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Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA]

Established: January, 1958 an ARRL Affiliated Club since 1961

"Whiskey 8 Quack Quack Quack"

Meets at: James P. Capitan Center, Lower Level; 149 E. Corunna Ave.; Corunna, MI 48817 Monthly: 2nd Tuesday @ 7:00 PM

Club station located in the James P. Capitan Center - Lower Level.
IARU: 2 Grid Square EN72wx   Latitude: 42.9819 N   Longitude: -84.1164 W   Alitude: 760 ft.

Contact us at:   SARA / W8QQQ <Email>

You're invited to a club meeting!  7:00 PM the 2nd Tuesday of each month in Corunna, MI.

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Quick Information:

Future Meeting Plans:

13 Nov 2020 ARES @ 18:00 local
[Details TBD. w/Zoom coverage.]

13 Nov 2020 SARA @ 19:00 local
[Details TBD. w/Zoom coverage.]

08 Dec 2020 SARA Christmas @ 18:30 local
[Planning for Roma's Dinner ~ will address Covid as we approach the date.]

VIDEO CONFERENCE CALL: We use 'Zoom Meeting' even if we have a 'physical meeting'.

In a Chrome browser use this URL/link:
    and the Password: 190320

If you need further assistance, link to full details for setting up of Video Meeting:
   SARA Video Call.

SARA Meeting Details - Link:
SARA Meetings ~ Full Details

VE Testing:

(Local Startup) - See our VE Testing link.

SARA VE Testing Cancelled for 2020

Covid-19 and local concerns = prevent testing.

Details at: SARA VE Testing

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2020 SARA Officers

President  Kevin Middleton, K8MID  
  Vice President  Don Warner, WB8GUS
SecretaryPhillip Bates, AC8FW
Treasurer  Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW  
TrusteeTom Carpenter, KI8AS
TrusteeChuck Dafoe, K8DZH
Trustee  Mike Middleton, KF5MYQ  

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SARA Club Items

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New MI Section SEC

Announcing the appointment of Max Schneider KE8DON to the Section Emergency Coordinator position in our Michigan Section. Max lives in Midland.
Max will be assuming the role previously held by John McDonough WB8RCR (SK).

New EXTRA Class License Question Pool Released.

The new question pool for Extra Class has been released (7/1/2020). The total number of questions drops now to 622and and goes through 30 Jun 2024.

As always, the complete question sets can be found at: ~ Association which sets the 'Question Pool(s)' used for all Amateur Radio Licensing.

The MI SET held 10 Oct 2020 was a success and lot of fun for those participating! Shiawassee county passed quite a bit of traffic through the system all being done on simplex.
Thank You to all those participating.

The Extra Class Question Pool is at: NCVEC Extra Class Question Pool (Jul 2020).

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ARRL Member Benefit Change

Enjoy new benefits! ARRL members now receive digital access to all four (4) ARRL magazines.

Joining QST and On the Air on a digital platform are the bimonthly editions of QEX - The Forum for Communications Experimenters and NCJ - National Contest Journal.

All four are available online from the ARRL Members page for all active members.

The SARA {W8QQQ} crew has a new quick instruction page at: ARRL Online Publications.

Stay at Home Activity Hint:

Gain some 5 MHz Band Knowledge

Older hams probably have not played around much on the 60 meter band.

So start by looking on Lots of knowledge on that page. But go to 'External Links (page bottom)" and scan down the list some good places to search. Check these reference links!

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Radio Society of Australia

Their Magazine has gone digital and makes a Great Read!

You can read their magazine/newsletter at: They currently (Oct. 2020) have three issues online.

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Junk Box Building

An article by Pete Juliano, N6QW on putting a 'Junk Box' together. Pete is an avid builder of ham gear and QRP operations. He co-hosts the 'Solder Smoke' blog (Check that out as well during the covid-19 quarantine.)

You can check out some of Pete's older builds using an older site by Pete.

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MMSSTV New Version - 2020

An update of the popular MMSSTV slow-scan television (SSTV) software is now available. Eugenio Fernandez, EA1ADA, has given the revamped MMSSTV program the nickname of YONIQ. It is available in English and Spanish. The software offers several improvements. Download YONIQ by clicking and following on the link Descarga de MMSSTV 1.13 YONIQ on the Grupo Radio Galena website. MMSSTV IONIQ Download (ZIP File).

SDR Play = Spectrum Analyser

Windows Spectrum Analyser 1.1 by Steve Andrew supports the SDRPlay line of SDR hardware, and provides functionality you'd expect in a basic spectrum analyzer. It includes some SDRPlay-specific features. See the There is also support for an external Arduino-based tracking generator, TrackGen, which is discussed on ON7IR's Track Generator in great detail. ON7IR's blog has some other good links to read.

Christmas Dinner 12/10/19

  at Roma's Backdoor (Owosso)

SARA 2019 Christmas 1

The dinner meeting (12/10/19) was well attended with 16 joining all of the activities. Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW, did another outstanding job as 'Door Prize' chairman. We had several who came a little late but did get to eat and a few who had to backout at the last minute. Those attending had a good time. The event was another success for the club.

5 members won small microcontroller development kits and one a 40m "Bit-x" transciever kit. We are looking towards 2020 and Happy times to all!

SARA 2019 Christmas 2

[Click Image(s) for Larger View / use the Back Arrow to Return]







Download SARA's Excel Files:


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2019 Field Day [FD] Info:

2019 FD Setup

2019 FD Setup at Fairgrounds

2019 FD Group

2019 FD Teardown Group

We had a great time! Operated 4A and had about 20 people. Steve Smith, WA8LMF from Okemos, setup a separate operation near us.

Weather was great, People were better and only gained 2 lbs. = SUCCESS

THANK YOU to all who participated!

See the SARA Events page for 'June' for additional photos.

Our next planned operation at this time is "November Sweepstakes" stay tuned in!

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Toggle Info Cards

Click to open / Click to close

Podcasts ~ Ham Radio and Computer Areas

Seems I'm always looking for a fast way to find my favorites:


Smart 911 ~ For use by everyone in Shiawassee County!   New ~ 13 Sep. 2018

To sign up for 'Smart 911' text alerts from Shiawassee county dispatch and others - 'Nation Wide', text "smart911" to 67283 or go to: Smart911 Homepage" and select "Sign Up Today" button. If you ever need 911 support, the information you provide today will be instantly available to the dispatch center and Emergency Responders when needed. The type of information you can supply is: People & Household Info; Medical Information; Address and Location (includes GPS if on a supported cell phone); and 'Other Info' you may wish to share. It is quick and accurate method to provide information to 9-1-1 for support back to you in a crisis .

CoCoRaHS   Wx Reporting Network ~ Posted 09 Nov. 2018

In July, 2008 Michigan joined a National Weather Community called: Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network [CoCoRaHS] which is a network of volunteers who measure and report precipitation amounts.

The CoCoRaHS program needs Michigan volunteers. They would like urban coverage of one reporter per square mile and rural reporters one every 6 square miles. Can you HELP?

The Michigan CoCoRaHS site is at

National Page for CoCoRaHS is: Or Facebook "Like" CoCoRaHS Headquarters.

There four steps to become a part of the network:

    1. Submit a completed application.

    2. Use an official 4" rain gauge (about $40 off of the National CoCoRaHS site w/ shipping).

    3. Watch a 90 minute training video (online).

    4. Use an internet or phone connection for doing the reporting.

CAN/WILL YOU HELP? Lets get behind this and make it work for our area.

WIRES-X {WIRES Portable Digital Node Function}

Yaesu's Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System [WIRES] enables Internet to RF communications that expands the range of amateur radio by using internet enabled Voice-over-IP [VoIP] technology. With WIRES-X, an amateur node station connected to the Internet and properly interfaced can communicate using VoIP over long distances reliably with ease.

Use this link: HRI-200 Yaesu page and then clicking the "Files Tab" will get you to the "WIRES-X Portable Digital Node Function Instruction Manual (1902-C) 2/13/19" pdf file. This contains a wealth of information on getting things setup.

SARA is working to utilize this for our local 'Emergency Communication Group'... more to follow.


Christmas 2018 Winner- W8OMS

Great Event held at Roma's Backdoor (Owosso), 11 Dec 2018

The dinner meeting was well attended with 16 joining all of the activities. Bob Wilcox, K8OMS, took home the 'ADALM - Pluto {Analog Devices}' SDR evaluation development board. Six member scored 'ESP32 bit' microcontroller boards. All these were made possible by a very generous donation from Digi-key and SARA wishes them a Merry Christmas! and a huge thank you. All winners are to have a club meeting report November, 2019. We all want to know what the ESP32's are being used for. {Congratulations to all winners!}

Roma's Backdoor (Owosso) worked great for the venue along with the 6:30 PM greeting and dinner at 7:00 PM.

Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW, will be nominated to continue on the door prize committee, if the table talk was any indication (January, 2019 meeting). Thank you Dennis for the great effort!

Those attending had a good time and the conversation was active around the table ~ imagine that Hams talking together eyeball-to-eyeball. 73's to all and hoping we do something similar next year.

ESP32 winners might like to look at a small tutorial Playing with the ESP32 on Adduino IDE.

Some other ESP32 links are:

Looking towards 2019 and Happy times to all!

We have an annual restaurant dinner in place of the December meeting with spouses and guests invited. Recently we have given out door prizes for some of the attendees. Come join the club.


{Probably early 1950s}


W8KR (Old QSL Card Site) Leo Wilcox was an Owosso Ham [1898~1973 SK]. His QSL information is online. He is the father of Robert Wilcox, W8OMS, one of our SARA members.

To the Heart of Earth Video

Earth Sensors

The Video is a 4 minute view on on the 'Volcano Sensing Network' as discussed by Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW, at a 2018 SARA Club meeting. It is about the setting up of remote reading Geological Sensors in Chile.

RPi/Arduino in Ham Radio

The Raspberry Pi [RPi] has been used in Ham Radio since it first came out (~2012). "The MagPi" is a 'free' magazine following the RPi usage. The April, 2019 issue (MagPi#80) has about 7 articles on use in ham radio (start with page 62 and you will see what we mean).

You can view/download a copy at: MagPi Issue #80. We suggest you look through ALL the other issues as well, lots of great stuff. They have released issue #98 - October, 2020.

Follow Link to any MagPi issue ~ 1 thru #86 and some great books on RPi. A newer site: All MagPi Issues ~ Graphical Index - with Cover Pictures. All files are free to view & download, but I suggest a subscription to support the material. I find the paper copy better for working on the bench then looking at a computer image. Old habits die hard.

You should see HackSpace Magazine, Issue #17 for great Arduino information on boards and addons. Hackspace Issues are at: Hackspace Issues for Download.

Also, see HackSpace #18, page 42 for an interesting article on building a 'satelite ground station' and connecting to SATNOGS network (see Design Spark SATNOGS article for additional information.) It takes a RPi 3, an SDR Dongle, and an Antenna. Thanks to Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW for this last link's information.


Digi-Key Electronic Design Tools

Posted 13 Jan. 2019

Digi-Key logo

Updated site: Design Tools from Digi-Key has some updates. Their 'Scheme-It', 'KiCad', and 'SnapEDA' packages look like something we can use in our electronic based hobby! Check them out. You need to do the free registration process on their site, but it is painless and the tools are worth the effort.

AA30 Zero VNA by Rig Expert

Posted 21 Mar 2020

Site: Rig Expert - Antenna Analyzers is a small 0.06 to 30 MHz VNA {~$100.00} from Rig Expert. It requires some hardware to convert TTL to a USB connection (several methods). The analyzer makes it easy to produce a frequency versus complex impedance (signed resistance and reactance) file with the swept frequency and complex impedance values. Making a small program request to the analzer will build a CVS file over the specified frequency range (100 data point limit). Thoughts of using an Arduino or Raspberry Pi to process the data are on the internet (along with 'standard' computer methods.

One useful file for data analysis can be found at AC6LA Antenna Modeling Site by Dan Maguire. Check out the Zplots for ploting Impedance Data.

Analyzers are available from several suppliers and some inexpensive clones are available (as always, buyer beware. Some of SARA's members have been working with these units very successfully.

Rig Expert AA30 Zero



We seem to quite frequently want to go to a link via a 'topic'. These "accordian/toggle" cards above allow that to be only a couple of clicks away from SARA's home page. You should check them out when you have a little time!

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Ham Call Lookups

  QRZ Home Page (Callsign Server) - Call Lookups

  HamCall - World-Wide Hamcall Server

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Local Weather

Find more about Weather in Owosso, MI
Click for weather forecast

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Amateur Radio Time

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Solar Weather

solar data

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Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association


Welcome to the Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA] internet Web site. SARA is a non-profit amateur radio organization in lower central Michigan (Shiawassee County) dedicated to public service, emergency communications, and the advancement of amateur radio through education and technical excellence. Our club call sign is W8QQQ - listen for "Quack-Quack-Quack" on the air and give us a call ! Club members are allowed to operate the station on a scheduled basis.

Check out more 'club details' on the 'top menu dropdown' labeled "SARA Club". That page links to many club details via additional links.

SARA invites anyone with an interest in amateur radio or public service to come to a meeting and/or join our club. Meetings are generally the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM (check meeting schedule link as we do not always meet on all months). Dues are $15.00 a year prorated at 1/2 year intervals {For any new licensee - we give a period of 'no club dues' - come on in and check us out for free!}. You can join our group at any of our monthly meetings or by contacting Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW, Treasurer at KC8ETW (email) or email us at W8QQQ <at>

ALL SHIAWASSEE County Hams ~ Please review and report your status for the SARA's ARPSC [ARES/RACES] Local Inventory Form.  We are keeping a log of capabilities and contact information for Emergency Management in Shiawassee County. This is for ALL Shiawassee County Hams (not just club members). Email your data to:   W8QQQ <at> Shiawassee County Emergency Coordinator [EC] is Phil Bates, AC8FW, and he works with our Homeland Security contacts. Let Phil know if you would be willing to assist with county EMMCOMs. We have about 200 hams in the county, but only about 20 in the SARA club ~ and not all want to work EMMCOMS! WE NEED HELP from ALL HAMS for our county! The ARES group meets every other month before regular SARA meetings, come to a meeting and check out our EMCOM group.

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SARA's Social Grouping

We have a Google Group that is open for all to join. SARA's Google Group is called "W8QQQ" and we invite anyone interested to join us. It is free to join. Click on the link to get started. If you join you will get notifications on some important 'local' ham information when it is published (meeting notifications, etc.).

... and a GREAT BIG 73! de W8QQQ  
Hope to see you at a club meeting soon!

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SARA's Club History

January, 1958 ~ Today

The Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA] was founded in January, 1958 (we are over 60 years old). The club received the call W8QQQ in honor of Richard Sternaman of Owosso. Richard was one of the club founders and passed away shortly after the club began. The callsign, W8QQQ, was Richard Sternaman's from the fall of 1952 through 1956 (probably until his death). Then in 1958 the club obtained W8QQQ and 'Wiskey-Eight-Quack-Quack-Quack' has been active on the air since that time. SARA is an ARRL affiliated club and our VE testing uses the ARRL VE program.

Emergency Communications and Public Service have important to the SARA club from inception. In 1961, the club was contacted by the State of Michigan to provide communications for the dedication and opening of the freeway M78/M69 (now called I-69). The SARA club was incorporated as a non-profit organization by the State of Michigan in 1961. Then it was on 20 Nov 1961 that SARA became an affiliated club with the ARRL, thus 2020 will mark 59 years of ARRL support. In July, 1964, SARA members were on hand to help county health officials distribute the Sabine polio vaccine which was a large undertaking at the time. In a project called 'SOS', over 300 radio messages were handled for recipients of the drug by the club.

In 2019 we were part of the response to the three tornadoes ripping thru Shiawassee County. Members were Storm Spotting and report them to NWS and then worked with the Homeland Security Response Team. Various fire departments and SARA team members did damage assessment throughout the impacted area. National team managers said: "Outstanding job by the team. For a 'small team', the efforts were the best they have seen for a disaster of this magnitude over such a large area."

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In the early 1970's the club participated in the First Annual River Daze Event (later to become the 'Curwood Festival'). SARA held it's first Swap and Shop in 1975.

In January, 1978, a very bad snow storm hit the mid-Michigan area and SARA emergency communcations assisted several county and local government agencies with communications. On the first night of the storm word was passed through SARA's the system that a "kidney dialysis patient" in Owosso required transportation to Flint for a treatment (a very critical need). While trying to arrange that transportation, a second patient was found to need similar transportation. In working through the system, it was decided that SARA members would take the lead in getting the action required. SARA setup ground transportation to get both patients into Durand, where a special 'snow train' had been setup for the transportation into Flint. The patients got to Flint for their treatments and were spared facing further threat to their lives. SARA members were very proud of this experience and proving that hams are a "great community resource" and provide valuable service when needed.

The 1980's brought SARA to the forefront in fighting for amateur radio rights. Members stood firm in the opposition to restrictive tower and antenna ordances and had them removed from the books. This was a year prior to when the FCC issued it's ruling on PRB-1. PRB-1 was a ruling limiting local authority from imposing restrictions on amateur radio antenna's. Also, SARA was involved when local cable TV companies started broadcasting on amateur frequencies. SARA was able to force the cable companies to 'clean up their act' and use proper frequencies. At one point the FCC was in the area monitoring and checking to insure the signals were legal, this action was based largely on SARA's inputs to the FCC.

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The 1990's and 2000's brought addtitional challenges to our group. The use of personal cell phones and home computers (utilizing the internet) have greatly changed the communication needs of the general public. The terror attack on the World Trade Center (2000) and a revised focus on emergency communication coordination resulted in Homeland Security being formed. 'Homeland' depends on radio amateurs to fill needs during emergency operations. SARA continues to train and work with the Depeartment of Emergency Management to retain coordination and support for emergency communications in our county's community. We have active RACES / ARES groups. Cell phones and 'wired' internet become nonoperational in most large scale emergemcies. Hams seem to always step forward and come through to meet community requirements. Anyone wishing to assist Homeland MUST have communications training certificates from passing classes on emergency communications. SARA supports and does this in conjuntion with the local ARES group.

SARA works with the 'NOAA' and 'National Weather Service [NWS]' in the 'Skywarn' program to provide weather/storm spotting and inputs to the severe weather evaluation program. So the club still retains a strong focus on community reporting and supports NWS/NOAA. We help support the local repeater networks that have continued to progress with digital processes and connection to world networks through use of the internet. We hold our annual Field Day operations and display our practice of setting up in emergency conditions and demonstrating our ability to communcate in the field. NOTE: Training is required by the NWS for any 'storm spotter' reporting. SARA supports this through the local ARES group.

So, SARA is still doing 'the good things' for our local community. If you have a desire to assist (and have some fun along the way), come join us. We need support with ARES and Skywarn activities.

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SARA meets at the County EOC / Homeland Security Office in Corunna (James P. Capitan Center) on the second Tuesday of each month (except December). In the Fall of 1962 Club was at 219 W. Exchange St. (downtown) and then moved in the fall of 1969 to the Red Cross; 1302 W. Main St. The Red Cross moved (2000) to 708 Corunna Avenue, Corunna, and SARA went with them. The club had an operating station room at the Red Cross ~ W8QQQ. We had linkage into the stae emergency operations center (Lansing). The club was asked to exit the Red Cross building (2015) and moved first to a county facility (in Corunna) for a few meetings and then we went to Baker College Bldg. 16 (room 1632) in the fall of 2015. We had a location for the W8QQQ station at the college.

At the October, 2017 meeting the club voted to move the club meeting to the James P. Capitan builing in Corunna, this is the EOC building (lower level). Starting in November of 2017 we started using the James P. Capitan Center location for our meetings. Our current station trustee is: Tom Carpender, KI8AS. Moving our station, W8QQQ, to the Capitain Center allows operation from the Shiawassee county EOC for when/if it is required.

We are going through the older minutes files for more detailed information and we may post more when completed. We have recent club meeting minutes available 'online' (starting with Jan-2014). We are going through the older minutes files for more detailed information and we may post more when completed.

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Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association

Web Surfing ~ General Web Item

This "Web Details" link leads to W8QQQ Web Design Page which links to our thoughts on Web design and contains hints and warnings for our site and general internet browsing. Please take the time and review it and you may find increased efficiency and security when searching on the web. Also, look at our Web Site Map {link} it shows how/where pages are setup and may assist you in finding specific information that interests you. Our 'search box' allows limiting searches to just "our site" OR "searching the entire Web", select a button choice as you desire.

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