Minutes of the 3 February 2016 Meeting
President Steve KA1LHZ Board called the meeting to order in the small conference room following dinner at The Steak House on the Barre/Montpelier Road in Berlin, VT.
Thirteen members and friends of CVARC attended the meeting: Steve KA1LHZ Board, Jim KB1ZSQ Bonner, Allen W1AAT Tinker, Tom KB1NGQ Long, Ed N1FMP Hutchinson, Chris N1GBB Knox, Fred N1OEP Doten, Bob KB1PFI Danaher, Joe N1PTR McKeon, Carolyn KC1AZA Brusetti, Cathy N5WVR James, Russ W1LRS Schauer, and Alan K1MZM Zaur. With four who attended the January meeting but could not attend tonight’s meeting, the “core group” now numbers 17 people!
Minutes of the 3 January were approved as presented with several typographical corrections.
Tom Long reported that he has obtained the checkbook and that all appears in order with the exception of the last insurance payment to the ARRL which will be paid before our next official activity, Field Day 2016. The $100 deposit to hold the Pavilion area for Saturday and Sunday has been paid. The group extended appreciation and thanks to Tom for his work in getting our financial data together.
It was agreed that the next meeting on 2 March be held at 6 pm in the public meeting room of the Barre Municipal Building which has ample parking and is located on the North Side of the Barre-Montpelier Road at 15 4th Street. The building houses the Barre Police and Fire Departments. The group extended thanks to Dispatcher Russ Schauer for bringing this possibility to our attention. A small group plans to meet for dinner prior to the meeting at the “Soup and Greens” Restaurant at 5 pm ish which is located at the eastern end of the Lenny’s shopping center.
Steve Board will present the program. His timely talk will help to prepare us for the spring and summer thunderstorm season and will focus on lighting protection and power line surge protection for amateur radio equipment.
The group extended thanks and appreciation to Cathy James for her work in exploring meeting possibilities at the Aldrich Library meeting rooms in Barre.
There was an apparent consensus that attendees at the March meeting constitute themselves as the Nominating Committee for the Annual CVARC Meeting in April and prepare a slate of officers and a Director to serve the club in the next year and to be confirmed by those attending the April meeting.
Chris Knox reported that the Williamstown Repeater has been tweaked and now has a much improved listening range than before. He noted that the receiver needs a pre-amp to bring it up to standards. In lieu of paying rental space for our antenna on Washington West’s tower, CVARC will organize a “Garden Party” in the spring to spruce up the grounds. The Cabot Repeater will be next on Chris’s list and the group discussed a number of possible scenarios for the future of that repeater.
Chris reported that the K1VIT wide area repeater on Lincoln Peak at Sugarbush 145.47 with a PL of 100 Hz is up and running and that the first VHS digital DMR repeater is also on line at 145.41 with a color code of 1. Both of these repeaters will add an important new resource to Vermont’s emergency communications ability since the facility has backup emergency power and an internet connection.
Russ Schauer will add his website manager skills to those of Joseph Schaedler which will give us a very powerful working group to handle that very important function of any group in the modern world.
A printed copy of the current CVARC By-Laws was distributed and is also available on our W1BD website. A group will form shortly to examine our By-Laws and to make recommendations to the membership for any necessary or desirable changes or additions.
It was suggested that a “Steering Committee” consisting of current and future officers and any member of the club who wishes to participate meet monthly to plan programs and activities for the club and thereby reduce the amount of club meeting time that is devoted to “club business.” (The first gathering of that group will occur on Tuesday 15th March (third Tuesdays) at 6pm in the upper room of the Falls General Store, 7 Cox Brook Road, in Northfield Falls. Our thanks and appreciation to Vince KC2ISE Rooney who owns the store and has graciously made meeting space available to us.)
The next Ham Con gathering will be held at the Holiday Inn just off Exit 14 east in S. Burlington on Saturday 27th February. Mitch W1SJ Stern and the RANV group have prepared an impressive program featuring topics of interest to ham radio operators and this year the VE session which follows the convention is free to all comers with only one proviso: “study for the test that you would like to take before coming to the test session!” Bring two forms of ID but leave your $15 at home.
The program presenter tonight was our own Cathy James. She presented the results of a survey that she put together a year ago that gathered responses from as many members as possible on the future direction of CVARC. Cathy is professionally employed by Green Mountain Coffee in their market research department and we are exceptionally fortunate to have had access to her professional expertise in this survey. You can find a pdf. file of her presentation on our w1bd.com website (or a copy will be posted there shortly) and you are encouraged to read it thoroughly.
Her conclusion about respondents priorities are as follows in descending order:
1. Regular email announcements of meeting times, dates, locations and topics/activities. Hams want to be reminded, because we are all so busy.
2. Newsletter: Technical articles; reports of local activities, contests and DX
3. More presentations at meetings: Technical: EME, physics of radio, radio astronomy, SDR. Emergency Go-Kits, Emergency Ops Center protocol, ICS.
4. Activities outside of dinner meetings: Hands-on electronics building sessions and group operating sessions.
5. Redesign approach to nets: “Tech Net” focused on technical topics, “Prep Net” focused on emergency communications and emergency prep; “CW Net” on HF focused on building CW skills and CW rag-chewing.
6. Club Station
A lively discussion ensued and already many of the items that appeared in the concerns of members and friends have been actively pursued by the core group of early responders and will be continued in the monthly “Steering Committee” meeting which will gather on the third Tuesday of every month.
President Steve Board thanked all who came tonight for their interest in a revitalized club that over the years has brought a great deal of joy and fun to many of us. He adjourned the meeting with hope of seeing everyone next month on 2 March.
Submitted by Allen Tinker, W1AAT, Secretary pro tem