Hillsdale Communicator

July 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Amateur Radio Technician License One Day Study Class & Exam Session

The club is pleased to announce that we will be conducting a one-day study class and exam session.  If you, or someone you know, has dreamed of carrying on a conversation over the airwaves with someone half way around the globe, being an integral part of a communications team in a major emergency, reporting the approach of severe weather or just spending drive time talking with friends on your mobile radio, this is your opportunity to realize that dream.  The Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club invites you to join with almost three quarters of a million others in the USA who are enjoying this timeless and constantly changing pastime.  There are no age restrictions and Morse Code is no longer required to get licensed.  The class and exam session will be held on August 27, with an orientation meeting on July 23 and an Elmer (mentoring) session on August 20.  Click here for more information and to register.



Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Thursday, July 21 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.  Everyone welcome!


There was no club meeting in June.



Ham Breakfast

The next ham breakfast will be Saturday, July 9 at 8am at Yesterday's Diner, 119 Marshall Street in Litchfield (map).  Come join us for good food and conversation.


The June ham breakfast was held at the Coffee Shop in North Adams and was attended by seven hams.



Membership Report

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



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 6 at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North 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.



Field Day Roundup

Field Day was held at Sprow Tax & Accounting.  We ran 3 stations and made 160 contacts on 20, 40 and 80 meters.  Rachel Sprow KD9BJR made 78 contacts.  Check the club website Field Day page for a scoring summary.  Thanks to everyone that participated and especially to Dan Sprow KC8RYF and Brenda Sprow for hosting the event.



Monday Night Net Certificate

Congratulations to Bill Hicks WB8FFO for becoming the first to qualify for an award certificate 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 certificate will be awarded to participants that attain at least 75 points during 2016.  There is still time for amateurs, especially club members, to attain enough points to qualify before the end of the year.  Serving as net control earns extra points.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of the club website.



Hillsdale County Central Dispatch 911 Construction Update

Construction continues on the new Central Dispatch 911 building in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park.  Gas and water lines are run to the building, as well as buried conduits for phone and electric service.  Electricians, plumbers, drywallers, heating and A/C installers are all busy inside.  Exterior work will continue as soon as the steel roofing and brick is delivered.  The work is proceeding on schedule.  The new site is located at 204 Development Drive (map).



Election Day August 2

Tuesday, August 2 is Primary Election Day in Michigan.  The election features candidates for federal and state representatives, as well as several offices at the county level.  This primary election is especially important at the county level because in almost every office there are multiple Republicans running and no Democrats, so the winner of the Republican primary moves on to run unopposed in the November general election.  There may be additional ballot items in your precinct.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to see if there is an election in your community, check to see if you are registered and generate a sample ballot.



Governor Proclaims Amateur Radio Week In Michigan

In conjunction with Field Day, Michigan Governor Rick Synder proclaimed the week of June 20-26 as Amateur Radio Week in Michigan.  Click here to read the proclamation.



New Amateur Extra Question Pool Starts July 1

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 took effect on July 1, and will remain valid until June 30, 2020.  The previous Amateur Extra question pool, released in 2012, is no longer valid after June 30.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Now Offering New Patch Program For Girls Scouts

The ARRL is now offering a new Girl Scouts Radio and Wireless Technology patch program that offers opportunities for participants to learn about wireless technology, including Amateur Radio.  Scout leaders and Amateur Radio volunteers associated with the Greater Atlanta Girl Scout Council, and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains developed the program to incorporate information and exploratory activities that provide a backdrop for understanding radio communication.  The program will encourage Girl Scouts to take on activities in which they will gain knowledge and skills, as well as kindle an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers.  (ARRL story)



US Takes Step In Ceding Control Of Internet Addresses

The U.S.  government is taking a key step in relinquishing control of the internet’s addressing system, fulfilling a promise made in the 1990s.  The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration said June 8 that it endorses a March proposal to turn full control over to a private international organization.  All that remains is completing some contracts and operational testing.  That’s expected to be done in the coming months.  The addressing system, including the assignment of internet suffixes such as “.com” and “.org”, has already been managed by a private organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  (Detroit News story)



Polish DXer 3Z9DX Ready To Return To North Korea On Short Notice

Following a surprise “demonstration” operation from North Korea in December (ARRL story), Polish DXer Dom Grzyb 3Z9DX is eagerly awaiting the call that will allow him to return for another brief activation.  Just when could be anytime.  DX-World and The Daily DX report that Grzyb has received confirmation that North Korea will authorize a 5-day operation, and he is ready to roll as soon as he gets word.  DX World reported that no notice would be given prior to the P5/3Z9DX activation.  (ARRL story)



FCC Transitions To New Electronic Comment Filing System

The FCC transitioned to a new Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) on June 20.  This was a hard launch and the legacy system is no longer available.  All documents in the legacy system are accessible in the new system, and saved links (bookmarks or favorites) to documents and proceedings should not need to be adjusted.  This modernization project is expected to significantly improve the resiliency and performance of ECFS.  (ARRL story)



FCC Technological Advisory Council Initiates Noise Floor Inquiry

Radio amateurs frequently complain about increasing noise from a variety of sources, so it should be welcome news that the FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) is investigating changes and trends to the radio spectrum noise floor to determine if there is an increasing noise problem.  The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announced the TAC study this week in a Public Notice and invited comments and answers to questions that the TAC has posed in the notice.  The comment deadline is August 11.  The TAC said it is trying to determine the scope of any noise issues.  (ARRL story)



FCC Says No To Lifetime Amateur Radio Licenses

The FCC has denied the petition of an Arizona radio amateur who had petitioned for lifetime Amateur Radio licenses.  The Petition for Rule Making (RM 11760) was filed with the FCC last November, and the FCC invited public comments in February.  The petition asked the FCC to revise Amateur Radio rules to grant licenses for the holder’s lifetime, instead of for the current 10-year term.  Hundreds of radio amateurs commented on the petition.  (ARRL story)  (Read comments)



Confirmed Tornado In Maryland Downs Tower

A confirmed EF-0 tornado touched down for up to 20 minutes in Maryland, taking down a tall AB-105 tower at the contest superstation of Frank Donovan W3LPL.  The tornado was just part of a spate of strong storms to hit the region, dumping heavy rain that caused flooding, and high winds that toppled trees and utility poles.  Donovan’s station is one of the premier multi-multi contest sites in the US.  (ARRL story)



Radio Ham In Fatal Fall From Tower

Well-known DXer and DXpeditioner Milt Jensen N5IA, of Virden, New Mexico, died June 9 after falling from an Amateur Radio tower.  According to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Jensen was working on a tower on Arizona’s Mount Lemmon when he fell.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

06/24/16 W8SND, Osborne, Thomas, phone number and email address updated



PRB-1 Legislative Update (Antenna Accommodation Legislation)

HR1301, The Amateur Radio Parity Act, was among five bills that the US House Energy and Commerce Committee had scheduled for a full committee markup.  The markup session had been scheduled for June 23, but it was postponed after the committee, with most members absent, convened on June 22 for about 10 minutes to hear opening statements.  The panel will meet again in July for the markup session.  The committee, chaired by Michigan’s Fred Upton (R), will consider amended language recently agreed to by the ARRL and the Community Associations Institute, the national association of homeowners associations.  (ARRL story)


HR1301, the House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, has 126 cosponsors as of June 30, unchanged from May 31, 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 June 30, unchanged from May 31.  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




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

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 23 – Organizational Meeting for Technician License One Day Study Class & Exam Session

July 30 – CMARC Outdoor Hamfest (Holt)

August 3 – Board Meeting

August 13 – Ham Breakfast

August 13 – Angola Hamfest

August 18 – Club Meeting

August 20 – Elmer Session for Technician License One Day Study Class & Exam Session

August 27 – Technician License One Day Study Class & Exam Session


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