Hillsdale Communicator

May 2020


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Ham Breakfast

Pursuant to Governor Whitmer's executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic the ham breakfast is canceled until further notice.


There was no ham breakfast in April.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, May 2, at 8:00am.  The meeting will be held via Zoom videoconference.  All club members and invited guests are welcome.  Contact K8HRC@arrl.net for the link.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 10 as of April 30.  There was no membership activity during the month.



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.



Consolidated Election May 5

Tuesday, May 5 is Consolidated Election day in Michigan.  In Hillsdale County there are no precincts holding elections, according to the Michigan Voter Information Center website.



ARRL Announces New Benefits For Members

ARRL members will now receive digital access to four ARRL magazines beginning with their latest issues.  Joining QST and On the Air magazines on a digital platform will be the bimonthly editions of QEX, The Forum for Communications Experimenters and NCJ, National Contest Journal.  QEX includes articles, columns, and other features ranging from construction projects to more advanced technical information in radio theory and practice.  NCJ, published since 1973, targets radio amateurs active in radiosport, including scores, technical articles, contributions from top contesters, and advice for beginners and seasoned radiosport enthusiasts alike.  Members who have elected to receive a printed QST or On the Air as part of their membership benefits will continue to have this service.  (ARRL story)



New Volunteer Monitor Program Is Up And Running

After kicking off on January 1, the new Volunteer Monitor Program has ramped up to operational status.  A “soft rollout” of the program began on February 1, designed to familiarize Volunteer Monitors (VMs) with issues on the bands and to put into practice what to report and what to ignore, based on their training.  The VMs not only will be looking for operating discrepancies, but for examples of good operating.  (ARRL story)



CoCoRaHS Virtual Training Webinar May 7

The NWS Indianapolis office in conjunction with the Indiana State Climate Office at Purdue University will be hosting a couple of online CoCoRaHS training webinars on May 7.  The first will be at 1pm and the second at 6pm EDT.  Pre-registration is encouraged.  Each session will be the same and last around 1 hour.  The training is free and intended for all ages, young and old.  This is a great STEM activity and would be great for kids.  Click here for more information and registration details.



Remotely Administered Amateur Exam Systems Showing Promise

Facing a growing demand for amateur radio exam sessions in a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, sponsors of some Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams have risen to the challenge and are developing systems to remotely proctor test sessions.  Current systems leverage Zoom video-teleconferencing technology, the “Fill & Sign” feature of Adobe PDFs, reliable email, appropriate computer equipment and Internet connection, and no volunteer examiners (VEs) present at individual remote test sites.  (ARRL story)



Hamvention QSO Party Set For May 16

The Hamvention QSO Party, a sort of virtual Dayton Hamvention, will take place on the HF bands on May 16, which would be the Saturday of the now-canceled event.  “Let’s celebrate the many years we have all had at the Great Gathering we call Hamvention,” said an announcement.  The Hamvention QSO Party will be a 12-hour event, 1200 UTC until 2400 UTC on May 16.  (ARRL story)



Contest University (CTU) 2020 Will Be Free And Online

Contest University (CTU) , a staple of Dayton Hamvention, will be held online via Zoom on May 14 starting at 1245 UTC.  CTU 2020 is free and will be recorded and archived.  The CTU course outline has been posted online.  Connection details to the CTU Zoom Bridge will be posted on the Contest University site one week prior to CTU.  Online registration is open.  (ARRL story)



Circuit Board For Bare-Bones Ventilator Moves Toward Production

Radio amateurs continue to play key roles in developing the electronic control system for an open-source/architecture, modular, low-cost human patient ventilator.  The device itself was designed by researcher Sem Lampotang and his team at University of Florida Health, using such commonly available components as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves.  His team is working on adding safety features to meet regulatory guidelines, then they will run engineering tests to determine safety, accuracy, and endurance of the machine, which can be built for as little as $125 to $250.  (ARRL story)



Emergency Ventilator Designed And Constructed By Hams Going To FDA

Radio amateurs have succeeded in providing a complete, working ventilator system to University of Florida researchers who are in the process of applying to the Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).  A successful submission would blaze the way for volunteers and manufacturers around the world to create low-cost, highly functional intensive care unit or anesthesia-care ventilators that offer many of the features of modern ventilators at a fraction of the typical cost.  Dr. Gordon Gibby KX4Z, who is associated with the project, said efforts to further improve the device are ongoing.  (ARRL story)



First Transatlantic Contact On 70 Centimeters Reported

History appears to have been made on April 7, when an operator at D4VHF in Cape Verde off the African Coast and Burt Demarcq FG8OJ on Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, completed a contact on 70 centimeters using FT8, a distance of 3,867 kilometers (2,398 miles).  This would mark the first transatlantic contact on that band that did not involve satellites or moonbounce.  The most likely mode of propagation was marine ducting, with the signal being trapped close to the ocean surface.  (ARRL story)



144 MHz Trans-Atlantic Record Extended To Almost 4,760kms

On April 8, D4VHF in the Cape Verde Islands managed to work PJ2BR on Curacao on 144 MHz using the FT8 digital mode.  The distance was approximately 4,759 kms (kilometers), which is roughly 300 kms further than the previous trans-Atlantic record of 4,460 kms set between in June 2019.  (Southgate ARC story)



NOAA Updates Solar Cycle 25 Prediction

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has published its official updated prediction of Solar Cycle 25 in new, interactive Solar Cycle Progression graphs.  “SWPC forecasts a solar maximum between 105 and 125, with the peak occurring between November 2024 and March 2026,” said Frank Donovan W3LPL.  “There is broad consensus that solar minimum is ongoing this year, or may have already occurred, and that Cycle 25 will have no major change in the level of solar activity compared to Cycle 24.”  (ARRL story)



Two Solar Cycles Active At Once

On April 27, there were two sunspots in the sun’s southern hemisphere.  Their magnetic polarity reveals something interesting:  One sunspot (AR2760) belongs to old Solar Cycle 24, while the other (AR2761) belongs to new Solar Cycle 25.  We know this because of Hale’s polarity law.  AR2760 is +/- while AR2761 is -/+, reversed signs that mark them as belonging to different cycles.  (SpaceWeather.com story)



Long-Lost US Military Satellite Found By Amateur Radio Operator

There are more than 2,000 active satellites orbiting Earth.  At the end of their useful lives, many will simply burn up as they reenter the atmosphere.  But some will continue circling as "zombie" satellites, neither alive nor quite dead.  Scott Tilley VE7TIL, an amateur radio operator living in Canada, has a passion for hunting them down.  (NPR story)



HAM RADIO In Friedrichshafen Cancels 2020 Show

The annual HAM RADIO show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, has decided to cancel its 2020 show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The event is Europe’s major ham radio show, attracting some 15,000 visitors from around the world each summer.  (ARRL story)



Spain Grants Unlicensed Individuals Permission To Use Amateur Stations

Spain’s Unión de Radioaficionados Españole has obtained temporary permission from the country’s telecommunications regulator for unlicensed people to use amateur stations during the coronavirus lockdown.  “The main objective of the request is to disseminate and promote amateur radio among schoolchildren who must be confined at home,” the announcement from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Infrastructure said.



Japan’s Radio Amateurs Gain Expanded Access To 160 And 80 Meters

Japan radio amateurs have new privileges on 160 and 80 meters.  ARRL Life Member Kenji Rikitake JJ1BDX/N6BDX, said the new regime allows Japanese radio amateurs to operate FT8 on 80 and 160 meters as well as WSPR.  Additional details are on the Japan Amateur Radio League website.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

04/08/20 KA8SEW, HANNEMAN, PATRICIA A, license status set to expired

04/21/20 KD8LOS, BICK, JOSEPH d, Administrative Update

04/22/20 KD8LOR, BICK, NATHAN G, license renewed



Snow Totals

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




























































































Season Total




















Date of Last Measurable Snowfall













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 2020.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of the club website.


Monday Night Ragchew Net: Volunteers are always needed to run the Monday Night Ragchew Net.  Check the Net Control Schedule on the club website for the schedule and results.  Contact a member of club leadership if interested.  And don’t forget to check in every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.


Monday Night Net: Don’t forget to check in to the net every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.  Different flavors of the net take place every week.  The net runs anywhere from five to 30 minutes, depending on the number of check-ins.  Participating regularly in a directed net helps you keep you operating skills sharp.  Set up an alarm in your calendar on your computer or smart phone.  The net schedule and results are posted on the club website.


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)


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.


Dayton Hamvention 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.  (ARRL story)


US Census: Every 10 years, the Census Bureau conducts a census to count every resident in the United States.  When you respond to the census, as required by law, you'll tell the Census Bureau where you lived 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 Due To 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.



Upcoming Events

May 2 – Board Meeting

May 9 – Ham Breakfast CANCELED

May 5 – BCARC Licensing Testing Session

May 15-17 – Dayton Hamvention CANCELED

June 6 – FCARC Summer Hamfest

June 6 – IRA Hudsonville Hamfest



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