Monthly Meeting Notes - April 2001  

For this monthís meeting we had two guests, Jim Aspinwall, WB9GVF and Charles Webber, KG6FZA.Welcome to the group Jim & Charles.


At our meeting Jim talked about his extensive tower experience and fielded questions from the members about how we might consider solving our tower access issue.For those of you not getting past issues of these meeting reports, we still havenít removed our restriction to climbing our tower and canít replace the antennas yet.  


Hearing what Jim had to say about our access issue and hearing what other groups are experiencing, I think weíve taken a solid step in the right direction towards handling the restrictions so we can change the repeaterís antennas.I know I came away from our last meeting thinking we arenít far from solving this issue.While others and I felt good about what we learned, it was Jim who left with a laundry list of action items he promised to accomplish so we can take it to the next stage.Thanks for jumping in to help Jim.All in all our April meeting was interesting, lasted longer than expected and surprised me at how quickly we gobbled up Wallyís, KA6YMD, cookies.Thanks Wally, they make a difference.  



We now have two new Comet CX-333 triband antennas we can install on the tower as soon as we have access.These antennas should give our club the ability to solve a lot of noise issues that we are currently hearing in our repeated signals.To mount these antennas we need to handle the access issue Iíve been crying about in past meeting notes and we need to construct new hardware that Bill, WA2IBM, is going to handle.Our timing for when we can change the antennas isnít clear yet, but it shouldnít be much longer before WB6OQS is consistently putting out a real healthy and strong signal.

If youíve heard or worked the repeater recently, youíve probably noticed the 2-meter side of the repeater got a whole lot better.Our clubís technical committee decided to push the 2-meter side of our signal out through the dual band antenna we had been using for 440.Owen, KB6MER, materialized a small duplexer so we could pipe the signal through that antenna.If hearing what someone is saying on the repeater is a good judge in these matters, he has helped make our waiting to change the antennas a little easier.Thanks Owen.  


We are also still getting coverage from the remote receiver Tracy, W6OTH, operates for us at his home.Listening to the coverage around the Red Cross building from his input to the repeater has made a significant improvement in how others can hear mobiles in some of the repeaterís shadows in this and other areas.I know it has helped me communicate with a friendís mobile station in Alameda.To access this remote input, change the PL to 141.3.Iíve just added a new memory setting near my normal WB6OQS memory location so I donít need to fuss with changing PLs on the move.Donít forget to say thanks to Tracy when you hear him on the air the next time.He is operating this remote site on his expense.Thanks Tracy.  


Tierra Bella Event:

Wally Britten Ė KA6YMD, Owen DeLong - KB6MER, and Roger Rines - W1RDR, all participated in this unusually large bicycle event on April 7th.Our support day started out at 5:30 AM and within minutes of when I left home, the rain began again in earnest.To help out in this event, I rode my ham-equipped GoldWing motorcycle.I really donít mind riding in the rain, as Iíve got good rain gear.What I donít like is the first ten minutes of the ride when the bike goes from clean to crap.


This event initially signed up 2,000 riders and was turning new applications away two weeks before the start day.When the rains of that weekend hit, it changed who was interested in riding.An unconfirmed attendance number shows only around 600 riders thought getting wet would be fun.


Even with the bad weather, we only had one mentionable injury that happened early in the day.A women rider fell on her elbow and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.It was fellow ham Larry McDonald Ė K6ACE, whom I hope will join our SCVRS group, arrived right after she went down while he was patrolling on his ham-equipped motorcycle through that section of the event.††


Providing support for bicycle events are fun because of how many of the people that we meet.From a flat-repair perspective, Iíve never seen so many flats in an event Ė ever.Even last year when there were over 1,800 riders in this event, there werenít as many flats.I think there is something about the rain that causes the bicycle tires to rupture more easily.Does anyone know why this is so?  


Club Dues:

Renewals have been received from a lot of last yearís members.There are a few who have said they didnít get a renewal notice and some we think have left the area.Overall our renewal rate is very good for those still in the area and I think we still have a strong group.If you didnít get a notice, then we apologize and hope you decide to continue your support.

This year we are off to a better start and have more energy and plans in the group than last year.Our membership roster is less than half of what we need to cover our expenses so each memberís payment makes a real difference.To keep our group going weíve been lucky to have some silent benefactors who have helped us through this high expense period.In looking forward, we need to do something different.


Attracting more members and hopefully finding a way to reduce our operating expense will be our primary focus.As many of you know, our rent for the repeater site is unexpectedly high, and when insurance and operating expenses are added, we just donít have the revenue to cover our current cost.†† In the near term we are still going to be dependant upon the help of those who can contribute more.†† While this is the reality of now, we can work our way out of this.One way to do this is for each of you reading this to bring in just one member next year.If every member brought in one new member, we would have the means to cover our operating cost and the amount of resources available to us at meetings for demonstrations and education would change significantly.In addition, our resources for helping in public service and charity events goes up significantly helping us fulfill our charter to help our community.


Another way to help is by attending the meetings and offering ideas on how we can make our group more fun.I know ham radio is competing with the Internet and cell-phone technology, but these arenít going to be there in an emergency and we will.  


Come to the meetings and help make a difference.
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Last update: April 27th 2001