellite contacts during Field day. She would like to work with others to build a station capable of doing that. One of her planned projects is to build a tape measure antenna for satellite work.
  4. Bill N8BR – Offered the use of his IC7300 for someone needing an HF rig for CW or SSB operation during the contest.
  5. Bruce N1LN – Offered suggestions on how the club might best organize its overall effort during this year’s revised event. Historically speaking field day efforts involving DFMA / OCRA groups during past years have been highly coordinated. Stations for each band have been planned, organized, equipped, set-up and staffed under the tutelage of a Band captain who has overseen its operation throughout the entire weekend event, and ultimately helped our club president in the preparation of a composite club log for submission to the ARRL. However, the operation we are contemplating for this year is comprised of a group of autonomous stations separated by relatively long distances each focused on earning as many points as possible in a contest effort for which many of us have little experience. There are no band captains to organize operators, attend to equipment needs, design and set up stations for individual bands, or coordinate logging. Many of us may be very good operators but are lacking in the knowledge or equipment needed to get the whole job done. To help to alleviate some of these issues I am volunteering to contact those of you planning to operate in FD to determine any equipment needs you may have or special assistance you may need to get your planned operations up and running. That information will be posted on the club website. We also need to know what resources you might have available to help others participate more effectively in this effort. Please note that we have only about 2 weeks to not only get our planning done but to implement it as well.
  6. David W4SAR: As a point of clarification, logging for field day operations this year will be done and submitted to the ARRL on an individual basis by each participating category D station wishing to contribute to a club score. Please study the current rules for field day and procedures for submitting logs found at ARRL.org or on your club website. In order for your QSO’s to count toward our combined club score please indicate your affiliation with OCRA/DFMA when you submit your log.

After a number of closing comments the meeting adjourned at 9:17 PM.

Bill N8BR/s