Hillsdale Communicator

July 2018


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County


Club Meetings

There was no club meeting in June.


The next club meeting time and location has not yet been determined.



Ham Breakfast

This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, July 14, at 8am at the Draft Horse Diner (formally Yesterday’s Diner), 119 Marshall in Litchfield (map).  Come and join us for a meal or just coffee.  Everyone welcome.  Click here to read an article that appeared recently in the Hillsdale Daily News about the new owner and changes to the diner.


The June breakfast was held at the Sidekick Cafe in Osseo and was attended by five amateurs.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 12 as of June 30.  No activity during the month.



Monday Night Net Certificate

Congratulations to Bill Hicks WB8FFO 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 2018.  Rules and results are posted in the Net Control Schedule section of the club website.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Thursday, July 5, at 6:30pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 North Manning in Hillsdale (map).  Normally held on the first Wednesday of the month, the meeting is pushed back a day because of the Independence Day holiday.  Due to construction, use the main entrance off Manning Street (green doors).  All club members and invited guests are welcome.



Club Leadership Positions Remain Unfilled

Three club leadership positions remain open.  The Secretary, Treasurer and Board Member At Large positions had no nominations during annual elections in November 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.  A special election will be held at the next club meeting to fill the positions.



Field Day

Field Day was June 23-24.  The club did not sponsor a Field Day activity this year.  (HCARC Field Day page)  (ARRL Field Day home page)  (ARRL Field Day merchandise)



New Hams

Congratulations to new county ham Gregory Parent KE8KDK of Pittsford.  He was granted his Technician license on June 27.



New Technician Question Pool Starts July 1

The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has released the 2018-2022 Element 2 (Technician) question pool.  The pool took effect on July 1 and will remain valid until June 30, 2022.  The current Technician question pool, released in 2014, is no longer valid after June 30.  (ARRL story)



Weak Tornadoes Hit Near Hillsdale County

According to the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana, an EF-1 tornado with winds estimated at up to 105 mph was reported around 6:30pm on June 9 in the Angola, Indiana area.  The storm caused widespread extensive tree damage, knocking down trees along railroad tracks.  Minor roof damage to a few structures in the area also occurred.  (MLive story)  (NWS recap page)



Tornado Season Numbers Down Across US

According to an article published on June 12 by MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa, we are in the heart of tornado season across the country and so far this year the number of tornadoes is significantly lower than average.  Through early June 2018, 449 tornadoes have touched down across the US.  This is almost 50 percent lower than the historical long-term average.  The long-term average for total US.  tornadoes through June 11 is 792 tornadoes.  (MLive story)



Local Deputies Receive Technological Upgrades

The Hillsdale County Sheriff Office has implemented technology upgrades with FirstNet, a groundbreaking new communications platform, Sheriff Tim Parker announced.  FirstNet is the country’s first nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to first responders, available when and where needed.  Built with AT&T, in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, providing communications capabilities a major boost with a reliable and highly secure connection.  (Hillsdale Daily News article)



Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Construction Project Update

The First United Methodist Church in Hillsdale, site of many club meetings over the past few years, is undergoing a major construction project that started April 2.  The primary objective is to install an elevator that reaches all four levels.  Rough-in of mechanical, electric and plumbing is ongoing.  Work continues on the 3-phase electrical service for the elevator.  Masons are blocking up the elevator shaft.  The project also includes upgrading the heating system and the new boilers have been set in place.  Work is proceeding on schedule to be completed in mid-September.  Click here to read an article that recently appeared in the Hillsdale Daily News.



$2,500 Campsites, 'All-You-Can-Eat' Seats Replace Speedway Grandstands

Turn 1 looks a little different at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) this year.  Twenty-one sections of green, red and yellow grandstands have been replaced with campsites with luxuries meant to allure NASCAR race fans.  Other seats in that area come with an all-inclusive unlimited food package on race day.  The 26 new luxury campsites start at $2,450 for a group of two and come with amenities like electric and water hookups, restrooms, a private game room, picnic tables, fire pits and a small set of bleachers.  MIS is the home of the Great Lakes HamCon.  (MLive story)



Michigan Section Outing Canceled

ARRL Michiigan Section Manager Jim Kvochick K8JK announced that the Michigan Section Outing, also known as the Michigan Summer Family Outing and the Michigan Section Family Outing, has been canceled.  The event was scheduled for July 6 & 7 at the Woodlands Conference Center and Campgrounds in Hale.  According to an email Kvlchick sent to ARRL members “Due to a collection of issues outside of our control, I am reluctantly making the decision to cancel this event.  My apologies for all who looked forward to, and had planned in advance for this event.” 



Hamvention Attendance Down 3% From Last Year

Hamvention attendance dropped about 900 from last year, or about 3%.  At 28,417 visitors, Hamvention recorded its third-largest attendance ever in the second year in Xenia.  “We had a slight decline in attendance”, according to General Chair Ron Cramer KD8ENJ.  Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at 33,669.  Attendance in 2016 for the show’s final year at Hara was 25,364.  (ARRL story)



FCC Denies Petition Aimed At Preventing Digital Repeater Interference

The FCC has turned away a Petition for Rulemaking from a Michigan radio amateur that asked the Commission to amend Section 97.205 of the Amateur Service rules to ensure that repeaters using digital communication protocols do not interfere with analog repeaters.  Charles Adkins K8CPA, of Lincoln Park, had specifically requested that discrete analog and digital repeaters be separated either by distance or frequency and that digital repeaters be limited to 10 W output, the FCC recounted in its June 1 denial letter.  According to the letter, Adkins had characterized digital repeaters as “a major annoyance” to analog repeater operators.  (ARRL story)



President Nominates Enforcement Bureau Official To FCC

Acting on a recommendation from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Donald Trump has nominated FCC Enforcement Bureau Assistant Chief Geoffrey Starks to fill the Commission’s sole open seat.  If confirmed by the US Senate, Starks would fill the seat vacated by Mignon Clyburn.  Both are Democrats.  Republican nominees have a 3-2 advantage on the FCC, which is headed by Chairman Ajit Pai.  Starks’ term would end in 2022.  (ARRL story)



Use Of Shortwave Radio By Financial Markets

Bloomberg reports that financial market traders are using a super-charged version of techniques dear to amateur radio operators worldwide.  On a 58-acre field that grew corn last year, two towers rising about 170 feet support a military-grade antenna shaped like a giant spider’s web.  The array is pointed toward market centers in New York, London and Frankfurt.  A third pole, topped with a single round microwave dish, is aimed at a data center 16 miles away that powers one of the world’s largest trading hubs: the futures exchanges run by CME Group.  Traders appear to be testing the idea of using shortwave technology to convey data between the CME facility and key exchanges around the globe a few millionths of a second faster than rivals.  That can be the difference between winning and losing in high-frequency markets, where the ferocious battle for being first continues to escalate.  (Southgate ARC News story)  (Bloomberg story)  (ARRL story)



How Many Space Hams Have There Been?

Ever wondered how many radio amateurs have been in Space.  Is it 20, 40, 60?  This list of Space Hams from Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) may surprise you.  (Soutgate ARC News story)



ARES Continues Move Toward Enhanced Training, Paperless Reporting

ARRL will phase out traditional hard-copy report forms later this year for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in favor of an online system, ARES Connect, a new volunteer management, communication, and reporting system.  The system, in beta testing since March in four ARRL sections with large ARES organizations, will allow ARES members to log information for ARRL Field Organization handling but does not change how ARES serves partner organizations.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

06/27/18 KE8KDK, Parent, Gregory C, new licensee Technician



Emergency Activities

Sailor Grateful For Maritime Mobile Service Network Assistance: Phoenix sailor and radio amateur Timothy Henning KE7WMZ has expressed his gratitude to the Maritime Mobile Service Network (MMSN) for intercepting and handling his distress call.  Net control operator Harry Williams W0LS caught Henning’s call requesting assistance with an urgent medical condition on May 23.  Henning, some 200 nautical miles south of Ensenada, Mexico, in his sailing vessel Victory Cat, reported that a severe vision problem had developed in his right eye, and he was seeking immediate medical attention and advice.  Williams contacted the US Coast Guard in Alameda, California, relaying all information concerning the medical problem and staying on the air with KE7WMZ for several hours.  (ARRL story)



Michigan Distracted Driving Legislation Update

Distracted driving bill was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on March 30, 2017.  Click here to follow the progress of HB4466.



PRB-1 Legislative Update

Amateur Radio Parity Act Language Inserted in National Defense Authorization Act: ARRL has praised the work of US Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Mike Rogers (R-AL) for their successful efforts in securing language in the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that asks the FCC to grant radio amateurs living in restricted communities the right to install effective outdoor antennas.  Text from the proposed Amateur Radio Parity Act HR 555 formed the basis for the Courtney-Hartzler-Rogers Amendment to the NDAA.  (ARRL story)


House Version: HR 555 was introduced in the US House of Representatives on January 13, 2017 and was passed just 10 days later.  The bill was sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  The bill calls on the FCC to establish rules prohibiting the application of deed restrictions that preclude Amateur Radio communications.  Click here to follow the progress of HR 555.  (ARRL story)


Senate Version: S 1534, the Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 was introduced in the on July 12, 2017 and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Click here to follow the progress of S 1534.


PRB-1 Resources

ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 webpage

HR 555 status page

S 1534 status page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



FCC Enforcement News

ARRL Drone Transmitters Complaint Spurs Proposed $2.8 Million FCC Penalty: In the wake of an investigation resulting from a 2017 ARRL complaint, the FCC has proposed fining HobbyKing and associated entities $2.8 million for apparently marketing noncompliant RF devices and failing to comply with Commission orders.  According to a June 5 FCC Notice of Apparent Liability, HobbyKing appears to have sold audio/video transmitters intended for use with unmanned aircraft, such as drones, marketing them as Amateur Radio equipment in some instances.  (ARRL story)




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: 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.


Michigan State Parks On The Air: Starting April 1, 2017, Michigan hams embarked on the most ambitious on-the-air project ever, the Michigan State Parks on the Air (MSPOTA).  Previous State Park activations on the air around the country have focused on a single weekend.  The Michigan State Parks system as a whole will be 100 years old in 2019.  Some of our parks actually began operation in 1917.  Hence, the celebration began in 2017 and continues through 2019.  That is three years of State Parks on the Air!  Lots of time for activators and chasers alike!  This event includes 117 MDNR Parks & Recreation sites including State Parks, Recreation Areas, Scenic Sites and State Trails rotated over the 3 years.  That adds up to about 50 parks across the state active in each event year.  (More info at MSPOTA website)


ARRL International Grid Chase: A new and exciting operating event kicked off on January 1, when the ARRL International Grid Chase got under way.  The objective is to work stations on any band (except 60 meters) in as many different Maidenhead grid squares as possible, and then upload your log data to ARRL’s Logbook of The World (LoTW).  Registration is free, and it costs nothing to use LoTW.  (ARRL story)  (Grid Square Calculator)


NASA On The Air Event: The Amateur Radio clubs at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers around the US have invited the Amateur Radio community to join the NASA On The Air (NOTA) special event.  NOTA started in December 2017 and continues through December 2018.  In addition to being the agency’s 60th anniversary, 2018 will mark 50 years since NASA orbited the first human around the moon, and 20 years since the first elements of the International Space Station (ISS) were launched into low-Earth orbit.  (ARRL story)



Upcoming Events

July 5 – Board Meeting

July 6-7 – ARRL Michigan Section Family Outing CANCELED

July 14 – Ham Breakfast

July 22 – Van Wert Hamfest

July 28 – Central Michigan ARC Hamfest

August 11 – Ham Breakfast

August 11 – Angola Hamfest



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