Hillsdale Communicator

January 2019


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The club annual meeting will be held on Saturday, January 12, 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 and to consider any other business presented.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, January 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.


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



Christmas Party

The club Christmas party was held on December 15 at the Fayette Street Church of Christ in Hillsdale.  The club provided sloppy joes 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.



Club Leadership Elections

Club leadership elections for 2019 were to have been held at the November meeting, but that meeting was canceled.  Elections will be held in at the February club meeting, time and location to be determined.  The club seeks enthusiastic, qualified amateurs to lead the club.  The club has not had a full slate of board members since 2014.  If you are interested in serving as a member of club leadership, check the club constitution on our website for information about officer duties and election procedures.  We really, really need amateurs to step up and fill these positions.  Qualified amateurs must be willing and able to perform the requirements of the position.  Feel free to contact any of the current club leadership for more information.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 2, at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests are welcome.  Use the tower door off North Street.



Membership Dues For 2019

Club membership dues for 2019 are due.  Rates are unchanged from last year and are $10 for regular membership, $5 for household membership (additional members in same household after first member pays regular rate) and free for students.  You must print and fill out a 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, 3671 Bankers Road, HIllsdale, MI 49242.  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 12 as of December 31.  No new members.  Five members have renewed for 2019.



Seven Earn Exceptional Participation Award In 2018

Seven amateurs qualified for the 2018 Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award.  The purpose of the program is to encourage participation in the net, both as check-ins and as net control station.  The certificate is awarded to participants that attain at least 75 points during the year.  Those achieving the goal were Bill Hicks WB8FFO, Joe Gosla KD8UJS, Don Gambill KC8WAU, Dave King KQ8R, Logan Crook K8LRC, Tommy Palmer KD8WWW and Mark Seevers KC8QVX.  The program will run again in 2019.



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 2019 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.



2018 Monday Night Net Summary

Total Nets: 53 (41 ragchew, 12 emergency test)

Total check-ins including Net Control Station (NCS): 310

Most check-ins, individual: 50 (WB8FFO)

Most check-ins, net: 9 (03/12/18 and 07/09/18)

Average check-ins including NCS: 5.8

Unique check-ins: 18 different amateurs checked in at least once during the year.

Average check-ins per unique amateur: 17.2

Total net time: 922 minutes

Average net time: 17.4 minutes

Note: 5 weekly nets were conducted on simplex.



Skywarn Spotter Training Scheduled In Hillsdale County

The National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office (NWSIWX) will be conducting Skywarn Spotter Training in Hillsdale County on March 11 at 7:00 PM.  Training will be held at Hillsdale College Dow Conference Center Room Dow-B, 22 E Galloway Drive in Hillsdale (Map).  Click here to complete the required registration.  Click here to view the schedule of all sessions being offered by the NWSIWX office.



FCC Releases Plan For Government Shutdown

The FCC released its Plan for Orderly Shutdown in case funds become unavailable to continue operation.  "During the partial government shutdown, the FCC will remain open for business as usual through January 2, 2019," the FCC said on its website.  According to the shutdown plan, “If a potential lapse in appropriations is imminent, the FCC will determine whether and for how long prior-year funds are available to continue agency operations during a lapse."  (ARRL story)  (FCC plan)



FCC To Suspend Most Operations If Government Shutdown Continues

If the partial lapse in federal government funding continues, the FCC will suspend most operations on January 3, at mid-day.  At that time,  employees will have up to 4 hours to complete an orderly shutdown of operations.  Work required for the protection of life and property will continue, however, as will any work related to spectrum auctions, which is funded by auction proceeds.  In addition, the Office of the Inspector General will continue operations until further notice.  ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma AB1FM said in such situations, the FCC website would go offline, including includes the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and the Commission Registration System (CORES).  “This means all electronic license transactions would stop,” Somma said.  “FRN (FCC Registration Number) registrations would be unavailable, and even the search engines would be unavailable.”  (ARRL story)



FCC Tells LED Sign Marketers To Abide By Statutes And Rules

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has called on marketers of light-emitting diode (LED) signs to ensure that these lights comply with FCC rules.  Since March 2018, the agency has entered into 21 settlement agreements with companies that marketed noncompliant LED signs in violation of the Communications Act and FCC rules.  The settlements yielded approximately $850,000 in penalties, and commitments to ensure compliance with the law going forward.  Adherence to the FCC’s equipment authorization and marketing rules is critical because radio frequency emissions from the signs may cause harmful interference to licensed communications.  (ARRL story)  (FCC news release)



ARRL’s Logbook Of The World Tops 1 Billion QSO Records

As of December 19, more than 1 billion contact records have been entered into ARRL’s Logbook of The World (LoTW) system.  LoTW boasts some 112,000 users in all 340 DXCC entities, and 75% of all DXCC applications are filed via LoTW, which accounts for 86% of confirmations applied.  LoTW debuted in 2003.  “The service…continues to grow and is the preferred method of confirming QSOs because it strives to protect the integrity of DXCC and all awards,” said ARRL Field Services and Radiosport Department Manager Norm Fusaro W3IZ.  (ARRL story)



Quiz: Are You A True Baby Boomer?

Many amateurs are Baby Boomers.  Born in the economic and social boom after World War II, many of the things that Baby Boomers remember best about their childhoods have been replaced with new and improved technology, as well as major social change.  Test your knowledge if you think you remember many things about a simpler time in American history.  Warning: only true Baby Boomers (or expert historians) can get a passing score on this one!  There are 59 questions.  (Take the quiz)



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, has undergone a major construction project that started April 2.  The primary objective was to install an elevator that reaches all four levels.  The elevator has been in use for over the month as final details were completed.  The building dedication is scheduled for January 20.  (Church website updates)



Silent Keys

Herbert Spence Jr WD8JOO became a Silent Key on December 3.  Click here to view the obituary.



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

12/21/18 KD8EWY, BAKER, RANDY L, license status set to expired (SK 11/08/11)



Snow Totals

Hardly any snow in December and relatively warm temperatures.  The average high in December was 38.9 degrees, compared to 38.5 degrees in November, 31.5 degrees in December 2017 and a historical average of 34.4 degrees.  Here are the unofficial snowfall totals (in inches) in Hillsdale City for the last few seasons.




























































































Season Total











Michigan Distracted Driving Legislation Dies

Distracted driving bill legislation, introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on March 30, 2017, died as the legislative session ended without the bill being passed.  Click here to review the HB4466 status page.



PRB-1 Legislative Update

The Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 555 and S 1534) legislation died as the 115th Congress of the United States drew to a close.  The House passed HR 555 on January 23, 2017, but the bills stalled in the Senate.


The ARRL has filed a Petition for Rulemaking asking the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to incorporate the provisions of the Amateur Radio Parity Act.  The Petition has not yet been assigned a rule making (RM) number and is not yet open for public comment.  In the past, the FCC has said that it would not take such action without guidance from the US Congress, but, as ARRL’s Petition notes, the Congress “has overwhelmingly and consistently” offered bipartisan support for the Amateur Radio Parity Act.  (ARRL story)


PRB-1 Resources

ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 webpage

HR 555 status page

S 1534 status page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)




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)



Upcoming Events

January 2 – Board Meeting

January 12 – Ham Breakfast & Annual Meeting

January 12 – KB6NU One-Day Tech Class

February 17 – Livonia ARC's 49th Annual Swap & Shop

March 11 – Skywarn Spotter Training - Hillsdale County Michigan

March 16 – Michigan Crossroads Hamfest

March 17 – Toledo Hamfest and Computer Fair



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