Hillsdale Communicator

December 2017


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Christmas Party

The club Christmas party will be held on Friday, December 15, at the Fayette Street Church of Christ, 131 W Fayette in Hillsdale (map).  The church is located directly behind the Market House.  All area hams and their guests are welcome.  Socializing will begin at 6pm with dinner at 6:30pm.  Dinner will be a pot-luck.  The club will provide the meat dishes, probably chicken and ham.  Appetizers, side dishes and desserts are suggested.  Drinks (water, coffee, tea) and table service will be provided.  There will be a gift exchange ($10-$15) for those who want to participate.  RSVPs are requested and can be made by clicking here or by contacting Don Gambill KC8WAU at KC8WAU@arrl.net or 517-437-4172.  Please RSVP by December 14.



Club Meetings

There will be a special club meeting on December 15 at 6:15pm, immediately preceding the Christmas party.  The purpose of the meeting will be to conduct leadership elections and any other urgent business.  We need a quorum in order to hold elections.  A quorum was not in attendance at the November club meeting so elections could not be held.  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.


Only three members attended the Club Meeting on November 16.  A quorum was not present so no official business could be conducted, including leadership elections for 2018.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, December 9, 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 November breakfast was held at Yesterday's Diner in Litchfield and was attended by six amateurs.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 6, at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests welcome.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 15 as of November 30.  There were no new members or renewals in November.



Monday Night Net Certificate

Six club members have qualified for the Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award.  Bill Hicks WB8FFO, Joe Gosla KD8UJS and Dan Sprow KC8RYF all have earned enough points to qualify and were presented certificates at the September club meeting.  Tommy Palmer KD8WWW, Mark Seevers KC8QVX and Don Gambill KC8WAU have also qualified.  The purpose of the program is to encourage participation in the net, both as check-ins and as net control station.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of the club website.  The Board has decided to run the program again in 2018 with the same rules.



ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R Stepping Down

Larry Camp WB8R, ARRL Michigan Section Manager for the past six years, has decided to retire from that post effective at the end of the year.  Congratulations on a job well done!



New Michigan Section Manager Begins January 1

Jim Kvochick K8JK of Brighton has been appointed as Michigan Section Manager for the first half of next year.  His appointment will begin on January 1 and will continue through June 30.  An ARRL Life Member, Kvochick was licensed in 1968.  He has been active in many facets of Amateur Radio, including public service, experimenting, and equipment restoration.  He currently serves as an Assistant Emergency Coordinator and a Volunteer Examiner.  He is president, newsletter editor, and technical director for the Livingston Amateur Radio Klub.  (ARRL story)



Announcing The ARRL International Grid Chase

A new and exciting operating event will kick off on January 1 at midnight UTC (New Year’s Eve in US time zones), when the ARRL International Grid Chase gets under way.  The objective is to work stations on any band (except 60 meters) in as many different Maidenhead grid squares as possible, and then upload your log data to ARRL’s Logbook of The World (LoTW).  Registration is free, and it costs nothing to use LoTW.  (ARRL story)



Year-Long NASA On The Air Event Kicks Off On December 11

The Amateur Radio clubs at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers around the US have invited the Amateur Radio community to join the NASA On The Air (NOTA) special event.  NOTA gets under way in December 2017 and continues through December 2018.  In addition to being the agency’s 60th anniversary, 2018 will mark 50 years since NASA orbited the first human around the moon, and 20 years since the first elements of the International Space Station (ISS) were launched into low-Earth orbit.  (ARRL story)



New Warning To Be Issued For Michigan's Most Deadly Weather Situation

A new type of weather warning will be issued for Michigan's most deadly weather situation.  This warning is going to only be issued for part of southeast Michigan as an initial test by the National Weather Service.  Snow squalls cause more loss of life in Michigan than any other weather phenomenon.  Snow squalls are quick bursts of heavy snow.  Road conditions can change very quickly during snow squalls.  Most of Michigan's deadly multi-car pileups have been caused by these fast encroaching periods of heavy snow.  Starting January 3 the National Weather Service in White Lake will issue Snow Squall Warnings for the counties in its responsibility area.  (Mlive story)



Yes, They Still Make Michigan License Plates In Prison

Yes, they still make license plates in prison, including the Amateur Radio call sign plates (application).  Tucked in a nondescript building at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility near Adrian, inmates make all the license plates for the State of Michigan.  About 10,000 plates are made each working day at the secure facility.  Working four days each week, 2.5 million plates are made each year.  If you're thinking about getting a call sign plate, be aware that anyone can find out who you are and where you live just by doing an Internet search on your call sign from your plate.  (Mlive story)



FCC Chairman Recognizes Amateur Radio Assistance In Puerto Rico

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recognized Amateur Radio volunteers in praising those who turned out to help in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.  “The worst of tragedies can also bring out the best in people.  I saw that firsthand during my 2 days in Puerto Rico,” Pai said.  “Everyone is pitching in.  The people of Puerto Rico helping their neighbors, hardworking Federal Emergency Management Agency staff, including communications personnel, the dedicated regulators of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board, and the FCC’s own Roberto Mussenden, who has spent the past month away from his family on the mainland in order to help the island where he grew up.”  (ARRL story)



Hear Radio Traffic From Night Of Edmund Fitzgerald Sinking

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.  When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes, and she remains the largest to have sunk there.  The ship was built and launched at the River Rouge shipyard of Great Lakes Engineering Works.  Christening took place in June of 1958, with its maiden voyage happening a few months later in September.  (Mlive story)  In audio recordings from the hours that followed the sinking, you can hear the captain of the SS Arthur M. Anderson talking to the U.S. Coast Guard at Sault Ste. Marie.  The Coast Guard is saying it's "very certain that the Fitzgerald went down," and is asking nearby ships to help with the search.  (Mlive story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

11/08/17 KA8KNU, PRASSER, ALICE J, license status set to expired (SK 11/06/12)



Snow Totals

Unofficial snowfall totals in Hillsdale City for the last few seasons.










































































Season Total










Michigan Distracted Driving Legislation Update

Distracted driving bill was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on March 30.  Click here to follow the progress of HB4466.



PRB-1 Legislative Update

House Version: HR 555 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)


Senate Version: S 1534, the Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 was introduced in the on July 12 and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Click here to follow the progress of S 1534.  (ARRL story)


PRB-1 Resources

ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 webpage

HR 555 status page

S 1534 status page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)




Michigan State Parks On The Air: Starting April 1, 2017, Michigan hams embarked 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.  Some of our parks actually began operation in 1917.  Hence, the celebration began in 2017 and will continue through 2019.  That is three years of State Parks on the Air!  Lots of time for activators and chasers alike!  This event includes 117 MDNR 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)



Upcoming Events

December 2 – Fulton County Winter Hamfest

December 6 – Board Meeting

December 9 – Ham Breakfast

December 15 – Christmas Party (RSVP here)

January 3 – Board Meeting

January 13 – Ham Breakfast

January 27-28 – Winter Field Day


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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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