OCRA Board Meeting, August 27, 2018


Steve (W3HAL), Dan (KR4UB), Bill (N8BR), Wilson (W4BOH), Lad (W4ORD), Karen (KD4YJZ), Dave (W4SAR), Dee (KU4GC), MK (W4MKR), and Keith (W1KES)

Treasurer Report:

Treasury balance is still strong with 78 members current, 28 needing to renew, and 2 being removed from membership.

Repeater – Chatham County has budgeted for additional towers, which may provide opportunities for OCRA to share available repeaters.

Repeater insurance continues to increase, with two insured climbers required for any tower work resulting in several thousand dollars per climb.   The Virginia Beach Kenwood repair business, which NCOCRA used for repeater repairs, was independently owned but now no longer in business.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES): 

Steve (W3HAL) will retire from ARES AuxComm later this year.  Thanks to Steve for all his support over the past years.  This provides a great opportunity for those interested in ARES or emergency coordination to gain experience and continue Steve’s work with Orange County and other service organizations. This will be a topic of discuss at the next NCOCRA Membership meeting.

Keith (W1KES) and Dan (KR4UB) will prepare a presentation on the technical and communication practices for repeaters.  This presentation will provide a great way for new Hams to learn and older Hams to relearn about standard repeater usage and support.

Hillsborough Hog Day is September 14 and 15.  NCOCRA historically has a booth to introduce the public to amateur radio.  If interested, please contact Lad (W4ORD).

Christmas Dinner – We discussed options to reduce the food variety, which may help to lower the costs. We are striving to keep the cost to approximately $20 per person.

Wilson offered to host a Have Another Meal (HAM) pitch in at his house this Fall. More information will be forthcoming.




OCRA Board Meeting, May 28, 2018

++ Please Note: Field Day – Prepay Meal explained below. 


Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Dee (KU4GC), MK (W4MKR), Steve (W3AHL), Dan (KR4UB), Keith (W1KES), Wilson (W4BOH), Lad (W4ORD), and Bill (N8BR)

Field Day:  Prepay Meals

For this year’s 2018 Field Day, OCRA and DFMA are asking attendees to prepay ($5) for the Field Day June 23, Saturday 5 PM super and June 24 Sunday Breakfast (will refund if you must cancel, provided written cancellation is received before the food purchase date noted below.)  This is necessary to avoid the club losing significant money or, asking members who do show up to pay a higher amount to cover those who do not.

Prepayment authorizes the club to buy food on your behalf and can be by cash or check at the next meeting or mailed.  PayPal costs for many small payments is excessive and precludes use of that feature. Meal orders must be received by OCRA by June 18th.  Vegetarian meals are available. If you pay and later find you must cancel, send an email to treasurer@ncocra.org prior to the June 19th food order date, and your payment will be refunded or, you can use it as a tax deductible donations to the club, or extend your memberships, hihi.

The food purchase committee consisting of Lad, MK,and Dee will work with Jean (KR4UB ‘s XYL) to coordinate logistics.  We are seeking donations from Food Lion and possible Costco, but will reconsider whether donations are needed for next year.

DFMA Hamfest: 

The DFMA Hamfest was a good success.  OCRA club table netted $52.  The Volunteer Examiner (VE) session was successful with outcomes for 2 Extra, 4 General, and 3 Technician.


OCRA Board has decided to limit pursuing UNC campus for a repeater location. Instead, the priority will be to keep the 442.150 repeater active and on the air,  and ensure we have a trusted, hot-swappable repeater for backup.

We are actively seeking interested OCRA members to join the Repeater “team.”  This is a great opportunity for interested Hams to learn more about maintaining and supporting repeaters in the local area. If interested, please leave responsed to this post, or send an email to board@ncocra.org.


OCRA Board Meeting, April 30, 2018


Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Dee (KU4GC), MK (W4MKR), Steve (W3AHL), Dan (KR4UB), Keith (W1KES), Wilson (W4BOH), Lad (W4ORD)


Balance statement is strong.  Current membership with dues current is 74.

Establish a Board email group – will use to share and approve meeting minutes

Dan (KR4UB) has created a new membership sign up form to assist in managing existing and new members.  We need to announce at next membership that OCRA stickers are available for $5.


Dan (KR4UB) will contact Alex at UNC to determine if they are able to provide any financial assistance.  The level of assistance will help determine our next steps.  There may be opportunities to locate and share the repeater with Chatham County CERT. We need to be diligent in discussions and move forward with a repeater decision in the coming months.

Public Service:

Steve (W3AHL) mentioned that public service activities are down this year.  However, John Stone mentioned that several new events have been added to the schedule. If interested in sharpening your ARES or CERT skills, these events are great learning opportunities.

Durham Fest:

There is work session Friday May 25 from 6:00-8:00 for setup.  Saturday morning, setup assistance will be needed starting around 7:00 AM.  The ham fest will start at 8:00 AM and end around 12:30 PM, with tear down starting shortly thereafter.  Tables are $12 and space available for $8.

Early registration tickets are available and will be registered for $50 drawing.  VE session will also be part of the HAM Fest.


Board agrees to spend $24 for two tables.

Field Day:

Planning is ongoing. Antenna designs and locations will be finalized in the next month.

Lad will contact Kelly to determine available, costs, and logistics for providing diner around 5:00 PM on Saturday night.  This would reduce the dependency on band captains and other participants in managing meal logistics.

Sunday morning breakfast will still be provided by members.

OCRA Board Meeting, February 26, 2018


Dee (KU4GC), MK (W4MKR), Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Wilson (W4BOH), Steve (W3AHL), Dan (KR4UB), Keith (W1KES)

Treasurer Report:  Balance is still strong, current membership is 77 active members.

Tower Report

Tower Engineering provided a quote to complete the drawings, gain state approval, and install the antenna.  However, the quote is cost prohibited for the club.  Dan (KR4UB) and Steve (W3AHL) will schedule time with UNC to discuss a possible cost sharing arrangement.

Meeting Development and Membership Encouragement

 Meeting development and membership encouragement is a primary focus this year.  As expressed in the last Membership meeting, and again in this Board meeting, we are seeking ideas on how to improve the meeting experience.  Below are a list of suggestions and actions being taken to enhance our membership meetings.  We encourage members to provide feedback and get involved.

Amateur Radio Club Development is based on establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationship.  We encourage members to get involved in the club.  If you have interests, skills, or experiences you wish to share with new hams, or the general membership, please let any of the Board members know.

Suggestions and Actions:

  • Keith (W1KES) contact the Chapel Hill High School to begin discussing presenting Amateur Radio to the Physics class.
  • John (KX4P) will be facilitating our next meeting program. The topic should be finalized later this month.
  • Kurt (N2PCC) is working with published schematics to build his own 40 meter Benson small meter. Once complete he is willing to be program topic.
  • Dan (KR4UB) is installing software to the NCOCRA blog that will allow members to add pictures directly to the blog.
  • Dave (W4SAR) is establishing an Elmer resource pool. After Membership introductions, we need to ask if there are questions, or if anyone needs assistance.  If so, we can assign an Elmer to assist.
  • Wilson (W4BOH) has offered his barn for wheel chair accessible for Field Day. The barn has a concrete floor and would be more wheel chair friendly than the grass.
  •  The board suggested scheduling a portable station at a local park to provide a demonstration and educate new hams and the public to the wonderful world of amateur radio.

Dave (W4SAR) will take the suggestions above and those offered at the last membership meeting to develop a plan, which he will communicate at the next membership meeting.

We want to hear from you.  Please provide a suggestions by replying to this post.  73

OCRA Board Meeting, January 28, 2018


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


  • Thanks to Wilson for hosting the meeting at his home.
  • Keith will reach out to Chapel Hill High School to explore the possibility of introducing students to the hobby.


73 membership dues are current and an appropriate reserve balance is in our accounts.

For 2017 our expenditures exceeded income by $457. The largest contributor to our negative balance was the purchase of the extra repeater, which was a great value for the price.


The 442.150 MHz repeater currently has limited usage. Steve (W3AHL) mentioned that resident’s of Chatham county would be interested in establishing a local CERT. The Board would support the usage of the repeater for CERT and encourage the residents to focus on developing the team. Similarly, the Board encourages OCRA members to join and support ARES, which is a great way for new hams to become familiar with equipment and techniques.

What questions, technical or procedural, would you like answered? Let us know.

OCRA Board Meeting – October 30, 2017

OCRA Board Meeting


Dan (KR4UB), Mike (KK4BPH), Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Sherri (WB4OSU), Lad (W4ORD), and Keith (W1KES)


Treasure Report: 73 membership dues are current and an appropriate reserve balance is in our accounts

UNC Repeater

Dan mentioned that Steve has worked with Tower Engineering Group.  Dan and Steve will request a quote from Tower to finalize the repeater drawings, and install the repeater.  Dan and Steve will bring the quote back to the Board for discussion.

Back Up Repeater

Dave made an executive decisions to purchase a backup repeater, after consulting with the Board. The new backup repeater is identical to the one currently in operation.  This particular model is now discontinued, thus the urgency to purchase.  The new repeater was $1,000 and can be cloned to provide additional continuity for the existing repeater for many years.

For comparison, a newer repeater model is roughly $4000.  While the new repeaters are both digital and analogue, the additional cost would not have provided an identical clone to the existing repeater.  With the cost of tower work now around $1,000 per incident, cloning the existing repeater and having a ready backup made better fiscal sense than purchasing a newer repeater model.

OCRA Christmas Dinner

The OCRA Christmas Dinner will be held again at the Hillsborough Exchange Club on Monday, December 11.  The goal is to secure 60 attendees, which will keep the cost below $20 per person.  The Board discussed having attendees pay in advance to ensure we reach a commitment level that is cost affordable.  Please consider securing your reservation by making payment at the November 13, OCRA Membership meeting.  We will also make payment available via PayPal.  We will discuss this topic more at the November 13 OCRA Membership meeting.

Field Day results – still not known.

Hopefully, we should know by the November 13 meeting.  Additionally, the Board discussed establishing a food committee for this year’s Field Day.  We need dedicated resources that are not operating the stations to secure the food and prepare the meals. This topic will be discussed more in early 2018.

Bouvet DXpedition

The Board discussed sponsoring the Bouvet DXpedition.  However, with the DFMA club already supporting the DXpedition, and with many members having dual membership in both OCRA and DFMA, the Board decided to encourage members of both groups to either support the DFMA sponsorship, or donate individually.

OCRA Board Meeting, April 24, 2017

The minutes of the 4/24 Board Meeting were approved at the 5/29 Board Meeting


The OCRA Board met on Monday, April 24th 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).

The first order of business was the Officers reports. Karen KD4YJZ gave the VP update. For the May meeting, the primary topic is Field Day, as is the June meeting. For the July meeting, we will have a Skywarn presentation.

Joel KM4NOU, Secretary, presented the minutes from the 3/27 Board Meeting for approval, and they were approved with corrections. We are still looking for members with an interest in content creation. Lad and Keith expressed and interest in accounts, and Joel will set them up.

Dan KR4UB, Treasurer, reported that we had a total of 65 members with dues current and that we maintain an appropriate reserve balance in our accounts. Annual insurance is a significant payment that is coming due.

Dan KR4UB, wearing his Repeater Manager hat, gave a repeater update and said that we are still working with UNC for the Neurosciences repeater.

For RARSFest, Dee KU4GC reported that the club earned $447 (net of the $36 table fee).

Dave W4SAR gave the President’s report. The main topic was Field Day.  We are currently an 8A operation rather than a 9A. We are exploring splitting the 40 and 15 phone stations. The key is the total number of stations operational, but they do not have to operate continuously, nor do they all have to be operational simultaneously, so we should be able to get to a 9A operation. The group had extensive discussions around the various options. Additionally, we are pursuing various bonus point opportunities, as this can really make a difference in score. We are pursuing satellite operations (Tucker McGuire W4FS). Also, we are working on several options for elected officials. For ongoing education bonus, a key is who the target is. We talked about Boy Scouts. Lad W4ORD will contact a Durham troop, and Joel KM4NOU will check on Orange County troops. We also discussed the possibility of traffic passing, but this is still aspirational.

LAD W4ORD asked Dee KU4GC for his spreadsheet of how much food to buy, and Dee said he’d get this. In addition, Lad asked Dee about his 10×20 tent, and Dee confirmed he had that. From DFMA, Don KE4UVJ will be bringing ice.

We discussed the importance of getting youth operators (do not have to be licensed, can operate under supervision). We also discussed personal preparedness, and Dave W4SAR said he would put this would put this on the blog, in his role as Safety Chair.


We adjourned at 8:00PM

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 Board Meeting, February 27, 2017

The minutes of the 2/27 meeting were approved unanimously at the 3/27 board meeting.


The OCRA Board met on Monday, February 27th at Mike Carwile’s QTH. This was the first meeting since the 2017 elections, with new VP Karen Snyder KD4YJZ, new Secretary Joel Dunn KM4NOU, and new Board member Lad Carrington W4ORD attending as members.

Attendees: Dee Ramm KU4GC (Board Member), MK Ramm W4MKR (Board Member), Lad Carrington W4ORD (Board Member), Keith Stouter W1KES (Board Member), Mike Carwile KK4BPH (Board Member), Dan Eddleman KR4UB (Treasurer), Joel Dunn KM4NOU (Secretary), Dave Snyder W4SAR (President), Karen Snyder KD4YJZ (Vice President), and Mike North KK4EIB (Board Member).

The first order of business was the Officers reports.

Dan KR4UB reported that we had a total of 72 members with dues current and that we maintain an appropriate reserve balance in our accounts. Dan also explained how he managed Quicken record keeping for individual members, couple members, and family memberships. He then described the process of exporting the Quicken data to the new website database, and passed the presentation to Joel KM4NOU to show.

Joel KM4NOU gave a presentation of the website database, which is developed using the Participants Database plugin. We are developing the ability to allow members to maintain certain information themselves. Joel showed a new membership list page, which allows sorting and selection and is easier to read! Additionally, Joel and Dan both showed how easy it is to post to the website by an authorized user (member accounts need board approval), and Joel created an account for President Dave!

Michael KK4EIB gave a repeater update, and reported that the we have three of the four brackets needed for the repeater on UNC-CH Neurosciences, but still need to buy one for $120. He also has Autocad drawings which will be annotated to show the hardware for the OCRA installation. Howie Hoyt WA4PSC who has previously done an installation on campus, showed the drawings he prepared that were accepted by UNC-CH.

We confirmed that we would have two tables at RarsFest, and Dee KU4GC will make sure that we have this arranged. Dave W4SAR said that he has an ICOM 706 for the table (that was a donation some years back to OCRA) and Dee said he has another 706 for the table. We need to ensure that the membership at large knows that we have these tables for displaying merchandise. We will also be represented at Durhamfest.

Lad W4ORD brought up a concern that if the membership votes to participate in events, that they should understand that this comes with a commitment to volunteer. He asked the officers to stress this when the club committed to volunteer activities.

We had preliminary discussions about Field Day. Dee KU4GC will no longer be coordinating food plans, but he will share the 10-15 years of historical information that he has. Dave W4SAR said that it was important to get a food committee started at the next member meeting, to allow sufficient time for planning. John Boone KM4MDR has already agreed to plan the Pot Luck dinner.

We adjourned at 8:15PM

02/27/17 OCRA Board Meeting

Photo of KK4BPH, Mike’s photography studio (note the back drops)  where the OCRA board meets.

Nice large screen TV for presentations, internet access for live demos and Mike generously provides coffee and some goodies to munch on.

Joel KM4NOU is demonstrating some new OCRA website features to the OCRA board under development.

Dan, KR4UB showing off (again!) how easy it is to post to the OCRA website from his Android phone.