Hillsdale Communicator

February 2020


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, February 8, 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 seven amateurs.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, March 7, at 8:00am at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All club members and invited guests are welcome.  Use the south entrance off city parking lot F.


The Board meeting previously scheduled for February 1 is canceled.



Membership Dues For 2020

Club membership dues for 2020 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 17 as of January 31.  There was one renewal during the month.  Two members have renewed for 2020.



Hillsdale County Active Licenses Unchanged In 2019

There were 125 active amateur radio licenses in Hillsdale County at the end of 2019, based on data pulled from the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS).  This is unchanged from 125 from 2018.  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 12 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.


2019 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)




Monday Night Net Certificate Program Renewed for 2020

The Board has decided to sponsoring the Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award for 2020.  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 currently is held every Monday at 7pm on 147.06 MHz simplex.  Participating regularly in a directed net helps you keep your operating skills sharp.



Monday Night Net Control Stations Needed

We have some Monday night net control slots open.  Serving as net control station builds your skills and earns you extra points towards the net exceptional participation certificate.  If you would like to serve as a net control station once a month please let a member of club leadership know.  Check the schedule for available dates.



NWS Schedules SKYWARN Training

The National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office has released a schedule 2020 SKYWARN Spotter Training for the spring season.  Training will not be offered in Hillsdale County this year.  Click here for a complete schedule, including registration links.



New Amateur Extra Question Pool Released, Effective July 1

The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) has released the 2020-2024 Amateur Extra Class question pool.  The pool will take effect on July 1, 2020, and will remain valid until June 30, 2024.  The current Amateur Extra question pool, released in 2016, is valid until June 30, 2020.  (ARRL story)



State QSO Party Challenge Announced

The State QSO Party Challenge is a competition comprised of other contests, namely state and provincial QSO parties.  As explained on the website, the annual cumulative score program is open to any radio amateur who participates in any approved state QSO parties (SQPs).  Participants just need to submit their QSO party scores to 3830scores.com to enter the challenge.  Participants’ cumulative scores will be calculated by totaling up the number of reported contacts and multiplying by the number of SQPs entered in the year to date.  Periodic standings will be posted to 3830scores.com, the QSOParty Groups.io forum, and the StateQSOParty.com website.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Expands Roster Of Online Discussion Groups

ARRL’s Committee on Communication with Members has launched three new online discussion forums as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance and improve communication between ARRL leadership and members or prospective members.  The new forums focus on antenna law, regulatory issues, and support for new amateur radio licensees.  The committee launched the three new discussion groups on the basis of requests from the amateur radio community, to support ARRL’s efforts to provide more resources for  beginner-to-intermediate operators.  (ARRL story)



Barry Shelley N1VXY Becomes ARRL Interim CEO

At its recent meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors did not elect Howard Michel WB2ITX as the ARRL Chief Executive Officer.  Beginning Monday, January 20, Barry Shelley N1VXY will become interim CEO.  Mr.  Shelley was ARRL’s Chief Financial Officer for 28 years and CEO during 2018 before his retirement.  The board has created a search committee to select the next CEO.  (ARRL story)



ARRL To Argue For Continued Access To 3-GHz Spectrum

The ARRL Board of Directors instructed the League’s FCC counsel to prepare a strong response to protect amateur access to spectrum in the 3 GHz range.  In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in WT Docket 19-348, the FCC proposed to relocate all non-federal operations, including amateur uses, to spectrum outside the 3.3 – 3.55 GHz band.  The Commission anticipates auctioning this spectrum to expand commercial use of 5G cellular and wireless broadband services, if agreement can be reached on relocation of , or sharing with, the federal incumbents that operate in the same band.  Publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register on January 22 established deadlines of February 21 for comments and March 23 for reply comments.  (ARRL story)



‘Right-To-Repair’ Fight Extends From iPhones To Tractors

Farmers’ simmering frustration over their inability to repair their own equipment is now front and center in a contentious debate that spreads well beyond the farm.  The battle is over who really controls a tractor, car, phone, refrigerator or camera, and whether customers have the freedom to repair the machines they own when they break, as they see fit.  (Detroit News story)



Microsoft Ends Support For Windows 7

Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009.  Support ended January 14.  (Announcement and FAQ)



Radio Amateurs Of Canada Announces A New Section

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) announced this week that the new Section Prince Edward Island (PE) will become effective on April 1.  RAC said its Prince Edward Island members have been working for some time to create a separate Section for RAC ARES activities there.  The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will continue to be in the Maritimes (MAR) Section.  In addition to Field Day and Sweepstakes, the new Section in Canada will affect the ARRL 160-Meter Contest but not the ARRL 10-Meter Contest, which uses states/provinces for US and Canadian multipliers.  (ARRL story)



Mysterious Repeating Fast Radio Burst Traced To Nearby Galaxy

Astronomers have traced the signal of an enigmatic repeating fast radio burst for only the second time, and it's in a spiral galaxy similar to our own, not so far away.  Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are millisecond-long bursts of radio waves in space.  Individual radio bursts emit once and don't repeat.  Repeating fast radio bursts are known to send out short energetic radio waves multiple times.  Multiple individual fast radio bursts in past years have been traced back to their sources in other galaxies, although those have yet to shed light on what created them.  (CNN story)



Norway Experiences Unexpected Ground Current “Shockwave”

Spaceweather.com reports that on January 6, unexpected electrical currents were detected in the soil of northern Norway starting at around 1930 UTC.  “It seemed to be some kind of shockwave,” said Rob Stammes, who monitors ground currents at the Polarlightcenter geophysical observatory in Lofoten.  “My instruments detected a sudden, strong variation in both ground currents and our local magnetic field.  It really was a surprise.”  (ARRL story)  (Spaceweather.com story)



A New Aurora?  Researchers Say 'The Dunes' Unlike Usual Lights In The Sky

Skywatchers in Finland are no stranger to auroras.  These dramatic nighttime light shows typically grace the Finnish skies roughly 200 nights out of the year.  But in October 2018, several aurora enthusiasts who regularly photograph the shimmering lights noticed something unusual.  Where the lights of regular auroras are typically arranged vertically to create a rippling, curtain-like effect, the skywatchers instead saw luminous green arcs structured horizontally and extending hundreds of miles toward the horizon.  (NBC News story)



Silent Keys

Sultan of Oman Qaboos Bin Said A41AA: The Sultan of Oman Qaboos Bin Said A41AA died on January 10.  He was 79.  The sultan was the patron and sponsor of the Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society and its A47RS club station.  He had been the Sultan of Oman since 1970.  (ARRL story)  (Times of Oman story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

01/16/20 KB8EOT, BUITEN, MICHAEL L, address updated from out of county



Snow Totals

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 and meeting will be on March 2.  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.


Distracted Driving Bills Introduced In State Legislature: There are several bills (HB 4181, HB 4198 and HB 4199) that have been formulated in the Michigan House of Representatives that deal with Distracted Driving.  The Michigan ARRL legislative team has been watching as these bills were introduced in the House.  Amateur Radio was granted an exemption (the use of amateur radio while driving) from being considered a distraction.  The exemption amendment referenced 47 CFR Part 97, 47 CFR Part 90 and a reference to CB radio.  (ARRL Michigan Section post)



Upcoming Events

February 8 – Ham Breakfast

March 7 – Board Meeting

March 14 – ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention

March 15 – TMRA (Toledo) Hamfest



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