Hillsdale Communicator

February 2019


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting is will be Saturday, February 16, at 10am at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  We will be holding leadership elections that were postponed from November.  Hillsdale County Emergency Management and Central Dispatch 911 Director Doug Sanford N8WFB will present the program, an update on activities at Emergency Management and 911.  There will also be a tour of the church renovations for those that are interested.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, February 9, at 8am at the Sidekick Cafe, 4682 Hudson Road in Osseo (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.


The January breakfast was held at the Coffee Shop in North Adams and was attended by nine.



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.  The club seeks enthusiastic, qualified amateurs to serve in leadership positions.  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 members 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.



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 (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 15 as of January 31.  There were three new members and one renewal during the month.  For the new year there are three new members and six renewals.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, February 2, at 10:30am at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members are welcome.  Use the south entrance off city parking lot F.



Hillsdale County Active Licenses Decrease In 2018

There were 125 active amateur radio licenses in Hillsdale County at the end of the year, based on data pulled from the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS).  This is down from 133 last year.  An active license doesn’t necessarily mean an active ham.  FCC ULS active licenses may include club licenses, silent keys, hams that have moved out of the county and not updated their address and inactive hams.  Also included in the active total are 10 licenses that are within the two-year grace period for renewal.  Not included in the total are any hams that moved into the county and did not update their address in the ULS.


2018 FCC ULS Activity In Hillsdale County

New License *


Moved Into County *


License Upgraded


License Renewed


Address Updated Within County


Other Administrative Updates


Issued Vanity Call Sign


Moved Out Of County *


License Expired *


Net Change (includes * items)




Emergency Texting Now Available In Hillsdale County

Hillsdale County Central Dispatch is now capable of receiving emergency Texts-to-911 when citizens are unable or it is unsafe to make a 911 voice call.  Director of Hillsdale County Emergency Management Douglas Sanford N8WFB said the system has been live since the first week of November.  (Hillsdale Collegian story)



One-Day Tech Class February 23

Dan Romanchik KB6NU will be presenting a one-day tech training class on Saturday, February 23 in Ann Arbor.  The class runs from 9:00am and run until 3:30pm, at which time the license exam will be given.  Pre-registration is required and pre-study is highly recommended.  Click here for more information.  Dan presents this class several times a year.



New General Class Question Pool Released, Effective July 1

The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) Question Pool Committee has released the 2019-2023 Element 3 General Class Question Pool into the public domain.  The new Question Pool is effective for Element 3 exams administered on or after July 1, 2019.  The current General question pool, released in 2015, is valid until June 30, 2019.  (ARRL story)



US Senate Confirms Two To Full FCC Terms

The US Senate confirmed Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr to full 5-year terms as FCC commissioners.  Starks, who most recently had served as assistant chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, fills the seat vacated last spring by Mignon Clyburn.  Carr was confirmed last August to fill the seat left vacant by the departure of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  He now has been confirmed for a full 5-year term.  (ARRL story)  Starks was sworn in on January 30.  (ARRL story)



Mysterious Fast Radio Bursts Detected From Deep Space

Among the typical array of radio signals and microwaves cast out by distant stars, black holes and other celestial bodies, there exists a brand of intergalactic light that consistently boggles scientists' minds, and their instruments.  These signals are known as fast radio bursts (FRBs).  These ultrastrong, ultrabright radio signals last only a few milliseconds and are thought to originate from billions of light-years away, though their precise source is unknown.  Among these newly captured signals are seven bursts that registered at 400 megahertz, the lowest FRB frequency detected so far, and, for only the second time ever, an FRB that flashed repeatedly, six times in a row.  (NBC News story)



Court Rules Excessive Fees Violated Reasonable Accommodation

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department has ruled in the case of Myles Landstein N2EHG, that the Town of LaGrange not only overstepped its state-granted authority by assessing excessive fees, but violated the limited federal preemption PRB-1 in the process.  PRB-1 requires municipalities and states to “reasonably” accommodate Amateur Radio antennas and to apply the “minimum practicable regulation” in handling Amateur Radio antenna applications.  The ruling is slated to be published as a case decision.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Launching New Podcast Geared Toward New Radio Amateurs

For those just getting started on their Amateur Radio journey, ARRL is launching a new podcast aimed at answering questions, providing support and encouragement for newcomers to get the most out of the hobby.  The podcast “So Now What?” will launch on March 7 and new episodes will be posted every other Thursday.  Co-hosting “So Now What?” will be ARRL Communications Content Producer Michelle Patnode W3MVP and ARRL Station Manager Joe Carcia NJ1Q.  The podcast will explore questions that newer hams may have and the issues that keep participants from staying active in the hobby.  (ARRL story)



The FCC Is Back In Business

In the wake of the more-than-month-long partial government shutdown, the FCC said that it would be tackling the backlog of applications already in the queue over the course of a couple days.  The FCC had earlier indicated that it would resume processing Amateur Radio applications.  (ARRL story)


Related stories:

FCC Now Processing Amateur Radio Applications

FCC Resets Filing Deadlines, Receipt Dates in Wake of Government Shutdown



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County




Snow Totals

Plenty of snow in January to make up for December.  Temperatures actually averaged out to be normal, despite extreme cold the last few days of the month.  The average high in January was 30.0 degrees, compared to 38.9 degrees in December, 31.0 degrees in January 2018 and a historical average of 29.9 degrees.  Here are the unofficial snowfall totals (in inches) in Hillsdale City for the last few seasons.



















































































Season Total












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 will be on March 4.  HCEM volunteers will be attending Skywarn Spotter Training on March 11.  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)


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.


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.  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.



Upcoming Events

February 2 – Board Meeting

February 9 – Ham Breakfast

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

February 16 – Club Meeting

February 23 – KB6NU One-Day Tech Class

March 11 – Skywarn Spotter Training - Hillsdale County Michigan

March 16 – Michigan Crossroads Hamfest

March 17 – Toledo Hamfest and Computer Fair



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