HCARC Happenings

April 2015


News for Amateur Radio Operators In and Around Hillsdale County



The next club meeting will be Thursday, April 16 at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Park in city lot F and use the east entrance off the alley and follow the signs.


Seven members and three guests attended the last club meeting held on March 5.  This meeting was postponed twice from February 19 and February 26 due to cold temperatures.  The annual meeting was held after the regular meeting adjourned.  Doug Sanford N8WFB, Director of  Hillsdale County Emergency Management/911 Central Dispatch, presented the program.  He talked about the upcoming severe weather season along with updates of activities at 911/Central Dispatch and Emergency Management.  Meeting minutes are available on the club website.



This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 11 at 8am at the Coffee Shop, 119 W Main in North Adams (map).  Everyone welcome!


The March ham breakfast was held at the Blue Rooster in Jonesville and was attended by five club members.



The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 8 at 6pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All members welcome.  The meeting is postponed from April 1.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 21 as of March 31.  No activity in March.  Six members from 2014 did not renew before the end of the grace period on March 31, leaving 15 members as of April 1.



Club Leadership Positions Available

Two club leadership positions remain open.  The Vice President and Secretary positions had no nominations at the last annual elections or subsequent special elections.  Those interested should check the club constitution on our website for information about officer duties and election procedures.  Feel free to contact any of the current club leadership for more information.



CROP Walk Volunteers Needed

The Hillsdale County CROP Walk is Sunday, May 3.  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 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 69 Griswold 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.



CAA Head Start Picnic Volunteers Needed

The Community Action Agency (CAA) Head Start Picnic is Friday, May 8.  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 five 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.



Simplex Repeater Online

Logan Crook K8LRC has his 2m simplex repeater running again in North Adams.  The frequency is 147.440 TX/RX with a PL of 100.0.  Check the repeater page of our website for a list of repeaters in the county.



Comments Due on 76-81 GHz Radar Sharing Proposals

Comments are due by April 6 on an FCC proceeding that could lead to expanded spectrum for various radar applications in the 76-81 GHz band, which Amateur Radio shares with other services.  The FCC released a detailed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Reconsideration Order in ET Docket 15-26 on February 5.  The Commission said the proposals include allocation changes as well as provisions “to ensure that new and incumbent operations can share the available frequencies in the band.”  (ARRL story)



IARU Emergency Telecommunications Guide Available Online

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Emergency Telecommunications Guide is now available for download from the IARU website.  The guide was developed to provide the IARU member-societies with materials suitable for training radio amateurs to participate in emergencies.  It also was designed to provide guidance to individual Amateur Radio operators with little or no experience in handling emergency communications but desire to enhance their ability to participate in such events or to simply have a better understanding of the process.  The IARU Administrative Council meeting approved the Guide at its 2014 meeting.  (ARRL story)



Vibroplex Purchases Bencher Amateur Radio Product Line

Bencher Inc has announced the sale of its Amateur Radio product line to Vibroplex LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee, owned by Scott Robbins W4PA.  “This sale ends Bencher’s presence in the Amateur Radio field, thus allowing the principals, Jere Benedict, President, and Bob Locher W9KNI, to move towards retirement,” the announcement said.  Product lines included in the sale include the Bencher BY series of iambic paddles as well as the ST series of single-lever paddles, the Bencher Hex Paddle, the N2DAN Mercury Paddle, and the Bencher RJ series hand keys.  The sale also includes the HK-1 Universal Hook-up kit and the YA-1 Low Pass Filter.  (ARRL story)



Boy Scouts Release New Merit Badge That Includes Morse Code Requirement

The Boy Scouts have released a new merit badge called “Signs, Signals and Codes”.  As part of the requirements to receive the badge, the scout must describe what Morse code is and the various means by which it can be sent, spell his first name using Morse code and send or receive a message of six to 10 words using Morse code.  (Washington Post article)  (Badge requirements)  In 2013 BSA approved an Amateur Radio Operator rating strip.  (ARRL story)  In 2012 the Boy Scouts began offering a Morse Code Interpreter Strip for scouts that demonstrate proficiency with Morse code.  (ARRL story)



Wings Stadium Changes Name To Wings Event Center

Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, new home of the Michigan Crossroads Hamfest, is now the Wings Event Center as of March 25.  The name change is being made to better illustrate everything that can be held at facility.  (mlive story)



Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Introduced in Congress

HR 1301, “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015” was introduced in the US House of Representatives on March 4.  The measure would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions.  Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced the bill with 12 original co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, seven Republicans and five Democrats.  The bill is essentially identical to “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, a bill that Kinzinger introduced and which died at the end of the 113th Congress.  HR 1301 is an essentially identical piece of legislation.  Click here to follow the progress of the bill.  Click here to view the ARRL HR-1301 web page.



Senator Jones Honored By American Radio Relay League

Michigan Senator Rick Jones accepted the newly created Legislative Leadership Award from the Michigan Section of the ARRL.  Jones is the first recipient of the award and was recognized for his leadership on Public Act 556 of 2014 that supports amateur radio operators.  (Article)  (Photo, pictured from left: ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams WA8EFK; ARRL State Government Liaison for Michigan Ed Hude WA8QJE; Senator Rick Jones; ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R; and ARRL Local Government Liaison Butch Hedges KD8NKJ)



Colorado Governor Signs Amateur Radio Antenna Bill Into Law

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law an Amateur Radio antenna bill that mirrors the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy.  The Colorado General Assembly passed the bill without amendment.  The new legislation, introduced in early January, specifies that no local government “shall enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution regulating Amateur Radio antennas that fails to conform” with PRB-1’s “reasonable accommodation” provisions.  (ARRL story)



“Radio DARC” Debuts on Ham-Operated German Shortwave Outlet

The inaugural transmission of the “Radio DARC” Amateur Radio program aired over the March 21-22 weekend via Channel 292 at 6070 kHz.  The German-language program was produced in cooperation with Germany’s national Amateur Radio society, the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club.  A group of amateurs in Germany obtained a license to broadcast on the 49 meter shortwave broadcast channel after German national broadcaster the Deutsche Welle closed down a 500 kW shortwave broadcast transmitter near Munich.  Using parts scavenged from the Deutsche Welle site, the ham group built up a 10 kW transmitter.  (ARRL story)



SKYWARN Training

SKYWARN Spotter Training, presented by meteorologists from the National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office, was held on March 17 in Coldwater.  Seven hams and a few others attended from Hillsdale County.



Palm Sunday Tornadoes 50 Year Anniversary

April 11 is the 50-year anniversary of the Palm Sunday Tornadoes.  In Hillsdale County, tornadoes caused extensive damage, several fatalities and many injuries.  Check out these summaries from the NWS Northern Indiana Office and the Detroit Office.



Michigan Suffered The Most Cold Of Any State In February

Michigan suffered some of the coldest temperatures in the lower 48 in February.  Check out this article from Mlive.com that includes a composite temperature map for the month.



Weather Summary

After a brutal February anything would feel good.  Actually, March was warmer and a lot less snowy than last year.  With little snow and no record lows forecast for April, it’s time to put away the snow blowers and get the lawn mowers ready to go.



Snow (inches)

Average High Temp (degrees Fahrenheit)

Average Low Temp (degrees Fahrenheit)

# Days Record Low Temp Tied or Set


3.6 / 1.0

41.7 / 44.2

26.7 / 28.8

2 / 0


Trace / 13.3

37.5 / 32.0

27.9 / 19.5

0 / 0


8.6 / 43.4

27.8 / 23.4

14.9 / 6.2

0 / 5


25.8 / 20.9

21.9 / 25.8

2.7 / 8.2

1 / 1


2.3 / 11.5

42.3 / 36.8

24.2 / 16.9

0 / 3

Season to Date Totals

40.3 / 90.1

34.4 / 32.5

19.5 / 16.0

3 / 9






April Forecast vs.  Last April Actual

1.2 / 0.8

60.7 / 59.1

40.6 / 35.4

0 / 1

Current Season / Last Season



Emergency Activities

Amateur Radio SKYWARN volunteers in Oklahoma went on alert March 25 as severe thunderstorms sparked tornadoes.  The Southwest Independent Repeater Association and Tulsa Region SKYWARN nets were active in support of tornado warnings in both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Metropolitan areas.  (ARRL story)



Equipment For Sale

Doug Sanford N8WFB knows of a 25W mobile that is available for purchase.  Contact him for more information.


Don Playford WB8CCK has a Midland 78-976 40 Channel AM/SSB CB base station free to a good home.  If interested, give him a call at 849-9354.



Ham Radio in Space

The International Space Station (ISS) ham radio population expanded to three following the arrival of Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko RN3BF and Gennady Padalka RN3DT on March 28.  Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who went up on the same trip, will remain aboard the ISS for 1 year, the longest space mission ever assigned to a NASA astronaut.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity in Hillsdale County

03/18/15 KC8WAT, LAMBRIGHT, GERALD D, license status set to expired (SK 09/22/10)

03/18/15 KC8WAV, DUDLEY, ROBERT C M, license status set to expired

03/23/15 KA8VSH, MC CLOUD, ROY R, upgraded to Extra from General


Editors note: Astute readers will notice that two call signs that expired on March 18 sandwich my call sign of KC8WAU.  Gerald, Robert and I attended the same technician training class back in early 2003 given by the club.  Gerald was active on the local repeater until his passing.  I never heard Robert on the air.  He was crowned King of the Hobos in 2001.  (Toledo Blade story  globegazette story)



FCC Enforcement News

The FCC Enforcement Bureau (EB) plans to ask the full Commission to cut two-thirds of its field offices and eliminate nearly one-half of its field agents.  At the same time, the Bureau would develop a so-called “Tiger Team” of field agents as a flexible strike force it could deploy as needed.  In a March 10 memo to field staff EB Chief Travis LeBlanc and FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins cited the need to take “a fresh look” at the Bureau’s 20-year-old operating model in light of technology changes and tighter budgets.  (ARRL story)




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.  If you have ideas for programs or are willing to present something yourself, contact a member of club leadership.



The ARRL is asking members to comment by April 19 on possible changes to the League’s HF Band Plans suggested by the HF Band Planning Committee.  The survey is part of the committee’s efforts to tweak the band plans for the RTTY/data/CW portions of 80 through 10 meters, excepting 60 meters.  The committee developed its suggested revisions to the voluntary band plans after reviewing some 400 member comments in response to a March 2014 solicitation that sought suggestions for using the spectrum more efficiently so that data modes may coexist compatibly.  (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.  Contact Cindy at the HCEM office if you are interested.  Meetings and siren 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).



The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) has released the 2015-2019 Element 3 (General Class) question pool.  The pool will take effect on July 1, 2015, and will remain valid until June 30, 2019.  The current General question pool, released in 2011, is valid until June 30, 2015.  (ARRL story)



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.



Upcoming Events

April 8 – Board Meeting (postponed from April 1)

April 11 – Ham Breakfast

April 16 – Club Meeting

April 18 - Michigan QSO Party

May 3 – CROP Walk (volunteer here)

May 8 – CAA Head Start Picnic (volunteer here)

May 15-17 – Dayton Hamvention

June 27-28 – Field Day

July 9-12 – Michigan ARRL Section Family Outing


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

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