President's Notes - February 2011
So much for writing one of these every month. Time flys when you are having fun.
We had a super Christmas Party, and I got a lot of people commenting that they liked the catered dinner as opposed to the potluck dinner we normally have. It surprised me how well it went. The membership raffle at the Christmas party went much better than I would have guessed. I thought we would lose money, but it would be worth it to know how many members we would have for 2011. We sold enough raffle tickets to pay for the prizes we purchased, and we made over $100 in addition!
Over 45 members paid their 2011 and at the moment we have paid members. For us to make our budgeted income we need 90 paid members.
At the January meeting we set the budget. I will try to explain it so there is no confusion.
ARRL $ 26
D-STAR $ 350
HAMCOM $ 500
We are shooting for at least 90 members in 2011, at $25 each that comes to $2250. If course we have family memberships at $30 and student memberships at $3, but that is how we estimated it.
Every time you sign up for your ARRL dues through PARK we get $2. If you are a new member the club gets $15 of the first payment. Unfortunately even though I mention this at each meeting, not too many people take advantage of it.
For everyone who registers for a D-Star account through PARK we get $50. Last year 7 people took the option. We are shooting for the same number next year.
Last year we made over $700 running the tailgate section at HAMCOM on Saturday. This year we have Friday and two years ago made about $460 on Friday. I think McKinney ARC made just over $500 last year on Friday. So we are estimating we will also do about $500.
That totals to our income of $3126.
For our purposes we broke up the expenses into running or operating expenses and optional expenses. The operating expenses are something we can't do much about, it are part of the yearly expenses of PARK. The optional expenses are for things special for this year.
Phone/Internet $ 760.00
Newsline Donation $ 100.00
Church Donation $ 100.00
Skywarn Lunch $ 60.00
Club Equip Maint $ 300.00
Office Supplies $ 50.00
Website $ 100.00
PO Box Rent $ 96.00
Equipment Insurance $ 100.00
Liability Insurance $ 320.00
Operating Expenses $1,986.00
We have phone and internet service at the repeater site. The Phone service is to remotely control the repeater controller. We have Magic Jack for the phone patch, but it does not work for a telephone modem which is how we have to use to talk to the repeater remotely. We also have a DSL internet connection which I believe is 768K down and 384K up. We have the D-Star, our 145.34 off-frequency APRS Digipeater and I-Gate, and our Winlink station sharing this link.
Amateur Radio Newsline is the program we play as part of the Good News Net. The service is free, but they operate purely from donations. We have been giving them $100 per year for a number of years.
We also are giving the church $100 donation for letting us use the room for our monthly meetings. Again they are offering it to us for free, but it is the least we can do. Rooms at the Plano Recreation Centers are over $25 per hour!
It has been tradition for the Plano and McKinney clubs to buy lunch for the speakers at the Skywarn. Last year and this year we picked up sandwiches at Pot Belly, a sandwich shop, as opposed to going out to a restaurant. It was faster which they appreciated and turned out to be cheaper which we appreciated. I think our actual this year was less than $30. When we took them out to a restaurant our share was closer to $75.
We are worried about the Duplexer at the top of the watertower. We are going to make a service trip to the top to check it out. It allows us to share one 1 5/8” coax for the VHF and UHF repeaters. On the top we split it to a separate VHF and UHF antenna. We think the tape that was protecting it from the weather has split. It is currently working fine but will cost about $150 to replace if it needs replacing. In addition our gas lightning arrestors are 3 years old, and it is recommended to replace them every three years. We have 3 coaxes at $50 per lightning arrestor or $150 budgeted.
Office supplies cover business office supplies, paper and postage. $50 seems reasonable. It was nearly $10 for postage for our 501(c)3 application!
We have a website on GoDaddy and have to pay for the k5prk.net domain name renewal. We are estimating about $100 per year.
The club has a mail box for our club business. $96 is the actual cost each year.
Our club equipment is not insured. We want to insure it in case it gets damaged or stolen. This type of insurance is about 1.5% per year. We are currently doing an inventory of the club equipment and then will get insurance to cover it. This budget estimates $15,000 in equipment. So the amount spent will depend on the final result from the inventory.
The club also has liability insurance. I think it is something like a million dollars. It is good practice to have it, and some venues require you to have it to use that place for an event or meeting.
Our classes in January were also very successful. We are very fortunate that Fire Chief Kitchens in Lucas is an active ham, as he lets us use the training room on the weekends.
The HSMM-MESH class was on January 8 and there were 15 in the classroom and 85 in the Webinar (participating on the Internet) It was international with 2-3 from Canada and 3 from the United Kingdom.
I did not get a good number on the Antenna Build but I think it was in the 10 – 15 people range. And I heard good things about it.
The VHF Winlink was also very successful I think there were about 18 participating in that class.
I have not gotten the numbers for the 2M Challenge but from what I heard there was a lot of activity on the simplex frequencies. One operator told me he had over 130 contacts in the first 90 minutes. That was a good job by
The APRS class had around 15 people also. APRS is important for our public service and emergency service. I would like everyone to have a simple tracker. If you are a net control operator, or want to be one, you should have the ability to listen to the trackers and see the positions on a map. A good program for that is UI-View and we will be having a UI-View Workshop in April. Watch the calender.
The Tech Nets are going well. I have been getting nothing but positive comments about them. Keep up the good work guys.
President's Notes - November 2010
I finally got some time to write. I had this set up in September and have been too busy to write anything. It is my goal to use this space to let you know what is going on with PARK and Amateur Radio in the area.
October saw elections and we have three new members of the PARK Board of Directors. I would like to formally welcome Larry Essary (Vice-president), Ron Litt (Secretary) and Clint Satterwhite (Web Master) to the Board.
The Vice-president's main job is to find speakers for the meeting. So if you have some suggestions for programs he is the person to talk to. If you have suggestions for the website Clint is your person. The Board has given Clint responsibility for the look and feel of the website and he can make decisions about content. And a legitimate response is “no”. But I think we all have the goal of making the website as easy to use and as informative as possible.
This month we are going to try a HAM 101 class before the meeting. This is designed for the new HAM that just got their license and need to know what to do next. I believe they will cover how to operate the radio, how to use the repeater, and common on-the-air courtesy.
The Ham Association of Mesquite (HAM) tell me they have had a lot of success with their HAM Radio in the Park. Where once a month they head to a park and play with their radio equipment from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It is a good chance to test your go kits, set up portable antennas, show off what you have built and make some contacts. I have been wanting to check it out for a number of months, and so I finally contacted them and wrangled an invitation for PARK to join them on November 20. The directions are on the calender. Lets check it out.
Again this year we are helping out the Visiting Nurses Association with their Thanksgiving and Christmas (Eve) Meals on Wheels. They make and deliver around 3200 meals for shut-ins for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most volunteers deliver about 10 meals. So that means they have to process about 320 vehicles coming through and picking up the insulated containers delivering the meals, and returning the containers. Our job is usually directing traffic. They get other organizations to actually load the cars. Last year it snowed, and while all of the PARK people made it, the other volunteers called in and said they would not make it until 10:00 a.m. The drivers were coming starting at 9, so 8 hams did what they normally have 30 people do to setup and load cars until the other organization showed up.
The White Rock Marathon is not specifically a PARK event but many PARK members participate because it is such a large event and many many hams are needed. I have not participated in this event, but have blocked out the day to do it this year. Check the Calender for details on how to sign up.
The next event of note is the Plano Christmas Parade. New Route Starting at Vines High School and ending at the Plano Senior High. We can really use your help for this also. It is easy and a lot of fun. Come and join us.
The Christmas Party is always a lot of fun. This year instead of a silent auction which brought in less than $30 last year we are going to have a raffle. You get one ticket if you pay your 2011 dues by the Christmas Party (Two tickets for a $35 Family Membership.) You will also be able to purchase additional tickets for $5 each. We have a number of prizes so far. Two Waxom HT Radios ($129 value), three $50 ARRL Gift Certificates, a $30 Radio Book and a couple of more items promised but not yet delivered. So there will be a lot of chances to win something. You MUST be present to win!
Also at the Christmas party we will take a Club Photograph. We will post the file on the website so you can make a print for your Ham Shack.
Starting in January which is usually a slow month, we have a lot of things going on We will have a HSMM-MESH Webinar and Seminar, a Ladder-line J-Pole build, HF Winlink Class, and Skywarn School.
Down in Austin they have a Digital Wednesday where every Wednesday the HSMM-MESH people gather to spread the knowledge about HSMM-MESH. I am thinking of starting a Digital Tuesday here for all matters digital. The main emphasis will be on HSMM-MESH, but we will also include Winlink, APRS, and Packet if there is interest. Depending on the interests of the people that show up, we may also get into the HF digital modes. I do not think we can do every week, but lets start out 2 times a month and see how it works out. Watch the calender in January for this.
In February we are looking to host the revamped 2M Challenge. This is a good competition to get your feet wet in what Contesting is all about. Most of the contests require you to have HF or special radios. This contest is designed for everybody and anybody. All it takes is a 2M FM radio, which is probably the first radio you purchased. It does not matter if it is a HT, mobile, or base station. The scoring is designed in such a way that the less power you have the more points you can get. Watch the calender for the details. This is a metroplex wide contest.
Finally, also in February we expect to have an APRS class. In this class you will learn about APRS and what is needed to build a tracker, and how to use it. Again watch the calender for more information about this event.
As you can see we have a lot of stuff already scheduled for the future. This is in addition to the regular Saturday morning Breakfasts, Thursday night Good News Net, Third Monday of the month Club Meeting, and the relatively new 2M SSB net on Wednesday nights.
Your Board and I are trying to get programs out there that you are interested in. Your participation will tell us if we are heading in the right direction.