Hillsdale Communicator

January 2018


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The club annual meeting, as required by our constitution, will be held on Saturday, January 13, at approximately 8:45am.  This short meeting will be held after the ham breakfast at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  The purpose of the meeting is for presentation of the annual treasurers report, installation of club leadership for the upcoming year, and to consider any other business presented.


A special club meeting was held on December 15, immediately preceding the Christmas party and was attended by six members.  Club leadership elections were held and President Don Gambill KC8WAU and Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF both won re-election.  There were no nominations for Secretary, Treasurer and Board Member At Large position.  A special election for the vacant position will be held at the annual meeting.  Click here to view club leadership.


There will not be a regular club meeting in January.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, January 13, 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 December breakfast was held at Ray's Tavern in Reading and was attended by five, despite treacherous roads caused by overnight snow.



Christmas Party

The club Christmas party was held on December 15 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 passed out to those that qualified for the exceptional net participation award.  Many thanks to Brenda Sprow for her help in organizing the party.



Membership Dues For 2018

Club membership dues for 2018 are due.  The club membership voted to lower the rate for a regular membership to $10 (from $15).  The rate for household memberships (additional members in same household after first member pays regular rate) remains $5 and students are free.  You must 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 Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF (click for address).  Make checks payable to Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club or HCARC.  You must renew by March 31 to maintain your membership status.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 15 as of December 31.  No new members.  Five members have renewed for 2018.



Board Meeting

No board meeting scheduled for January.



Seven Earn Exceptional Participation Award In 2017

Seven club members qualified for the 2017 Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award, including Bill Hicks WB8FFO, Joe Gosla KD8UJS, Dan Sprow KC8RYF, Tommy Palmer KD8WWW, Mark Seevers KC8QVX, Don Gambill KC8WAU and Dave King KQ8R.



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 2018 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.



2017 Monday Night Net Summary

Total Nets: 52 (40 ragchew, 12 emergency test)

Total check-ins including Net Control Station (NCS): 305

Most check-ins, individual: 50 (WB8FFO)

Most check-ins, net: 10 (11/13/17)

Average check-ins including NCS: 5.9

Unique check-ins: 19 different amateurs checked in at least once during the year.

Average check-ins per unique amateur: 16.1

Total net time: 955 minutes

Average net time: 18.4 minutes



Club Leadership Positions Available

Three club leadership positions remain open.  The Secretary, Treasurer and Board Member At Large positions had no nominations during annual elections.  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.



HCEM Announces Two New Products

Hillsdale County Emergency Management (HCEM) recently announced that the county has contracted with RAVE Mobile Safety to provide two new products to better serve citizens.  Rave Alert provides officials the ability to quickly deliver urgent messages, including severe weather information, to targeted areas or the entire county.  Rave Alert replaces CodeRED, which the county has been using for a few years.  CodeRED will continue to automatically send tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings until June but will no longer be used by the county for special notifications starting soon after the first of the year.  Register for Rave Alert to continue receiving notifications.  Smart911 allows you to create a safety profile for your household that will be sent to 911 dispatchers when you dial 9-1-1.  Visit the County of Hillsdale website and click on the About Emergency Notifications link on the right side for more information and to sign up.  HCEM obtained a grant to pay for these services so there is no charge to citizens who choose to use it.  Any questions please call HCEM at 517-437-7384.



Prepare To Get Your Grid On!

What’s your grid square?  Be prepared to answer that question a lot in 2018.  The ARRL International Grid Chase 2018 begins this weekend and continues throughout the year.  The Grid Chase kicks off at 0000 UTC on Monday, January 1, which is New Year’s Eve in US time zones, so get ready to hit your grid running.  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)  (Grid Square Calculator)



NWS Severe Weather Spotter Training Opportunities

The National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office has posted the schedule for severe weather spotter training opportunities.  Click here for a complete schedule of training for the season, including registration links.  Training will not be offered in Hillsdale County in 2018



Made In Michigan For Amateur Radio

A website has been established that is intended to highlight amateur radio products that are manufactured here in Michigan.  This listing will highlight made in Michigan products in an effort to make folks aware of them.  Thanks to Tom Bosscher K8TB for taking this step.  You can find his information here.



More Room To Be Available For Hamvention

Dayton Hamvention officials report that the Greene County Commissioners and the Greene County Fair Board have approved the construction of a new building at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, the new Hamvention venue in Xenia, Ohio.  “Hamvention certainly benefits from the decision to expand the Expo Center footprint.  Construction is planned to be complete ahead of Hamvention 2018, and [the new building] will be used for the event”, Hamvention spokesperson Michael Kalter W8CI said in a news release.  In addition to the new structure, another building on the property, previously known as Fairgrounds Furniture, is being vacated and will be available for use.  (ARRL story)



One Of Oldest US Radio Stations To Go Dark

One of the few US broadcast stations east of the Mississippi that sport K-prefix call letters, KQV in Pittsburgh will go silent on January 1 after nearly a century on the air.  “It’s a sad day for broadcasting and for the news business,” KQV Station Manager Bob Dickey Jr., told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.  The family-owned news-talk station operated on 1410 kHz with 5,000 W into a five-tower array that provides separate day and night patterns.  (ARRL story)  (Triblive.com article)



Radio Ham Gets 'Invisibility Cloak' Patent 

Radio amateur Nathan "Chip" Cohen W1YW, founder of Fractal Antenna Systems Inc, has been granted a patent for Deflective Electromagnetic Shielding.  Business Wire reports Fractal announced its new patent covering electromagnetic cloaking/deflection of satellites, rockets, towers, antennas, vehicles, body coverings, people, ships, spacecraft, and many others, each uniquely recognized as novel inventions.  (Southgate story)



FCC Approves First 'Power-At-A-Distance' Wireless Charging Device

The Federal Communications Commission for the first time approved a device that can recharge electronics up to three feet away.  The Energous Corporation’s Watt Up device lets users charge their electronics, regardless of the manufacturer, without being connected to the charger through the use of radio frequencies.  According to the company, Watt Up underwent months of rigorous testing to make sure that it met consumer safety and regulatory requirements prior to the FCC's approval.  (TheHill.com story)  (Energous press release)



FCC Chair Quizzed About AM Radio Revitalization

On December 2, MSNBC TV host Hugh Hewitt had an exclusive interview with the FCC Chair Ajit Pai.  It kicked off with the key issue of AM radio revitalization.  RF pollution from power lines and various electronic devices has been raising the noise floor in the medium wave AM broadcast band.  This is jeopardizing reception of AM broadcasts, which can be especially vital in times of natural disasters.  Watch 'One on one with Ajit Pai'.  (Southgate story)



FCC Seeks Comments On Technological Advisory Council Recommendations

In a Public Notice released on December 1, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has invited comments on a wide-ranging series of Technological Advisory Council (TAC) recommendations that, if implemented, could alter the spectrum policy regulatory landscape, especially with respect to interference resolution and enforcement.  An advisory body, the TAC’s membership includes several Amateur Radio licensees.  ARRL will file comments in the proceeding, ET Docket 17-340.  Comments are due by January 31.  (ARRL story)



Norway Completes Transition To Digital Audio Broadcasting

Norway has completed a nearly yearlong transition to digital radio, becoming the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its analog FM radio network and move to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).  The three state-run outlets, NRK (P1, P2 & P3), and commercial stations P4 and Radio Norge have ceased broadcasting in FM and transmit DAB instead.  (ARRL story)  (January 2017 ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

12/04/17 KE8BYZ, BYERS, JEFFREY W, address updated to out of county

12/13/17 KC8JJT, Sheely, Lowell S, license renewed

12/30/17 KD8MFI, HEINDEL, WILLIAM M, license renewed



Emergency Activities

Amateur Radio Volunteers Active in Latest Round of California Wildfires: The massive Thomas Fire in Southern California has consumed more than 230,500 acres, and the emergency has caused residents in fire-threatened areas to evacuate.  Amateur Radio volunteers remain active supporting communication for American Red Cross shelters in Ventura County.  One of several fires that have broken out across Southern California, the Thomas Fire is far and away the largest.  (ARRL story)


Emergency communications activation in Slovenia: Radio Amateurs in Slovenia were activated on December 9 after heavy snow caused damage affecting about 20000 citizens.  Electrical power lines were down and consequently Internet and phone networks.  A lot of roads were also blocked due to fallen trees.  Operators from the regional emergency communications group S50ATR organized themselves to offer help with redundancy communications between the centres in Trbovlje and Ljubljana.  (Southgate story)



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, 2017.  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, 2017 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, 2017 and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Click here to follow the progress of S 1534.


PRB-1 Resources

ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 webpage

HR 555 status page

S 1534 status page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



FCC Enforcement News

FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine For Breaking Now-Voluntary Labeling Rules: The FCC has proposed fining Acuity Brands of Atlanta, Georgia, $25,000 for apparently marketing radio frequency devices that were not labeled in accordance with Commission Part 18 rules at the time.  The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) on November 21.  Compliance with the particular rule at issue now is voluntary.  “Specifically, Acuity marketed three models of consumer-grade electronic fluorescent lighting ballasts, two since 2006 and one since 2009, that did not have the FCC logo affixed to them,” the FCC said in the NAL.  Application of the FCC logo, which the FCC no longer requires, was to inform purchasers that a device had undergone compliance testing.  (ARRL story)


FCC Penalizes Marketer Of Ham-Band Drone Audio-Visual Transmitters: The FCC has imposed a $180,000 civil penalty on a Sarasota, Florida, company that had been marketing noncompliant audio-visual transmitters intended for use on drones in violation of the Commission’s Amateur Service and marketing rules.  In an Order released on December 19, the FCC explained that Lumenier Holdco LLC (formerly known as FPV Manuals LLC) was advertising and marketing uncertified audio video transmitters capable of operating on both amateur and non-amateur frequencies, including bands reserved for federal government use.  Some of the transmitters also exceeded the 1-watt power limit for Amateur Radio transmitters used on model craft, the FCC said.  (ARRL story)




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 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 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)


NASA On The Air Event: 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)



Upcoming Events

January 13 – Ham Breakfast

January 13 – Annual Meeting

January 27-28 – Winter Field Day

February 10 – Ham Breakfast

February 18 – Livonia ARC's 47th Annual Swap & Shop


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