Hillsdale Communicator

March 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be April 21.  There will not be a club meeting in March due to NWS Spotter Training on March 14.


Five members attended the club meeting in February, held at the Coffee Shop in North Adams.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, March 12 at 8am at Yesterday's Diner, 119 Marshall Street in Litchfield (map).  This will be our first time there as the restaurant just opened a few months ago.  The restaurant is located in what for many years was Kasey’s, and for a short time the Litchfield Diner.


The February ham breakfast was held at the Coffee Shop in North Adams and was attended by six members.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 19 as of February 29.  There was one new member and no 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.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 2 at 6pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All members welcome.



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.



SKYWARN Training March 14

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.



Election Day March 8

Tuesday, March 8 is Primary Election Day in Michigan.  The election features the primary election for President, and there be more items in your precinct.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to see if you are registered and generate a sample ballot.



ARRL Signs Memorandum Of Understanding With Red Cross

The ARRL and the American Red Cross have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).  The document, signed in January, succeeds one agreed to in 2010; it will remain in place for the next 5 years.  The MoU spells out how League Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers will interface with the Red Cross in the event that ARES teams are asked by the Red Cross to assist in a disaster or emergency response.  (ARRL story)



New Amateur Extra Question Pool Available

The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) has released the 2016-2020 Element 4 (Amateur Extra) question pool.  The pool will take effect on July 1, 2016, and will remain valid until June 30, 2020.  The current Amateur Extra question pool, released in 2012, is valid until June 30, 2016.  (ARRL story)



US Amateur Radio Numbers Continue To Soar 

Amateur Radio license growth in the US continued in 2015, with a record 735,405 licensees in the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) database by the end of the year.  That’s up 9,130 over December 2014, a 1.2 percent rise, continuing a steady increase in the Amateur Radio population in every year since 2007.  The figures, compiled by Joe Speroni AH0A, on his FCC Amateur Radio Statistics web pages, exclude expired licenses that are within the 2-year grace period, and club station licenses.  (ARRL story)



ARROW Sponsoring Bus To Dayton Hamvention

ARROW Communications Association is sponsoring a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday, May 21.  The cost for the round trip is $65 ($60 before April 1) and includes the bus ride from Ann Arbor, continental breakfast, the right to sell your stuff from the ARROW attended booth space in the flea market and the opportunity to win one of many ARROW door prizes.  Click here for more details.  Please note that this does not include the Hamvention ticket.



FCC Invites Comments On ARRL Petition That Seeks 80/75 Meter Adjustments

The FCC has put the ARRL’s January Petition for Rule Making (RM 11759) on public notice and invited interested parties to comment on what the League has called “minimal but necessary changes” to 80 and 75 meters.  The ARRL petitioned the FCC to fix a “shortfall in available RTTY/data spectrum” that the Commission created when it reapportioned 80 and 75 meters 10 years ago.  (ARRL story)



FCC Seeks Comments On Petition To Grant Lifetime Amateur Radio Licenses

The FCC is seeking comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM 11760) that asks the FCC to grant lifetime Amateur Radio licenses.  An Arizona ham filed the request with the FCC last November.  He wants the FCC to revise section 97.25 of its rules to indicate that Amateur Radio licenses are granted for the holder’s lifetime, instead of for the current 10 year term.  He also noted that the General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) already is issued on a lifetime basis, and he maintained that not having to renew licenses would lighten the FCC’s workload.  (ARRL story)



“Frequency” TV Series Now Planned For CW Network

The buzz from Hollywood is that a TV series based on the 2000 movie “Frequency” now is in development on the CW network.  Amateur Radio served as a plot device in the movie and will do the same in the TV series.  In November 2014, The Hollywood Reporter indicated that NBC had committed to a “Frequency” series, but those plans apparently fell by the wayside.  Now, the CW has ordered a pilot episode of “Frequency,” and if the network does go forward with the project, the modern-day version of “Frequency” the TV series would feature a young female police detective who uses ham radio to communicate through time with her deceased father.  (ARRL story)  (2014 story)



Entire Popular Science Magazine Archive Now Available

The entire 140-year oeuvre of Popular Science magazine has been archived for free browsing, thanks to a partnership with Google.  Popular Science includes some Amateur Radio-related articles, such as “You Can Talk Around the World” in the January 1932 edition, “Thousands of Radio Amateurs Find it Easy to Learn Morse Code” from the March 1932 edition, and “The Hams Join Up” from the November 1941 edition.  Many other articles deal with radio and radio repair as well as do-it-yourself electronics projects.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

02/05/16 WB8FFO, Hicks Jr, William, license renewed

02/10/16 KB9NNT, AGNEW, BYRON L, license renewed



Weather Summary

February was a warmer than last year, with daily highs about 15 degrees higher and daily lows about 19 degrees higher.  Snow for the month was 16.3 inches, bringing the season total to 37.1 inches.  The March forecast is for higher temperatures than last year and about 8 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


16.3 / 25.8

36.8 / 21.9

21.4 / 2.7

0 / 1

Season to Date Totals

37.1 / 38.0

41.7 / 32.4

27.3 / 18.3

0 / 3






Current Season / Last Season

March Forecast vs Last Year Actual

8.1 / 2.3

44.5 / 42.3

27.1 / 24.2

0 / 0



PRB-1 Update

The US House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology sent the Amateur Radio Parity Act, HR 1301, to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee with a favorable report for further consideration during a February 11 "markup" session.  The Subcommittee is chaired by Rep Greg Walden W7EQI (R-OR).  (ARRL story)


The Community Association Institute (CAI) says the Amateur Radio Parity Act is “unnecessary” because the Federal Communications Commission has said it will not get involved with Home Owner Association (HOA) rules that, says the FCC, are “contractual agreements between private parties.”  HOAs, says CAI, are concerned with the outdoor antennas that amateur radio equipment requires, even though it can be no more than a stretch of wire.  CAI says its members oppose the legislation “because they support the preservation of the community association model of allowing neighbors to create reasonable rules for their neighborhoods.”  (Loop North News story)


HR1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 now has 123 cosponsors as of February 29, up from 118 on January 31, and including Tim Walberg of Michigan's 7th district, which includes Hillsdale County.


S1685, the Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill has three cosponsors as of February 29, unchanged from January 31.


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.


ARRL National Parks On The Air Event: The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 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.  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.  (ARRL story)  (NPOTA website)  Click here for more detailed information about the contest from ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R.


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

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

April 6 Board Meeting

April 9 Ham Breakfast

April 16 – Michigan QSO Party

April 21 Club Meeting

May 20-22 – Dayton Hamvention


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