Hillsdale Communicator

April 2017


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Thursday, April 20 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Everyone welcome.


The March meeting was held on March 16 and attended by seven members.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 8 at 8am at Ray's Tavern, 14 S Main in Reading (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.


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



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 16 as of March 31.  There were two renewals in March.  One member from 2016 did not renew before the end of the grace period on March 31, leaving 15 members as of April 1.



Amateur Radio Volunteers Needed For Local Events

CAA Head Start Picnic: The Community Action Agency (CAA) Head Start Picnic is Friday, May 19.  Amateur Radio volunteers with HTs are needed from 10:30am to 1:30pm to work the parking lot detail.  Free lunch is available to volunteers.  CAA is located at 55 Barnard in Hillsdale (map).  This is a weekday and many people are working, so if you are available we really need your help.  Check with your employer to see if they provide paid time off for community service.  Also note that May 19 is the first day of the Dayton Hamvention.  To volunteer, contact club President Don Gambill KC8WAU.  If you're not working an you're not going to the Hamvention, we need your help!


CROP Walk: The Hillsdale County CROP Walk is Sunday, May 7.  CROP walks are community-wide events sponsored and organized by religious groups, businesses, schools and others to raise funds to end hunger.  Amateur Radio volunteers are needed starting about 1:15pm until about 3:30pm to work the parking area, staff a water station at the beach, and monitor points along the trail.  Walker registration starts at 1:30pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, 69 Griswold in Hillsdale (map).  The walk starts at 2pm, walking the Baw Beese Trail to Sandy Beach and returning.  Anyone that can work the trail mobile (non-motorized, i.e. on a bicycle or roller blades) is especially needed.  To volunteer, contact club President Don Gambill KC8WAU.



Club Signs Affiliation Agreement With GLARA

The club signed an affiliation agreement with the Great Lakes Amateur Radio Association (GLARA), parent organization of the Great Lakes HamCon Hamfest.  The Board recommended and club members approved a donation of $250 to GLARA.  ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R acknowledged the agreement with a letter stating that the “club is considered a founding member of the GLARA Council of Clubs”.



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.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on April 12 at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests welcome.  The meeting is rescheduled from April 5 due to a conflict at the church.



Michigan State Police 100th Anniversary Events

Two activities in April celebrate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the Michigan State Police.  The actual MSP anniversary date is April 19.  Beginning on April 15 through April 30, W8P will be on the air from the Livingston Amateur Radio Klub in Howell.  On April 22 and 23, the 100th Anniversary of the Michigan State Police will be acknowledged and celebrated by an activation of the amateur radio station at the new Michigan State EOC using the callsign WS8EOC.  (more info)



Michigan State Parks On The Air

Starting April 1 Michigan hams will embark on the most ambitious on-the-air project ever, the Michigan State Parks on the Air (MSPOTA)Previous state park activations on the air around the country have focused on a single weekend.  The Michigan State Parks system as a whole will be 100 years old in 2019, but some parks actually began operating in 1917.  Hence, the celebration began in 2017 and continues through 2019.  That is three years of State Parks on the Air!  Lots of time for activators and chasers alike!  This event includes 117 Department of Natural Resources Parks & Recreation sites including State Parks, Recreation Areas, Scenic Sites and State Trails rotated over the 3 years.  That adds up to about 50 parks across the state active in each event year.  (More info at MSPOTA website)



Great Lakes HamCon Update

The Great Lakes HamCon hamfest will be held at Michigan International Speedway on October 7 & 8.  A tax-exempt parent organization called Great Lakes Amateur Radio Association (GLARA) has been formed.  ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R has been making the rounds of area clubs soliciting support.  Currently 14 clubs have affiliated with GLARA, with another 4 or 5 considering joining.  Hamfest window stickers are available from Larry.  The ARRL has designated the hamfest as the 2017 Great Lakes Division Convention.  GLARA has been assigned a booth at the Dayton Hamvention.  GLARA needs volunteers for all types of tasks, including staffing the booth at the Hamvention.  Click here to read the volunteer recruitment letter.  Those interested in volunteering can send an email to volunteer@glhamcon.org.  The hamfest website is http://www.glhamcon.org.



New Michigan Distracted Driving Legislation Introduced

A new distracted driving bill was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on March 30.  The bill, HB4466, was introduced by State Representative Martin Howrylak and is similar to HB5867 that died in the last session.  Thanks to the efforts of ARRL State Government Laison Ed Hude WA8QJE, the interests of Amateur Radio were brought into the writing of the bill early on and licensed ham operators are completely exempt from the restrictions of the legislation.  Click here to follow the progress of HB4466.



Equipment For Sale

Hy-Gain AV-640 Patriot HF Vertical: Terry Arnold KE0TCA has a Hy-Gain AV-640 vertical for sale.  New, unused and still in the box, it also includes the tilting base unit.  Asking $275.  Contact Terry at 517-567-4278 or terrya7280@live.com.



New Bands! FCC Issues Rules For 630 Meters And 2,200 Meters

The FCC adopted rules that will allow secondary Amateur Radio access to 472-479 kHz (630 meters) and to 135.7-137.8 kHz (2,200 meters), with minor conditions.  The FCC Report and Order spells out the details.  It allocates 472-479 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis and amends Part 97 to provide for Amateur Service use of that band as well as of the previously allocated 135.7-137.8 kHz band.  The R&O also amends Part 80 rules to authorize radio buoy operations in the 1900-2000 kHz band under a ship station license.  It is unknown when the new Part 97 rules will go into effect.  (ARRL story)



Midway And Kure Islands Are Now Deleted DXCC Entities

Midway and Kure Islands have been placed on the list of DXCC deleted entities, effective August 26, 2016.  This came about as an unintended consequence of action last summer that expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to include the northwestern Hawaiian Islands west of Ni’ihau Island, making it the largest contiguous protected conservation area under the US flag.  (ARRL story



Centennial Of Amateur Radio Blackout For WWI April 6

The US officially declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on April 6, 1917, and the US government ordered most private radio stations in the US either to shut down or be taken over by the government.  For the duration of WWI, it was against the law for private citizens to even own an operational radio transmitter or receiver, so amateur transmitting and receiving stations had to be disassembled.  Amateur Radio operating privileges were not restored until November 1919.  Once the US declared war, QST editorials urged qualified amateurs to volunteer their desperately needed skills to the military.  (ARRL story)



Radioshack Files For Bankruptcy Again

RadioShack has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in just over two years, putting the future of the nearly 100-year-old electronics retailer in doubt.  Once known as the place to buy batteries and obscure electronic parts, RadioShack has struggled to hang on to customers.  It redesigned its stores about three years ago and stocked its shelves with popular headphone brands and the latest gadgets.  But that didn't attract more shoppers, and the retailer filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015.  Founded in 1921, RadioShack is owned by General Wireless Operations Inc., which bought the brand after its 2015 bankruptcy.  (Yahoo story)  (ARRL story)



International Crystal Manufacturing Going Out Of Business

International Crystal Manufacturing (ICM) announced that it will be going out of business, probably at the end of May.  In a letter posted on the company website, Royden Freeland Jr. W5EMH, son of the company’s founder, said "We would like to thank you for your past business.  The success of ICM over the previous 66 years has been largely due to its amazing customer base."  ICM produces RF control devices including quartz crystals, oscillators, QCM crystals, filters and precision crystals.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Weighs In On New California ‘Driving While Wireless’ Statute

ARRL is recommending that Amateur Radio be specifically excluded from a California statute prohibiting the use of “wireless communication devices” while driving.  ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director Marty Woll N6VI is taking point on the effort to revise the statute (AB 1785).  It was signed into law last September and took effect January 1.  The new law never mentions Amateur Radio, but instead contains an open-ended definition of an “electronic wireless communications device,” the operation of which while driving is prohibited.  (ARRL story)



Swedish Regulator Rejects Entry Level Amateur Radio License

Sweden’s telecommunications regulator PTS in February rejected the idea of an entry-level Amateur Radio license.  According to Sweden’s International Amateur Radio Union member society SSA, the PTS “categorically rejected” the proposal, and that SSA must now find new ways to motivate prospective radio amateurs.  The SSA estimates that fewer than 100 new licensees are joining the Amateur Radio ranks in Sweden each year.  (ARRL story)



Cuba Institutes New Amateur Radio Regulations

Radio amateurs in Cuba are scrutinizing and debating the details of new Amateur Radio regulations for the island nation.  The Cuban Ministry of Communications adopted the new regulatory scheme on February 28.  International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 posted the new Amateur Radio Service regulations (in Spanish) as a PDF.  The detailed regulations governing hams in Cuba comprise 17 chapters and 182 articles and are said to include some significant changes from the previous rules and regulations that affect authorized bands, license terms, on-the-air practices, and the importation of equipment, antennas, and accessories.  The rules in Cuba require license applicants to be at least 18 years old “or authorized by parent or guardian” for prospective radio amateurs older than age 12.  (ARRL story)



Talks On Possible 4U1UN Reactivation Continue

United Nations Headquarters Amateur Radio club station 4U1UN representatives are still in talks with the UN Department of Public Information with an eye toward permanently reactivating the station.  Although within the geographical confines of New York City, 4U1UN qualifies as a separate DXCC entity.  “Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to plead our case to the new administration as well.  Keep your fingers crossed,” said a post this week on the club’s Facebook page.  “4U1UN might be back on the air soon!”  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

03/15/17 KC8HEF, NEWSOME, GARY A, license renewed

03/28/17 W4VIK, TOWNSEND JR, WILLIAM P, address updated within county



Silent Key

Paul Kangas W4LAA: Business news broadcaster Paul Kangas W4LAA became a Silent Key on February 28.  Kangas was the co-anchor of the popular PBS show “Nightly Business Report” and was known by his signature sign-off, wishing viewers “the best of good buys".  He received an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Business and Financial Reporting from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  (ARRL story)  (WorldNews Network video)



Weather Summary

March was a little colder than normal and actually colder than February.  The average high was 42.1 degrees and the average low was 27.3 degrees   Total snow for the month was 3.9 inches in Hillsdale City.  Average temperatures for April are high 57 degrees and low 37 degrees, with a record high of 88 degrees in 1915 and a record low of 3 degrees in 1982.  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)


Trace / 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


0.8 / 16.3

44.2 / 36.8

27.9 / 21.4


3.9 / 8.1

42.1 / 50.5

27.3 / 33.0

Season To Date Totals

31.6 / 45.2

40.7 / 43.5

27.5 / 28.5





Current Season / Last Season

April forecast vs last year actual

0.0 / 6.8

57.2 / 56.2

37.3 / 36.6



PRB-1 Legislative Update

No action on the Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 555) during March.  It was introduced in the US House of Representatives on January 13 and was passed just 10 days later.  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)




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 next siren test and meeting is April 3.  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 Control Schedule section of the club website.


ARROW Sponsoring Bus To Dayton Hamvention: ARROW Communications Association is sponsoring a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday, May 20.  The cost for the round trip is $65 and includes the bus ride from Ann Arbor, continental breakfast and the right to sell your stuff from the ARROW attended booth space in the flea market.  Click here for more details.  Please note that this does not include the Hamvention ticket.



Upcoming Events

April 12– Board Meeting (rescheduled from April 5)

April 15 – Michigan QSO Party

April 20 – Club Meeting

May 7 – CROP Walk

May 13 – Ham Breakfast

May 19 – CAA Head Start Picnic

May 19-21 – Dayton Hamvention  NEW LOCATION

June 3 – Fulton County Amateur Radio Summer Swap

June 3 – IRA Hamfest (Hudsonville)

June 10 – Ham Breakfast

June 18 – Monroe Hamfest

June 24-25 – Field Day


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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