Posted in: President's Message

President’s Message for May 2019

The next two months will be the busiest months in a long time. Our Spring Picnic was the last outdoor meeting for our group and it went very well for many of us who chose to go and participate. Safety Fest in Margate hosted by CERT was also a lively affair with much to see and do and many friends to make contact with. Facebook has a lot of pictures of both events so you can check it out if you missed it.

At our last GCARA BOARD MEETING on May 4, 2019, we met to discuss replacing the old commercial antenna for the repeater on the John Knox building. Although we put it to good use for many years, it was not the proper frequency nor was it for a 2meter repeater. It was putting a high SWR back into our equipment and ran the risk of damaging our brand new equipment up there at Cassels Tower. Through the diligent research of Ricky Eaton, Eric Rodriguez, Joe McGee and Jeff Stahl, it was decided that the old commercial antenna could not be tuned or modified without some taking apart and welding and even then it may not have been suitable. It was indeed a frustrating conundrum for experienced hams who can homebrew/fix anything and make it work. After a lengthy bit of experimenting and talking and looking into other possibilities, we have all agreed that purchasing a new antenna, one that is built precisely for our unit and is wind resistant to 195 MPH winds, is the best option available tous now. While it comes with a hefty price of about $1200.00, we are trying to get a discount, have sold some equipment donated back to the club by Dirk Basting and have some small anonymous donations that can be made available towards the purchase. We feel that these donations have come at a much needed time and we should make them work for us. It is hoped that with all brand new equipment, our repeater should last another 15-20 years without major problems. When you see Eric Rodriguez and Ricky Eaton, please tell them how grateful and appreciative you are. These gentlemen have put many long hours into problem solving and workmanship into keeping us on the air. Special thanks also to Joe McGee and Jeff Stahl who did a wonderful job of researching and explaining and asking appropriate questions so the Board could make the best decision for the club.

Now there is a noise problem at JKV which is occurring at certain parts of the day and is not associated with our equipment , nor is it malicious in nature. Apparently, some entity is using something that when in use, causes a “motor-boating” sound that crosses several frequencies and interferes with our club transmission. Several of the same above named angels at our service are trying to isolate and identify the source so we can alleviate the problem. We hope to clear this up soon and I invite everyone’s patience for the process.

Also at the May Board Meeting, we had the guidance of Ricki Witte, our Treasurer in re-writing the Articles of Incorporation for our club. The older Articles were not only full of information no longer viable, there was no current living person associated with it. Ricki did a fantastic job and there were minimal changes made with a unanimous outcome. These articles will be sent out in Mail Chimp and voted on at the next general meeting by affirmation. Please read and be ready to ask questions if you have any. Thank you RIcki for all of your due diligence and the great use of your paralegal mind and precious time.

Our May meeting will include speakers from the club who will let us know all of the plans for Field Day in June. Hopefully, we will hear from Dan Vasilca on CW and N1MM as well as Ricky Eaton and Jeff Stahl on Digital and supportive radios for the event. We are eagerly looking forward to the practice of emergency transmission by amateur radio on emergency power. We will use the practice to as accurately perform as we would have to in an emergency. I sincerely hope to see a lot of you there to cheer us on if you cannot directly operate. It is always fun and rewarding for all of the participants and every year it gets better and better. Thank you for considering to stop by and taking a look at what we are up to.

Ricky Eaton has found a voter system that is self contained and may be useful to helping get our remote sites operable again. He will be working on that procurement and we will hear a report from him at our meeting all about it.

Michael Wolf and Erik Olmer will be getting the publicity out for Field Day, each in different areas. Mike Wolf has also kindly taken on responsibility for making a slide show for us of all the Field Day pictures, once they are obtained. He asks that everyone kindly email the pictures they take on Field Day to him at K2HXC@comcast.net. He prefers an email over texting because the conversion to slide show is quicker for him with emailed pictures. We appreciate all of the pix you send.

All of us on the Board appreciate all of your efforts to attend meetings,picnics and dinners, to volunteer for the many jobs that are available, such as shelters in hurricane season, net controls of the various NETs like SEFTN, etc. and the cross-clubbing you do to show your support for amateur radio. This network is vital for all of us and encourages the growth and exposure of the ham radio hobby in general. Thanks for all that you do to make our club special.