small_ARA_Logo.pngNext ARA meeting held on Zoom
The next ARA meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2021, and will not be held on the 94 repeater, but instead on Zoom. Please click here to read more about how to prepare. 

Zoom, Zoom!


The ARA will hold the activities meeting for January (January 19, 2021) within the digital walls of Zoom. We hope that EVERYONE will join in one way or another to help us test this new tool. Please note: During this Zoom meeting there will be no OTA equivalent on the 94 repeater. 

Gary DePalma spearheaded the mission to create an account for the ARA, and to figure out the details. Below are some quick tips for logging onto the meeting using the best option for you.  Nothing is set in stone. Things are still in flux. Learn how to join a Zoom meeting. Stay tuned for an an article containing required login info.


There are several ways for you to join a Zoom meeting:

  1. Using your laptop/desktop computer
  2. Using your smart phone
  3. Using your tablet (Wi-Fi or mobile data must be available)
  4. Dialing in with your telephone (landline or cellphone)

 I've attempted to explain how to use each method, and/or provide adequate links to resources that do so.  

Laptop or Desktop

Most newer laptops running Windows 7 or greater have a built-in microphone and camera which make it really simple to join a meeting. There are a couple of caveats, though.

  • If running Windows XP or older operating system, you will have problems. It is not because your hardware is old, but because Win XP is no longer secure.
  • Yes, it may work, but works and secure are completely different.
  • If you have Win XP operating system, then I would skip down to "SMARTPHONE OR TABLET" or “DIALING IN WITH YOUR TELEPHONE,” below. 

The below set of instructions assumes that the user has a relatively new-ish laptop running Windows 7 or greater. 

  1. Before you join the meeting first download the Zoom app from the Zoom Download Center, otherwise you will be prompted to do so before after clicking on the link found within the invitation email you will soon receive. Honestly, clicking the link is the easiest of all methods. When you click the link in the email you are taken to Zoom’s website.  
  2. You should then see a blue button that says, “JOIN A MEETING.” Click the button to join the meeting.
  3. During the initial few moments of joining, you will be asked if you would like to use video and/or audio.
    • If you have a newer laptop and a good Internet connection, I would suggest using both audio and video for the best overall experience
    • If your hardware is a little slow ot your Internet is a little slow, then try audio only. You will still have most of the other options available to you, but you won't be contending with sending video and audio,  but you will still see others who are in VIDEO mode, though, which is nice.
  4. Once you have joined the meeting
    • Place your mouse at the bottom of the screen and you will see few menus
      1. Lower middle of the screen. Thisis the main menu
      2. Lower left hand hand corner. The lower left menu allows you to turn on and off your audio and video (what you send into the meeting)
    • ​​​Upper right hand corner of the screen there is a VIEWS menu that allows you to control how you see other members


  1. Open a CHROME browser to:
  2. Enter the Meeting ID (found on the aforementioned email)
  3. Click JOIN
  4. If this is your first time joining from Google Chrome, you will be asked to open the Zoom client to join the meeting. (You can check Always open these types of links in the associated app to skip this step in the future.)
  5. Click Open Zoom Meetings (PC) or Open (Mac).

If you have a desktop that does not have a microphone or camera (like all of the desktops I have ever owned) you can send and receive audio over your computer by using a relatively inexpensive pair of earbuds that includes a microphone, and are designed for all types of equipment (tablet, phone, Mac, or PC/desktops). On the back (and sometimes the front) of your PC is at least one headphone jack. Newer computers often combine the microphone jack and headphone jack into one 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) jack to conserve space and costs. Others have separate jacks for headphone (light green), microphone (light pink), and line in (light blue). 

Your computer may have more or less than these three jacks, but there is almost always a green and pink jack. If you have just one jack, then it's very likely the manufacturer combined all of the jacks into one. If you have one pink and one green jack then your manufacturer has stayed with the standard. Plug the microphone into the pink jack and the earbuds into the green one.  

As an example only, I found an inexpensive set of wired earbuds on Amazon. It includes the earbuds, built-in microphone, controller, and a splitter to ensure you will be able to plug them in!  Good deal—everything in one box!

Smart Phone or Tablet

Before you join the meeting you need to download the Zoom app from either the Google Play Store (Android) or The App Store (Apple iOS).

If you are already a member of Zoom, you can sign on and follow normal procedures, but in this example we are going to joining a meeting without signing on.  

  1. Open the Zoom App on your smart phone or tablet
  3. Enter the Meeting ID (found in the email mentioned above)
  4. Press Join
  5. At the bottom of the screen you can turn on/off your audio and video

Dialing in over the telephone (sometimes called a phone bridge or teleconference)

There are a few things to know about dialing into the meeting, and the biggest in my mind is that it is simple. Just pick up a telephone and dial one of the dial-in numbers. Like any good thing in life, there are a few caveats: 

  1. No toll free numbers are available
  2. No local numbers to the Hagerstown regional area (Closest is an Upper Marlboro, MD number)

This means that there may be a few of you who are not able to join via a tablet, laptop, desktop, or smart phone can dial-in for a conference call. The caveats are: 

  1. If you are using a landline from the phone company, long distance charges may apply. You can overcome this byusing a cell phone, which doesn't charge for long distance (but does keep track of your minutes)
  2. Speaking form personal expeirnce only, most people that I know have their phone through their cable provider (Comcast, Antietam Cable) which are both Voice over IP (VoIP) services, and do not charge long distance. This means that many will not be afected by long distance charges
  3. Other VoIP services include magicJack, Ooma, Vonage, and so many others it is impossible to list them all.

For those who do have a solid landline with Verizon (and I know some do), they can use their cell phone to avoid the Long Distance charges, but they have to be mindful of their minutes. I dialed in from my cellphone the other evening and it was decent. Not perfect, but good enough to get the job done. For those of you who have experieced my complaints about shack QRM on the 94 repeater frequency, it was definitley a better signal than I get on 94, but I digress. I have unlimited minutes, so using my cellphone wasn’t a concern.

For those who find themselves with a land line from Verizon or another phone company that charges long distance, and also have a hard limit on their cell phone minutes (like for those with a Trac-Fone) then there are those services out there that provide a number for you to call from, such as Google Voice. I am sure that there are others that would suffice for twice monthly meetings. Let me know if you are interested in going that route… I can work with you directly to try and find an answer. We want to be all-inclusive, not exclusive.

To join a meeting by dialing in over one of the many available options:

  1. Dial the teleconferencing number located in the email. Washington, DC is the closest to this region, but if you’re phone is either a cell or a VoIP based phone, it won’t matter
  2. Enter the meeting ID number found in the email (formatted ### #### ####), then press the # button
  3. Dial the Meeting Passcode (formatted ######) and then press # button
  4. To mute and unmute, press “6#”

The above steps were all read, followed, and then summarized from this document, Those steps are a little more detailed, and provide graphics to make things a little easier to follow.

I sincerely hope you found this article interesting, if not helpful. I hope that everyone will attend the upcoming Zoom meeting, January 19, 2021 at 7PM local time. I would love to see the whole lot of you!

73, everyone!

Bill, K3WJC