Hillsdale Communicator

February 2017


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be March 16.  No meeting in February.


Five members and four guests attended the club meeting held on January 19.  ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R presented the program, an overview of the progress of the new Great Lakes HamCon hamfest.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, February 11 at 8am at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.


The January ham breakfast was held at Sidekick Cafe in Osseo and was attended by nine amateurs.



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 January 31.  No new members.  Twelve members have renewed for 2017.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on March 1.  No Board meeting in February.



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.



New Hams

Congratulations to two new hams in the county.  Mark Smith KE8FXA of Hillsdale and Jeffery Wilson KE8FXC of Allen were both granted Technician licenses on January 30.



Hillsdale County Active Licenses Decrease In 2016

There were 126 active amateur radio licenses in Hillsdale County at the end of the year, based on data pulled from the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS).  This is down from last years total of 131.  An active license doesn’t necessarily mean an active ham.  FCC ULS active licenses may include Silent Keys, hams that have moved out of the county and not updated their address and inactive hams.  Also included in the active total are 10 licenses that are within the two-year grace period for renewal.  Not included in the total are any hams that moved into the county and did not update their address in the ULS.  Click here to view a map of active licenses.


2016 FCC ULS Activity In Hillsdale County

New License *


Moved Into County *


License Upgraded


License Renewed


Address Updated Within County


Other Administrative Updates


Issued Vanity Call Sign


Moved Out Of County *


License Expired *


Net Change (includes * items)




Hillsdale County Central Dispatch 911 Holds Open House

The new Central Dispatch 911 building held an open house on January 18.  According to Director Doug Sanford N8WFB, “We are very happy to be in our new building.  The move went exceptionally well and our home is working just as it was designed.  The open house was a great success.  We were showing visitors through for almost the entire time of the open house.  Everyone seemed to agree the building was a good investment or the future of Hillsdale County.”  The new site is located at 204 Development Drive (map) in the Hillsdale Manufacturing and Technology Park.



No SKYWARN Training In County This Year

SKYWARN training will not be offered in Hillsdale County in 2017.  Click here for a complete schedule of training for the National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office, including registration links.



Hamvention Ready To Deal With Anticipated Traffic Flow At New Venue

The Dayton Hamvention is ready to deal with the anticipated heavy traffic flow when the event opens on May 19 at its new location, the Greene County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Xenia, Ohio.  Mike Kalter W8CI said the volunteer Hamvention organizers have turned to professionals to address this aspect of the event.  Kalter, who is treasurer of the sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association, was interviewed recently by DX Engineering’s Tim Duffy K3LR.  (ARRL story)  (QRZ.com video)



Ajit Pai Is President’s Choice For FCC Chairman

Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the FCC, has been designated by the president to succeed chairman Tom Wheeler, who stepped down on January 20.  “I am deeply grateful to the president of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission,” Pai said in a statement.  “I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.”  (ARRL story)  (Detroit News story)



Boy Scouts Radio Merit Badge Requirements Updated

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have updated the requirements for the Radio Merit Badge for 2017.  A new option for the Radio Merit Badge is Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF).  ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell K0OV said he’s “really excited” about the move, and he credited Jamboree on the Air Coordinator and K2BSA trustee Jim Wilson K5ND, with being the “spark plug” behind the ARDF addition.  (ARRL story)



FCC Dismisses Two Petitions From Radio Amateurs

The FCC has turned down two petitions filed in 2016, each seeking similar changes in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules.  A Missouri amateur had asked the Commission to amend the rules to reduce the number of Amateur Radio operator classes to Technician, General, and Amateur Extra by merging remaining Novice class licensees into the Technician class and all Advanced class licensees into the Amateur Extra class.  In a somewhat related petition, a Virginia amateur requested that the FCC grant Advanced class license holders Morse code operating privileges equivalent to those enjoyed by Amateur Extra class licensees.  (ARRL story)



Broadcasting Mode Switching Rankling Listeners

Norway is going forward with plans to replace its national FM broadcasting network with digital-mode outlets by the end of 2017, the first nation to do so across the board.  Norway’s Ministry of Culture first proposed the switch more than 5 years ago.  The first official switchover to digital audio broadcasting was January 11 in Nordland, and the change will take place state by state.  Norway already offers 25 national digital channels and only five on analog FM.  Local radio stations outside of major cities in Norway will continue to broadcast on FM.  (ARRL story)  (The Verge story)



ARRL Asks FCC To Allocate New 5 MHz Band

ARRL has asked the FCC to allocate a new, secondary contiguous band at 5 MHz to the Amateur Service, while also retaining four of the current five 60-meter channels and current operating rules, including the 100 W PEP effective radiated power limit.  The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum.  The proposed action would implement a portion of the Final Acts of World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 that provided for a secondary international allocation of 5,351.5 to 5,366.5 kHz to the Amateur Service; that band includes 5,358.5 KHz, one of the existing 5 MHz channels in the US.  (ARRL story)



More Countries Join The Growing 60-Meter Community

Radio amateurs in Kazakhstan now have access to the band 5,351.5-5,366.5 kHz on a secondary basis.  The allocation came in the wake of a request by the Association of Amateur Radio Services in Kazakhstan to telecommunications regulators.  Radio amateurs in Slovenia and Niger also have been granted access to the new, 15 kHz 60-meter band, and others were expected to follow when the Final Acts of World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 went into effect on January 1.  (ARRL story)



Illegal Drones Could Interfere With Air Traffic Control

In what it calls an “extremely urgent complaint” to the FCC, ARRL has targeted the interference potential of a series of audio/video transmitters used on unmanned aircraft and marketed as Amateur Radio equipment.  In a January 10 letter to the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay W3KD  said the transmitters use frequencies intended for navigational aids, air traffic control radar, air route surveillance radars, and global positioning systems.  ARRL said the use of 1,040 and 1,080 MHz, which would directly conflict with air traffic control transponder frequencies, represented the greatest threat to the safety of flight.  The use of 1,010 MHz, employed for aeronautical guidance, could also be problematic.  (ARRL story)



New Propagation Prediction Tool Available

ITURHProp, a new point-to-point propagation prediction tool based on an ITU engine and developed by Gwyn Williams G4FKH is now available via the Radio Society of Great Britain website.  The new web-based prediction tool is said to be more accurate than previous engines.  ITURHProp calculates the path characteristics between two points on the globe to determine projected path maximum usable frequency (MUF) and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).  Development on the project is ongoing.  (ARRL story)



CIA Declassified Documents About Amateur Radio Available

Central Intelligence Agency reports about amateur radio in the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact member countries have been declassified to a new online search engine.  The documents include translations and assessments of : amateur radio clubs, including DOSAAF; training; monitoring sputniks; technology and equipment; and even qsl cards.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)  (Search engine link)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

03/10/16 KD8IEC, RANEY, DAVID A, address updated to out of county

11/03/16 KD8EWZ, TURNER JR, JOHN, license renewed, address updated to out of county

01/13/17 KB8WHO, SZARAFINSKI, ROY V, license status set to expired

01/23/17 KC8HEF, NEWSOME, GARY A, administrative update to address

01/26/17 AC8GF, HENDERSON, FRED J, address updated within county

01/30/17 KE8FXA, Smith, Mark J, new licensee Technician

01/30/17 KE8FXC, Wilson, Jeffrey P, new licensee Technician



Great Lakes HamCon Update

The new Great Lakes HamCon hamfest will be held at Michigan International Speedway on October 7 & 8.  ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R has been making the rounds of area clubs soliciting support.  A tax-exempt parent organization called Great Lakes Amateur Radio Association has been formed.



PRB-1 Legislative Update

A new Amateur Radio Parity Act bill, HR 555,  was introduced in the US House of Representatives on January 13 and was passed just 10 days later.  The bill’s language is identical to that of the 2015 measure, HR 1301, which passed in the House late last summer but failed in the waning days of the US Senate to gain the necessary support.  The bill was sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  The bill calls on the FCC to establish rules prohibiting the application of deed restrictions that preclude Amateur Radio communications.  Click here to follow the progress of HR 555.  (ARRL story)



Weather Summary

January had some milder days, with temperatures hitting 55 degrees a couple of days.  Total snow for the month was 8.7 inches in Hillsdale City.  The February forecast is for colder than normal temps and 16 inches of snow.  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


8.7 / 7.9

34.4 / 31.7

24.2 / 18.8

Season To Date Totals

26.9 / 20.8 

39.2 / 43.2

27.4 / 29.2





Current Season / Last Season

February forecast vs last year actual

14.8 / 16.3

31.0 / 36.8

15.0 / 21.4




Hillsdale County Emergency Management: HCEM is always looking for volunteers, either to join the group or just to monitor the monthly tornado siren test.  The first siren test and meeting of the year will be on March 6.  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.


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 certificate will be awarded to participants that attain at least 75 points during 2017.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Participation section of the club website.


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

February 1 – Board Meeting (canceled)

February 11 – Ham Breakfast

February 16 – Club Meeting (canceled)

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

March 1 – Board Meeting

March 11 – Ham Breakfast

March 11 – Lowell Amateur Radio Youth Club Hamfest

March 16 – Club Meeting

March 18 – Michigan Crossroads Hamfest

March 19 – Toledo Hamfest


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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