Section Index Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 16-Jan-2013

History of OSCAR - Part II

Like many organizations, the interest of members change as well as changes in the membership. Participation in OSCAR started to fade in the late 1990s. Fellowship continued amoung many of the members, but formal gatherings ceased.

A small group (KAKEL, KHNY, NVC, and NUW) got together in late 2002 to promote OSCAR. Nine individuals (KAKEL, KHNY, NVC, KAKEM, KCKEW, WAF, KBUCP, NHMD, KUOY, and KBTUK) particpated in the reorganization meeting on 16-Nov-2002. Meetings were being held at the Hardees Restaurant on the second Saturday of the month. Mark WAF began a web site of OSCAR in February 2003. Field Day 2003 was held in the basement QTH of Charlie KHNY.

For 2004, Field Day was set up at the Steele County Crane Creek Park with 410 contacts being made. A special event station was operated in August for the 150th anniversary of Owatonna.

The first Technician class sponsored by OSCAR occurred in 2005, with 10 new licenses being earned. SKYWARN was also seeing a resurgence and OSCAR members were part of the action. OSCAR again started to become associated with Steele County Emergency Management with Willis KAKEL participating in a table top exercise. Tom NUW was appointed ARES Emergency Coordinator for Steele County.

A SKYWARN and ARES operations room was established in the basement of the Owatonna Fire Station during 2006. A station was also set up at the Ellendale EOC, and work began on updating the Steele County EMCOMM trailer. Coordination with other volunteer groups also developed. OSCAR again sponsored a Technician class, netting 9 new licenses. Notable new licensees from the class included the Steele County Emergency Manager and Minnesota State Fire Marshall. OSCAR participated in a table top drill with other county agencies. Field Day included included its first full 24-hour operation in recent years.

The code requirement for Amateur Radio ended in 2007. The OSCAR Technicain class was smaller than previous years, generating 5 new licenses. Matt KAPQW began a new on Thursday nights. The OSCAR web site moved from a free hosted site to a hosted server with a new URL, www.oscarmn.org. Field Day included use of the Steele County EMCOMM trailer, generating 523 contacts. Several members assisted with providing communications in Rushford resulting from severe flooding. OSCAR also participated in a full drill with Steele COunty agencies in Blooming Prairie. The end of the year also saw the meeting location change from Hardees to Happy Chef. Dale WBPKG was featured in an article in the Owatonna Peoples Press.

The weekly net changed from Thursday night to Sunday night with the start of 2008. The SKYWARN and ARES room at the Owatonna Fire Station received a facelift due to some console pieces that were donated. The 2008 Technician class awarded 12 new licenses. The Amateur Radio structure with Steele County Emergancy Management adjusted to a dual RACES/ARES structure. OSCAR and SKYWARN participated in a joint event with HY-Vee to program NOAA Weather Radios. Field Day contacts swelled to 959. As part of the Steele County drill, OSCAR held a Simulated Emergency Test. The SET successfully demonstrated the ability to transfer messages using a digital mode. OSCAR was the only group making a SET report in MN.

Attendance at the monthly Saturday morning meetings continued to grow in 2009, averaging 15. Nine new hams were the result of the Technician Classes. Field Day produced produced excellent results for OSCAR, placing just under the top 10% overall and first in the 4A category for MN. The meetings moved to the new meeting room at the Owatonna HY-Vee in July. The SET was a cooperative drill with Steele County CERT in a search and rescue exercise.

The club launched into 2010 ratifying a new club constitution and electing new officers. The annual Technician class broke records with 18 new hams joining the ranks and upgrades for 3 to General class and 2 to Extra class. The club held a successful Field Day for a second year at the R/C flying field southwest of Owatonna. We managed over 1600 QSO points even while having a 4 hour shut down during which most of the club members engaged in a Skywarn storm spotting event! The club closed the year by receiving official affiliation with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) which is the primary ham radio organization in the United States.

OSCAR continues to grow through 2011 seeing meetings with record attendance, some over 33 people!, no doubt bolstered by another successful Tech. Class which netted 6 new hams and 4 upgrades to General class. The power of numbers continued into the annual Field Day event with the club topping out at over 3800 QSO points at a 5A rating. The club did struggle throughout the year with changes made on our behalf on our club repeater antenna. Through long delays and the efforts of key individuals most of the repeater issues were corrected. One notable change to the club repeater was the new call sign KHNY adopted to honor long time club member and silent key, Charlie Srsen.

OSCAR started 2012 with a bang, bringing 5 new technicians into the fold after another successful spring Tech Class. Tom N0UW also celebrated his 100th monthly newsletter published to the OSCAR web site and at the same time retired, passing the torch so to speak to Brian K0BDD to pickup the newsletter duties. Field day was the clubs main planning event and this years went off without a hitch, thanks to event coordinator Mike N0MDC. We started the event with a 3A rating but picked up a number of added radios before the end which boosted our points to 5868, a new club record! The food was once again a highlight with a milk can dinner held Saturday night. Video atYouTube.

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