Minutes – December 2019

Meeting Minutes of December 3, 2019

President Mike Metroka WB8BZK called the December 2019 meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Crystal Lake Bank meeting room. The Pledge of Allegiance followed led by Dave Holmgren K9AT.

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

A total of 42 people were in attendance including one guest, Joel Nelson W9NXM from Lake Zurich.

Approval of Minutes

The meeting minutes from the October 2019 meeting were previously posted to the MCWA website for review. Joe Jaxx W9JCS motioned to approve the minutes with Joe Szczubelek K9DMV seconding the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

Membership and Financial Reports

Dean Hettel WD9FOO presented the membership and financial reports as of November 30, 2019. MCWA has a membership of 118 full members and 10 family members for a total of 128.

Opening Balance 7,986.28  
Deposits 290.00 Dues
  9.41 Dues (less Paypal service charge)
Expenditures 1,358.00 2019 Dinner
  241.31 2019 Dinner Raffle Prizes
  162.92 2019 Dinner Appetizers
Interest 0.06  
Final Balance 6,523.52  

A motion to approve the financial report was made by Dave Whaley NT9E with a second by Joe Robin N9OK. The motion was approved by voice vote.


The ARRL has pubished the results of the 2019 Field Day and our club station turned in a very respectable score despite having to teardown early in anticipation of severe weather. K9RN and the seventeen operators and support crew operated 2A and finished 2nd in Illinois (out of 15), 7th in the Central Division (out of 36), and 43rd overall (out of 360).

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to remove the existing non-federal allocations in the 3.3-3.55 GHz band, which includes the entire amateur radio allocation. The FCC cites the need to make this spectrum potentially available to support the next generation of wireless networks (5G). John Kalenowsky K9JK may be the only MCWA member that currently uses this band, but the loss of this allocation will be felt by the whole amateur radio community especially those who have invested a great deal of money in equipment and antennas. Proponents of 5G technology are activity seeking out bands where there is little or no activity and amateurs are encouranged to use our bands or lose them.

Dave MacLennan W9DAV announced that he recently upgraded his license to General.

John Canker reported that he was issued a new vanity call sign, W9JM, to replace his old call, N9GUU.

Joe Robin N9OK was awarded the ARRL Triple Play WAS (Worked All States on Voice, CW, and Digital) award.

Mike Metroka WB8BZK has earned FT4 WAS.

Joe Witkins KD9KTA brought in several back issues of QST magazine that were given to him by Joel Nelson W9NXM. He invited those in attendance to take one or more of the issues and to read them and/or give them to a new or prospective ham.

It was reported by Fred Soop AC9RQ that Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) is now charging sales tax on orders shipped to Illinois.

Ken Field KO9H announced that his 220 MHz repeater (KO9H 224.96, -1.6, 110.0 CTCSS) is operational from Cary and he invites people to stop by and use the machine. The EN52 net uses Ken’s repeater for its monthly 220 net on the second Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted.

Hamfest/Conference Reports

There were a few hamfests held in November, but none were attended by anyone in the room. There are no local hamfests scheduled in December.

The WARAC Midwinter Swapfest will be held Saturday, January 4, 2020 at the Waukesha County Expo Center Area in Waukesha, WI.

WCRA will host their Mid-Winter Hamfest in St. Charles at the Kane County Fairgrounds Expo Center on Sunday, January 19, 2020.

Upcoming MCWA Presentations

Our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience that other members are eager to receive. Everyone has something to share that will benefit others. Would you consider sharing your knowledge and present a talk at an upcoming meeting?

January 7th, 2020 – History of Electricity and Electrical Technology by Jack Hudson W9MU
February 4th, 2020 – TBD
March 3rd, 2020 – ARRL Update by Kermit Carlson W9XA

Old Business

Board of Directors Meeting

The MCWA Board of Directors met on October 22, 2019 at 6:30 PM in the Crystal Lake Bank meeting room.

President Mike Metroka WB8BZK began the meeting welcoming the incoming BOD members and thanking the outgoing ones. This was followed by a review of the roles and responsibilities of each Board member as specified by the MCWA Constitution and Bylaws.

A detailed presentation of the organization’s metrics over time (e.g., membership, meeting attendance, finances, project participation, etc.) indicate a consistent positive upward trend. The BOD discussed the organization’s growth and challenges such as meeting room capacity and maintaining a comfortable temperature in the meeting room with so many attendees. The Board will be exploring ideas to address these issues.

The Board agreed that the organization’s interest and participation at the three scouting events over the past two years was overwhelmingly positive.

The club is encouraged to continue these activities in the future if opportunities are presented. The organization should consider strengthening its outreach by reaching out to other youth organizations such as 4H, Girl Scouts, etc., and exploring follow-up activities such as “get on the air nights”, licensing classes, and other activities to keep the excitement alive.
Approved a 2020 MCWA budget which is in line with the last two year’s income and expenses. The amount of the 2020 budget is $1,349.00.
Approved the formation of a committee to explore future activities with the scouts and funding such activities at last year’s level.
Approved the formation of a committee to explore follow-up activities and funding requirements for those who may have an interest in amateur radio to encourage them in becoming active, licensed amateurs.
Approved the formation of a committee to organize a 2020 club social event and funding at last year’s levels.
Approved the formation of a 2020 Field Day committee and the selection of a chairperson with funding at last year’s level.
Approved looking into obtaining a copy of OpenOffice or LibreOffice tools for the donated Windows 10 laptop and if those tools would not work out well, approved the purchase of a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Business so that the laptop could be used at MCWA meetings. The Office purchase would be a one-time purchase and not a yearly subscription.

After receiving comments from the membership about the lack of time to consider the Nominating Committee’s candidates before voting for new Officers and Directors, the Board unanimously approved directing the Nominating Committee to present its list of candidates at the August membership meeting. At the September membership meeting, the Nominating Committee will formally present its candidates and additional nominations from the floor will be accepted. The election of new Officers and Directors will then occur at the September meeting in accordance with the Constitution.

The Board is still seeking a Program Chairperson.

The next scheduled Board of Directors meeting is set for October 20th, 2020 with interim meetings called as needed.

MCWA Dinner Social

The dinner social held on November 5th at the Village Squire in Crystal Lake was a great success. The fifty-four participants filling the private room reserved for the event enjoyed good food and conversation. MCWA President Mike Metroka WB8BZK extended a warm welcome to all and presented a program showcasing the club’s recent Scout Camporee project. A prize raffle of ARRL books and chocolates was held following the program.

There were more attendees than the year before and the room was full. If the event gets any larger, a bigger venue may be required. Although things generally went well, there was a mix-up with the chicken dinner not being as described on the menu that the Village Squire had provided MCWA and the wait staff was unable to rectify the situation.

The dinner would not have been possible without the support of the Board of Directors and the dedication of the dinner committee and greeters. Thank you!

      • Dean Hettel WD9FOO
      • Jim McDonald N7US
      • Mike Metroka WB8BZK
      • Joe Robin N9OK
      • Fred Soop AC9RQ (personal name badges)

Scout Camporee Project

MCWA once again participated in the Sycamore District’s Scout Camporee (Jurassic Luau) which was held on October 5th, 2019 at Veteran Acres in Crystal Lake. The club goal was to expose youth to Amateur Radio and to provide a fun experience on the air or sending Morse code. The Sycamore District covers all of the greater McHenry County area and hundreds of scouts attended the Camporee, which offered many activities that the scouts could choose from including Amateur Radio.

The club operated out of the Nature Center which kept the scouts and equipment safe and dry. Two stations were in operation one on 6 meter SSB and one on 2 meter FM. In addition, another table containing two Morse code practice “transmitters” were available. After watching an excellent video, “Amateur Radio: A hobby for the 21st Century”, produced by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), the scouts were given the choice of making an on-the-air contact or learning to send a message using Morse code.

It was expected that the Amateur Radio activity would appeal to the older scouts, but most of the scouts visiting our activity were in their early teens or younger. Several participants attended last year’s Scout STEM Day at McHenry County College. Some of them took another turn at the microphone while others chose to visit the CW table to give others a chance to make a QSO.

There were many more female scouts or young ladies interested in becoming scouts than have been seen in the past. They seemed to really enjoy getting on the air and having QSO’s, especially if another YL was on the other end. Thank you to Sue Iden KA9EUW for being that YL.

A Leader/Parent follow up brochure was provided that contained information on how to become an Amateur Radio operator, MCWA contact and meeting information, and license exam dates and times. There was interest by some in taking the next steps towards getting a ticket including a series of classes.

Over twenty people were involved (on air and off) in making this event a success. Thank you! Your contributions are appreciated, and you have made a difference in many scout’s lives.

MCWA On-Site Volunteers

Gary Dembski W9GD
Dave Holmgren K9AT
Ralph Iden WB9ICF
Dan Larson KD9M
Sean McKinney KD9HVX
Mike Metroka WB8BZK
Mike Murtz KC9LDU
Desmond Sharpe KB3LKM
Wendell Smith N9REP
David Whiteside N9BSA
Laura Whiteside N6JLT

Field Radio Support Team

Pierre Berube K9EYE
Loren Burkett K3RFC
John Dewey KA9CAR
Dean Hettel WD9FOO
Sue Iden KA9EUW
Dennis Ryan KA9PUC (was also on-site)
Mike Salak KC9Q
Dale Szymkowski KU9G
Dave Whaley NT9E

New Business

Mike Pecorini KD2RPE brought up that the current MCWA website could benefit from a little updating to provide an improved user experience, especially to those with tablets and cell phones. Although it was agreed that this would be a worthwhile project and one that has been in the works for a period of time, it is not an easy task and could be potentially expensive if outside resources were required. Ralph Iden WB9ICF said that he was already in contact with Mike Ricketts ND9G to discuss ways of streamlining the updating of information such as the meeting minutes. Ralph will be coordinating a discussion about how the website could be improved and will report back to the Board of Directors and the membership.

Wrap up

An invitation to interested parties to gather later at The Cottage to enjoy eyeball QSOs and 1/2 price pizza was offered.

Tom Pusateri W9NBG will be presenting “Ham Radio in the mid-1950’s” following the adjournment of tonight’s meeting.

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, January 7th. 2020 in the Crystal Lake Bank meeting room. Doors open at 6:30 PM, with the meeting starting at 7:00 PM.

A motion to adjourn was made by John Cankar W9JM and seconded by Gary Dembski W9GD. The motion was approved by voice vote and the meeting was adjourned at 7:50 PM.

Prepared by Ralph Iden WB9ICF, MCWA Secretary