As the year comes to an end, we look forward to what awaits us in 2018. In 2017 we put the final issue of the SPARC GAP Newsletter to bed. In this age of electronic and social media, hard copy has become a thing of the past. How many of you still use paper logs? One exception is the introduction of our new tri-fold SPARC Brochure that introduces the club to people interested in amateur radio. That being said, having been reelected President, I am struggling with ways to include the scope and feel of our former newsletter’s articles and information in the new electronic format. I actively solicit ideas from you, the membership, as to how to improve our external club communications.
We had a busy 2017. Our new 220 MHz repeater was installed by Dee N4GD and Ron KP2N. SPARC participated in the CQ WPX RTTY and Florida QSO Party contests. Felax, KI4TWQ and John, KI4UIP installed an automated weather station at the club location. Weather reports are available on the Weather Underground site and on the SPARC web site home page.
Our field day turned out to be a fantastic event. Even with limited participation, we were able to put three stations on the air. Our station featured real time reporting of contest statistics on our web site as well as on a big screen at the station itself. Many thanks to Tom, NY4I for this innovative addition to our contest environment.
A new event took place at our July meeting in the form of a mobile installation contest. It was fun to see the various ways our members have installed their radios and antennas on their vehicles. Our NAQP RTTY Contest effort was initially cancelled, but a last minute postponement at DMI enabled us to participate, however the mini hamfest was cancelled. W4TA finished 13th in the Multi-Two category. The much anticipated solar eclipse had a few SPARC members participating in the Solar Eclipse QSO party. Hopefully our participation will provide some additional knowledge for the scientific community.
The return of the Makrothen RTTY contest had the W4TA contesters racking up over 2 million points in this fun contest. Good work team. We also learned that the SPARC team won first place in the fourth call area in the WPX RTTY Contest held earlier this year.
The St. Petersburg Science Festival demonstration was a great success. Look for details and a video elsewhere on the SPARC web site. On the same day, Tom, NY4I finished up teaching the General license course, followed up by testing by the SPARC VE Team.
SPARC is in the process of selling a large amount of SK equipment. The SPARCFEST was the place to get your bargains. We had over 50 vendors, and as a result, we significantly enhanced the club treasury. Check out our Face Book page for a great video of the fest by Ed, NZ1Q. The last opportunity to get these SPARC bargains was at the Tampa Bay Hamfest in Plant City. Most of our inventory sold, funding more club activities. We have implemented a new website format that should be easier to read. Let us know if you like it.
Our after the holidays party venue is still in limbo, as the restaurant we have used for the past two years suddenly closed. Keep an ear to the nightly net or this web site for the latest details.
We welcomed a number of new members to our club:
Peter – AA4PD, Ken – KB4EVT, Jeff – NE4C, Andy – N9PNL, Robert – W2RJD, Ron – W4RFA, Frank – K4FRP, Terry – KN4DXE, Steven – KN4EGO, Al – N4NBM, Michael – KA8VKO, Mark – KA4JVY, Molly – KN4GFN, Will – KN4GCK, Larry – KN4GWV, Kenneth – N4HYV, Mark- KM4PHH, Earl – KN4GWT, Wil – W7WMS, Ed – KN4GJU and Patrick – KX4HL.
Finally, we note the passing of former members:
Arthur Chartier, KG4TGR
Colonel Craig Hook, Ret, K4YTB (ex KE4VPK)
Dick Keller, KF4NS
Ken Hopkins WA9WCP
Neil Lauritsen, W4NHL
Gretchen Caruso, KB0SDR
Bob – N2ESP
P.S. A funny for this missive: I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.