Club Minutes

The minutes are posted here monthly after each meeting.

Minutes of October 26, 2017

posted Nov 13, 2017, 1:01 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Nov 13, 2017, 1:02 PM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:01.
 
Ronnie Head read the September minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney read the treasurer’s report. There were donations of $400. The October electric bill was $20.61. The ending balance was $1216.11. The report was approved as read.
 
In old business, Ronnie Head said he wasn’t able to buy the HF radio while at the Belton HamFest, but that he would order it from GigaParts.
Bennie Owens brought a power supply for the Law Enforcement Center HF station.

In new business, discussion centered on finding ways to increase involvement in ham activities including meetings and nets.

Emails should be sent to every member before the local nets:
a. The Simplex net 147.520 is every Thursday @ 9:00am CST, 14:00 UTC (until we end daylight savings then) 15:00 UTC
b. The Friday Night Rag chew 146.790 shift + Tone 94.8 starts at 9:00pm CST

Our activities can be posted on Facebook. We could organize swap-meets and invite other clubs. We could encourage training in NCS, SkyWarn, and message handling.

Cotton Inks gave a presentation on NCS training.

The meeting ended around 8:10 p.m.

Minutes of September 28, 2017

posted Nov 13, 2017, 12:59 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Nov 13, 2017, 1:02 PM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:00.  Ronnie offered the prayer.
 
Rose Head read the August minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney read the treasurer’s report. There was a $20 donation. The September electric bill was $20.50. The ending balance was $836.72. The report was approved as read.
 
Old business:

Members discussed the various HF radios they have used and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Because of the widespread familiarity with the Yaesu FT450D, Benny Owens moved that the club buy one for use at the Emergency Operating Center. Rose seconded the motion. The motion passed with members asked to coordinate the purchase through Ronnie since he will be at the HamFest in Belton.
Benny started a fund for the radio with a donation of $100, Richard Stone, Ed Smith, Cotton Inks and Jim Hamm also contributed to the fund. Benny Owens said he will donate an Astron 35A power supply for use with the HF radio.

Walt Kovar said there will be a Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Welcome Center at 6:00 p.m. on October 2nd that we can attend.

Clint Hammond will have our ID cards ready at the next meeting.

New business:

Walt said the Boy Scout Jamboree on the Air will be October 20-22. We have traditionally participated on the Saturday afternoon. Last year Alan Brown helped Walt. He was not at the meeting. No one else volunteered. Rondel Stevens will be working the event in Brown County. Rondel said George Nieberling, the new scout executive coordinator, wants to become a ham. He is promoting involvement.

Benny had the program. He demonstrated a commercial 50w radio that is available on the used market for $75-80. Speaker, microphone, and power cord are extra. The Motorola Astra Spectra has 128 or 255 channels. It can be used on all emergency bands. It is programmed with a computer. He also demonstrated the use of digital transmission in P25 mode. It was considerably quieter. He showed that even though the bands are wide on this radio, it can work on narrow bands by holding the microphone further away when speaking.

The meeting adjourned at 8:16 p.m.

Minutes of August 24, 2017

posted Nov 13, 2017, 12:48 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Nov 13, 2017, 12:48 PM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:00. Ronnie offered the prayer.
 
Rose Head read the July minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney read the treasurer’s report. There were the following expenses since his last report: July electric bill $20.67, August electric bill $20.51, order of checks $34.19, new club banner $39.46 and domain name renewal $17.17. The ending balance was $837.22. The report was approved as read.
 
There was no old business.

New Business:

Walt Kovar reported that the ARRL board is looking as a proposal for an entry level license that would include digital and HF privileges in order to attract new licensees.

Walt has created a Facebook page for the Mills County Amateur Radio Club.

Jim Hamm reported that all the antennas and coax for them are now installed at the emergency operating station [EOC] at the Law Enforcement Center. There is still a need for an HF radio. Walt proposed that the club buy a radio at the HamFest in Belton which will be the first weekend in October.

Benny Owens showed literature on the DB201 VHF antenna that he has recently installed. It is available on EBay for about $150 now.

Ronnie said that he will have the materials available after September 8th to give the commercial exam if anyone needs it. Benny wants to renew his second telegraph license.

Sheriff Clint Hammond asked the club to consider attending the commissioners’ court meeting on Friday at 9:00 a.m. and again Monday at 9:00 a.m. to support the Sheriff and his department’s budget needs for the next year.

Our program was presented by Jerry Wetherholt, KF5AOK, with help from Allen Griffith, N5AG. Jerry is active in ARES. He is the new emergency coordinator for Brown County. Griff does SkyWarn. The Brown County EC runs simulated emergency tests each year. In doing the tests, they discovered that the hospital radio VHF wouldn’t work from floor to floor or get out. Now they have three EOC’s in the county including one in the hospital. Their ambulance service wants help with all communications. West TX ARES is working with them at this time. ARES is now doing communication in various modes.

Jim asked who decides the scenarios. Jerry said sometime the city does, and sometimes the club designs them. Jerry can do a simulated text in a couple of months. We are invited to come check it out.

Jim said he is working with the sheriff on simplex nets they are using. We need to test with the sheriff’s department and with the fire department before doing a simulation.

Jerry gave some best practices for emergency operations: use simplex, have battery backup on repeaters, have repeaters in more than one location and on separate power grids, have an emergency trailer fully set up and ready to roll.

Jerry described the trailer he built in 2010. It has a 40 foot stack pole system with capability of 80 foot. It is outfitted inside with radios to handle all bands and a computer for digital modes. He runs GRLevel weather software. There is an 8000K generator. The Brown County club uses it for Field Day as well as a base station during emergency scenarios.

Walt asked how much it would cost to put this type trailer together now. Jerry estimated about $17,000.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Minutes of July 27, 2017

posted Aug 17, 2017, 3:00 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Aug 17, 2017, 3:02 PM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:00. Walt Kovar offered the prayer.
 
Rose Head read the May minutes. They were approved as read.
 
There was no treasurer’s report.
 
Old business:

We discussed the field day results. We did really well on the extra credit items although no city officials visited the site. Youth participation was very good. Otherwise the voice station was lacking in enthusiastic competition. It would be good to have several hams scheduled to take shifts. The CW station was delayed due to a tower failure. We could use more CW operators to lighten the load on Rondel Stevens.

David Lewis has moved the 3:00 Sunday afternoon net to 146.79 for the summer. The Thursday morning net tested Alan Brown’s repeater 147.100 today. It worked well even on handheld for the whole county. The net will be back on simplex next week.

New Business:

Walt Kovar has a few people interested in studying for a technician license, Mario Delarosa, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Olson, and two other ladies. Rondel said he would be available for another class after Labor Day.

Walt Kovar agreed to extend his reach to new people with a Mills County Ham Radio Facebook page.

Jim Hamm reported that when we are using the emergency Ham radio station we will have to use assigned numbers rather than our call signs. These will be in the 500 range.

Benny Owens demonstrated a fan controller from China for less than $5 each that is helping keep his radios cool.

Walt and Benny told about the upcoming solar eclipse. There will be a viewing party at the library. Also, there will be a solar eclipse QSO party to see how the eclipse affects digital signal propagation.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Minutes of June 22, 2017

posted Jun 29, 2017, 5:31 AM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Jun 29, 2017, 5:32 AM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:05. He led the pledges to the US and Texas flags. Jack Garner offered the prayer.
 
Rose Head read the May minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Rose presented Henry McKinney’s financial report. The last reported balance was $989.80. The June electric bill for the repeater was $20.58. The ending balance is $969.22. The report was approved as read.
 
Old business:

Ronnie reported that he had purchased and installed a back-up battery on the repeater. Rose reported that she had renewed the domain name of k5tro.net. Derek Pausewang displayed a new banner for the club activities. He presented the bill. Wendy Pausewang had forwarded Walt Kovar’s Field Day article to a Brownwood radio station.

Jack asked about the term commercial radio that was in last month’s minutes. Bennie Owen explained that in the 1970’s and 1980’s radios had to be tuned by changing out the crystals. The new ones are computer or hand programmable through software. The older commercial radios are on the market now because the FCC required narrow bands for public service and business use. The older ones were wide band. The Motorola Max Trac is a table or mobile model. Bennie has placed his Motorola Desk Trac  at the Emergency Communication Station desk in the Law Enforcement Center. He passed out operations manuals for us and to put on the website.

Jim Hamm reported a typographical error on one of the frequencies in the manual he distributed last month. TX Fire 2 should be 154.265.

New Business:

Shawn Turner visited the club. He brought in some equipment that had belonged to his grandfather Bruce “Bo” Bartee, WA5BHF. Shawn has log books from the 1960’s. He had a net report from the 7290 traffic net of that era also. Shawn is interested in becoming a Ham and getting his grandfather’s call sign.

The rest of the meeting was dedicated to plans for Field Day. Rondel will be using the Brownwood club’s telescoping mast. He needs a Yagi antenna for it to use on the CW station. Ronnie has one he can try. Cotton Inks will supply the GOTA station with equipment. Ronnie will have everything for the voice station. Everyone was asked to bring an extra chair. Walt reminded us to take lots of pictures. The ones on the website are very old.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.

Minutes of May 24, 2017

posted Jun 29, 2017, 5:29 AM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Jun 29, 2017, 5:30 AM ]

Vice President Jim Hamm called the meeting to order at 7:06 pm. Walt Kovar offered the prayer. Jim led the pledge to the US flag.
 
Walt read the April minutes provided by Rose Head. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney presented the treasurer’s report. The last reported balance was $990.48. There was a deposit of $20.00 from dues. The May electric bill for the repeater was $20.68. The ending balance is $989.80. The report was approved as read.
 
There was no old business:

New Business:

Derek Pausewang asked about visitor’s hours for field day. Visitor’s hours will be the entire time of field day.

Walt reported to the club that new amateur radio bands are now available in 630 meter and 2200 meter range. The effective dates have not been announced.

Henry asked for authorization to reorder checks. It was granted.

There were two programs after the business meeting. Jim Hamm presented the Mills County Emergency Communications plan. He also passed out frequency guides to all members. Commercial type Motorola radios can be bought as surplus now for about $75 that will allow communication on these bands. Benny Owens has several 22 band commercial radios that are unlocked and can be used on emergency frequencies. Also, several members discussed modifying their existing radios to allow use of the emergency bands.

The members were concerned that in an electrical blackout our club repeater would be unusable. Walt moved and Jim seconded that we buy golf cart batteries for back-up power for the club repeater. Motion passed. Ronnie Head explained he has already added the electrical connections for a battery to the repeater.

Jim reported that the 2 meter vertical antenna is now on the sheriff’s tower for our emergency station at the Law Enforcement Center. Another antenna, a dipole, has been ordered. It will enable 40 and 80 meters to reach Austin. The emergency station needs someone to donate an HF radio.

The sheriff wants to run some exercises when the emergency station is completely set up.

For the second program, Rondel Stevens presented updated field day guidelines. Field day is part educational, part operations, part public relations. The competition is meant to create an enthusiastic environment during the event.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.

Minutes of April 27, 2017

posted May 21, 2017, 2:38 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated May 21, 2017, 2:39 PM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:03 and led the pledges to the US and Texas flags. Ronnie offered the prayer.
 
Rose Head read the March minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Rose gave the treasurer’s report that was emailed by Henry McKinney. The last reported balance was $966.30. There was a deposit of $68.00 from dues. The April electric bill for the repeater was $18.82. The membership fee for the Chamber of Commerce was paid at $25.00. The ending balance is $990.48. The report was approved as read.
 
Old Business:

The annual Goat Cook-off will be this Saturday. We will need everyone to bring lawn chairs. Members will gather at 6:00 p.m. Friday at the park to do preliminary setup. Rondel Stevens agreed to bring the “Go Box” Friday and his Yaesu 857 and power supply on Saturday. He also will be supplying 2 tables. Ronnie agreed to bring his 2 meter radio and mag-mount antenna and his Yaesu 450 and 35A power supply. Web Mays agreed to supply the shade canopy. Walt Kovar supplied DQ gift certificates for youths who get on the air. Mike Pansini planned to bring a computer and digital display. We could use handheld radios to talk with as “fishing lures”.

There was a discussion of problems using simplex within the county.

New business:

Derek Pausewang presented his notes on improving field day participation: poster for placement around town, volunteer sign-up sheet, commitment signup for equipment, pot-luck meal Saturday night, more shade canopies, more chairs for guests, a second banner, a sign on the courthouse lawn, announcement on San Saba and Hamilton radios. His family now has a cargo trailer with air conditioning that can be used as one of the stations. He will bring a solar panel and battery.

Rondel volunteered to do a program on Field Day rule changes at next month’s meeting.

Derek also presented his battery charging system for Baofeng handheld radios. It would also recharge cell phones. He built it inside a tackle box case.

The program was presented by Mike Pansini on digital modes. Digital mode radio is useable with low signals of 1 watt to 30 watts. Mike presented images of the signal display of the various modes. He recommended JT65 as a type of digital mode that was very easy to use.

Some useful internet links were solarham.com and qrz.com for the daily solar index report. http://thinkman.com/dimension4/index.htm has a downloadable application to keep the computer time in sync. This is critical in digital mode communication because contacts are made in very tiny time slots across the world.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.

Minutes of March 23, 2017

posted May 21, 2017, 2:37 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated May 21, 2017, 2:39 PM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:00 and led the pledges to the US and Texas flags. Royce Lubke offered the prayer.

There were 19 members in attendance. We took turns introducing ourselves.
 
Rose Head read the February minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney gave the treasurer’s report. The last reported balance was $960.24. There was a deposit of $22.00 from dues. The March electric bill for the repeater was $15.94. The ending balance is $966.30. The report was approved as read.
 
Old Business:

Walt Kovar brought in a $25.00 bill from the Chamber of Commerce. Rose moved and Jack Garner seconded that we continue our membership. The motion passed.

The annual Goat Cook-off will be 2 days after our next meeting. We will need everyone to bring lawn chairs. We need 2 sun shelters, radios, antennae and coax.

Field Day is coming up. We need to do better this year towards our goal to educate and train new hams.

New business:

Walt reported that the new ARRL book “Get on the Air with HF Digital” was now available in our Ham Club library.

Walt reported that the International Crystal Manufacturing Company in Oklahoma is going out of business.

The Scout Jamboree on the Air is celebrating its 60th year October 20th through the 27th.

This is the 100th anniversary of the USA’s entry into WWI.

Jim Hamm’s program was a discussion of progress on the emergency operating station in the Law Enforcement Center. They have installed a mag mount antenna and run coax. Jim has joined RACES which allows him to plug into their net. Other lines of 2 meter communication are the 147.100 repeater, the 146.790 repeater, and simplex. Commercial radio can also do health and welfare messaging in an emergency. The club discussed using the sheriff’s simplex frequency car to car. That requires modification to most radios. It can be done by the dealer or by the ham himself.

Jack Garner had a short program that followed Jim that updated the lessons learned from the 147.520 simplex net. Jack tried adding a 19.5 inch counterpoise wire to his handheld radio. It improved transmission and particularly reception. Bennie Owens explained that the additional wire made the ¼ wave antenna into a dipole. The handheld radio has a practical range of 1 mile except at extreme height.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm.

Minutes of February 23, 2017

posted Mar 9, 2017, 7:11 AM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Mar 9, 2017, 7:12 AM ]

President Ronnie Head called the meeting to order at 7:05 and offered the prayer. 
 
Rose Head read the January minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney gave the treasurer’s report. The last reported balance was $876.18. There was a deposit of $100.00 including dues and donations. The February electric bill for the repeater was $15.94. The ending balance is $960.24. The report was approved as read.
 
Old Business:

Walt Kovar brought in the receipt for the Goat Cook-off Booth. The Cook-off is April 28-29th. He donated the fees. Walt had also checked with Brandon Bartek. Bartek will let us know when we can get the scouts on the air again.
 
New Business:  There was none.

Jack Garner presented a program on lessons learned from the 147.520 net that Jim Hamm sponsors. The highlights were that antenna height was more important than antenna type. Power was not a significant factor within the county. Terrain was the most significant factor.

Cotton Inks brought in a large selection of mobile antennas. He explained ways that all antennas are compromises. In general, more wire in the air hears and transmits better. He explained radiation and  radiation pattern of various antennas. He opened a discussion of the ionosphere which we plan to continue later.

The meeting adjourned at 8:06 pm.

Minutes of January 26, 2017

posted Feb 12, 2017, 1:16 PM by Mills County Amateur Radio Club   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 1:16 PM ]

President Jack Garner called the meeting to order at 7:00 with pledges to the American and Texas flags. Walter Kovar offered the prayer. 
 
Rose Head read the November minutes. They were approved as read.
 
Henry McKinney gave the treasurer’s report. The last reported balance was $897.72. There was a deposit of $12.00. The December electric bill for the repeater was $17.60. The January electric bill was $15.94. The ending balance is $876.18. The report was approved as read.
 
Old Business:

Jim Ham asked the status of the club repeater. Ronnie Head explained that the repeater equipment was currently set up at his ranch location while the charging system is worked out. Also, one of the batteries Alan Brown provided had a bad cell and the repeater antenna needs some repair work.

Walt Kovar wanted to discuss ideas for club activities that will increase interest in amateur radio such as show and tell at the schools, working with scouts and 4H clubs. Derek Pausewang had previously suggested starting a Facebook page. The members in attendance didn’t have ideas to add to these.
 
New Business:

Walt said it was time to make payment for the goat cook-off if we wish to participate. Ronnie Head moved and Rose seconded that we participate. The motion passes. It will be on April 28-29th.

Jim told the club about the simplex net he has started Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. on 147.520. They are exploring transmission and reception from multiple levels and equipment types. It is good for testing equipment.

The Friday night net on the 146.790 repeater is still meeting with Ronnie, David Lewis and Frank from Brady showing up regularly.

David also has a Sunday net at 3:00 p.m. on 38.32.

Rose agreed to send an email out to club members with the nets info.

We discussed the election of new officers for the next year. The officers currently serving as secretary, treasurer and community relations were re-elected by acclimation. That is Rose Head, Henry McKinney, and Walt Kovar.

Nominations were sought for president and vice president. Ed Smith moved and Jack seconded that Ronnie Head, and Jim Ham be chosen for those respective positions by acclimation. The motion passed.

As vice president Jim will solicit programs for the meetings. He will try to get Dan White to do a program on packet and digital forms of amateur radio.

Jack said Richard Stone is taking down his antenna to fix the rotator. Jack plans to help and do a presentation on that process.

The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

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