LARG Monthly Meeting
August 16, 2003

A meeting of the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group was held in the fellowship hall of Leesburg's Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday, August 16, 2003. Vice President Dale Harrison, K3CN, called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m. After leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, he welcomed all and asked visitors to introduce themselves. Twenty-six people were in attendance.

Treasurer Gary Quinn, NC4S, had mailed his report for May through July/August to secretary Carol Boehler, KF4TJJ. His report was approved as read as were the minutes of the June meeting.

Repeater Committee Chairman Dave Putman, KG4KZZ, reported that Evan Alford, KQ4CI, has done some work on the 440 repeater in the past few months so that signal quality is much better than it was initially. Ray Houff, K4AJA, reported some difficulty in getting in and hearing it from his location in western Loudoun. Tom Garasic, NA4MA, suggested that some work is still needed as the sound quality is not as good as it is for many other repeaters.

Balloon Committee Chairman Tom Dawson, WB3AKD, reported on the successful flight and recovery of HABCAT II on 7/19/03. Good GPS coordinates were conveyed. He mentioned a proposed flight to coincide with an October event in Countryside in which Boyd Garrett, N5CTI, is involved.

As Loudoun's ARES Coordinator, Tom, WB3AKD, fielded questions from LARG's public relations rep, Larry Hughes, K3HE, on knowing what to do to hear about or handle communications for emergency needs in such events as the previous week's energy blackout. Tom reminded us that amateur radio operators are not first responders. In case of an emergency check 147.48 to see if Loudoun ARES has been activated; or tune around to local repeaters to hear if there is any news. Dale, K3CN, reported that several 40 meter ARRL nets were active during the past week's emergency. For any emergency net you should be prepared to give your emergency battery status and probable deployment time.

Ray, K4AJA, Field Day 2003 Food Committee Chairman, thanked all committee members for their help in the success of the BBQs on Friday and Saturday and Angi Garasic, KG4AVR, for Sunday's breakfast.

Denny Boehler, KF4TJI, coordinator for LARG's participation in support of Loudoun's Chapter of the American Red Cross for the Reston Bike Club's 2003 Century Rides on 8/24/03, gave an overview of the coverage to be provided by LARG. More volunteers were requested. Updated operations plans and maps are posted on the club's web site:

Larry, K3HE, demonstrated safety vests and hats which can be used to distinguish amateur operators in events such as the Reston Bike Rides. He also showed off a radio fanny-pack, a remote mike and headset. ARRL does have blaze orange vests and hats which, as Larry says, "can help you too to look like a professional amateur radio operator." Dale , K3CN, agreed that all this gear can afford a good margin of safety as well as instant recognition as a helping individual.

Reporting on a conversation with training coordinator Bill McCourt, WF1L, Dale noted that preparations for this fall's General Class are underway. Joe Sheinman, W2BHK, stated that classes would probably be held on Friday evenings at Leesburg's Public Safety Facility (Police Station) on Plaza Street. A discussion on learning Morse Code ensued with suggestions for teaching the basics in one session of the General course or using ten minutes of each class for practice. QST lists a schedule of W1AW code transmission times. Knowing the code alphabet is prerequisite to gaining much from the W1AW sessions. Check out the syllabus on the web site and talk to Bill, WF1L, it you can help with training.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Secretary Carol Boehler, KF4TJJ