Minutes – October 2020

Meeting Minutes of October 6, 2020

DRAFT

President Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) called the October 2020 meeting to order at 7:00 PM by Zoom meetings. The Pledge of Allegiance followed led by Dave Holmgren (K9AT). Mike then “Passed the gavel” to incoming President Ralph Iden (WB9ICF). Ralph thanked Mike and outgoing board member John Dewey (KA9CAR) for their service and welcomed the new Board. Ralph noted the passing of Bill Goodwin, the brother-in-law of Tom Craner (KD6KHK).

Board members present were Gary Dembski (W9GD), Dean Hettel (WD9FOO), Ralph Iden (WB9ICF), Gary Kaatz (W9TD), Dan Larson (KD9M), Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) and Mike Salak (KC9Q).

A total of 41 people were in attendance, there were no guests this evening.

Approval of Minutes

The meeting minutes from the September 2020 meeting were previously posted to the MCWA website for review.   Harold Burt (W9HB) motioned to approve the minutes with Joe Jaax (W9JCS) seconding the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous voice vote.

Membership and Financial Reports

Treasurer Dean Hettel (WD9FOO) presented the membership and financial reports for September. MCWA has a membership of  119 full members, 8 family members and 2 associate members for a total of 129.

Opening Balance $6,154.75
Deposits $10.00 (Dues)
Expenditures $0.00
Interest $0.05
Final Balance $6,165.80

A motion to approve the financial report was made by Roger Scott (KF9D) with a second by Dan Larson (KD9M). The motion was approved by voice vote.

Announcements

The annual meeting of the Board will be on October 20, 2020 at 6:30 PM with Zoom meetings.

A membership survey is being prepared, look for the link on the K9RN Reflector.

The November MCWA Dinner/Social is cancelled.


Hamfest/Conference Reports

Mid-Winter Hamfest, Waukesha on January 4, 2021 Cancelled

The list of license testing opportunities is available on the MCWA website.


ARRL September VHF Contest: Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) noted good activity, mostly on FT8

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest: no reports

144 MHz Fall Sprint: Mike again reported high activity

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY: Several members reported their participation with Joe Robin (N9OK) and Mike Metroka (WB8BZK) reporting their personal best of 810 and 650 contacts, respectively with band conditions not good. Other members that participated were Dave Whaley (NT9E) and Gary Kaatz (W9TD).

222 MHz Fall Sprint: no reports

No members reported any new awards.


Upcoming MCWA Presentations

    • November 3    QSLing by John Cankar W9JM
    • December 1     Introduction to getting on 472 and 136 kHz                                                                 Lloyd Berg N9LB
    • January 5          Inexpensive Test Equipment for Hams, Part 2                                                             Gary Kaatz W9TD

Ralph encouraged the membership to consider making a presentation since these are all that are currently scheduled.


Old Business

Proposed FCC fees for amateur radio (20-270): The comment period is now open with 1,442 comments as of 10/1/2020. Links to submit and view comments can be found on the MCWA website under “News”.

The Board has been gathering lists of potential meeting places for the growing meeting attendance but availability during the pandemic and cost will be major factors in any decisions.

New Business

Bill Wacaser (KD9GIU) inquired if MCWA could assist him in demonstrating amateur radio at the upcoming JOTA on October 18 from 2-5 PM at the Crystal Lake Nature Center. Several members indicated their willingness to help: Gary Dembski (W9GD) and John Dewey (KA9CAR). Others commented on the proposal including Mike Metroka (WB8BZK), Tom Pusateri (W9NBG), Dave Holmgren (K9AT), Dennis Ryan (KA9PUC), Joe Jaax (W9JCS) and Pierre Berube (K9EYE).

Wrap up

Jack Hudson (W9MU) will be presenting “DXing” following the adjournment of tonight’s meeting.

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, November 3, 2020 by Zoom meetings. Open “eyeball” QSOs start at 6:30 PM, with the meeting starting at 7:00 PM.

A motion to adjourn was made by John Dewey (KA9CAR) and seconded by Pierre Berube (K9EYE). The motion was approved by voice vote and the meeting was adjourned at 8:04 PM.

Prepared by Gary Kaatz (W9TD), MCWA Secretary

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.

Announcements

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.

Minutes – August 2020

Meeting Minutes of August 4, 2020

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

President Mike Metroka WB8BZK called the August 2020  meeting to order at 7:02 PM.  The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Tom Craner KD6KHK .

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 31 members were in attendance.

Approval of Minutes

The meeting minutes from the July 2020 meeting were previously posted to the MCWA website for review.  Dennis Ryan KA9PUC motioned to approve the minutes with Gary Dembski W9GD seconding the motion. The motion was approved by voice acclamation.

Membership and Financial Reports

Dean Hettel WD9FOO presented the membership and financial reports for June.  As of July 31, 2020, MCWA has a membership of 126 members,  125 full members and 1 associate member.

July Finances

Opening Balance 6,306.33  
Deposits 29.41 Dues
Expenditures 0.00  
Interest 0.06  
Final Balance 6,335.80  

A motion to approve the financial report was made by Tom Craner KD6KHK with a second by Joe Robin N9OK. The motion was approved by voice vote.

Announcements

Hamfest/Conference Reports

A few members attended the DX Engineering Virtual Hamfest including N7US and WB8BZK who thought the presentation by Jerry Rosalius WB9Z was great.

The first ever QSO Today Virtual Ham Convention will be held the weekend of August 8 – 9 with the opening keynote on Friday evening.

The Racine Megacyle Club’s Free Fest is still scheduled to occur on August 8 at the Greater Racine Kennel Club, Racine, Wisconsin.

The Society of Midwest Contesters (SMC) will be holding their SMC Fest on August 22, 2020 via Zoom.  At the present time, attendance is limited to current paid SMC members.

As reported previously, the W9DXCC – NIDXA DX Convention has been canceled.

John Kalenowsky K9JK reports that CFMC Radio Expo (Belvidere hamfest) has also been officially canceled.


August VE Testing

A reminder that the scheduled August 18th VE testing in Woodstock has been canceled due to the COVID pandemic, however there are alternatives.

The Hamfester’s Radio Club offers VE testing in Oak Forest (details at https://www.hamfesters.org/main/ve-testing). 

MRAC also offers VE testing at HRO in Milwaukee (details 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).


Contest Updates

  • CQ Worldwide VHF contest  had participation from Mike Metroka WB8BZK and John Kalenowsky K9JK (who was also the contest director). Mike said that it was an okay contest and made 60 contacts on 6m and 2m.   John added there was minimal e-skip.

The North American QSO Party RTTY was enjoyed by Mike Metroka WB8BZK as well as Jim McDonald N7US, who made 543 contacts.

The ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance contest saw John Kalenowsky K9JK have his personal best score. He visited four grids and made contacts on several bands including 3.4 GHz and 10 GHz.

  • The North American QSO Party CW saw some great scores earned by N7US (816 contacts), Rick Dickens KY0Q (500 contacts), and Mike Metroka WB8BZK (200+ contacts).

Upcoming contests

    • Worked All Europe DX contest CW August 8 – 9, 2020,  This is an interesting contest as it involves an option to exchange message traffic for additional points.
    • North American QSO Party SSB on August 15th.
    • 50 MHz Fall Sprint on August 22nd.

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.

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.

    • 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
    • November 3. 2020 – Dinner Social (tentative)
    • December 1, 2020 – QSLing by John Canker W9JM

Old Business

Field Day

The club’s Field Day at Rush Creek Conservation Center in Harvard was a resounding success and resulted in the highest score since the club restarted its Field Day activities. Safety measures to guard against COVID-19 were put into place and the weather cooperated this year.

[See FD slides under the MCWA website News area]

Here are this year’s statistics along with previous year totals.


Alternative Field Day activity

Congratulations to all of the MCWA members who participated in our Alternative Field Day activity. Your scores will be affiliated with the club’s FD score. The final results are in.


Other Field Day Reports

Dave Whaley NT9E reported on the 415 Field Day.  They operated 3A under the callsign N9WH. One of the stations was plagued by interference in the trailer due to coiled cables and  software problems were experienced out of the gate. A total of 14 operators participated with a total score of 3264.

John Dewey KA9CAR gave a report on the K9ESV FD site. They operated 2F from two office-type trailers using a 3 element beam and wire antennas. The scores were similar to prior years.

Rick Dickens KY0Q, as he has done the past 6-7 years, operated from a tent running QRP CW on battery. He normally pairs up with Olaf Nurmepuu W9FY for this annual event, but the COVID-19 pandemic interfered with their plans. He said working QRP was kind of tough, but managed to make 435 CW contacts.


Officer Elections

The Nomination Committee chairperson, Jim McDonald N7US, presented the committee’s slate of candidates for the MCWA 2021 Officers and Directors.  A brief biography was given to acquaint the membership with the candidates.

The slate will be presented once again at the September meeting and members will be given the opportunity to nominate additional members from the floor prior to the vote.  Any additional nominees need to be present to affirm that they will accept the nomination.

    • President: Ralph Iden WB9ICF
    • Vice President: Dan Larson KD9M
    • Treasurer: Dean Hettel WD9FOO
    • Secretary: <no nominee at present>
    • Director: Gary Dembski W9GD

In addition, Mike Metroka WB8BZK will serve as Past President and Mike Salak KC9Q will begin his second year as Director.

The club still needs a nominee for club Secretary. Beside taking meeting minutes, the Secretary also handles club correspondence such as sending out sympathy cards for members who have become Silent Keys.  Please consider standing for nomination as the club will need a Secretary. Support and guidance will be provided so you will not be overwhelmed. Please contact Jim McDonald N7US if you will be willing to serve the club in this capacity.

It is important that all members attend the September meeting in order to vote for next year’s officers and directors. If there are no contested positions, then a simple acclamation vote will be taken. Otherwise, an online election will be held using Election Runner, a secure voting system.  The meeting will go into executive session while members vote. When the meeting is reconvened, the election results will be reported to the club. The time frame for online voting, if necessary, will be announced at the September meeting.

As a voting member who intends to vote electronically, 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.

New Business

No new business was presented.

Wrap up

The program for the evening will be “So You’d Like To Run A Repeater – Hints & Tips”, presented by Ken Farver KB9I, which will begin immediately following meeting adjournment.

The next regular meeting will be a virtual Zoom meeting on Tuesday, September 1st, 2020.  This meeting will elect next year’s Board of Directors so all members are strongly encouraged to attend. The meeting program that evening will be “Building & Testing the SATNOGS Rotor” by Ralph Iden, WB9ICF.  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 7:00 PM.

A motion to adjourn was made by Roger Scott KF9D and seconded by Joe Robin N9OK. The motion was approved by voice vote and the meeting was adjourned at 7:59 PM.

Prepared by Ralph Iden WB9ICF, MCWA Secretary

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.

Announcements

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

Minutes – June 2020

Meeting Minutes of June 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the club from meeting in person. The June meeting was held via Zoom.

President Mike Metroka WB8BZK called the June 2020  meeting to order at 7:05 PM followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Dave Holmgren K9AT.

Board members present were John Dewey KA9CAR, Gary Dembski W9GD, Dean Hettel WD9FOO, Dan Larson KD9M, Mike Metroka WB8BZK, and Mike Salak KC9Q. Ralph Iden WB9ICF was unable to attend the meeting.

A total of 36 members were in attendance.

Approval of Minutes

There was no April 2020 meeting of the club, but the meeting minutes from the February 2020 meeting were previously posted to the MCWA website for review.  John Cankar W9JM motioned to approve the minutes with John Dewey KA9CAR seconding the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

Membership and Financial Reports

Dean Hettel WD9FOO presented the membership and financial reports for May.  As of May 31, 2020, MCWA has a membership of 119 members, 118 full members and 1 associate member.

May Finances

Opening Balance 6,837.85  
Deposits 50.00 Dues
Expenditures 21.00 DigitalOcean website hosting (Jun-Sep)
  207.57 “Alternate Field Day” prizes
Interest 0.05  
Final Balance 6,659.33   

A motion to approve the financial report was made by Dan Larson KD9M with a second by Joe Szczubelek K9DMV. The motion was approved by voice vote.

License updates

At the end of May, HRO hosted an in-person VE testing session where the following MCWA members obtained their license or upgraded their existing licenses.

      • Eric Padilla passed his Technician exam and is now KD9PLJ.
      • Dean Hettel WD9F00 has upgraded to Extra class.
      • Bill Wacaser KD9GIU upgraded to General and then to Extra!

 In addition, Glenn KD9MGH, who recently upgraded to Extra class, has a new call sign, K9OK. 

Congratulations to Eric, Dean, Bill, and Glenn.  Well done.

Awards

Congratulations to Mike Metroka WB8BZK for his completion of 15m WAS, which also completes his 5-band WAS.  Mike recently received a paper QSL from a 2016 West Virginia RTTY QSO that completed the 15m WAS award and is awaiting confirmation from ARRL HQ once they start processing their incoming mail. 

Announcements

Nomination Committee

Jim McDonald N7US has been appointed the Nomination Committee Chairperson for this fall’s election of MCWA officers and directors. Jim will be working with the two Directors at Large, Gary Dembski W9GD and Mike Salak KC9Q to develop a slate of candidates for the election.

As reported earlier, the committee will announce the slate of candidates at the August meeting with the election occurring at the September meeting. This change will provide time for the membership to consider the candidates and to offer additional nominations, if desired.

August VE Testing

The scheduled August VE testing in Woodstock has been canceled due to the COVID pandemic. The coordinators are investigating alternatives that provide a safe testing environment for everyone, but they have not yet found a practical solution to execute this type of session yet. 

Upcoming events

Dave Whaley NT9E announced that the annual 13 Colonies Special Event is coming up July 1 -7, 2020.  It is a fun event that a number of MCWA members have enjoyed in the past.  More information is available at the 13 Colonies website (www.13colonies.us) or KU2US’s QRZ page.

John Kalenowsky K9JK mentioned that the June VHF Contest will be coming up on June 13-15 from 1800 UTC Saturday through 0259 UTC on Monday. He added, “Microphones are still allowed on 6m, they haven’t been banned.”, a light-hearted reminder that besides FT8 and other digital modes,  SSB, FM, and CW contacts are encouraged.

Hamfest/Conference Reports

All area hamfests and events have been canceled for May, with some events still scheduled for June. On June 13th, the Fox Cities ARC will be holding the Sunshine Hamfest in Kaukauna, WI.  More information can be found at the FCARC website (fcarc.club/sunshineswap.php).

Heil Ham Radio Day, a free virtual event,  was held Saturday, May 9th. No meeting attendees attended the event.

With Hamvention canceled this year, Contest University went virtual this year and was free.  Over 2,000 people attended the day long event and the MCWA members who attended the event found it great and were very impressed with the topics and quality of the talks. The recording can be found by searching for “Contest University” on YouTube. The slide decks are found at the Contest University website (www.contestuniversity.com).

Hamradio 2.0 held their online YouTubers Hamfest 2020 on May 23rd featuring a number of interesting talks containing lots of good information. The videos can be viewed on Hamradio 2.0’s YouTube channel.

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?

    • July 7, 2020 – 6m Meteor Scatter Communications by Mike Metroka, WB8BZK
    • 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 Report

Great news as Illinois has entered Phase 3 of the COVID recovery plan. This means that the club will be able to have Field Day at the Rush Creek Conservation Area, the site of the past two MCWA Field Days. The club will have two HF stations and a VHF station and will be operating SSB, CW, and Digital modes. .

Social distancing practices will be used at Rush Creek, which includes a limit of the number of participants on site at any one time. Operators should plan to bring their own headset, keyboards, etc. Gloves, wipes, soap & water, and disposable covers for keyboards and mice will be provided. 

There will be a limit of 10 participants at any one time at the site. Dean Hettel WD9FOO will be handling registrations to ensure that the limit will not be exceeded. All are welcome, however no walk-ins will be allowed, so contact Dean to sign-up to let him know that you will be there.

At the last meeting of the Board of Directors, the Board approved a Field Day budget of up to $750 and approved expenses up to $300. Any expenses above $300 requires membership approval.

A motion was made by Mike Metroka WB8BZK to approve the balance of the 2020 Field Day budget up to an additional $450 for total of $750, the amount the Board approved. Pierre Berube K9EYE seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

MCWA Alternative Field Day Activity

The Board recognizes that not everyone will be comfortable with attending or be able to attend the Rush Creek in-person FD. Therefore, MCWA members will be able to operate Field Day from their homes, have their scores affiliated with the club, and have some friendly competition with prizes. Recognition will be given for all who join in on the fun.

The details of the various FD classes and rules were discussed as well as how to report your scores and let the ARRL know that your station is affiliated with MCWA. Mike will be sending out a follow-up email that covers the specifics.

Prizes will be awarded in each of the home station categories:

    • First place – MCWA embroided hat
    • Second place – ARRL Field Day mug
    • Third place – ARRL Field Day mug

Top finishers will also receive a certificate recognizing their achievement.

New Business

There was no new business.

Wrap up

The program for the evening will be “Inexpensive Test Equipment for Hams” presented by Gary Kaatz W9TD which will begin immediately following meeting adjournment.

The next regular meeting will another virtual Zoom meeting on Tuesday, July 7th 2020. 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 Dave Whaley NT9E and seconded by Mike Ophus KD9DLL. The motion was approved by voice vote and the meeting was adjourned at 7:51 PM.

Prepared by Ralph Iden WB9ICF, MCWA Secretary