OCRA Board Meeting Minutes – October 20, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Executive Board Meeting – October 20, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom.

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YJZ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); W4BOH Wilson (Board Member).

W4SAR (Dave): President’s Report- Welcome. Call to order.

W4ORD (Lad): Vice President’s Report- There will be a state-wide AUXCOMM meeting at 10:30 this Saturday. It will be presented on WebEx. Unfortunately he is unable to use WebEx on his current computer.. He will try to get a copy for the club.

KR4UB (Dan): Treasurer’s Report– In the recent past Dan tallied our fixed expenses which are in fact indicators of how the club is doing financially. Fortunately our income is staying ahead of our expenses so in general, we are doing okay but not by much. At present all of our income is derived from dues. There have been no hamfests or donated equipment sales. We are down about $600 from repeater expenses in Chatham County. So, in sum we have to be careful with spending.

  1. A key purpose of the club treasury balance is to have sufficient funds available to cover the costs of keeping OCRA repeaters on the air. Although the treasury balance is sufficient to buffer expenses, the present dues income level would not be enough to rebuild the balance as repair costs could be significant.
  2. This opened a discussion about the current $12.00 per member, maximum $25.00 per family membership dues rate which have not been increased since the club’s inception in 1991. $12.00 in 1991 dollars would now be $24.17 in 2021 dollars per an inflation rate calculator.

That said, the big question facing us now is whether or not we should consider raising dues.

N1LN (Bruce) suggested that the issue of dues be discussed at the next club meeting. W4BOH (Wilson) suggested that dues be raised to $20.00.

N1LN (Bruce): Net Operations in OCRA. The club desperately needs to expand the number of people who are involved in managing its nets. For many folks these nets have become time proven essential components of our community’s emergency preparedness strategies. It was further recommended that we identify a reasonable number of folks who are willing and interested in doing the job and then develop an educational program to train them. Perhaps it would be useful for potential net leaders to visit the homes of experienced net operators in order to learn the ropes. Bruce hopes we can develop an action plan at the next meeting. Wilson recommended that we contact potential net operations people via email. Bruce will draft an email for that purpose.

W4ORD (Lad): Progress with Holiday Dinner – The Exchange Club we have used for this occasion in past years is closing down for renovation. There is no specific information on when they plan to reopen.

David will check on the availability of St. Matthews” Episcopal Church and the Baha’i Center. I am continuing to solicit responses from club members concerning their plans to attend. This will be discussed at our next meeting.

KR4UB (Dan): Announcements – Rosie from NASA has agreed to give her presentation. Dan has provided her with possible dates.

W4SAR (David):  Dave reported that Dick Boyton has passed away and his son Bob has donated a substantial amount of his equipment to the club for the purposes of either use or sale. I believe we should put as much as possible into our equipment loan program. We will provide final forms for that enterprise upon request as well as a final list of included items following a complete inventory. At this point the following items are included: Yaesu FT 450D HF and 6M transceiver, Yaesu 790 R-E UHF/VHF module, Yaesu 60-R VHF/UHF HT, 2 Samlex power supplies (7.5A and 5.5A), Realistic DX440 receiver, VHF/UHF mag mount antenna, Heil Pro-Set headphones, ARL morse code oscillator, Heathkit GR81 receiver, jumpers, insulators and various other hardware. Marketing these items was discussed. Dave will write a thank you letter to Bob.

W4SAR (David): Elections -Our election for club officers will be held in January. .

N1LN (Bruce): Bruce raised the question to Dan that since the combined Zoom/Radio Net/Meetings have become an integral part of OCRA social gatherings, what would it take for additional operators/stations to perform that task?

Dan replied that the combined radio net / zoom audio connection is being performed by equipment originally purchased for other use, much of it being commercial quality, including a Roland multiple sound input mixing/level control mini studio monitor and a W2IHY microphone/radio control & audio matching unit, external line impedance matching / level attenuators, audio isolation transformers worth over $800.00 to interface to the Zoom computer. He has searched the internet for more cost effective equipment to no avail. Bruce commented not to forget having a ham station with antennas sufficient to be able to hear and talk to all on UHF & HF is required.

“Plan B” would be to revert back to separate radio nets, followed by a separate Zoom social gathering conference if Dan is not available. More discussion with action items needs to occur at future meetings.

Further discussion followed with Dan adding that with club elections coming up, the alternate names on the club’s bank accounts, safety deposit and post office box key holders may need to be updated. G-Suite will be used to store this vital record information as well as names of alternate members who have administrative access to the club internet and website accounts.

Meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM

WLB/s

 

 

 

OCRA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – May 11th, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Executive Board Meeting – May 11, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YJZ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member) and W4BOH Wilson (Board member)

W4SAR (Dave): Welcome. Call to order. The agenda for this meeting contains a continuation of field day planning, presentation of a report by our treasurer and a commentary on club officer training.

FIELD DAY PLANNING: N1LN (Bruce): The following points were made during this presentation: (1.) We are currently into the 5th revision of the survey of planned Field Day activities submitted by club members during recent weeks. As was the case last year, twenty-seven members have indicated their intentions to come on-board to represent our club in Field Day this June. (2.) The next step in our planning is to agree on software training for our operators. Bruce has revised his presentation on N1MM software and to be available for individualized instruction to anyone needing help with that platform. (3) W4SAR (David) has agreed to provide instruction on N3FJP contesting software to whomever might be interested in using it, and (4). KR4UB (Dan) has graciously offered his services in helping set up and operating digital modes.

QUARTERLY TREASURER’S REPORT: KR4UB (Dan) provided the Quarterly Treasurer’s report. Data presented therein is managed and archived by Quicken. Since OCRA’s primary source of income is from membership dues, the presentation was tailored to provide a clear picture of the number of membership dues payments it takes to cover the club’s re-occurring fixed costs such as insurance, a permanent mailing address (post office box) needed to ensure timely receipt of IRS correspondence, insurance invoices, etc and the safe deposit box for storage of the club’s key documents. Significant fund expenditures for repeater maintenance and discretionary spending such as the RF filters purchased for Field Day were also highlighted.

This and future treasurer quarterly report formats will be a look back over a rolling past 12 month income/expense period for comparison to the club meeting monthly membership trend reports for easy comparison of the balance of income and expense.

Membership turn-over was also discussed. During the past year with Covid-19, and no face to face meetings possible, the number of new members joining the club has reached a record high and exceeded the number of memberships expiring.  Initial club contact by new applicants was largely through the club website. Very positive feedback has been received on the use of the Zoom video conferencing during nets, club meetings, special interest gatherings (HamPiE) to provide the opportunity for new members to get to know other members in the club and get their questions and assistance needs met.

ANNUAL BOARD MEMBER TRAINING: KR4UB (Dan) The following information URL links were sent to the board membership for the annual board education guidance in carrying out their respective duties and responsibilities.

MEETING ADJOURNMENT: 9:24 PM

WLB/DE/s

 

OCRA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – April 13, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Board of Directors Meeting – April 13, 2021 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: Zoom.

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM

OFFICERS PRESENT: W4SAR David, (President); KR4UB Dan, (Treasurer); N8BR Bill, (Secretary); KD4YJZ Karen, (Board Member); N1LN Bruce, (Board Member); W4ORD Ladd, (Vice President); KU4GC Dee, (Board Member); KA1HPM Nick (Board Member) and W4BOH Wilson (Board member)

W4SAR (Dave): Welcome. Call to order. The agenda for this meeting is to consider the most recent draft of our proposed revision of the club’s repeater code of conduct and to continue our discussion of field day plans.

KR4UB (Dan): Moved that the revised Code of Conduct for OCRA Repeaters be approved and adopted by The OCRA Board of Directors.

The motion was passed unanimously.

W4SAR (David) led a spirited discussion about this year’s field day operation. A statement to the club outlining the board’s recommendations will be forthcoming.

Meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM

WLB/s

 

 

OCRA Board of Directors 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 of Directors 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

 

 

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 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 Board Meeting Minutes 04/22/19

OCRA Board Meeting Minutes 4/22/19

Attending:Wilson W4BOH, Nick KA1HPM, Lad W4ORD, Karen KD4YJZ, Dave W4SAR, Steve W3AHL, Dan KR4UB, Dee KU4GC.

President, Dave W4SAR, called meeting  to order at 7:00pm

Treasurer: Dan KR4UB, gave the current treasury balance and membership status. The checking and saving balances are in line with ongoing expenses. 68 member’s dues are current with 28 members needing renewal. He suggested dues renewal be focused on at the next club meeting. 14 new members have joined the club over the past year.

Then Dan gave the Annual Financial Report for OCRA.  It showed a modest increase over the previous year. Insurance, PO Box and safe deposit box rental were regular unavoidable expenses. He also noted that pre-pay worked well for both Field Day and the Christmas Dinner.  We came out ahead for Field Day and came out about even for the Christmas meeting except that the club paid for the Exchange Club rental. A motion was made and passed unanimously to accept the report.

Dan presented the report using a brand new video projector.   There had been plans for the OCRA and DFMA clubs to jointly purchase a projector for meeting use.  However, Jimmy Dixon KF4KHU, made a gift of a brand new projector to DFMA and this was the first shared use of this great new asset.

It was reported that the aborted Bouvet DXpedition gave a partial refund to donors.  (Both clubs had sent $410 with each club’s treasury providing $200 in “matching” funds and respective members providing $210.)  OCRA’s net (PayPal charges deducted) refund was $192 or approximately 47%. Donors can request a 47% percent refund or they can leave their share in the club treasury (thank you!).

Dan also discussed using the web site and its database capabilities for hams to list their interests, any areas needing assiatance and participating in the joint OCRA/DFMA Field Day. Provisions have been made for members of both clubs to enter their information.

In addition, provision has been made for currently licensed, non DFMA or OCRA members to participate who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Current or future planned participation in OCRA, DFMA or Chatham AuxComm training and emergency exercise activity.
  • Current or future planned participation in the combined OCRA/DFMA ARRL Field Day Event

Licensed amateurs, not a member of the OCRA or DFMA, but desiring to list their interests may do so by by attending the next OCRA or DFMA meeting and complete an interest/assistance needed sheet and if desired an OCRA/DFMA Field Day participation sign up sheet. This can also be done on the OCRA website by clicking on “Members, Interest Registry Signup to Apply for OCRA Interest Registry Listing.

Hamfests: Dee KU4GC reported on the club tables at RARSfest.  He expressed some disappointment in participation in the club table from both clubs  Main income to OCRA was from the gift of a non-member. With rare exceptions people did not bring anything to sell. (A large part of DFMA income also was due to a gift from a non-member).  The net income to OCRA after paying for the tables was $34. (There is yet one big item from the gift to be sold that could provide additional income.)

Dee announced DurHamFest is on May 25th, the Saturday of  Memorial Day weekend. Dave W4SAR has registered the VE session and will again coordinate that.  Wilson, W4BOH will again produce delicious BOH-burgers on the grill. MK W4MKR and Dee KU4GC will take care of food logistics.

Auxcomm/ARES: Steve W3AHL announced that the Tar Heel 10 Miler had no ham involvement this year.

Repeaters: Nick KA1HPM, reported on activities in Chatham county.  There will be a ham antenna at 230’ on the 300’ tower. Provisions for ham antennas have been planned for all coming towers.

Dan KR4UB reported that OCRA has an almost new Comprod 2M antenna (never installed) which could be sold at a good price to an interested party.

Field Day: Dave, W4SAR reported that nice laptops were donated for Field Day use through the efforts of Adam Caudill WX4WNC. They are Lenovo T440’s with 128Gb SSDs.  The Windows 10 systems still need update to the Bios and Drivers.  A general discussion about Field Day computers and logging ensued.

New Business: Lad W4ORD asked if we want to continue to use the  Exchange Club even if we go to a potluck format. The consensus was “yes”.

Meeting Adjourned (~ 8:30pm)

Submitted by Dee KU4GC

OCRA Board Meeting – February 25, 2019

Attendance:

Steve (W3AHL), Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Bill (N8BR), Wilson (W4BOH), Dan (KR4UB), Dee (KU4GC), Keith (W1KES)

Treasurer report

Savings balance is strong, with 78 member’s dues current and 23 needing renewal.

Bill (N8BR) offered his resignation from the Board.  While we hate to see Bill leave, his vacancy presents an opportunity to install Nick (KA1HPM) on the Board in the capacity of Chatham County liaison officer.  Nick is currently actively working with the Chatham County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to establish radio infrastructure at several fire stations and other county premises.  OCRA has agreed to support this effort by lending Chatham county our repeater. Nick will serve as OCRA’s repeater custodian.  OCRA and Chatham EOC still need to finalize and formalize scope, responsibilities, and draft a document of understanding.  However, strengthening county relationships and providing assistance in support of emergency response is a primary goal of amateur radio, and OCRA is happy to help.

NCOCRA.ORG

Dan (KR4UB) has done an outstanding job of enhancing OCRA’s on-line presence.  The website is quickly become data central for all of OCRA’s general announcements, membership information, activities calendar and historical records.  The site captures personal interest for use in program development and field day assignments.

Dan is exploring the websites survey function this year to match interest and availability in staffing Field Day 2019.  We would encourage each member to login and update their areas of amateur radio interest.

From the interest list we have identified several topics for future membership meetings: Fox hunting, Satellites, and Dxing.  Please update your interest profile and let us know what topics you would like discussed at a membership meeting.

Our next membership meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11 at the Efland Baha’i Center.  Topic considerations include building jumper cables, powerpole connectors, and crimping.  This is a great opportunity to learn something new and refresh skills.  Hope to see your there.

DurHam Fest

The 2019 Durham Fest will be held on Saturday of Memorial weekend.  Please bookmark the following link to DFMA as more details will be posted shortly.  OCRA Board approved renting two tables to sell items at RARS Fest.  Hope to see you there. 73

OCRA Board Meeting – January 28, 2019

Attendance:

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

Program Development

A primary focus for OCRA in 2019 is establishing monthly programs of interest.  The Elfand Baha’i Center’s location is ideal for hosting various amateur radio programs.  The large gathering area near the kitchen provides ample space for converting dining tables to workshop stations. The large yard provides opportunities for establishing a quick HF station for educating club members on best practices and new techniques.

Several program ideas were discussed:

  1. Understanding coax options and appropriate use
  2. Soldiering techniques
  3. Creating and connecting Anderson power poles.

There are many wonderful videos on Youtube providing understanding on the topics above.

Soldering 101 for Makers and Radio Hams:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqz1xGj_m_E

Installing Power Pole Connectors:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUPWKxPGRGI

What are your program suggestions?  What would you like to learn or teach?  Please leave your comments below.