2004 Marietta Conference Report

By Bob Lear, W4ZST

24apr04_017The Eighth Annual SVHFS Conference was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Marietta GA on April 23rd and 24th 2004. The several antenna ranges were busy with testing antennas and the Noise Figure/Pre-Amp Gain testing going on inside was also busy. Those results are further along in this report. Another highlight on Friday morning was a pre-amp workshop held by Jay Liebmann K5JL. Photos of all these activities will be on the SVHFS web page. Another highlight of the outdoor activities was the Red Cross Emergency Communications Van brought to the conference by our own Fred Runkle K4KAZ. We all wish we could have that kind of emergency communications set-up. Thanks to Dick Hanson K5AND for the SVHFS inscribed gift knives received by each conference attendee at the registration table.

After the luncheon with guest speaker Gene Zimmerman W3ZZ who spoke about the future of VHF, the program began as scheduled Friday at 1 PM with conference welcomes by President Bert Rollen K4AR and Conference Chairman Dick Hanson K5AND. The Friday afternoon program was introduced by Program Chairman Ray Rector WA4NJP and included interesting presentations by Dennis Motschenbacher K7BV on Meteor Scatter, Gerald Youngblood AC5OG on Software-Defined-Radios, Bob McGwier N4HY on Homebrewing of the future with SDR and Jay Liebmann K5JL who spoke about amplifier protection circuits and showed a video of an EME “DXpedition” to Green Bank WV where he and a group of ham friends got to do EME using the ‘BIG’ dish.

The Annual Meeting was held Friday afternoon. President Bert Rollen K4AR welcomed all and gave an overview of the society and reported that our finances are good and that the society annually supports the ARRL Frequency Defense Fund, AMSAT and the SVHFS Beacons. These things are done and the society has enough cash left over to initiate the next conference. Bert also explained that the society membership at large elects BOD members and the board elects officers at the annual BOD meeting and all members are invited. He discussed conference committee duties and called for volunteers. Discussed future venues for the conference at any possible southeastern location. Nominations for BOD were called for and the following six members were nominated and elected at the meeting: Ray Rector WA4NJP, Dick Hanson K5AND, Ott Fiebel W4WSR, Charles Osborne K4CSO, Greg Sarratt W4OZK and Mike Wechsler N4OFA. Congratulations to these new board members. Their two year terms begin immediately and along with the other continuing BOD members, they will conduct the yearly business of SVHFS and elect officers at the BOD meeting at 9PM Friday evening.

Bert also reminded about the flea market and Saturday afternoon auction and called for donations to the auction. The drawing for the pre-registration door prize, a $200 DEMI gift certificate, was won by Mike Wechsler N4OFA.

It was noted at the meeting that Shirley Adams who had planned the family program was ill and unable to attend the conference. Thanks to Shirley’s planning the ladies led by Riki Fiebel picked up the program. On Friday they visited Historic Marietta, went antiquing, visited a museum and had lunch at a tea-room. On Saturday they attended the Jonquil Festival in Smyrna, had lunch at Café Michelle and went shopping at a local mall. We know they all had a good time and we are happy that they were able to attend this year. Special thanks to Shirley for the great program she planned and to Riki and all the ladies for picking it up in Shirley’s unfortunate absence and making their visit a memorable one.

A great time was had at the Friday night flea market where there was great attendance, some cash and gear changing hands and some deals being made. The vendor display room also had plenty of traffic.

Board of Directors Meeting highlights.

  • 20 attending including 10 directors.
  • Meeting chaired by Bert Rollen K4AR.
  • Conference report given by K5AND with a thank you to all volunteers.
  • A beacon report was given by Ott Fiebel W4WSR. The beacon committee will investigate the possibility of further beacons and locations and will produce a written plan due in August.
  • A motion was made to support the ARRL Frequency Defense Fund, AMSAT, the SVHFS beacons and to continue to sponsor two plaques for the ARRL June VHF QSO Party.
  • 2005 committee members volunteering at the meeting included: Greg Robinson KB4NVD continuing as publicity chairman and Webmaster, Wayne Gardner N4FLM as registration chairman, Jim Worsham W4KXY continues as Fall Sprint Chairman and Charles Osborne volunteered to continue as Mini-Circuits Prize Chairman if the competition is renewed for 2005.
  • Officer nominations and elections were held with the following Officers for 2004-5: Brian McCarthy NX9O continuing as Treasurer; Bob Lear K4SZ continuing as Secretary; and Ott Fiebel W4WSR elected as VP. Election of President, location of the next conference and volunteers for Key conference committees was to be carried to the general membership on Saturday, the program chairman making some time available in the program on Saturday for this important business.

The Saturday conference program continued with record attendance. Presentations were made by Al Ward W5LUA on a 6m EME rope Yagi, Crystals and Oscillators by Chuck Hoover K0VXM, The VersaBeacon Project by Moe Wheatley AE4JY and Pieter Ibelings N4IP, New MOSFET Hybrid modules by Steve Kostro N2CEI and a 2W 24GHz amplifier module by Paul Drexler W2PED.

The BOD meeting was re-convened with the general membership Saturday morning with the following volunteering for committees: Jimmy Long W4ZRZ for banquet prizes, Ray Rector WA4NJP again to be Technical Program Chairman, David Rice KD4SHH and Jeff Pahl KF4JVD to again do the Antenna Range, Bob Lear K4SZ to do NF if suitable equipment can be located, and Bert Rollen K4AR agreed to be overall conference chairman. Robin Midgett KB4IDC was nominated and elected President of SVHFS for 2004-5. Guy Titman W4NUS then volunteered to be the host for the 2005 conference in Charlotte NC and Jack Jackson W4EFZ volunteered to host in 2006 in Greenville SC. Thanks to all the volunteers who came forward in time of need to support the society and continue our mission.

The Saturday afternoon program continued with presentations by Ray Rector WA4NJP on the SPASUR Fence, Ott Fiebel W4WSR on the SVHFS beacons, Tom Haddon K5VH on Loop antennas, A windows based EME tracking program by Rick Royston KF9ZZ and Bob Taylor W5LBT, High performance IF rigs and transverters by Eric Swartz WA6HHQ and finally Bruce Clark K0YW on pointing EME antennas. Thanks to all our presenters for their time and energy and support of SVHFS.

The Auction as always, was a conference high point with our irrepressible auctioneer Ray Rector WA4NJP cajoling the membership into some great bidding on donated auction items which added to the SVHFS treasury. Thanks to all for their donations and purchases and support of SVHFS.

The Banquet was emceed by SVHFS Secretary Bob Lear K4SZ who welcomed all the conference attendees and their wives and companions to the banquet. Banquet Highlights follow:

  • Recognition and Thanks to the 2004 Conference Committee members: Dick Hanson K5AND Conference Chairman, Ray Rector WA4NJP Technical Program, John Clowe W4ZPG Door Prizes, Sandy Donahue W4RU Facilities and ARRL Liason, Greg Robinson KB4NVD Publicity, Wayne Gardner N4FLM and Mike Wechsler N4OFA Registration, David Rice KD4SHH and Jeff Pahl KF4JVD Antenna Range, Al Ward W5LUA Bob Lear K4SZ and Jim Worsham W4KXY Noise Figure, Shirley Adams and Riki Fiebel Family Program. Congratulations on a job well done by all.
  • Introduction of newly elected Officers and Board of Directors: Robin Midgett KB4IDC President, Ott Fiebel W4WSR VP, Brian McCarthy NX9O Treasurer and Bob Lear K4SZ Secretary. Newly elected BOD members: Dick Hanson K5AND, Ott Fiebel W4WSR, Charles Osborne K4CSO, Ray Rector WA4NJP, Greg Sarratt W4OZK and Mike Wechsler N4OFA.
  • Announcing 2005 Conference: Charlotte NC on April 29th and 30th hosted by Guy Titman W4NUS.
  • 2005 Conference Committee: Bert Rollen K4AR Conference Chairman, Ray Rector WA4NJP Technical Program, Greg Robinson KB4NVD Publicity, Wayne Gardner N4FLM and Mike Wechsler N4OFA Registration, Jimmy Long W4ZRZ Banquet Prizes, Guy Titman W4NUS Facilities, Jeff Pahl KF4JVD and David Rice KD4SHH and Tom Haddon K5VH Antenna Range, Bob Lear K4SZ Noise Figure.
  • Also announced is the 2006 Conference location of Greenville SC hosted by Jack Jackson W4EFZ.
  • A check from SVHFS to AMSAT was presented to AMSAT representatives Bill Tynan W3XO and Steve Diggs W4EPI.
  • A check from SVHFS to the ARRL Frequency Defense Fund was presented to ARRL First VP Joel Harrison W5ZN.
  • Vendors attending the conference and showing their products were recognized: Steve Kostro N2CEI and Sandra Estevez of DownEast Microwave. Eric Swartz WA6HHQ of Elecraft. Steve Powlishen K1FO of Lunar Link Systems, Joe N6CL and Carol W6CL Lynch of CQ Communications, Gerald Youngblood AC5OG of Flex-Radio and Pieter Ibelings N4IP and Moe Wheatley AE4JY of RF-Space. We really appreciate their attendance and participation.
  • We also recognized the ARRL Officials in attendance: First VP Joel Harrison W5ZN, Marketing Manager Dennis Motschenbacher K7BV, GA Section Mgr Susan Swiderski AF4FO, AL Section Mgr Greg Sarratt W4OZK and SE Division Vice Director Sandy Donahue W4RU. SVHFS is very appreciative of the many years of ARRL support and participation in our conferences. SVHFS is an ARRL affiliated club and ARRL publishes the conference proceedings each year as well as providing QST, QEX and web publicity.
  • We also recognize two well known VHF columnists in attendance: Gene Zimmerman W3ZZ of QST’s “World above 50MHz” column and Joe Lynch N6CL of CQ’s “VHF Plus” column as well as editor of CQ-VHF magazine. They have been most supportive of the SVHFS conference and we appreciate their efforts in promoting VHF and publicizing our conference and others around the country.
  • Jim Worsham W4KXY, the SVHFS Contest Chairman read the list of winners of certificates from the 2003 Fall Sprints that SVHFS sponsors and presented them to those in attendance. Certificates are awarded to First, Second and Third Place in both Fixed and Rover categories for 6m, 2m, 222, 432 and the microwave sprints. Certificates for those not in attendance will be mailed. Drawings were also held for the sprint participation prizes sponsored by DEMI. Winners were WA1ECF for microwave and K0KFC for 222. They each receive a $100 gift certificate from DEMI for their sprint participation.
  • W4KXY also presented the Noise Figure certificates to those achieving lowest noise figure with homebrew pre-amps for each band tested at the conference. The complete results will be posted on the webpage.
  • Jeff Pahl KF4JVD presented certificates to those achieving highest antenna gain with homebrew antennas for each band tested at the conference. Those results will also be posted on the webpage.
  • Charles Osborne K4CSO presented the winners of the Mini-Circuits/SVHFS Design Competition. First Place went to Pieter Ibelings N4IP for his entry, a 144 MHz balanced front end filter/amplifier. Pieter wins a $2500 gift certificate for Mini-Circuits Products. Second place went to Moe Wheatley AE4JY for his entry, the VersaBeacon which was included in the proceedings. Moe receives a $200 gift certificate to Mini-Circuits. Runner-up entries were submitted by Gerald Youngblood AC5OG, Marcel Pitzini W5BJV, Jay Liebmann K5JL and John Franke WA4WDL. The judges for the competition were Charles K4CSO, Steve Kostro N2CEI, Al Ward W5LUA and Dick Hanson K5AND. Thanks to the committee, the designers and especially to Harvey Kaylie, President of Mini-Circuits and originator of the competition and award.
  • The K4UHF award was presented by Conference Chairman Dick Hanson K5AND. This years winner is Al Ward W5LUA. Al is recognized for his many achievements in Amateur Radio over the years, most recently the 24 GHZ EME success. Al has been a long time supporter of VHF, UHF and microwave through his participation in VHF conferences, Microwave Update and the North Texas Microwave Society. Al was presented a plaque and joins our previous years’ winners of the K4UHF award. Congratulations to Al Ward W5LUA from all present at the banquet.
  • K5AND also introduced our Banquet Speaker, Dennis Motschenbacher K7BV. Dennis is the Sales and Marketing Manager of QST. He presented a paper in the regular session on meteor scatter communications. Dennis’ enthusiasm is evident. He told us some great stories about his early amateur radio (mis)adventures and his current activities. Dennis purchased a carton of “Moon Pies” locally on this trip and presented them to the wives of EME operators in attendance at the banquet after some discussion about Moon Pies and the South! He also showed a video he produced about the country of East Timor, where he had gone on a DXpedition in 2000. The video reported about the turmoil of war and the plight of the people of East Timor and the dangers and difficulties of a trip into such a region. We thank Dennis for his insight into a far corner of the world and his report about a country and area with which we are now more familiar.

And finally, after a short break we began the door prize drawings. It was late, but no one was leaving as the prize tables had been duly inspected and drooled over. Thanks to all the vendors who supplied products and made the many, many winners possible. The prize vendors are listed on the web page and there are links to many of their websites. We support them because they have supported us. There were many more than a hundred prizes so all in attendance got at least one. Numbers were first called by Bob K4SZ assisted by Susan AF4FO drawing the tickets, later spelled by Ray WA4NJP assisted by Linda Gardner and the duties later picked up by Robin KB4IDC and then Jim W4KXY. Thanks also to all those bringing prizes for the ladies to choose from when we drew their tickets. Again, an excellent selection of prizes from our vendor friends made for a fitting end to the Eighth Annual SVHFS Conference. Thanks again to all who attended the conference and participated as presenters, committee members, officers, directors or observers. None of it would be possible without your participation.

We hope all had a good time, a memorable experience and that you plan on joining us again next year. See you in Charlotte.