HCARC Happenings

April 2014


News for Amateur Radio Operators In and Around Hillsdale County


The next club meeting will be Thursday, May 8 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  There will be no meeting in April because the normal meeting date conflicts with Maundy Thursday church services.  The May meeting was moved up a week to avoid conflict with the Dayton Hamvention.



This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 12 at 8am at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  Please come join us.



The Hillsdale County CROP Walk is Sunday, May 4.  CROP walks are community-wide events sponsored and organized by religious groups, businesses, schools and others to raise funds to end hunger.  Amateur Radio volunteers are needed starting about 1:15pm until about 3:30pm to work the parking area, staff a water station at the beach, and monitor points along the trail.  Walker registration starts at 1:30pm the Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 160 E Bacon in Hillsdale (map).  The walk starts at 2pm, walking the Baw Beese Trail to Sandy Beach and returning.  Anyone that can work the trail mobile (non-motorized, i.e. on a bicycle or roller blades) is especially needed.  To volunteer, sign up here.



The Community Action Agency (CAA) Head Start Picnic is Thursday, May 15.  Amateur Radio volunteers with HTs are needed from 10:30am to 1:00pm to work the parking lot detail.  We’ve worked this event for the last four years and had lots of fun.  Free lunch is available to volunteers.  CAA is located at 55 Barnard in Hillsdale  (map).  This is a weekday and many people are working, so if you are off and available we really need your help.  To volunteer, sign up here.



The Michigan QSO Party is Saturday, April 19.  Anyone interested in setting up a station in a public location please contact club leadership.



Field Day is coming up June 28 & 29.  Anyone interested in serving as chairperson or helping with planning should contact club leadership.



Congratulations to club vice president Anne Burchardt N8VIF and treasurer Joe Gosla KD8UJS for successfully passing license upgrade exams at the Marshall hamfest.  Anne passed element 4 upgrading to Amateur Extra from General.  Joe passed element 3 upgrading to General from Technician.  Good going!!!



Congratulations to new (re)ham Thomas Palmer KD8WWW of Jonesville who was granted his technician license on March 20.  He was previously licensed as KA8EQP from the 1970s until his license expired in 2007, and at one time owned and operated the local repeater.  Welcome back!



Club membership stands at 12 as of April 1.  We had 19 members at the end of 2013.  If you did not renew by March 31 you are no longer a member in good standing.  Rates are unchanged from last year and are $15 for regular membership, $5 for household membership (additional members in same household after first member pays regular rate) and free for students.  All renewing members are asked to fill out an updated membership application (print 2-sided) as part of the renewal process.  Dues can be paid by cash or check at the club meeting or mailed to club Treasurer Joe Gosla KD8UJS, 2175 Blackmer Drive, Jonesville, MI 49250.  Make checks payable to Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club or HCARC.  If you were a member in 2013 and renew anytime in 2014 you are not eligible for pro-rated dues and must pay the full amount.  Thanks for your support.



Severe Weather Spotter Training for the Northern Indiana Forecast Office Northeast Region was held on March 6 in Archbold, Ohio.  Two club members attended the session and both said that it was very good.  Free online spotter training is available by clicking here.



Updated weather data created from data from Accuweather.com and other local measurements.  Although the weather is warming up, in March, 26 of 31 days the daily high temperature was below normal.  The April forecast is for 27 days to be cooler than normal.  Hopefully there won’t be any more snow!


Snow (inches)

∑ Daily High Departure From Normal (degrees Fahrenheit)

∑ Daily Low Departure From Normal (degrees Fahrenheit)

# Days Record Low Temp Tied or Set

# Days High Temp Below Average






19 of 30






19 of 31






23 of 31






23 of 28






26 of 31






110 of 151







April forecast as of March 31

Hopefully NONE!




27 of 30



The FCC is reinstating the Morse Code test for General and Amateur Extra Class licensees.  "It was a big mistake eliminating the Morse Code test," admits Dotty Dasher, the FCC's director of examinations.  "We now realize that being able to send and receive Morse Code is an essential skill for radio amateurs.  General and Extra class operators will have one year to pass the code test.  Technicians will not be required to take a code test.  Dasher explained,  "We decided that since most Techs can't even figure out how to program their HTs, requiring them to learn Morse Code seemed like cruel and unusual punishment."  Click here to read the entire story from the The Livonia Amateur Radio Club newsletter.

.- .--. .-. .. .-.. / ..-. --- --- .-..



A new website offers a treasure trove of vintage ham radio photos and QSL Cards.  The grandson of Thomas “Tom” Russell Gentry W5RG (SK) has developed the website that is certain to be of  interest to vintage radio enthusiasts.  Don Retzlaff, who is not a ham, said his grandfather was among the earliest Amateur Radio operators, getting his license in the early 1920s, at one point identifying as NU5RG and remaining active until he died in 1979.  (ARRL story)



Once a staple of electronics retailing and a ready source of small parts for ham radio home-brewers and electronics enthusiasts, RadioShack has fallen on tough times.  In the wake of a substantial drop in holiday sales and a big fourth-quarter loss, the Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer has announced that it is closing 1100 of its outlets, leaving the chain with 4000 stores, including more than 900 dealer franchises.  (ARRL story)



The Delaware State Police (DSP) have announced that they are teaming up with the Sussex County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) to ensure reliable back-up communications for DSP should their primary communications system fail.  When back-up communications are needed, DSP will designate locations for ARES stations to set-up.  ARES members will then maintain and pass traffic within this network.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story)



The ARRL has formally complained to the FCC, contending that a “grow light” ballast being widely marketed and sold is responsible for severe interference to the MF and HF bands.  The League urged Commission action to halt sales of the Lumatek LK-1000 electronic ballast and to recall devices already on store shelves or in the hands of consumers.  In a March 12 letter to the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau and its Office of Engineering and Technology, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, said the ARRL’s own laboratory testing revealed that the Lumatek device exhibited excessive conducted emissions, in violation of the FCC’s rules.  (ARRL story)



The FCC has invited public comment on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11715) that would make a significant portion of the 10.0 to 10.5 GHz band available for wireless broadband services.  The Petition by Mimosa Networks Inc proposes a band plan for 10.0 to 10.5 GHz that, it says, would protect frequencies most often used by radio amateurs.  The petition hinges on FCC adoption of rule changes that would put the 10 GHz band under Subpart Z of the Commission’s Part 90 rules.  Subpart Z currently sets out regulations governing wireless licensing, technical standards, and operational standards in the 3650 to 3700 MHz band.  (ARRL story)  (FCC Electronic Comment Filing System)



The ARRL has announced a Centennial Station Giveaway as part of its National Centennial Convention to be held in Hartford, Connecticut, July 17-19, 2014.  Sponsored by the ARRL and R&L Electronics, the first-prize winner will receive a Grand Prize voucher worth up to $5000 of equipment, redeemable for products sold by R&L Electronics.  (ARRL story)



FCC License Database Activity in Hillsdale County

03/04/14 Smith, Brett KC8ZDA license renewed

03/20/14 Burchardt, Anne M N8VIF upgraded to Extra from General

03/20/14 Gosla, Joseph KD8UJS upgraded to General from Technician

03/20/14 Palmer, Thomas N KD8WWW new licensee Technician



FCC Enforcement News

On March 5 the FCC has issued a Citation to a New Jersey Citizens Band radio shop for marketing unauthorized RF devices to consumers.  Last October an agent from the FCC’s Philadelphia office browsed the website of the online retailer of CB and Amateur Radio gear and observed for sale several models of non-certified RF power amplifiers” capable of operation on both the 11 meter Citizens Band and the 10 meter ham band.  The shop has 30 days to respond.  (ARRL story)



In a Forfeiture Order released March 10, the FCC fined a California ham $13,600, a $3400 reduction of the $17,000 the Commission initially proposed to levy in the case.  The FCC cited the otherwise clean record of deciding to reduce his fine for “willfully and repeatedly” violating the Communications Act and FCC rules.  He was found liable for operating an unlicensed FM broadcasting station and for failing to allow FCC personnel to inspect his station.  The FCC said agents in February 2012 used direction-finding gear to track the source of an apparently unlicensed signal, identifying as KBRS, on 104.9 MHz in the FM broadcast band.  (ARRL story)



On March 19 the Florida ham agreed to give up his Amateur radio license as part of a consent decree.  The ham also agreed to make a $1000 “voluntary donation” to the US Treasury.  In turn, the FCC is terminating a 2012 enforcement proceeding involving unlicensed transmissions that interfered with a sheriff’s department radio system.  (ARRL story)



An Oklahoma Amateur Extra class licensee is facing a $12,000 fine for operating his Citizens Band radio to “interfere with the communications of other CB stations”.  On March 21 the FCC said in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture that an FCC agent used mobile direction-finding techniques to positively identify his CB station as the source of a continuous carrier on channel 19 (27.185 MHz).  The CB transmitter was keyed on, continuously transmitting on channel 19, because other CB operators in the area were harassing the licensee’s wife.  (ARRL story)




Hillsdale County Emergency Management is always looking for volunteers, either to join the group or just to monitor the monthly tornado siren test, so if you are interested contact Cindy at the HCEM office.  Tests are held on the first Monday of the month (except September which is the second Monday), March through October at 6pm (except March & September which are held at 10am).



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.  And don’t forget to check in every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.



Longtime club member Charlie Hinkle W8CFO is downsizing his station and has some equipment for sale.  Click here for a list.



The ARRL Centennial QSO Party kicked off January 1 for a year-long operating event in which participants can accumulate points and win awards in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ARRL.  During 2014 W1AW will be on the air from every state (at least twice) and most US territories, and it will be easy to work all states solely by contacting W1AW portable operations.  The event is open to all, although only ARRL members and appointees, elected officials, HQ staff and W1AW are worth points.  (ARRL story)  Lots of addition information about the centennial QSO party is available here.



ARRL membership certificates commemorating the League’s 100th anniversary in 2014 now are available.  Members logged onto the League’s website can generate their own certificates or cards online for printing.  (ARRL story)



Upcoming Events

April 12 – Ham Breakfast at the Coffee Shop in North Adams (map)

April 12 - Milford Hamfest

April 19 – Michigan QSO Party

May 4 – CROP Walk (sign up here)

May 7 – Board Meeting

May 8 – Club meeting

May 10 – Ham Breakfast

May 15 – CAA Head Start Picnic (sign up here)

May 16-18 - Dayton Hamvention

June 28-29 – Field Day


Send us your comments and suggestions to K8HRC@arrl.net

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