Hillsdale Communicator

August 2020


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County



Ham Breakfast

No ham breakfast scheduled at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.



Zoom Net

The club held a Zoom net on July 16 and had a nice turnout...so much so that we decided to do it again.  The next Zoom net will be Thursday, August 20 at 7:00pm.  If you've never used Zoom before, it is an online videoconferencing app that runs on your computer, tablet or smart phone.  We will send out a link a few days before the net.  If you do not receive the link and want to participate, simply email K8HRC@arrl.net requesting the link and we’ll send it to you.  We'll try to run it like a regular net.  We only have 40 minutes so hopefully we'll be able to get through everyone, maybe even two rounds.  Hope to see lots of people Zoomed in! 



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, September 5, at 8:00am at a venue to be determined.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 10 as of July 31.  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.



State Primary Election August 4

Tuesday, August 4, is Primary Election Day in Michigan.  The election features candidates for federal and state representatives, as well as several offices at the county level.  There may be additional items on the ballot in your precinct.  This election is especially important at the county level because for many offices there are no Democrats on the ballot, so the winner of the Republican primary moves on to run unopposed in the November general election.  Michigan primaries are open and you do not need to be a party member to vote.  You can vote either the Republican side or the Democratic side, but not both.  Absentee voting is available to all voters…you do not need to have a reason.  Contact your local clerk to obtain an absentee ballot, which must be returned by the time the polls close.  Utilize absentee voting to avoid lines and possible exposure to COVID-19.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to check to see if you are registered, find your local clerk and polling location, and generate a sample ballot.



Annual Hillsdale Airport Fly-In Canceled

Hillsdale’s 5th annual Patriot’s Day Fly-In, originally scheduled for September 13, is the latest local event to get scrapped over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  The Exchange Club of Hillsdale, which sponsors the event, made the decision to postpone the event until September 12, 2021.  (Hillsdale Daily News story)



Hillsdale County Fair Canceled

After much deliberation and review of the current State and CDC guidelines and restrictions due to COVID-19, the Hillsdale County Fair Board of Directors met June 25 and voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Hillsdale County Fair.  This decision was not an easy one, and not taken lightly, but with the advice of the insurance provider, legal counsel, the local health department and MSU Extension.  (Hillsdale Coutny Fair website)



QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Announces Full Lineup Of Speakers

The first QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, to be held August 8-9, has confirmed what it’s calling “a packed lineup of over 70 great speakers” for the ARRL-sanctioned event.  Attendance is free and registration is open.  Presentations will cover a range of topics, with two tracks focused on providing hands-on, practical advice for those just getting started in amateur radio.  (ARRL story)  (Expo registration webpage)



KB6NU Tech Class Recordings, Next Class Starts August 3

KB6NU's second online Tech class concluded recently, and now recordings of all four sessions are available on his YouTube channel.  (KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog post)  The next online Technician Class amateur radio license class starts on August 3.  It will consist of four, two-hour sessions starting at 9:00pm EDT (6:00pm PDT) and running until 11:00pm EDT (8:00pm PDT).  The cost is $20 for adults.  High school and college students can attend for free.  Click here for more details.



The Rebirth Of HF

A paper produced by Rohde and Schwartz, “The Rebirth of HF,” provides a good description of HF propagation that could be of great help to any newcomer.  The white paper does a pretty good job of describing the fundamentals of HF.  Click here to read the Rohde and Schwartz paper.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)  (KB6NU Blog post)  (Rohde and Schwartz white paper)



Field Day 2020 Is Shaping Up To Be One For The Record Books 

ARRL Contest Program Manager Paul Bourque N1SFE reported in mid-July that ARRL has received more than 8,700 online Field Day entries, and paper-only entries have started arriving too.  “As many participants chose to operate from home this year, and given the 2020 rules waivers, we have seen a tremendous increase in entries over last year’s event,” Bourque said.  Most of the entries received have been through the online web app, and Headquarters staffers have begun processing the paper entries this week.  The 2020 waivers allowed individual club members to attribute their scores to their clubs.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Members To Lead New 30-Minute Amateur Radio Webinar Series

ARRL is launching a new webinar series to help introduce more members to the variety of activities and opportunities that radio amateurs enjoy.  The ARRL Learning Network will offer live presentations by member-volunteers, for members.  Like hamfest forums and radio club presentations, the webinars are intended to help participants get more active, involved, and engaged in amateur radio.  (ARRL story)  (Upcoming live presentations)  A live presentation from ARRL North Texas Section Traffic Manager Aaron Hulett K8AMH inaugurated the new ARRL Learning Network on July 28.  (ARRL story)



Introducing The ARRL Current

ARRL has a new way to let members know when the digital editions of QST and other publications are available.  Distributed via email, The ARRL Current offers a monthly overview of ARRL publications and member benefits.  The inaugural edition launched in June.  Subscribe now to receive each issue going forward.  Manage your email preferences from your ARRL account.  (ARRL story)



High School Marine Buoy Transmitter Now Active On 20-Meter WSPR

Members of the Mount Carmel High School Amateur Radio Club (MCHSARC) in San Diego have constructed and deployed an amateur radio marine buoy in the Pacific.  The buoy, which transmits WSPR on 14.0956 MHz USB, has already been heard around the continental US, Brazil, Hawaii, Japan, Costa Rica, Australia, and South Africa.  (ARRL story)



Maritime Mobile Service Network Comes To The Aid Of Vessel In Distress

The Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) on 14.300 MHz came to the assistance of a sailing vessel on June 25.  MMSN control operator Steven Carpenter K9UA took a call on 20 meters from Ian Cummings KB4SG, the skipper of the Mystic Lady, then some 40 miles east of Florida.  Cummings reported that his engine had failed as he was attempting to return to his home port of Stuart, Florida.  He not only had insufficient wind, but a strong current was carrying the vessel out to sea.  (ARRL story)



Radio Amateurs Help Air Ambulance

Peru’s Radio Club Peruano reports that Guillermo Guerra OA4DTU/XQ3SA and the Peruvian Relief Net assisted an air ambulance en route to Easter Island on July 9 after its satellite communication equipment failed.  The aircraft was about 1,000 nautical miles from the continent, so the pilot tuned to the Peruvian Relief Net on 7100 kHz.  Net control station OA4DTU and Giancarlo Passalacqua OA4DSN were still on frequency, and communication was established with the aircraft.  The pilot detailed its tenuous connection and requested support to communicate via telephone with Ocean Air Control, a service of the Directorate General of Aeronautics of Chile, which watches over 32 million square kilometers of air space off the Chilean coast in the Pacific.  (ARRL story)



FCC Announces Closing Of Filing Window At Its Headquarters

The FCC permanently closed its filing location at FCC Headquarters Open Window Counter in Washington, DC, effective on July 7.  This change is for security measures and in anticipation of the upcoming FCC Headquarters move.  Hand-carried documents will no longer be accepted at the FCC Headquarters.  (ARRL story)



Big Radio Switch-Off Is Delayed Until 2032

United Kingdom AM and FM stations will be available on old devices for another decade as switchover from analog to digital is put off until 2032, ministers announced.  New legislation will mean another delay in scrapping the analog signal.  Nearly 60 per cent of all radio listening is now done through digital but analog still has a loyal listenership of millions who tune into FM and AM.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)


Check out these articles about Norway’s conversion to digital broadcasting, as highlighted in previous editions of the “Hillsdale Communicator”.

04/19/15 In 2017, Norway will be first country to shut down FM radio (The Verge)

04/20/15 Norway to Scrap FM Radio for the Digital Era (Time)

01/06/17 Broadcasting Mode Switching Rankling Listeners (ARRL news)

12/14/17 Norway Completes Transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting (ARRL news)

03/28/18 Local radio stations fined for using FM (Southgate Amateur Radio News)



UK National Hamfest Cancelled

The UK National Hamfest planned for September 25-26 at the Newark Showground has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Organizers tweeted "It is with much regret that we must announce the cancellation of the National Hamfest 2020."  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



Tokyo Ham Fair Cancelled 

The Japan Amateur Radio League has announced the largest amateur radio event in the world, the Tokyo Ham Fair, due to be held October 31 to November 1 has been cancelled due to Coronavirus.  The Tokyo Ham Fair was first held in 1977.  In 2019, 42,000 people are reported to have visited the event which usually takes place in August but was pushed back this year because of the expected Olympic and Paralympic Games during the summer.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



Unauthorized Transmissions In 144 MHz Satellite Allocation

The Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) reported unauthorized transmissions in the 144 MHz satellite segment of the 2-meter amateur radio primary allocation.  DARC said that signals from illegal transmitters in the 144.010 to 144.020 MHz range are coming from “water vitalizers” or “water energizers.”  The manufacturer specifies 144.015 MHz as the transmit frequency in its product description.  The DARC Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Department seeks further details and location information in preparation to file a complaint.  (ARRL story)



What If You Came Across A Group Illegally Using Ham Frequencies?

Wow...what a question, eh?  This is really a no-win situation, if you want to be strictly legal.  It’s a rules violation to not properly identify, but it’s also a violation to communicate as an amateur radio operator with other stations not operating in the Amateur Radio Service, except, of course, in emergencies.  (KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

07/06/20 WB8HIA, RILING, JEFFERY S, license renewed, address updated from out of county



FCC Enforcement News

FCC Fines HobbyKing Nearly $3 Million For Marketing Unauthorized Drone Transmitters: The FCC has issued a Forfeiture Order calling for HobbyKing to pay a fine of $2,861,128 for marketing drone transmitters that do not comply with FCC rules.  An FCC Enforcement Bureau investigation stemmed in part from a 2017 ARRL complaint that HobbyKing was selling drone transmitters that operated on amateur and non-amateur frequencies, in some instances marketing them as amateur radio equipment.  (ARRL story)




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)


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.


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 around 330 million, according to the US and World Population Clock.  (Census home page)


NWS Hazard Simplification Public Survey: The National Weather Service is seeking public input on simplifying hazard messaging.  The survey will focus on the current message delivery and will help shape the format and content of these messages.  The survey is open until August 21, 2020.  Read More >''



Upcoming Events

Note: Many events are being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Although every effort is made to make sure this list is correct at the time of publication, readers should verify event status with the organizers.


August 8 – Angola Hamfest

August 8 – Elkhart East Hamfest CANCELED

August 8 – DXE Hamfest, Ohio Section Convention CANCELED

August 8-9 – QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

August 20 – Zoom net

September 5 – Board Meeting

September 12 – GRAHamfest

September 13 – Findlay Hamfest CANCELED

September 19 – BCARC Licensing Testing Session

September 20 – Adrian Hamfest CANCELED



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