Minutes – July 2020

Meeting Minutes of July 7, 2020

Once again the club met via Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Mike Metroka WB8BZK called the July 2020  meeting to order at 7:02 PM.  Mike Ophus KD9DLL led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Board members present were Dean Hettel WD9FOO, Ralph Iden WB9ICF, Dan Larson KD9M, and Mike Metroka WB8BZK.

A total of 35 were in attendance including three guests:  Lloyd Berg N9LB- Oregon, WI,  ARRL Assistant Section Manager Ron Delpiere KD9IPO-Villa Park, and new General class licensee Bill Laprise KD9PQR from Woodstock.

Approval of Minutes

The meeting minutes from the June 2020 meeting were previously posted to the MCWA website for review.  Dennis Ryan KA9PUC motioned to approve the minutes with Harold Burt W9HB seconding the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

Membership and Financial Reports

Dean Hettel WD9FOO presented the membership and financial reports for June.  As of June 30, 2020, MCWA has a membership of 124 members,  123 full members and 1 associate member.

June Finances

Opening Balance 6,659.33  
Deposits 25.00 Dues
Expenditures 327.82 Field Day food expense (KD9DLL)
  50.24 Field Day food expense (KD9DLL)
Interest 0.06  
Final Balance 6,306.33  

A motion to approve the financial report was made by John Kalenowsky K9JK with a second by Dan Larson KD9M. The motion was approved by voice vote.


Joseph (Joe) Szczubelek K9DMV – SK

The club was saddened to hear that long-time member Joe Szczubelek K9DMV passed away unexpectedly on June 18, 2020.  Joe was active in the club and was looking forward to operating Field Day at Rush Creek the following Saturday.

The membership paused for a moment of silence and remembrance.

August VE Testing

The scheduled August 18th VE testing in Woodstock has been canceled due to the COVID pandemic. The coordinators are continuing to investigate  a safe testing environment for everyone. 

The Schaumburg Amateur Radio Club (SARC) is providing limited VE testing for those who do not want to wait for the local testing session in November.  More information about the SARC testing sessions can be found at SARC website (n9rjv.org).

Update from the ARRL Assistant Section Manager (ASM)

Ron Delpiere KD9IPO, Central Division ASM, attended the meeting to introduce himself and to provide a brief Section update.

Recently reelected Illinois Section Manager Ron Morgan AD9I has stepped down due to health concerns that became apparent just as he was ready to start a new term. He will now serve as the Central Division Affiliated Club Coordinator (ACC). 

Thomas Beebe W9RY has been appointed as the Illinois Section Manager, effective July 1.

John Nebl N9MYC and Ron Delpiere KD9IPO are the ASMs for this area.

13 Colonies Special Event

A number of members reported participating in the recent 13 Colonies special event, including Tom Cramer KD6KHK, Dean Hettel WD9FOO, Ralph Iden WB9ICF, Mike Metroka WB8BZK, Roger Scott KF9D, and Dave Whaley NT9E.

All agreed that the Great Britain station GB13COL continues to be the most elusive station to contact due to their weak signal in the States.

New meeting topic: Help Needed?

A new meeting topic is being introduced that will give meeting attendees an opportunity to ask for assistance.  Does anyone need any help with anything Ham Radio? If so, maybe someone attending the meeting can help you get the assistance you need.

Dan Larson KD9M shared about a great application called Ham Clock for the Raspberry Pi.  Created by DL1GKK (dl1gkk.com), Ham Clock is the perfect clock for the ham shack. 

Upcoming Contests

    • CWOps Mini-CWT each Wednesday
    • CQ Worldwide 6m and 2m VHF contest, July 18-19
    • North America QSO Party (RTTY), July 18-19
    • ARRL 222 Mhz & Up, August 1-2
    • North America QSO Party (CW), August 1-2
    • Worked All Europe DX Contest (CW), August 8-9

Our very own John Kalenowsky K9JK is the Director of the CQ Worldwide VHF contest!

Note: If you visit the MCWA website (mcwa.org) and click on the “News” item, you will not only see news items and current propagation conditions, but there are news feeds from the WA7BNM Contest Calendar, ARRL, DX News, and ARISS. It is a great one-stop destination to keep current.

Harold Burt W9HB said that he found the new site very informative, especially the Resources section. He thanked those who worked on the new website and recommended that members take some time to visit the site.

Hamfest/Conference Reports

The Lyons, WI Freefest is still scheduled to be held on July 11.

Jim McDonald N7US called attention to a ground breaking virtual amateur radio exposition that you can attend from your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.  The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will be held on August 9-10, 2020 and will feature keynote speakers and exhibitors. Registration is free and those who register by July 24 will receive early bird prize incentives. More information at the QSO today expo site (www.qsotodayhamexpo.com) 

The Peoria Superfest originally scheduled for September has been canceled as the venue is closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upcoming MCWA Presentations

Our members have enjoyed and learned much from our meeting programs because of the wealth of knowledge and experience of the presenters. Everyone has something to share that will benefit others. Would you consider sharing your knowledge and present a talk at an upcoming meeting?

    • August 4, 2020 – So You’d Like To Run A Repeater – Hints & Tips by Ken Farver, KB9I
    • September 1, 2020 – Building & Testing the SATNOGS Rotor by Ralph Iden, WB9ICF & Officer and Board of Director election
    • October 6, 2020 – DXing by Jack Hudson, W9MU

Old Business

Field Day

Field Day 2020 at Rush Creek Conservation Area is in the books and was, by all measures, a success.  The Field Day report will be presented at the August meeting.

If you participated in Field Day with any group, please send Mike Metroka WB8BZK a short recap and photos.

Alternative Field Day activity

A number of members who could not participate at the Rush Creek event were able to take part in the MCWA Alternate Field Day activity.  Operators could participate in Field Day from home and have their scores affiliated with the club and, for the top scorers, win prizes.

About a half of dozen members have already sent in their scores to the ARRL. For those who have not yet sent in their scores, you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible being careful to spell the name of the club exactly as it is registered with the ARRL,  “McHenry County Wireless Assn” for the score to affiliated with MCWA.  If you need any assistance, contact Mike Metroka WB8BZK and he will be happy to assist you.

Officer election

The Nomination Committee chairperson, Jim McDonald N7US, along with Directors Gary Dembski W9GD and Mike Salak KC9Q are at work to prepare a slate of candidates for the annual MCWA officer election that will take place during the September meeting. 

To give the membership more time to  consider the candidates and to nominate additional candidates, the slate of candidates will be announced at the August meeting next month and the election held at the September meeting.

New Business

Election Process

There is a great deal of  uncertainty regarding whether or not an in-person meeting in September will be possible. The bank has not indicated when the meeting room would be available again and the room size isn’t sufficient to ensure proper social distancing for the number of members expected to attend.,

Therefore, the Board of Directors has explored options to hold the election at the September meeting as specified by the Constitution.  The Board has decided to hold the election using a private and secure cloud-based voting application used by other organizations. The Board smoothly and successfully performed a mock election using a variety of devices (laptop, iPhone, Android, tablet, etc.) 

As a voting member who intends to vote, it is crucial that you have a valid email address on file as this will be the means to deliver the link to the ballot.  By default, that is the email address associated with the reflector.  If a member is not registered on the K9RN reflector or has two or more addresses on file, please let Dean Hettel WD9FOO know your preferred email address. Each voting member will be able to cast one vote for each office.

There were no questions about the election process, but it will be gone over again at the August meeting.

Wrap up

The program for the evening will be “Meteor Scatter Communication” presented by Mike Metroka WB8BZK which will begin immediately following meeting adjournment.

The next regular meeting will a virtual Zoom meeting on Tuesday, August 4th 2020.  The meeting program, “So You’d Like To Run A Repeater – Hints & Tips”, will be presented by Ken Farver KB9I. Members watch your email for your meeting invitation.  The meeting will open around 6:20 PM to allow new users to join and the meeting will commence at 6:30 PM.

A motion to adjourn was made by Tom Cramer KD6KHK and seconded by Joe Robin N9OK. The motion was approved by voice vote and the meeting was adjourned at 7:43 PM.

Prepared by Ralph Iden WB9ICF, MCWA Secretary