Hillsdale Communicator

November 2016


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meeting

The next club meeting will be Thursday, November 17 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  This is an important meeting because we will be electing leadership for next year.  We need to have a quorum present in order to hold the elections.  In addition, ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R will be presenting the program, talking about the genesis of the Irish Hills Hamfest.  You won’t want to miss this.


There was no club meeting in October.



Club Leadership Elections

Club leadership elections for 2017 will be held at the November 17 club meeting.  If you are interested in becoming a member of club leadership, check the club constitution on our website for information about officer duties and election procedures.  The president, vice president and treasurer have all indicated that they will continue on for another year if elected.  Unfortunately, we've had less than a full slate of leaders for each of the last two years.  We really need members to step up and fill these positions.  Qualified amateurs must be willing and able to perform the requirements of the position.  Feel free to contact any of the current club leadership for more information.  New energy and ideas are welcome.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, November 5 at 8am at Yesterday's Diner, 119 Marshall in Litchfield (map).  Normally held on the second Saturday of the month, the breakfast is rescheduled this month to avoid conflict with the Fort Wayne Hamfest.  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.


The October ham breakfast was held at the Coffee Shop in North Adams and was attended by four members.



Membership Report

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



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Monday, November 7 at 6:00pm at Sprow Tax & Accounting, 3671 Bankers Road in Hillsdale (map).  The meeting is rescheduled from November 2.  All club members and invited guests welcome.



Monday Night Net Certificate Update

Three amateurs have qualified for an award certificate for exceptional participation in the Monday night net.  Bill Hicks WB8FFO, Joe Gosla KD8UJS and Don Gambill KC8WAU have earned enough points to qualify.  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.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of the club website.



Election Day November 8

Tuesday, November 8 is the presidential general election.  In addition to voting for president and vice president, Hillsdale County residents will also vote for representatives in the US Congress and state legislature, State Board Of Education members as well as several state university and judicial positions.  All of the countywide positions have only one candidate listed.  There may be additional items in your precinct.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to see if you are registered and generate a sample ballot so that you can arrive at the voting place prepared.



Hillsdale County Central Dispatch 911 Construction Update

Construction continues on the new Central Dispatch 911 building in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park.  The building is really close to being done.  Work remains with the phones and radios.  The move date may push into December.  An open house is planned and the club hopes to hold a club meeting there soon.  The new site is located at 204 Development Drive (map).



Daylight Saving Time Ends November 6

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday November 6 at 2am.  Turn your clocks back one hour.  During this period we will be on Eastern Standard Time (EST) with a minus 5 offset from GMT/UTC.  Daylight Saving Time runs from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.



Michigan Distracted Driving Legislation Introduced

Recently, a distracted driving bill was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives.  House Bill 5867 does not specifically exempt amateur radio operations could result in mobile operations becoming illegal in Michigan.  ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R and ARRL Michigan Section State Government Liaison Ed Hude WA8QJE are working with bill sponsor Representative Martin Howrylak to discuss alternatives.  Click here to follow the progress of HB 5867.


Read Larry’s reports from the ARRL Michigan Section website:

Michigan Distracted Driving Bill Introduced (October 6)

HB5867 Distracted Driving Bill Update (October 23)



Irish Hills Hamfest

ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R recently announced the he and ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams WA8EFK have been working with officials from NASCAR concerning the organization of a hamfest and convention to take place in the fall of 2017 at Michigan International Speedway.  They are in the process of assembling a consortium of clubs to gather the necessary talent and staff to make this event successful.  Larry will be will be hitting the road in the coming weeks to chat with clubs within a radius of about 50 miles of the track.  Larry will be in Hillsdale on November 17 to talk about the hamfest at the club meeting on November 17.  Click here to read Larry’s report from the ARRL Michigan Section website.



Rule Making Petition To FCC Calls For Vanity Call Sign Rule Changes

The FCC is inviting comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11775) from a Nevada radio amateur that seeks changes to the rules governing the Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Program.  He is proposing that any licensee obtaining a vanity call sign be required to keep it for the full license term.  He contends in his petition that excessive and frequent vanity call sign filings are hampering the ability of other qualified licensees to obtain vanity call signs in one of the more desirable 1 × 2 or 2 × 1 formats.  He said that since the FCC dropped the fee to file for a vanity call sign, some applicants are taking advantage by regularly obtaining new call signs, thereby keeping them out of circulation.  Interested parties may comment using the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System.  Comments are due within 30 days of the October 26 posting date.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Gauging Impact Of Revised California Distracted Driving Law

California radio amateurs are concerned that a recent revision to the state’s Motor Vehicle Code could affect Amateur Radio mobile operation.  Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1785 into law on September 26.  ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay W3KD said “This new statute is an example of bad legislative draftsmanship”In addition to scrutinizing the language of the revision, ARRL will be consulting with Field Organization officials in California to determine its next steps.  (ARRL story)



Amateur Radio Provides Critical Communications When All Else Fails

Click here to view a television news report highlighting CW that was recently broadcast on Buffalo station WBIV channel 4.



New Russian Arctic Over-The-Horizon Radars Set For 2017 Startup

More long-range over-the-horizon (OTH) radars that can identify aerial and sea targets hundreds of miles away are scheduled to begin operation next year in the Russian Arctic .  It’s doubtful that the news heralds the return of interference on the level of that generated by the so-called “Russian Woodpecker” OTH radar, which plagued Amateur Radio HF bands in the 1970s and 1980s.  Over the past couple of years, OTH radars have become increasingly commonplace intruders on Amateur Radio bands, according to the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Monitoring System, which has noted OTH radars in Russia, China, Cyprus, Iran, and Turkey.  (ARRL story)  Here is another story about the Woodpecker.  (ARRL story)



King Of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej HS1A (SK)

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) HS1A died on October 13, after a long period of declining health.  Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while his physician father was at Harvard University, the king was 88.  According to noted DXer Fred Laun K3ZO/HS0ZAR, the king “was never very active on the air, and, to my knowledge, the only QSOs he ever made were from a handheld on 2 meter FM.”  He said HS1A was often “pictured using a handheld.”  The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST), the country’s International Amateur Radio Union member society, said on its website that the king was “presented the call sign HS1A by the Ministry of Communications at Chitrlada Palace” in 1989 in a ceremony witnessed by RAST officers.  He was the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, having ascended to the throne in June of 1946, and was the world’s longest-reigning monarch.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

10/14/16 WA8FGT, WESTCOTT, RANDALL, license status set to expired

10/22/16 KD8ALK, FRIEDLINE, JAMES L, license status set to expired



Emergency Activities

Hurricane Watch Net Stands Down Following Record Activation: After the longest activation in its history, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) secured operations for Hurricane Matthew on October 9 at 0400 UTC.  HWN Manager Bobby Graves KB5HAV reports the net was in continuous operation for 6 days, 7 hours, gathering real-time ground-truth weather data and passing it along to the National Hurricane Center via the Center’s WX4NHC.  Various Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) nets also activated along the Eastern Seaboard.  (ARRL story)



Pacific Seafarer’s Net Assists In Maritime Rescue Of Sailors On Sinking Sailboat: The Pacific Seafarer’s Net relayed a call for help and contacted the US Coast Guard on September 28, after the SV Rafiki began taking on water some 230 miles south of Cold Bay, Alaska.  At approximately 0300 UTC, Charles Houlihan KD6SPJ, a net relay station, received the distress call from the sailboat’s caption.  Houlihan, who was also at sea in SV Jacaranda, contacted Randy VanLeeuwen KH6RC, a net relay station in Hawaii.  He, in turn, got in touch with Hawaii US Coast Guard District 14 to report the incident and provide Rafiki’s location.  The Hawaii USCG district then contacted the 17th USCG District in Alaska, which effected the rescue.  VanLeeuwen kept in constant radio contact with the Rafiki until contact with lost.  Fred Moor W3ZU in Florida and Peter Mott ZL1PWM in New Zealand were also on frequency and in contact with the vessel’s captain until a US Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived.  (ARRL story)



Weather Summary

The snow will fly soon.  Last year we had a trace of snow in October, with the first measurable snowfall on November 21.  The average high temp last November was 53.1 degrees, with an average low temp of 35.3.  The table shows a summary for the previous two winters for Hillsdale City created with data from Accuweather.com and local measurements.  Total unofficial snowfall in Hillsdale City for winter 2015-2016 was 52.0 inches, compared to 40.3 inches in 2014-2015, 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






2015-2016 Season / 2014-2015 Season



PRB-1 Legislative Update

The US House passed HR1301 on September 12.  The bill was sent to the Senate for consideration.  The ARRL is asking amateurs to contact their Senators to urge their support of the bill and has created a website to make this task easy.


The Senate version of the bill (S1685) is no longer in play.


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




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.


Monday Night Net: Don’t forget to check in to the net every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.  Different flavors of the net take place every week.  The net runs anywhere from five to 20 minutes, depending on the number of check-ins.  Participating regularly in a directed net helps you keep your operating skills sharp.  Set up an alarm in your calendar on your computer or smart phone.  The net schedule and results are posted on the club website.



Upcoming Events

November 5 – Ham Breakfast RESCHEDULED

November 7 – Board Meeting RESCHEDULED

November 12-13 – Fort Wayne Hamfest

November 17 – Club Meeting & Leadership Elections

December 3 – Fulton County Winter Hamfest

December 4 – LCARC Amateur Radio Swap/Hamfest (Madison Heights)

December 7 – Board Meeting

December 10 – Ham Breakfast


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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