OCRA Monthly Club Meeting Minutes – August 10, 2020

Monthly Membership Club Meeting Minutes – August 10. 2020 by Bill, N8BR Club Secretary

Meeting convened at 7:30 By David, W4SAR Platforms Utilized: Repeater and Zoom

Members Present: W4SAR Dave, KB1WE Wayne, KR3AM Mark, KA1HPM Nick, N2XZF Paul, W4BOH Wilson, AC4RD Ken, W3AHL Steve, N8BR Bill, WA4AHR Dewey, KO4DHJ Ken, KU4GC Dee, N1LN Bruce, KM4MBG Jack, W4KIL Andy, KI4MXP Gerald, WB4OSU Sherry, N4KF Ken, KN4EOO Rick, KF4PAB Lenore, N1YXU Laurie, KR4UB Dan, KD4YJZ Karen, KZ1X Steve, KN4VXB Aurora, NC4CD Charlie, N4JQR J.R., KO4EJX Steve

Treasurer’s Report (Dan KR4UB): Current Club Membership stands at 111 (82 active paid up members, 28 requiring renewal, and 1 expiring). 3 folks are awaiting volunteer exam session). 21 new members have been added during the past 12 months.

Program Introduction: (David, W4SAR): Tonight’s program was a presentation by one of our club members, Aurora KN4VXB. Aurora has been active in a number of our events. In June she made a serious contribution to club efforts during Field Day when she single-handedly spearheaded its effort to make a two-way contact with one of the amateur radio satellites. And, more recently in August she organized and hosted a fox hunt for the club. In tonight’s program she will tell us in detail about the two parts of that event.

OCRA Foxhunt (Aurora KN4VXB): In Aurora’s words this activity was inspired by the non-conventional format of field day this year as well as Aurora’s own desire to learn about radio direction finding. It was her first experience with the technology. Primary “Elmers” were Steve K1ZX who provided the fox beacon, and Dan KR4UB who volunteered to be the “fox”.

I am also including a link of the article written about the fox hunt by KR4UB after actually participating in the event itself. It is on the OCRA website at:

Who were those masked folks at the August 1st Foxhunt?

Further, the link to one of the foxes hunted on the foot search is:
https://www.byonics.com/mf

Finally, the Fox Hunt KC9ON Fox Hunt version 6 kit Aurora used is at:

Fox Hunt V6

Following the presentation Aurora held a question and answer session with the membership.

Comments (David W4SAR): Thanks to Aurora for a marvelous presentation. Thanks also to Dan for his help.

Award for Outstanding Service to the Club by New Member:

One of our club members who wishes to remain anonymous has given a gift to the club in the form of dues for one year to be awarded to a new club member for their outstanding service to the club. This year that award is going to Aurora KN4VXB. Congratulations!

Club-wide Discussion and Commentary:

W3AHL Steve: I am in the process of preparing for a trip to New Mexico some time in the future but being hampered by some difficulty with my vehicle.

WA4AHR Dewey: I appreciated Aurora’s talk. Would like to participate in a fox hunt. He will do it another time.

KO4DHJ Ken: Thanks to Aurora. I really enjoy the club.

KU4GC Dee: Aurora did a wonderful job. The material on the raspberry Pi is interesting.

N1LN Bruce: Two things. 1. I joined the virtual hamfest online this past weekend and there was a wonderful session on the K4. The first shipments will be the end of August. 2. This coming weekend is the NA QSO party on SSB.

W4KIL Andy: Nothing to add. I am enjoying what is going on.

WB4OSU Sherry: I did a zoom-build with Aurora. We built an antenna and I learned a lot. The stuff with raspberry pi is interesting. Also enjoyed learning N1MM for field day.

N4KF Ken: I am new to the club and have enjoyed the comments. My home is in Hillsborough.

KN4EOO Rick: I enjoyed the presentation. I am currently taking on-line courses.

N1YXU Laurie: I’ve been helping Bruce take his antennas down. Thanks to Aurora for a great presentation.

KR4UB Dan: Many thanks to Aurora. I am looking forward to the upcoming sessions on raspberry pi and other microcontrollers. I want to learn more.

KD4YJZ Karen: I am interested in the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. I wasn’t able to get on, especially the segment on remote operating. Can we get a copy of what’s going on?

KB1WE Wayne: Hello all! A great presentation tonight by Aurora. I have built some fox hunt stuff and will send along the details. Especially on directional antennas.

KA1HPM Nick: Aurora I appreciate your efforts. This is encouraging to hear about! There are 3 Volunteer examiners in Chatham County now. Perhaps they can run some VE sessions with us. Our 2 meter duplexers are finished and ready to put into cabinets now.

N2XZF Paul: A new DFMA 6 meter repeater is now on the air at TV Hill in Durham. Program your radio to receive 53.630 MHz and transmit on 52.630 MHz with a 88.5Hz PL. All are invited to check in to the weekly 6 meter net on Wednesdays at 8:30pm. Bob, K4VO is net control.

W4BOH Wilson: Chris was with us helping neighbors put up a repeater to boost signals for the cell phone. The subscription is through T Mobile. He also has an antenna on his field day tower. Has some updated information on the tape measure antenna.

N4JQR J.R.: Hello All! Great Meeting.

Adjournment W4SAR David: The club just keeps going in spite of numerous distractions. Good Evening all! Meeting Adjourned.

OCRA Monthly Membership Meeting – July 13, 2020

from Bill N8BR, OCRA Secretary….

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS
Monthly Membership Meeting – July 13, 2020 MINUTES

Convened at 7:30pm by Dave, W4SAR – 442.150 Repeater Net & Zoom Video Conference

Members Present: N8BR, Bill; WA2JLW, Roy; WA4AHR, Dewey; W3AHL, Steve; KN4EOO, Rick; W4BOH, Wilson; KA1HPM, Nick; KU4GC, Dee; KO4DHJ, Ken; KA5ETS, Doug; N1LN, Bruce; KC1BVL, Robbey; KM4MBG, Jack; KI4MXP, Gerald; W4KIL, Andy; WB4OSU,  Sherri; KW4JY, Calvin; W4ORD, Lad; N4SJW, John; KD4YJZ, Karen; KZ1X, Steve; KN4ZHP, Mike; NA4VY, Dave; KJ4VWG, Sam; KN4VXB, Aurora; N2XZF, Paul; N1YXU, Laurie; KR3AM, Mark; W4SAR, David; KR4UB, Dan

Dan, KR4UB – Treasurer’s Report: We now have 85 club members with dues current and 27 needing to renew their membership. 25 new members have joined the club over the past 12 months. A new power supply and SCOM repeater controller needed to deploy the 145.230 repeater in Chatham County has been purchased. Nick, KA1HPM is modifying the cabinet for better mounting of the equipment and Steve, W3AHL is in process of retuning the duplexer.

Dave, W4SAR – President’s Report on Field Day: In a normal year field day is a combined effort between the members of OCRA and DFMA. This year, owing to the Covid19 pandemic, folks participating in this event were encouraged to operate from their homes. In past years these “D” category stations were not permitted to earn credit for contacts with other stations operating in that category. However, this year the ARRL relaxed that requirement and allowed the “D” group operators to earn credit for contacts made with all operating classes.

Further, all members of a recognized club who are operating in the event are required to submit individual scores along with verification of their club affiliation instead of having their clubs submit a total club score on their members’ behalf. Be sure to enter “Orange County Radio Amateurs & Durham FM Association” in the Club/Group Name Field. So, this year The ARRL will combine the points earned by each member of a recognized club and post the club totals. This makes it absolutely necessary for each of us who participated in field day to submit a score by no later than July 28th.

Please mark your calendars so this deadline will be met!! If assistance is needed with the preparation of a log, please let me know so arrangements may be made to get this task completed.

Relevant to this discussion. David is preparing certificates for OCRA and DFMA participants in Field Day. To date 42 participants have indicated their involvement. Please make certain that you have made him aware of your involvement.

Club-Wide Discussion of Field Day:
Bruce, N1LN: This was a great event. Congratulations to all participants, Laurie and I worked together. She used SSB and I was on CW. We shared a single rig and alternated modes for the entire contest. It was a wonderful opportunity for Class D stations.

Pluses for this year’s format:

  • 100 watts. This power level proved to be a great advantage for running stations—a big boost over the normal QRP efforts we made in past years.
  • Reduce the number towers, power distribution, complexity, etc that must be set-up, then torn down which is very tiring given the summer heat. More time and energy left to operate.

Minuses for this year’s format:

  • No potluck on Friday night. That get-together was important and a highlight of FD.
  • Problem solving activities associated with set up that fostered lots of valuable interactions.

Suggestions for the future: Should have lower than 9A category for the club. Too many stations and not enough operators. Should run 100 watts.

David, W4SAR: Shares Bruce’s sentiments. Misses the potluck.

Wilson. W4BOH: Enjoyed field day! Agrees with Bruce’s suggestions that we go lower than 9A and above 5 watts. Is continuing his activities with old radios and animals.

Dan, KR4UB; Enjoyed field day. Supports Bruce’s notion of less than 9A and above 5 watts for next year. Believes field day is a great medium for mentoring new members and teaching a wide variety of skills that are useful in many aspects of the hobby. Enjoyed the video conferencing that was set up for field day and was a great motivator watching Bruce, Laurie, and others working into the night. That motivation led to 287 FT-8 contacts for 1198 points total.

Nick, KA1HPM: Nick and his son (KN4QBY) worked field day together from home. Nick Jr, learned radio and they both had fun. They will both be submitting logs. They were disappointed in the logging program and did not know how a dupe sheet is supposed to be used in log submission.

Lad, W4ORD: Operated field day out of his trailer using battery power. They got a late start. A 20 meter sloper was used as an antenna which worked well on 20. 40, and 15. Solar power was used during the day. The triband beam they were planning to use fell down but new parts are being installed to make repairs.

Aurora, KN4VXB: Believes that many new hams out there want to learn about the practical aspects of the hobby such as equipment set-up, antenna installation, etc. So it is important to include them in the setting up for field day and other events. She worked hard to make a satellite contact during FD but couldn’t get through the pile ups. Between now and the next field day she will practice making satellite contacts so next time she will succeed!

Jack, KM4MBG: Enjoys the Friday night events at field day and enjoys putting together the stations and antennas.

Andy, WA4KIL: Only 15 FD log submissions have been made so far. Those still outstanding should be submitted to the ARRL ASAP!

Ken, KO4DHJ: Ken, a new ham, enjoys set up and take down in events like FD. Please keep him in the loop.

Sherry, WB4OSU: FD this year was a bit weird, but it was nice to stay in house. She made 470 points. She had to learn to configure and use N1MM for logging, but it was a good experience and worked well. Old antennas that she had previously abandoned worked well for field day. Her 5 watts seemed to work pretty well and she is looking forward to the next contest.

Doug, KA5ETS: He needs to submit his logs. 112 digital contacts were made. Good Zoom and a good time.

Dave, W4SAR: His vertical antenna was broken, but he was able to figure out how to do FT8 and had a ball using it.

Lad, W4ORD: Last year we had an outstanding caterer for the Christmas Party. If we want to use him this year we have to make a reservation and need to decide on a location. We can go ahead with that and just put it on hold until our plans solidify.

Wilson, W4BOH: Apparently the Bahai’ facility is available but our regular hall in Hillsborough would be closer. The idea of having a potluck has been floated. What do folks feel about that?

Laurie, N1YVU: Thanks to Lad and Wilson for your work and suggestions. There has been talk about the possibility of a potluck. Be assured that our members provide well-honed skills good service and great food. Plus, there is the possibility of getting them to prepare a cookbook.

Dan, KR4UB: Supports the idea of a potluck. That would also provide a better level of socialization for the event and, if the pandemic causes a last minute disruption, it will be easier to respond accordingly.

Lad, W4ORD: I can certainly support a potluck. Either way is fine with me.

Bill, N8BR: I support the idea of a potluck. The folks in this group prepare wonderful food, appetizers and desserts. Thumbs up for that!

Paul, N2XZF: I like the idea of the cookbook!

Aurora, KN4VXC: Just a reminder of her earlier announcement concerning the Fox Hunt on August 1. There will be both morning and afternoon events, and if you are interested in either one or both please let her know.

Nick, KA1HPM: Update on repeater towers in Chatham County. It turns out that the planned Moncure tower is in the approach path of the Lee County Airport. In the FAA permitting process it was determined that the original planned 350’ height can only be 270’ in height due to its location in the flight path. The search is on for alternative locations, one being the use of an existing water tank with a tower extension to achieve the desired height. More news later.

Hearing no further comments the meeting was adjourned by net control Dave, W4SAR.

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

OCRA Club Over-the-Air Meeting 442.150 Repeater with Audio Linked Zoom Conference

Monday, May 11th, 2020
7:30pm to 8:30pm
Description:
Our next monthly membership meeting for OCRA will be Monday, May 11 at 7:30 pm.  Since Orange County still restricts all gatherings to 10 persons or less, the Efland Baha’i Center remains closed.

We will hold the meeting over the W4UNC 442.150+ repeater, PL 131.8

Additionally, we will have a Zoom meeting held simultaneously, so that those who cannot access the repeater may still participate. We have been experimenting with audio links between Zoom and the repeater, so it should work well.

Hope to hear you there!

See the OCRA Club Meeting Notice posted on the OCRA/DFMA groups.io Message Board for the OCRA Zoom Video Conference Log-in Information.

73,

Dave Snyder, W4SAR

========================================

 

 

OCRA Board Meeting Minutes – April 7th, 2020

Meeting Held by Video Conference

Present:

  • Dave W4SAR
  • Karen KD4YJZ
  • Bill N8BR
  • Nick KA1HPM
  • Dee KU4GC
  • Dan KR4UB
  • Wilson W4BOH

Agenda for Monday April 13th Over-the-Air Club Meeting

  • Monday’s Meeting will take place on the repeater—it will provide membership an opportunity to communicate in a round table discussion. To make it work will require a well-controlled management. Dave will direct the meeting.
  • Dan will review membership. There are now 72 members in the club. 20 are new. A high number need to pay dues, but these folks will not be identified to the club in an open meeting. However, our website will have a corrected current list of paid up members.
  • Nick will comment on the activities of Chatham Auxcom. That organization is on standby with a 48 hour notification of activities. They are not holding meetings at the EOC due to Covid-19 social gathering restrictions.

Following Dan’s enquiry Dee announced that DurHamFest for this year has been cancelled. Durham schools are closed for the rest of the current school year.

Dave announced that VEC duties with exams are on hold for now. This is a good thing since the exam team is in general composed of older folks who are most severely affected by the virus. ARRL is talking about the use of remote testing but in the mean time we will follow local regulations that currently govern meeting location and size of meetings.

A discussion of the current status of field day ensued. As of now the regulations are the same as they were last year, and will remain so until the ARRL makes a final decision. Dave believes the event will likely be cancelled. Discussion ensued concerning the potential problems involved with activities such as decontamination of mikes, keys and operating positions for participating stations as well as maintenance of social distancing issues. Dan will solicit comments on field day from the club.

Dan suggested that he has thoroughly enjoyed the few events that the club has presented by video conferencing, and suggested that we consider using more of this technology to both promote our club to potential new members as well as to better serve existing ones. His comments catalyzed considerable enthusiasm among the group. Specific suggestions that arose from the discussion included using this technology to:

  1. Recruit new club members
  2. Broaden participation at meetings by members living too far away to permit regular attendance
  3. Engage speakers from other clubs and relevant organizations to give presentations at our meetings without asking them to travel long distances.
  4. To present our club members with opportunities to more effectively collaborate with their counterparts in contesting, dxing, operating, public service and other important areas of our hobby.

The foregoing discussions culminated in the unanimous decision by this committee to present the membership with a motion to:

“Empower Dan, KR4UB, our website administrator,

  1. to research the basic strategies our club should use in order to most  effectively interface its mission with current best practice technologies for video conferencing.
  2. supervise the allocation of club funds to acquire the equipment, supplies, and subscriptions needed for the club to be able to utilize these technologies”.

Bill, N8BR – Club Secretary

OCRA Monthly Meeting – Monday April 13th @ 7:30pm via the 442.150 Repeater. NO Meeting @ Efland Baha’i Center

As the Efland Baha’i Center remains closed due to the State and County directives that will not permit gatherings, we will hold our monthly OCRA meeting over the air on the W4UNC repeater (442.150+, 131.8 PL). This will be via a directed net, similar in format to the AUXCOMM/ARES nets held on Saturday mornings, I as club president who usually runs the meetings, will act as net control, with someone else as a back up. We will commence this net at 7:30 pm on Monday, April 13.

When checking in, give your call sign and name only, I ask that we dispense with the “what I’ve done with ham radio lately comments” we usually do with introductions, we’ll have rag chew opportunities later in the net.

After all attendees are checked in, we will have brief officer’s reports. We will have brief pauses for any members to make queries or give brief comments, via the net control.

Our agenda at this time is:

AUXCOMM/ARES

Volunteer Exams

Field Day

Any other items?

There will be a pause after each agenda item, again for any member queries or comments, going through the net control.

Following the completion of the agenda, we will have a roll call checkout, as we do with the Saturday nets, where members who wish to continue a rag chew are welcome to do so.

Hope to talk to many of you there, stay safe all!

73,

Dave Snyder, W4SAR

DFMA Club Over-the-Air Meeting, Tuesday April 7th at 7pm

DFMA will not be having in-person meetings until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, our hobby supports communicating from a distance. Instead of our usual monthly meeting at Bullock’s, we’ll have a special net. The net will be at 7pm on April 7th, our usual meeting time, on the linked 145.45- and 147.225+ repeaters (both have a PL tone of 82.5). You can also check-in over the Internet via Echolink/SVXLink to the WR4AGC-R node. The format of the net will be check-ins (in place of our usual introductions), officer reports, and a rag chew round table discussion.

Jack, KM4MBG, 4/3/20

OCRA-DFMA Saturday Morning Breakfast, rather Video Conference

from Jack, KM4MBG & Chris, KK4VBE

Reminder tomorrow, April 4th, after the 9:30am Orange County Auxcomm net on the 442.150 repeater

There will be a Saturday morning video conference to help fill the void left by the cancelation of our celebrated ham breakfasts due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That net usually doesn’t last long, so we’ll try to start at 9:45am local time.

Directions for Joining:

Make sure you have a computer with good microphone and speakers (a headset often works well). There is no software to install. Use your web browser to go to URL address posted in the video conference announcement note on the OCRA-DFMA Joint Email list at the appointed time.

Thanks to Chris, KK4VBE, for hosting the server. Hope to see y’all online.

And more from Chris,

If you do not have a computer with a camera and or mic but have a smartphone you can still join in on the video call. You will need to install the Jitsi app form the app/play store.

IOS App Link https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jitsi-meet/id1165103905
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.jitsi.meet

Then at the appointed time click the link in the recently posted note on the OCRA-DFMA Joint Email list and your web browser will open and give you the option to launch the app.

73, Chris KK4VBE

Earlier note from Jack, KM4MBG,

  • WHO: As some of you know, there are various HAM groups in the area that meet on Saturday mornings for breakfast.
  • WHAT: At least one of these groups organized a virtual meeting March 28th among themselves. We had also talked about doing a virtual meeting on the DMFA net.
  • WHEN: Originally, I had called for the club’s virtual breakfast meeting to be at the same time as one of these other gatherings, but decided to defer to next Saturday, April 4th.
  • WHY: Those of use who are not introverted [1] need some socialization time. In addition, those of us who are not working from home or are unhappy with the remote collaboration tools that our workplace is using, wanted an excuse to play with technology.
  • WHERE: This wasn’t asked, but it fits the theme. For the first meeting, we’ll be using the Jitsi Meet browser application. I’ll send out more details and a reminder next week.

Many thanks Jack & Chris!

It was the night before Christmas and….

It was the night before Christmas and ….

Oh, No, No, No!!!!

It was Saturday morning before Christmas, 2019, and seven local hams were gathered at the rear round table of Virlie’s Grill, Pittsboro, NC. Just the week before, John Mitchell, KK4VUR had distributed early Christmas gifts of nice surplus utility enclosures. BIG THANKS to John, KK4VUR !

As part of the lively discussion this morning, Herb Allred, N4HA, revealed what he has already done with his utility box. Attached are photos of his “to go” station, with carrying handle attached to the top, containing his 20 meter CW QRP transceiver, antenna wire, iambic paddle, headphones and battery pack. The first photo shows Herb Alred, N4HA, on the left and Jim Davis, W4CFO, on the right. Note the use of popsicle sticks to secure the key paddle inside the lid of the box.

Very creative and ready to put on the air, maybe at a state park. Add a sandwich, drink and a few snacks in the box, (note the ketchup and maple syrup in the photo), and he is in for a good time.

Good luck Herb with many contacts and some DX. 20 meters has been better lately.

Don’t forget, Saturday mornings, 8:30 am (or earlier) at Virlie’s Grill, Pittsboro, NC (round table in the back of the room).

Best 73 and very MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and HAPPY NEW YEAR !

John, KX4P

OCRA Membership Meeting – July 8, 2019

Dave, W4SAR, club president opened the meeting with introductions, the topic for tonight’s meeting being Field Day results and call for officer reports.  In attendance tonight were 8 license-seeking candidates, one of our largest membership meeting testing groups.

Dan, KR4UB, treasurer reported 73 members are current with their dues with 26 members needing renewal. Club treasury balance is in line with ongoing expenses.

Nick, KA1HPM, stated two towers near Lowes hardware in Chatham County exist with antenna and feed-line.  Steve, W3HAL, and Dan, KR4UB, would assist in assessing the possibility of usage.

Field Day Results:

Dave, W3SAR, provided a Field Day point breakdown, and will post final results on this    website soon.  The unofficial count was 2997 QSO points, with 1727 QSO points awarded multipliers for a total of 14,985 points.  We had less points this year, but propagation was poor, except for 40 Meter.

Steve, KZ1X, proposed running 100 Watts rather than 5 Watts next year. While QRP, or low power…5 Watts, gets you multipliers, 100 Watts would allow more stations to hear, which would be more fun. Additionally, if sun spot activity is nearing a null, then 100 Watts may a sound strategy for the next couple of years.

Wilson gave thanks to Steve, W3AHL, for doing a great job on the N1MM network.  Steve, W3AHL, stated the 10 dedicated computers along with static IP addresses provided more resiliency and up time than last year. Wilson also appreciated John, KM4MDR, for doing a wonderful job managing the food preparation and service…at a’boys!

Additional Notes:

Dan, KR4UB, stated Phillips High School still has an antenna and transceiver used from an earlier ISS contact needing reclamation.  If interested in assisting, please leave a reply!

Finally, Dan, KR4UB, will present FT8 at the next DFMA meeting!

OCRA Board Meeting – July 2019

Attendance:

Steve W3AHL, Dave W4SAR, Karen KD4YJZ, Wilson W4BOH, Dan (KR4UB), Dee KU4GC, Keith W1KES, Lad W4ORD

Treasurer Report:

The checking and saving balances are in line with ongoing expenses. The pre-pay meal approach proved again very successful with 47 dinners and 34 breakfasts.  The more accurate head count for purchasing and preparing meals left little food with a net income of $93.

Field Day:

A big thank you to Wilson W4BOH and his family for hosting, John KM4MDR for providing Friday lunch and facilitating meal preperation, and all the other OCRA/DFMA members who assisted with set up, operation, and tear down.

Notable events:

  • Weather was very extremely favorable throughout the event
  • Computer network was reliable, thanks to Steve W3HAL efforts
  • The digi stations has some difficulty operating from the garage.  Will need to identify opportunities for another location next year.
  • Progation was very good with contacts made in Washington, California, and Hawaii
  • Satellite proved difficult as power overload from a few sites made contacts difficult for others
  • Consider using FT8 for kid contacts to avoid “mic fright”
  • Estimated contact points was 15,160, with bonus points was 17,310.
  • Further discussion need regarding Friday’s lunch as pre-pay

Please add your Field Day pictures and comments to the site.  We would enjoy sharing in your special moments.

Steve purchased automated external defibrillator (AED) battery and pads, which should be good for the next couple of years.

Nick KA1HPM secured call sign KAM for a special event station to honor Hiram Percy Maxim 150 birthday, co-founder of the ARRL.  The two day special event will take place September 2, from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  Mark your calendars now!

 

 

OCRA Membership Meeting – June 10th, 2019

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.

OCRA Membership Meeting – May 13, 2019

Treasurer Report:

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.

DurHam Fest:

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.

Repeater:

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.

  1.  Helmet – if assisting with tower construction and placement
  2.  Gloves
  3.  Safety kit
  4. Water bottle
  5. Bug spray
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Hat
  8. Smile