Hillsdale Communicator

April 2018


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting time and location is to be determined.  Due to construction at the church (see below), our normal meeting room is not available this month.  Watch for more information to be announced after the board meeting, or check the club website calendar or news page.


There was no club meeting in March.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 14, 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 six amateurs.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 16 as of March 31.  There were no new members and one renewal in March.  Four members from 2017 did not renew before the end of the grace period on March 31, leaving 12 members as of April 1.



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 in November or subsequent special elections.  We have a volunteer for Board Member At Large, but without a legal meeting with a quorum we have been 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.



Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Construction Project Begins

The First United Methodist Church in Hillsdale, site of many club meetings over the past few years, is undergoing a major construction project starting April 2.  The primary objective is to install an elevator that reaches all four levels.  This will require relocating restrooms and other modifications.  The project is scheduled to take up to six months.  For a more detailed description of the project, view the church website building project page and check out this article from the church newsletter.



New Hams

Congratulations to new ham Joey Kellam KE8JBC of Jonesville.  He was granted his Technician license on March 13.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 4, at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests welcome.  Due to construction, use the main (green) doors on the Manning Street side.



Amateur Radio Volunteers Needed For Local Events

CAA Head Start Picnic: The Community Action Agency (CAA) Head Start Picnic is Friday, May 18.  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 18 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 6.  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 and monitor points along the trail.  To volunteer, contact club President Don Gambill KC8WAU.



Coffee Shop In North Adams…3 Generations Of Hospitality

The Hillsdale Daily News recently ran a short story about the Coffee Shop in North Adams.  HCARC frequently visits the Coffee Shop for breakfast, and sometimes for meetings.  (HIllsdale Daily News story)



Michigan QSO Party

The Michigan QSO Party will be held on Saturday, April 21 from noon to midnight local time.  This is a great opportunity to get on the HF bands and have some fun.  Check out the Michigan QSO Party website for details.



Arrow Sponsoring Bus To Dayton Hamvention

ARROW Communications Association is sponsoring a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday, May 19.  The cost for the round trip is $65 and includes the bus ride from Ann Arbor, continental breakfast, the right to sell your stuff from the ARROW attended booth space in the flea market and the opportunity to win one of many ARROW door prizes.  Click here for more details.  Please note that this does not include the Hamvention ticket.  (ARROW Trip Flyer)



Morse Code Shoes Send Toe-Tapping Texts

The BBC reports Morse code inspired the creation of shoes which send toe tapping texts.  A pair of smart shoes has been created to let industrial workers keep in touch via toe-typed coded messages.  The footwear was inspired by Morse code, but made possible by the latest communication technologies.  (Southgate ARC News story)



Swedish Regulator Considering Fees To Run More Than 200 W

Sweden’s Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) is considering lowering the transmitter output power for general Amateur Radio stations to 200 W PEP.  Under a set of wide-ranging proposed regulatory changes affecting many radio services, radio amateurs who want to run higher power would have to apply for a license and pay an annual fee of about $33.  Amateur Radio licenses were eliminated in Sweden in 2004, and Amateur Radio in Sweden is “permission free,” but prospective radio amateurs still must pass an examination, typically arranged by Sweden’s International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Member-Society in Sweden, SSA.  (ARRL story)



First Responders Not Sold On Digital Radio Systems

The story, “Years After Sept.  11, Critical Incidents Still Overload Emergency Radios” appeared on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered recently.  It talks about some of the problems that police departments and other first responders are having with their digital communications systems, despite spending billions of dollars on them.  The report includes recordings of the police officers expressing their frustration with the system.  “I can’t transmit for some reason,” says one, and “We’re having trouble transmitting,” says another.  Of course, what’s happening is that the system doesn’t have enough capacity when there’s a lot of traffic, as can happen in emergency situations when multiple police officers and multiple agencies are trying to use the system.  (KB6NU blog story)  (NPR story)



V55V Rhombic Antennas - A Big Signal Out Of Africa

The Amateur Radio Station V55V in Namibia is known to have one of the biggest signals in the southern part of Africa.  Now, after more than 20 years the operators have decided to shut down and return to their native Germany.  Check out this seven-minute video on YouTube.  (Video link)



BBC To Shelve FM Switch-Off Plan

The Daily Mail reports the BBC has canceled plans to switch-off FM radio broadcasts and force millions of listeners to tune into digital transmissions.  The corporation is set to announce FM will remain as part of a 'hybrid' future that will operate alongside DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) and the Internet.  (Southgate ARC News story)



Norwegian Local Radio Stations Fined For Using FM

The Radio NYTT site reports the Norwegian Media Authority has fined two local radio stations because they have continued broadcasting in FM.  Radio Metro and Radio Rox have been issued a fine of almost 7000 euros by The Norwegian Media Authority.  The reason is exceptional by European standard, the two local radio stations wanted to stay on air on FM, but was not allowed.  Norway has completed a nearly year-long transition to digital radio.  (Southgate ARC News story)  (April 2015 Time story)  (January 2017 ARRL story)  (December 2017 ARRL story)



E-Licensing For Ham Radio In Indonesia

The world-wide shift to online amateur radio exams and licensing continues to gather pace, the latest country to adopt it is Indonesia.  The Technical Implementation Unit (UPT) of the Directorate General of SDPPI in South Sulawesi (Balmon Class I Makassar) is preparing to hold its first Amateur Radio (UNAR) Exam based on the online licensing system of the Directorate General of SDPPI (e-Licensing), which was planned to be held on March 24-25, 2018.  Plt Nurhaedah, Control Director, in his opening speech said that UNAR-based e-Licensing is a form of paradigm shift and shows the government's commitment to provide easy, fast and transparent services.  (Southgate ARC News story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

02/07/18 KC8CFZ, SCHONERT, MATTHEW R, address updated to out of county, license renewed

03/07/18 KD8IEA, HOUSEKNECHT, CHARLES W, license renewed

03/13/18 KE8JBC, Kellam, Joey S, new licensee Technician

03/28/18 N8HJA, JANSEN, SHARON D, license renewed

03/29/18 W8AGV, RUTH, VERNON L, license status set to expired (SK 12/29/14)



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 Seizes Equipment from Pirate Broadcasters in Boston: The FCC reports that it seized transmission equipment from two pirate radio stations in Boston.  According to court documents, the seizures involved an illegal broadcaster that identified as “Big City” on various FM channels from Dorchester, Massachusetts (with a studio in Roxbury) and pirate “B87.7 FM,” which operated on 87.7 FM from Dorchester.  Both unlicensed stations had been issued multiple warnings but continued to operate.  Pursuant to federal forfeiture statutes, authorities seized equipment operated by each radio station.  T he forfeiture actions came in the wake of complaints to the FCC, including one from a licensed broadcaster, about interference.  (ARRL story)




Club Leadership Positions Available: Two club leadership positions remain open.  The Secretary 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.


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.


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

April 4 – Board Meeting

April 14 – Ham Breakfast

April 21 – Michigan QSO Party

May 5 – CROP Walk

May 12 – Ham Breakfast

May 18 – CAA Head Start Picnic

May 18-20 – Dayton Hamvention



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