TARC September Meeting Minutes

On Tuesday, 20 September 2022 at 1900 hours local, Mark, WA5MA, called the Tulsa Amateur Radio Club meeting to order in Room-3140 of Keplinger Hall at the University of Tulsa.

WA5MA introduced the club officers present then requested round-robin introductions of the members present.

WA5MA asked whether anyone didn’t receive the newsletter. Nothing heard.

WA5MA said that last month was the Ice Cream Social at Chandler park when there were no minutes, and asked for any questions or comments about the minutes of the July meeting. Nothing heard. Bob, W5RAB, moved to approve the minutes as written; Tom, WI5TZG, seconded; the minutes were approved by acclamation.

WA5MA asked for any questions or comments about the financial report. Jerry, KE5PMK, said that TARC received an anonymous, unrestricted donation of $2,026.96 via the Brenevity Community Impact Fund. Paul, WB5ANX, moved to accept the financials; Ray, K5CAY, seconded the motion, which was approved by general acclamation.

WA5MA asked Paul, WB5ANX, to summarize the Dam Jam bicycling event.

WB5ANX said the the day was very successful, enjoying the help from twenty-five volunteers with five ride-alongs. Good attendance by hamsters meant that nobody had to do double-duty. The day had its usual share of minor problems, but nothing bad happened. There was one medical incident that Emergency Medical Services at the scene said could be resolved by a SAG returning the cyclist to the start-finish point.

WB5ANX said that this year Net Control Operators have worked to get read-back of NCO-radioed instructions to verify correct receipt by operators around the area. WB5ANX commended W5AWS as a good example of this practice.

Andrew, W5AWS, acknowledged the good words and said that Dam Jam was his first event operating as a Safety Observer. Prior to Dam Jam, W5AWS rode-along with Mike, KI5EGH, during the Tour de Tulsa. Despite getting lost on the Dam Jam course, it was a good learning experience that will get better during future participation.

WB5ANX encouraged participants in the Dam Jam to share with him any lessons learned, so that we can improve our operations.

WB5ANX reported that he was approached by one rider who expressed sincere thanks for the presence on the course of ham radio operators in contact with Race Control. The rider said that knowing there were people ready to help when things go wrong with the riders and bikes is very comforting.

WB5ANX yield the floor to WA5MA.

WA5MA asked Steve, KF5VCQ, to summarize the Maker Fair event that happened on the same day as the Dam Jam.

KF5VCQ said that the day was a big success. They had the Comms. Trailer inside the Exchange Center at Expo Square. They handed out lots of ARRL material and helped young boys and girls make their first radio contacts. There were exhibits of ham radio equipment and the young visitors were amazed when they heard their names spelled-out in Morse Code from operators using Code Practice Oscillators. KF5VCQ hoped that next year there wouldn’t be conflicting events as there was this year with the bike race.

KF5VCQ yielded the floor to WA5MA.

WA5MA summarized the Route-66-on-the-Air event. He said that as of this meeting 1,765 contacts were made that included contacts in sixteen countries like South America, Ireland, Japan, Ukraine, and Canada. QSL cards are arriving; WA5MA said that during the next meeting he will hand out W6L QSL cards so that those at the meeting can share the burden of returning QSL cards to our contacts around the world. Many hands make light work!

WA5MA asked Bart, N5TWB, about the status of the ARRL grants program.

N5TWB said that he attended Zoom meeting during which he learned about how the first distribution of money happened, which helped inform strategy for our application. Also, the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) organization is making grants available to clubs too, to which TARC should make an application.

WA5MA asked N5TWB to continue with news of the MS150 bicycling event between here and Bartlesville.

N5TWB said that there will be about seventy-five riders this weekend, 24/25 September. The Bartlesville radio club is handling the north side of the course. TARC is covering the course from Tulsa to Avant. Coverage will be from 0700 hours to Noon on Saturday, and from late morning until mid-afternoon on Sunday. Mike, KI5EGH, will be net control. APRS trackers are distributed to users. N5TWB said that anyone wanting to volunteer for Safety And Gear (SAG) would be welcome.

N5TWB yielded the floor to WA5MA.

WA5MA asked Steve, KF5VCQ, to talk about nominations for TARC officers.

KF5VCQ said that he was the default parliamentarian and that anyone interested in one of the officer jobs should contact him between now and the next club meeting in October. Voting will happen in November. Club President is the only position that has a term limit.

KF5VCQ yielded the floor to WA5MA.

WA5MA yielded the floor to Bob, W5RAB, who gave a presentation about the history and architecture of the UHF Super Link System, assisted from the floor by Greg, W5GGW.

W5RAB retired from a career in telecommunications that included microwave systems. He took over maintenance of the Super Link System which was developed ad-hoc by others in the past. Some of the equipment belongs to W5RAB and some to clubs around Northeastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas.

W5RAB said emphatically that the principal purpose of the Super Link System is to provide communication between emergency coordinators during severe weather events. Non-emergency users should find out whether they can communicate on a simplex frequency or use one of the local repeaters rather than be heard all over Northeastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas.

W5RAB displayed the TARC Repeater Map showing the location of each repeater and their approximate coverage. All interconnections between the repeaters are wireless, provided by low-power link-radios connected to high-gain directional antennas.

W5RAB said that the overall architecture is hub and spoke (star) with the Tulsa 443.850 repeater as the hub. However, some of the repeaters on the western edge of the coverage area link through the Mounds repeater to Tulsa.

W5RAB said that when the Tulsa repeater fails it fails the entire network. He has new equipment with standbys ready to replace the aging and increasingly unreliable installation.

Most of the repeaters are co-located on towers with other commercial equipment. Ham radio repeaters exist as guests at transmitter sites. W5RAB said that the Daisy repeater ceased operation, also there is a repeater at Cavenah that is currently inoperative.

W5RAB said that due to system configuration, some interference occurs when atmospheric skip enables repeaters on the same frequency in Colorado to trigger repeaters here.

W5RAB said that access to some sites is difficult. When he first assumed the maintenance activity, he spent most of each week visiting sites. Now that effort is reduced one or two days each week depending on need.

Modern equipment doesn’t need as much test gear, though calibrated power meters are useful. Even so, maintenance can be challenging. For some of the older equipment there is no support because the manufacturers are defunct.

Despite the typical ham radio ethos and the possibility for race conditions, W5RAB said that the system works and has worked well for a long time.

W5RAB yielded the floor to WA5MA.

WA5MA yielded the floor to Remell, KA6DOY, who said that during the TARC Net next week, NetLogger will become active fifteen minutes prior to the start at 2000 hours. Anyone using NetLogger will be automatically logged into the net as soon as they join, so there will be no need to check-in over the air. The idea is to reduce the amount of time needed to check-in over the air.

WA5MA asked Richie, W5OKL, about any news of the Christmas party. W5OKL said there will be no news until about a month prior to the event.

WA5MA said that there is the Joplin Hamfest on 1 October, Texoma Hamarama in Ardmore on 22 October, and the Enid Hamfest on 5 November.

There being no further business, WA5MA adjourned the meeting at 2030

Minutes respectfully submitted by
Andrew, W5AWS.

Posted in TARC Meeting Minutes.

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