Greetings my fellow amateur radio enthusiatists! I hope that this missive finds everyone safe and well, in this, one of the most surreal and strangest years we have ever lived through. Since the advent of COVID-19, we have had to practice our skills separately and apart as to opposed in our usual groups and while a little more lonely, we still managed to come together as a club and practice our emergency management skills in our Field Day efforts. Thank you everyone for all the ways that you have attended meetings on ZOOM, supported the club financially and practically, sharing your gifts of time, talent and skills, as well as the time you have spent saying goodbye to those silent keys by attending drive by funerals. Like the resourceful humans we are, we have managed to assess our options and find other ways to accomplish our tasks.
This past year, we said goodbye to Don Search, W3AZD, SK -our best known and favorite member and QSL card checker. Then we had to say goodbye to our Board member, Roy Neiman, KJ4EGN, SK – a notable voice to many on the Traffic Net for many years, as he welcomed new hams to the hobby and was a treasure to know, being a generous giver and a peacemaker in his service to this club. Both of these gentlemen provided outstanding public service in all of their volunteer efforts and will be sorely missed.
Then, much to our regret, we lost our satellite specialist and good humor gentleman, Chuck Gress K3NXH, SK to the horror of COVID-19. It was shocking as well as heart-wrenching to lose this man of stellar character with a great sense of humor and a kind streak that his blue eyes emitted graciously. Many of us mourn his precious loss to the club and said good-bye to a good friend to many.
Even with our precious losses, we have gone on and in their memory have been able to utilize the skills of Joe McGee NX4T, Ricky Eaton KD4HGR, Al Flapan AF4FA and our stalwart companion, Mike Sams, to put together our remote HF station at Joe McGee’s QTH. These gentlemen all donated their time to the project, in the hopes that those hams, without antennas at their homes, or radios to use, could still enjoy the sport of DXing. And making contacts galore via the remote station has been a new practice to many, including this author. I have to say that I appreciate and laud praise upon those hams involved for making one of my dreams come true in this life. Dxing was always my goal and now I can do it! Thanks Joe and Ricky for working out the logistics for the club use. We hope that many people take advantage of the new opportunity, especially the shut ins and those living in strict condo communities. Get on the air!
We have not just had losses, however. We have made great strides in the way we do things also. With the help of Erik Olmer W4EJO and John Cole, N1QFH, we now have a way to pay our dues over Pay Pal or by computerized invoicing. Erik is also preparing to make this non-profit club a 501(C (3) entity, where our donations can be tax deductible. This undertaking started with the efforts of our former Treasurer, Ricky Witte, KJ4FSJ and will come to fruition in 2021 with Erik at the helm. Thank you everyone for your help and dedication to get this job done. Each day, in a little way, the Board has accomplished good things for us.
We also have seen much progress in the repeater section, with the ardent work of Eric Rodriguez KJ4LZA and our Repeater Trustee Ricky Eaton KD4HGR. We have a DMR repeater, a new fantastic antenna, updated equipment at our John Knox Village location and soon will have refurbished the equipment at our Boca site. These gentlemen work tirelessly and independent of supervision to get the job done. The sites are closely monitored and work is being done even when the club is unaware. Thank you to this fabulous duo. Ways are being looked at to link the systems throughout the tri-county area for use in hurricane season and in times of disaster.
WE will not rest until our goals are met, hopefully in 2021.
Our newest Board member, Charlie Artner KN4VDW, has already made great strides in his Secretary role by taking over the Mail Chimp notices for the club and is currently working to update and clean up our bylaws. He has a unique skill set in the computing side of things and is a great help to us. John Cole, N1QFH, has been the guru for the webpage and is keeping it up and changing to a more friendly format as we modernize the site. His contributions have been noteworthy and this president is feeling fortunate for all this man has to offer in the way of computer skills and support to the Board.
Many thanks to Carol Sjursen, KJ4AWB and Barry Porter, KB1PA for their ZOOM format sharing and help with Mail Chimp throughout the year while the President was getting a newer computer set up. They have helped the club achieve better communication amongst ourselves. I appreciate their generous and gracious contributions throughout the year.
We have been blessed by many donations of equipment and money by the following members this year:
- Chuck Gress, K3NXH
- Al Flapan, AF4FA
- Dirk Basting, N4AN
- Charles Wilson, N4CEW
- Jesse Shannon, Kj4FKK
- Roger Elliot, N4RHE
Thank you to those who pay your dues on time or ahead and that are keeping us in good financial health to support the needs of taking care of the equipment. Your generosity and outpouring of love has been duly noted and deeply appreciated.
With hope for the future, I say goodbye to this difficult pandemic year and I am refreshed once more by witnessing the spirit of our amateur radio operators. May God continue to bless our efforts and each other as we venture out into the unknown of 2021.
Greetings and blessings from the Board to you! God Bless!
Melanie Fernandez Kj4VCT President
Joe McGee NX4T, VP and Membership Chair
Erik Olmer, W4EJO, Treasurer and PIO
Charlie Artner KN4VDW, Secretary
Jeff Stahl, KB4H, Director at large, Parliamentarian, and VE Coordinator
Mike Wolf K2HXC, Director, PIO
Ricky Eaton, KJ4HGR, Repeater Trustee.