My name is Bill Higgins and I am the current President of the Sullivan Amateur Radio Club. It recently came to our attention that many in the community might not be aware of the depth and breadth of activities in which our club is involved. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a brief “State of the Club” summary.
The Sullivan Amateur Radio Club has grown quite a bit in the last several years. When I first joined the club (less than 10 years ago), the number of people attending our meetings was 6 to 10. Now it’s not unusual for attendance to be 20 or more people each month. The club membership has expanded to encompass people who live in at least 5 counties in the East Central Missouri area. We now have club members in Franklin, Crawford, Gasconade, Washington and Maries counties.
One of the defining parts of our club has always been the 146.805 repeater. Over the years, it’s been located in quite a few places in the area and has had several hardware configurations. The club recently undertook a program to improve the machine. The Yaesu DR-1X, which was several years old and not performing well, was replaced with a new Bridgecom BCR-50V repeater and SCOM 7330 controller. This provides a rich user experience on the air with club meeting and net reminders in real human voices, courtesy tones, and provides for future linking and expanded functional capabilities. Our efforts are starting to pay off already, but we aren’t stopping there. We are looking into and planning further improvements to the repeater system in hopes of making it the premier machine in the region! And congratulations to our Interim Trustee, John McReynolds (KC0NRO) and the entire repeater committee for all their hard work!
Did you know that the club has a website at http://www.sullivanradio.net ? On this site, we post club information and articles about activities of the members and the club as a whole. Cody Gehlert (KE0FOT) has recently taken over as Webmaster for the site and has been bringing fresh new energy to its content. Cody is also an Administrator for the club’s FaceBook Group entitled Sullivan Amateur Radio Club. Please look us up in both these places to stay informed of our events and plans.
The club as a whole has become quite a bit busier in the past few years. Let me give you a quick rundown of some of the activities the club has been doing:
- Betty Bassinger (N0PAH) continues the long tradition of holding her Good News Net every Monday evening at 7:00 pm on the 146.805 repeater. Betty is a cherished and long time member of our club and we are proud to have her continuing presence on our machine. She takes prayer requests and is always looking for us to share our good news with the net.
- Paul Barber (AA0GB) holds the HF Knucklehead Net on 3.962 LSB every evening around 8:00 pm. This has grown quite a bit since it’s inception and now has regular check-ins from around the country. I know Paul would be delighted to have you check in with them!
- This past winter the club participated in the ARRL’s Winter Field Day event. John McReynolds (KC0NRO) organized this event for us. We had several stations operational at Dave Johnson’s (KE0JYQ) QTH and a good time was had by all. Of course, there was plenty of great food! (That seems to be a recurring theme with us!) We are certainly planning to do it again next year!
- As always, the club participates in ARRL’s Field Day in June. Our club Vice President, Frank Faherty (KE0FDC) is our Field Day Coordinator and he’s done an excellent job the past few yeas. This year’s planning is already under way and I’m certain we will have a blast as usual! Field Day is always the fourth Saturday in June which makes it June 26th (and 27th) this year. Come on out and have some fun with us!
- Every Tuesday at noon we hold something called the Knucklehead Lunch. Those of us who can gather at some local restaurant around the area and enjoy each others company and some good food. The location moves around and is determined for the next week at each gathering. Locations are announced on the club’s website, the FaceBook page and on The Good News Net each Monday. Come join us and enjoy some good company!
- About once a month, we gather for breakfast on a Saturday to accommodate those who cannot make it to a Knucklehead Lunch during the week. These are quaintly known as Knucklehead Breakfasts. Check the website and the FaceBook page for time and location.
- This year we will be holding the 2nd Annual SARC VHF Day on Saturday, April 17th. This is an informal contest where we get out of doors with a VHF rig and see how many other stations we can contact on simplex within a two hour period. John McReynolds (KC0NRO) is also the coordinator for this event. Last year we awarded a $50 gift certificate to Paul Barber (AA0GB) who made the most contacts using his home built 2 meter beam made with a satellite dish reflector. This year there will be 2 prizes awarded so come and be a part of this fun event.
- On Saturday, May 1st, we will be holding the 1st Annual SARC Family Fun Fest. This event is a non-radio event intended to be a fun family picnic outing. The idea is to enjoy the spring weather, the good company and the great food that always accompanies our events nowadays! It will be held starting at noon at the Meramec State Park in Picnic Shelter #3. We will have food and games for the whole family, so please come join us and renew some old friendships, or make some new ones!
- For the past two years, we have had a day trip down to Taum Sauk Mountain where we set up some radios and made some contacts from the highest place in the state of Missouri. We call this the Annual SARC Taum Sauk Outing, and I’m certain we will be doing it again this fall. Plan to join us!
- The Tri-County VE Team is composed primarily of members of the club and has been holding quite a few VE Testing sessions in the past year. At the same time, we have increased the number of VEs in the team and stand prepared to test new or upgrading candidates as needed. In this way, we can help grow the ranks of the Ham community.
- As for public service, the club supports and supplies manpower to the Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan for their participation in the region’s Hospital Amateur Radio Network. The hospital has amateur radios and antennas and exercises them in structured nets on a monthly basis so as to hone skills and ensure readiness for times of crisis. This is an important part of our club’s commitment to the community at large, so we take pride in making this happen.
In addition to all the above, the club also travels as a group to the Collinsville Winterfest each year, we have a group of folks who help out with antenna raising and repair projects for members, and we often just visit with each other, either in person or on the air. We have established our club as a really warm and open community and we would love to have you be a part of it too! Won’t you consider joining us, or re-joining us as the case may be?
We look forward to welcoming you in person!
With the very best and warmest of regards,
Bill Higgins (N0NOE)
Sullivan Amateur Radio Club