February 12th Meeting – The Program is You!

Our next monthly meeting will be held 7:00pm Monday at the Efland Baha’i Center.

The program is…You! I believe our club is at a crossroads, times and situations have changed since the founding of the club over 25 years ago. At our recent board meeting, concerns were raised that the long-term core membership is aging out, some of us have worked hard over many years and want to avoid burn-out. The greatest concern perhaps, is assuring a succession of the club to newer generations of hams, and the passing on of the club’s knowledge base and technical ability to keep the repeaters running, and to keep a pool of trained communicators available for public service and emergencies in our area. We don’t want to see a malaise and decline set in, but want the club to be fun and vibrant.

So let’s have a serious discussion, we want to hear from you what can be done to revitalize the club. Are changes needed? What can we do to build a technical pool? What engaging, fun things can we get into?

We already have Field Day, probably the single biggest group project we engage in (with the DFMA).
Can we get teams for other contests as well?
What hands-on “clinics” would you like?
What presentations would you like best?

It is your club, tell us what you like about it, what is not working, what you would want to see done.


Dave, W4SAR

January Meeting Location Change

Hello All, The renovations to the EOC have impacted the room in which we have held our monthly meetings. The room has been reduced to 18 seats, with cubicles on each side. Some of those cubicles are open, so in theory up to 30 may be able to participate.

After discussion with the board, we decided that this does not allow enough space for our monthly meetings, as sometimes we have more than 30 participants. The January meeting will be at the Orange County Baha’i Center in Efland, which has been used for a couple of exam sessions and for one membership meeting. Click the “Directions” link on the right for a Map.

The Fellowship Hall of the Baha’i Center can comfortably accommodate more than 60 people. There is a 55″ flat screen TV available for presentations. A kitchen is available so we can even lay on coffee and tea if so desired. I contacted the Baha’i Assembly, and since they know that the club’s mission is public service, they will allow usage of the center at no charge.

I proposed that we hold our next membership meeting at the Baha’i Center on January 8. Besides the elections, the membership can vote on whether they wish to continue holding the meetings at that location through November.

The Orange County Baha’i Center is located at 119 Maple Street, Efland ,NC 27243.

From Interstate 40/85, take Exit 160, turn north onto Mt. Willing Road. Go 0.3 miles, to the railroad crossing, and turn right onto Forrest Ave after go cross the tracks. Take the third left which is Maple St. Go past the church building and park in the gravel lot on the left. Enter through the church, go down the hallway to the left to the Fellowship Hall.

From Highway 70- Maple St is just west of the Efland Ruritan Club. Turn right onto Maple St, enter the gravel lot on the right.

One last- We are maintaining a toehold at the EOC, the exam sessions held on the 2nd Saturdays of the even-numbered months will continue to be held there.


Dave Snyder, W4SAR

Temporary Changes for September Meeting

Hello All-

We do have a couple of temporary changes for the upcoming club meeting in September. As renovations are being made on the rooms we use in the EOC, we will meet instead in the Fellowship Hall of the Efland Baha’i Center, a site we have used in the past for exam sessions. It has plenty of room for us, a gravel lot for parking and ready access to Interstate 85/40 and Highway 70. The physical address is 119 Maple St, Efland NC 27243. I am one of the caretakers, so I can provide a key for access, which I can provide. That brings me to the second temporary change for September.

I had an accident on August 26, I took a 6 foot drop to avoid wasp stings and managed to shatter my left heel. It will require surgery to insert screws and a plate to pull the bones back together so they heal in proper alignment. If I do not have the surgery, I will be left in chronic pain with some disability. Currently, I am at home in a cast, waiting for the swelling in the area to subside enough so the surgery may be performed. I have a CT scan coming up for a detailed study of the fracture, and an orthopedic consult for the surgery on Sept 7. If the swelling has subsided enough, the surgery will be performed as soon as Sept 8. For two weeks after that, I will strictly be on orders to stay off my feet, and I will be in a cast for a few weeks beyond that.

So, that long narrative is to let you know that I will not be available for the September meeting, as that will be held shortly after the surgery. I will need to make arrangements for someone to come by my place (which is just north of Efland) to pick up the key to the facility, as well as the exam materials for the exam session, which we can hold in one of the classrooms. I have already had the ARRL VEC publish the new address for this one exam session. I will post directions and updates, shortly.

I apologize for any inconvenience to the membership, I know that for all involved, it will indeed be temporary.

73, Dave, W4SAR

Field Day is upon us!

The week of Field Day is here! Our biggest event every year is just a few days away. If you have been following the posts on the Field Day category of this blog, you will see that a number of people have been putting in a lot of work in preparation. This coming Friday as of 8;00am, we will commence with setting up the stations themselves. Lots of hands are needed to help with safely assembling beam antennas, mount them on towers and get the towers raised and anchored. Help will be needed hauling lines to raise wire antennas, as well as spotters to keep personnel clear of fall zones when we lob missiles to get pilot lines over the trees. Hands will be needed to help band captains move batteries and get their stations assembled. Help will be needed driving in ground rods . Captains need to bring their logging computers on  site aas early as possible to be sure they are properly configured for the logging network, and for testing. We will get this work out of the way on Friday, rain or shine, pausing only if we have a threat of lightning in the area.

Help will be needed with other aspects as well. the pot luck around 6:00pm this Friday is easily the largest social event that the two clubs engage in together, besides food contributions, chairs and tables are needed , many hands helping here with set up and then clean up will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

On Saturday, the big day itself, final testing and tweaking of the radio stations will take place, then at 2:00pm, we are off to the races! Operators will be needed to relieve those getting fatigued as we will be working any open propagation for the next 24 hours! Around 5:00pm or so, the field canteen will need help setting up for feeding everyone dinner ($5 each). Overnight, there will be operations ongoing on 80m Phone, the lower bands on CW and digital, ops will be needed for each!

Sunday morning, breakfast at the field canteen, around 9:00am (another $5 each), and then the final push until Field Day ends at 2:00pm. Once again, many hands will be needed to safely take down antennas and towers, and to assist in packing away the stations and equipment. Since many persons will have been on-site throughout Field Day and will no doubt be tired, a lot of help here would be greatly appreciated!

Field Day is fun, and it is an opportunity to learn, you van participate in all aspects of amateur radio, from setting up and testing antennas and power supplies, to a chance to operating in modes that you normally don’t . How to deal with problems in an outdoor environment, how to turn around exchanges quickly in a competitive environment. Most of all, there is enjoying some fellowship and quality time with your fellow enthusiasts in this great avocation of ours.

So come on out, put in as much time as you are comfortable with giving, it will be rewarding to be a part of this!


Dave Snyder W4SAR


Field Day 2017 plans

Field Day plans for 2017 are starting into motion. So far it looks like we will again have a 9 Alpha Battery operation, a club operation using battery power only to power transceivers, 5 Watts maximum output.
Here are the current stations and band captains:
80 M, 40 M, 20 M and 15 M CW- Again run by the CW gang out of the MCU
40 M Digital (W4SAR) 20M Digital (KM4MDR) out of the barn loft
80 M Phone (W3AHL) out of RV
40/15 M Phone (K4SAR & KV7D) out of camper (suggestion made at meeting to split out 15)
20 M Phone (W4ORD) out of tent
Due to poor prospects for propagation, 10 meters will not have a dedicated station. The VHF band captain from last year cannot participate, so that slot is open if anyone is interested.
Food- Dee KU4GC and M.K. W4MKR have stepped down from running the field canteen, we’re looking for others to step up and fill this important function. So far, John KM4MDR has agreed to coordinate the Friday night potluck, probably the biggest single social activity between the two clubs. Lad W4ORD has agreed to run the grill on that Sunday morning for breakfast. We still need to work out dinner for that Saturday evening, as well as keep cool drinks on hand for the entire operation.
Logging/Networking- This year we will try to have everyone up and running on the N1MM freeware contesting log program. If we all use the same program with a wireless network in place, one master log will be compiled on the fly. Bruce N1LN is willing to run a couple of clinics, we will have an introductory demonstration of ZOOM teleconferencing at the April OCRA meeting. In May, a hands-on clinic for the band-captains will be held working with the N1MM Field Day template, using ZOOM teleconferencing on their logging laptops. Some volunteers are stepping up from both DFMA and OCRA to plan out the wireless network to be used for Field Day, all logging computers must have this capability.
Bonus Points- We actually had more QSO points than our close competitor in California last year. However, they still edged us out from second place by strenuously making all the bonus points they could. This year, we need more volunteers to assist in making up all the points we can. We did not have an ongoing educational activity last year(100 points), and never had anyone passing traffic (10 points each). If you don’t want to operate the full weekend, getting bonus points may be more your speed!
I look forward to the continuing discussions, and eagerly anticipate what further plans we come up with for Field Day this year!


OCRA President’s Notes, March 2017

Hello, I am trying something new, our blog on the OCRA website! Joel, KM4NOU our new secretary has done a capital job putting it together! Our thanks to him. Dan, KR4UB our treasurer, also worked with Joel to integrate the club’s database. Years past, we had a club newsletter, which though useful, went away due to lack of contributions and not having an editor who could make time to keep it going. The blog will fill that gap. But it will only be useful if YOU, the membership, contributes to it! To set the example, I promised Joel a monthly contribution as your president. you will need to contact Joel for a password, and then get on the “dashboard”, type in your text and insert photos!. It was so easy, even I could do it! Karen, KD4YJZ was elected as your Vice President, she will be looking for monthly programs, I may suggest to her that Joel present on the blog at the next club meeting. He can demonstrate how to get in and use it, he gave a brief presentation at the recent board meeting, and I think the membership will find it useful! So please, come on in and help make the OCRA blog your own! –73 W4SAR