Hillsdale Communicator

August 2018


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, August 16, at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Further information to follow via email or website update as the meeting date nears.


There was no club meeting in July.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, August 11, 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 July breakfast was held at the Draft Horse Diner (formally Yesterday’s Diner) in Litchfield and was attended by six amateurs.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 12 as of July 31.  No activity during the month.



Monday Night Net Certificate

Congratulations to Joe Gosla KD8UJS for becoming the second to qualify for an award certificate 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.  Bill Hicks WB8FFO was the first to qualify.  Click here to view participation results.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 1, 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) or the tower door off North Street.  All club members and invited guests are 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 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.



Primary Election August 7

Tuesday, August 7, is Primary Election Day in Michigan.  The election features races for governor, federal and state legislators, as well as several proposals and offices at the county level.  There may be additional races or proposals in your local precinct.  Michigan does not require party membership to participate in a primary, but voters can only vote one party in the partisan section of the ballot.  Proposals will be on all ballots.  The ballot is long, so visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to check to see if you are registered, find your polling location and generate a sample ballot that you can print, fill out ahead of time and take to the polls with you to use as a guide.



ARRL Adopts New Monitoring Program To Replace Official Observers

The ARRL Board of Directors has adopted the recommendations of the Official Observer Program Study Committee, which would retire the 36-year-old Official Observer (OO) program and institute the Volunteer Monitoring (VM) program.  The Board took the action at its July meeting, instructing that the transition “be implemented as soon as practicable.”  Under the terms of the new program, current Official Observers will be invited to apply for appointment as Volunteer Monitors (VMs).  The Board expressed its appreciation for the OOs and their dedicated volunteer service over the years.  (ARRL story)



QRZ Celebrates 25th Anniversary

QRZ.com is celebrating their 25th year of providing a reliable amateur radio database to the worldwide Ham community.  Founded in 1993, over the years they have provided new and innovative features like XML data, the QRZ logbook, and QRZ operating awards.  To celebrate they are offering a free "Good on QRZ" sticker, available in two 25th Anniversary designs.  (QRZ story)



Michigan Student Wins 2018 Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award

Nineteen-year-old Ruth Willet KM4LAO of Virginia, was named as the recipient of the 2018 ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award by the ARRL Board of Directors at its July meeting.  The award is given annually to a radio amateur under the age of 21 whose accomplishments and contributions to both Amateur Radio and the local community are of an exemplary nature.  Willet, who earned her Technician class license in June 2015 and upgraded to Extra in May 2016, was instrumental in re-establishing the GMTE Amateur Radio & Electronics Club at Kettering University in Flint.  (ARRL story)



RadioShack “Express Stores” To Open In HobbyTown USA Locations

According to a July 13 article in the New York Post, RadioShack is planning to open “express stores” within HobbyTown USA locations.  The nearly century-old, twice-bankrupt retailer has signed a deal with HobbyTown USA to put a mini-RadioShack outlet in some 50 HobbyTown USA stores across the country that would sell items that might appeal to radio amateurs and experimenters.  Those locations will be identified with RadioShack signage.  HobbyTown markets remote-controlled cars and boats as well as drones and other hobby-related merchandise.  (ARRL story)  (CNBC story)



Ham Radio Technology Used In Thailand Cave Rescue

UK radio amateur John Hey G3TDZ (SK) designed the special low frequency radio equipment, the Heyphone, used in the recent cave rescue in Thailand.  Rescue crews used the "Heyphone", a voice radio designed by Hey.  It uses upper (single) sideband voice on 87 KHz.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



The Legacy Of Iraq’s Amateur Radio Operators Lives On

Ahmed Al Amshawi was just 17-years-old when he first discovered the underground world of ham radio in his native Baghdad in 1996.  A brotherhood of Iraqi men from all walks of life united by a common, clandestine passion: amateur radio communication.  One of Iraq’s first ham radio operators is thought to have been King Ghazi in the late 1930s, paving the way for the rest of Iraq.  Saddam Hussein was in power when Ahmed first picked up the crackling microphone that would connect him to the outside world.  The adrenaline rush he felt lives on with him today.  So too does the hobby and its enthusiasts.  (The National story)



Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Construction Project 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.  The elevator shaft is complete.  Rough-in of mechanicals, electrical and plumbing continues.  The final old bathroom has been taken out of service and a flushable portable unit will be in place before Sunday services.  Steel studs are being installed and drywall work will begin soon.  The project also includes upgrading the heating system and work on the new boilers continues, including some ductwork.  The schedule has slipped a bit and is now projected to be complete by the end of September.



Silent Keys

Karl Wanner K1CIK, 99, of Reading, became a silent key on September 26, 2016.  Not previously reported in this newsletter, Karl’s passing came to light as a result of his amateur radio license being set to expired status.  (Brown-Van Hemert obituary)



Great Lakes HamCon Update

The Great Lakes HamCon will be held on October 6&7 at Michigan International Speedway.  Volunteers are needed to work in various areas including Friday set-up, parking, vendor assistance, flea market and forum hosts, security, sunday clean-up and just general gofers.  There will be a lot of interaction with the campground this year, if that interests you.  Click here to access the volunteer sign-up page.


GLHAMCON Resources

Website: http://www.glhamcon.org

ARRL Hamfest Info Page: http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/michigan-state-convention-great-lakes-hamcon



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

07/04/18 K1CIK, WANNER, KARL A, license status set to expired (SK 09/26/16)

07/04/18 K8GK, MARKS, DALE E, license status set to expired

07/06/18 K8LRC, CROOK, LOGAN R, address updated from out of county to in county

07/11/18 KC8KUG, GAY, GREGORY K, license renewed



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.  The bill must be passed by the end of the legislative session on December 31 or it will die.



PRB-1 Legislative Update

Parity Act Options Open Despite Removal from Defense Authorization Act Conference Report: ARRL Hudson Division Director and ad hoc Legislative Advocacy Committee Chair Mike Lisenco N2YBB says removal of Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 555) language from the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report this week was unfortunate, but does not kill the initiative.  The Parity Act would ask the FCC to grant radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities the right to install effective outdoor antennas.  Lisenco said today that while the language was removed from the final NDAA Conference Report, other viable options remain to see the Parity Act succeed.  (ARRL story)


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)


If one of the bills does not pass before the end of the legislative session on December 31, the effort will have to be restarted in the next congressional session.



FCC Enforcement News

Radio Amateur to Pay $7,000, Face Restricted Privileges to Settle FCC Interference Case: The US Department of Justice and the FCC have reached a settlement with Brian Crow K3VR of Pennsylvania to resolve allegations that Crow intentionally interfered with the communications of other Amateur Radio operators and failed to properly identify.  The core component of the settlement calls on Crow to pay $7,000 to the US Treasury, the FCC and US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott Brady announced in separate July 3 news releases.  In addition, Crow’s Amateur Extra class license will be restricted to Technician class privileges for 6 months.  (ARRL story)


FCC Administrative Law Judge Terminates Long-Standing Amateur License Renewal Case: A California man embroiled in a long-running license renewal proceeding has lost the next step in his fight to remain a radio amateur .  In a July 9 Order, FCC Administrative Law Judge Richard Sippel terminated the decade-old license renewal application of William Crowell W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ).  Sippel’s Order followed Crowell’s refusal to appear in Washington, DC, for a hearing to consider not just his license renewal but related enforcement issues dating back 15 years or more.  (ARRL story)


FCC Proposes $18,000 Fine in Louisiana Amateur Radio Interference Case: The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing to fine a Louisiana amateur $18,000 “for apparently causing intentional interference and for apparently failing to provide station identification on amateur radio frequencies,” the FCC said.  Jerry Materne KC5CSG was previously warned regarding this behavior in writing by the Enforcement Bureau and, given his history as a repeat offender, these apparent violations warrant a significant penalty,” the FCC said.  In 2017, the FCC received numerous complaints alleging that Materne was causing interference to the W5BII repeater, preventing other amateur licensees from using it.  (ARRL story)




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.


Monday Night Net: Don’t forget to check in to the net every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.  Different flavors of the net take place every week.  The net runs anywhere from five to 30 minutes, depending on the number of check-ins.  Participating regularly in a directed net helps you keep you operating skills sharp.  Set up an alarm in your calendar on your computer or smart phone.  The net schedule and results are posted on the club website.


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)



Upcoming Events

August 1 – Board Meeting

August 11 – Ham Breakfast

August 11 – Angola Hamfest

August 16 – Club Meeting (tentative)

September 5 – Board Meeting

September 8 – Ham Breakfast

September 8 – GRAHamfest

September 9 – Findlay Hamfest

September 16 – Adrian Hamfest

October 6-7 – Great Lakes HamCon



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Previous editions are available in the newsletter archive.


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