'86' Starts As Officers Visit Officers Club
The Ft. Meade Officers' Club was the site on January 16, 1986, for the Installation Dinner for the 1986 Club Officers: Pres. Al Jeweler/N3BIN, Vice-Pres. Carl Menchey/N3CVO, Secretary Patty Nestor/N3EOC, Treasurer Bill Cooke/K3CN and Directors Jim Boyer/N3DTD, Jerry Herman/N3BDW and Andy Smith/WB3GSW. Shortly thereafter when Andy discovered that he could not make the Thursday meetings, Al Nestor/N3EOD was elected to replace him.
The County installed a new roof on the clubhouse, filled the trenches in the floor with concrete and provided an access ramp for the handicapped at the entrance. Jerry/N3BDW and Jim/N3DTD replaced the ceiling tile. In a general cleanup, the county brought a large dumpster to the top of the hill in order to dispose of the accumulated "junk" from the grounds and the storerooms.
Novice Class, Field Day & Repeater Repairs
The annual Novice Class coordinated by Carl Menchey/N3CVO, Tony Young/WA3YLO and Al Nestor/N3EOD produced thirty new hams for the area. Field Day, coordinated by Byron Kabran/KA3CUK, resulted in a fourth place for AARC in 3-A Battery with 5,480 points. During a late afternoon thunderstorm in July the repeater suffered another lightning strike. It was not as bad as before, but the borrowed controller suffered extensive damage and had to be shipped away to be repaired. An impromptu work party worked until the wee hours one night to get the repeater back on the air with yet another borrowed controller. The phone patch was not reconnected until special line protection was obtained.
A Towering Decision
During the summer of '86 Club members had to face an important decision about whether or not to install a different tower. In the Fall of '83 the Club was offered a free 400-ft. tower (including a generator, lights, guy wires and a fence) if they would dismantle it and haul it away from the Bainbridge Naval Station. On the first Saturday in December a caravan of members, accompanied by a rented flatbed truck and a borrowed crane, motored to Bainbridge, dismantled the tower and brought it to the Club site. The transportation cost was $1500, not counting the time and intense physical effort spent by the volunteers.
The Decision Drags Out
Three years later the tower parts were still scattered around behind the Clubhouse awaiting a permit from FAA and final permission from the County to erect it. During that time membership in the Club had grown considerably and many members began to question the advisability of erecting a tower which would be so expensive to maintain Also, the DFRC had consented to a 250 ft. tower rather than the higher one authorized finally by the FAA.
The Tower Vote
In June the Board of Directors voted to recommend that the tower not be erected, and at the June 5th club meeting, those present voted not to erect the tower. When news of the vote reached some of the past officers and others who had helped to obtain the tower,the President received many irate letters asking that the matter be reopened for consideration. This was done at the July 17th meeting which was devoted to hearing the pros and cons of the matter. The final vote was held at the August 7th meeting. The vote was very close: 18 votes in favor of erecting the tower (including three written proxy votes) and 17 votes against. But the Board of Directors determined on August 19th that the proxy votes were illegal since there is no provision in the Constitution for proxy votes. Because of the closeness of the vote, the Board selected a committee of three to investigate and to present to the Club within 90 days detailed reports on the comparative costs of erecting a 250-ft. tower as against refurbishing the present tower and repeater housing. This action was authorized by the membership, who also authorized an expenditure not to exceed $350 to have a professional tower expert check the actual condition and safety of the present tower, perform routine maintenance as needed and to verify orientation of the antenna.
On September 20th East Coast Antenna Services inspected and serviced the repeater tower. They checked everything, tensioned the guy wires, straightened the 220 antenna. They gave the tower a clean bill of health. They also oriented the antenna slightly to the west.
The President Resigns
Al Jeweler/N3BIN tendered (for personal reasons) his resignation on August 19th as president and as a club member. Carl Menchey/N3CVO also resigned as VicePresident, stating that his full schedule with other commitments would make it impossible for him to fulfill the duties of president adequately. At the Club meeting of September 4th, Abe Parys/N3CZX was elected interim president and Tony Young/WA3YLO was chosen interim vice-president.
Public Service Events
Public Service Events for '86 included: the Marlborough Hunt Club Races, the Bay Bridge Run and the Natural Resources Police Open House at Sandy Point in April; the 3rd Annual Bluefish Tournament and the Annapolis Striders' Triathlon in May; Ride-a-Bike for the Retarded and the 3rd annual Lee Airport Open House in June; Annapolis 10-mile Run in August; the Bluegrass Festival in September and in October the Annual Children's Festival at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and Chesapeake Appreciation Days.
Attendees who braved the miserably inclement weather to drive to the November 20th Club meeting enjoyed a very informative and entertaining program by Al Brogdon/K3KMO of Damascus, MD. His topic: "Simple but Effective 2-Meter Antennas You Can Build from Common Household Items, Leftover Plumbing Parts and Old Hats".