HCARC Happenings

May 2015


News for Amateur Radio Operators In and Around Hillsdale County



The next club meeting will be Thursday, May 21 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.


Five members attended the last club meeting held on April 16.  Joe Gosla KD8UJS presented an overview and demonstration of EchoLink.  It would be nice to see a few more faces.



This month the Ham Breakfast will be held on Saturday, May 9 at 8am at the Blue Rooster, 1480 E Chicago in Jonesville (map).


The April ham breakfast was held at the Coffee Cup in North Adams and was attended by four members.



The next Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 6 at 6pm at the First United Methodist Church, 45 N Manning in Hillsdale (map).  All members welcome.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 15 as of April 30.  No activity in April.



Club Leadership Positions Available

Two club leadership positions remain open.  The Vice President and Secretary positions had no nominations during last years 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.



Tornado Confirmed In Hillsdale County

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down on April 9 in Moscow Township in northern Hillsdale County.  According to a NWS report, “A weakly organized tornado touched down in an open field southwest of the intersection of Bibbins and Mosherville roads”.  The tornado destroyed a barn, uprooted and broke several trees along Mosherville Road, and caused to two large trees to crash down on an abandoned home. No tornado watch or warning was issued.  (MLive story)  The tornado came just two days before the 50-year anniversary of the Palm Sunday tornadoes that caused extensive damage, several fatalities and many injuries in Hillsdale County.  Check out these Palm Sunday summaries from the NWS Northern Indiana Office and the Detroit Office.



Election Day May 5

Tuesday, May 5 is Election Day in Michigan.  There is a statewide proposal on the ballot to raise the sales tax to 7% and recalculate the way gasoline is taxed to raise money to fix roads and other purposes.  (MLive slide show).  There may be additional items on the ballot in your precinct.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to check if you are registered and find other election information, including a map to your polling place and a sample ballot.



Bus Trips to Dayton Hamventon Available

The Southwest Michigan Amateur Radio Team in Kalamazoo is sponsoring a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday, May 16.  The cost is $100 and includes the bus ride, continental breakfast on bus, Hamvention tickets and dinner on the return trip.  For more information click here.


ARROW Communications Association in Ann Arbor is sponsoring a bus trip to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday May 16.  The cost for the round trip is $65 and includes the bus ride, continental breakfast and the right to sell your stuff from the ARROW attended booth space in the flea market.  Click here for more details.



TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers Purchased by RKR Designs

Less than a year after TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers merged under the RF Concepts banner, the companies have changed hands.  RKR Designs LLC of Longmont, Colorado, announced on April 2 that it has acquired the two brands’ assets from RF Concepts.  RKR said it plans to expand the product line while continuing to service their customers.  (ARRL story)



New iOS App Available for the ARRL Repeater Directory

The ARRL Repeater Directory for 2015-2016 has a newly launched companion app for Apple iOS devices.  iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can download the app at no cost from Apple’s App Store using a unique code found in each printed edition of the 2015-2016 directory to activate.  Once activated, the app provides details for thousands of Amateur Radio repeaters found in The ARRL Repeater Directory database.  (ARRL story)



Norway To Scrap FM Radio For The Digital Era

Norway will become the first country to scrap FM radio after it announced final plans to switch to digital radio in the next two years.  The government said in a statement that it will make the transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting by 2017, following up on a 2011 government proposal.  It will be the first country to do away entirely with FM radio.  (Time story)



INDEXA Donations Now Tax Deductable

The International DX Association (INDEXA) has received the tax exempt status from the IRS that allows donations or gifts from U.S.  Amateurs to be a tax deduction.  DXpeditions to the rare DXCC entities are getting harder and much more expensive.  Investing in advance can help INDEXA with larger grants to these and other rare ones that have not even been publicly announced yet.  (QRZ.com story)



FCC Proposes to Permit Two New Bands

The FCC has allocated a new LF band, 135.7 to 137.8 kHz, to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis.  Allocation of the 2.1 kHz segment, known as 2200 meters, was in accordance with the Final Acts of the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07).  The Commission also has proposed a new secondary 630 meter MF allocation at 472 to 479 kHz to Amateur Radio, implementing decisions made at WRC-12.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Introduces Spiral Bound General Class License Manual

The ARRL has introduced a spiral bound general class license manual that will be available for shipping in mid-May.  The manual will be for the new element 3 question pool that is valid from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2019.  Click here for more information.



Standard General Affiliate Acquires RadioShack Stores

General Wireless Inc, an affiliate of Standard General LP,  has acquired the 1743 retail outlets that survived RadioShack’s February bankruptcy.  General Wireless received US Bankruptcy Court approval to acquire the inventory and assume the leases of the RadioShack stores.  The acquisition followed an auction, conducted under the US Bankruptcy Code.  The current plan calls for “co-branding” about 1440 of the surviving stores with cellular phone provider Sprint Corp.  (ARRL story)



Weather Summary

Updated weather summary for Hillsdale city created with data from Accuweather.com and local measurements.



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

42.4 / 36.8

24.2 / 16.9

0 / 3


Trace / 0.8

59.7 / 59.1

37.8 / 35.4

0 / 1

Season Totals

40.3 / 90.9

38.6 / 36.9

22.6 / 19.2

3 / 10






Current Season / Last Season



Emergency Activities

Amateur Radio weather spotters were on alert April 9 as severe weather and at least two tornadoes ripped through North-Central Illinois.  At least one person died in DeKalb County, and at least seven others were injured.  A tornado watch was in effect for parts of three states as severe thunderstorms move through the region ahead of an advancing cold front.  (ARRL story)


More than 250 Amateur Radio communication volunteers participated in the 119th running of the Boston Marathon.  This event was the second since the bombings that tragically marred the 2013 race.  Amateur Radio volunteers have supported Boston Marathon communication for decades.  (ARRL story)


Southern Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted for the first time in more than 40 years, forcing the evacuation of an area of some 12 miles around the volcano.  Approximately 5000 residents have been relocated, and ash has been reported from as far away as Argentina.  Emergency nets are in operation on 7050 kHz, 14,250 kHz (alternate), and 3,738 kHz (alternate), and requests that other users keep those frequencies clear for emergency traffic.  (ARRL story)


In the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake, hams in Nepal, already in limited supply, have been turning out to help in the ongoing recovery.  The Nepalese government also is reported to be cutting some of the red tape that has prevented hams from outside the country from operating within Nepal.  Several hams from India are among those who have arrived in Nepal to help facilitate communication.  (ARRL story)



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity in Hillsdale County

04/08/15 KB8ZZZ, FALLS, KATHLEENE J, license renewed

04/08/15 KC8AAA, FALLS, DONALD D, license renewed, address updated to out of county

04/16/15 KB8ZZZ, FALLS, KATHLEENE J, address updated to out of county



PRB-1 Update

Federal PRB-1 legislation HR 1301, introduced in March, now has 50 cosponsors as of April 30.  Click here to follow the progress of HR 1301.



FCC Enforcement News

The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce has given the FCC a May 7 deadline to produce documents related to FCC Enforcement Bureau (EB) proposals to close two-thirds of its field offices and eliminate nearly one-half of its staff of field agents.  (ARRL story)  Last month the EB said that plans to ask the full Commission to cut two-thirds of its field offices and eliminate nearly one-half of its field agents.  (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.


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)



Upcoming Events

May 3 – CROP Walk (volunteer here)

May 6 – Board Meeting

May 8 – CAA Head Start Picnic (volunteer here)

May 9 – Ham Breakfast

May 15-17 – Dayton Hamvention

May 21 – Club Meeting

June 6 – Fulton County Hamfest

June 6 – Independent Repeater Association Hamfest

June 7 – Chelsea Hamfest

June 21 – Monroe Hamfest

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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