St. Petersburg Amateur Radio Club

Posts filed under Club Meetings

May 2017 Meeting Recap

This is our first recap of the meeting as part of the project to move information that would have been in the club newsletter to the website. This is a high-level recap to share the general topics discussed along with some info about the particular presentation for that evening. This is not to be mistaken for the official club meeting minutes. That is available in the Club Business section of the website. Links to other websites, etc that may be relevant to the presentation will also be included here.

  • Work continues on the repeaters with a new amplifier added to the 2m repeater along with the audio volume being increased. The repeater committee reports the repeaters are working and asked people to use the 220m and 440m repeaters more if they have the equipment.
  • The club station performed well in the Florida QSO Party with many people participating to activate the W4S callsign.
  • Bob N2ESP began a long discussion about Field Day involved asking what the membership wanted to do for Field Day. This discussion focused on a plea for participation from the members. The club needs people to stand-up and take action. Due to the normal 5 people being physically unable to do the work to put up antennas and stations, the club needs new people to get involved. The existing core crew wants people to help versus that core doing all the work. Field Day has been a social function with meals served but without more participation from the club members in the planning stage, Field Day will be scaled back to use the existing antennas and radios in more of a home station aspect than Field-style operating. The general feeling of those that usually participate was this is not optimal, but without more participation, this is a fact of life.The time to act is NOW. Email, call or use any other means to contact a club officers and say you want to commit to helping out on Field Day. The time for passiveness and just showing up is over. Without action, Field Day will not be the event the club has sone in the past. Tom NY4I wrote some items about Field Day but shared a plea that we are all amateur radio operators. He stressed the fact that we get out to Field Day and operate.
  • As part of no longer publishing a newsletter, the website was again promoted. Some features have been added such as automatic posting to the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts whenever a post is made on the website. If you want  to stay up to date and you use Facebook or Twitter, please follow the club on those services. For our Facebook page, click here. For Twitter, follow @SPARC_W4GAC
  • The June program will be about Field Day (whatever effort the above plea warrants). July’s program will be a mobile installation contest. Members will park in the front of the DMI building car-show style, open up their car and judges will evaluate their installation. There will be a prize for the best HF and VHF/UHF installation. Entrants installations will be judged on neatness, effectiveness, safety, good engineering principles among other criteria. Look for a future post on the club website about this event.


Tom NY4I Presenting at the May meeting  [AI4QP photo]

The program for May was by Tom Schaefer NY4I on interfacing HF radios with computers. The focus was the DXLab Suite of programs, but the information applied to any radios. Tom spoke of USB interfaces, serial interfaces and other tips on how to get your HF radio connected. Tom had an Icom 7300 setup as a demo and showed how one can click on a DX cluster spot to automatically tune the radio to the right frequency as well as using the information from the radio to fill in your log. Tom also demonstrated an Elecraft K3/0 which can be used for remote operation. This can be done with RemoteHamRadio or software available from RemoteHams.

N4NSS Gets Keyed Up

If you missed last Friday’s meeting, you missed a fine presentation by Kyle, N4NSS on his “sub-hobby” of collecting CW keys. The photos show Kyle in action at the SPARC meeting, as well as a close up of his collection. Click on title to display photos and click on a photo to enlarge it.

N4NSS describes his key collection

N4NSS’ Key Collection


Thanks for sharing your  collection with us.

Photos by AI4QP.


Proposed By-Law Change to be Considered at April 7, 2017 Meeting

At the April 7, 2017 meeting, this motion was presented, seconded, discussed but voted down therefore the by-laws remain unchanged.

Pursuant to the notification rules, at the April 7th, 2017 meeting, SPARC will consider a By-Law change. This was introduced at the last meeting.

The proposed change is as follows:

Proposed to amend Article 5, Section 1 by adding

2. Prior to a vote of the membership authorizing a non emergency equipment expenditure >$200 the Secretary or party designated by the Secretary, shall make notice as to the type of equipment being sought by the club to the SPARC electronic mailing list 30 days prior to a final vote.  The intent of this notice shall be to locate needed equipment or substantially similar equipment locally, at reduced cost/donated from the SPARC membership.

The executive board shall have the power to designate expenditures exceeding this amount as emergency on a case by case basis.  An emergency expenditure is not subject to this section, however mailing list notice is still encouraged if possible.

Nothing in this section shall preclude debate during any meeting regarding proposed equipment expenditures.

Members Inducted Into A-1 Club

SPARC announces that three of its members have been inducted into the ARRL “A-1 Operator Club.” Nominated by Dave, KR4U and George, W1AAG, SPARC members Dee, N4GD; Tom, NY4I and Bob, N2ESP received framed A-1 Operator Club Member certificates and pins at the February club meeting.

L-R: N4GD Dee, NY4I Tom, N2ESP Bob

L-R: Dee, N4GD; Tom, NY4I; Bob, N2ESP

First organized in May 1933, the ARRL A-1 Operator Club has a proud history and occupies an important place in Amateur Radio tradition. Communications Manager Ed Handy, W1BDI, announced its formation with these words in July 1933 QST:

Are you an A-1 Operator? Excellence in stations has often been emphasized. Yet, station performance, equipment, adjustment, etc., are but part of the story. The operation of the equipment, knowledge of procedure, and general communications technique are of very great importance in determining the results of any station. To bring attention to good operating as a paramount issue, and to give it something of the importance it deserves we are this month announcing in these columns the launching of a club for A-1 operators. 

Through the years, recognition as an A-1 Operator represented an unsolicited acknowledgment of one’s high standing among one’s peers. Prospective members must be nominated by two current members of the A-1 Operator Club. This prestigious award is based on:

  1. General considerations.
    • Transmissions: well filtered, minimum required bandwidth.
    • Voice: clarity, brevity, wording, grammar
    • Digital: tones, operating-frequency selection.
    • CW: character formation, spacing, appropriate speed
  2. Procedure.
    • Listen before transmitting.
    • Appropriately short CQs
    • Proper procedures and abbreviations
    • Make sure that traffic is routed to its destination.
  3. Judgment and courtesy.
    • Courteous, and considerate of the other operator’s point of view.
    • Assists others, especially beginners.
    • Patient and helpful
    • Never knowingly operates as to lessen the pleasure of others.
  4. Copying ability.
    • Passing information through interference from other stations (QRM), atmospheric noises (QRN), fading (QSB), etc.

Congratulations Dee, Tom and Bob.

Antenna Modeling with EZNEC


The program for Friday, Nov 4, will be antenna modeling, building simple models and then comparing them to more complex antennas.  Ed, NZ1Q will demonstrate EZNEC software, which offers a free demo program that can be easily downloaded.   Ed will go through how to build an antenna model and read the resulting charts and graphs for a simple dipole, a two element beam and then as time permits, an Off Center Fed Dipole and other antennas., Radiation patterns, SWR, impedance matching and effects of grounds will be demonstrated. 

Be sure to join us this Friday for a truly informative program.


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