All Things HF: March 2018

In the many years of writing this monthly addition to the BAARC newsletter, I’ve kept the contents upbeat and positive for the hobby we represent, Amateur Radio. The time to sound off is when one believes the hobby is being led in the wrong direction. I am and always will be a supporter of the ARRL.

As a life member along with being an annual supporter of the Diamond Club, I firmly believe in the tiered class of membership (Technician, General, Advanced and Extra) as each of the classes are earned through intensive study and finally by strictly administered examination. Advancement to a higher class equals additional bandwidth privileges. The ARRL in its infinite wisdom has sent a request to the FCC for expanded HF privileges for Technician class licenses to include (limited) phone privileges on 75, 40 and 15-meters plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15 and 10-meters.

Their rationale is that it’ll attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio. By the ARRL’s own published numbers there are 378,000 technician class licensees which is more than half the numbers of those with HF privileges. My objection is the word ‘give’ should be replaced with the word ‘earned’. Nobody is holding these folks back from upgrading their licenses to have more privileges other than themselves. A relatively simple test that is administered for a Technician class license will give them a personalized vehicle license plate with their callsign, a big whip antenna and an FM transceiver for their vehicle allowing them mobile radio privileges. I doubt very much if most of them will go any further. How many of those 378,000 Techs are really going to upgrade to earn their way up the ladder.

What this hobby needs is more dedicated people able and willing to follow in the footsteps of those that went before them. There’s no doubt that the digital modes are going to be ‘The Thing’ in the coming years and so we welcome these new modes and encourage younger people to join this wonderful hobby BUT…they must EARN their way up the ladder just like the rest of us have done over the years. Those of you dedicated HF radio operators can sit down at your station, find an open frequency and call CQ because someone somewhere that has HF privileges is listening for your call. Don’t disappoint them. So long from my station in Huntersville to your station wherever it may be…

Best 73 es gud DX de Bob/WØZPE

FEBRUARY CLUB MEETING PROGRAM: Civil Air Patrol – MN Wing’s missions for Super Bowl LII

Ron Finger KØGOP gave a presentation on Civil Air Patrol – MN Wing’s missions for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. CAP worked with the Department of Homeland Security, the ANG 148th Tactical Fighter Wing in Duluth, and other agencies in a week of comms-intensive intercept missions over Minnesota skies. CAP aircraft flew both as “targets of interest” (TOIs), as well as “High-Birds”, high altitude airborne VHF repeaters providing long-range communications between the exercise aircraft and mission base. CAP TOIs simulate unresponsive or wandering aircraft, and provide training for Air Force pilots as they intercept, make radio contact and guide it out of restricted airspace. Civil Air Patrol is the Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, providing search and rescue, disaster relief, and homeland security. Ron has been a CAP member since January 2010, and serves as Squadron Communications Officer and Assistant Director of Communications for Minnesota Wing.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 179th Fighter Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn.

Two F-16 Fighting Hornets from 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn., prepare to fly in formation behind the boom of a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing after being mid-air refueled.

Maintainers from the 179th Fighter Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn., prepare to launch F-16s for a mission.

Maintainers from the 179th Fighter Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn., review technical data prior to preparing an aircrew for a mission.

FEBRUARY 2018 BAARC SECRETARY’S REPORT

THURSDAY-February 22, 2018 – 4:00 PM – BAARC BOARD MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD Chamber of Commerce

President: Steve Mott NØCRM
Vice President: John Luce WØWY
Treasurer: Doug Bergsnev WØDWB
Secretary: Ron Finger KØGOP
Past Presidents: Charles Lane W5CCL, Al Doree WØRC
Director At Large: Lyle Amundson KØLFV
Director of Emergency Communications: Dave Schuldheisz KØISZ
Repeater Trustee: Mitch Ahrenstorff ADØHJ
Community & Special Events Coordinator: TBD

Attendees: Steve NØCRM, John WØWY, Ron KØGOP, Al WØRC, and Mitch ADØHJ. The President opened the Board Meeting at 4 PM.

Secretary’s Report: 

  • Membership roster: 65 members with 21 unpaid for 2018. The Club roster can be found on the Club website under the“Resources/Members Only”  Current paid members can request an individual password for access via the “Contact Us” form.
  • Minutes: The January 2018 meeting minutes were posted to the“Baarcer” area. There were no business meetings for December.
  • Correspondence: Thank you letter sent to Bob Feuer WØZPE for recent donations made to the Club.
  • Documents: Updated Club membership roster and Gmail contacts database.
    • Draft of Community & Special Events Coordinator Will refine and submit to Board for approval.
  • Membership ID’s: Will develop 1-year “Complimentary Membership” card for new Hams.
  • Motion to accept: Al WØRC, SecondJohn WØWY,  

Treasurer’s Report: The President presented the Treasurer’s report that was forwarded to the board showing all month’s account transactions and balances to date.

  • Motion to accept: John WØWY, SecondAl WØRC, Passed

Membership Meeting Programs: The President reviewed recent and future Club programs and events. Moved to the March 29 meeting: a half-hour program on the New CWC EOC, with tours of the 911 Center to follow. John will follow up on this with John Bowen. April 26 meeting: Paul KEØPBR will present a program on Satellite UHF/VHF Communications.

Upcoming Events: The following events were discussed:

CQ WPX SSB Contest March 24-25, 2018

BAARC Hamfest April 7, 2018

  • $400.00 usage fee for Brainerd Armory
  • Plus extra janitor fee? Was waived in past, Al WØRC will check on this as we get closer.

Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes Marathon

  • Saturday, April 28, 2018
  • John WØWY will arrange for use of CWC Sherriff’s Trailer. Al WØRC noted that the CO detector triggered several times during the Dog Sled Race. The trailer generator was installed and run inside it’s on-board compartment by the Sherriff’s Department. John will advise them of this anomaly.

Digital & Emergency Communications: 

ARES Connect Update:

  • John has applied and will bring more information to the Club after we have been registered.

Duluth SKYWARN meeting:

  • Last year’s meeting was held on March 11, but no word on this year’s; John will contact the NWS-Duluth for 2018 meeting date.

Old Business: 

Repeater Sites:

  • Gull Lake:
    • Mitch ADØHJ presented a detailed upgrade plan, adding APRS to the VHF Repeater and providing for future expansion. Mitch was able to find a duplexer at the St. Cloud Hamfest this year and purchased it at a discounted price due to his active involvement with their club members.
    • Motion to Purchase the Club duplexer for $300: John WØWY, Second Al WØRC, Passed.
  • Crosby:
    • No new items.
  • Crow Wing Power:
    • No new items.
  • Cross Lake:
    • No new items.
  • High-rise Site:
    • No new items.

New Business:

American Red Cross

  • Ken Vertin KEØLOX, an ARC volunteer from Crosslake requested a short meeting with the Board to discuss the possibility of Club operator support for future exercises and relief efforts. Mr. Vertin discussed the current MOU between the ARC and ARRL, and various scenarios of possible involvement

Active 911

  • The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Emergency Management Department has allowed us to use their Active 911 E-Paging Alert System to alert us of Skywarn events or other needs.
  • Need to reestablish and review our Club status using this system.
  • John will ask Mark KEØLFQ to contact John Bowen to resolve.

Upgrade Club IC-746 HF Transceiver to a second TS-590S

  • One of our Club objectives that was agreed upon with our Board and Technology Group was to standardize our infrastructure and equipment as to achieve a higher level of performance and operating skills.
  • Over this past year we have scheduled more HF Special Event activities using our current HF equipment and was found that our Kenwood TS-590S HF Transceiver performed much better than our ICOM IC-746; it has been recommended by our Technology Team that we upgrade our IC-746 HF Transceiver to another Kenwood TS-590S Transceiver.
  • The cost of this upgrade would not exceed $275.00. Selling our IC-746 and purchasing another used Kenwood TS-590S would provide 2 identical HF Rigs and meet the goal of standardizing our HF equipment, thereby requiring familiarization of just one HF radio model.
  • Current Club HF Transceiver inventory:
    • Kenwood TS-480SAT HF Transceiver: in operation as our HF Remote Base.
    • Kenwood TS-590S HF Transceiver
    • ICOM IC-746 PRO HF Transceiver
    • Yaesu FT-991 HF/VHF/UHF All Mode Transceiver
  • Proposal made by email to the Board by Lyle KØLFV, and voted for approval. Passed.

The Board Meeting was adjourned at 5:10 PM.

THURSDAY-February 22, 2018 – 7:00 PM – BAARC MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD Chamber of Commerce

The President opened the Club membership business meeting at 7 PM with 27 members and guests present. Ron KØGOP gave a presentation on Civil Air Patrol – MN Wing’s missions for Super Bowl VII in Minneapolis. CAP worked with the Department of Homeland Security, the ANG 148th Tactical Fighter Wing in Duluth, and other agencies in a week of comms-intensive intercept missions over Minnesota skies.

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary

JANUARY 2018 BAARC SECRETARY’S REPORT

THURSDAY-JANUARY 25, 2018 – 4:00 PM – BAARC BOARD MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD FIRE STATION

President: Steve Mott NØCRM
Vice President: John Luce WØWY
Treasurer: Doug Bergsnev WØDWB
Secretary: Ron Finger KØGOP
Past Presidents: Charles Lane W5CCL, Al Doree WØRC
Director At Large: Lyle Amundson KØLFV
Director of Emergency Communications: Dave Schuldheisz KØISZ
Repeater Trustee: Mitch Ahrenstorff ADØHJ
Community & Special Events Coordinator: TBD

Attendees: Steve NØCRM, John WØWY, Ron KØGOP, Lyle KØLFV, Al WØRC, Shirley KØDCW, and Mitch ADØHJ. The President opened the Board Meeting at 4 PM.

Secretary’s Report: 

  • Membership roster: adjusted for lapsed “Complimentary New Ham” memberships, 65 members with 29 unpaid for 2018. The Club roster can be found on the Club website under the“Resources/Members Only”  Current paid members can request an individual password for access via the “Contact Us” form.
  • Minutes: The November 2017 meeting minutes were posted to the“Club Blog” area. There were no business meetings for December.
  • Correspondence: 2017 lapsed renewal reminders sent on 12/14/17.
  • Documents: Updated Club membership roster and Gmail contacts database.
    • Need description of Community & Special Events Coordinator Will draft and submit to Board for input.
  • Membership ID’s: Will develop 1-year “Complimentary Membership” card for new Hams.
  • Motion to accept: Al WØRC, SecondJohn WØWY,  

Treasurer’s Report: The President presented the Treasurer’s report that was forwarded to the board showing all month’s account transactions and balances to date. Noted was a new $50K annual limit on proceeds generated by non-profit entities like our Club.

  • Motion to accept: John WØWY, SecondAl WØRC, Passed

Membership Meeting Programs: The President reviewed recent and future Club programs and events. A possibility for the February meeting was discussed: a half-hour program on the new CWC EOC, with tours of the 911 Center to follow. John will follow up on this with John Bowen.

Upcoming Events: 

Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

  • January 27, 2018
  • http://icefishing.org/
  • John WØWY to coordinate with Lt Scott Goddard and John Bowen for CWC Sherriff trailer use
  • Event coordinator Mark KE0LFQ requested a couple more operators.

Mid Minnesota 150 Sled Dog Race

  • February 10, 2018
  • https://www.facebook.com/midminnesota150/
  • Al and Shirley will coordinate this event.
  • John WØWY will request the use of the CWC comms trailer.
  • Steve NØCRM will do the time logs and Ron KØGOP will do the maps.

CQ WPX SSB Contest March 24-25, 2018

BAARC Hamfest April 7, 2018

  • $400.00 usage fee for Brainerd Armory
  • Plus extra janitor fee? Was waived in past.

Digital & Emergency Communications: 

ARES UPDATE: 1/25:

  • 8 counties in the district, we show best participation of the 8 counties.
  • 8th of January we got an email stating we can sign up for a new program: “ARES Connect”: HUB….
  • Registration of the club, unique number and members can use call sign as unique ID.
  • Basic level
  • Level 2 complete ICS 100, ICS 200 training about Homeland Security and the Incident Command System.
  • Level 3 adds ICS 300 and 400 as a leadership courses (3-day courses)
  • John will bring more information to the Club after we have been registered.

Old Business: 

New Club Storage container

  • Nameplate by Tom KTØMMY with key holder info is complete and installed.
  • Inventory of Club Safety Vests is now stored there.

Webserver

  • Move Website Server computer into the new rack at Crosby.
  • Nick has a newer bigger better server… Hard Drives, (Nick/Lyle)

Club Remote Station

  • Pat WØOPW is working on a fan dipole for 80m, 40m, 20m.
  • Will need to mount and test the antenna at the high-rise when completed.

Repeater Sites:

  • Gull Lake:
    • Cabinet install completed, Ethernet needs activation-will contact Jason Atwater at CTC.
    • LMR 400 vs. Heliax was discussed – TBD.
    • Connect digital WIRES-X to UHF side 444.925 MHz.
    • Add analog / APRS / Digipeter?
  • Crosby:
    • Second new cabinet at Crosby (target….$) At some point in time it would be nice to have that cabinet purchased.
  • Crow Wing Power:
    • Install 3rd common Rackmount linking computer/controller/
    • When can we get this completed? Mitch has it at his house was delayed by the Gull Lake tower site work.
  • Cross Lake:
    • No new items.
  • High-rise Site:
    • No new items.

Repeater Equipment and linking :

  • Due to the firmware that is running on the Wires-X machines, we have hit a limitation with the processing power of the Latte Panda PC’s.
    • LattePanda Ebay auctions are in place (Mitch listing these for Club)
    • Minimum bids and “buy now” prices have been set.
    • Staged, multiple listing Ebay sales.
  • Mitch has developed a procedure to standardize the audio levels of the System Fusion repeaters and will allow us to set them up all the same way. We need to plan that effort out after this Wires-X test has completed.
  • We have tested a different processor including a common rack-mount PC/Wires-X system that can be replicated at each of the repeater sites and supports our common goal to have common equipment across our systems.
  • A replacement computer provided by Lyle still has the same issues
    • The Newer rack mount system PC’s (2 At Crosby are working)
    • Nick completed the third one for Crow Wing Power replacement.

Misc Items:

  • Provide a check to Crow Wing County Fairgrounds for $200? (Goodwill gesture; We held 3 events there this year (Field Day, Tailgate Hamfest, Trailer exercise/WW CQ event)
    • Will present at a Crow Wing County Fairground board meeting.

New Business:

  • Discussion regarding upgrade to DRX-2 systems.
    • The new model DR2-X cost would be either $300 or $500 depending upon what options we choose.
    • We do have a bad DR1 that came back from the Duluth club not working. We can send that one in for an upgrade.
    • Motion to upgrade a third DR1X, with a fourth upgrade to be made following the April Hamfest: Lyle KØLFV, SecondAl WØRC,  
  • Discussed option of selling 5 of the extra Motorola 750’s in the Club inventory.
  • These are like new, but do not have batteries.
  • Ron will repair the 5 extra chargers to go with these (missing cords and power plugs) and label with new code plug stickers.
  • Will offer to Club members at the January meeting for $30 each –
  • Al WØRC reported the Forestview High Altitude Balloon Class is getting ready to launch another balloon soon.

The Board Meeting was adjourned at 5:10 PM.

THURSDAY-JANUARY 25, 2018 – 7:00 PM – BAARC MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD FIRE STATION

The President opened the Club membership business meeting at 7 PM with 33 members and guests present. Mitch ADØHJ started the evening with an overview of the Yaesu System Fusion DR-1X and DR-2X repeaters, the FTM-400DR and FTM-100DR mobile radios, and FT-70DR handheld radio.  Also shown was the custom Rackmount PC built by Nick WØNY for our repeater sites along with the neatly integrated Yaesu HRI-200 WIRES-X Interface.

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary