Saturday, November 30, 2019

Dale's Tales for December


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for December, 2019.

We open this edition of "Dale's Tales" to send very best holiday wishes to everyone from Tom and Helen along with Judy and me as we enter this wonderful season.  We all hope it brings joyous get-togethers with your family and friends.

Vice Director Tom W8WTD and I had the rare opportunity to recognize the outstanding service of one of our own Great Lakes Division amateurs and thereby present Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally N8SY with a prestigious award conferred by the ARRL Board of Directors.  The honor is called the Knight Distinguished Service Award and is presented to Section Managers who have exhibited outstanding dedication to Amateur Radio.  The Board commented that "Scott is tireless in his efforts to be present and visible all over the state, representing the ARRL and Amateur Radio with a positive and forward-thinking attitude."  The official plaque was presented to Scott at the November meeting of the Portage County Amateur Radio Society.

We have some rather unhappy news, the Livonia Amateur Radio Club reports that a venue conflict has caused the cancellation of the Livonia Swap planned for Feb. 23, 2020.  The LARC Swap and Shop has traditionally been one of the well attended swaps in SE Michigan and we hope that 2021 will bring even a bigger and better LARC swap to that region.

OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:   http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your ARRL Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.


TOM'S TOME  Comments from your ARRL Vice Director Tom W8WTD.
Holiday greetings to all!  With the Thanksgiving holiday just passed, the tendency is to look ahead to the Christmas holiday season, and save the “look back” at 2019 and the “look ahead” to 2020 until after the rest of the holidays.  Here, though, I’d like to call attention to some things coming up in 2020 to get your attention early on, so you can plan for some good events.

First, I’d like to remind everyone that our Great Lakes Division convention is coming up in March, the weekend of the 14th and 15th, to be specific.  It’s being held in Toledo, Ohio, in conjunction with the Toledo Mobile Radio Association’s annual hamfest.  The folks up there have been planning for this event since early summer.  They’ve pulled together a great line-up of speakers and topics and activities.  It’s all indoors, as is appropriate for that time of year, at a nice facility.  More details will be available soon, but it’s time to start planning for March.  It may be a bit of a drive for some folks in the Division, but probably well worth the effort to see and hear about projects and techniques that you need more help with. 

This next one is a bit farther out, but of special note anyway.  All of us old-timers know how important it is to interest younger people in ham radio.  So it’s a step in that direction that the Youth on the Air camp will be held in West Chester, Ohio in June.  The week-long camp will be held at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting. It’s in the Cincinnati area, just north of the I-275 circle route. According to the press release, “the camp will focus on building peer and mentor relationships and taking amateur radio ‘to the next level.’”  There will be workshops in all sort of STEM-related subjects.  A high-altitude balloon launch is being planned, and they will operate with the special-event call sign of W8Y.

The camp director, Neil, WB9VPG, tells me that there are several ways for amateurs to help.  One will be to take part in the on-air activities during the week, by providing contacts for the young people.  I’ll be sure to let you know more about that as it gets closer.  For those of you who have the means, donations are another good way to help.  And finally, for local hams or those who might be a reasonably short drive away, some hands-on help with set-up and clean-up might also be a way to participate in June.  No matter where you live in the Division, please try to help in some way make this event a success.

Best wishes for a good holiday season.

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning offers hamfest sponsors the opportunity to take advantage of some offerings from ARRL.  Your Division Director is pleased to make this Sanctioning available to ARRL Affiliated Clubs who have a history of holding regular swaps.  One successful swap normally qualifies!  ARRL will provide prize certificates, QST will publish the announcement for the swap, post it on-line at the ARRL web site and supply requested hamfest handout material.  The club, in exchange, shall provide ARRL a table for "meet and greet" at the hamfest.  Consult the hamfest pages on the ARRL web site for the application form. 

If you plan to request ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning, please do so well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST Listings.  QST requires a 3 month lead time.  It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your hamfest efforts.  Please carefully read the e-mail from ARRL Headquarters confirming your sanctioning as IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT DETAILS REGARDING PRIZES.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do requires some advanced planning.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

12/1/19                       Lanse Creuse                 Madison Hgts, MI
12/7/19                       Fulton County                Delta, OH
1/19/20                       SCARF Hamfest            Nelsonville, OH
1/19-20                       Hazel Park                     Madison Hgts, MI
1/26/20                       Tusco                             Strasburg, OH
2/1/20                         HARA                            Negaunee, MI
2/16/20                       Mansfield                      Mansfield, OH
2/23/20                       Livonia                          CANCELLED for 2020
3/7/20                         Cave City                      Cave City, KY
3/14-15/20                  Toledo / Great Lakes     Toledo, OH
                                    Division Convention
3/21/20                       Gallipolis                        Gallipolis, OH

           
73, Were you on the air today???   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division

Friday, November 1, 2019

Dale's Tales for November


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for November, 2019.

We are about mid point in the time period for applications relating to ARRL Foundation Scholarships.  The foundation accept applications from September 1 through midnight of December 31. I mention this as a past member of the Foundation Board and as a reminder to students about to graduate who would appreciate a grant to assist them in their education.
I suspect most would.

There are many opportunities waiting in the program.  Please examine the Scholarship web pages and review the qualification requirements.  We currently have 89 scholarships available and some make multiple awards each year.  True, not everyone will qualify for every award, as some are limited to specific courses of study, some to specific geographic regions, but the vast majority present significant opportunities for students.

http://www.arrl.org/scholarship-application will take you directly to the application form and the details for completing the application. There are also links to the Scholarships themselves along with the qualification details.

Last year, while serving on that board, I took note that there were not many applicants from our Great Lakes Division. I suspect that these scholarships don't get a lot of media attention and tend to remain in the background compared to many local scholarships.  So here I am shouting for all to hear:  "We have the funds, contributed by individuals, foundations, trusts, clubs and others who love ham radio and want to continue to support those striving for a higher education.

Please take advantage of these offers!"  


TOM'S TOME  Comments from your ARRL Vice Director Tom W8WTD.

Youth in ham radio--October was a good month for that.  JOTA (Jamboree on the Air) happened at mid-month.  I have always enjoyed that event, all the way back to the time when my own sons were in Scouts.

Unfortunately, my schedule did not let me participate this year.

The School Club round-up happened this month, too.  I only made a few contacts, but it’s great to hear the young people on.  Totally by chance, I happened to hear the Kettering University club on the air, and talked to Ruth, KM4LAO, a young lady whom I had worked with on a video about ARISS.  And then, in the same afternoon, I heard the Dixie Heights High School (Kentucky) club on the air.  Besides talking to the young lady operator, I was surprised to hear former Vice Director Gary Johnson, KI4LA, who is advising the club.

It's all part of keeping ham radio alive.  You know, we get new people from anywhere.  If young people have someone to guide them, some will get interested and become life-long hams.  Thank you to all those of you who work with young people.  Keep up your efforts.  It’s especially difficult these days to figure out just what attracts youth.  So keep in touch with the youth coordinators in each of your Sections, and share what you know.  Meanwhile, encourage those young people by helping them learn more and more about all the aspects of ham radio.

Others join us at various stages in life.  We have to acknowledge all the hard work that so many clubs do in putting on license classes, in the evenings, on weekends, throughout the year.  That work recruits new people, too, and every new ham has a story, and an interest which we hope will keep going.  Besides just enjoying what we do in radio, we all need to help each other keep this great service/hobby alive and strong.

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:   http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your ARRL Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning offers hamfest sponsors the opportunity to take advantage of some offerings from ARRL.  Your Division Director is pleased to make this Sanctioning available to ARRL Affiliated clubs who have a history of holding regular swaps.  One successful swap normally qualifies!  ARRL will provide prize certificates, QST will publish the announcement for the swap, post it on-line at the ARRL web site and supply requested hamfest handout material.  The club, in exchange, shall provide ARRL a table for "meet and greet" at the hamfest.  Consult the hamfest pages on the ARRL web site for the application form. 

If you plan to request ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning, please do so well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST Listings.  QST requires a 3 month lead time.  It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your hamfest efforts.  Please carefully read the e-mail from ARRL Headquarters confirming your sanctioning as IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT DETAILS REGARDING PRIZES.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do requires some advanced planning.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

11/2/19                       Grant ARC Hamfest       Georgetown, OH
11/3/19                       Massillon                        Massillon, OH
12/1/19                       Lanse Creuse                  Madison Hgts, MI
12/7/19                       Fulton County                Delta, OH
1/19/20                       SCARF Hamfest            Nelsonville, OH
1/19-20                       Hazel Park                     Madison Hgts, MI
1/26/20                       Tusco                             Strasburg, OH

           
73, Were you on the air today???   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Dale's Tales for October


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for October, 2019.

Of all the articles I have written for Dale's Tales, last month's column about the health of ham clubs drew the most responses from readers.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.  What I heard was all about the reality of today's club activities; the successes and the lack thereof.

I think it points out the need for continued examination of where we are and what we are planning for tomorrow.  It was truly heartwarming to see several clubs make the decision to re-invent themselves and take a whole new approach towards involving their membership.

One reader offered some commentary about local activities in his area and how quiet the local airwaves are.  There may be a distinct tie into what is happening locally.  Did you get on the air today?

Notes of thanks:  Today our cadre of Official Observers retires to be replaced by a new Volunteer Monitor (VM) program.  I want to especially thank all of the retiring OOs for their sincere dedication and service as we move into this new era.  Our outgoing OOs have served our hobby well and have continually kept our operating standards to the point where the FCC recognized Amateur Radio as the best self-regulated service administrated by the commission.

Changes at the FCC have called for changes in how we radio amateurs self-police and the new VM program is where this will be done.  About 250 amateurs across the nation have been vetted by ARRL and the FCC to participate as monitors.  They all will be enrolled in a continued training program and will engage in their rolls in a less visible manner.  They will monitor the airwaves and collect evidence that can be used to correct misconduct or recognize exemplary on-air operation.
Cases of flagrant violations will be referred to the FCC by the ARRL for action in accordance with FCC guidelines.

On a second note, I wish to personally thank our Great Lakes Division Vice-Director Ton Delaney W8WTD, and Section Managers Steve Morgan W4NHO, Scott Yonally N8SY and Jim Kvochick K8JK for insuring that ARRL is well represented at our local hamfests.  They do this wonderful service all the time, but I want to give them special thanks for their extra duty while I take a few weeks off for some rehab due to knee surgery.


TOM'S TOME  Comments from your ARRL Vice Director Tom W8WTD.

When technology changes --and it always does—what happens to the things we used to think of as “standard?”  Some things get applied differently and some things go away entirely.  To give an example, in my field of television production, almost nothing is the same technically.

Producing the content is pretty much the same, but the pictures are made entirely differently, and wow do they look better.

I was out West recently, and met with an old friend, a ham, from our days together in local television.  We remarked about how much the technical standards had changed.  But we also noted that ham radio has changed, too.  Jeff used to work moon bounce.  Back in the 1970s and 1980s, he had to use some huge yagis, four of them, as a matter of fact.

Now he’s working meteor scatter with one yagi and a good computer.

He’s as interested in that as he used to be in moon bounce, but he said that some people think “if your computer is talking to my computer,” then it’s not ham radio.  To which I responded, “are you using RF?  Then it’s ham radio.”  Of course, he agrees.

Whether it’s AM versus SSB, analog vs. digital voice, or computer sound cards to discover propagation that we thought was non-existent, progress means change.  Whatever your favorite mode of operation, I hope you are still finding it worthwhile.  And I hope you’re willing to experiment with the new ways of doing things. 

Because the new ways are where ham radio is going.  And the new hams will be wanting to use the latest in technology.  I’ve heard it said many times that the new hams are not being motivated by the same things that motivated most of us.  Ham radio has lots to offer new people, but it won’t be in the same ways many of us experienced.  We all have to find new ways of operating and thinking, so that ham radio will be a welcoming experience and a life-long hobby and pursuit for those just becoming interested.  Keep that in mind the next time you try to explain what ham radio is all about.

--73, Tom Delaney W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division


OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:  http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your ARRL Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

If you plan to request ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning, please be sure to do it well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST Listings.   Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Plan ahead and request your ARRL Officials to attend.

With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do double up a little and we need to share duties. 

10/5/19                       Alpena Swap                         Alpena, MI
10/5/19                       Scioto Valley                         Chillicothe, OH
10/5/19                       Vette City                              Bowling Green, KY
10/12/19                     Northwest Ohio ARC           Lima, OH
10/19/19                     Muskegon Color Tour          Muskegon, MI
10/20/19                     Kalamazoo                           Kalamazoo, MI
10/26/19                     Hazard Hamfest                   Hazard, KY
10/27/19                     USECA Hamfest                  Madison Hgts, MI
11/2/19                       Grant ARC Hamfest             Georgetown, OH
11/3/19                       Massillon                              Massillon, OH

           
73, Were you on the air today???   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dale's Tales for September


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for September, 2019.

At several recent hamfests, I have had the opportunity to seriously discuss the status of our Great Lakes Division radio clubs with some of their members.  The range of comments was extraordinary, from "very healthy and growing" to "desperate and dying".  The latter of course was very disappointing news.  Why the differences?  We did discuss them and also talked about what possible changes had affected the dying clubs.
[This is where this message gets tenuous.]  The members' comments seemed often to relate to the effectiveness of the current slate of officers and/or their immediate predecessors.  This is of course reported from the members' personal perspective and may have no basis in fact.

However, for most of us, perception is pretty close to reality, so the comments included items such as these:  Some leaders had grown weary of the job and could not recruit replacements, others seemed unaware of their plight, others seemed to have no plans for the club while other leaders pointed their fingers at the "other guy" being at fault, not facing the reality of their own situation.

In the meantime, the really successful clubs are reported to have truly active and involved leadership, programs at their meetings, guest speakers, club projects, special interest groups, active local nets, club field activities, club parties, and importantly a PLAN to make themselves a success.

Perhaps it is time for the less than successful clubs to take a self-examination and ask themselves "Where do we want to go and how do we want to get there?"  Frankly folks, if your club Board of Directors does not occasionally meet and plan for the club's future, you may want to consider urging them to move in that direction.  Strong words I am sure, but today, one has a choice to do the things necessary to succeed, adapt to change, and CREATE excitement and growth, or face the unfortunate alternative: a slow and certain demise.  From some of the members from those clubs on that slippery slope, I have heard the stories of "power struggles", "club empires" "entrenched officers" and a host of other reasons alleging change is not possible.  Really?

Club members need to stand up and take action.  Don't allow a continuing stagnant condition to exist in your club, empower yourselves to make change.  Set some goals to make your club the success it needs to be.
It only takes two or three to create a "wake up call" and encourage the
needed changes.   Plans and goals are critical to a club's future, have
at it!  

To those clubs on the successful part: congratulations!  Keep it rolling!  To those ready to make the paradigm shift to a new adventure, best wishes for your renewed success.


TOM'S TOME  Comments from your ARRL Vice Director Tom W8WTD.

Of the many ways that ham radio has changed over the years, one of them has to be in the operating habits of many of us. It used to be that you could find contacts on the HF bands easily, whenever they were open. (As an operator who prefers SSB, I wish we were at a different point in the sunspot cycle. Oh well....) Of course, there are still some contacts to be made. But not as easily. Maybe our schedules provide us with so many more things to do that we allocate less time to radio.

So “events” become more important. Probably the biggest event to bring out lots of activity of HF was the National Parks on the Air several years ago. It was the right combination of contesting, contacting, portable operating, etc., to really make a hit with hams and get a lot of radio waves stirred up.

There are still lots of operating events to take advantage of. For example, the state QSO parties usually do well for participation. So if you’re looking for an “event,” you can probably find something to operate in most weekends.

A short-term “event” sponsored by ARRL is coming up right now. The Hiram Percy Maxim Birthday Celebration starts on August 31st and runs through September 8th. Full details are on the ARRL website or in the September issue of QST.

Some of us need an “excuse” to get on the air, or at least an assurance that we’ll find stations to work. This is a good one. Hope we take advantage of it.

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:   http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your ARRL Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

If you plan to request ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning, please be sure to do it well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for
QST Listings.   Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your
date is set.  Plan ahead and request your ARRL Officials to attend.
With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do double up a little and we need to share duties. 

9/7/19             GRAHamfest                        Wyoming, MI
9/7/19             CMARC Hamfest                 Okemos, MI
9/7/19             Greater Louisville                 Shepherdsville, KY
9/8/19             Findlay Hamfest                    Findlay, OH
9/14/19           Central Kentucky                  Richmond, KY
9/15/19           Adrian Hamfest                     Adrian, MI
9/21/19           GMARC Trunk Swap           Shelby Twp, MI
9/21/19           OHKYIN ARS Hamfest       Cincinnati, OH
9/22/19           Cleveland Hamfest                Berea, OH
9/22/19           Flying Beers Int'l                   Ferndale, MI
9/28/19           Paintsville Hamfest               Paintsville, KY
10/5/19           Alpena Swap                         Alpena, MI
10/5/19           Scioto Valley                         Chillicothe, OH
10/12/19         Northwest Ohio ARC            Lima, OH
10/19/19         Muskegon Color Tour           Muskegon, MI
10/20/19         Kalamazoo                            Kalamazoo, MI
10/26/19         Hazard Hamfest                    Hazard, KY
           
73, Were you on the air today???   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ARRL bestows honor to Great Lakes Division ham.



Each year, the ARRL offers an award to recognize someone who has served admirably as an ARRL Section Manager.  

The Knight Distinguished Service Award recognizes exceptionally notable contributions by a Section Manager to the health and vitality of the League.  The first such award was presented to Joe T. Knight, W5PDY (now SK) in 2003 -- for whom the award was named -- in recognition of his exemplary service not only as the ARRL Section New Mexico Section Manager for more than a quarter century, but also for his willingness to share his knowledge and skills.

The Knight Distinguished Service Award may be awarded to an ARRL Section Manager who has distinguished himself or herself in accordance with the following ideals:

Exceptionally notable contributions over an extended period of time within his or her Section and beyond.

Demonstrated efforts that have contributed to the health and vitality of the ARRL and its Field Organization.

Displayed actions that are in the spirit of the unselfish contributions of Joe T. Knight, W5PDY.

Nominations may be made by any ARRL member and accompanied by a narrative of the accomplishments of the nominee identifying the long term contributions of the nominee to ARRL and its Field Organization.
The nominations are reviewed by the ARRL Programs and Service Committee, which makes the formal recommendation to the ARRL Board of Directors. 


With that background, I am truly pleased to announce to all, at its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors honored Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally N8SY with the Knight Distinguished Service Award.  Scott easily met all of the required criteria and most certainly has shown exemplary service to the members of the ARRL Ohio Section, Great Lakes Division and the entire ARRL Field Organization.

Please join Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD and me in congratulating Scott on this very special occasion. 

73,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division
ARRL

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Dale's Tales for August


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for August, 2019.

In visits to hamfests and meeting with everyone, I am often asked "What is ARRL doing to promote ham radio in the news media?"  As a matter of fact, we actually do a great deal in promoting our hobby, but rarely is it enough in the eyes of our members.  National events and amateur radio's participation get good coverage, more of course in the region where the event occurred, but there seems to be little reporting when a local public service event occurs.

Yet, as we all know, most of the local more or less routine activities, such as parades, runs, walkathons, races, and the like, rarely get mentioned in the news much to our chagrin.  So how do we fix this?  We fix it by insisting upon more activity on the part of our many Public Information Officers (PIO). We have about 50 PIOS in the Great Lakes Division.  These are the folks closest to the events and closest to the local news media.  Many of our PIOs are on a first name basis with local reporters and media people.  They are the "Go-To People" when questions about ham radio arise.  And it is the PIO who is best positioned to keep the media advised of our day-to-day amateur radio activities.

To assist our PIOS in this effort, ARRL has created through our Lifelong Learning project a complete course in Public Relations called PR-101.

The goal is to provide our PIOS with the tools necessary to help them do an outstanding job in reporting what is happening in ham radio and how ham radio benefits our communities.   All PIOs and those interested in becoming one should check out http://www.arrl.org/pr-courses and
register for the program.   It is a lot about relationship building and as we all know that is the key to success in virtually everything we do these days.

Oh, and I just checked, today there are just eleven slots open for students in the forthcoming online course.   So don't delay.  The cost:  ZERO.  The benefits: UNLIMITED.


TOM'S TOME  Comments from your ARRL Vice Director Tom W8WTD.

The future of ham radio is: more hams!  Younger hams.  And older hams. Tech-savvy hams.  Experimenters.  Public service hams.

My wording, but that was the essential message at the recent Board of Directors meeting.  Rick Roderick, K5UR, the ARRL President, keeps talking about it.  Howard Michel, WB2ITX, writes about it in his editorial columns.  The ARRL staff is working on ways to improve our communications with those who get licensed.

And throughout the Great Lakes Division, many clubs are stepping up with classes.  We’ve had some good numbers recently.  Sadly, the overall number of licensees is down this year nationwide from a year ago.  We all know that the ham population is aging.  If we want the hobby/service to continue, we need to recruit more people.

There are two problems as I see it.  One is getting people interested to begin with.  And the second is giving them something they like to do once they are licensed.  Again, some clubs are finding new ways to engage new hams, making sure they understand how to get on the air, providing challenges, and helping them with applications that might have never thought of.

We all tend to do what we know best, and most of us realize that for us, ham radio is based on what we did and still do.  There are many aspects of the hobby that don’t appeal to everyone equally.  We need to ask ourselves what things interest Makers?  They may know about the Raspberry Pi, but do they know how it can be used in ham radio?  What forms of say, Mesh networks or data transfers will draw the interest of our EmComm and Public Service contingent, and will encourage further experimentation?  Which group might find weak-signal propagation most interesting?

Here are two questions.  Club leaders, is your club growing or shrinking?  If your membership numbers are down, maybe you need to expand your horizon of what your club can do.  And for everyone –what things are most likely to cause that spark of interest that will result in new challenges, new scientific breakthroughs in radio, and more enjoyment of the hobby?

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division


OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:   http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your ARRL Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

If you plan to request ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning, please be sure to do it well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST Listings.   Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Plan ahead and request your ARRL Officials to attend. With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do double up a little and we need to share duties. 

8/3/19             Columbus Hamfest              Columbus, OH
8/3/19             U. P. Hamfest                       Escanaba, MI
8/10/19           DX Engineering Hamfest    Tallmadge, OH
8/10/19           Central Kentucky                 Lexington, KY
8/11/19           Seaway Trunk Swap            Port Huron, MI
8/17/19           GARS Germantown            Germantown, OH
9/7/19             GRAHamfest                      Wyoming, MI
9/7/19             CMARC Hamfest                Okemos, MI
9/7/19             Greater Louisville                Shepherdsville, KY
9/8/19             Findlay Hamfest                  Findlay, OH
9/14/19           Central Kentucky                Richmond, KY
9/15/19           Adrian Hamfest                   Adrian, MI
9/21/19           GMARC Trunk Swap          Shelby Twp, MI
9/21/19           OHKYIN ARS Hamfest      Cincinnati, OH
9/22/19           Cleveland Hamfest              Berea, OH
9/22/19           Flying Beers Int'l                 Ferndale, MI
9/28/19           Paintsville Hamfest             Paintsville, KY
           
73, Were you on the air today???   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division


Monday, July 1, 2019

Dale's Tales for July


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for July, 2019.

ARISS Adventure.  Dale's Tales extends congratulations to the Cherryland ARC of Traverse City, MI on their cooperative effort with the Traverse Area District Library as they hosted a radio contact with the International Space Station on July 28.   Eight youngsters were selected from the library's Summer Reading Program to ask questions of Astronaut Nick Hague aboard the station. 

Conditions were perfect for the effort, which included club-provided computer controlled Az-El antennas on the library roof, plus rack mounted primary and back up radios and controls.  Former astronaut Col. Greg Johnson was also present as a guest speaker.

Considerable emphasis was placed upon STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and the youngsters in attendance saw first-hand what the results of a STEM aligned education can mean to their futures.

This all points out the strong need for radio amateurs to develop closer ties with the educational facilities in our communities.  Clearly, the enthusiasm shown by the attendees is a good indication of excellent opportunities for all of us.  We watched these selected eight youngsters communicate with the ISS and saw the excitement on their faces and the faces of their brothers, sisters, friends and families.

Supporting STEM projects and applicable school programs can offer entry into amateur radio, and we know the opportunities that amateur radio has opened for many of us in our careers.  Perhaps a discussion with some of your local school administrators could open an opportunity to introduce amateur radio into your local school system.


TOM'S TOME  Comments from your ARRL Vice Director. (Yes of course, we just had to introduce this new column name!!)

Repeaters –what they were, what they are, what they never were, and what they might become.

OK.  We all know that repeater activity is not what is was twenty or thirty years ago.  I had occasion to remember that a few weeks ago when it would have been nice to have someone to talk to.  I was in an area with several road closures that popped up.  The first one, okay, just take another route.  After the second one, I started wondering what else would be closed, and could I get where I wanted to go.  The repeater for there is usually quiet (like most) and, no one on to talk to.  Maybe someone could have helped, maybe not.  Of course I have GPS in the car as well as on my phone.  I just noticed that there was no friendly voice to either guide, or even to commiserate.

By the way, for those few people reading this who think they know the repeater and the situation, don’t worry.  I’m not pointing fingers. It happens everywhere.  No one is to blame.

Back to the friendly voice.  I certainly remember earlier times when any call on a repeater would get an answer, and sometimes even helpful comments.  (And some unhelpful, even if genuinely meant, suggestions.)

Automated traffic reporting such as GPS signals are a better way to go. Generally, that stuff keeps better track of traffic and situations than any of us could.  But it’s the idea of a response from someone who knows the area, the back routes, and maybe even the situations.

What ever happened to people who monitored their repeaters while they did other tasks?  Have other things so taken over our attention that it’s no longer important to listen?  Of course, if no one talks, there’s no one to listen to.  Where does it start to get better?

And finally, this.  ARRL ran a news story that the WRC has an agenda item asking for the study of the 144-146 MHz portion of the band globally for potential reassignment to Aeronautical Mobile Service.  Do we care?  That full band is where most of our repeaters are located.

Time to start communicating again?

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division


OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:   http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

If you plan to request ARRL Hamfest Sanctioning, please be sure to do it well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST Listings.   Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Plan ahead to request your ARRL Officials to attend.  With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do double up a little and we need to share duties. 

7/20/19                       Big Sandy Hamfest               Louisa, KY
7/20/19                       NOARS Fest                         Elyria, OH
7/20/19                       Gladwin Swap                      Gladwin, MI
7/21/19                       Van Wert                               Van Wert, OH
7/28/19                       Portage Hamfair                   Ravenna, OH
8/3/19                         Columbus Hamfest               Columbus, OH
8/3/19                         U. P. Hamfest                        Escanaba, MI
8/10/19                       DX Engineering Hamfest     Tallmadge, OH
8/10/19                       Central Kentucky                  Lexington, KY
8/11/19                       Seaway Trunk Swap              Port Huron, MI
8/17/19                       GARS Germantown              Germantown, OH
9/7/19                         GRAHamfest                        Wyoming, MI
9/7/19                         CMARC Hamfest                 Okemos, MI
9/7/19                         Greater Lousiville                 Shepherdsville, KY
9/8/19                         Findlay Hamfest                   Findlay, OH
9/14/19                       Central Kentucky                  Richmond, KY
9/15/19                       Adrian Hamfest                    Adrian, MI
9/21/19                       GMARC Trunk Swap           Shelby Twp, MI
9/21/19                       OHKYIN ARS Hamfest       Cincinnati, OH
9/22/19                       Cleveland Hamfest               Berea, OH



73,     Were you on the air today???   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Dale's Tales for June


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for June, 2019.

The fourth full weekend in June brings Field Day, probably the largest ham radio operating event held annually.  It's a time to test our mettle, get out there with our temporary antennas, improvise shelters, set up non-commercial power and see how many contacts we can put in the log.  Field Day is a great opportunity to demonstrate some of the most interesting facets of our hobby. 

So with that in mind, I recommend you invite some of your local elected officials and some of the non-elected ones as well.  (You get FD points for doing this).  Let them see first-hand some contacts being made.  If you do this, remember to talk with them in terms they can understand.

Drop the ham-lingo, forget "QSO", forget "DX", even forget "rig", your guest probably doesn't have a clue about what those terms mean.  Think about keeping the terms pretty basic and in understandable common vernacular.  These demonstrations keep ham radio in the eyes of our public officials; keeps the information flowing about how Amateur Radio can service the public good, and shows them how we are community minded.

Remember this when you want to install that new antenna.

Most importantly, don't forget the really good parts of Field Day; the pot-luck meals with our families joining us and the opportunity to nurture some new operators.

At this time, let's not forget our fellow hams in Ohio as these gals and guys are heavily involved with the aftermath of a series of tornadoes that struck several communities this past week.  ARES Teams across the state are assisting local officials and their needs with surveys and cleanup operations.  Please be alert for continuing net operations on frequencies across the state.  What may be a temporarily quiet channel, frequency or talk group may have ongoing operations related to the storms.

TOM'S COMMENTS:

Another successful Hamvention this month!  The organizers again deserve a lot of credit and praise for a job well done.  Things keep getting better at the new facility.

And they really struck a good note with their theme: “Mentoring the Next Generation.”  Very timely.  It’s been on the minds of many of us as we look around for the next generation.  Where are they?  At the ARRL Forum on Saturday, President Rick Roderick, K5UR, asked how many in attendance were under thirty.  The answer—none.  How many under forty?
— one!

Not to be all doom and gloom, there really are younger hams out there, and many local clubs in the Division are reaching out and offering classes.  In fact, I’ll bet that your club, or a club near you, has just finished spring classes and your area has a number of newly licensed hams.  That’s great.  Now—are the efforts at mentoring ready?  It can’t just be that, well, I’m available to talk if someone wants to.  Who scheduled the next meeting for that group of new hams?  Class is over, and that’s it?  Who’s going to help them get on the air?  Can we make that a club activity and priority?  Some clubs do, with great success.  All clubs should do the same.  Need some suggestions?  Contact me, and I’ll pass along the stories of those clubs that are making the efforts.

Another way to reach out is coming up in June.  It’s called Field Day. Yes, Field Day is lots of things.  Operating.  Meals.  Good friends. It’s also about meeting the public.  Are you prepared?  Do you have a PIO specifically for Field Day?  Have you done any publicity?  Will you have people at the site looking out for visitors?  Can you explain ham radio in terms that interest non-hams?  Do you have a good supply of hand-outs about ham radio?  For young people in particular, can someone talk about some fun technical projects that having a license can facilitate?  Yes, the contesting aspect of Field Day is on display.  But what about describing “science” things that might interest, like balloon launches with APRS tracking, remote control of models, and particularly remote control of robots? 

Interestingly, really young kids, up to about 8 years old, are fascinated by CW, in that they love to learn how to send their name in code.  Can someone please bring a code practice oscillator to let them try?  Are you doing data as part of Field Day?  Show them how the computer works through the radio.

The recent tornado outbreak, unfortunate as it was for so many people who lost homes, can be a chance to talk about public service, both in Skywarn and in the many relief efforts underway.  There are lots of things to talk about in ham radio, so make sure you’re prepared to meet the public.

As you can tell, I can get pretty wound up about this subject.  I look forward to talking with many of you at some of the many summer hamfests.

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

If you plan to request ARRL Sanctioning, please be sure to do it well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST.

Listings.   Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do double up a little and we need to share duties.  Plan ahead for requesting your ARRL Officials to attend.

6/1/19             Luce County                         Newberry, MI
6/1/19             Princeton                               Princeton, KY
6/1/19             IRA                                       Hudsonville, MI
6/1/19             Fulton County                       Wauseon, OH
6/2/19             Chelsea                                 Chelsea, Mi
6/8/19             Union County                       Marysville, OH
6/15/19           Milford/W8DXCC Conv      Milford, OH
6/15/19           Midland Hamfest                  Midland, MI
6/16/19           Monroe                                 Monroe, MI
7/7/19             20/9 RC Tailgate Swap         Austintown, OH
7/20/19           Big Sandy Hamfest               Louisa, KY
7/20/19           NOARS Fest                         Elyria, OH
7/20/19           Gladwin Swap                      Gladwin, MI
7/27/19           Van Wert                               Van Wert, OH
7/28/19           Portage Hamfair                   Portage, OH
           
OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:  http://arrl-greatlakes.org/

Be sure to check your Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.


73, Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Dale's Tales for May


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for May, 2019.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

It sounds like Jabberwocky, and it is, written by Lewis Carroll ca 1871. And I often wonder if that is how we sound to newcomers to our hobby. In fact, I am sure it is.  I remember my entry to Novice-land and how little I understood about the ongoing discussions at radio club meetings.  It took a while to pick up the slang, and a little while longer to actually begin to understand it.  But thanks to a couple of mentors who were able to ease the pain, I got by.   Were it not for these heroes of mine, I might have given up.  

Mentoring was the key and Mentoring is the theme of the upcoming Dayton Hamvention and National ARRL Convention.  We will all learn how we can be better mentors and assist interested newcomers into our hobby.  We need to step away for a few moments from our own form of "inside conversation" and invite the new folks in to the conversation, remembering that they probably don't yet have a firm grasp of the nuances of ham lingo.  Attending a few of the Hamvention Forums will certainly provide some guidelines for us all.

Remember, Hamvention and the ARRL National Convention are set for May 17, 18 & 19 at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, OH.  Full details can be found at https://www.Hamvention.org.

Of special note, National and State ARRL conventions are authorized to host meetings of the Royal Order of the Wouff Hong (ROWH).  This is a fun event, convening at 9:00 PM Saturday May 18 at the University of Dayton Marriott, 1414 S. Patterson Blvd. in Dayton. As the history is chronicled, "The Old Man", Hiram Percy Maxim W1AW, wrote in 1919 the Wouff Hong was conceived as an instrument of potential punishment for wayward hams, those who strayed from good operating etiquette.  The actual Wouff Hong currently hangs in a place of honor in the office of the Secretary of the ARRL.  This meeting provides the opportunity for those who do not yet belong to the "ROWH" to join and share in its ideals.  This is always a fun event with a rather unique lesson in League history attached.  You can register in advance at http://arrl-ohio.org/wouff-hong.html.  A certificate of membership and special memento will be provided to all inductees.


TOM'S COMMENTS: Looking at many of the club newsletters that come my way, I can see that Spring is here just by all the listings of ham radio classes.  Good job, everyone!  It’s so important for ham radio to keep offering these opportunities.  And it’s great to be able to share such a fun hobby.

The challenge for us all is follow-up.  It’s great to have someone get their first license.  Who helps them get on the air?  Who will show them how to make the first contact?  Who will advise them on antennas?

Whatever you do, it has to be tailored to circumstances that fit the mentor and those who wish to learn.  Some clubs go all-out to organize activities for new hams.  If your spring classes end in May or early June, make sure your newly licensed people get an invitation to Field Day.  In fact, don’t just invite—make it as easy as possible for them to get there, and stress how important it is for them to get on the air.  Offer them a step-by-step tour so they understand which antenna does what, and how all the equipment works together.

If you’re going to the Hamvention in a few weeks, remember that the theme this year is “Mentoring the Next Generation.”  The ARRL website indicates: “A track of presentations will be organized to build on the convention theme, encouraging more individuals and radio clubs to serve in mentoring roles, leading new and inexperienced radio amateurs to become more active, involved, and engaged.”

Whether or not you can get to Hamvention, please do your part at home, and find a new ham to help –whether it’s just encouragement on the air, or sharing some knowledge that you would like to pass along.

--73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

If you plan to request ARRL Sanctioning, please be sure to do it well in advance of your Hamfest date, as this allows adequate time for QST Listings.   Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  With 52 weeks and 70+ hamfests, things do double up a little.
Plan ahead for requesting your ARRL Officials to attend.

5/4/19             Cadillac                               Cadillac, MI
5/5/18             Flying Beers Trunkswap     Ferndale, MI
5/17 to 19       Hamvention                        Xenia, OH
6/1/19             Luce County                       Newberry, MI
6/1/19             Princeton                            Princeton, KY
6/1/19             IRA                                    Hudsonville, MI
6/1/19             Fulton County                    Wauseon, OH
6/2/19             Chelsea                               Chelsea, Mi
6/8/19             Union County                     Marysville, OH
6/15/19           Milford/SWODXA Conv    Milford, OH
6/15/19           Midland Hamfest                Midland, MI
6/16/19           Monroe                                Monroe, MI
           
OUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION web page does carry news from some of the recent events in the Division, useful links and information as well as some neat photos supplied from around the Division.  Check it out:

Be sure to check your Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.


73, Let's go light up the bands!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division