Hillsdale Communicator

April 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Thursday, April 21 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Park in city lot F and use the east entrance off the alley and follow the signs.  Everyone welcome!


There was no club meeting in March.  Instead, several hams attended a SKYWARN Spotter Training session presented by the National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 9 at 8am at Ray's Tavern, 114 S Main in Reading (map).  Even though Ray’s has been around for a long time, this will be our first time there for breakfast.  Come and join us.


The March ham breakfast was held at Yesterday's Diner in Litchfield and was attended by seven hams.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 20 as of March 31.  There was one new member and one renewal in March.  Five members from 2015 did not renew before the grace period ended on March 31, leaving 15 members as of April 1.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 6 at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests 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.




Congratulations to Corey Cadoo KD8QHD of Pittsford for passing his element 3 test and being granted General privileges on March 31.



SKYWARN Spotter Training Session Held

The National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office (NWSIWX) conducted SKYWARN Spotter Training in Hillsdale County on March 14.  Training was held at Hillsdale College Phillips Auditorium.  About 75 people attended, mostly emergency responders and including 11 amateurs.  This was the first time NWSIWX had presented this training in Hillsdale County since 2012.



Hillsdale County Emergency Management Update

The first tornado siren test of the season was held on March 7.  Several HCEM volunteers attended SKYWARN Spotter Training on March 14.  HCEM is always looking for volunteers, either to join the group or just to monitor the monthly tornado siren test.  Contact the HCEM office if you are interested.  Meetings and siren tests are normally held on the first Monday of the month in the evening, March through October, with a few exceptions.



Severe Weather Awareness Week

April 10-16 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.  Click to visit the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website or Facebook page.



Senior Center Installs Generator

The Hillsdale County Senior Services Center recently installed a large emergency generator.  Over $200K was raised for the purchase and installation of the unit, including gifts from the Weatherwax Foundation, the Hillsdale County Community Foundation and individual donors.  With the installation of the generator the Senior Center is now recognized as an American Red Cross Emergency Disaster Relief site.  (Facebook post)



Field Day Packet Available, New Bonus Point Categories Announced

The 2016 ARRL Field Day Packet now is available to download as a PDF file.  This year’s Field Day introduces two new ways to score bonus points, Social Media and Safety Officer.  Last year, 2720 stations submitted ARRL Field Day entries.  Nearly 1.3 million contacts were logged during FD 2015, an increase of just over 1 percent.  There were 35,369 individuals taking part in Field Day last year.  Field Day is always held on the fourth full weekend in June.  Mark your calendar!  (ARRL story)



Antenna Build Session Scheduled

The Branch County Amateur Radio Club is sponsoring a foxhunter’s antenna build on April 23 at 9am at the H&C Burnside Senior Center, 65 Grahl Drive in Coldwater (map).  The antenna being built is a 3-element tape measure Yagi, similar to the one pictured here, and will include BNC feedline that will be soldered in place to connect to your radio or attenuator.  The basic antenna, complete with matching device and feedline terminated with a BNC connector will cost $10 each for the parts.  Contact Larry Camp WB8R at l.camp@charter.net if interested.



Heil Sound Celebrating 50th Anniversary

Heil Sound, a name that’s probably synonymous within the Amateur Radio community for its microphones and “boom set” microphone/headset combinations, is marking its 50th anniversary this year.  Heil Sound came into being in 1966 as Ye Olde Music Shoppe, a music store in Marissa, Illinois, the home town of its founder Bob Heil K9EID.  A commemorative series of interviews highlighting the history of Heil Sound also debuted with the new year.  (ARRL story)



RFinder Now Includes Coverage Maps

RFinder announced that through a new strategic alliance with CloudRF, users will now have coverage maps for all repeaters on earth.  “Our systems are busy rendering and indexing coverage maps based on ground path loss using the Longley-Rice irregular terrain model,” said Bob Greenberg W2CYK, creator of RFinder, The Worldwide Repeater Directory.  “We have worked with Alex Farrant M6ZUJ, creator of CloudRF.com, to render coverage maps for nearly the entire collection of repeaters in RFinder's database.”  (ARRL story)



Comedian, Actor Garry Shandling Ex-KD6OY, SK

Comedian, actor, and TV personality Garry Shandling, ex-KD6OY, died March 24 after suffering an apparent heart attack in Los Angeles.  Shandling became a ham as a teenager in the 1960s.  Shandling had tweeted in 2011 “When I was 13 I had a ham radio set...so I could sit in my room and talk to people the world-over.”   His most recent Amateur Radio license KQ6KA, issued to him under a pseudonym, Dave Waddell, expired in August 2009.  Shandling had held an Advanced class license.  Prior to that, he held KD6OY under his real name, as well as WA7BKG, which may have been his first call sign while he was living in Arizona.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

03/11/16 KE0TCA, ARNOLD, TERRY C, issued vanity call sign, previously KE0FVB, address updated from out of county.



03/23/16 WB8NDZ, Shearer, Samuel J, license status set to expired (SK 10/24/14)

03/31/16 KD8QHD, CADOO, COREY D, upgraded to General from Technician



Public Service Activities

Puerto Rico Tsunami Exercise: Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in Puerto Rico for the second year took part in the annual Caribe Wave exercise, a tsunami-preparation communication drill undertaken on different dates on the US East Coast, Canada, on the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean Basin.  The object of Caribe Wave is to test the reliability of communication systems and protocols among tsunami alert centers and to help emergency management agencies to improve their preparedness to execute a tsunami alert.  (ARRL story)


Florida Nuclear Plant Exercise: ARES teams from five Florida counties took part in a February 24 exercise at the St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Hutchinson Island in Jensen Beach.  The plant is required to hold a exercise every 2 years to test and evaluate the responses of plant personnel, law enforcement, emergency managers, and communication personnel in the event of an emergency, such as a radiation release.  The 2016 scenario involved overloaded and unusable public telecommunication systems.  In a real emergency, ARES volunteers would provide radio communication among the county emergency operations centers and other critical entities and locations.  (ARRL story)



Emergency Activities

Louisiana Flooding: Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and SKYWARN volunteers in Louisiana assisted the National Weather Service (NWS) as record-setting rainfall led to severe and widespread flooding.  Region 7 District Emergency Coordinator John Mark Robertson K5JMR, in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, said Amateur Radio involvement began on March 8, when the NWS-Shreveport Office requested a SKYWARN activation during a tornado watch.  (ARRL story)



Weather Summary

March was a warm month, with daily highs and lows about 8 degrees above last year.  Snow for the month was 8.1 inches, bringing the season total to 45.2 inches.  The April forecast is for temperatures slightly cooler than last year and little 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


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


8.1 / 2.3

50.5 / 42.3

33.0 / 24.2

0 / 0

Season to Date Totals

45.2 / 40.3

43.5 / 34.4

28.5 / 19.5

0 / 3






Current Season / Last Season

April Forecast vs Last Year Actual

0.3 / Trace

56.9 / 59.7

36.7 / 37.8

0 / 0



PRB-1 Update

HR1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 has 123 cosponsors as of March 31, unchanged from February 29, 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 March 31, unchanged from February 29.


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.




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)


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 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.


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

April 6 Board Meeting

April 9 Ham Breakfast

April 16 – Michigan QSO Party

April 21 Club Meeting

May 4 Board Meeting

May 14 Ham Breakfast

May 19 Club Meeting

May 20-22 – Dayton Hamvention

June 25-26 – Field Day


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