NARC Meeting Mar 5, 2015

Meeting on Wed 4 March 2015 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham St.

Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.

Apologies: ZL2US, ZL2MO, ZL2VM, ZL2MQ.

Present: Lee ZL2AL, Mike ZL2MY, Erroll ZL2IT, Bert ZL2OC, Revell ZL2SS, Peter ZL2CD, Dave ZL2DW, Blue ZL3TT, Willy ZL2AGD, Stan ZL2ST and Karl ZL1TJ.

Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed correct: ZL2MY, ZL2TC.

Arising: Dave ZL2DW reported on Branch 13’s visit to Hastings Civil Defence Base, a productive meeting, re-establishing contacts with CD personnel and flying the flag for AREC.

Lee ZL2AL: the first Emergency Check-in Net (ECI) to be run by himself and Laurie from the clubrooms on Wednesday 18th of March at 7:30 pm. Frequencies both the 146.700 repeater and 3.615 Mhz.

Lee: The club’s website gets 200 to 300 visits each month and is obviously worthwhile.

Correspondence: Exchange with Debby, NZART regarding the proposed public liability insurance.

Finance: Stan ZL2ST reported a severe increase in power charges, Powershop decided that at $1.75 per unit and zero line charges NARC was not profitable. New rates will add up to $700 per annum.

Lee proposed generating our own , using photovoltaic technology, and the generator for peak loads. A discussion on the various pros and cons led to Laurie and Karl to investigate this further.

Dave ZL2DW generously offered to donate 4 surplus batteries and several solar panels to the club.

Karl brought up the joint public liability insurance scheme proposed by NZART. Of the initial 19 branches expressing an interest 9 have so far decided to proceed. The estimated cost per branch per annum is $173. After discussion it was moved by Karl and seconded by Peter ZL2CD that the Branch joins the scheme. The motion was passed 7 to 1.

General business: Laurie: the club’s first ‘Open Door’, social Sunday afternoon will be held on the 15th of March, starting 2pm. Laurie to open the door as Wally is tied up with work that day.

A few months ago, Lee was charged with selling off older pieces of the club station and updating with newer radio gear. The older equipment was auctioned on Trade-Me and the proceeds were actually in excess of the cost of the newer equipment by $218. The excess money from the sales was returned to the club treasury. Stan and all present once again thanked Lee for all the work he does for the club. Stan reported participation of himself, Lee, Wayne ZL2WC and John ZL2QM in the Jock Whyte memorial contest under the ZL2G banner. All went well, good fun had and the points total may well be another winner.

Dave ZL2DW mentioned up-coming Branch 13 activities, both social get togethers: 1. A visit to the local taxidermist on the 7th of March (one Cornflakes Net participant is considering having himself stuffed eventually so the family can enjoy his presence a few more years), and 2. An overnight stay in the DOC Makahu Hut at the foot of the Kaweka mountain planned for April 11,12 and 13. Not many bunks are available so the early Ham gets in. Activities: tramping, hunting etc.Sounds like fun.

The meeting closed at 9:45 pm


Guest Speaker

Erroll ZL2IT explained and demonstrated WSPR (say “Whisper”), another recent and most interesting amateur radio pursuit. WSPR stands for Weak Signal Propagation Reporting Software. WSPR implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions.  Normal transmissions carry a station’s callsign, Maidenhead grid locator, and transmitter power in dBm.  The program can decode signals with S/N as low as -28 dB in a 2500 Hz bandwidth.  Stations with internet access can automatically upload their reception reports to a central database called WSPRnet, which includes a mapping facility. Digital mode transmitting very low power (5 Watts or less) signals at designated frequencies, containing only callsign, locator and power, to be picked up by stations around the world and acknowledged via the internet. The program produces some beautiful propagation maps in real time.

A WSPR Map in real time

A WSPR Map in real time

Essentially a tool for testing propagation and probing the mysteries of radio waves. It was a great presentation with slides and a live demo at the end. Thanks Erroll.

Karl ZL1TJ, Secretary NARC .