Minutes – September 2020

Meeting Minutes of September 1, 2020

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held via Zoom. 

President Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) called the September 2020  meeting to order at 7:01 PM.  The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Dave Holmgren (K9AT).

Board members present were Gary Dembski (W9GD), John Dewey (KA9CAR), Dean Hettel (WD9FOO), Ralph Iden (WB9ICF), Dan Larson (KD9M), Mike Metroka (WB8BZK), and Mike Salak (KC9Q).

A total of 37 members were in attendance.

Approval of Minutes

The meeting minutes from the August 2020 meeting were previously posted to the MCWA website for review.  Gary Dembski (W9GD) motioned to approve the minutes with Dave Whaley (NT9E) seconding the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote.

Membership and Financial Reports

Dean Hettel (WD9FOO) presented the membership and financial reports for June.  As of August 31, 2020, MCWA has a membership of 128 members,  127 full members and 1 associate member.

August Finances

Opening Balance 6,335.80  
Deposits 39.90 Dues
Expenditures 200.00 ARRL Club Liability Insurance
  21.00 DigitalOcean – Website hosting Sep-Dec
Interest 0.05  
Final Balance 6,154.75  

Joe Robin (N9OK) made a motion to approve the financial report with a second by Dennis Ryan (KA9PUC) . The motion was approved by voice vote.


Hamfest/Conference Reports

The first ever QSO Today Virtual Ham Convention was held the weekend of August 8 – 9 with the opening keynote on Friday evening. Several members attended and thought many of the programs worthwhile. Some elements of the interface and experience felt clumsy.

The Racine Megacyle Club’s Free Fest on August 8 wasn’t attended by anyone at the meeting.

The Society of Midwest Contesters (SMC) Fest  occurred on August 22nd and was enjoyed by a number of members. Initially limited to current paid SMC members, the virtual event was later opened up to all.

As reported previously, the W9DXCC – NIDXA DX Convention has been canceled. The West Allis Radio Club’s 48th Annual Midwinter Swapfest originally planned for January 4th, 2021 at the Waukesha County Expo Center Arena has also been canceled.

Contest Updates

Quite a number of members participated in North American QSO Party, SSB including KY0G, KD9M, NT9E, and WB8BZK.  K9JK and WB8BZK also participated in the 50 MHz Fall Sprint.

Upcoming contests as well as the current ARRL news can be viewed from the “News” page on the MCWA website (https://mcwa.org/topics/news/) and is updated daily.

VE Testing

The Hamfesters Radio Club conducts FCC authorized VE tests every 2nd
Saturday of the month at the Oak Forest Village Hall, 15440 S. Central Ave., Oak Forest, Illinois 60452.  For more information contact Al Buikowski (N9ZD) or visit https://www.hamfesters.org/main/ve-testing. 

MRAC holds monthly VE testing at HRO in Milwaukee, reservations required. More information at https://www.mracvec.org/.

The Schaumburg Amateur Radio Club (SARC) is providing limited VE testing.  More information about the SARC testing sessions can be found at the SARC website (https://n9rjv.org).

Upcoming MCWA Presentations

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

    • October 6, 2020 – DXing by Jack Hudson (W9MU)
    • November 3. 2020 – QSLing by John Canker (W9JM)
    • December 1, 2020 – Introduction to getting on 472 KHz and 136 KHz by Lloyd Berg (N9LB)
    • January 5, 2021 – Inexpensive Test Equipment for Hams, Part 2 by Gary Kaatz (W9TD)

MCWA November Dinner Social

The dinner social which has been held at the Village Squire in Crystal Lake the past two years and takes the place of the November meeting has been postponed until 2021. Based on the number of members who attended the previous two dinners, it was not  possible to safely accommodate the large number of people at this time.  There will be a virtual meeting in November.

K9CT Earns Fred Fish Memorial Award

Craig Thompson (K9CT) of Trivoli, IL completed the Fred Fish Memorial Award, which requires confirmed QSOs with each of the 488 Maidenhead grids within the continental United States on 6m. Craig is only the 12th operator to have achieved this impressive accomplishment. Congratulations, Craig!

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

Mike Salak (KC9Q) brought up the recently announced FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making that proposes to establish a $50 fee for new licenses, upgrades, renewals, and vanity call signs.  Administrative changes such as address changes would be free.

A discussion followed where members expressed their views on the new license fees: “It will have an impact on new people entering the hobby”, “Disincentive licensing”, “Maybe it would discourage callsign hoppers from frequently changing calls causing their old call to be unavailable to others for two years”. A number of members thought that a $50 or more fee would be  detrimental or a barrier for many. For example, someone passes the Technician, upgrades to General, and applies for a vanity callsign will pay $150. The fee could result in fewer people entering into the hobby at time when the  amateur community is aging.

A suggestion was made for club members to file comments with the FCC once the request for comments notice is announced. More information can be found on the ARRL website (http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-proposes-to-reinstate-amateur-radio-service-fees). 

Dave Whaley (NT9E) asked if there was any progress securing a larger meeting place for in-person meetings. The Board has been compiling a list of potential venues and will be reviewing them for suitability. There are a number of factors that must be considered including size, location, cost, and venue availability during the pandemic.

Officer Elections

Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) said that after three years as President and two as Vice President, it was time to turn the reigns over to someone else.  The candidates as presented by the Nomination Committee for the 2020-2021 officers and directors are:

      • President: Ralph Iden (WB9ICF)
      • Vice President: Dan Larson (KD9M)
      • Treasurer: Dean Hettel (WD9FOO)
      • Secretary: Gary Kaatz (W9TD)
      • Director: Gary Dembski (W9GD) – 2 year term

The floor was opened for additional nominations. There were no further nominations. Dennis Ryan (KA9PUC) moved that the nominations be closed and that the list of candidates be accepted. The motion was seconded by Harold Burt (W9HB) and passed by voice vote.

Jim McDonald (N7US) and Fred Soop (AC9RQ) asked if there was a quorum present to hold an election and what would happen if an election couldn’t be held for that reason? A short discussion ensued with President Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) stating that in lieu of a lack of nominations from the floor, a vote would not be necessary as the unopposed candidates would be considered elected via acclamation.  There were no objections from those present and the slate was elected by acclamation.

Congratulations were extended to the new Board of Directors, who will be seated at the October meeting. John Dewey (KA9CAR) current Past President will be leaving the Board and replaced by Mike Metroka (WB8BZK). Mike Salak (KC9Q) will begin his second year as Director.

The MCWA 2020-2021 Board of Directors:

      • President: Ralph Iden (WB9ICF)
      • Vice President: Dan Larson (KD9M)
      • Treasurer: Dean Hettel (WD9FOO)
      • Secretary: Gary Kaatz (W9TD)
      • Director: Gary Dembski (W9GD) – 2 year term
      • Director: Mike Salak (KC9Q) – starting the second year of his 2 year term
      • Past President: Mike Metroka (WB8BZK)

Wrap up

The program for the evening will be “Building & Testing the SATNOGS Rotor” presented by Ralph Iden (WB9ICF), which begins immediately following meeting adjournment.

The next regular meeting will be a virtual Zoom meeting on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020.  The meeting program that evening will be “DXing” by Jack Hudson (W9MU).  Members watch your email for your meeting invitation.  The meeting will open around 6:20 PM to allow users to join and visit. The meeting will commence at 7:00 PM.

A motion to adjourn was made by John Kalenowsky (K9JK) and seconded by Dave Whaley (NT9E). The motion was approved by voice vote and the meeting was adjourned at 7:42 PM.

Prepared by Ralph Iden (WB9ICF), MCWA Secretary

Before starting the evening’s program, it was revealed that Mike (WB8BZK)  received a surprise visit from John (KA9CAR) and Gary (W9GD) earlier in the evening who presented him with a plaque expressing the club’s appreciation of his service as President the past three years and Vice President the two prior years. Thank you, Mike from MCWA.