Hillsdale Communicator

February 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meeting & Ham Breakfast

The next club meeting and ham breakfast will be Saturday, February 13 at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  Breakfast will be at 8am followed by the club meeting, which will start no earlier than 8:45am.  We hope to increase attendance by offering a twofer.  Come for breakfast at 8am and stay for the meeting, or just come for one or the other.


There will not be a club meeting in March due to NWS Spotter Training on March 14.


Seven members attended the combination ham breakfast and club meeting in January at the Coffee Shop in North Adams.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 3 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 January 31.  No new members and six renewals during the month.  Twelve members have renewed for 2016.  Six members have not yet renewed and are in the grace period, which ends March 31.



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.



Club Leadership Position Available

One club leadership position remains open.  The Secretary position had no nominations during annual elections last year or subsequent special elections.  Those interested should check the club constitution on our website for information about officer duties and election procedures.  Feel free to contact any of the current club leadership for more information.  A special election will be held at the next club meeting to fill the position.



Hillsdale County Active Licenses Decrease In 2015 

There were 131 active amateur radio licenses in Hillsdale County at the end of the year, based on data pulled from the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS).  This is down from last years total of 135.  Keep in mind that an active license doesn’t necessarily mean an active ham.  FCC ULS active licenses may include Silent Keys, hams that have moved out of the county and not updated their address and inactive hams.  Also included in the active total are 12 licenses that are within the two-year grace period for renewal.  Not included in the total are any hams that moved into the county and did not update their address in the ULS.  Click here to view a map of active licenses.


FCC ULS 2015 Activity In Hillsdale County

New License *


Moved Into County *


License Upgraded


License Renewed


Address Updated Within County


Issued Vanity Call Sign


Moved Out Of County *


License Expired *


Net Change (includes * items)




ARRL Michigan Section Has New Website

The ARRL Michigan Section has a new website.  According to Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R “The plan is to maintain a portal to all things Michigan ARRL and to provide space for the Section Staff to communicate with the hams of Michigan, as well as an opportunity for you to communicate with them.  We expect the website to be continuously evolving and improving over time.  All constructive comments are welcome.”  (ARRL Michigan Section website)



Michigan's National Parks Shatter Visitor Records In 2015

Michigan's national parks enjoyed a record-breaking year for visitors in 2015, despite a devastating summer windstorm.  Officials said factors contributing to the new records include lower gas prices and warmer weather in the fall than usual and that promotional campaigns by Pure Michigan also have been effective.  (Mlive story)  The ARRL is sponsoring the National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event to celebrate the National Park System centennial celebration.  (ARRL story)  (NPOTA website)  Click here for more detailed information about the contest from ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R.



Northern Indiana Hams Activate NWS Office For SKYWARN Recognition Day

Fourteen operators from various northern Indiana Amateur Radio clubs collaborated to activate the National Weather Service office in North Webster for the 17th annual SKYWARN Recognition Day on December 5.  The event was organized by the Fort Wayne Radio Club.  The final QSO count of 181 total contacts included 46 other NWS offices.  (ARRL ARES E-Letter story)



ARRL Leadership Changes

The ARRL Board of Directors elected ARRL Rick Roderick K5UR, of Little Rock, Arkansas, as the ARRL’s next president.  The Board took the action as it convened for its 2016 Annual Meeting January 15-16 in Windsor, Connecticut.  Roderick, 63, officially assumed office for a 2 year term at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.  He is the ARRL’s 16th president, succeeding Kay Craigie N3KN, of Blacksburg, Virginia, who served for three terms.  (ARRL story)  Tom Gallagher NY2RF, of West Palm Beach, Florida, will succeed David Sumner K1ZZ, as the chief executive officer of ARRL, effective April 18.  In that role, he will oversee all activities at ARRL HQ.  (ARRL story)



New FCC Website Makes It Easy For Hams To File RFI Claims

The FCC has made it easier for radio amateurs to file their RF interference and other complaints, thanks to a new feature of the FCC’s recently redesigned website.  The addition was made at the ARRL’s request.  Hams have always been able to file such complaints, but when a new system geared largely to consumers came online a year ago, they lost the ability to do so via e-mail to a dedicated address.  (ARRL story)  (FCC complaint site)



Congressman Intercedes With FCC Chairman On Amateur RFI Concerns

New York Congressman Peter King has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to put some Enforcement Bureau heat on those interfering with various radio communication services, including Amateur Radio, in the New York City Metropolitan Area.  While visiting Capitol Hill to promote the Amateur Radio Parity Act, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco N2YBB, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, recently met with King, a Republican representing New York’s 2nd District, to discuss the interference issue.  King is among the original cosponsors of the Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 1301) in the US House.  (ARRL story)



“Official” P5/3Z9DX North Korea Activation Now Set For This Summer

Following an unexpected “demonstration” operation from North Korea just before Christmas, Polish DXer Dom Grzyb 3Z9DX now expects to be back for his “official” activation by late this summer.  He initially had anticipated returning this month or next.  P5/3Z9DX showed up on the air from the most-wanted DXCC entity on December 20 and 21.  Over the course of that activation he made nearly 785 SSB contacts, most of them on 15 meters.  He has posted his log on ClubLog.  (ARRL story)  (Previous ARRL story)



Ham Radio Operator Asked To Take Down Tower

A Biddeford, Maine ham said he plans to sue the city for harassment in regards to a radio tower he was forced to remove.  Karl Reed KB1NZQ said the city violated his First Amendment rights and failed to give him due process when it threatened to fine his landlord $2,500 a day if the tower was not removed.  Reed claims that federally licensed amateur radio operators are exempt from zoning ordinances as long as the towers used are less than 35 feet in height.  “Federal laws supersede these state and zoning rules,” Reed said.  (Biddeford Courier story)



Dishtronix Purchases Ten-Tec Assets

Dishtronix, an electronics design and manufacturing company, has purchased the assets of Amateur Radio equipment manufacturer TEN-TEC from RKR Designs.  Headquartered in Bellefontaine, Ohio, Dishtronix manufactures and markets the “Prometheus” solid-state Amateur Radio amplifier, among other products.  No formal announcement has been made by either company and details of the purchase are still being finalized.  (ARRL story)  RKR Designs announced last April 2 that it had acquired the assets of TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers from RF Concepts, less than 1 year after the two lines had merged under the RF Concepts brand in an asset sale.  (ARRL story)



Ramsey Kits Calls It Quits

After more than 40 years as a purveyor of inexpensive electronics kits for hobbyists, the Ramsey Hobby Kits group has thrown in the towel, effective on January 1.  The Ramsey RF Test Equipment Group is unaffected by this change.  The Victor, New York, company sold a wide array of hobby kits over the years, starting with its LED Blinky kit in the 1970s and eventually including simple ham radio transmitters and receivers, aircraft band receivers, and other devices.  Ramsey kits were frequently available at hamfests.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

03/21/15 N8HAA Robert S Ball address updated to out of county ***

01/11/16 KE8CLE, Fogarty, Edwin C, upgraded to Amateur Extra from General

01/29/16 KC8YYH, ROBERTS, JEFFERY L, license status set to expired


*** Not previously reported.



Emergency Activities

Missouri Flooding: Amateur Radio operators put their skills to work during historic flooding in the greater St.  Louis area.  ARES volunteers from three counties contributed extensive time, talent and equipment to emergency efforts.  According to Bill Grimsbo N0PNP, District C Emergency Coordinator, "More than one hundred and seventy hours of volunteer service on the part of Amateur Radio volunteers working with response agencies were invested in District C during this emergency.  (ARRL ARES E-Letter story)


East Coast Winter Storm: Amateur Radio volunteers were at the ready as a winter storm of historic proportions over the January 23-24 weekend dropped up to 3-1/2 feet of snow, some of it on states not used to seeing much snow at all.  Utility line icing caused power outages in some states, and flooding occurred along coastal areas.  The storm brought major East Coast cities to their knees, and some 30 deaths were blamed on the severe weather.  (ARRL story)



Weather Summary

January was a warm month, with average daily highs about 10 degrees above last year and daily lows about 16 degrees higher than 2015.  Snow for the month was 7.9 inches, bringing the season total to 20.8 inches.  The February forecast is for higher temperatures than last year and about 16 inches of show.  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


7.9 / 8.6

31.7 / 27.8

18.8 / 14.9

0 / 0

Season to Date Totals

20.8 / 12.2

43.2 / 35.6

29.2 / 23.1

0 / 2






Current Season / Last Season

February Forecast vs Last Year Actual

15.9 / 25.8

33.2 / 21.9

18.8 / 2.7

0 / 1



PRB-1 Update

During a January 12 Capitol Hill hearing, US House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Rep Greg Walden W7EQI (R-OR), called the Amateur Radio Parity Act “a commonsense bill” and urged his colleagues to support it.  HR 1301 was one of four telecommunications bills that came before his panel.  “As a ham radio operator, I’m acutely aware of the passion that Amateur Radio operators have for their service,” Walden told the subcommittee.  “Despite its widespread use and importance in times of emergencies, land-use restrictions in some areas have prioritized esthetics over the rights of hams.  (ARRL story)


HR 1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 now has 118 cosponsors as of January 31, up from 116 on December 31, and including Tim Walberg of Michigan's 7th district, which includes Hillsdale County.


S 1685, the Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill has three cosponsors as of January 31, unchanged from December 31.  Twenty-one pairs of letters have been sent to the ARRL for delivery to the senators.


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.




Monday Night Net Certificate: 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.


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.  Club Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF leads the effort to arrange meeting programs for the club.  If you have ideas for programs or are willing to present something yourself, contact Dan or any 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

February 3 Board Meeting

February 13 Ham Breakfast & Club Meeting

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

March 2 Board Meeting

March 12 Ham Breakfast

March 14 – NWS SKYWARN Spotter Training (registration required)

March 19 – Crossroads Hamfest (Kalamazoo)

March 20 – Toledo Hamfest


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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