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SMARC

Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club

January Board Retreat

17 min read
  • Present was Steve Palmer, Billy Dalton-Brattin, Judith Reppert, Rodney Mallonee, Jordan Justus, Heather Hagen, and Franklin Johnson.
  • Discussed, and got pizzas from Little Caesar’s for meeting.
  • Said that we are not looking to complete each item, but to at least get a plan to go forward.
  • Rodney discussed that the board needs to meet more regularly, possibly a brief meeting in between testing, and the beginning of the meetings each month. Steve talked about the possibility of having more frequent meetings over Skype, and OBS. Suggested larger in person meetings, outside of the club meetings, to be a couple times a year.
  • Briefly discussed the need to rewrite the bylaws. Will discuss in more detail latter in the meeting.
  • Terms & Service and Privacy Policy for the website: Jordan has experience with this, and will do this. The board members will look over it after it’s been completed, and will let him know if changes need to be made. Terms will be that members pay for membership for 365 days, and if not renewed, will expire on day 366. If they do not renew before then, they can renew latter at no extra cost. When members renew their membership early, it does not change their expiration date each yeah, it just adds another 365 days of membership.
  • Board member emails: Every board member has an email account which is theircallsign@smarc.org. These go to each board member’s personal email, and if the emails are replied to, this will show their personal email address. The only actual email box is the one for the president. If needed more can be made, but each costs money.
  • Jordan talked about the website. There have been 997 page views so far in January. These are actual visits to the website, not Google searches. Analytics are partially disabled as it was causing issues with the site. Jordan is working on a plug in that will restore that functionality. Since the site went live in July of 2019, we have had 17,148 unique visits to the website. These are not duplicates from the same ISP addresses.
  • We took a break to get pizza.
  • Jordan asked about any changes that needed to be made to the website. Judith mentioned just the back end stuff, and making the manual membership process easier. Also Steve asked about an email list for the groups.io email reflector. He asked if he could get a list from the emails on the site. Jordan mentioned that might get people on an email list they didn’t ask to be on. It was then suggested that we could do a sign up for an email list on the website, similar to the newsletter sing up.
  • Jordan went over how people can edit their profile info on the website. They can add their email, and/or phone number if they wish to, but these are not required. It was discussed that a groups.io email list would be good for getting out info for changes, canceled meeting due to weather, code plugs and radio programming, etc. Jordan said he’s working on a system that could pull phone numbers people have added to their profile, and send a group text message for similar reasons.
  • Judith talked about lapses in membership if someone didn’t renew on time. This might make fewer eligible for officers. Jordan mentioned that we can pay at anytime, and it adds another 365 days to the membership. You also get an email notice 30 days before the expiration. There is no option to add a grace period, Jordan contacted the developers, and there is no way to add this option on the back end.
  • Jordan and Billy will continue to work on getting the online distribution of the Newsletter.
  • Jordan talked about working on an online logbook for the club for various events. This will take a paid plugin, but it is possible. Rodney talked about using Google Docs like was used by the NWS for Skywarn Appreciation Day. The plug in to the website would be able to be used by anyone that logs into the website, so it’s good for people that do not have Google accounts. The plug in would be a one time cost of $40. He has tried to do it himself, but it has been difficult to figure out, and he is not confident that he’ll be able to do it himself..
  • There was a vote taken to buy the plug in, and it was unanimously approved.
  • Billy brought up the newsletter. He needs ideas of who to interview for the newsletter. Steve suggested SAP, Al Gallow, and Pat Conway. I suggested Steve Runnels from the NWS, and Ron Hurst from KY3. Rodney suggested James Adkins. Steve also suggested Steven Criager w/ Jasper County, and Samantha Henley w/ Benton County ARES. I will contact Steve & Ron to see about them wanting to be interviewed.
  • Steve talked to Shawn Roesslet about what happened to the Titanic special event during the Nixa Hamfest. They talked about both clubs possibly doing it together in the future. They also talked about both clubs doing Field Day together in the future too.
  • Jordan is working on a repeater status page that would be able to monitor the DMR repeater when it goes up. This would show rather the repeater is on the air, or the repeater is down.
  • Jordan is working on a widget to send out weather notices, and will show up as a button on the banner at the top of the page. Currently it would be a manual process, but Jordan thinks he might be able to get it to pull from the NWS posts. Rodney makes a motion for Jordan to pursue this for the General public’s benefit, but not for spotters, as they have other ways to get this info..
  • Jordan did make a spotter page under the Skywarn section that can have more detailed info like HWO posts.
  • Jordan brought up the SMARC/Syndeo contract. The fee is $5/ Month. I had already donated the money for the first year, and Jordan will get the contract written up, and get it to Rodney. There are 2 other Admins available with access to the website encase something happens to Jordan, and he is not able to do so. Judith asked about a paper copy of the contract, and would the Secretary keep possession of it.
  • Steve asked about W0EBE.com, and Jordan said he’s already purchased it for the club, as well as getting permission from Bob Heil to take over w9r.info.
  • We talked about possibly getting the domain name for the old GC Skywarn page, or do we want to get a new one. This will be discussed in more detail latter.
  • Jordan also mention getting an SSL certificate so the website will be secure. He thinks it will be fairly cheap, for about $7/year. It’s not green bar, just a lock, but will make the website an https secured site. There maybe a possibility that this will raise the contract price with Syndeo to $6/month.
  • Jordan brought up if we have gotten tax ID info, and Judith needs to check, and get back to him. He needs that info to set up the Trustee, and Field Day PayPal accounts.
  • Jordan asked if anyone had any thoughts on reorganizing the top tabs on the website. No one thought anything needed to be changed at this time, but the board members will look them over, and tell him if we see something that needs to be changed at a latter date.
  • Getting Hamfest info needs to be addressed. Currently the page is empty. Steve recently looked at the ARRL site, and will try to get that info added manually. Jordan is going to look into making sure we can reproduce the ARRL’s info as an affiliated club, and then see if he can make an automatic process to pull their info for the next 10 Hamfests by date, in a 250 mile radius. It may be deiced a different mile radius needs to be considered at a latter date.
  • Jordan asked about adding a Contest, and Special Events pages. It was decided we didn’t need a Contest page at this time, but we would like to see one for Special Events.
  • Most of the Skywarn pages are out of date, except for the new Spotter page. I will get with Patti about getting something written for the Skywarn pages, and posted to the website.
  • Steve has a list of code plugs, and radio programming files. He will get them loaded to the website soon. Only SMARC approved code plugs & programming files will be on the website. Anything that would be done through groups.io is on your own, & at your own risk. Heather mentioned that code plugs will work better if they are made for individual radios, not one for all of them, I.E. just copy and pasted.
  • We are trying to add value to a club membership, so that people will want to be a member, other than just to vote on issues. That is why many of the new implemented items, and parts of the website, require you to be an active member of the club. We have also implemented these new items as perks of membership to give it value as mentioned before, and incentive for people to want a membership.
  • Memberships can now be paid for & renewed on line as was requested many times by members of the club. We will still however take checks or cash if people can’t, or don’t want to pay online. This would require a manual process on the website’s back end to activate the membership, update the club roster, and set their expiration date. Even if members do not wish to ever use their sign in on the website, they still will get one, and a profile on the website.
  • Membership assistance: This would be for people that can’t pay upfront. Possibility of a payment plan. Needs to be in the bylaws specifically, so that there can’t be a claim of favoritism. If they do not follow the arrangements that are made, then their membership is revoked. There is no option to do partial payments on the website, so it would have to be managed manually. Tabled for latter discussion after an idea for a system to be propose is formulated.
  • Family Memberships: If a family is not 3 or more, it is strongly suggested for them to do individual memberships. Suggested we do away with family memberships, and have a reduced membership for people 18 and under of $10. Jordan wants to see that even if the board can enact this on it’s own, would it be better PR to have a vote of the full body. It is in the bylaws, so it will require a vote of the full body.
  • A vote was held to propose it at the Jan meeting, and vote at the Feb meeting. Anyone that has a family membership currently will be upgraded to full individual memberships if the vote is passed.
  • Members that are not FCC licensed: The bylaws say that anyone that has an interest in amateur radio can be a member. Will start changing announcements that you do not have to be licensed to be a member of the club.
  • Jordan has made a net control page on the website, and has the schedule there, and will have announcement notes there as well.
  • How to gain more members: Do the St Patrick’s Day Parade, do Field Day, and other events. More in the public eye to get people to know we are around, and maybe to get them interested. I brought up the possibility of being in the E-Plex at the Ozark Empire Fair. Steve mentioned that when the club had done this before, they got very little response from it.
  • Floats & Banners: We might need to get new banners. In the Dec meeting the membership was told we’d have a detailed plan, and cost. Jordan knows some people that could print banners, and will get pricing. Jordan proposed allotting $50 to see if we can get a person to design a new logo for the club, since our logo contest last year did not result in producing a new club logo..
  • It was proposed that we separate the float, and banner issues to 2 separate things. We would proceed with the float as long as we can get new banners.
  • Steve and Patti have worked out a schedule for programming at the meetings for the year. There are 4 months that need to be filled in: April, May, July, & October. Will add suggestions through the Board FB Chat.
  • Video recording on tech day for Bob Heil: Steve & Franklin will get videos, and photos during tech day. Bob has asked that we get enough video to be able to edit together a video of about 5 minutes in length. He will take this video, and air it on Ham Nation.
  • Summer Field Day: Need to find someone to do the GOTA station. Need to find a way to filter radio outputs to prevent as much cross station interference as possible. There should be Captains to spearhead certain areas of set up, to make sure that people are doing stuff with little delay. Examples would be a Station Capetian, a Tent Captain, and Antenna Captain, etc.
  • Club Station in Highlandville: Steve asked about the possibility for the club to setup a station for Emergency use in a service station in Highlandville. Could be built with remote access so that an operator would not have to be at the radio if one could not get there. Jordan suggested the top of Hammons Tower, and Steve said he thought there would be so much noise, that it would not be useful. Another suggestion from Steve was out at Miller at Jeff & Judith’s house. Judith’s only concern at that is they don’t really have the room to house it.
  • Tech Training Class: Would likely be 2 consecutive Saturdays. The DAV might not be an option, might have to do it at another venue, like the library. The DAV does have a church group that meets on the same Saturday as we do, and uses the building till about 2:00pm. Not sure if they meet on any other Saturdays during the month. Jordan & Franklin do not want to do the class on their own, but would be willing to help with it. There is a thought that we might be able to charge a small fee for the class. The idea is we charge $40 for the class which includes: a study book, lunch (sandwiches, chips, a drink, etc). Jordan will look into seeing if we can get Gordon West books at a discount, or possibly donated. Jordan said if we get up to 10 people in the class, we can have the class at his house. If more than 10, would likely need a different venue.
  • Judith will contact the DAV to see if there are dates & times that we might be able to use their building for the class. Franklin gave her the contact info to get in touch with the DAV.
  • New Nets: The recent round table net on New Year’s Eve was very successful. Would like to possibly continue with it, and make it a possible Tech Net. This would be on the repeater, and over Skype with Jordan’s OBS system. There could be starter topics for each session, but also include tech questions from participants.
  • It was talked about possibly doing a Podcast style thing. Possible equipment reviews, new topics in amateur radio, personal ideas/beliefs, etc. Tabled to give time to think about possible new nets.
  • Possible that we might do the Tech Net on Tuesday nights after the Fellowship net. Tabled till the Board Meeting on Tech Day.
  • Franklin proposed the idea of as a club we lobby radio manufactures & retailers to give us demo units to use for a while, and then do a review during the tech net, and to make review videos on YouTube.
  • Net Control Requirements: Need to be able to have a reliable, and stable connection with the .910 repeater. Must be comfortable with doing the net before starting. Needs to be a paid active member in the club. Good multitasking skills preferred. Multiple Net Controls are possible. Possibility that a current, or past net control would need to vouch for them.
  • Jordan asked if we are going to adopt NetLogger, or not for the 2m nets. There is a possibility that he can roll his own NetLogger like option, but that will take a few months. Jordan suggests that we hold off in adopting NetLogger right now, due to some net controls have issues accessing it on their computers. Tabled until Jordan can see about his option.
  • The club needs to try to get in the News & Media more so as to get out in the public eye. Steve wants to see about creating content for how to videos. Franklin suggested the YouTube equipment reviews. Jordan suggests more photo/video documentation to make a 5 min edited video for every club event, and post them to the club YouTube channel.
  • Billy suggested that there needs to be a press release sent out for every single club event.
  • QSL Cards: getting emails that they haven’t gotten their cards for Rt 66. I have several at the house, and they need to be done. We will do them late night on Tech Day, and I can run them by the post office on my way home to mail them.
  • eQSL & Logbook of the World: These need to be sorted out. There is a sign in for eQSL, but likely none ever created for LBOTW. We need to get/recover the log in for eQSL, and then create a LBOTW account.
  • The Elmering Program: Jordan thinks it was rolled out wrong, and we need to reevaluate the way the program is presented. It is for helping people learn one-on-one, and to get assistance with issues, not to do things for them. Rodney expressed his idea was to build relationships among amateurs. To help people learn, but again, not to do everything for them.
  • We want to continue the program, but there is a lot that needs to be ironed out. Jordan expressed that we do need to iron stuff out, but is afraid if we wait too long, then people might lose interest in the program.
  • Videos can be good for some people, but maybe not as much for new members, at least initially. They can be useful, but if used in the right circumstances.
  • DMR Repeater: Do we still want to buy one? Steve suggests we get the BYRG repeater up, at least for now. Need volunteers to help carry blocks up to the roof of Hammons to get the non penetrating antenna support up there. Will take at least a month.
  • There was a vote last year to go ahead and buy our own repeater. With our own we can still connect to the BYRG talk group, but we will not be bound to their restrictions. We control what’s on it, and what we can do with it.
  • Rodney proposes that we move along with the purchase of our own repeater. Steve proposed that if we don’t have a DMR repeater & duplexer within 2 months, we use the BYRG repeater. There is an option that we have access to the equipment to build our own repeater using a raspberry pie.
  • The DMR repeater could be linked to the .910. Jordan wants to find a repeater with a hybrid license already in it, so that we can run analog & digital both at the same time.
  • The budget for the repeater & duplexer should be under $1,400.
  • Judith asked about what is still available to sale of the club’s assets. There are some assets that Steve wants to keep as Trustee, mostly stuff that are back up, and replacement parts for the .910 & .640 repeaters. To the right buyer, at the right time, Jordan estimates about around another $500 to $1,000 of inventory, including the tents for Field Day. We should have a replacement for the tents before selling them.
  • Jordan thinks we need to test what we have available to sale, does it work, can it be used, and then what it would be valued at.
  • Steve purchased the Hammerlund Amp for $50.
  • Tents: Proposed that we retain the tents until we have another option purchased.
  • PO Box: there are 3 keys, and proposed that Franklin, Rodney, and Jordan have a key. Will need to fill out a new application to change the name the PO Box is in.
  • Storage Unit Keys: Jeff needs a key to see about making more copies. Jordan gave a copy to Judith to give to Jeff to see if he can make copies.
  • DAV Rent: Franklin will reach out to the DAV, and got a check from Judith to pay the rent.
  • Possible new meeting location: Board members will be on the look out for possible new meeting locations if we ever decide to move to a new location. It would be nice to have a location with a club station. This would be a primary reason that we might move. If there were a possibility to have a station at the DAV, this would be a huge reason to stay. It’s concerned that there really would be a place to put a club station there, and no place were it would not be out in the open, and unsecured between meetings.
  • Phone Number: the old number on Google can not be used off of Google. Jordan has already set up a number with all the same functions, and more. He has a physical phone that the number goes to, and it can be forwarded to cell phones. The new number would be (417)520-7324. No texts allowed to the new number. The new number can be implemented fairly easily
  • A vote was held to proceed, and it carried unanimously.
  • Billy had to leave at about 5:06pm.
  • Meeting Minutes: Franklin could start taking notes on the website directly, instead of on the computer, and them copying and pasting. If we do that, someone will provide a hot spot at meetings so that Franklin could connect to the internet, and write out the minutes on the website. This would allow them to be on the website as soon as they are completed, and saved to the site.
  • Who’s name is on the bank accounts?? Judith thought it was changed to her address, but will check with the bank. Rodney had already tried to find this out, but was told by the bank they couldn’t give him that information. That is why Judith will have to inquire into this.
  • Bylaws: There have already been some changes approved in recent months. They need to be updated like ASAP! The bylaws need to be specified that new officers take effect the first of January, to lessen confusion on rather they don not start their positions until the January meeting. Jordan & Rodney will work on the verbiage, and then send it to the rest of the board to look over. Then it will be presented to the body. Possibly presented in February, and voted on in March.
  • Jordan motioned that they will work on the rewrite, present to the board, and then to the body for vote in March, or April. A vote was taken , and it carried unanimously.
  • Terminology for non Hams: Adding the verbiage to the bylaws that non Hams can officially be members of the club. Jordan proposed this be presented at the January meeting, and voted at the February meeting. This vote carried unanimously.
  • Constitutional Convention: This was suggested to be done with the board, and 2 non board members of the club to join. This is to get input from the main body. Otherwise a committee with the board, and 1 non board member. Jordan proposes that the exact verbiage be presented to the body for vote. Present in January, and vote in February. The 1 to 2 body members should be nominated by the body.
  • There was a vote, which carried unanimously.
  • Jordan showed us how to do some editing, and back end work on the website.
  • The meeting concluded at 5:30pm CST.

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