Hillsdale Communicator

May 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Thursday, May 19 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Park in city lot F and use the east entrance off the alley and follow the signs.  This month the program will be the video that describes how members of the Potomac Valley Radio Club and Columbia Amateur Radio Association assemble an awesome Field Day operation, with phone, CW and digital in all bands, satellite, VHF/UHF and all the bonus points a group can rack up.  Everyone welcome!


The April club meeting featured a video about building a 2-meter PVC loop antenna.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, May 14 at 8am at the Sidekick Cafe, 4682 Hudson Road in Osseo (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.


Seven hearty and hungry hams braved icy roads and unseasonable winter weather to attend breakfast at Ray's Tavern in Reading on April 11.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 15 as of April 30.  No activity in April.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests welcome.



Amateur Radio Volunteers Needed For CAA Head Start Picnic

The Community Action Agency (CAA) Head Start Picnic is Friday, May 20.  Amateur Radio volunteers with HTs are needed from 10:30am to 1:30pm to work the parking lot detail.  We’ve worked this event for the last several years and had lots of fun.  Free lunch is available to volunteers.  CAA is located at 55 Barnard in Hillsdale (map).  This is a weekday and many people are working, so if you are available we really need your help.  Check with your employer to see if they provide time off for community service.  Also note that May 20 is the first day of the Dayton Hamvention.  To volunteer, sign up here.  If you're not working an you're not going to Dayton, we need your help!



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.



Field Day June 25-26

Field Day is coming up on June 25-26.  We are planning on holding Field Day at the home of Dan Sprow KC8RYF, 3671 Bankers Road in Hillsdale (map).  There will be a planning session in June.  We need as many people as possible to help with the setup and to operate.  The 2016 ARRL Field Day Packet now is available to download as a PDF file.  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.  Mark your calendar!



911/Central Dispatch Breaks Ground On New Building

Local leaders and residents gathered in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park on April 5 as Hillsdale County broke ground on a new 911/Central Dispatch Center building.  The site is on Development Drive near the water tower (map).  The facility is expected to be complete by the fall.  (Hillsdale Watch post)



Club Meeting Location Hit By Lightning

Lightning struck the steeple and bell tower of the Hillsdale First United Methodist Church, site of many club meetings, during an overnight storm on March 16.  The church building suffered external damage to the steeple and bell tower and several electrical devices in the building were damaged.  (Church newsletter article)  (Photos 3/17  4/11  4/12



Members Participate In Antenna Build Session

Four club members built 3-element tape measure Yagi antennas at a session sponsored by the Branch County Amateur Radio Club on April 23.  These antennas are widely used for amateur radio foxhunting exercises.  President Don Gambill KC8WAU, Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF, Treasurer Joe Gosla KD8UJS and club member Bill Ona KA8WBR all successfully built antennas.  Pictures here and here.



BCARC To Actvate NPOTA Station At Baw Beese Lake

The Branch County Amateur Radio Club (BCARC) plans to activate a station on the North Country Trail at Baw Beese Lake as part of the yearlong ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event.  They have invited Hillsdale County amateurs to participate in the station activation that will take place June 4-5.  More details to follow.



Silent Keys

Gregg Shiroda KB8RBD of Romulus became a Silent Key on April 6.  Gregg was the father-in-law of Andy Sprow KB9YJH, who is the son of club Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF.  Gregg participated in our Field Day event in 2014.


Julie McLain KB8ZXR of Holt became a Silent Key on April 7.  Julie was president of the Central Michigan Amateur Radio Club and organized the CMARC Outdoor Hamfest, as well as being net control on popular Mid-Michigan nets.


John Sterling KD8HO of Jerome became a Silent Key on April 7.  Click here to view the obituary.



SMART Bus To Dayton Hamvention CANCELED

The Southwest Michigan Amateur Radio Team (SMART) in Kalamazoo was planning to sponsor a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on May 21.  According to information on their website, the trip has been canceled due to insufficient signups.  (Flyer)



FCC Invites Comments On Petition On Amplifier Gain Limits

The FCC has put on public notice and invited comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11767), filed on behalf of an amateur amplifier distributor, which seeks to revise the Amateur Service rules regarding maximum permissible amplifier gain.  Expert Linears America LLC of Magnolia, Texas, which distributes linears manufactured by SPE in Italy, wants the FCC to eliminate the 15 dB gain limitation on amateur amplifiers.  Experts assert that there should be no gain limitation at all on amplifiers sold or used in the Amateur Service.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

None in April.



Weather Summary

After a warmer than normal March, April temps were about normal.  Daily highs were about a degree below average, with daily lows about a degree above normal.  Snow for the month was 6.8 inches, bringing the season total to 52.0 inches.  The table shows a summary for Hillsdale City created with data from Accuweather.com and local measurements.  Total unofficial snowfall in Hillsdale for winter 2014-2015 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


6.8 / Trace

56.2 / 59.7

36.6 / 37.8

0 / 0

Season Totals

52.0 / 40.3

45.6 / 38.6

29.8 / 22.6

0 / 3






Current Season / Last Season



PRB-1 Legislative Update

HR1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, has 125 cosponsors as of April 30, up from 123 on March 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, has three cosponsors as of April 30, unchanged from March 31, up from one on October 31.  The club has collected 23 pairs of signed letters to Michigan’s senators urging them to support the bill.


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)

HR1301 status page  

S1685 status page




Hillsdale County Emergency Management: 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.


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

May 4 Board Meeting

May 14 Ham Breakfast

May 19 Club Meeting

May 20 – Community Action Agency Head Start Picnic (volunteer here)

May 20-22 – Dayton Hamvention

June 1 Board Meeting

June 4 – Fulton County ARC Outdoor Flea Market and Hamfest

June 11 Ham Breakfast

June 19 – Monroe Hamfest

June 25-26 – Field Day

July 8-9 – ARRL Michigan Section Summer Family Outing


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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