Hillsdale Communicator

May 2018


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

Only three members attended the Club Meeting on April 18.  A quorum was not present so no official business could be conducted.


There will not be a regular club meeting in May.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, May 12, 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.  Click here to ready an article about the Coffee Shop that recently appeared in the Hillsdale Daily News.


The April breakfast was held at Ray's Tavern in Reading and was attended by seven amateurs.


Membership Report

Club membership stood at 12 as of April 30.  No activity during the month.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 2, at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Due to construction, use the main entrance off Manning Street (green doors).  All club members and invited guests are welcome.



Amateur Radio Volunteers Needed For Local Events

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, 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.


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!



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.



Election Day May 8

Tuesday, May 8, is Consolidated Election Day in Michigan.  According to the Michigan.gov/vote website, Hillsdale City and several townships in the county have items on the ballot.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to see if there is an election in your community, check to see if you are registered, find your polling location and generate a sample ballot.



Field Day

Field Day is June 23-24.  If anyone would like to lead the effort or host the event, please contact club leadership.  (HCARC Field Day page)  (ARRL Field Day home page)  (ARRL Field Day locator page)  (ARRL Field Day merchandise)



Church Construction Update

The First United Methodist Church in Hillsdale, site of many club meetings over the past few years, is undergoing a major construction project that started April 2.  The primary objective is to install an elevator that reaches all four levels.  This will require relocating restrooms and other modifications.  Asbestos has been removed from the construction area and demolition to make way for the elevator pit has begun.  Walls in other areas have also been removed to begin preparations for relocating the restrooms.  For a more detailed description of the project, view the church website building project page and check out this article from the church newsletter.



More Than 30,000 New Ham Licensees In 2017

For the fourth year in a row, more than 30,000 new licensees joined the Amateur Radio ranks.  At the end of December 2017, the US Amateur Radio population stood at 748,136.  At nearly 378,000, Technician licensees represented the largest segment, with 174,206 General and 145,034 Amateur Extra, 41,938  Advanced and 9,056 Novice.  Licensee numbers showed continued growth across all classes except  Advanced and Novice, which the FCC no longer issues.  (ARRL story)  (KB6NU blog commentary)



Movie Features Ham Radio

The movie 'A Quiet Place', starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, features amateur radio.  The New York Times describes it as "A welcome alternative to the mind-shredding din of virtually any modern action movie, “A Quiet Place” is an old-fashioned creature feature with a single, simple hook: The creatures are blind, hungry and navigate by sound."  The Philly Inquirer notes the ham radio in the basement is used to listen for signs of life and solar panels on the roof provide plenty of noiseless power.  (Southgate ARC News story)



Major Rove By Satellite Ops Could Make Rare Grids Squares Available

Satellite operators Doug Tabor N6UA and Ken Alexander VE3HLS will travel to the James Bay area of Quebec in early May, activating as many grid squares as are accessible by road in the limited time they have.  The plan is to arrive on May 6 and spend 7 or 8 days activating grids.  The area is extremely remote.  The James Bay Road, built by Hydro-Québec to support power infrastructure construction, is the main corridor through the area.  It’s some 380 miles long, with filling stations at each end and in the middle.  (ARRL story)



Radio Amateurs In Canada To Get New 100 W 5 MHz Allocation

Radio Amateurs in Canada are poised to join those in several other nations around the world who have access to a new 60-meter band, 5351.5 – 5366.5 kHz, as agreed upon at World Radiocommunication Conference 2015, but with a maximum power of 100 W effective radiated power.  The updated Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations includes the new allocation, although radio amateurs have not yet been authorized to use it.  (ARRL story)



Piece Of Michigan Meteorite Doesn't Get A Single Bid At Auction

A Royal Oak woman was hoping for a big payday when she put a piece of the Michigan meteorite she found up for auction.  The fragment was found in Livingston County's Hamburg Township after a meteorite exploded over southeastern Michigan on Wednesday, Jan.  17.  The woman attempted to sell her golf-ball sized piece, which weighs 50.3 grams, through Christie's Auction House.  The bidding started at $12,000 but didn't receive a single bid.  (MLive story)



FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Stepping Down

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is leaving the Commission.  She announced at the FCC’s April 17 meeting that it would be her last as a commissioner.  Following her 2013 appointment she served as acting FCC chair, the first woman to head the agency.  A Democrat, she is currently serving a second term on the Commission.



TV Tower Collapse In Missouri Leaves 1 Worker Dead, Several Injured

A TV tower in Missouri collapsed, killing one person and injuring several others.  The tower, near Fordland in Webster County, was used to broadcast KOZK Ozarks Public Television, according to a spokeswoman for Missouri State University, which owns the tower.  Six workers were performing routine maintenance on the 1,980-foot-tall tower when it went down.  (USA Today story)



FCC Releases Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking On Small Satellites

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on April 17, seeking comment on proposals to streamline its rules regarding the deployment of “small satellites.”  This would include small spacecraft put into orbit for Amateur Radio purposes, as well as small satellites launched by non-Amateur Radio entities, such as universities, but using Amateur Radio spectrum.  The NPRM primarily addresses satellites launched by the commercial sector, however.  Comments on the FCC NPRM will be invited 45 days following publication in The Federal Register.  ARRL is planning to file comments.  (ARRL story)



Silent Keys

Milt Bowers N8BFD became a Silent Key on April 1.  Milt was a member of the club for many years, serving in several leadership positions including president.  Click here to view obituary.


Art Bell W6OBB, former “Coast to Coast AM” and “Dreamland” radio host of Pahrump, Nevada, became a Silent Key on April 13.  He was 72.  “Coast to Coast AM” was syndicated nationwide in the early morning hours and, at its peak, was said to have reached 50 million listeners.  A decidedly unconventional yet distinctive radio host, Bell produced the show from his own studio in the High Desert of Nevada.  (ARRL story)  (International Business Times story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

04/07/18 KC8HEF, NEWSOME, GARY A, address updated to out of county

04/09/18 KD8IFO, HILLSDALE COUNTY ARES/RACES CLUB, license renewed

04/11/18 KD8IFO, HILLSDALE COUNTY ARES/RACES CLUB, address updated within county

04/17/18 N8HJA, JANSEN, SHARON D, administrative update to address



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.


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)


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)



Upcoming Events

May 2 – Board Meeting

May 6 – CROP Walk

May 12 – Ham Breakfast

May 18 – CAA Head Start Picnic

May 18-20 – Dayton Hamvention

June 2 – FCARC Summer Fest

June 2 – Hudsonville IRA Hamfest

June 3 – Chelsea Amateur Radio Swapmeet

June 9 – Ham Breakfast

June 17 – Monroe Hamfest

June 23-24 – Field Day



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