Monday, 30 April 2018

YRARC General Meeting - Minutes 2018-04-03

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:35 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 32.
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption if minutes from 2018/03/06. Moved Bill VA3QB, seconded Brian VE3IBW. Carried.
  3. Treasurer's Report: Charles VA3TTB
    • Opening Balance 2018-03-01 [available to members upon request to secretary]
    • Income: None
    • Expenditures: None
  4. Antenna analyzer update VA3TTB. The circuit board that Charles was planning to use has some flaws, and he is searching for an improved board.
  5. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. Due to the recent interference (noise) on the repeaters, causing them to transmit continually, Eric VE3EB shut down VE3YRC-V and VE3YRA. Steve VE3UT will investigate. VE3YRK-V update: a replacement antenna will be on site in approximately 2 weeks, and will be installed when a rigger can climb the tower.
  6. Summer Field Day: Steve VE3UT. It may be difficult to operate the kitchen as done previously. Assistance will be needed in the kitchen on Field Day weekend, as well as assistance with shopping. Options to be discussed are – reducing the number of meals, a lighter lunch, or possibly preparing only dinner. It was suggested that we invite a Scouting Venturer group to assist.
Break 20:00 – 20:20

Guest Speaker: Bob VE3WY. Bob spoke about his trip last summer to Zone 2 in northern Quebec, north of the 50th parallel, to grid square FO10le. Bob and fellow VHF fans from Canada and the US set up a special event station VC2EME in a normally quiet park, to work as many stations as possible Earth-Moon-Earth. June 21 was the chosen date since the moon was closest to the earth without Jupiter or the sun behind the moon. Unfortunately the date coincided with other visitors celebrating St. Jean Batiste Day, and they found a choice camping spot beside the toilets. In spite of vehicle difficulties experienced by the US amateurs, and the limited space available, the trip was a success.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting - 2018-02-20

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 4. Called to Order at 19:15 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT (P), Steve VE3UT (VP), Charles VA3TTB (T), Barry VA3LLT, John VE3IPS, Mike VA3MCT, David VA3DCY (S). Absent: Geoff VA3GS, Rick VA3VO, Eric VE3EB. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of Agenda & declaration of conflicts of interest. Amendments: None. Conflicts of interest declared: None. MOTION: To adopt the agenda, Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  2. Minutes: MOTION: To adopt minutes of Board Meeting date 2018/01/15. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried.
  3. Actions arising from minutes: None
  4. Committee Reports:
    1. Treasurer’s Report: Charles VA3TTB
        Income Expenditures Balance
      • Opening Balance 2017/12/01 [is available to members from Secretary on request]
      • Memberships $25.00
      • Total income $25.00
      • Cheque $20.00
      • Total expenditures $20.00
      • Interim balance 2017/12/19[is available to members from Secretary on request]
      • MOTION: To adopt the treasurers report. Moved Charles VA3TTB, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried.
  5. Insurance: Charles VA3TTB. The Directors and Officers insurance is due on March 15. This policy does not automatically renew, and must be applied for each year. Again the need for this insurance was debated, since according to RAC and their insurance provider, D&O insurance is not necessary for amateur radio clubs, since we have no shareholders, no employees and not other other parties who would rely on the club for income or other funding. The topic of renewing the insurance was debated. MOTION: To renew the D&O insurance. Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Mike VA3MCT. Carried.
  6. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. The power supply for VE3YRA is on hand, and ready to be installed. VE3YRK VHF is still off air due to the 4:1 SWR. A new antenna should be available in the spring. Chris VE3NRT noted that the D-Star operating system is no longer maintained.
  7. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. Steve presented his WFD cost summary:
    Gas bought Steve VE3UT$90.00
    Gas bought David VA3DCY$23.40
    Name plate for Melted Coffee Pot award$8.00
    Kitchen expenses (drinks/snacks) Peter VE3PBT$54.20
    Total expenses$190.60
    Excess gas purchased Steve VE3UT$21.00
    Total money received$296.00
    Cash returned to treasurer$296.00 - $190.60$105.40
    • Winter Field Day cost: $190.60 - $21.00 = $169.60
  8. Web Site: Mike VA3MCT. The new web site is ready to go and we have access to thee products and services offered by Tech Soup, such as 'Google for non-profits'.
  9. ARES: Mike VA3MCT. There has been no recent activity, but we have been invited to the Barrie ARES Central Ontario meeting on April 7 and have been asked to bring our trailer. MOTION: To allow the trailer to leave York Region to go to Barrie for April 7. Moved Mike VA3MCT, seconded John VE3IPS. Carried. John VE3IPS will attend a GTA ARES meeting in February.
  10. Auditor: Charles VA3TTB. Charles VA3TTB met with John VA3JI and Doug VE3XV to discuss the auditor's requirements and to establish procedures and guidelines. Charles distributed a draft of the proposed procedures.

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2018-01-16

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multi Purpose Room 4.. Called to Order at 19:10 by Chris VE3NRT Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT (P), Steve VE3UT (VP), Charles VA3TTB (T), Geoff VA3GS, Barry VA3LLT, Eric VE3EB, David VA3DCY (S), Mike VA3MCT. Absent: Rick VA3VO, John VE3IPS. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of Agenda & declaration of conflicts of interest. Amendments: None. Conflicts of interest declared: None. MOTION: To adopt the agenda, Moved Barry VA3LLT, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  2. Minutes: MOTION: To adopt minutes of Board Meeting date 2017/12/19. Moved Mike VA3MCT, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  3. Actions arising from minutes
    1. Rick to attempt to sell hardline on Kitchener swap net – no update.
    2. Alex to be reimbursed $20 for stolen item at Hamfest. Cheque will be written.
    3. Set up recording of the repeater with time stamping – no progress to date. There seems to be no jamming at the moment.
    4. Establishment of a dollar value threshold to record assets. The value would be the current value. MOTION: That $100 be established as the threshold in determining when to record an item as an asset. Moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
    5. Geoff VA3GS will get a quote for QSL cards.
  4. Treasurer’s Report: Charles VA3TTB. MOTION: To adopt the treasurers report. Moved Charles VA3TTB, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
    • Opening balance - members may request balance from Club Secretary
    • Memberships $305.00
    • Markham Fair rebate $460.45
    • Hamfest 2016 $100.00
    • Hamfest 2017 $270.00
    • Other $80.00
    • Go-kit item replacements -$51.83
    • Hamfest expenses -$842.82
    • Trailer repair parts -$51.56
    • Winter Field day 2018 -$275.00
    • Food for December gathering -$196.09
  5. Insurance: Charles VA3TTB
    • RAC insurance is provided by AON. $5 million liability insurance for a club costs $160/year plus $1 for each RAC member and $10 for each non RAC member. The coverage includes members and visitors.
      To include a name insured, there is a $75 one time charge for each named insured.
    • RAC property insurance rates are 1% of the insured value per year.
    • Vehicle insurance is not available from RAC.
    • Director's insurance according to AON is likely not required for our club.
  6. Banking: Charles VA3TTB We need a signing director (in addition to Charles) to sign a bank form to allow Charles (the treasurer) to have read-only access to our bank balances. Steve VE3UT will provide the second signature.
  7. Auditor: Charles VA3TTB. Charles VA3TTB and John VA3JI will meet with Doug Smith to discuss the auditor's requirements and to establish procedures and guidelines.
  8. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. The trailer is currently at Al's Tack Shop. It was moved there after the Scout winter camp at nearby Shadow Lake, to be on site for Winter Field Day.
    We may need to repair a speaker connector.
    Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. There have been no changes to the repeaters. Gf VA3GS has submitted the repeater information to WYNSORC for this year.
    Web Site: Mike VA3MCT. Mike asked the board to look at the new website and send him comments. He will resend the site URL.It may be possible to send e-mail to members via 'Google for business' or Mail Chimp.
    Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS. No report, the hamfest is finished for the year.
  9. Property: Rick VA3VO. No report.
  10. Public Service: Eric VE3EB. At the recent Scout winter camp, Brian VE3IBW and Eric were in the trailer demonstrating APRS to the older youth, and Geoff and David were in the main building teaching phonetics and code to the younger youth.
  11. ARES: Mike VA3MCT. No report.
    Winter Field day: Steve VE3UT: Steve noted there are 2 weeks left before Winter Field Day. Setup will be on Friday January 26 and the trailer is already on site. $55 has been given to Peter VE3PBT to purchase refreshments, and $220 is on hand to pay for fuel. The 40m dipole needs to be repaired – wires re-soldered to the balun. Steve noted that we should do an equipment check following each event to check for damaged or missing equipment.
  12. Basic qualification course: Geoff VA3GS. There will be a new course next fall.
  13. Membership: Barry VA3LLT We have approximately 70 members.
  14. New Business:
    • Meeting Attendance. A review of board members attendance was discussed.
    • A Stouffville Scout group would like us to do a presentation at one of their Thursday meetings. The presentation would be approximately 1 to 1.5 hours long. Code/voice/APRS to be determined. The date to be determined.
    • Gas used at the previous Scout winter camp. MOTION: To reimburse David VA3DCY for gas purchased upon presentation of a receipt, value not to exceed $30. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Eric VE3EB. Carried.
    • USB – RS232 adaptor for D-Star trailer radio. MOTION: To reimburse Steve VE3UT for the purchase of the USB adaptor $30 max. The motion needs to be presented at the next General meeting.
    • Club event vests: Eric VE3EB - Eric proposed purchasing identical vests with the club ID/logo, to be worn by club members at club public events. He suggested purchasing 16 to 20 vests that would be owned by the club, and members could also purchase their own vests. He also proposed purchasing an open tracker in the future.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting - March 6, 2018

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:35 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 28.
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of minutes from 2018/02/06. Moved Brian VE3IBW, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  3. Treasurer's Report; Charles VA3TTB. Members may obtain the opening and closing balances from the club secretary. Receipts: Excess money from Winter Field Day $105.00; Expenditures: Serial port adapter $28.24, Scout Winter Camp Gas: $23.39.
  4. Insurance: Charles VA3TTB. Our membership at RAC has expired, and membership in RAC could have benefits with the future purchase of insurance. MOTION: That YRARC join Radio Amateurs of Canada as an affiliate club for an annual cost of $27.95 plus GST. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded John VA3JI. Carried.
  5. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT: VE3YRA will be off the air on Wednesday March 7, at 09:00 for approximately one hour, to replace the power supply that had recently failed. The repeater has been on air using a temporary supply. Doug VE3ATP is waiting for better weather to replace the VE3YRK antenna. Don VE3IXJ mentioned there is a new DMR repeater north of Bradford.
Guest Speaker: Due to last minute circumstances, the scheduled guest was unavailable. Charles VA3TTB filled in with some of his thoughts on weather radar. Being an enthusiastic bird watcher, weather radar is of interest to him. Weather radar has an approximately 1 degree beam, which is elevated just above the horizon. At a given distance away from the radar station, the beam will be at a certain height above ground. The pulses can be reflected by small objects such as rain, snow, small insects such as bees and also birds. One of his pictures showed a ring of objects. They were birds, flying at their normal height above the ground. Another picture showed a concentration of migrating birds along the Niagara Peninsula. In conclusion, he wanted us to know that a doctor gave us a talk on the birds and the bees.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Minutes - YRARC General Membership Meeting 2018-02-06

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 38.
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Trailer and Membership Report: Barry VA3LLT.
    • The club trailer was used at Winter Field Day, and a small clean-up is needed.
    • We have a total of 73 paid members, including life members.
  3. Trailer Item Purchase: Steve VE3UT. MOTION: To approve payment of $28.24 for a USB to RS232 adaptor, purchased for the D- Star radio in the club trailer. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  4. Adoption of minutes from 2017/12/05 and 2018/01/02. Moved Brian VE3IBW, seconded Steve VE3UT. Carried.
  5. Treasurer's Report: Charles VA3TTB. Due to an incompatibility between a USB drive and a computer, there was no official report, only a verbal summary.
  6. Insurance: Charles VA3TTB. We have 3 insurance policies, liability insurance, trailer road insurance and directors insurance. Charles is investigating getting us coverage at better rates.
  7. Public Service: Eric VE3EB.
    • There are planned events for the year 2018, including but not limited to, the Mount Albert Run, the Newmarket Music Festival, the Aurora Street Sale, Run for the Cure, and various events at the Sharon Temple.
    • We participated at the recent 2nd Markham Scouts Winter camp. Steve VE3UT, Geoff VA3GS and David VA3DCY set up on the Friday (in winter conditions). On Saturday Geoff VA3GS and David VA3DCY introduced younger youth to Morse Code and the phonetic alphabet. For the older youth, Eric VE3EB and Brian VE3IBW demonstrated APRS and digital modes with the help of Steve VE3EZ (who was off site).
  8. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT
    • WFD weekend was on January 27 and 28. Set up started on Friday with the club trailer, Steve VE3EZ's trailer and one section of the summer shelter. We operated as 3Oscar (maximum 3 transmitters at one time and Outdoors).
    • In 2015 our score was 3573, in 2017 our score was 6348 and for 2018 we claimed 10,690. The total number of QSOs were 239 with a multiplier of 7, for a QSO score of 2345. We claimed 1500 bonus points each for non-commercial power (generators), operating outdoors, away from home and a minimum of one satellite QSO. We made 3 Satellite QSOs (although only 1 counted).
  9. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT. VE3YRA was off the air recently due to a failed power supply. It was returned to air using a temporary supply. A replacement supply will arrive soon.
  10. ARES (EmComm) Report: Don VE3IXJ. The UHF frequencies used on the cross-band repeaters at the EOCs, may conflict with digital frequencies. Don is working to resolve the situation.

Break: 20:10 – 20:25

Guest Speaker: Alex VE3ASE

Topic: Amateur Radio Satellites.

It can be inexpensive to start working satellites with a minimum of equipment. Alex started with a simple 'tape measure' yagi and a dual band handheld radio. Satellites can be worked regardless of band conditions, since they are worked with line of sight VHF and UHF communications. The satelites are in low-earth orbit (not geosynchronous orbit like communications satellites) and have a 10 to 20 minute maximum window when they can be 'seen'.

FM satellites operate on 1 cross-band channel, and like a terrestrial repeater, allow only one QSO at a time. Linear satellites have a 50 to 100 kHz bandwidth and allow multiple SSB/CW QSOs.

For FM satellite operation, the handheld radio should be capable of full duplex operation, first to ensure you are actually being heard by the sattelite and secondly to be able to respond quickly to a QSO. Alternately 2 separate radios could be used. Because of the satellite movement, you can expect a doppler shift, so at least 5 pre-programmed transmit and receive frequencies are necessary – (2 lower, 1 on frequency, 2 higher). In addition, a voice recorder is necessary to record the exchange in the QSO. In order to know when satellites will be 'visible', satellite pass prediction software is invaluable.

The most critical antenna is the downlink antenna. It should be a high gain Yagi. While the antennae can be hand-held, it can also be permanently mounted, and motor driven as done by Brad VE3HII. The setup can also be more expensive.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2018-01-02

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 26
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of minutes from 2017/12/05. Postponed until February 2018.
  3. Repeater Committee: Steve VE3UT
    • The voice IDs on the repeaters are now muted when the repeater is in use. VE3YRK-V is still off the air due to a 4:1 SWR.
    • Winter field day will be on January 27 and 28, and we will be at Al's Tack Shop on Vandorf Rd. A show of hands indicated approximately 10 people plan to attend. The cost of fuel and snacks will be covered by the club. Peter VE3PBT will prepare a light meal for those wishing to stay for supper at a cost of $3 per person.
  4. Don VE3IXJ noted that VE3BAL is now on a new frequency.

Break: 19:50

Guest Speaker: Don VE3IXJ
Topic: The Power of the HT Repeater.

Don demonstrated a simplex repeater, Surecom SR-112, costing approximately $80 Cdn bought on eBay from China. It attaches to the mic/speaker of the HT radio. On receive it records the audio, then re-transmits the recorded audio. It is a very simple solution for use in a local environment. Then Don demonstrated a crossband repeater, Surecom SR-628, costing approximately $90Cdn. The lightweight and inexpensive repeater could be set up easily and quickly in a typical emergency where simplex operation might be ineffective.

The crossband repeater was connected to an inexpensive Chinese radio capable of crossband. Anything received on VHF was retransmitted on UHF, and anything received on UHF was retransmitted on VHF. To extend the range, Don added a second crossband repeater/radio combination and then a third repeater/radio combination. From end to end a typical path would be VHF Freq#1 – repeater – UHF Freq#2 – repeater – VHF Freq#3 – repeater – UHF Freq#4.

A conversation could be heard on any frequency along the path. A radio in the middle could transmit on UHF Freq#2 or VHF Freq#3 and be heard at both ends of the path on VHF Freq#1 and UHF Freq#4.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

YRARC General Meeting - Minutes 2017-12-05

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 27
  1. Welcome & Introductions: Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of minutes from 2017/11/07. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Jack VA3UU. Carried
  3. Ontario VHF Association: Bob VE3WY; The Ontario VHF Association is having a 1 day meeting in June, with antenna testing in the morning, and technical talks in the afternoon, followed by dinner. Bob asked if we as a club would host the event.
  4. ARES Report: Mike VA3MCT; The recent SET in Markham was based on a 5 day power outage. Messages were passed using only simplex communication, however hand written messages using standard voice relaying are slow, and not the way to go forward. Eric VE3EB and others are experimenting with Fldigi to transfer messages of UHF and HF. Steve VE3UT and others have tested D-Star to transfer messages. John VE3IPS would also like to encourage the use of NVIS antennae for short range HF links.
  5. Treasurer’s Report: Charles VA3TTB; There was no working projector and no definite treasurers report, just figures from memory. Charles spoke about a proposed project night Arduino antenna analyzer. He has been sourcing parts for the project, and the cost should be approximately $100.
  6. Repeater, Winter Field Day Reports: Steve VE3UT; The D-Star VHF repeater is off the air until further notice. The antenna has a 4:1 VSWR. Steve asked for a headcount of potential WFD participants, to estimate refreshment requirements (approximately 10 to 12). Proposed bands for operation will be 160m, 80m, 40m and 20m...Phone, CW and digital modes. Rob VE3RQB wanted to know when the 'brag messages' on the repeaters would be lowered when there was a conversation in progress.
  7. Public Service Report: Eric VE3EB; There are still items remaining from the estate of Bernie VE3OTR. John VE3POJ is disposing of the assets. Contact Eric for details.
  8. Hamfest Report: Geoff VA3GS; Geoff thanked all who were involved with the Hamfest. He also noted that as of December 1, all cell phones can be unlocked without charge for the unlock code.
  9. Membership Report: Barry VA3LLT; We have a total of 70 paid members including life members.
  10. Name Tags: Doug VE3VS;Anyone a name tag, please contact Doug. When there are enough orders, the name tags can be made. There is a DXpedition at the Galapagos Islands, and Doug received his Vimy 100 certificate.

Meeting adjourned at 20:15. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Jack VA3UU. Carried.

The Christmas party followed the business meeting.