OCRA Club Meeting Minutes – January 10, 2022

The OCRA Club Meeting Minutes from January 10, 2022 are shown below.  You can also download a PDF version of the minutes by clicking the link below.

OCRA Club Meeting Minutes – January 10, 2022

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OCRA Club Meeting Minutes – January 10, 2022

  • Check-ins (21) – Dave Snyder

KU4GC, KA5ETS, KO4DHJ, KO4GJO, KI4RAN, N8BR, KM4MBG, KI4MXP, N1LN, KN4JYP, W4ORD, KF4PAB, KX4P, KR4UB, NA4VY, N2XZF, KD4YJZ, N1YXU, W4FK, KN4VXB, and W4SAR

  • Election Results and Introduction of New Board – Dave Snyder, W4SAR
    • As of noon today, the balloting for the OCRA 2022 election closed. From the 93 eligible members in good standing, 46 responses were received. The voting was a unanimous support of the slate presented by the nominating committee. The 2022 OCRA Board is shown below.
      • President – Bruce Meier, N1LN
      • Vice President – Bill Bischoff, N8BR
      • Secretary – Laurie Meier, N1YXU
      • Treasurer – Dan Eddleman, KR4UB
      • Board Members at Large (Will be serving the first year of two-year terms)
        • John Green, KX4P
        • Aurora Toennisson, KN4VXB
        • Lad Carrington, W4ORD
      • Board Members at Large (will be serving the last year of two-year terms)
        • Wilson Lamb, W4BOH
        • Karen Snyder, KD4YJZ
        • Dee Ramm, KU4GC
    • Dave expressed his thanks to the membership for their confidence in him presiding as president for the last several years. He also stated that it is time to end the dynasty and get new leadership for the club. Dave turned the meeting over to Bruce, N1LN, as the new club president.
  • New President – Bruce Meier, N1LN
    • Bruce thanked Dave for all he has done as OCRA president and made sure that Dave knows emails and requests won’t stop coming Dave’s way! Also, Bruce thanked the other members of the outgoing board for all their efforts and support of the club.
    • Reflecting on the number of people that are in the club, it’s clear that OCRA is made up of the members and not the officers. Bruce is looking forward to working with the new officers, board members, and the membership. It is great to have new people with new ideas for the club. He is looking forward to working with everyone and truly encourages comments, both positive and negative. Constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome.
    • Topics for tonight’s meeting –
      • Comments from the new president about focuses for 2022
      • Reports from the club officers
      • Repeater update
      • Comments from the board members at large
      • General discussion from the membership
    • Goals for 2022 –
      • Prior to being elected, some of the nominees have had conversations on various topics. There will be no surprises to the membership. Over the next months and weeks, we will move forward as a group to implement the club’s plans. And, we will strive to have fun while we’re doing it!
      • One of the first activities that will take place is setting up regular, recurring board meetings.
      • Recently, the club has seen a renewed focus on activities and membership engagement. Some examples of this include fox hunts and ham pi. [Many thanks to Aurora for her initiative in getting these activities started and continuing.] More ideas will be discussed at the next club meeting. There are a lot of very intelligent, talented folks who are OCRA members. We need to tap into their expertise, expand on current activities, and get more membership engagement in ham radio related activities.
      • Ensuring documentation and policies are updated will be an area that officers and board members will focus on. For example, we need to ensure our insurance policies are up-to-date and that 501c documentation is completed and submitted. As work in these areas is completed, updates will be reported back to the membership.
      • Training is definitely an area that will receive quite a lot of focus.
  • Vice-President’s Report – Bill Bischoff, N8BR
    • Bill is looking forward to serving as Vice President and appreciates the vote of confidence from the membership.
    • He thanked Dave for being the OCRA President in a very difficult time over the last few years as we have all navigated through the impacts of the pandemic. Bill also recognized the good job that Lad did as Vice President. It will be good to have Lad continue to serve on the board to talk with regarding his prior responsibilities.
    • Bill is looking forward to working with the entire membership. One of his primary focuses will be to work closely with Bruce to ensure that the club’s goals are achieved and to step-in as president, if needed, in Bruce’s absence.
    • Earlier in the day, Bill had the opportunity to talk with John Green (KX4P). One of the things they discussed was getting regular programs back on track for the membership meetings. John didn’t only agree with the priority of getting regular programs, he also volunteered to present a program at an upcoming meeting and work to get additional programs planned. Now, that’s a great example of the enthusiasm of club members coming together and working toward a common goal!
    • The framework of how we do programs and have speakers will ensure that all members will be able to get the program information. We may have programs in person, virtually (e.g. on Zoom), and/or on the repeater.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Dan Eddleman, KR4UB
    • Dan thanked Dave Snyder for his leadership as OCRA president. As the Treasurer, he also thanked all the members for keeping their dues current, which supports the club’s solvency.
    • Every month before the membership meeting, a message is sent that includes information with dues notice. There are a record number of members who are paying their dues. In fact, many are paid through 2023!
    • OCRA has a current membership of 103. As of this month, 92 members have dues that are current. There are 5 members who need to renew, and there are 6 people who have expiring memberships.
    • Dues are the sole source of income that supports OCRA expenses. It is interesting to understand some of the expenses and the number of paid members needed to fund these expenses.
    • Fixed expenses for the club include items such as insurance and safety deposit box costs. To cover the fixed expenses, it takes about 85 dues paying members.
    • There are additional operating expenses that we have on a regular basis. One of these expenses is support of our website. Due to the challenges we’ve had over the last few years dealing with the pandemic, we have had to come up with new ideas to ensure the ability to reach members. For example, we pay for a Zoom license that allow us to have virtual meetings. These type of operating expenses (website and Zoom license) are funded through the dues from about 22 members.
    • Thank you to all the OCRA members who are diligent in keeping their dues current. Your support is truly appreciated.
  • Secretary’s Report – Laurie Meier, N1YXU
    • Laurie is looking forward to serving on the board and appreciates the confidence from the membership to serve as secretary.
    • Board meetings will be held via Zoom for the near future (as we continue to deal with the impacts of COVID). Prior to the board meetings, an agenda will be sent to all OCRA members with an invitation to join the meeting. As stated previously in tonight’s meeting, the success of the club is dependent on everyone’s input and support.
    • Minutes from the monthly membership meetings and board meetings will be distributed to OCRA members via email and will also be published on the OCRA website. A link to the meeting minutes will be sent to all OCRA members to ensure everyone is up-to-date on activities and discussions.
  • Repeater Report – Nick Szydlek (KA1HPM) and Dan Eddleman (KR4UB)
    • Nick is out of town and not able to attend the meeting. Dan provided the repeater update.
    • Dan stressed that a written OCRA repeater vision and plan will be key as we go forward.
    • For example, in the past, the club has had several formal relationships with many groups (e.g. neighboring counties, Emergency Management agencies). These relationships will need to be revisited, written documents updated, and ongoing communications be re-established.
    • Our multi-county frequency agreement will also need to be revisited and refreshed. Back in 2010, each county had identified the primary and secondary repeater frequencies. Simplex frequencies for emergency communications and training nets had also been defined. Members of the various county clubs were encouraged to be familiar with the frequency plan, have their radios programmed, and be able to quickly move to various frequencies based on our emergency communications plan.
    • Both Dan and Bruce commented that we need to have more net training, trained net control operators, and the ability to quickly test our emergency communications plan.
    • We have had challenges filling open Emergency Coordinator positions. The Orange County EC position is currently unfilled.
  • Board Member Comments –
    • Wilson Lamb (W4BOH) would like to see more focus on technical activity and learning as a group. Our members have a broad scope of knowledge which can be tapped into for teaching and demonstrations. This doesn’t mean that we all need to be experts; however, we can all be more educated to know more about the fundamentals of amateur radio. Wilson would also welcome resuming social gatherings even in smaller groups and also resuming Field Day as an in-person event.
    • Dee Ramm (KU4GC) thanked the outgoing board members for their work and welcomed the new officers and board members. He is looking forward to working with everyone and believes that 2022 will be a great year.
    • Aurora Toennisson (KN4VXB) is happy to be part of the board. She will continue to run the ham pi meetings and to organize the fox hunts, as long as there is continued interest. Aurora would also like to focus on helping new hams get started and find out what areas they would like to learn more about. If members have additional interests, perhaps satellite communications, please let Aurora know.
    • John Green (KX4P) mentioned that this is not the first time he has served as a board member, and he is happy to serve again. John commented on how much he enjoys the club since the membership has such diverse interests. He is looking forward to putting programs together and hopes to get many suggestions and also volunteers for the programs.
    • Lad Carrington (W4ORD) thanked everyone who contributed to and attended the recent Christmas party. He is looking forward to continuing to serve on the board and is happy to hand-off the Christmas party responsibilities to Bill. Lad volunteered to be led a program that will focus on go-kits and preparation for deployments.
    • Karen Snyder (KD4YJZ) is looking forward to working with everyone on the board.
    • Dave Snyder (W4SAR) thanked everyone for the comments made about his leadership as president. He will continue to be a very active member of the club and will be the liaison with the Efland Baha’i Center for meetings when we are able to meet in-person in the future.
  • General Discussion- Bruce, N1LN
    • Bill (KI4RAN) gave special thanks to all the outgoing and incoming board members for all their work. He also agreed with the need for a communications plan that all members would have readily available to move to pre-programmed frequencies when needed.
    • Bob (W4FK) thanked everyone in the club for welcoming him even before he moved from Florida. Bob had been participating in OCRA meetings via Zoom. He has volunteered to be net control this coming Saturday, January 15. [Bob – Welcome to the area! And, thank you for jumping in and being net control!]
    • Doug (KA5ETS) is familiar with a program that a solar scientist has given with a prediction that this solar cycle may be one of the largest. Doug will follow-up to see if the program might be able to be presented at an upcoming OCRA meeting.
  • Meeting Closed and Check-outs – Bruce, N1LN

Respectfully submitted,
Laurie Meier, N1YXU, Secretary

OCRA Club Meeting Minutes – September 13th, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Monthly Membership Meeting – September 13. 2021 – 7:00 pm

Platform Utilized: OCRA 442.150 UHF Repeater supplemented with Zoom

NET CONTROL AND MEETING OFFICIATION: W4SAR (Dave) Opened the meeting by inviting member check-ins. The following stations responded either by repeater or Zoom.

W4BOH (Wilson); N8BR (Bill); KO4DHJ (Ken); W4FK (Bob); KA5ETS (Doug); N4JQR (J.R.); W4ORD (Lad); N1QYW (Steve); KA1HPM (Nick); KN4JYP (Kathy); KM4MBG (Jack); N1LN (Bruce); KF4PAB Lenore; W4SAR, (Dave); KR3AM (Mark); KJ4VWG (Sam); K4SAR (Joe); KO4SZE (Bob); KU4GC (Dee); KR4UB (Dan); KD4YJZ (Karen) N1YXU (Laurie); KN4VXB, (Aurora).

W4SAR (President): called for Officer Reports.

  1. W4ORD (Vice President): No formal report, but emphasized that he is waiting for a directive from the executive board indicating whether members prefer a catered dinner or a member provided potluck at the club Christmas party. David, our president, responded with a promise that he would poll the executive board and forward a decision so that plans may be made well in advance of the event.
  2. KR4UB (Treasurer): 85 dues payments are needed to cover fixed expenses for the club (insurance, post office box, safety deposit box, website, Zoom and Sera, etc). As of this meeting, 93 members are current, 4 need to renew and 4 are expiring. In the last 12 months 22 new members’ dues will cover recruiting and member retention expenses (website and zoom). 26 new members have joined with 11 being newly licensed. 25 memberships have expired over the past 12 months.
  3. KR4UB (Repeater Manager Orange County): no report. KA1HPM (Repeater Manager Chatham County): Not much going on. We still need permits for towers in Siler City. Receiving on Tower Rd. is good and we have had some long distance check- ins.
  4. KM4MBG (Jack) and KF4PAB (Lenore) represented the DFMA. Lenore reported that the club’s repeater for 6 meters had been moved to a new location.
  5. W4SAR (David) reported that the club’s efforts to sponsor amateur licensing examinations had again become active after significant slow-down due to covid-related issues. He was pleased to report that Bob, KO4SZE had passed his Technician’ license test. David is hoping to begin regular examination sessions soon.

In addition, David announced that there was nothing else on the formal agenda for the current meeting and suggested that he will be calling a meeting of the club’s executive board members shortly.

General Discussion:

KN4VXB (Aurora) described the up-coming Fox Hunt and her presentation. Planning for this event is largely based on lessons learned from a former one that occurred last year. It is scheduled to take place on October 9th at 10:00 am. In case of rain it will be moved to the same time slot on October 23rd. There will be both an on-foot event as well as one requiring the use of vehicles to hunt the fox(es). All potential attendees for this event should plan to bring picnic lunches. In addition, those who are interested in constructing their own radio for the hunt should plan on participating in a “virtual build day” that will be held on September 25th.

W4ORD (Lad) is looking forward to “in person” meetings so food will be available.

K4SAR (Joe) is a new zoom attendee who reported that recent activity on the 12 and 10 meter bands has been picking up due to the increase in sun spots

W4SAR (David): Meeting Adjourned and repeater secured at 8:30

WLB/s

OCRA Club Meeting Minutes – August 9th, 2021

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Monthly Membership Meeting – August 9. 2021 – 7:00 pm

Platform Utilized: OCRA 442.150 UHF Repeater & Zoom

NET CONTROL AND MEETING OFFICIATION: N1LN (Bruce) opened the meeting by inviting member check-ins.

RADIO & ZOOM ATTENDEES: N1LN (Bruce), N8BR (Bill), KO4DHJ (Ken), W4BOH (Wilson), KU4GC (Dee), KG4CFX (Chris), KW4JY (Calvin) KM4MBG (Jack), KI4MXP (Gerald), KX4P (John), W4ORD (Lad), W4OFZ (Bill), WB4OSU (Sherri), NA4VY (Dave), N1YXU (Laurie), KK4RRT (Michael), KJ4VWG (Sam), N8VNR (Kevin), KN4VXB (Aurora), N1QYW (Stephen), KR3AM (Mark), KR4UB (Dan), .N4JQR (J.R.), KO4BHX (Ben),KG4GRY (Eli), KS4DOW (Kadar), KE0KHD (Sam), KI4TRD (Allan), KW4JY (Charles), NC4CD (Charlie), KM4IWI (Wild Bill), K4SAR (Joe), KN4DRN (Michael)

ANNOUNCEMENTS: KR4UB (Dan) gave the treasurer’s report relating to club dues. Club dues are OCRA’s income to pay club expenses. 91 members dues are current, 6 need to renew, and 2 are expiring soon. Of the 25 new members this year 11 are newly licensed. Membership for 25 folks is expiring.

(1) N1LN (Bruce) Regarding membership dues, it is easy to pay. There is a PayPal link in Dan’s membership listing email and on the club website or you can send a check to the OCRA Post Office Box, or give cash to Dan.

(2). Dave (W4SAR) was not able to join the net tonight. Bruce mentioned the need for Volunteer Examiners to help in the upcoming August 28 VE session. Contact Dave if you can assist.

(3) Bruce also explained that Net controls are needed for the weekly Saturday morning AuxCom net. Mark (KR3AM) and Doug (KA5ETS) have been net controls most of the time. This is not a hard thing to do and would be excellent practice should we ever be needed to assist in public service activities or emergency situations. Check with Mark – I am sure he would be happy to provide assistance to new (want to be) Net Control members. Should you be interested in being a future net control, the script can be found on the OCRA website at this URL:

https://ncocra.org/WordPress_v1/orange-county-auxcomm-training-net-script/

or, on the NCOCRA website, click on REPEATERS, then click on AuxComm Training Net Script.

KN4VXB (Aurora): The next Fox Hunt will be held on Oct 9. There will be 2 events – (1) on foot (2) driving from your car. Be sure to sign up.

W4ORD (Lad) Announced that the Holiday party has been put on hold for now due to the ever changing Covid environment and potential recent increase in risks.

N1LN (Bruce) Many of us will now be moving to the NASA presentation to be held on Zoom. Dan (KR4UB) sent numerous emails with the login information, however, if anyone needs that info – I will pass it along here on the net.   The info was passed along.

The net closed around 19:25 with everyone checking out.

 

BM/DE/WB/s

 

 

Monthly Membership Meeting – December 14, 2020 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom.

Meeting Minutes

MEETING CONVENED AT 7:30 PM.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT – W4SAR (David): Introduction and General Remarks- Good evening all. As has been the case for most of this past year, we are convening tonight’s meeting using both Zoom and UHF repeater platforms rather that our regular in person format. This is being done to conform with statewide requirements for social distancing to deter the spread of Covid 19. Hopefully, with the upcoming availability of the new anti-virus vaccines, this requirement will soon be relaxed and we will be able to have our monthly gatherings at the B’hai center in Efland. As we embark on tonight’s meeting please keep in mind that irrespective of which platform you use, please check into the net using phonetics so that your call may be accurately included on the meeting roster. Also, please be aware that video and audio generated at this meeting is being recorded so that information presented can be accurately included in meeting minutes.

On a different note and as many of you might already be aware, my mother passed away some weeks ago, and I would like to thank those of you who sent well-wishes to my family and me. You will be pleased to know that my father is doing well.

MEMBER CHECK-IN – by  W4SAR (David) Net Control and KR4UB (Dan) Zoom Host Control:

OCRA UHF REPEATER: W4SAR (David), KU4GC (Dee), W4ORD (Ladd), KA1HPM (Nick), KM4MBG (Jack), KF4PAB (Lenore), KZ1X (Steve), KO4DHJ (Ken), KR4UB (Dan), W4BOH (Wilson), KN4BTI (Mark), KA5ETS (Doug), N4JQR (JR), WB1AJJ (Jonathan), KI4MXP (Gerald), KM4WXW (Jeffrey), KD4YJZ (Karen), KR4UB (Dan), KR3AM (Mark), KO4JAW (Mark), KO4ICM (Doug), KI4RAN (Bill), WA4AHR (Dewey), KN4EOO (Richard), and W3AHL (Steve).

ZOOM: N8BR (Bill), NA4VY (Dave), KN4QBZ (Fred), and KR4UB, Dan),

TREASURER’S REPORT: KR4UB (Dan): Current Club Membership stands at 118 (89 current active paid up members, 29 requiring renewal). 24 new members have been added during the past 12 months.

REPEATER REPORTS: KR4UB (Dan): All of the OCRA repeaters are now working and on the air for the first time in 5 years. The 145.230 machine has been moved to a temporary location in Pittsboro.

The OCRA savings and checking account has a good reserve amount available for expenses, as it needs to have for costs we will face in the future.

  • Another repeater needs to be built, a replacement machine on standby and ready to go into service for when the 442.150 repeater high up on the tower eventually fails. The current repeater was installed in February, 2016 and hopefully has another 4 – 5 years or so life left before it eventually fails. While only high reliability components are used to build the OCRA repeaters, the exposure to extreme beyond mil-spec temperatures in the sealed cabinets on the tower eventually takes it toll. 
  • With tower crews now required to replace the machine, a completely self contained ready to go replacement repeater must be available to minimize the tower crew trips and time up on the tower to contain the escalating tower crew costs.
  • A spare Kenwood TKR-850 repeater deck and duplexer are already on hand. Additional parts to complete the spare repeater include another power supply, SCOM 7330 controller, and an additional pass band cavity. The power supply and SCOM controller will cost around $1100 – $1200.  Hopefully a good used pass band cavity filter can be located and purchased.
  • In addition, we have to keep in mind that the 442.150 repeater antenna is the original antenna installed approximately 25 years ago and when it has to be replaced, tower crew and antenna cost could easily be in the $4-5K neighborhood.

KA1HPM (Nick): We installed the 145.230 machine in Pittsboro last Wednesday at a site on Fire Tower Road. The antenna is up at about 130 feet. It is a good installation and many folks are using it. We are also planning for at least two additional towers in Chatham County.

FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS: W4SAR (David):

  1. Field Day: The scores for the 2020 ARRL Field Day are now posted in QST and on the ARRL website. OCRA did very well and placed 9th among clubs submitting aggregate scores. Noteworthy is the fact that our primary regular competitor, a station in California, placed 32nd. Club certificates for member participation will be prepared and handed out at a future meeting.
  2. Elections: Club elections will be held at the next meeting in January. Positions that will be available include that of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Board Member. Individuals currently occupying those positions have indicated that they are willing to continue. Specifically, our current president, David (W4SAR) indicated that he would be willing to continue in that post but will step down after another term. Ladd, W4ORD, is willing to continue as vice president, Bill (N8BR) is willing to continue as secretary. Dan (KR4UB) is willing to continue as treasurer but will step down from the repeater responsibilities he has also carried for over 20 years. He will continue to manage the club website, provide technical support to those taking responsibility for the club’s repeaters and work on club recruitment. Finally, Karen (KD4YJZ) is willing to continue as board member. Prior to our next membership meeting I will prepare ballots and circulate instructions for the election.
  3. Code of Conduct for Club Repeaters: Most repeater sponsoring clubs have developed documents that define organizational expectations for appropriate conduct during use of its repeater(s). OCRA should be no exception. Therefore, your OCRA board will be discussing the issue with the desired outcome of producing a draft document for club discussion, revision and potential adoption. Note: Input from KM4MBG (Jack) indicated that these discussions are also going on in DFMA (Durham FM Association), and focused on a code of conduct that covers all club activities rather than just those pertaining to the use of repeaters.
  4. Future Meetings: There will be a meeting of the OCRA Executive Board next Monday at 7:30 PM.

ADJOURNMENT: Meeting Adjourned at 8:45p.m.

WLB/DE/s

Monthly Club Membership Meeting October 12, 2020

OCRA Secretary: Bill, N8BR

ORANGE COUNTY RADIO AMATEURS

Monthly Membership Meeting – October 12. 2020 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom.

MEETING CONVENED at 7:30 (N1LN):

OPENING REMARKS (N1LN): Good evening all. I am serving as host this evening in place of W4SAR, David, our club president who is presently unavailable. Before we begin, I want to review the following “house-keeping” items:

  1. The majority of the membership present at this meeting are participating through the OCRA UHF repeater. However, some of our members do not have UHF equipment and are joining us via Zoom. I want to emphasize that the primary mode of participation in our meetings is via the club’s UHF repeater and all members are urged to use that platform if possible.
  2. Members should not use repeater or zoom time to test station function. That task should be performed before signing on to the net.
  3. For those of you coming aboard with zoom please keep in mind that it is linked to transmit/receive functions of the repeater and, as such, must comply with FCC requirements for station identification and general operation.
  4. The attendance at most of our club meetings is sufficiently large that it is important to keep individual input as brief as possible during the open round-tables so meeting time can be most efficiently utilized.
  5.  All net input and video are being recorded so that information presented can be accurately included in meeting minutes.

MEMBER CHECK-IN (N1LN and KR4UB):

OCRA UHF REPEATER: KU4GC (Dee), WB1AJJ (Jonathon), W4CFO (Jim), KN4EOO (Richard), W4ORD (Ladd), KA1HPM (Nick), KM4MBG (Jack), KF4PAB (Lenore), K2RRT (Mark), KZ1X (Steve), N2XZF (Paul), KN4ZHP (Mike), KO4DHJ (Ken), KR4UB (Dan), and W4BOH (Wilson).

ZOOM: N8BR (Bill), NA4VY (Dave), KN4VXB (Aurora), W4SAR (David), KD4YJZ, (Karen), KN4QBZ (Fred), and KR4UB, (Dan).

TREASURER’S REPORT (Dan KR4UB): Current Club Membership stands at 115 (85 current active paid up members, 28 requiring renewal, 2 expiring, and 4 pending applications awaiting completion (dues). Twenty-six new members have been added during the past 12 months.

REPEATER REPORTS:

Northern Section (Dan, KR4UB): We have been hosting repairs for the 145.230 machine preparing it to go back on the air. Southern Section (Nick, KA1HPM): We have been working on our repeater and it should be up and running by the end of the month. Chatham EOC is getting building permits and firming up orders for new towers. Construction should begin in December and be completed by the end of January.

Presentation

KN4VXB (Aurora): The presentation tonight is about the recently founded OCRA Ham Pi group, a collection of hams who are interested in microcomputers such as raspberry Pi and Arduino as well as other single board computers and their possible applications in amateur radio. To date this group is comprised of 8-12 folks who have met together twice during the past couple of months. About half of the group is made up of new hams and the other half are more experienced folks. The projects they’re working on include a PTT switch for Zoom meetings, a QCX CW SDR transceiver with an antenna system and various power converters. If you are interested in joining this group please email Aurora.

MEMBERSHIP ROUNDTABLE:

KU4GC (Dee): Not much ham activity this time around. We are still disposing of lots of things from our clean-up and reorganization efforts. Many items have been contributed to the Scrap Exchange.

WB1AJJ (Jon): Not much new here. Work is chaotic and has been taking much of my time. I did manage to get the ICOM 6-meter rig repaired. I suggest more “show and tell” presentations for our meetings, but they are tough to arrange with Covid 19.

W4CFO (Jim): Has been working on a number of repeater projects with Dan and Nick.

KN4EOO (Richard): Has been working on his tractor. It dropped a rear wheel and had to be repaired. A lot of antifreeze was spilled in the process. He is in the process of testing the tractor. In addition he is also taking radio classes (EC16 and BR 101).

KA1HPM (Nick): Managed to get together with his extended family on the beach at Emerald Isle. He set up his HF rig with a Ham Stick antenna for 80 meters on the third floor balcony of their house. Using that gear he was able to access the Sunday night net that originates in Birmingham, Alabama. Additionally, he announced to us that The American Red Cross will be hosting an emergency drill in November which he will attend along with ~250 other participants.

KM4MBG (Jack): In his comments Jack stresses the fact that with the pandemic he is not doing a lot with ham radio, and places emphasis on the projects he wishes he was working on rather than telling us what projects he is actually doing. Among the things he mentioned was the fact that the pandemic is allowing him to spend more time at home and that has provided him with opportunities to do more cooking and more work with the nets. Noteworthy among his homebrew cuisines was a pasta dish with eggplant sauce which he and Lenore considered to be quite good. On the ham front he reports that he has received a shipment of parts for a field programmable gate array that he will be assembling shortly. Jack would like to have presentations on the new modes that are available for hams..

KF4PFB (Lenore): Among her comments Lenore reports that in the recent past she had not been very much involved with ham radio. On the other hand, she has spent more time working at home and taking cooking classes.

K2RRT (Mark): Mark is a new ham and is looking for a good antenna system for his rig. He has also obtained the parts to build a “shari” which is an all star link to put on the Pi 4. In addition, Mark is interested in linked repeaters and would like to talk to any club members who share that interest and understand how these systems work.

KZ1X (Steve): Steve is in the process of rebuilding his ham shack. This will be a major task that involves tearing down walls and performing a complete over haul of his space. In addition, he is planning a major addition to his tower including several new antennas.

N2XZF (Paul): Built a 10 meter J Pole antenna which worked very well. He also helped Dan KR4UB sort out the various signal ground pins on the Kenwood repeater external connector interface which as it turns out, all go to a common internal grount point (LOL!)

NA4VY (Dave): It is time to get up additional wire antennas, especially for 80 meters. Was out of town in Michigan last week and flew in a hot air balloon, While cleaning his basement found found a ten meter transceiver and antenna that he is willing to give to anyone needing HF gear. Suggested topic for presentations: Let the senior members of the club recall how they got involved in ham radio.

KN4ZHP (Mike): Has had success using Win-Link which would help with Red Cross exercises.

KO4DHJ (Ken): Checked into many nets. Is planning to move stuff from his shop and rebuild the shed.

KN4VXB (Aurora): 1. Has been active in the Ham Pi Group, 2. Learning to solder cables, 3. making a prototype Fox transmitter, 4. Learning ways to use Raspberry Pi to control cameras that are used in her graduate research, and 5. Learning to wind toroids.

W4SAR (David): Celebrated his 40th anniversary. Is preparing certificates for Field Day participants. Announced that holiday party plans coming soon. Thanked Bruce for being master of ceremonies for this meeting.

KB4YJZ (Karen): Eating lots of delicious seafood during her anniversary celebration with David.

KN4QBZ (Fred): 1. We’ve had our 50th anniversary and my wife again reminded me that there is no guarantee about what the future will bring so we gotta keep things going!! 2. Folks who are familiar with Winlink are a real asset for the Red Cross emergency exercise and their help would be most appreciated. A discussion of this process would be a good topic for another club program! 3. With regard to “Richard’s comments above about the tire leaking antifreeze solution—the solution for any pollution is dilution—that stuff is CaCl and it is toxic for grass. Dilution and flushing with water is the best way to take care of it!

N1LN (Bruce): As most club members are aware, over the past couple of years Bruce has been down sizing his contest antenna farm from a 4-tower monster with multiple monoband yagi’s to a smaller more manageable but almost equally powerful system using just two towers, each supporting a large multiband yagi. This has not only reduced the complexity of the overall antenna layout, but also the amount of both general maintenance and climbing required to keep the station in good repair. In addition, he has also reconfigured the indoor component of his station so it now houses one principal contest operating position instead of two. The equipment from the former second position has been replaced with a Heathkit DX-60 transmitter, HG-10 VFO and Hammarlund HQ129X receiver to be used for “pleasant memories from days of yore” type operating.

On a downside, the new antenna arrangement has caused some issues with Bruce’s management of the 10 meter OCRA net. Specifically, in the original system which utilized two or three 10 meter monoband yagis stacked together on a single tower it was possible for him to cover two or three different directions at the same time using a stack match. However, with the new set up in order to cover two different directions using multiband yagi antennas on separate towers requires switching rf from the antenna on one tower to another one pointed in a different direction on another tower, To make the process simpler and more efficient Bruce has built a switching/matching system that permits him to simultaneously drive the 10 meter functions of the two antennas pointed in different directions at the same time. The system has been put into operation and is now working as hoped.

KR4UB (Dan): Dan has ordered a Pi 4 and is looking forward to using it. He is also hosting the 145.230 repeater build. In addition, he and Mark KR3AM have been instrumental in the development and implementation of the hybrid repeater/Zoom platform OCRA has currently been using for its club membership to access virtual meetings during the COV 19 pandemic. Under most circumstance the preferred mechanism for accessing non face-to-face club meetings would be only via the repeaters. But, given the significant number of folks who do not have vhf and uhf equipment to access these machines the hybrid platform can be effectively used,

Dan has also been managing the implementation of the hybrid format. And, while it has been effective in bringing club members together during these difficult times, it has been eminently clear that its effectiveness depends on club members’ efforts to learn and practice the procedures necessary to successfully use it. To address that issue Dan is recommending that all potential users go to the club website and select any one of the following three buttons: (Members), (Meetings) or (Nets), and read the article “About OCRA Club Meetings, Nets and Zoom. Questions about any of this information may be addressed to Dan

W4BOH (Wilson): Wilson is anxious to have show and tell back! He is willing to present a show and tell about his restoration of a 1934 Chevy truck.

W4ORD (Ladd): Lost several trees in the storm and while dropping one of them took out his antenna. He will need help pitting the antenna back up. The exchange club is still available for a Christmas party.

 

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 8:45 pm

WLB/DE/s

OCRA General Membership Over the Air Meeting June 10,2020

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

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

Introductory Announcements:

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

Discussion:

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

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

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

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

Bill N8BR/s

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

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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 – January 2019

Roll Call:

25 member’s presence, with 2 candidates for exams.

Treasurer report:

  • NCOCRA WordPress upgrade now provides website access on mobile phones…check us out.
  • Savings balance is strong, with 74 member’s current on dues, with 24 needing renewal.
  • The club has added 15 new members over the past 12 months.
  • Prepay for Holiday meal worked well, and may well use prepay moving forward.

Members approved 2019 Board:

  • David Snyder (W4SAR), President
  • Lad Carrington (W4ORD), Vice-President, Program Committee
  • Dan Eddleman (KR4UB), Treasurer
  • Keith Stouder (W1KES), Secretary
  • Steve Ahlbom (W3HAL), ARES EC
  • Karen Snyder (KD4YJZ), Member at Large
  • Dee Ramm (KU4GC), Member at Large
  • Wilson Lamb (W4BOH), Member at Large, Program Committee
  • Bill Bishchoff (N8BR), Program Committee

If you have ideas for enriching your club experience, we would like to know.  Please reply below.

Chatham County Radio Club Update, Nick (KA1HPM):

Chatham County radio club has established a club station at the county emergency operation center (EOC) with two VHF and two HR radios, and Winlink.   The club as applied for a vanity call, but with the FCC currently on furlough, it may be some time before the call is issued.

The club is preparing for an April 30 communication exercise at the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant.  Rehearsal for the event will be March 28. Please join the club net every Tuesday night on 442.15 MHz, PL tone 131.8. Hope to hear you on the air!

Vice President: Lad (W4ORD) – The Holiday Meal was well received.  However, suggestions to explore new food options are being considered.

“When All Else Fails:”

With the recent weather events in Wilmington, NC, hospitals are encouraging employees to become amateur radio operators offering communications when “all else fails.”  Opportunities for local radio clubs to assist may be forth coming.

NC QSO Party:

The NC QSO Party is quickly approaching.  This year, the event will occur on Saturday, February 24 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST.  This is a great event to sharpen your SSB skills with running or search and pounce.  Click on link above for more information.

Club Meetings:

If you are new to amateur radio, or would like to refresh your knowledge, the Program Committee would like your ideas.  Considerations are being given for having instructions on coax termination with soldiering or crimpers.  Or, how to build an affordable wire dipole.  Do you have any suggestions on program content?  If so, leave a reply below.

Club Program:

Pete (WA1YYN) provided an overview of several emergency and life saving devices.  First, Pete created a GPRS enabled apparatus comprised of a raspberry pi that can be attached to a fire fighter’s outfit that captures both health and situation metrics. For example, the apparatus can capture, record, and transmit fire fighters body temperature, pulse oximetry, acceleration, etc.  such data is vital for ensuring situational safety.

Pete also explained that many emergency response communication technologies are proprietary and expensive.  He mentioned that the national fire protection association (NFPA) and NIST, national institute of standards and technology are working together to develop emergency response data interoperability and deployment standards.

Pete (WA1YYN) discussing his use of GPRS and amateur radio in emergency response communication and coordination.

 

 

 

 

 

Pete demonstrated an open source solution providing GPRS tracking with real time monitoring and visual overlay perspectives of the rescuer, drone, and incident command.  This solution will more accuracy and quickly identify persons in need improving resource coordination thus reducing response time in saving lives.

Pete’s work in supporting emergency response fulfills several key goals of amateur radio:

  • Supports the awareness and growth of Amateur Radio worldwide;
  • Advocates for meaningful access to radio spectrum;
  • Strives for every member to get involved, get active, and get on the air;
  • Encourages radio experimentation and, through its members, advances radio technology and education; and
  • Organizes and trains volunteers to serve their communities by providing public service and emergency communications.

What is your passion?  What aspects of amateur radio keeps you involved?  Let us know by leaving a response below.

73