Hillsdale Communicator

April 2020


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Ham Breakfast

The ham breakfast for April is canceled pursuant to Governor Whitmer's executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.  The next breakfast is scheduled for May 9 at a location to be announced.


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



Board Meeting

No board meeting in April.  Next meeting scheduled for May 2.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 18 as of March 31.  There were no new members and four renewals in March.  Eight members from 2019 did not renew before the end of the grace period on March 31, leaving 10 members as of April 1.



147.06 MHz Repeater Back On The Air

The 147.06 MHz repeater is back on the air after being down since early February 2019.  The repeater transmitter is located in Jonesville with a receive site in Hillsdale at Becker & Scrivens.  Use PL 118.8 with the standard positive transmit offset.  Thanks to Mark Seevers KC8QVX for getting the repeater up and running.  Mark is looking for a more suitable location for the transmitter, so if you you have any ideas let him know.



Monday Night Net Control Stations Needed

Now that the repeater is back on the air, it will be a lot easier to participate in the Monday net.  We need people to step up and volunteer to run the net.  Serving as net control station builds your skills and earns you extra points towards the net exceptional participation certificate.  We hope to get enough volunteers so that each person would only need to run the net once a month.  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.



Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award

The Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award program is running again in 2020.  Net participation earns points towards a certificate that will be awarded at the end of the year.  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 a reminder alarm in your calendar on your computer or smart phone.



Section Manager Message Regarding “Stay Home, Stay Safe” EO

In a recent email targeting all state amateurs, ARRL Michigan Section Manager Jim Kvochick K8JK urged compliance with the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.  The order states that all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they're a part of the critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  He reminds Michigan amateurs that amateur radio operators are not considered a part of the "critical infrastructure workforce" at this time.  He said it would not be in your best interest to use your amateur radio license as the reason you are not in compliance with this executive order.  It is never acceptable for any amateur to "self deploy" in an effort to serve.



Census Day April 1

April 1 is census day...no joking!  Every 10 years, the Census Bureau conducts a census to count every resident in the United States.  When you respond to the census, and it's important that you do, you'll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1.  The data collected is used to determine congressional representation and how federal spending is allocated, as well as providing a wealth of demographic information.  The first census was in 1790 and the population counted was 3,929,625.  The current US population is estimated to be just under 330 million, according to the US and World Population Clock.  (Census home page)



Income Tax Deadlines Pushed Back In Wake Of Coronavirus Pandemic

The US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced March 21 that the 2020 federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15 to July 15.  Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15 to July 15 without penalties and interest.  (IRS post)  Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-26 on March 27 ordering similar changes, delaying state income tax deadlines to July 15 and city income taxes to July 15 or July 31.



“99.5 The Dale” Is Hillsdale County’s “Newest” Broadcast Radio Station

Following the closing of its purchase of WCSR, McKibbin Media flipped WCSR-AM and its companion FM translator to a country format under the handle “99.5 The Dale.”  The station is Hillsdale County’s only country format radio station, broadcasting on both 1340 KHz AM and 99.5 MHz FM.  WCSR 92.1 MHz FM continues with an adult contemporary format featuring local news, weather and sports.  (Michigan Association of Broadcasters story)  (WCSR web page)  ( WCSR Facebook) (”The Dale” Facebook)



Dayton Hamvention, Other Events Canceled In Wake Of Pandemic

For the first time in its 68-year history the Dayton Hamvention will not take place, due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.  The glum news was not entirely unexpected, given widespread cancellations of public gatherings and a national state of emergency.  Also canceled were the ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention and the Toledo Mobile Radio Association Hamfest scheduled for mid-March.  The upcoming schedule is riddled with cancellations also, including the Crossroads Hamfest in Kalamazoo on April 11.  Click here to search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention Database.  (ARRL story)



Motorola Wins Trade Secrets Case Against Hytera

A jury for the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois has awarded Motorola Solutions damages of $764.6 million in its theft of trade secrets and copyright infringement lawsuit against Hytera Communications, the maximum Motorola Solutions had sought.  In early 2017 Motorola filed complaints in federal court alleging that Hytera’s digital mobile radio products employed techniques and systems that infringed on Motorola Solutions’ patents and trade secrets.  (ARRL story)



Interference From Solar Panel Installations

Sweden's national amateur radio society, SSA, reports on work to identify and resolve the radio interference that is caused by solar panel installations.  Together with the Swedish Energy Agency, the Swedish Electricity Safety Authority has for some time been reviewing solar installations around the country.  The Swedish Electric Safety Authority finds that it is mainly installations with so-called optimizers that cause radio interference.  Some plants, on the other hand, have very good EMC properties.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



Interest In Ham Radio Soaring As Country Grips With Coronavirus Outbreak

The number of Americans obtaining their ham radio licenses is soaring as the country comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.  Just as shoppers are hoarding necessities and food in panic buying, more people have quickly studied to become amateur radio operators to ensure they can maintain communications with others in case Internet or cell phone communication is disrupted.  (Digital Journal story)



Getting A FCC Ham Radio License

NYC Resistor Hackerspace member Becky Stern KD2SSU has released a YouTube video about how she got her FCC amateur radio license.  Share it with your unlicensed friends.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)  (Youtube video)



FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Nominated For Another Term

The president has nominated FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly for another 5-year term on the Commission.  The nomination was sent to the Senate on March 18.  O’Rielly was initially appointed to the FCC in 2013 by President Barack Obama.  “During my tenure at the Commission, I have advocated for preserving and advancing American free market principles to develop common sense regulation and eliminate unnecessary rules that hurt consumers,” O’Rielly said in a statement.  (ARRL story)



Radio Amateurs Team Up To Help University Design Low Cost Ventilator

Amateur radio volunteers from around the world have volunteered to assist University of Florida Professor Sam Lampotang and his engineering team in their quest to rapidly develop an open-source, low-cost patient ventilator that can be built anywhere from such commonly available components as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves.  The amateur radio volunteers are developing Arduino based control software that will set the respiratory rate and other key parameters in treating critically ill coronavirus victims.  (ARRL story)



USA Conducts First All Online Ham Radio Exam

The first remote all online amateur radio Technician license exam was carried out in the United States on March 26.  Marcel Stieber AI6MS said via Twitter: "Our working group ran an "all-virtual" amateur radio technician license exam for the first time in history!  Thanks to W5YI for being supportive of this effort.  Stay tuned, we hope to have a scalable solution available for broader use soon!"  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

03/04/20 KD8HO, STERLING, JOHN S, license status set to expired (SK 04/07/16)

03/18/20 KD8NSM, Wolf Jr, Richard F, license renewed, address updated within county



Snow Totals

Unofficial snowfall totals (in inches) in Hillsdale City for the last few seasons.




























































































Season Total




















Date of Last Measurable Snowfall












FCC Enforcement News

FCC Levies $18,000 Fine on Louisiana Amateur Radio Licensee: In an enforcement case prompted by complaints filed in 2017, the FCC has imposed an $18,000 forfeiture on a Louisiana ham for intentional interference and failure to identify.  The FCC had proposed the fine in a Notice of Apparent Liability in the case in July 2018 and affirmed the fine in a March 12 Forfeiture Order.  (ARRL story)




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.  The April 6 meeting is canceled.


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)


New Amateur Extra Question Pool Available: 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)



Upcoming Events

April 11 – Crossroads Hamfest CANCELED

April 18 – Michigan QSO Party

May 2 – Board Meeting

May 9 – Ham Breakfast

May 5 – BCARC Licensing Testing Session

May 15-17 – Dayton Hamvention CANCELED



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