WATS Happenings

Official Newsletter of the
Waco Amateur Television Society (WATS), Inc.

Volume 7, Issue 2, February 2002

 

The President’s Agenda

WATS Board Meeting Agenda February 21, 2002

1.   Call to order

2.   Reading of the January Board Minutes

3.   Vote of Approval

4.   Reading of the Treasurer's Report

5.   Vote of Approval

6.   Old Matters

     Members desiring "snail mail" version of WATS Happenings

     Change of signatures at Guaranty Bank, and change of type of account

     Field test at HOTARC Meeting Site at TSTC

     Any other Old Matters

7.   New Matters

     President's aims for 2002

     Any other New Matters

8.  Meeting Adjourn

WATS Member Meeting Agenda February 21, 2002

1.   Call to order

2.   Reading of January Member Minutes

3.   Vote of Approval

4.   Treasurer's Report as approved in Board Meeting

5.   Old Matters

6.   New Matters

7.   Meeting Adjourn

8.   Program: John Gafford, N5XAK and X10

Meeting Notice
at CORD Offices (click for photo)
601 Lake Air Drive (click for map)
Waco, TX 76710

Thursday February 21, 2002
Directors 7:00 pm, Members 7:30 pm

2002 dues are due!

Still only $24!!

Mail to:
WATS
c/o John Chamberlain
3506 Greenleaf Drive
Waco, TX 76710-1410

 


Are You Ready For Special Events?
by John Chamberlain, AC5CV

We are heading full steam into the New Year, and it won’t be long before our contributions to area special events begin. Operating ATV portable is really a super way to break out of the rut of 2-meter ham radio. But, are you ready for the challenge? Have you given any more thought to that improvement you told yourself you’d make before the next event?

I confess that I have several things I need to address—since I’ve transitioned to a new vehicle. My previous car had a trailer hitch that served me wonderfully as a mount for my portable antenna mast (using the “KC5UOZ-trailer-hitch-painter-push-up-pole mount”). Unfortunately, my new car doesn’t (yet) have a trailer hitch, and so I’m searching for new and clever ways to handle the portable antenna. A drive-on mount comes to mind. Does anyone have any other ideas for me? Anybody know of a way to firmly mount a painter-pole to the one of my car’s back doors? J

The transmitter is an important part of the portable system, of course. I really hate to tear apart my home system to go portable, so last year at Dayton I found a reasonably priced ATV transmitter that I want to use for my portable station this year. But smooth and efficient connections are the key to the portable station. So, I have to figure out the power, video, microphone, and antenna connections for this new transmitter to allow an easy and reliable, setup. It doesn’t take many bad experiences with broken connectors to realize that you have to put some planning and effort into those kinds of things. Wires running everywhere in your trunk is a sure recipe for failure…and it only takes one wire-pulled-out-of-a-connector to really ruin your day!

I’ve been fortunate that my video camera has worked well for me all these years. But here we have another source of connector woes. First, there’s the power. You don’t want to rely on AA batteries to run your camera, so I’ve come to depend on the 12V battery pack (same one that drives my transmitter) with a voltage converter. But I’m worried about that little, tiny connector used by camcorder manufacturers. Then there’s the video signal. Fortunately my camera has a RCA jack for video out. A nice long shielded cable gets that signal to the transmitter. And finally, if I can remember to bring it, my camera has a little infrared remote that I can use to control the zoom. So, when I’m doing an interview I can zoom in/out while on camera.

And possibly the most useful accessory to my portable station: the TV monitor. I’ve really found the little LCD TVs do a fine job of letting me not only monitor my own signal, but also catch glimpses of the other transmissions (if I happen to be positioned in the right spot, or if we happen to be using the ATV repeater). But these little TVs also require power. Sometimes I can get by with the AA batteries, but usually they start to run down before the event is over. So, I’m also working on a way to get power for the TV from my 12V battery pack, too. (That little “portable power station” sure has come in handy for portable ham operations!) And in bright sun, you can’t see any kind of monitor—including the LCD variety. So, I found that a small, but deep box works wonders. It doesn’t look very cool with your head buried into a box, but it sure lets me see the action!

Well, okay. I’ve bared my soul to you all. So, now what are YOU doing to get ready for special events this year? Get out your thinking caps and your soldering guns—and start planning now. It looks like our first call to action will be just a few weeks away: April 27th is the “Race for the Cure” event.


President’s Column

To my Fellow WATS Members

I appreciate the confidence you have expressed by electing me as your president for the year 2002.  I will do my best to live up to your expectations, and I look forward to working with the other elected Board members.  I would hope that this is the year we find the magic solution to increasing our membership.  My first order of priority was to get the Sky Cam back in operation, and with the help of Larry and David Bush (W5NCD, KC5UOZ), and John Chamberlain (AC5CV), we got it up and working on January 26th.  Thanks, guys.

A field test from the site of HOTARC mettings is planned to see if we can get a useable signal from there to the WATS repeater. Also, there has been some discussion of some sort of cross-band repeater to help the gang cover community special events. I would like to see this project pursued.  And, of course, we will want to continue working with our brothers in HOTARC to cover the special events.

The experiments in NetMeeting being conducted by David Bush (KC5UOZ) and John Chamberlain (AC5CV) look interesting and open up a possible avenue to extend our Tuesday Evening Round Table beyond the borders of Waco. I have installed an EZCamII on my secondary computer along with the NetMeeting software and look forward to learning how to get "visible on the net."

The February meeting will take place at the offices of CORD, 601 Lake Air Drive here in Waco. Directors will meet at 7:00pm and Members at 7:30pm. Since this is my first meeting as your new president, a large turnout would do wonders for the old ego. I look forward to seeing you there.

Lets all get into a positive thinking mood, and make WATS even better this year.

John, N5XAK
WATS President


Update on W5NCD Repeater
by David Bush, KC5UOZ

Well, it seems just like yesterday that Larry Bush W5NCD and I put up the Slow-Scan 2-meter repeater operating on 147.24 MHz (+600 kHz). But it was actually in November 2000. That’s when we constructed an 80-ft tower at 3292 Speegleville Road, just outside of Waco. We had the repeater on the air by Thanksgiving Day! We got about a 25-mile radius—not enough coverage to really “reach out and touch” many towns outside Waco, but it served the members of WATS well enough.

A year later, in November 2001 we raised a 400-foot tower between Lorena and Bruceville, and by January we had the 147.24 repeater on the air with a radius of about 55 miles! It worked with no problems until around September, when we started having some interference—probably from the cellular phone tower just over the hill. It began repeatedly “keying up” the repeater. The only thing to do was add a PL tone (97.4 Hz). Then in October, the repeater quality really got worse. Eventually, we uncovered the problem: at the top of the 400-foot tower, wind or lightning had caused the antenna line to develop a problem (a loose or damaged connector maybe?), requiring a tower climber to make the fix. Since that would take a month or more to arrange, it was decided that the best thing to do would be to move the repeater back to the 80-foot tower on Speegleville Road. That is where it is now working and on the air. Check it out!

In the meantime, W5NCD has been working on another repeater equipment setup with a computer added and a 97.4 Hz tone board. He will be on the air testing Monday 18, 2002. This new system can be turned on and off remotely as a voice repeater only, and will have a function to turn on and off a SSTV beacon picture (repeating about every 45 minutes or so). If you send it a 1750 tone from your SSTV software, it will “wake up” the system and listen for your picture to be sent. When you hear it tone back to you, it will send back the last picture received. We are excited about these new repeater features, and also hope to return back to our 400-foot tower at Bruceville.

73’s
David Bush, KC5UOZ


Waco Amateur Television Society (WATS)
Minutes of the Board Meeting
17 January 2001

The WATS Board of Directors met at the offices of Center for Occupational Research and Development, 601 Lake Air Drive, Waco, Texas, at 7:00 PM. Those present were:

    David Bush, President

    Horace Bushnell, Secretary-Treasurer

    John Chamberlain, Director

    John Gafford, Director

    Norris Martin, Director

Norris Martin moved the minutes of the December meeting be approved as shown in WATS Happenings, published on the web page. Motion was seconded by John Chamberlain. Approved unanimously.

John Gafford moved the Financial Report, as of December 31, 2001, be approved as shown in WATS Happenings, published on the web page. Motion was seconded by Norris Martin. Approved unanimously.

Old Business

    John Gafford reported the annual renewal of the repeater coordination has been submitted to the Coordinating Committee.

New Business

    For the Auditing Committee, consisting of himself and Marshall Mabry, John Gafford reported the year 2002 financial records have been auditted and found to be in order. A copy of the full report was submitted for inclusion in the corporate records.

    Having been informed by letter from Guaranty Bank that our bank account would have to be converted to a different plan, the Secretary informed Directors by e-mail, prior to the Board meeting. Horace Bushnell moved the Board authorize the new Treasurer change our account to the “Guaranty 50 Checking” when the new Treasurer and President visit the bank to become the new signatories. John Gafford seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

    Norris Martin, chairman of the Nominations Committee, reported the following names will be offered in nomination during the Annual Meeting of Members which follows the Board meeting:

For President (1 year):

John Gafford

For Secretary-Treasurer (1 yr):

John Chamberlain

For Director (3 yrs)

Horace Bushnell

For Director (2 yrs)

Norris Martin

For Director (1 yr)

Marshall Mabry

John Gafford read paragraph 5.03 of the WATS bylaws, pertaining to election of officers to refresh our minds as to the proper procedure we would follow during the Annual Meeting of Members.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:18 PM.

Horace Bushnell,
Secretary-Treasurer


Waco Amateur Television Society (WATS)
Minutes of the Meeting of Members
17 January 2001

The Annual Meeting of Members was held at the offices of Center for Occupational Research and Development, 601 Lake Air Drive in Waco, Texas, at 7:30 PM. Those present were:

    David Bush KC5UOZ, President

    Horace Bushnell W5TAH, Secretary-Treasurer

    John Chamberlain AC5CV

    John Gafford N5XAK

    Norris Martin KB5SLI

    Mike Ross N5MVL

W5TAH moved approval of the December minutes as they appeared in WATS Happenings and published on the web page. Motion was seconded by AC5CV. Motion approved unanimously.

Old Business

N5XAK reported the Skycam is still inoperable, but hoped check it out this weekend.

New Business (Election of Officers)

KB5SLI, on behalf of the Nominations Committee, nominated Horace Bushnell W5TAH for the Director to serve through 2004. President KC5UOZ asked for additional nomination from the floor. None were heard. N5XAK moved nominations cease, the motion was seconded by AC5CV, and passed by unanimous vote. President KC5UOZ directed Secretary W5TAH to cast the unanimous vote for W5TAH.

KB5SLI, on behalf of the Nominations Committee, nominated John Chamberlain AC5CV for the office of Secretary-Treasurer (for a one-year term). President KC5UOZ asked for additional nominations from the floor. None were heard.  N5XAK moved the nominations cease, the motion was seconded by W5TAH, and passed by unanimous vote. President KC5UOZ directed Secretary W5TAH to cast the unanimous vote for AC5CV.

KB5SLI, on behalf of the Nominations Committee, nominated himself, Norris Martin KB5SLI to fill the vacancy created by the election of AC5CV: a Director to serve through 2003. President KC5UOZ asked for additional nominations from the floor. None were heard. N5MVL moved the nominations cease, the motion was seconded by N5XAK, and passed by unanimous vote. President KC5UOZ directed Secretary W5TAH to cast the unanimous vote for KB5SLI.

KB5SLI, on behalf of the Nominations Committee, nominated John Gafford N5XAK for the office of President (for a one-year term). President KC5UOZ asked for additional nominations from the floor. None were heard. AC5CV moved nominations cease, the motion was seconded by KB5SLI, and passed by unanimous vote. President KC5UOZ then proclaimed N5XAK to be duly elected, and passed control of the meeting to him.

KB5SLI, on behalf of the Nominations Committee (they thought of everything, didn’t they?!), nominated Marshall Mabry KD5IQ (who agreed to serve if elected) to fill the vacancy created by the election of N5XAK: a Director to serve through 2002. President N5XAK asked for additional nominations from the floor. None were heard. AC5CV moved the nominations cease, the motion was seconded by N5MVL, and passed by unanimous vote. President N5XAK directed Secretary W5TAH to cast the unanimous vote for KB5SLI.

KB5SLI reminded those present of the upcoming Swap Fest to be held in Georgetown on February 3, 2002.

KC5UOZ presented Dazzle Digital Video Creator and Video Magic software on his laptop PC.

Submitted by
Horace Bushnell, W5TAH and John Chamberlain, AC5CV
Outgoing and Incoming Secretaries


 

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Financial Report

February 2002

Beginning Balance (1 January 2002)

    Credits:   None

    Debits:    None

Ending Balance (31 January 2002)

$490.10
$0.00
  $0.00

$490.10

John Chamberlain, AC5CV
Treasurer

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Your Club Dues are Due!

According to our bylaws, Article 10.01 states “The dues for Full Members shall be $24.00 per calendar year.” And in Article 10.02, “Dues shall be payable in advance on the first day of January in each fiscal year.” So, please take action today to pay your 2002 WATS dues. Bring your cash or check to the WATS meeting, or mail your check to the WATS Secretary/Treasurer:

WATS
c/o John Chamberlain, AC5CV
3506 Greenleaf Drive
Waco, TX 76710

WATS Happenings is the official newsletter of the Waco Amateur Television Society (WATS), Inc., a non-profit organization, chartered by the State of Texas with registered offices at 3804 N 21A Street, Waco, TX.  Use of information contained herein is permissible, provided credit is given to the source. Edited and published by John Chamberlain, AC5CV.

2002 WATS Officers and Directors

President: John Gafford N5XAK, jgafford@clearsource.net

Secretary/Treasurer: John Chamberlain AC5CV, AC5CV@arrl.net

Director (thru 2004): Horace Bushnell W5TAH, W5TAH@aol.com

Director (thru 2003): Norris Martin KB5SLI, nmartin@tstc.edu

Director (thru 2002): Marshall Mabry KD5IQ, MabryM@aol.com