Hillsdale Communicator

January 2021


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County



Club Meetings

The next club meeting will be Thursday, January 21, at 7pm via Zoom videoconference.  This is an important meeting because we will be electing leadership for the year.  A Zoom link will be sent out to members a few days before the meeting.  If you are not a member and would like to attend, email K8HRC@arrl.net.  We need members to serve in leadership roles.  Please consider volunteering to serve your club, your hobby and your community.



Club Leadership Elections

Club leadership elections for 2021 will be held in January.  The club seeks enthusiastic, qualified amateurs to lead the club.  The club has not had a full slate of leaders since 2014.  If you are interested in serving as a member of club leadership, check the club constitution on our website for information about officer duties and election procedures.  We really, really need members to step up and fill these positions.  Qualified amateurs must be willing and able to perform the requirements of the position.  Feel free to contact any of the current club leadership for more information.



Board Meeting

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



Ham Breakfast

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



Membership Dues For 2021

Club membership dues for 2021 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 check or money order and 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 12 as of December 31.  There were two new members and one renewal during the month.



One Earns Exceptional Participation Award In 2020

One amateur qualified for the 2020 Monday Night Net Exceptional Participation Award.  The purpose of the program is to encourage participation in the net, both as check-ins and as net control station.  The certificate is awarded to participants that attain at least 75 points during the year.  Achieving the goal was Don Gambill KC8WAU.  The program will run again in 2021.



2020 Monday Night Net Summary

Total Nets: 36 (24 ragchew, 12 emergency test)

Total check-ins including Net Control Station (NCS): 98

Most check-ins, individual: 27 (KC8WAU)

Most check-ins, net: 6 (03/30/20, 04/06/20)

Average check-ins including NCS: 2.7

Unique check-ins: 12 different amateurs checked in at least once during the year.

Average check-ins per unique amateur: 8.1

Total net time: 322 minutes

Average net time: 8.9 minutes

Note: 4 nets were conducted on simplex.



Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club Online License Classes

The Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club is offering license training via Zoom for all three levels, Technician, General and Amateur Extra starting January 7.  If you or someone you know is interested in getting licensed or upgrading, contact w9npi@comcast.net.  Students will be assigned a Zoom room and a password prior to class time.  Pre-Registration is necessary.  Check the HP club website for the schedule and other details.



Registration Is Open For Online Ham Radio University On January 9

With COVID-19 restrictions precluding an in-person gathering, the 22nd annual Ham Radio University (HRU) educational conference will be held as a virtual event on January 9 from 8 AM to 4 PM EST as a GoToWebinar online videoconference.  HRU 2021 will also serve as the online convention of the ARRL NYC-Long Island Section.  Participation in HRU 2021 will be free, with a suggested donation of $5.  Advance registration is required for each presentation.  (ARRL story)  (Informational presentations)



FCC Reduces Proposed Amateur Radio Application Fee To $35

The FCC has agreed with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was “too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.”  In a Report and Order released on December 29, the FCC scaled back to $35 the fee for a new license application, a special temporary authority (STA) request, a rule waiver request, a license renewal application, and a vanity call sign application.  All fees are per application.  There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address.  The effective date of the fee schedule has not been established, but it will be announced at least 30 days in advance.  (ARRL story)  The FCC originally proposed in August to impose a $50 fee.  (ARRL story)



FCC To Require Email Address On Applications

Effective on June 29, amateur radio licensees and candidates must provide the FCC with an email address on all applications.  If no email address is included, the FCC may dismiss the application as “defective.”  Licensees can log into the ULS License Manager System with their FRN and password at any time and update anything in their FCC license record, including adding an email address.  The FCC is fully transitioning to electronic correspondence and will no longer print or provide wireless licensees with hard-copy authorizations or registrations by mail.  (ARRL story)  The FCC has also added a reminder message on the Universal Licensing Service (ULS) landing page.  (ARRL story)



Distracted Driving Bills Die In State Legislature As Session Ends

Several bills (HB 4181, HB 4198 and HB 4199) that were formulated in the Michigan House of Representatives that dealt with Distracted Driving have died as the legislative session came to an end on December 31.  As part of the bills, Amateur Radio would be granted an exemption (the use of amateur radio while driving) from being considered a distraction.  (ARRL Michigan Section post)



Australian Radio Amateurs Denied Access To 60 Meters

After considering several options for a 5 MHz amateur allocation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has come down in favor of national government interests.  Following a formal consultation, ACMA has decided not to permit ham operation on the 5351.5-5366.5 KHz band.  The 15 KHz-wide band was allocated to the amateur service on a secondary basis in 2017, but as ACMA explained, “unresolved sharing issues” prevented ham radio use of the band, operated on by more than 500 other licensed services (mostly land mobile and aeronautical services), as well as by the Australian military.  (ARRL story)



Silent Key - Then What Happens?

With the majority of radio amateurs now over 65, Randy Hall K7AGE looks at how amateurs can prepare for their passing and ease the burden those left behind face in dealing with the collection of radio equipment.  (Southgate story)  (Video)



Arecibo Observatory Instrument Platform Falls Into Iconic Dish

The 900 ton instrument platform of the 305 meter radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fell some 400 feet, crashing into the huge, already-damaged dish below, the National Science Foundation (NSF) reported.  “No injuries were reported,” NSF said, adding that it is still assessing the situation.  “Our top priority is maintaining safety.    (ARRL story)



Scientists Find A Strange Signal Coming From Our Closest Neighboring Star

Astronomers have encountered a mystery surprisingly close to Earth.  The Guardian and Scientific American have learned that Breakthrough Listen astronomers using the Parkes telescope in Australia discovered a strange radio signal coming from Proxima Centauri, the star system closest to the Sun.  The signal occupies an oddly narrow 982MHz band that’s unused by human-made spacecraft, yet not possible through known natural processes.  The frequency shifts up, too, rather than down like you’d expect for a planet.  (yahoo! story)  (The Guardian story)  (Scientific American stroy)



Texas’ Biggest Ham Radio Show Is Closing

After 41 years, Ham-Com has decided to close its doors due to the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising costs of putting on a show.  “The decision was not made lightly, but the safety and wellness of our volunteers, vendors, clubs, presenters, and attendees is our paramount concern,”  Ham-Com President Bill Nelson AB5QZ said in an announcement on the Ham-Com website.  Ham-Com has been held each June at the Plano Event Center in Plano, Texas.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

12/07/20 KG5SUW, Craig, Joey, address updated from out of county

12/19/20 KC8QUA, Prendeville, Michael T, address updated to out of county

12/22/20 N8CJJ, JANSEN, THOMAS L, address updated within county



Snow Totals

Not too much snow this season...so far!  Here are the monthly snow totals for Hillsdale City for the past several years.





































































































Season Total














Meeting Programs: We are always looking for interesting ideas for meeting programs.  It doesn’t always have to be about ham radio.  It could be something community related or maybe you know somebody that would be an interesting speaker.  Club Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF leads the effort to arrange meeting programs for the club.  Contact Dan or any member of club leadership if you have ideas for programs or are willing to present something yourself.


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.


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.


ARRL National Convention And Orlando Hamcation Postponed To February 2022: ARRL and the Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC) have announced that the ARRL National Convention and Orlando HamCation, which was to host the convention, have been postponed until February 2022.  Hamcation is one of the largest annually held gatherings of radio amateurs in the US, attracting 24,200 over 3 days in February 2020.  “The joint decision came after considering the national public health emergency including the health and safety of all participants, the uncertainty that continues to impact our organizations, and the reluctance to travel to, and attend, large events,” said ARRL CEO David Minster NA2AA.  “We regret the disruption to the hard work already completed by so many volunteers preparing for the ARRL National Convention and HamCation.”  (ARRL story)



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, reader should verify event status with the organizers.


January 2 – Board Meeting

January 21 – Club Meeting

January 30-31 – Winter Field Day



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