Hillsdale Communicator

January 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Welcome To The Hillsdale Communicator

Happy New Year and welcome to the first issue of the Hillsdale Communicator, renamed from HCARC Happenings.  The newsletter was renamed as the result of a contest conducted by the club.  Club member Bill Ona KA8WBR submitted the winning entry and won a $20 gift card.  As the tag line suggests, we will continue to bring you news for amateur radio operators in and around Hillsdale County.



Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Saturday, January 9 at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  We’re trying something different this month by having the meeting in conjunction with the ham breakfast.  Breakfast will be at 8am followed by the club meeting at 9am.  We hope to increase attendance by offering a twofer.  In addition to the regular meeting, we will be conducting our annual meeting as required by our constitutionCome for breakfast at 8am and stay for the meetings, or just come for one or the other.  If it works out well, we’ll plan on doing the same in February.


A special club meeting was held on December 11 immediately preceding the Christmas party and was attended by seven members.  Club leadership elections were held and President Don Gambill KC8WAU, Treasurer Joe Gosla KD8UJS both won re-election.  Current Board Member Dan Sprow KC8RYF was elected Vice President.  Terry Arnold KE0FVB was elected to the Board Member At Large position.  There were no nominations for Secretary.  A special election for the vacant position will be held at the next club meeting.  Click here to view club leadership.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, January 9 at 8am at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).


The December ham breakfast was held at the Blue Rooster in Jonesville and was attended by seven hams.



Christmas Party

The club Christmas party was held on December 11 at the Fayette Street Church of Christ in Hillsdale and attended by 14 members and guests.  The club provided ham, chicken and drinks, and attendees brought potluck dishes that provided a plentiful selection of food.  After dinner there were games and a gift exchange.  Many thanks to Brenda Sprow for her help organizing the party.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 6 at 6pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All members welcome.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 18 as of December 31.  No new members or renewals (for 2015) during the month.  Six members have renewed for 2016.



Membership Dues For 2016

Club membership dues for 2016 are due.  You must renew by March 31 to maintain your membership status.  Rates are unchanged from last year and are $15 for regular membership, $5 for household membership (additional members in same household after first member pays regular rate) and free for students.  All members are asked to fill out an updated membership application as part of the renewal process.  Dues can be paid by cash or check at club events or mailed to club treasurer Joe Gosla KD8UJS, 2175 Blackmer Drive, Jonesville, MI 49250.  Make checks payable to Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club or HCARC.



Certificate Available For Monday Night Net Participation

The club will award certificates for exceptional participation in the Monday night net.  The purpose of the program is to encourage participation in the net, both as check-ins and as net control station.  The yet to be designed certificate will be awarded to participants that attain at least 75 points during 2016.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of the club website.



ARRL National Parks On The Air Event

The National Park Service (NPS) will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016, and radio amateurs will be able to help mark the occasion with the ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event.  The fun begins on January 1, 2016.  “As ARRL just celebrated our own Centennial, and Amateur Radio is often enjoyed in the great outdoors, it seemed fitting to devise a program to help NPS celebrate their own 100th birthday,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko KX9X.  NPOTA will run throughout 2016, with activity promoted and encouraged from each of the official NPS administrative units and affiliated areas across the US.  This includes all 59 National Parks as well as National Battlefields, Historic Sites, Memorials, Preserves, Reserves, Rivers, Seashores, National Scenic Trails, and other units.  Click here for more detailed information from ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R(ARRL story)  (NPOTA website)



Record Highs Shattered Across Michigan

Records highs were shattered across Michigan on December 13.  All of the largest cities in the state set new record highs, with the exception of Marquette.  Temperatures in Hillsdale city hit the 60-degree mark three times during the month, including the 60 degrees on the 13th and 23rd and 63 degrees on December 12.  (Mlive story)



There’s A New Ham In The House!

US Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico has become the third Amateur Radio licensee in Congress.  Pearce recently became KG5KIQ and joins House colleagues Daniel Benishek KB8TOW of Michigan and Greg Walden W7EQI of Oregon.  (ARRL story)



North Korea On The Air For First Time Since 2002

In an unexpected turn of events, Polish DXer Dom Gryzb 3Z9DX, who has been visiting North Korea this week in advance of a planned Amateur Radio operation early next year, came on the air from the most-wanted DXCC entity around midnight on December 20.  P5/3Z9DX was active on both 20 meters and 15 meters SSB only, and a few hundred stations were fortunate enough to work him.  The P5/3Z9DX operation is the first since the 2001-2002 operation in North Korea by 4L4FN.  (ARRL story)  P5/3Z9DX IS QRT now, and a total of 785 QSOs were made.  As agreed before operations commenced, his equipment has been confiscated.  He hopes to return in the late summer.  (DX World post)



Hams Face Hefty Cost For Return Of QSLs Shipped On Downed Flight

The Netherlands IARU member society VERON has reported that hams there have an opportunity to reclaim their QSL cards salvaged from the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, provided they’re willing to cover the cost of having them cleaned.  VERON spotted the recovered cards in a YouTube video last year, and the Dutch QSL Bureau confirmed that a shipment of QSL cards had been headed for Indonesia, the flight’s planned destination.  The 465 recovered cards now are at Schipol Airport near Amsterdam in the custody of Malaysian Airlines.  (ARRL story)



FCC Launches New Website

The FCC officially launched its long awaited new website late on December 9.  The Commission said its new site “features a more responsive design, a new site navigation structure, and an improved search capability.”  The site design features a cleaner, brighter, and more modern look and feel, and the display will adjust to various platforms, from mobile devices and tablets to computers.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Again Complains To FCC About Lighting Ballasts

The ARRL has again complained to the FCC to allege illegal marketing of electronic RF lighting ballasts.  Letters went out this week to the FCC Enforcement Bureau claiming violations by Lowe’s and Walmart.  At issue is the sale of non-consumer RF lighting ballasts to consumers who, in several instances, were told by store personnel that it was okay to install these in a residential setting.  In addition, non-consumer and residential-class ballasts are intermixed in store displays with inadequate signage to direct consumers to the correct choice.  Both letters asked the FCC to investigate and commence enforcement proceedings with respect to the two stores’ marketing and retail sale of RF lighting devices in the US.  (ARRL story)  In July 2015 the ARRL sent similar complaint letters to the FCC regarding the marketing of lighting devices by The Home Depot.  (ARRL story)



Ham Radio Outlet Founder Robert G. Ferrero W6RJ (SK)

Ham Radio Outlet founder Robert G. “Bob” Ferrero W6RJ (ex-K6AHV) died on December 4 after a period of ill health.  He was 78.  An ARRL Life Member, Ferrero was a California state trooper and US Navy veteran when he acquired Ham Radio Outlet in 1971.  He characterized the original store as a “little radio emporium on a wooden train platform".  He turned it into largest amateur radio retail chain in the world, with 14 stores in the United States  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

12/02/15 KD8CRF, Delaney Jr, Edward, license renewed

12/03/15 KE8CLE, Fogarty, Edwin C, upgraded to General from Technician



Weather Summary

December was a warm month, with average daily highs about 10 degrees above normal and daily lows about 14 degrees above normal.  In Hillsdale city the high hit 60 degrees three times during the month.  Snow for the month was 1.8 inches, bringing the season total to 12.9 inches.  The January forecast is for slightly warmer temps than last year and 8.8 inches of snow.  The table below shows updated weather summary for Hillsdale city created with data from Accuweather.com and local measurements.  Total unofficial snowfall in Hillsdale for last winter was 40.3 inches, compared to 90.9 inches in 2013-2014, 28.6 inches in 2012-2013 and 39.6 inches in 2011-2012.



Snow (inches)

Average High Temp (degrees Fahrenheit)

Average Low Temp (degrees Fahrenheit)

# Days Record Low Temp Tied or Set


Trace / 0

October not included in season totals.


11.1 / 3.6

53.1 / 41.7

35.3 / 26.7

0 / 2


1.8 / Trace

45.2 / 37.5

33.7 / 27.8

0 / 0

Season to Date Totals

12.9 / 3.6

49.1 / 39.6

34.5 / 27.3

0 / 2






January Forecast vs Last Year Actual

8.8 / 8.6

29.4 / 27.8

15.3 / 14.9

0 / 0

Current Season / Last Season



FCC Enforcement News

Florida Ham Agrees to Penalty for Failure to Identify: The FCC Enforcement Bureau has entered into a consent decree with a Florida radio amateur to resolve an investigation into whether the licensee violated FCC rules by transmitting one-way communications and failing to identify.  As part of the deal, the ham will pay a $3500 civil penalty.  (ARRL story)


FCC Proposes $25,000 Penalty For Causing Intentional Interference: The FCC Enforcement Bureau has proposed fining a California ham $25,000 for intentionally interfering with other Amateur Radio operators and transmitting prohibited communications, including music.  An Advanced class licensee, William Crowell W6WBJ is no stranger to the Enforcement Bureau, which had warned him as far back as 2000 about intentional interference.  In 2008 the FCC designated his current license renewal application for hearing, alleging that he had caused intentional interference, interrupted others’ communications, transmitted music, and made one-way transmissions, including some containing “indecent language,” the FCC said.  His license, which expired in 2007, has not been renewed, but Crowell may continue to operate while his application is pending.  (ARRL story)



PRB-1 Legislative Update

HR1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 now has 116 cosponsors as of December 31, down from 117 on November 30, and including Tim Walberg of Michigan's 7th district, which includes Hillsdale CountyMontana Representative Ryan Zinke withdrew his support on December 11.


S1685, the Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill has three cosponsors as of December 31, unchanged from November 30.


PRB-1 Resources

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 webpage.

ARRL “Clarity on Parity” statement.  (ARRL story)  (Statement)

ARRL “Clarity on Parity” video.  (ARRL story)  (Video)

Congress.gov HR1301 status page.

Congress.gov S1685 status page.




SKYWARN Training: The National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office (NWSIWX) will be conducting SKYWARN Spotter Training in Hillsdale County on March 14, 2016 at 7pm.  Training will be held at Hillsdale College Phillips Auditorium, 309 N West in Hillsdale (map).  Click here to complete the required registration.  Click here to view the schedule of all sessions being offered by the NWSIWX office.


Meeting Programs: We are always looking for interesting ideas for meeting programs.  It doesn’t always have to be about ham radio.  It could be something community related or maybe you know somebody that would be an interesting speaker.  If you have ideas for programs or are willing to present something yourself, contact a member of club leadership.


Microsoft Windows 10: Free upgrades began downloading on July 29, 2015.  The free upgrade is available for a year.  Microsoft hopes to encourage customers to embrace its new operating system by offering a free refresh for multiple devices.  Click here to read the latest updates from Digital Trends.



Upcoming Events

January 6 Board Meeting

January 9 Ham Breakfast

January 9 – Club Meetings (regular and annual)

January 24 – Hazel Park W8HP 50th Annual Swap

February 3 Board Meeting

February 13 Ham Breakfast

February 21 – Livonia ARC's 45th Annual Swap & Shop

March 14 – NWS SKYWARN Spotter Training (registration required)


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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