Sunday, 17 August 2014

General Meeting Minutes, 2014.06.03

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:41. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Introductions completed. 36 members and 2 guests in attendance
  1. Motion 2014-06-03-01 by John VA3JI to approve the minutes of the May 6th General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Bill VA3QB. Motion carried.
  2. Finance – John VA3JI
    • Opening balance [available to members from Secretary on request]
    • Receipts totaling $75.00 in dues plus proceeds from sale of old tower $200.00
    • Disbursements $529.15 go kits, $2,401.24 container including delivery
    • [available to members on request] closing balance
    • Upcoming expenses: $344.00 for food for AGM
  3. Events – Eric VE3EB
    • MADD Poker Run – Eric thanked volunteers for MADD, repeater coverage was good
    • Girl Guide event went well, 5 volunteers
    • This weekend MT Albert Parade on Friday, run on Saturday
    • Canada Day at Sharon Temple
    • Need volunteers
    • Don VE3IXJ noted that August long weekend will be a big challenge with the Newmarket Jazz festival Aug 1-4th due to the expanded footprint. This is the same weekend as Al’s Ride.
  4. Membership Drive – Steve VE3EZ
    • Steve has worked with the board to design a club QSL card with the intention to mail these out to 500 local amateurs, inviting them to join us at field day and our regular meetings
    • Motion 2014-06-03-02 by Anthony VE3HIS to allocate up to $800.00 to fund the production and distribution of the cards, seconded by Glen VA3AU. Bill VA3QB suggested we focus distribution on newer amateur licenses; for example the VA3’s. Don VE3IXJ could use 411 to cross check mailing list. Chris VE3NRT will send a request through Yahoo to look for volunteers to vet the list. Phil raised the concern that this did not address targeting people who may want to become licensed. Motion carried.
  5. Field Day – Steve VE3UT
    • Al’s ride is an important event to support because they provide the club with the use of their property for field day.
    • Steve thanked Rob VE3RQB for his work on the tower trailer and mentioned that the project is moving along very well and should be ready for field day
    • The military have contacted Steve and may not be able to join us at field day due to other commitments
    • Volunteer operators are needed as well as volunteers to help with setup will start on Friday Jun 27th. On the air at 2pm Saturday to 2pm Sunday.
    • Peter VE3PBT has received a donation from Tim Horton’s to support our event
  6. EMCOMM – Russell VE3WTR
    • EMCOMM has grown over the year. Site owners are assigned to EOC’s in the region
    • D-Star training was completed
    • Russell recently completed a number of renovations to the trailer over a period of 9 days. New internal layout to improve workability and weight distribution, installation of a UPS, accommodations built for storage of chairs, spare tire, etc… plus reflective tape outside, improvements to the generator storage cage
    • Russell VE3WTR has personally invested just under $1,300.00 into this project (for which he has receipts) and estimates that $3000-$4000.00 in total was invested in cash and in kind. He requested the club reimburse ½ of his personal expenses; an amount equal to $633.00
    • Motion 2014-06-03-03A by Brian VE3IBW, to reimburse Russell $633.00 seconded by Mike VE3FGU.
    • Secondary Motion 2014-06-03-03B by Steve VE3UT to amend the primary motion 2014-06-03-03A requesting that the issue be put to the board for review and final approval. Seconded by Ron KG4CVL.
    • Motion 2014-06-03-03A was carried as amended by 2014-06-03-03B
    • John VA3JI clarified that the board did not approve this expenditure, and authorized funding repairs to weight distribution system
  7. Ron KG4CVL was appointed chair AGM
  8. Chris VA3DXZ was appointed secretary for AGM
  9. General meeting is adjourned Motion 2014-06-03-04 by Terry VE3ODM to adjourn the general meeting, seconded by Garrett VA3PYP. Motion carried
  10. Chris VE3NRT announced that Steve VA3SRV is the winner of the Harvey Bell Award

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My Field Day 2014 - Digital Station

As band captain of the digital station once again, I had two important goals for 2014. The first was to beat last year's score (and targeted 500 contacts compared to 243 last year). The second and far more important goal was to lose the competition for the coffee pot award, which I won handily last year due to antenna and software problems. Fortunately this year things went better and there was more competition so I lost by a mile.

The antenna setup was much easier using the club's radial-free Cushcraft R8 instead of my 30 year-old Butternut HF6V. By Friday evening we had it up, tested and made a couple of DX contacts on 15 metres. We also strung up a home made 40m dipole which I'd built and tuned as an inverted V during my diving trip to Florida in April. True to theory, in the dipole configuration the antenna tuned a bit higher in the band but with about 2:1 VSWR on the digital subband of 40m and 3:1 on 15m it was well within the capabilities of my tuner. The club tri-bander was also available but we soon decided that it would need some repair work before it could be used again, so we set it aside for the event.

Another advantage over FD 2013 was a year's experience with my transceiver. My first contact on that transceiver was on Field Day 2013 and since that time it has logged another 5000 or so, probably about 1/2 of those in one digital mode or another.

Start-up was not without challenges, though. Digital operation requires an audio interface, rig control, PTT, etc. etc and the software didn't work quite right at the beginning causing a few minutes delay that was quickly resolved. I'd brought my docking station to provide extra USB ports and used every single one of them. The worst of the problems was that input monitor switch on the audio interface became set by accident and caused a sharp feedback sound on transmit that took a few minutes to locate, but we were shortly up and running RTTY on 15 metres.

Unfortunately Brian VE3IBW and I didn't get the QSO rate we were looking for, partly because of band conditions and partly because there was less RTTY activity than expected, so by about 6pm we were well short of the QSO rate we needed to be to hit our target. We had started on 15m but had trouble finding new RTTY stations to work so we went to 20m to work some more. After a while 20m became unproductive so I went over to the 40m CW station and talked to John VA3JI who was the operator at the time to let him know that I was going to try 40m and to let me know if he was getting any QRM. Fortunately there was no QRM even though we were operating at the maximum power for our class and the next 12 hours or so was entirely on 40 and the QSO rate started to pick up.

As night fell the tent filled up with mosquitoes and other annoying insects so Publius VE3XS commandeered the bug zapper from the (now closed) kitchen which made short work of them, and surprisingly didn't cause any QRM. On my list for next year is to bring my own zapper.

By 3AM however, the doldrums set in once again so in desperation I took a break to configure FLDIGI (software for digital modes) with N1MM. Having access to the Internet via my cell phone really helped get it up and running. Once configured, we went to PSK and spent most of the remaining time in that mode. There were many more PSK operators and we really started to make hay, even though the sunshine was still hours away. By the time Brian returned at 6:30 AM I was able to turn the station over to him with just 25 contacts to go to beat the previous years' high water mark.

The other change we made this year was to use a home-made dipole and an additional antenna. On 40m it seemed to work better than the Cushcraft so we turned the R8 over the GOTA station and ran the dipole for most of the remainder of the contest.

I went home to get a few hours of sleep and when I got back to the site at around 1PM I found that Brian had had an outstanding morning on PSK and we were closing in on 300 contacts. By the end we'd reached 309 QSOs using two modes on 3 bands, a new high water mark to beat in Field Day 2015. Next year we are thinking about using a second receiver for spotting unworked stations and maybe setting up for 80 metres as well. The multi-band capability of the digital station really helped rack up the points. In the picture below, you'll see the Coffee Pot Award being presented to someone other than me.

With the great weather, great food (Thanks Peter!), great organization (Thanks Steve!) and great company (Thanks everyone!) it was all in all an excellent weekend.

Friday, 1 August 2014

YRARC Board Meeting July 15th, 2014 - Minutes

Meeting held in the lower room of the Magna Centre. Called to order at 19:02. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT, Rob VE3RQB, Chris VA3DXZ, John VA3JI, Eric VE3EB, Barry VA3LLT, Geoff VA3GS, David VA3DCY. Board members absent: Steve VE3UT. Club members attending; Bob Rennie VA3BSJ
  1. Review of the agenda as proposed by Chris VE3NRT (attachment #1)
  2. Adoption of June 17th board meeting minutes
    • Motion 2014-07-15-01 by Geoff VA3GS to adopt minutes as published in the Splatter blog, seconded by Rob VE3RQB. Motion carried.
  3. Election of officers – President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary
    • By acclamation, Chris VE3NRT is President
    • By acclamation, Rob VE3RQB is Vice-President
    • By acclamation, John VA3JI is Treasurer
    • By acclamation, Chris VA3DXZ is Secretary
  4. Appointment of committee chairs with responsibilities as described in the document “Board Responsibilities” (Attachment #2)
    • Governance - Chris VE3NRT is chair with support from Chris VA3DXZ
    • Membership and Activities– Geoff VA3GS with support from Barry VA3LLT
    • Public Service– Eric VE3EB is chair with support from David VA3DCY
    • Facilities: It was decided that the proposed facilities committee be split into two separate committees; Property and Repeaters.
      • Property– Rob VE3RQB is chair with support from Barry VA3LLT
      • Repeaters – chair position remains open at this time
    • Motion 2014-07-15-02 by Geoff VA3GS to disband 2013-14 committees and to establish the above noted committees / chairs, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.
  5. Governance
    • Insurance
      • Review of the report from John VA3JI concerning club insurance coverage
      • Motion 2014-07-15-03 by Chris VA3DXZ to allocate up to $1,000.00 for renewal of the existing policy covering the communications trailer, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried
      • Motion 2014-07-15-04 by Chris VA3DXZ that the tower trailer not be towed, or deployed until further notice, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried
      • Motion 2014-07-15-05 by John VA3JI, to establish an ad hoc committee responsible for making a recommendation to the board on insurance coverage, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Motion carried
    • Budget Priorities
      • There was a discussion on the proposed budget lines
      • Treasurer is looking for input from committee chairs with their estimates prior to next meeting
  6. Facilities – Go Kit Storage
    • It was noted that Brad VE3HII is relocating and no longer able to store and manage the Go Kits on behalf of the club
    • Motion 2014-07-15-06 by Geoff VA3GS that the property chair be empowered to orchestrate the removal, storage, and management of the Go Kits, taking into consideration the needs of Emcomm and Public Service, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried
  7. Public Service
    • Upcoming events
      • Newmarket Jazz Festival Aug 1st -4th – Still many volunteers needed to support this event
      • Remembering Renata Walk Aug 24th
      • Sharon Temple; Ilumination Sept 5th
    • Recognition
      • There was a discussion and exchange of ideas on what the club could do to recognize the support of the club member volunteers for public service events. Participation in events will be tracked this year for the purpose of recognizing the volunteer contributions of our members
  8. Membership
    • Tracking
      • Chris VA3DXZ will send the current membership list in the club files to all board members
      • The membership committee will create a welcome letter for new members, a membership form to capture all necessary information
      • Membership will be tracked using excel
    • Advertising
      • Discussion concerning advertising and the suggestion that brochures be distributed to local libraries
    • Presentations for the fall meeting schedule
      • September – Echolink and IRLP demo
      • Membership committee to solicit ideas from the club for subsequent meetings
  9. Other business
    • Motion 2014-07-15-07 by Geoff VA3GS that an additional $75.00 is allocated to motion 2014-04-01-03, to bring the total amount approved for the tower trailer to $3,575.00, in order that the trailer could be outfitted with 4 jacks, seconded by David VA3DCY. Motion carried
    • So that it is recorded in the minutes, Steve VE3UT was appointed to the board following an email motion raised by Chris VA3DXZ, seconded by Rob VE3RQB, and following voting via email, was declared carried July 7, 2014
  10. Motion 2014-07-15-08 by Chris VA3DXZ to adjourn meeting, seconded by John VA3JI. Motion carried.