Hillsdale Communicator

August 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be September 15.  No meeting in August.


The July meeting program featured a demonstration of a Raspberry Pi kit computer running Linux.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, August 13 at 8am at Ray's Tavern, 14 S Main in Reading (map).  We last visited there in April and were met by unseasonable winter weather and icy roads.  Guaranteed no snow this time!  Everyone welcome.  Come and join us.


The July ham breakfast was held at Yesterday's Diner in Litchfield and was attended by five members.



Membership Report

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



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 3 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.



Monday Night Net Certificate

Congratulations to Joe Gosla KD8UJS for becoming the second 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.



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.



Hillsdale Airport Installs New Automated Weather Observing System

Hillsdale Airport recently installed a state-of-the-art Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS).  The AWOS provides minute-by-minute updates of the current weather to the pilot by radio, using a computer generated voice output broadcast on 121.025 MHz.  According to FAA standards Hillsdale Airport was long overdue for an update.  The project funded with federal grant money, matched with a 10% cost to the City of Hillsdale.  (Facebook post)



Hillsdale County Central Dispatch 911 Construction Update

Construction continues on the new Central Dispatch 911 building in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park.  The metal roof is installed and the outside of the building looks pretty much complete.  The furnaces and heat ducts are almost done and the drywall is being painted.  Data and phone cables are being pulled.  Conduit is in place from the building to the tower.  Planning to coordinate the move is underway.  The work is proceeding on schedule for a mid-October completion.  The new site is located at 204 Development Drive (map).



Attendance At Dayton Hamvention Tops 25,000 For Second Year In A Row

Attendance at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention was 25,364, event officials reported.  This was slightly down from 2015 when 25,621 visited, but above 25,000 for the second year in a row.  Attendance in 2014 was 24,873, with 24,542 visiting in 2013.  Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at 33,669, before the 1996 change in date from April to May.  While attendance has fluctuated over the years, Hamvention has grown to international proportions, attracting members of the worldwide Amateur Radio community each spring.  (ARRL story)



Hara Arena Closing, Hamvention To Move

The Hara Arena complex in Dayton, home to the Hamvention since 1964, has announced that it will close at the end of August.  The arena’s problems started when founder Harold Wampler’s death in 1996 launched a 20 year family and legal battle that drained resources for much needed renovations and reorganization.  Hamvention General Chair Ron Cramer KD8ENJ said “We have begun execution of our contingency plan to move Hamvention”.  An announcement of the new venue is expected soon.    “We all believe this new venue will be a spectacular place to hold our beloved event,” Cramer said.  “Please rest assured we will have the event on the same weekend and, since it will be in the region, the current accommodations and outside events already planned for Hamvention 2017 should not be affected.”  (ARRL story  WHIO story)



Woodpecker Antenna Becomes Drone Obstacle Course

Veteran hams remember the infamous “Russian Woodpecker” over-the-horizon radar that wreaked havoc on the HF bands in years past.  Recently, Anthony Cake HB9EIG/G1RUL journeyed to one of the antenna sites in Ukraine to use it as an obstacle course for drone flying.  Click here to watch the wild video.  (ARRL story)



Future FAA Rules Could Impact Amateur Radio Towers

Yet-to-be-developed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules stemming from the recent passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act could pose additional marking requirements for a small number of Amateur Radio towers.  The bill instructs the FAA to enact rules similar to state-level statutes now in place that are aimed at improving aircraft safety in the vicinity of meteorological evaluation towers (METs) set up in rural areas.  In the wake of fatal crop dusting aircraft collisions with METs, often erected on short notice, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended in 2013 that states enact laws requiring marking and registration of METs.  While some state laws exempt ham radio towers, the federal legislation does not.  ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay W3KD said that the list of exemptions in the federal legislation restricts application of the new rules to a very small subset of Amateur Radio towers.  (ARRL story)



Last Known VCR Manufacturer To Cease Production

Funai, a Japanese-based company and last known makers of the videocassette recorder, announced it manufactured its final unit in July.  The company reported it sold 750,000 VCR units in 2015.  In 1956, AMPEX introduced the VRX-1000 as the "first practical videotape recorder."  (Mlive story  AMPEX history page)



AES Closes After 59 Years In Business

Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) closed its doors for the last time on July 27 after 59 years in business.  AES had been a premier player among Amateur Radio equipment retailers for decades, as well as a major presence at Dayton Hamvention and other events.  “It’s with great sadness that I have to tell you that Amateur Electronic Supply will cease operations at the end of this month,” said AES National Sales Manager Tom Pachner W9TJP.  Headquartered in Milwaukee, AES also operated outlets in Cleveland, Las Vegas, and Orlando.  (ARRL story)  Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) announced plans renovate the Milwaukee AES store to become HRO’s newest location by the end of August.  (ARRL story  HRO press release)



FCC Proposes Changes To “Symbol Rate” Rules

The FCC has proposed to revise the Amateur Service Part 97 rules in response to the ARRL’s so-called “Symbol Rate” Petition for Rule Making (RM-11708), filed in late 2013, and it has invited comments on its recommended changes.  ARRL had asked the FCC to change the rules to delete the symbol rate limits and replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz.  Comments in the proceeding will be due 60 days after the date that the NPRM appears in the Federal Register.  (ARRL story)



Microsoft Windows 10 Free Upgrades End

Free upgrades to Windows 10 ended on July 29.  Users with Windows 7 or 8 have been able to upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge for the last year.  (ZDNet article)




Congratulations to Deb McCloud KE8BPS of Hillsdale for passing the element 3 test and being granted General privileges on July 15.



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

07/15/16 KE8BPS, McCloud, Deborah M, upgraded to General from Technician

07/16/16 KB8UBE, MASTERS, MAX K, license status set to expired



FCC Enforcement News

FCC Alleges Malicious Interference, Transmitting Music, Failure to Identify:  The FCC has issued a Notice of Violation to a California Amateur Radio licensee, alleging that he caused willful and malicious interference, transmitted music, and failed to identify properly.  The FCC Enforcement Bureau said that agents from the San Francisco and Portland offices observed the violations on four occasions in 2015.  Agents responding to an interference complaint used direction-finding techniques to pin down the source of an interfering signal on 3908 kHz.  (ARRL story)


Georgia Amateur Fined $1000 for Failure to Properly Identify: The FCC has fined a Georgia amateur $1000 for failing to properly identify.  “Failure to transmit call sign information undermines the purpose of the Amateur Radio Service by preventing licensed users from identifying a transmission’s source,” the FCC said.  (ARRL story)



PRB-1 Legislative Update

An amended version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, HR1301, received a unanimous favorable report on July 13 from members of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.  The bill now will go to the full House for consideration.  Before reporting the bill out of committee, the panel first voted to accept the amended language “in the nature of a substitute.”  Rep Greg Walden W7EQI (R-OR), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said the substitute bill represented “a good balance” following months of meetings, hard work, and compromise, and he recommended the measure to his colleagues.  (ARRL story)


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


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.



Upcoming Events

August 3 – Board Meeting

August 13 – Ham Breakfast

August 13 – Angola Hamfest

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

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

September 7 – Board Meeting

September 10 – Ham Breakfast

September 11 – Findlay Hamfest

September 15 – Club Meeting

September 18 – Adrian Hamfest (new location)

September 24 – GRAHamfest (Wyoming)


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


Send us your comments and suggestions to K8HRC@arrl.net.

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