Hillsdale Communicator

March 2019


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The February club meeting was held at the First United Methodist Church in Hillsdale on February 16.  Hillsdale County Emergency Management and Central Dispatch 911 Director Doug Sanford N8WFB presented the program, providing an overview of a new product Text-to-911 that Central Dispatch is using.  Don Gambill KC8WAU provided a tour of the church, highlighting recently completed renovations including a new elevator, updated restrooms and heating system upgrades.


There will not be a regular club meeting in March.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 8am at the Draft Horse Diner, 119 Marshall in Litchfield (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.


The February breakfast was held at the Sidekick Cafe in Osseo and was attended by nine amateurs.



Club Leadership Elections

Club leadership elections for 2019 were to have been held at the November meeting, but that meeting was canceled.  We tried again at the February meeting but we did not have a quorum present to conduct elections.  We’ll try again at the next club meeting, date to be determined.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, March 2, at 11:00am 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.



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 February 28.  There were no new members and two renewals during the month.  For the new year there are three new members and eight renewals.  Four members have not yet renewed.



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.



Magnetic North Just Changed...Here's What That Means

Magnetic north has never sat still.  In the last hundred years or so, the direction in which our compasses steadfastly point has lumbered ever northward, driven by Earth's churning liquid outer core some 1,800 miles beneath the surface.  Yet in recent years, scientists noticed something unusual: Magnetic north's routine plod has shifted into high gear, sending it galloping across the Northern Hemisphere—and no one can entirely explain why.  The changes have been so large that scientists began working on an emergency update for the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical system that lays the foundations for navigation, from cell phones and ships to commercial airlines.  (MSN.com story)



High-Tech Tool Helps Michigan Agencies Find 911 Cell Callers 

Emergency response agencies across Michigan and nationwide are using new technology to help find wireless 911 callers more quickly, police officials say.  A system called RapidSOS is helping dispatchers pinpoint the location of 911 callers with more accuracy than the previous method of tracking calls by nearby radio tower transmissions, which sometimes could be miles away from the caller.  While landline calls are easier to pinpoint, the latest technology allows a wireless caller’s location to be pinpointed within a radius of 3 meters, while in motion, and for 15 minutes after the call has been disconnected, according to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, one of dozens of Michigan police agencies that view RapidSOS as a potential life-saving tool.  (Detroit News story)



Toledo Man Reflects On 50 Years In Radio Business 

What other people might call a museum, Jerry O’Reilly calls a hobby.  O’Reilly has been fixing, building, and collecting radios for nearly his entire life.  Now, at 73 years old, he owns thousands of models, spread across three stories in a brick building in downtown Toledo.  CB radios.  Ham radios.  Heathkit radios, which he started building as a cub scout in the 1950s.  For 50 years, he has operated a radio repair business in the city for individuals and organizations alike.  He’s still in business, kind of, though he’s semi-retired.  He’s also in all likelihood the only game in town when it comes to his line of work, meaning the police, the fire department, local hospitals — anyone who uses radios and scanners — comes to him when they need a tune up.  (Toledo Blade story)



Planned Experiment Disconnects Russia From The Internet 

Authorities and major internet providers in Russia intend to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment purportedly aimed at enhancing national security, the Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting has reported.  The stated reason for the experiment is to gather insights and provide feedback and modifications to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament in December.  A draft of the law mandates that Russian internet providers ensure the independence of the Russian internet (Runet) and to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet in the event of foreign aggression.  (ARRL story)



US Navy Explores Amateur Radio As A Training Adjunct 

The US Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) has adopted Amateur Radio training as a possible new approach to basic RF and electronics instruction.  More than 20 NAWCWD employees took part in a week-long class in California in December.  The class, which culminated in an examination session for the Technician licensed, offered NAWCWD employees a novel approach to teaching radio propagation, said Brian Hill KF4CAM, the lead for electromagnetic maneuver warfare experimentation in the Avionics, Sensors and E*Warfare Department.  Hill, who got his license while he was still in high school, is also the department’s “innovation ambassador.”  (ARRL story)



US Amateur Radio Population Grows Slightly In 2018 

The US Amateur Radio population once again grew by about 1%, based upon 2017 and 2018 year-end FCC database statistics provided by Joe Speroni AH0A.  The 755,430 total licensees represent nearly 7,300 more ticket holders than those that were in the database at the end of 2017.  Nearly 51% of the Amateur Radio population in the US, 384,145, hold a Technician license.  Generals are second with 175,949, and Amateur Extras number 147,369.  Advanced and Novice licensee populations continue to decline, with 39,607 Advanced and 8,360 Novices, as the FCC no longer issues Advanced or Novice licenses.  A more significant statistic is 31,576 new FCC licenses last year, although that’s 620 fewer than came aboard in 2017.  (ARRL story)



Daylight Saving Time Starts March 10

Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 10, at 2am.  Turn your clocks forward one hour.  During this period Hillsdale County will be on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) with a minus 4 offset from GMT/UTC.  Daylight Saving Time runs from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

02/16/19 W8BVA, SANBORN JR, EDWARD E, issued vanity call sign, previously KJ4VOC.



Snow Totals

February had not much snow and about average temperatures.  The average high in February was 34.7 degrees, compared to 30.0 degrees in January, 36.7 degrees in February 2018 and a historical average of 34.0 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.


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.


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.


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)



Upcoming Events

March 2 – Board Meeting

March 9 – Ham Breakfast

March 11 – Skywarn Spotter Training - Hillsdale County Michigan

March 16 – Michigan Crossroads Hamfest

March 17 – Toledo Hamfest and Computer Fair

March 30 – BCARC Licensing Testing Session

April 13 – Ham Breakfast

April 20 – Michigan QSO Party



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