Hillsdale Communicator

March 2018


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The February club meeting was held at the 911 Central Dispatch building.  Unfortunately, with only four members present, there was not a quorum and no official business could be conducted.  Hillsdale County Emergency Management and Central Dispatch 911 Director Doug Sanford N8WFB presented the program, providing an overview of new products that 911 Central Dispatch is offering, including Rave Alert, Smart911, Rave Facility and Rave Panic Button.  Doug also conducted a tour of the building.


There will not be a regular club meeting in March.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, March 10, at 8am at the Yesterday's Diner, 119 Marshall in Litchfield (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.


The February breakfast was held at the Sidekick Cafe in Osseo and was attended by two hams, despite at least a foot of snow falling in the preceding hours.



Membership Dues For 2018

Club membership dues for 2018 are due.  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 16 as of February 28.  No new members and two renewals during the month.  For the year, there has been one new member and ten renewals.  Five members have not yet renewed and are in the grace period, which ends March 31.



Board Meeting

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



Club Leadership Positions Remain Unfilled

Three club leadership positions remain open.  The Secretary, Treasurer and Board Member At Large positions had no nominations during annual elections.  We have a volunteer for Board Member At Large, but without a legal meeting with a quorum we are unable to hold a special election.  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.



Michigan Tops ARES 2017 Annual Report For Volunteer Hours & Value

The ARRL has published The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) 2017 Annual Report.  Michigan again topped all states in volunteer hours with 90,244 with a total value of $2,178,490, up from 61,596 hours and $1,170,324 in 2016.  (ARRL ARES E-Letter story)  (Annual report)



More Meteorite Stories

A few more stories from MLive.com about the meteor that lit up the Michigan sky on January 16.

Michigan meteorite on display at Christie's in Rockefeller Center – Posted February 12

Woman who found chunk of Michigan meteorite hopes for big pay day – Posted February 16

World's largest found meteorites dwarf the recent Michigan meteorite – Posted February 26



Turn 1 Grandstands Being Torn Out At MIS For High-End Campground

Making room for a new high-end campground in Turn 1, Michigan International Speedway (MIS) will tear out 21 sections of grandstands in 2018.  The high-end campground allows fans to go right up against the Turn 1 fence at one of the fastest parts of the track.  In recent years, cars have gone as fast as 220 mph into the turn.  It will have more than 20 campsites, per track officials.  MIS is the home of the Great Lakes HamCon.  (MLive story)  (MIS announcement)



Meet The Amateur Astronomer Who Found NASA’s Lost Satellite In Space

Amateur astronomer Scott Tilley VA7TIL was in his home office on a recent evening, using his radio equipment to scan space in a needle-in-a-haystack search for a spy satellite operated by the US Air Force.  Tilley, 47, launches himself on missions like this nightly.  Since he was about 8, he has been a devoted but earthbound space explorer, looking for hidden satellites in the sky for hours on end.  As he scanned the skies that night a few weeks ago, he did not find what he was looking for, but he came across something possibly even better: a different satellite, a weather craft NASA lost more than a decade ago.  (Washington Post story)



NASA Says Satellite That Disappeared Is Fully Charged, 'In Good Shape'

NASA reports that it has not only rediscovered its long-thought dead IMAGE spacecraft, but that its satellite is "fully charged" and overall "in good shape."  The U.S.  space agency says it will next try to turn on IMAGE's science tools but that it needs to recreate 12-year-old software to even attempt to do so.  NASA says in a statement that "this could take some time."  IMAGE was lost when NASA couldn't "establish a routine communication" with the Deep Space Network.  The space agency's official report on the failure cited an unexpected error within the power system as the reason for its disappearance.  (MLive story)  (NASA update)



Radio Amateur Named As Next President Of Harvard University

Lawrence S. Bacow KA1FZQ has been selected to become the 29th president of Harvard University, the home of the Harvard College Wireless Club W1AF.  Selected from among a field of some 700 candidates, Bacow will take office on July 1.  (ARRL story)



Fears Sweden's New Driving Regs May Hit Amateurs

Sweden's national amateur radio society, the SSA, has written to the Government to point out the unintended consequences of mobile phone driving legislation on radio amateurs.  In a letter to the Ministry of Food and Transport, SSA wishes to draw attention to the fact that the wording of the new legislative text may have had unintended consequences not only for us radio amateurs but also for the transport industry.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)  Michigan has similar legislation pending in the Michigan House of Representatives.  The bill, HB4466 was introduced on March 30, 2017 and was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  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.



ARES Transitioning To New Online Reporting System

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) will phase out the traditional ARES report forms later this year in favor of an online system called ARES Connect, a volunteer management, communications, and reporting system.  The new system will allow information to be logged by ARES members and managed through the Field Organization.  “ARES Connect is a volunteer management system that covers event signup, reporting, and roster management,” ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey KI1U said.  “It does not change how ARES operates when serving a partner entity; it is simply a system that will make managing volunteers and events easier.”  (ARRL story)



"Quantum Radio" May Offer New Twist On Communicating

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated that quantum physics might enable communication and mapping in locations where GPS, cell phones, and radio are not reliable or don't work at all, such as indoors, in urban canyons, underwater, and underground.  The technology may have marine, military, and surveying applications.  The NIST team is experimenting with very-low-frequency (VLF) digitally modulated magnetic signals, which propagate farther through buildings, water, and soil than conventional electromagnetic signals at higher frequencies.  (ARRL Letter story)



AT&T Hopes For 1 Gb/Second Data Over Power Lines

Project AirGig involves deploying low-cost plastic antennas along medium-voltage power lines as a means of propagating millimeter wave (mmWave) signals that can be used for 4G LTE and 5G multi-gigabit mobile and fixed deployments.  AT&T says AirGig could one day deliver internet speeds well over 1 gigabit per second via a mmWave signal guided by power lines.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



Texas Company Plans 160m Band Wireless Power Transfer

SWLing Post reports Texzon Technologies has been granted an FCC experimental license, callsign WJ2XGB, to test Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) from 1710 kHz to 1900 kHz in the 160 meter band.  Texzon Technologies apparently aims to conduct testing in the spectrum range from 1710 kHz to 1900 kHz with an input power of less than 5 kW and Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) limited to 100 watts or less.  The FCC license permits an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 1000 watts.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News stoy)  (SWLing Post story)



ARRL Requests Expanded HF Privileges For Technician Licensees

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.  The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.  “This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition.  “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”  (ARRL story)



NTIA Targets Portion Of 3.4 GHz Band For Potential Wireless Broadband Use

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has identified 3450 to 3550 MHz for potential wireless broadband use.  Amateur Radio has a secondary allocation of 3300 to 3500 MHz, sharing the spectrum with government radars; the popular “weak-signal” frequency is 3456.1 MHz. The NTIA oversees the use of spectrum by federal government agencies.  “America is the world’s leader in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, and we have claimed an early lead in bringing 5G to reality,” NTIA Administrator David J. Redl said in making the announcement.  “It’s essential to American competitiveness that we maintain our leadership in all of these areas.”  (ARRL story)



First Tunisian Individual Ham Radio Licenses Issued

Tunisia has started issuing individual amateur radio licenses.  After issuing the ministerial decree allowing for Tunisians to acquire their individual licenses in September, and after arranging for the first amateur radio exam on December 20th, ANF (the Tunisian Regulator) has delivered last Friday the first licenses of amateur radio.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



Daylight Saving Time Starts March 11

Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 11, at 2am.  Turn your clocks forward one hour.  During this period Hillsdale County will be on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) with a minus 4 offset from GMT/UTC.  Daylight Saving Time runs from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.



Silent Keys

Don KC8PRM and Janet Cook, formally of Quincy, were killed in a vehicle accident that occurred on January 31 in Chippewa County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Don was a former member of the club.

Don's obituary   Janet's obituary.



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

02/08/18 KD8CUF, BUMP, MICHAEL R, license status set to expired



Public Service Activities

How Amateur Radio Played a Role in the Hawaii EAS Emergency Response: In the minutes after the false missile EAS alert was delivered in Hawaii on January 13, there was a great deal of general confusion, a lack of communication, general perplexity about the next steps, and phone call after phone call that didn’t get through to the right recipients.  But one group in particular said it knew exactly what it felt it had to do.  While an official retraction from emergency officials of the alert did not come until 38 minutes had elapsed, amateur radio operators were able to confirm within 13 minutes that the Hawaii EAS alert was false.  (Radio World story)


Ham radios offered lifeline to Puerto Rico after Maria: Those attending the Orlando HamCation heard from the man who led the amateur radio effort to help Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria in September.  "During that time we had 100 percent loss of power and 98 percent loss of all communication on the island," Oscar Resto, Puerto Rico ham radio manager, said.  Amateur radio was an important lifeline for the government, emergency workers and citizens, who had to rely on it when nothing else worked.  "This situation proved that when everything fails, ham radio is the last resort.  Even with one communication at a time," Resto said.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)  (WESH report and video)



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)




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 will be on March 5.  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 2018.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule 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.  Contact Dan or any member of club leadership if you have ideas for programs or are willing to present something yourself.


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)


ARRL International Grid Chase: A new and exciting operating event kicked off on January 1, when the ARRL International Grid Chase got 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)  (Grid Square Calculator)


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 started 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)


Rave Alert and Smart911: 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.


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, including registration links.  Training will not be offered in Hillsdale County in 2018


NCVEC Releases New Technician License Question Pool: The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has released the 2018-2022 Element 2 (Technician) question pool.  The pool will take effect on July 1, 2018, and will remain valid until June 30, 2022.  The current Technician question pool, released in 2014, is valid until June 30, 2018.  (ARRL story)



Upcoming Events

March 10 – Ham Breakfast

March 17 – Michigan Crossroads Hamfest

March 18 – Toledo Mobile Radio Association Hamfest & Computer Fair

April 14 – Ham Breakfast

May 18-20 – Dayton Hamvention



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