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What's Happening with GBARC?
#1
We haven't had a meeting in months due to this pandemic situation and so there has been few chances for contact with the executive so I thought it's time to ask a couple of questions. First, what is the state of club finances? Are Income & Expense and Balance Sheet statements prepared each year? What assets does the club have; where are they and what is their value? What are our expense obligations each year? Do we have enough income to cover our ongoing expenses?

In regard to club activities; understandably, the pandemic has cancelled all our planned events for this year - including our meetings. Participation in our weekly nets has been less than could be expected even allowing for vacations and other summer activities. So how do we keep this club together? There are activities that could be arranged that don't violate social distancing rules. For example, we could try fox-hunting. I have done a lot of that in the past and it's a great deal of fun and a general test of radio direction finding techniques and skills.

We could also compile a radio map of our area. Teams of hams drive prescribed routes and report in at regular intervals by VHF simplex to a net control station parked in a high spot. The purpose of the exercise is to identify RF "holes" and devise ways and means of getting signals in and out during an emergency or supported event.

How about a digital modes net? I don't mean D-Star/Fusion/DMR, but PSK-31, JS8Call, SSTV etc (did you know the ham station aboard the Space Station often sends SSTV pictures that can be picked up with a handheld radio linked to a PC?). Or a CW training net? We have experts in this club in all these areas. We just need a bit of leadership to bring it all together. Amateur Radio is a very exciting hobby with lots of areas we could explore. If we don't stimulate interest among our membership during these difficult times there is a danger a lot of our membership joining the "Quiet Radio Transmitter (aka QRT)" club instead.

So how about it fellow hams?
John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.
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#2
(2020-08-30, 20:56:58)VA3KOT John Wrote: We haven't had a meeting in months due to this pandemic situation and so there has been few chances for contact with the executive so I thought it's time to ask a couple of questions. First, what is the state of club finances? Are Income & Expense and Balance Sheet statements prepared each year? What assets does the club have; where are they and what is their value? What are our expense obligations each year? Do we have enough income to cover our ongoing expenses?

Since Grey Bruce is now in Stage 3, this allows for social gatherings for up to 50 people with proper protocols in place such as distancing, sanitizing and masks.  I have only been to one of our meetings in February so I can't gauge what the attendance is normally like.  Do you think we could try resuming a monthly meeting?  Likely a call to the City and the public health unit could help us conform to the necessary requirements.

73 VE3RWY Rob
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#3
I forwarded the link to this post to the Executive for their response to your questions.... 73  Tom
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#4
(2020-08-31, 16:51:04)Rob_Walker Wrote:
(2020-08-30, 20:56:58)VA3KOT John Wrote: We haven't had a meeting in months due to this pandemic situation and so there has been few chances for contact with the executive so I thought it's time to ask a couple of questions. First, what is the state of club finances? Are Income & Expense and Balance Sheet statements prepared each year? What assets does the club have; where are they and what is their value? What are our expense obligations each year? Do we have enough income to cover our ongoing expenses?

Since Grey Bruce is now in Stage 3, this allows for social gatherings for up to 50 people with proper protocols in place such as distancing, sanitizing and masks.  I have only been to one of our meetings in February so I can't gauge what the attendance is normally like.  Do you think we could try resuming a monthly meeting?  Likely a call to the City and the public health unit could help us conform to the necessary requirements.

73 VE3RWY Rob
Just add my 2 cents. Since there are other platforms to conduct meetings without physical contact, such as Zoom or Webex could have been used to keep in touch with the membership but none of that took place. I don't know what the club will look like after this Covid event, of if it will still exist. I guess not having a physical club to belong is not a big problem but nice to have Amateur Radio presence in the community. 

73 de ve3fp
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#5
If you would like to contact the executive yourself, the email is

executive (at) gbarc (dot) ca

73
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#6
Hello everyone.  For those how don't know my by call sign, I am the club president.

I have been incontact with a different location regarding meetings.  Because I believe that it is a larger space, if less finely appointed.  More to come on that.

Club finances, to my knowladge, our treasures have not prepaird formal balence sheets in the past.  I do not have the currant balence at my finger tips.  But we do have some money in the bank.  Not alot.  But some.  As for on going regular expences, we don't have many.  I do believe that we the club, should have no trouble meeting our financial obligations going forward for the foreseeable future.

Nets:  I have been a member for a number of years.  My personal participaction in the nets has been vararible at best.  I've not had a funcitioning radio in my truck sence febuary.  It is on my list to fix, right after I fix things like the brakes and exhaust.  But in my experence, the nets have never been strong.  I think part of the problem is our repeater coverage.  It's not great, given the area that our membership covers.  At OSR we have materials ready and waiting on riggers, that have not arrived with any spare time. At Paisley we have feed line issues.  Expencive feed line issues.  If every paid member donated $100 to fix it, we would still come up short.

Fox Hunt: When the exectitive meet back in July, we discussed this.  And we agreeded that it was a great idea.  I think first, we should have a bit of a work shop on direction finding.  Help those looking to make an antenna for it.  Then plan the hunt.  Maybe a pair of saturday mornings would work.   I can approach the same possible meeting place about workshop space.

RF Holes: see Nets above

Digitial Modes: And exellent idea.  More work shops?  Presentation at the club meeting generating intrest in the following workshop?

CW: We all know about it.  Few of us have qualifations.  I would love to take it up.  Those who have read this far, will see have have spelling issues.  But would love to take up cw.  More workshops???

Online meetings:  I'm not a fan.  Mostly because my computer and I are not good friends.  I have not kept jup with the tech, and have little desire to.  Had a work meeting that way this summer, it was not overly sucessfull.  Audio troubles, bandwidth troubles.  But, if enough people want to take it up, I guess I could be draged kicking and screaming along.

I have not been the most attentive club president.  But I was the ONE willing.  And still am, so far as I am able.  I have the same issues as have the past exectituve, as has most every other club, regardless of the it's intrest.  The exectitive do not get enough help.  there is 4 exectitve positions, 1 examiner, 1 web master, 1 real knowladageable repeater guy, 1 news letter editor.  The most of this burden has been carried by one guy.  I am not that guy.  I wish to see the club continue, I wish to see the club grow.  The 5 of us are not able to make it so.  The membership needs to step up.  If someone says " hey exectituve, and and really good at, and, and would like to share/teach it with/to others", as the exectitve, we would help set it up.  But we are volenteers busy with our own lifes and troubles, and other intrests.  This spring I signed up for the online advanced course offered by RAC.  I got about half way through it, and life got too busy.  I hope to attenpt it, or a club advanced course this winter.  Self study has't taken me very far.

I hope to have a meeting arranged, and the information posted to the news letter well in advance of said meeting.

73
Tom
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#7
Thank you for the reply Tom. It's always the same in any volunteer organization, that those in charge do all the work, get none of the credit, but take the blame when things go wrong.

You asked for help from the membership. Well I am available as a volunteer if and when you need me. I've been active in radio for decades but have only had my ticket for 20 years. I hold Basic, Morse Code and Advanced licence endorsements. I am retired, full of ideas and keen to get involved.

I have previously been a member of Peel ARC (where I was VP before leaving the area) and York Region ARC. I was a frequent guest speaker at both clubs. I was also active in Dufferin ARES before moving to Owen Sound.

If I can help with the workload just gimme a shout.
John VA3KOT
John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.
Reply
#8
Re online meetings:

I understand Tom's reluctance.  I delivered online training from home for Bruce Power from March - July.  They use a (pricy) commercial package called SABA.  I was able to display documents (e.g. Powerpoint slides) to the class (9 trainees) and talk to them.  They were using mostly laptops but a couple had tablets and one used his iPhone part of the time!  We quickly found out that everyone can't talk at once.  We had them keep their mics muted, and used a feature where one can "hold up their hand" to get the floor & unmute their mic for a question or comment.  That does stifle open communication but worked OK for training.  (At least I hope it was OK - they don't have their exam results yet)

There are several free meeting apps available (Zoom, MS Teams, etc), but it would take a lot of discipline to do a general meeting that way.  A large room where we could mask up and keep separation would be much preferable.

Re help:

Since I'm now permanently unemployed, I have time to help with whatever the club has going on where a pair of hands are needed.  Just ask.  I'm especially interested in our Basic & Advanced courses, having helped teach both in the recent past.  I will help with delivery whenever we are able to restart training.

Perhaps other members reading these posts would like to chime in & express their readiness to help keep GBARC viable.  Don't be shy!

GBARC will survive this.

73
Dave, VE3WI
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#9
Being a new member and only a recent resident in the “OSR area    I haven’t felt comfortable about commenting on the curent GBARC state of affairs. But maybe now is the time....

From my perspective there  there are many issues that need addressing..  But the most urgent is a total lack of effective management that seems to go back at least 4 years....

Do you realize this  (2020) is election year  ?   

Before you worry about how, or where to conduct meetings,  plan “Fox Hunts”,  CW classes  or start another "net"
you (we) need to find,  nominate and elect a strong  qualified management team to rebuild and lead GBARC for the future... 

As others have said,,  I'll also help where I can..... 
73

Paul,,  VE3PQ,  Lake Charles... Georgian Bluffs....
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#10
For those that would like to view the constitution and by-laws, they are included on the "about GBARC" link on the bottom footer of any page..but here are links also

Constitution
https://gbarc.ca/archive/GBARC_cons_2016.pdf

By-laws
https://gbarc.ca/archive/GBARC_bylaw_2016.pdf

1997 versions
https://www.gbarc.ca/archive/nl1997mar.pdf
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#11
I posted the current constitution and by-laws so all could get a feel for the election process and other details.

It would have been nice for the executive to reach out to the membership from time to time over the last 5 months if for no other reason than to say " We are here, are there any members that need some help during the pandemic". Whether or not one could actually do anything is one thing, but at least that feeling of belonging and knowing that help is there should it be needed would go a long way towards eliminating some of the anxiety produced in bucket loads in the news media and also social media.

But I am not a member of the executive and cannot take it upon myself to just do that, however, I took it upon myself to encourage and promote our weekly net, if for no other reason, than to just keep the club alive. You should be aware that I have been doing this for some years and even to this day, to get others to help with being net control, is not embraced. Thanks to those that do, but simple math would say, 8 net control operators means you would do the net once in two months. Surely this is not a giant hardship, after all, you are amateur radio operators and should welcome the opportunity to practice your skills.

This called  PARTICIPATION ....

Participation means club activities are encouraged, implemented and executed by more than the same small group that does everything else.

If people will not participate, then we do not have a club, we have a mailing list..............

One final thing... a meeting could be held outdoors in someones backyard...
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#12
Hello everyone,
I have been a member of GBARC since about 2005 when I passed the basic exam by self study (Bob Vary was the helpful club examiner at the time).  Shortly after that, I was faced with a job change that left me working evenings and nights for far too many years.  This meant that every club meeting happened while I was either at work, or desperately trying to get a few hours sleep before work.  Honestly, if the club had an award for "least active member" there would just be a picture of me! All of my ham radio activity stopped until I finally made it to day shift, and when the club offered an advanced course I jumped at it.  I was finally making it to some of the meetings and enjoying getting to know some members better when Covid hit.  Since then I have truly missed the meetings from both a social aspect as well as a learning aspect...but I am just looking at it like we have hit a "pause" button for everyone's safety.  I'm confident that the club can pick up where we left off and keep moving forward in the future.
Personally, I have been working on refreshing my CW, routing coax and building an antenna at my QTH to get back on the air.  I'm looking forward to safely resuming club meetings and activities in whatever form that takes.  I'm willing to help with that in any way that I can...
There are only so many free hours and so much energy in each of our lives.  Without a lot of that being volunteered by the board members and other members offering everything from instruction and project ideas to web design and repeater maintenance there would be no club.  For that I thank you all!

73
Dan
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#13
(2020-09-02, 03:58:56)VA3TS Tom Wrote: For those that would like to view the constitution and by-laws, they are included on the "about GBARC" link on the bottom footer of any page..but here are links also

Constitution
https://gbarc.ca/archive/GBARC_cons_2016.pdf

By-laws
https://gbarc.ca/archive/GBARC_bylaw_2016.pdf

1997 versions
https://www.gbarc.ca/archive/nl1997mar.pdf

Tom, I read these documents but I couldn't see anything about the election process. I believe it happens this month. How does it work?

(2020-08-30, 20:56:58)VA3KOT John Wrote: We haven't had a meeting in months due to this pandemic situation and so there has been few chances for contact with the executive so I thought it's time to ask a couple of questions. First, what is the state of club finances? Are Income & Expense and Balance Sheet statements prepared each year? What assets does the club have; where are they and what is their value? What are our expense obligations each year? Do we have enough income to cover our ongoing expenses?

In regard to club activities; understandably, the pandemic has cancelled all our planned events for this year - including our meetings. Participation in our weekly nets has been less than could be expected even allowing for vacations and other summer activities. So how do we keep this club together? There are activities that could be arranged that don't violate social distancing rules. For example, we could try fox-hunting. I have done a lot of that in the past and it's a great deal of fun and a general test of radio direction finding techniques and skills.

We could also compile a radio map of our area. Teams of hams drive prescribed routes and report in at regular intervals by VHF simplex to a net control station parked in a high spot. The purpose of the exercise is to identify RF "holes" and devise ways and means of getting signals in and out during an emergency or supported event.

How about a digital modes net? I don't mean D-Star/Fusion/DMR, but PSK-31, JS8Call, SSTV etc (did you know the ham station aboard the Space Station often sends SSTV pictures that can be picked up with a handheld radio linked to a PC?). Or a CW training net? We have experts in this club in all these areas. We just need a bit of leadership to bring it all together. Amateur Radio is a very exciting hobby with lots of areas we could explore. If we don't stimulate interest among our membership during these difficult times there is a danger a lot of our membership joining the "Quiet Radio Transmitter (aka QRT)" club instead.

So how about it fellow hams?
During last night's VHF net there was discussion on possible outdoor locations for club meetings, based on a suggestion from Tom, VA3TS. Members who checked in were in general agreement that it is a good idea worth investigation. Greg, VE3RQY, volunteered to look into a couple of options, one of which involves a school gymnasium suitable for when the weather turns cooler. Other suggestions included Kelso Beach and Harrison parks where pavilion space is available. Any comments from the exec.?
John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.
Reply
#14
The election process details are section 4,5 and 6 of the constitution. In recent years, I, as the webmaster, have been able to provide an "on line" option for elections as well as amateur of the year. This is simply a form very similar to the "contact Us page, except you can select your name from a list and select your nominee from another list, press submit and away it goes. You can see the page here  https://gbarc.ca/election.php 

These forms are easy to create, the results can be emailed to anyone, we have used them to sign up for field day and other events, the same could be made up should someone need to know who will be attending a meeting during the pandemic ....

Having said that, I have received no direction from the executive so far .... 73
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#15
(2020-09-03, 22:27:15)VA3TS Tom Wrote: The election process details are section 4,5 and 6 of the constitution. In recent years, I, as the webmaster, have been able to provide an "on line" option for elections as well as amateur of the year. This is simply a form very similar to the "contact Us page, except you can select your name from a list and select your nominee from another list, press submit and away it goes. You can see the page here  https://gbarc.ca/election.php 

These forms are easy to create, the results can be emailed to anyone, we have used them to sign up for field day and other events, the same could be made up should someone need to know who will be attending a meeting during the pandemic ....

Having said that, I have received no direction from the executive so far .... 73
I am going to be away on Tuesday 15th September, the date scheduled for the general meeting, so maybe I won't be able to participate this year. Pity, I think a contest for the positions on the executive might stimulate renewed interest and activity in the club. I am aware of a potential candidate who has expressed an interest.
John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.
Reply
#16
If, as in the recent past, nominations and voting are done online, then all members with internet connectivity can participate, no need for a meeting just for the election. 

We've had difficulty getting people to stand for office in the past - here's hoping the responses in this thread are signalling a change in that trend.

John KOT mentioned the "QRT club" earlier.  There's a lot of serious discussion going on in this thread, discussion which is absolutely needed for the health of the club.  But just to lighten the mood for a moment, here's a further development on QRT, from the Surrey BC ARC October magazine:

73
Dave, VE3WI
----------------------------------------------------------------
New ‘QRT’ Amateur Radio Certification Coming

Canadian Amateur Radio operators will be excited to hear that a new class of license will be available starting September 1, 2020: the Quiet Radio Transmitter or “QRT” license. To qualify for this license you need to simply agree to never transmit.

A 2019 study found that 73% of hams never transmit. Most interestingly, the study found a third of those not only don’t want to transmit, but object to others transmitting, preferring to have silence for hours, if not days on end. As one survey respondent said, “We invested over $1000 in equipment to setup our club’s repeater and yet people think they can just use it as if this were a hobby. It is really bothersome to hear someone looking for a QSO. It only encourages others to join in and, before you know it, everyone’s on the air disturbing the peace and quiet.”

Responding to the survey’s results, commercial interests proposed the QRT license be created. During the consultation period no-one from the ham community spoke up, confirming that the license was a perfect match to the needs of many hams. One exception was a special interest group who requested an endorsement be created allowing for frequent short transmissions, such as kerchunking of repeaters (provided you never say your call sign) or dialing DTMF to turn off a link.

A second endorsement was also agreed to after a letter was received from a meeting held at Tim Hortons requesting that some QRT licensees should be able to say, “That’s not real ham radio” whenever someone is talking about new technology.

A third endorsement, the “stuck microphone with road noise” was not adopted as this was agreed to be a form of lengthy transmission, something that was in opposition to the spirit of the new license.

Hearing the news, a local Amateur instructor and examiner said, “This really is a game changer. The QRT license can be earned in a single day, except for the kerchunking endorsement which can take an extra day to practice using a test repeater we have setup in the classroom. Mind you, some people think the extra day is worth it as you can earn a new ‘Kerchunked All Repeaters’ award in as little as 24 hours using just a simple handheld radio.”

Commercial interests across the country are welcoming the arrival of the QRT license. Speaking at a spectrum auction, an industry representative said, “This really speeds up the process of taking back our VHF and UHF spectrum from the Ham community. As people see the benefits of a QRT license such as no antennas, longer battery life, and no RFI, they will quickly see that it makes sense to hand over the spectrum to us so more kids can send emoticons to each other instead of wasting their time experimenting with electronics.”

Is your license a QRT license? Perhaps consider upgrading.

- Adrian VE7NZ
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#17
In spite of covid, and meeting locations that are impractical or difficult to set up, we as radio amateurs have a giant advantage over other groups. we can meet on the air, on our local repeater or simplex. All we need is the will to do so and the encouragement of our executive, nothing more, nothing to be arranged or set up, no rules to follow, no government bodies to please, no fears to deal with, just that PTT switch on the transceiver, THAT is the the thing that stops on-air meetings.
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#18
(2020-09-06, 21:18:38)VA3TS Tom Wrote: In spite of covid, and meeting locations that are impractical or difficult to set up, we as radio amateurs have a giant advantage over other groups. we can meet on the air, on our local repeater or simplex. All we need is the will to do so and the encouragement of our executive, nothing more, nothing to be arranged or set up, no rules to follow, no government bodies to please, no fears to deal with, just that PTT switch on the transceiver, THAT is the the thing that stops on-air meetings.
Good suggestion Tom. Bobby PAV is a fairly regular check-in but I don't recall hearing any other members of the exec on the nets recently. Maybe Wednesday evenings are not a good time for them. Another point to consider is that on-air meetings lack privacy. We maybe don't want to discuss our finances for example.

I really enjoyed the after-meeting-meetings in Tom Hortons where we could swap ideas and build friendships. We could still do that if we met in somebody's backyard. Even my small backyard is probably big enough for a club gathering and I can make coffee.

But still, so as not to dilute your main point about the nets; yes we could and should encourage more participation. Anybody who is mic-shy can always listen in and let us know of their presence via email or the forums.

After the elections we may have some different faces on the exec and maybe the new exec will support these ideas.
John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.
Reply
#19
Greetings all.

2nd new location of our meeting.  Due to covid restrictions, I propose an out door meeting in the gravel parking lot on the north side of the Bay Shore.  Need directions, Google East Side Boat Launch.  I don't think that I have ever seen 20 at a meeting, let alone 25.  But, in the event that we have 25 or more show up, I'll only count every 2nd person.

On my meeting agenda, 1) Fox Hunt.  2) Election of new executive.

Agreed?  Opposed?

Let me hear about it, it is YOUR club after all.

73
Tom
VA3TVA
t_van_aalst@hotmail.com
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#20
I will be present at the outdoor club meeting Tuesday in the parking area near the eastern boat launch. Good idea Tom.
John VA3KOT
John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.
Reply
#21
(2020-09-03, 00:36:16)VA3DNY Dan Wrote: Hello everyone,
I have been a member of GBARC since about 2005 when I passed the basic exam by self study (Bob Vary was the helpful club examiner at the time).  Shortly after that, I was faced with a job change that left me working evenings and nights for far too many years.  This meant that every club meeting happened while I was either at work, or desperately trying to get a few hours sleep before work.  Honestly, if the club had an award for "least active member" there would just be a picture of me! All of my ham radio activity stopped until I finally made it to day shift, and when the club offered an advanced course I jumped at it.  I was finally making it to some of the meetings and enjoying getting to know some members better when Covid hit.  Since then I have truly missed the meetings from both a social aspect as well as a learning aspect...but I am just looking at it like we have hit a "pause" button for everyone's safety.  I'm confident that the club can pick up where we left off and keep moving forward in the future.
Personally, I have been working on refreshing my CW, routing coax and building an antenna at my QTH to get back on the air.  I'm looking forward to safely resuming club meetings and activities in whatever form that takes.  I'm willing to help with that in any way that I can...
There are only so many free hours and so much energy in each of our lives.  Without a lot of that being volunteered by the board members and other members offering everything from instruction and project ideas to web design and repeater maintenance there would be no club.  For that I thank you all!

73
Dan

My ears are burning.... some is talking about me. LoL
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