Hillsdale Communicator

April 2019


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

The next club meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 16, at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).


There was no club meeting in March.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 13, at 8am at Spangler's new location, 601 E Chicago in Jonesville (map).  This is the old Cedar’s Restaurant at the corner of US12 and Concord Road.  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.  Check out these articles about Spangler's from the Hillsdale Daily News and The Collegian.


The March breakfast was held at the Draft Horse Diner in Litchfield and was attended by eight 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.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, April 6, at 11:15am 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 Report

Club membership stood at 18 as of March 31.  There were three new members and two renewals during the month.  Two members from 2018 did not renew before the end of the grace period on March 31, leaving 16 members as of April 1.  For 2019 there have been ten renewals and six new members.



Skywarn Spotter Training Held In Hillsdale County

About 80 people attended Skywarn Spotter training presented by the National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office on March 11 at the Hillsdale College Dow Conference Center.  Many were amateurs, as well as firefighters and others from the community.  A crew from WLNS Channel 6 Lansing, including Jim Geyer and Diane Phillips, covered the event.  (WLNS report)



ARROW Sponsoring Bus To Dayton Hamvention

ARROW Communications Association is sponsoring a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday, May 18.  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)



NASA Launches Rocket To Earth’s Core

Rushing into a press conference mere minutes after lift-off, NASA officials frantically announced a mission to the Earth’s core after accidentally launching a Atlas V rocket upside down.  “Today, I’m excited to announce that we’ve successfully launched—let’s see.  Well, I guess we’ll just call this the first-ever manned mission to explore this planet’s core,” said sweat-covered and visibly panicked NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who paused momentarily to put up a crudely drawn diagram labeled “Core Shot 2020” depicting the rocket burrowing through the planet’s crust towards its 10,000-degree-Fahrenheit inner core.  (the Onion story)



Bitcoin Coders Send Payment Over Ham Radio

In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind transaction, two developers working in separate countries have successfully sent a bitcoin lightning payment over radio waves.  The transaction was sent by Rodolfo Novak, co-founder of bitcoin hardware startup CoinKite, to developer and Bloomberg columnist Elaine Ou.  The completed payment effectively moved real bitcoin from Toronto to San Francisco.  While radio technology is most commonly used for broadcasting music or talk radio, it’s actually capable of much more than that.  As the two developers showcased, radio can also be used to boost the resilience of the bitcoin network.  (CoinDesk story)



Duga Radar: Enormous Abandoned Antenna Hidden Near Chernobyl

The peaceful untouched forest north of Ukraine's capital, Kiev, is a perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors -- save for one fact.  It contains the radiation-contaminated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, established in 1986 after the world's worst nuclear disaster sent a wave of radiation fallout across Europe.  Since 2011 it's been a major draw for adventurous tourists, but the forests here conceal another legacy of the Cold War, with a far more sinister and mysterious reputation.  The Duga radar.  Though once a closely guarded secret, this immense structure can be seen for miles around, rearing up through the mist over the horizon,  a surreal sight.  (CNN story)



FCC Adopts New Rules For Spectrum Above 95 GHz

The FCC has adopted new rules to encourage development of new communication technologies and expedite the deployment of new services above 95 GHz.  The action was the latest move in the Commission’s “Spectrum Horizons” branded initiative.  “This spectrum has long been considered the outermost horizon of the usable spectrum range, but rapid advancements in radio technology have made these bands especially ripe for new development,” the FCC said in announcing the March 15 move.  (ARRL story)



Here’s The Dirty Little Secret About Northern Lights Forecasting

A recent forecast for possible Northern Lights didn't pan out.  There were no widespread Northern Lights observed across North America.  How much data does the Space Weather Prediction Center have to make an accurate Northern Lights forecast.  You’ll be really surprised at the process.  (Mlive story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County




Public Service Activities

Ohio Ares Provides “Situational Awareness” During January Blizzard: Ohio ARES members stared down “Snowmageddon” 2019, the mid-January blizzard that blanketed the lower Great Lakes region.  Based on ominous forecasts and discussion with Assistant Section Emergency Coordinators (SECs) across the state, Section Manager Scott Yonally N8SY, and the Ohio Watch Office, SEC Stan Broadway N8BHL, asked Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) operators to provide observations and reports to assist decision makers at the Ohio Emergency Operations Center and county emergency management agency centers.  (ARRL story)



Snow Totals

March had little snow, about 2.6 inches.  The average high was 41.9 degrees with an average low of 24.2 degrees.  The high for the month was 67 degrees on March 28 and a low of 6 degrees on March 4.  Here are the unofficial snowfall totals (in inches) in Hillsdale City for the last few seasons.



















































































Season Total











FCC Enforcement News

FCC Takes A New Tack In Combating Unlicensed Radio Broadcasting: In what may be a first in the effort to crack down on unlicensed broadcasters, the United States has filed a civil action to stop a church-related pirate radio station from operating in Worcester, Massachusetts.  The Massachusetts US Attorney's Office is seeking an injunction to shut down the station, operating on 97.1 MHz.  “This groundbreaking step, for an injunction to stop a pirate radio operator’s illegal activities, is part of our continued efforts to combat illegal broadcasting,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold said this week.  “As we work with our law enforcement colleagues to use every tool in our toolbox to combat pirate radio, I welcome the Justice Department's renewed use of its Section 401(a) injunction authority.  Along with fines, equipment seizures, and warnings, this action underlines our continued interest in combating this serious problem.”  (ARRL story


FCC Cites Amateur Service Rule Violations In Unlicensed Broadcasting Case: An FCC Enforcement Bureau Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NoUO) issued last fall to a California Technician-class licensee for alleged unlicensed FM broadcasting on 95.7 MHz now has been upgraded to a Notice of Violation (NoV) that cites violations of the Part 97 Amateur Service rules.  The March 15 NoV sent to Daryl Thomas KE6MWS also specifically acknowledges Thomas as an Amateur Radio licensee, something not done in last November’s NoUO.  The  FCC Enforcement Bureau warned that it could progress to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), “if warranted.”  (ARRL story)




Club Leadership Positions Available: The Secretary And Board Member At Large positions had no nominations during annual elections in November or subsequent special elections.  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.


Hillsdale County Emergency Management: HCEM is always looking for volunteers, either to join the group or just to monitor the monthly tornado siren test.  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 2019.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of 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)


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

April 6 – Board Meeting

April 13 – Ham Breakfast

April 20 – Michigan QSO Party

May 11 – Ham Breakfast

May 15 – Club Meeting (Wednesday)

May 17-19 – Dayton Hamvention



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