|Our Last RANV Meeting||The Prez Sez||RANV Space Program|
|Bylaws...Bylaws?||Wet Fox Hunt||New SEC|
|APRS News||Boy Scout Camporee|
For our November meeting, Eric Evenson KB1IOV of the National Weather Service in Burlington will be our guest. He will talk about the SKYWARN program. SKYWARN is a concept developed in the early 1970's that was intended to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and communities. The emphasis of the effort is often focused on the storm spotter, an individual who takes a position near their community and reports wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado. Another part of SKYWARN is the receipt and effective distribution of National Weather Service information.
Past talks on SKYWARN consisted of lots of pictures and charts to help potential spotters be able to determine various weather conditions. We understand that the presentation has been revamped considerably. Those who are serious about the program can attend training sessions.
This should be a real interesting time. Some members are real intense on weather reporting and can't get enough of it. Others view this as the proverbial, "watching the paint dry" exercise. And I'm sure there will be lots of opportunity for questions like, "where should I hide when a tornado is bearing down on me?" or "why isn't the weather forecast ever correct"? (especially during hamfest season!).
You'll want to make sure you are properly nourished for all this excitement, so join us at 6 PM at Zach's for eats. The meeting starts at 7 PM and is held at the O'Brien Civic Center, 113 Patchen Road, South Burlington.
Things are getting busy! The Fall is Contest Season. Everyone talks about emergency preparedness, but how many actually train to operate better? There is no better way to sharpen your skills than to operate in the ARRL Sweepstakes. This is much more than a 59VT contest. You have to send all sorts of information and send it correctly. The CW SS is this weekend, and the phone SS is 2 weeks after that, November 19th. The phone affair has become the premier competition in Vermont and many high scores come from right here! You can get on with a 100 watts to a dipole and work lots and lots of stations, all the while, picking up valuable skills. Don't have a station? Ask around - someone may be willing to invite you in!
The RANV Holiday Party will be Tuesday, December 13th at the QTH of W1SJ/W1DEB. The format will be similar to previous years. Some food will be provided and the rest will be pot luck. Please let Mitch know your attendance plans by December 6th. Any other ideas for food or activities is always appreciated.
Pursuant to the By-Laws of the Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont, enclosed in this month’s newsletter is your ballot for election of officers. Families receiving one newsletter will receive the correct number of ballots.
Nominations for officers come from the membership, or (much of the time) people are asked to run. We have found one candidate for each office. However, any club member in good standing, who agrees, can be written in.
Brian N1BQ, Bob KB1FRW and Carl AB1DD have agreed to continue as President, VP/Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.
Please show your support for our officers by voting. Either bring your ballot to the meeting, vote by E-mail, or immediately mail your ballot.
And remember our motto, vote early and vote often!
The October 11th meeting was called to order at 7:14 by President Brian N1BQ. There were 15 members and 1 guest present.
Brian talked briefly about a newly designed antenna mounting system invented by Paul K1PJM, called Connect Quick. This ingenious device allows one to quickly attach and remove a horizontal style antenna to a vertical mast with just a twist of the wrist. Paul gave the club two of them, and we thank him for that. Brian will use one at the upcoming Scout Camporee and report back.
Upcoming events were announced. The next Fox Hunt will be on Friday October 21st. RANV will set up a demo station at the Scout Camporee at Lake Dunmore on Saturday, October 22nd. At the next meeting, November 8th, there will be a presentation from the National Weather Service. The annual elections will also be held at the November meeting.
The topic for this meeting was Chip Fabrication, presented by John K1JCM. This was a presentation of how IBM manufactures integrated circuits, or "chips" as they are called. John had lots of parts to show how this is done. He had large wafers of silicon, 12 inches in diameter, containing lots of chips before the wafer is cut up. Then, there were different types of packaging for these chips shown. Also, memory devices, including a mini drive, were passed around. We also got to look at a hard drive that was opened up to show the insides, something that lots of us wondered about, but were afraid to do to our own hard drive. WARNING: do not try this at home. Thanks to John for a very interesting presentation.
The last order of business was for refreshments. The meeting adjourned around 8:30.
We have had our first snow storm with very heavy and wet snow, knocking power out for many people for several days. Could you get on the air? Good timing of sorts since last month, reflecting upon the misfortunes of the people on the Gulf Coast, I hammered you with the hard questions about emergency preparedness. Many of you answered, quite reflexively, "yeah sure, I am ready!" OK, so how many of you found that your ham facilities measured up under the moderate duress caused by this first storm? For more of you than will probably admit, I am sure it will be "back to the drawing board!" Nature rarely gives us second chances and even more rarely third and fourth chances. Take advantage of this and get it right for the next time.
The November meeting brings the election. Your ballot is included with this newsletter. Since we are just re-running the existing officers with no opposition, I assume I have a job for another year. It will be embarrassing if I get defeated by Mickey Mouse as a write-in! We continually joke that the president is the guy who ran slowest when they called for volunteers. But the fact of the matter is, the club should be looking beyond for new leadership if for no other reason than any or all of the three of us, Bob, Carl, or myself, could be gone in an instant for any of a myriad of reasons. We need not look far to find clubs that withered badly because the same guys year after year did all the work. Sooner or later they burn out. I would rather step down and let some new blood take the helm. Then I can keep going to Steering Wheel meetings and offer my ideas and hands for the next few years, rather than suddenly get sick of it all next year or the year after and drop out completely.
We have a great couple of months coming up. This month, Eric Evenson KB1IOV, and his crew from the National Weather Service will be at the meeting to speak about the Skywarn system.
December will bring us to the home of Mitch W1SJ, and Debbie W1DEB, for our annual holiday party and all local hams are invited.
After the October meeting, there was considerable interest in a RANV high altitude balloon project. After some discussion at the Steering Wheel meeting, we decided to go ahead and begin planning and building during the winter months. The design and construction will take place outside of regular meetings. At the next meeting, I will present a tentative budget and initiate a call for participants for designing and building the payload. By hamfest time in February, we hope to have a prototype to show off and the plan is to shoot for an April launch! If you want to get in on the ground floor of this amazing opportunity, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many of you know, I was asked to help "neaten up" RANV's status as a non-profit corporation. RANV, like many beneficial organizations, is small and informal, and hopefully always stays that way (except, perhaps the "small" part!). It should always be informal, and it was formed particularly for that reason.
It wouldn't be crazy for a member to make the statement that is the title of this article. They wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but they wouldn't be 100% right either.
What a corporation brings any group is some level of liability protection for the members. It also makes it easier to operate sometimes, because the group becomes a more official "entity", and banks and other organizations like to see that.
It's not like members are terribly exposed without a corporation or that the sky would fall without it. The chances of having an event that would lead to liability on the part of members are slim, and probably will never occur. But it could.
A corporation creates a "veil" between the corporation, which is a living, breathing legal entity, and the members. The corporation can sue and be sued. It can be insured, can make contracts, it can manage money. Individual members acting on behalf of the corporation and in the scope of their duties shouldn't be liable for the errors of the corporation (with some limited exceptions that I won't go into here). The corporation buys insurance to protect itself, and that policy should also cover members, acting within the scope of their authority for so long as they are not "grossly negligent" in their conduct. Finally, it can be exempted from income tax by the IRS.This requires the famous 501(c)(3) designation, which the organization does not have, and may not necessarily need, and doesn't get through the current bylaw update.
However, if something goes wrong and a member is claimed to be liable, and that member tries to "protect" himself by using the corporation, the courts will expect that the group is a corporation in more than name. It will look to see if we "walk the talk".
Walking the talk doesn't require much. As a minimum, it requires registration with the State. That has recently been accomplished. Bylaws are a necessity, but it doesn't mean they must be complicated or lengthy. However, whatever they say, they must follow the law and we must, in turn, follow them.
Does it require any real changes to how RANV runs? Probably not. Excess formality and Robert's Rules of Order are NOT required. Fancy votes and complex procedures are NOT required. As a member of RANV (but only an occasional attendee due to a weekly scheduling conflict with meetings), I see no real day to day changes necessary. The officers however, should review the bylaws from time to time to make sure that they are being followed and whether they should be changed.
A new set of bylaws is being finalized for delivery to the membership for a vote. The law has very, very few absolute requirements for bylaws. For the most part, RANV should control what the bylaws say, not the other way around. They do need to exist and cover a few fundamentals, and then be referred to from time to time, kept up to date with what the members want, and followed.
If we do our job in their creation, they probably will make little difference on how the organization works and has worked for years, but they need to exist and need to be respected if we ever need to fall back on the protections of the corporate "veil".
The final RANV Fox Hunt of 2005 was held in a downpour. Being the Fox this time, I had plans for a really diabolical hide which would have driven everyone crazy. The rain washed that all away and I had to fall on the backup plan of hiding in the Tree Farm Recreation Area, off of Old Colchester Road. Although just a mile away, I only learned about this place a month ago when I was brought to it in search of a Geocache.
Whether it was the weather, or it was one of those nights where everyone was busy, there weren't many hunters. The repeater was deathly quiet. Only Jon K1JCM and his trusty sidekick Robert W1RFM and Jon KB1LIE and crew headed out for the hunt. On the drive over, I thought about ways to camouflage the car, when I realized that the parking lot was filled with many cars to mingle with. What the heck are they all doing out here in the pouring rain? Why, playing soccer of course! So, I had something to watch while passing the idle minutes doing the hunt, all the time exclaiming, "these soccer kids (and their parents) are positively nuts to be sloshing around in the mud on a dark field!"
Reading is a bit of work, so instead, I downloaded the Amateur Radio Newsline off the web and played that. That allowed for fairly long transmissions without having to wrack my brain as to what to say. By 6:30, I hadn't even finished Newsline when K1JCM pulls up right along side of me. Turns out that he is a member of one of those soccer families who play in that field, and he wasn't fooled in the least. Meanwhile, KB1LIE was apparently driving in circles. At one point, he drove right by us on Route 2A. Later in the evening, he was south of the Five Corners. At that point, we had him hunt down Rocky's and we convened there at 8:00 for a nice Italian feast.
It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that I have appointed fellow RANV member Bob Brown W4YFJ to the very important position of Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) for the ARRL Section of Vermont. When Carl Phillips KC1WH passed away this past August, it left a huge void in our ARES organization in Vermont. Carl had worked so hard to develop ARES, and appointed quality District Emergency Coordinators and Emergency Coordinators around the state during his three year tenure. His dedication and eye for detail will be sorely missed.
One of Carl's previous acomplishments was to appoint Bob to DEC for District One, covering Chittenden, Grand Isle, and Franklin counties. This wide area has a diverse group of hams and problems. Bob took the position very seriously, and worked with the local ARES members and Carl to get the District prepared for emergencies. After two years, Bob left this appointment, but stayed on to help Carl with special tasks, such as organizing the ARES membership roster for the Vermont ARES web page.
I have talked to Bob about what he can bring to the Vermont ARES organization, and he has a great vision for us. He will be picking up where Carl left off. Bob's leadership skills and goals may be different from Carl's but this will be a good thing for the organization. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Brown on his new appointment.
RANV is an ARRL Special Service Club (SSC) and is no stranger to leadership appointments in the ARRL. Here are current appointments held by our membership:
|Bob Allen KB1FRW:||Emergency Coordinator, Richmond|
|Dave Cain W1DEC:||State Government Liaison and Official Emergency Station|
|Sam Conant N1PDL:||Local Government Liaison|
|Paul Gayet AA1SU:||Section Manager|
|Fred Messer WA1LIE:||District Emergency Coordinator, District 3|
|Jo Messer KB1EPT:||Emergency Coordinator, Waitsfield|
|Jay Rutherford K1UC:||Emergency Coordinator, Waterbury|
|Mitch Stern W1SJ:||Technical Coordinator|
This is no small task! It shows the leadership and dedication that our club has. It also shows off the quality members that we attract.
I mentioned above that RANV is a Special Service Club. This elite status requires our club applying for renewal every three years. Well guess what? It is time for RANV to apply for renewal. Our active club has had no problem renewing its status in the past. However, this year I am requiring that the club nominate a club member for Public Information Officer (PIO). This is a requirement in the application form that Brian N1BQ has to fill out. PIO's are usually club publicity chairpersons and must be full ARRL members. If you feel that you could be useful in this position, please let a club officer know at the next meeting, or by e-mail, if you cannot attend. The job description of a PIO and all other appointments can be viewed at: www.arrl.org/FandES/field/org. This ARRL appointment does not require a lot of work or fussy reports. It is mostly establishing a good relationship with the local press, so that when an emergency or public service event comes up, we can get accurate coverage. Please consider it.
In addition, I'd like to say congratulations in advance to our slate of officers up for re-election. Brian, Bob and Carl have done an outstanding job with the club, and we are so lucky to have them. As you have heard, coming up with ideas for club meetings is very hard. I have been a member since 1997, and I have not seen a topic repeated unless there has been an improvement in technology. This dedication to coming up with new ideas is hard to find in other clubs around the country. Way to go RANV!
There have been some significant enhancements to the APRS network in northern Vermont over the last year. We have added two new digipeaters, K1UC-3, in Waterbury and KB1LYU-3 on Mount Ellen, in Fayston. The result is considerable additional coverage down the West side of the Green Mountains along Route 22A south from Vergennes, significant elimination of the many shadows in the N1BQ-3 coverage through Richmond, Hinesburg, Huntington, Monkton, Vergennes, added coverage of I-89 down as far as Randolph and solid coverage of the Stowe region. As a result of this enhanced coverage throughout the region, the probability of mobile stations 'printing' to the APRS Internet Stream and being found on the APRS database at www.findu.com is now better than 90% for any given position sent.
These three dominant digipeaters, N1BQ-3, K1UC-3, and KB1LYU-3 are set to the new national paradigm and respond best to path settings of WIDE2-2 or WIDE3-3. Under this new scheme they will not respond to RELAY or WIDE. The supplemental digipeater that gives handi-talkie and mobile coverage of the Burlington area, W1CGT-3 on the UVM campus still responds to RELAY and WIDE as well as the various WIDEn-n paths.
About 350 Boy Scouts and their leaders from Addison and Chittenden counties gathered on the weekend of October 21-23rd at Branbury State Park along the eastern shores of Lake Dunmore. The Scouts were broken up into groups of ten to thirty. They then participated in ten activities, each having to do with survival.
RANV had been contacted to do a demonstration of amateur radio, and after some discussion, we put together a two-part setup. In the first part, John K1JCM and Jeff KB1IWK gave a brief overview of radio direction finding and the scouts broke into two teams to hunt the fox. We also set up an HF station manned by Brian N1BQ, who handled the other half of each group and gave an overview and demonstration of the other side of ham radio. When each group was done, they flip-flopped from the HF station to the Fox hunt and vice-versa.
In one sense, as long as the propagation gods are in a good mood, doing a ham radio demonstration for Scouts is easy. Even the rarest DX handing out rapid-fire contacts will, upon being informed that he has a Scout audience, slow down and chat for a while. This day was no different. Many of the scouts got to talk to hams, and even other scouts from all over the U.S.
We arrived at Branbury bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7 AM and after some consultation, we started setting up. Antennas consisted of a tribander, 146/440 MHz vertical and a doublet for 80/40 meters mounted on a rocket launcher tower. The rig was an Alinco DX77 with an LDG AT-11 tuner and power came from an 130 amp-hour battery pair. Special mention should go to Bob KB1FRW, who despite having other family commitments, drove down to help set up, and then drove back home. Setup was done in an hour and take down, with some Scout help, was also achieved in one hour.
The result of this effort has yet to be determined. I left there with the feeling that 6-10 of the scouts from the Underhill/Jericho and the Essex groups showed interest enough to go farther. John K1JCM and I will follow up on this. Thanks to all who helped.
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