Hillsdale Communicator

September 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 next Zoom net will be Thursday, September 17, 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.  Update your Zoom name to your first name and call sign.  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 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 August 31.  There was no membership activity during the month.



Monday Night Net Certificate

Congratulations to Don Gambill KC8WAU for becoming the first to qualify for a certificate 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 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.



FCC Proposes To Reinstate Amateur Radio Service Fees

Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this week.  Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests.  The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018, the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”  Deadlines for comments and reply comments will be determined once the NPRM appears in the Federal Register.  File comments by using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.  This docket is already open for accepting comments.  (ARRL story)  (KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog story & comments)



Candidates Set For 2020 ARRL Division Elections

The candidates for the 2020 ARRL Division Elections are now official.  ARRL members will choose between two candidates for Director in the Great Lakes Division.  Incumbent Director Dale Williams WA8EFK, who has held the seat since 2014, will face off against Michael Kalter W8CI, who is treasurer of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association.  Great Lakes Division members will also choose from among three candidates to succeed incumbent Vice Director Thomas Delaney W8WTD, who is not running for another term.  They are current Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally N8SY; Jim Hessler K8JH, who is vice president of the Grand Rapids Amateur Radio Association, and Frank Piper KI8GW, Yonally’s predecessor as Ohio Section Manager.  (ARRL story)



Solar Cycle 25 Is Coming To Life

There’s no longer any doubt.  New Solar Cycle 25 is coming to life.  The latest sign came with the emergence of a new sunspot group AR2770.  Active regions from Solar Cycle 25 are now strewn across the sun’s northern hemisphere.  These are places where magnetic fields are intensifying, creating islands of magnetism on the sun’s surface.  (spaceweather.com story)



Solar Minimum Most Likely Occurred in December 2019

Sunspot Index and Long-Term Solar Observations (SILSO) in Belgium said this month that the minimum between Solar Cycles 24 and 25 “most probably” took place last December.  SILSO, a part of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, cited as evidence the January 2020 increase in the 13-month smoothed sunspot number, the first upswing since the Cycle 24 maximum in April 2014.  (ARRL story)



Lost Video Archive From 1997 Heard Island VK0IR Dxpedition Found

The VK0IR DXpedition to Heard Island took place in January and February of 1997.  Co-Leader Robert Schmieder KK6EK shot a lot of video during the amateur radio adventure, but lost track of it afterward.  During the VK0IR DXpedition, DXers from around the world were astounded that signals from the subantarctic Indian Ocean could be heard at the bottom of the solar cycle.  A team of 20 operators carried out the massive, expensive, then-high-tech, and very successful DXpedition, making a remarkable 80,673 contacts.  The VK0IR story was told in detail in the September 1997 issue of QST.  (ARRL story)



Pentagon Offers Military Airwaves For 5G Wireless Networks

The FCC will auction sharing rights to the upper 50 MHz of the 3300-3500 MHz secondary amateur radio allocation to commercial 5G interests in the wake of the Department of Defense (DoD) agreement to share spectrum at 3450-3550 MHz.  The entire band currently supports a variety of military operations, and amateur radio has a long history of peaceful coexistence with the DoD as a secondary user of this spectrum.  In December 2019, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to delete the 3300-3500 MHz secondary amateur band.  ARRL strongly opposed the move in its comments on the NPRM.  (ARRL story)  (USA Today story)



8-Meter Band??  Who Knew?

8 meters??  Apparently, amateurs in Lithuania, Slovenia, Ireland, Denmark, and South Africa now have privileges in the 8-meter amateur radio band, which spans 40.66–40.7 MHz.  One question is what equipment is available for 8 meters.  The answer is that EI4GNB is using a modified Icom IC-7100 and a 2-element quad antenna.  One wonders if anyone here in the US has tried to hear these stations.  One would think that when 6 meters is open to Europe, some of the beacons, at least, would be audible.  (KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog story)



QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo To Become Twice-Yearly Event

The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo over the August 8-9 weekend appears to have been an unmitigated success, so much so that another virtual event will be held next March.  “It was far better than we expected,” Virtual Ham Expo chair Eric Guth 4Z1UG/WA6IGR told ARRL.  “We had over 26,000 registered and over 14,000 on the platform both days.”  He said they’re also enthusiastic about the second QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, set for March 13-14, 2021.  “Our plan is to offer this twice a year,” Guth added.  (ARRL story)



New Draft Canadian 144 MHz Band Plan

Canada's national amateur radio society, the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) has released a new draft 144 MHz band plan.  It has been drawn up by the RAC Band Planning Committee.  The RAC band planning committees prepare interim band plans after consulting with Amateurs across the country.  These plans not only take into account the wishes of Canadian Amateurs, but are also coordinated with band usage in other countries through membership in the International Amateur Radio Union.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)  (Proposed 2m Band Plan)



IARU Announces HF Digital Mode Band Plan Review

An International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) working group has been formed to develop solutions to reduce congestion within very popular mode segments while preventing mutual interference between “incompatible modes” as much as possible.  The working group includes representatives of the three regional band-planning committees, marking the first time the IARU three regions have joined together to directly coordinate band planning efforts.  (ARRL story)



Geomagnetic Storms Could Be Recorded At Alaska Seismic Stations

Adding relatively inexpensive magnetometers to seismic stations across Alaska could help track geomagnetic storms as well as improve the performance of the seismometers, researchers report in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.  As solar winds, plasma ejected from the Sun, interact with the Earth’s magnetic field at the poles, they create fluctuations in the magnetic field.  These space weather “storms” can affect electrical grids and GPS systems, among other impacts.  (Seismological Society of America story)



Growing Dent In Earth's Magnetic Field Could Impact Satellites & Spacecraft

A growing dent in Earth's magnetic field over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean could pose a risk to spacecraft and satellites.  This evolving weak spot in the magnetic field, called the South Atlantic Anomaly, is being monitored by NASA, but the space agency said it will not affect us here on Earth.  The magnetic field protects us, acting as a shield against the solar wind that flows out from the sun.  (CNN story)



Hurricane Net Logs More Than 29 Hours Of Operation For Laura

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) logged 29.5 hours of continuous operation in advance of Hurricane Laura, beginning at 1300 UTC on August 26, and after the storm made landfall.  One primary function of the HWN is to elicit real-time ground-level weather conditions and initial damage assessments from radio amateurs in the affected area and relay that information to the National Hurricane Center via WX4NHC.  Throughout its more than a day of operations, the HWN collected and forwarded numerous surface reports to the National Hurricane Center.  (ARRL story)



Silent Keys

Gerald (Jerry) Jordan KA8IEC, of Hillsdale, became a Silent Key on August 22.  A memorial service to honor his life will be held at the Hillsdale Baptist Church on September 12 at 3:00pm.  The family will receive friends for visitation from 1:00 PM until the time of the service.  Click here to view obituary and leave a comment for the family.



Don Playford WB8CCK, of Jonesville, became a Silent Key on August 26.  A celebration of life will be held in the spring of 2021.  Click here to view the obituary and leave a comment for the family.




FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

08/28/20 KD8TLC, Zimmerman, Brian R, address updated to out of county




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.  The deadline to complete is September 30.  (Census home page)


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)



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.


September 5 – Board Meeting

September 12 – GRAHamfest (trunk sales only)

September 13 – Findlay Hamfest CANCELED

September 17 – Zoom net

September 19 – BCARC Licensing Testing Session

September 20 – Adrian Hamfest CANCELED

October 10 – Northwest Ohio Amateur Radio Club Fall Hamfest CANCELED



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