RARC Meeting Minutes - July 2004

The July meeting of the Rochester Amateur Radio Club was called to order at 7:00pm, Tuesday 7/13/04, by President Fred Regennitter (K4IU), with 36 members and guests present.

Fred presented a check for $300 to Melanie Tschida, Executive Director of the Rochester Red Cross, as a donation from the club in thanks for all the Red Cross has done for us.


  • June minutes were were posted just today, so approval is deferred till next meeting.
  • Treasurer's Report prepared by Bob (KCGND), delivered by Peter (N8MHD):
    Checking: $ 1075.05
    Savings: $ 5765.34
    Cash: $ 25.00
    Undeposited checks: $ 118.62
    Total: $ 6984.01
    Major transactions this period:
    • Donations: + $219.02
    • Weather Station: - $169.00
    • Field Day: - $146.10

Committee Reports

  • Technical Committee - Stew (WSHL):
    • Who has club equipment at their house? At the September meeting, we will gather together all the club equipment to inventory it and check it out.
    • The temperature probe (to warn of high temps in the building housing the .82 repeater) is in.
    • Bob (N0EST) will set up a committee to organize the region's APRS network. If you are interested in serving on it, let him know.
    • Fred has gotten unofficial notification that the IBM grant of $1000 has been approved. It will be used for a projector.
    • The time/day announcements on the .82 may be having some intermittent troubles. They'll be checked out.
  • Membership - John (KKTY):
    • There was a new member last month, and another tonight, so membership is now at 122, about 20% up from last year.
    • There was a VE session June 10, 6 students passed written exams and 3 received General licenses. The major hurdle seems to be code.
    • There will be another Tech class in September, 9/18 and 9/25, with a VE exam 10/7. Get out the word. Publicity is being arranged through Mayo and IBM, the weather service channel, and possibly through Randy Brock, the Channel 10 weatherman.
    • There are Field Day pictures on the web, as well as Public Service information and information about the September license class.
  • Field Day - Pat (NADQ):
    • The portapotty was a very successful innovation.
    • 47 hams participated, manning stations for CW, SSB, VHF, Digital, and a GOTA (Get On The Air) station. There were 152 digital QSOs; 151 GOTA (the GOTA and digital stations were competing at the end, and the digital station won by a nose); 41 VHF; 335 CW; and 536 phone. With bonus points and the low-power multiplier (100 watts), our total claimed score is 4680 points. Comparing to last year's scores, this would have put us in the top 50 in the 3A category -- but last year was a poor-propagation year. Still, it's pretty good. There were visitors from Red Cross and the Dakota Division ARRL director, several people stayed all night, and the rain held off till the very end.
    • Certificates were presented to Brad (KCQVH), second place, and Paul (WDGCP), first place, for the Portable Antenna Challenge.
  • BPL - Mel (KCP):
    • Fred and Mel met with Joe Marsilli of Main.net. Their plan: they want a 3 month technical trial, starting this week. They will hook up all equipment, and test with about 10 subscribers. Later, there will be a 3 month marketing trial, for about 100 customers, possibly in the same general area. Status: they are installing this week. If you look, you can see the injectors and repeaters on the poles, a kleenex box sized thing with a wire up to the power line. A T1 fiber optic line from Winona connects to the injector, and repeaters are installed on transformers. There are lots of repeaters going in per mile, here. There will be an equipment change halfway through: they will start with DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum), using frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz, or maybe 2 and 20, technical information is hard to get out of them. Three months later they will switch to OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing), smoother and better. The customer receive modem plugs into house wiring, not WIFI, as was used in Cedar Rapids. They can notch out frequencies from their server in Winona, or turn off repeaters, or change the power level, which is set now at 5 of 7 (units unknown). Their marketing pitch is that they have had no trouble in Germany, where 80000 "pieces" have been shipped. Observations: Baseline logging of noise levels has been done on 5 days. Four of the days were fairly quiet; the one day there was strong noise was also the one day the RPU team made background noise level measurements. Part 15 limits allow S9 + 15 Db noise, at 30 feet away from the source using a dipole. Also, the law prohibits "harmful interference", which is an operational definition, based on whether the receiving radio can be used. It isn't clear how the law will be interpreted.
  • Public Service - John (NHZN):
    • There have been 6 events so far. The 3 bicycle events have all had really good participation. For every event we have served, the organizers have been enthusiastic and appreciative.
  • ARES - Steve (WSTV):
    • DVD disks with BPL information are available.
    • there will be a Digital Conference (DCC) in Des Moines. If there is interest, we can car pool and get a block of rooms. Let Steve know if you want to go.
    • We will need a new Olmsted EC, tell Don or Steve if you are interested.
    • Oct. 7 there will be a post-season Skywarn event at Diggers, Kasson.
    • Remember the Saturday 7am breakfasts at Grandma's. Also, it would be fun to start a Commute Net on .82: check in on your way to work, and talk.

New Business:

  • The club voted unanimously to give the Cahill family a year's family membership, as thanks for their Field Day contributions.
  • Chuck (N2DUP) reminds us that there will be a Special Event call, WU, available to us September 9-20 in celebration of the Rochester Sesquicentennial. He has talked to Rochester 150 organizers, and they are having events at the Civic Center Sept. 10-12, but they charge for use of their space. Perhaps we could set up a station on Civic Center grounds, or we can get on the air from homes. Contact Chuck if you are interested.
  • Roger (WBISF) will be collecting Quik Trip milk labels and caps from QT drinks, which can be cashed in. If you get any, bring them to a club meeting. Roger will collect them, and cash them in for the club.
  • The Summer Kids Program that we contributed to has been cancelled, and our contribution will be returned.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:14 -- one of our longer meetings, but lots of information.


Bob Wiles (ABBW) and Bill Osler (KRGR) described and demonstrated the many digital modes available.

Submitted by Peter (N8MHD).

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