Hillsdale Communicator

June 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be July 21.  Everyone welcome!  No meeting in June.


The May club meeting program featured the video "The Last Big Field Day", 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 about building a 2-meter PVC loop antenna.



Ham Breakfast

The next ham breakfast will be Saturday, June 11 at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  Breakfast will be at 8am followed by a Field Day planning session, which will start no earlier than 8:45am.


The May ham breakfast was held at the Sidekick Cafe in Osseo and was attended by seven hams.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 15 as of May 31.  No activity in May.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 8 at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests welcome.  The meeting is normally held on the first Wednesday of the month, but has been rescheduled this month due to a conflict with other activities at the church.



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 Sprow Tax & Accounting, 3671 Bankers Road in Hillsdale (map).  There will be a planning session in on June 11 at 8:45am at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  We need as many people as possible to help with the setup and to operate.


Don’t know what Field Day is?  Cick here for a Field Day primer.  Check out the ARRL Field Day web page and order your official ARRL Field Day gear here.  Last year over 35,000 people took part in Field Day logging nearly 1.3 million contacts.



Local Hams Support CROP Walk & CAA Head Start Picnic

Five hams provided volunteer services to the Hillsdale County CROP Walk held May 1.  Walkers started at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hillsdale and walked along the Baw Beese Trail for two miles to Sandy Beach before returning.  Amateur radio volunteers directed traffic to parking areas and monitored the trail, assisting walkers as necessary.  Thanks to amateur radio volunteers Don Gambill KC8WAU, Joe Gosla KD8UJS, Craig Moore KD8TKR, Tommy Palmer KD8WWW and Dan Sprow KC8RYF.


Over 500 people attended the Community Action Agency Head Start Picnic held May 20.  Amateur radio volunteers Don Gambill KC8WAU and Brett Smith KC8ZDA directed vehicles to parking spaces, maintaining an orderly flow of traffic throughout the event.



Hillsdale County Central Dispatch 911 Update

A new 190-foot communications tower was completed in Litchfield during the last month.  The tower will support Central Dispatch 911 communications that were previously serviced by antennas mounted on top of the Endicott Generating Station, which is being retired on June 1.  Central Dispatch 911 Director Doug Sanford N8WFB expressed gratitude to the Michigan South Central Power Agency for the use of the site at no charge for almost 20 years.  Pictured is the new tower viewed from the top of the power station.


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Work continues on the new Central Dispatch 911 building in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park.  The foundation and sub-floor are complete.  Styrofoam forms are being erected to support and insulate the cement walls that will be poured in a few days.  The roof trusses are on site to be installed once the walls are finished.  The water and sewer lines are run under and into the building.  The new site is located at 204 Development Drive (map).  Additional pictures are posted on the Central Dispatch 911 website.


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Congratulations to Rachel Sprow KD9BJR, who was granted her General privileges on May 20.  Rachel is the granddaughter of club Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF.



BCARC To Actvate NPOTA Station At Baw Beese Lake

The Branch County Amateur Radio Club (BCARC) will be activating a station on the North Country Trail at Sandy Beach on Baw Beese Lake as part of the 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.  The plan is to operate 2 stations, one on 40M SSB and one on 30M CW on battery power using about 50 watts.  Operations will be from approximately 9am to 5pm each day.  The will be using the Special Event Call Sign K8T.  Note that there is a $5 charge for a daily car pass to get to the beach or you can buy a $25 season pass.  The pass covers everyone in the car.



Dayton Hamvention

Another Dayton Hamvention is in the books.  Was Hamvention 2016 a hit?  The sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association and the various committees responsible for making Hamvention happen want to know.  Hamvention has posted a post-show Satisfaction Survey to solicit comments and observations from those who attended this year’s big show.  Click to read the ARRL daily summary stories for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Next year the Hamvention is scheduled for May 19-21.



Silent Keys

Jim Beckerich, ex-KC8WSR, of Hillsdale became a Silent Key on May 11.  Click here to view the obituary.


Dave Bell W6AQ, an award-winning Hollywood producer and ARRL benefactor, died on May 13.  Bell directed produced several ham radio-related promotional videos and films, including Amateur Radio Today, narrated by Walter Cronkite KB2GSD (SK), and The Ham’s Wide World, a TV documentary filmed in black and white.  (ARRL story



FCC Action Anticipated On ARRL’s “Symbol Rate” Petition

The FCC has put “on circulation” its decision on the ARRL’s petition seeking to change the Amateur Service Part 97 rules to delete the symbol rate limit and replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz.  Proceedings on circulation are pending action by the full Commission, although there is a current backlog, and FCC action is not likely in the near future.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Supports Petition To Drop Restriction For Amateur Amplifiers

The ARRL said it “strongly supports” a petition to the FCC seeking to eliminate an Amateur Service rule that amateur amplifiers not be able to boost the RF input signal by more than 15 dB.  The Petition for Rule Making (RM-11767) was submitted on behalf of amateur amplifier distributor Expert Linears America LLC.  (ARRL story)



MMSN Responds To Mayday Call From Stranded Vessel

The crew of a sailing vessel that foundered on a reef in the South Pacific in early May was safely rescued, thanks in part to the alert ear of Maritime Mobile Service Network (MMSN) member Russell Taylor AI6GV.  On May 3, Taylor monitored a “Mayday” call on 14.300 MHz from the Alaska-based Morning Dove, at the time some 200 miles northeast of French Polynesia.  The vessel’s captain Bruce Moroney KL3RK reported that the 46-foot ketch had become stuck on a reef and was unable to move.  The crew transmitted the Mayday distress call after the vessel began taking on water.  Taylor apprised the US Coast Guard of the situation and of the vessel’s position.  The French Navy subsequently dispatched a helicopter to the area within about 6 hours of the incident, airlifting the four unharmed crew members to safety.  (ARRL story)



Radars, Buoys And Broadcasters Continue To Mar Ham Bands

The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Monitoring System (IARUMS) April newsletter chronicles a plethora of intruding signals heard on exclusive Amateur Radio allocations in Europe and Africa, many of these also affecting the bands in IARU Regions 1 and 3.  The most significant interfering signals originate from over-the-horizon (OTH) radars in China and Russia and affect 40, 30, 20, and 15 meters.  The newsletter also recounts monitoring stations’ reports of voice traffic on several bands from fishing operations in various parts of the world, telemetry from marine buoys, and persistent taxi dispatching traffic from Russia on 10 meters.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

None in May.



PRB-1 Legislative Update

The ARRL has reached an agreement with the Community Associations Institute (CIA), the national association of homeowners associations, concerning amended language of the Amateur Radio Parity Act.  This will allow HR1301 to proceed to what is hoped will be passage of the bill in both houses of Congress this year.  (ARRL story)


HR1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, has 126 cosponsors as of May 31, up from 125 on April 30, 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 four cosponsors as of May 31, up from three on April 30.  The club has collected 24 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)


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

June 4 – Fulton County ARC Outdoor Flea Market and Hamfest

June 4 – Independent Repeater Association Hamfest (Hudsonville)

June 4-5 – NPOTA Activation at Baw Beese Lake

June 5 – Chelsea Hamfest

June 8 – Board Meeting (rescheduled from June 1)

June 11 – Ham Breakfast

June 19 – Monroe Hamfest

June 25-26 – Field Day

July 6 – Board Meeting

July 8-9 – ARRL Michigan Section Summer Family Outing

July 9 – Ham Breakfast

July 16 – Lowell AR Youth Club Hamfest

July 17 – Van Wert Hamfest

July 21 – Club Meeting

July 30 – CMARC Outdoor Hamfest (Holt)


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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