LARG Monthly Meeting
April 15, 2006

The meeting was called to order by President Boyd, N5CTI, at 8:44 a.m. EDT. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited with all facing the government center as there was no flag on site. A total of 27 members and visitors were in attendance. Minutes of the March meeting were approved as read. The Treasurer's report was also accepted as presented.

Committee Reports

Training - Denny, KF4TJI, reported good progress for this Spring's General License course. His request for two additional instructors was filled before all left the meeting. Denny introduced first time attendees: Stevens Miller, WA4LDA, and General Class members Dan Gillenwater, K9SLY, and his son Blake, KI4OBV. Henry, K2BFY, noted that CW practice for the course will switch to the Leesburg repeater (146.700) on Wednesdays at 20.00 (8:00 p.m.) EDT. Henry has met one of his goals for volunteering to teach the code: he's learning a lot.

Contesting - John, W4AU, talked about the growth in the VA QSO Party over the past several years as Norm, AI2C, distributed copies of known LARG results from this year. With half a dozen logs outstanding, the 41 in the system total over 731,000 points. Poor band conditions may have kept contacts down. Boyd commented that ground was a problem for him; he believes he found the hardest land in VA on his expedition foray. John noted that the VA QSO Party and Field Day are the two events that have the greatest involvement from LARG members.

- Mark, W3ZI, thanked all operators who helped in the reporting and tracking down of recent APRS interference. He noted that unidentified packet interference on two meters is probably through the ECHO Link system. Digital modes do present a challenge in not knowing if the frequency is clear before a transmission is begun. He asked that people continue to alert him about interference issues; he does check his e-mail even if he is out of town. Mark also led a discussion about the official observer program and asked if anyone had ever received an OO notice. Legitimate reports are meant to help and to advise on good operating practices.

Emergency Service/Public Service - Tom, WB3AKD, reiterated the events needing volunteers in the next few months. Just a few people are needed at the Loudoun EOC for VERTEX '06, with one or two out stations on 4/27. The March of Dimes Walk in Leesburg on 4/30 needs 8-10 hams at various stations and possibly to walk parts of the course. The big event in June needing many participants has been rescheduled from Weds. 6/14 to Fri. 6/16. There will be at least one WiFi training session for this event. Watch the reflector for more information on all these activities.

Tom reported that he had placed the beacon for the fox hunt to follow the meeting. The transmitter on 145.650 has a continuous carrier with a burst each minute of CW giving call sign (K4LRG) and a frame number. The package is clearly marked as K4LRG property. The signal strength was described as being much like that of a grounded balloon payload. Tom gave three sets of bearings from Berryville and Winchester, as might be expected from last readings on a typical balloon flight just before touch down. He will monitor the beacon as well as the 147.300 machine to field any questions and give additional assistance as needed.

Old Business

Field Day Chairman - Jeff, KE5APC, agreed to take this position for the 2006 event (6/23-26).

Projector project - Gary, NC4S, and Mark, W3ZI, reported on the search for a used projector as described several months ago. The $700 approved then is not sufficient for the type and quality desired. A motion was made to increase the amount to $1200. Rental costs are high enough to equal purchase price after just a few rentals was the response to a question about the possibility of renting or borrowing one when a projector is needed. The motion was approved.

New Business

Gary, NC4S, will give a presentation on FISTS at the May meeting.

Discussion about the Sunday night net time during DST after last year's trial of moving it to 20.30 (8:30 p.m.) led to the approval of a motion to make this a permanent pattern: the Sunday night 2-Meter net will begin at 20.00 during standard time and will commence at 20.30 during "slow time" (daylight savings time).

Dick, W2YE, requested a couple of volunteers to assist with the QSL Bureau. This would take one to two evenings per month. There is a training session for this service.

Don, K8DSJ, reported the formation of a new radio club in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

David, K4ARP, is running a digi on 145.730 and requested reports.

Paul, N4PD, will be putting out a listing of equipment and various radio odds and ends to be sold on behalf of Sarah, wife of silent key Ray, K4AJA.

Gary, NC4S, noted he will need help transporting gear he received from his friend Fred to the Manassas Hamfest the 1st Sunday in June.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol L. Boehler, KF4TJJ