Hillsdale Communicator

January 2017


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


New Year Brings New Opportunity To Earn Certificate In Monday Night Net

The New Year brings a new opportunity to renew your commitment to the Monday night net.  For 2017 the club is again sponsoring the Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award.  Three points are awarded to the net control station, two points for participating in both rounds and one point for participating in less than both rounds.  Club members get 20 bonus points, pro-rated for new members.  The certificate will be awarded to any amateur that attains at least 75 points during the year.  The purpose of the award is to encourage participation in the net, both as check-ins and as net control station.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Participation section of the Calendar page on the club website.  The net is held every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.  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.



Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Thursday, January 19 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  In addition to the regular meeting, we will be conducting our annual meeting as required by our constitution.  The program will feature ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R talking about the Irish Hills Hamfest.  Larry was originally scheduled to present this program at the November meeting but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict.  Everyone welcome.


There was no club meeting in December.



Ham Breakfast

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


The December ham breakfast was held at Ray's Tavern in Reading and was attended by four members



Christmas Party

The club Christmas party was held on December 16 at the Fayette Street Church of Christ in Hillsdale.  The club provided ham, chicken and drinks, and attendees brought pot-luck dishes that provided a plentiful selection of food.  After dinner there were games and a gift exchange.  Certificates were presented to those that qualified for the Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award.  Many thanks to Brenda Sprow for her help in organizing the party.



Membership Dues For 2017

Club membership dues for 2017 are due.  You must renew by March 31 to maintain your membership status.  Rates are unchanged from last year and are $15 for regular membership, $5 for household membership (additional members in same household after first member pays regular rate) and free for students.  All members are asked to print and fill out an updated membership application as part of the renewal process.  Dues can be paid by cash or check at club events or mailed to club treasurer Joe Gosla KD8UJS, 2175 Blackmer Drive, Jonesville, MI 49250.  Make checks payable to Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club or HCARC.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 15 as of December 31.  No new members.  Six members have renewed for 2017.



Board Meeting

The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 11 at 6:00pm at Sprow Tax & Accounting, 3671 Bankers Road in Hillsdale (map).



2016 Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award Results

Six amateurs qualified for the Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award for 2016.  Bill Hicks WB8FFO, Joe Gosla KD8UJS, Don Gambill KC8WAU, Dave King KQ8R, Mark Seevers KC8QVX and Dan Sprow KC8RYF all earned enough points to qualify.  Certificates were awarded at the Christmas party on December 16.



Club Leadership Positions Available

Two club leadership positions remain open.  The Secretary and Board Member At Large positions had no nominations during annual elections in November.  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 positions.



Hillsdale County Central Dispatch 911 Construction Update

Construction on the new Central Dispatch 911 building is complete.  Dispatching operations began in the new building on November 29.  A few issues with the phone system are being worked out.  The new site is located at 204 Development Drive (map) in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park.  An open house is planned sometime in January although no date has been set yet.



National Parks On The Air Contact Tally Tops 1 Million!

Participants in the ARRL’s National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program completed more than 1 million contacts.  Activators operating from National Park Service units across the US and Chasers around the world pushed the contact tally over its goal this week.  ARRL sponsored NPOTA to help the National Park Service celebrate its centennial.  “National Parks on the Air has become one of the most popular events in the history of the League,” NPOTA Administrator Sean Kutzko KX9X said.  “It’s been fun seeing so many hams take part.”  (ARRL story)



FCC Chairman To Step Down In January

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he will step down in January, when President Barack Obama’s term ends.  An Obama appointee, Wheeler has headed the Commission for 3 years.  "It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans", Wheeler said.  (ARRL story)  (Detroit News story)



Chinese Over-The-Horizon Radar QRMing Low End Of 40 Meters

The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Monitoring System newsletter reports that one of China’s HF Over-the-Horizon (OTH) radars has been transmitting on 6.999 MHz, impinging on the very low end of the 40-meter band.  As the newsletter reported: “A jumping Chinese OTH radar covered the CW DX-edge of our exclusive 7 MHz band on November 17 at about 1500 UTC and later (long lasting).”  The signal was 67 sweeps per second with a 10 kHz bandwidth.  (ARRL story)



FCC Denies Expert Linears’ Request For Linear Amp Waiver, Petition Pending

The FCC denied a request by Expert Linears America LLC to waive §97.317(a)(2) of the Amateur Service rules limiting amplifier gain.  Expert distributes linears manufactured by SPE in Italy.  The waiver request, filed in June, would have allowed Expert to import an amplifier capable of exceeding the current 15 dB gain limitation as it awaits FCC action on its April petition (RM-11767) to revise the same Amateur Service rules.  That petition remains pending.  Expert has asserted that there should be no gain limitation on amplifiers sold or used in the Amateur Service.  (ARRL story)  The ARRL has said it “strongly supports” the petition.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

12/23/16 N8BIZ, BAKER, WILLIAM R, address updated within county



Public Service Activities

Hawaii Amateur Radio Volunteers Assist Honolulu Marathon: Nearly 3 dozen Amateur Radio volunteers in Hawaii were up bright and early on December 11 to support the 44th running of the Honolulu Marathon.  The event is the fourth largest marathon in the US and attracts around 30,000 participants each year.  The ham volunteers communicate vital information among race organizers, aid stations, transportation vehicles, and law enforcement, as well as at the finish line.  (ARRL story)



Emergency Activities

Indonesian Earthquake: Radio amateurs provided emergency communication support during the response to a December 7 magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Indonesia’s Aceh Province.  The International Amateur Radio Union Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee’s Dani Hidayat YB2TJV, reports that it took 2 hours for the ham radio group from the Indonesian Amateur Radio Organization Aceh Region to reach the earthquake zone.  The team supported emergency communications in the field at Pidie Jaya.  (ARRL story)


Philippines’ Ham Emergency Radio Operations Net Activates for Typhoon Nock-Ten: Super Typhoon Nock-Ten (locally “Nina”) interrupted Christmas for radio amateurs in the Philippines, who responded to provide communication for the disaster.  The category 4 storm claimed six lives, and more than 380,000 residents were evacuated as the storm cut a path through the Philippines.  Warnings were posted for flooding and mudslides.  The Philippines Amateur Radio Association’s Ham Emergency Radio Operations Network activated in advance of the storm, which cut power to five provinces, downed trees and caused widespread damage.  (ARRL story)



Irish Hills Hamfest Update

According to ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R, the hamfest wil be held on October 7 & 8 and will be called the Great Lakes HamCon @ MIS.  A tax-exempt parent organization called Great Lakes Amateur Radio Association has been formed.  Larry will be presenting more information about the hamfest at the club meeting on January 19.



Weather Summary

Winter struck hard in Hillsdale County in December.  A total of 18.2 inches of snow fell and average high temperatures were about 15 degrees colder than last year.  The January forecast is for high and low temperatures to be about 3 to 5 degrees colder than last year.  During calendar 2016 there were only four months that didn't have any snowfall.  The table shows a summary 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)


0 / Trace

October not included in season totals.


Trace / 11.1

53.1 / 53.1

36.8 / 35.3


18.2 / 1.8

30.6 / 45.2

21.6 / 33.7

Season To Date Totals

18.2 / 12.9 

41.7 / 49.1

29.1 / 34.5

Current Season / Last Season

January forecast vs last year actual

6.4 / 7.9

28.6 / 31.7

13.9 / 18.8



FCC Enforcement News

FCC Affirms Penalty For Unlicensed Operation & Making False Distress Call: The FCC has affirmed a $23,000 penalty against a New York amateur for operating without an Amateur Radio license on 147.96 MHz and for transmitting a false officer-in-distress call on a New York City Police Department radio channel.  The FCC’s December 5 Forfeiture Order follows its August 31 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, which detailed a history of complaints and alleged illegal radio operation by dating to 2012.  “The penalty represents the full amount proposed in the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture", the FCC Forfeiture Order said.  (ARRL story)



PRB-1 Legislative Update

The Amateur Radio Parity Act, HR1301, died as the 114th Congress of the United States drew to a close on December 9.  After having passed the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote on September 12, the bill stalled in the Senate.  The legislation will be reintroduced after the 115th Session begins in January.  (ARRL story)



Michigan Distracted Driving Legislation Update

HB5867, the distracted driving bill that was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on September 13, died at the end of the legislative session.  ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R expects that the legislation will be reintroduced in the new session.




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

January 11 – Board Meeting

January 14 – Ham Breakfast

January 19 – Club Meeting

January 19 – Annual Meeting

January 29 – Hazel Park ARC Hamfest

February 1 – Board Meeting

February 11 – Ham Breakfast

February 16 – Club Meeting

February 19 – Livonia ARC's 46th Annual Swap & Shop

March 11 – Lowell Amateur Radio Youth Club Hamfest

March 18 – Michigan Crossroads Hamfest

March 19 – Toledo Hamfest


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