Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dale's Tales for May


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for May 2018.

HAMVENTION:  This year's Hamvention® will host the ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention.  This affords the opportunity to include some extra activities from ARRL and the Headquarters staff.  The new location in Xenia, OH is well equipped for hosting the world's largest ham radio event and the venue has offered some expanded areas this year.  Scott Yonally N8SY and his team from the Ohio Section will be greeting visitors the ARRL Field Organization booth at ARRL EXPO and we encourage everyone to stop by to meet and exchange thoughts and greetings.  The ARRL EXPO is in building 2, the "TESLA" Building.

Other ARRL EXPO activities will include Radiosport/DXCC, IARU, Public Service, Meet the Authors, Collegiate, Learning and Development/ARRL Foundation plus the ARRL Store.

ARES NEWS:  Of special note, this year's ARRL Member Forum at the Hamvention will include an overview of the planned upgrades to the nationwide ARES program.  This forum offers an excellent opportunity for ARRL to introduce the changes proposed for ARES for the 21st Century.

We'll present the recommended ARES Strategic Plan, the background and how it was developed, the peer review procedures involved and the multi-stage approval process.  Most importantly, we will highlight what the changes will mean to every ARES participant and our served partner agencies plus the benefits the program will offer for those participating.  The ARRL Forum will be in Forum Room 3 beginning at noon on Saturday.

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

Good news for amateur radio from two clubs in my local area.  The Highland County (Ohio) club  recently graduated more than 30 new hams from their classes in March.



The OH-KY-IN group in Cincinnati is finishing up a five-week course with almost 25 prospective hams in that group. 

And while I try to keep up with what other classes and activities go on throughout the Division, it’s impossible to know what every local club is doing.  But I’m sure many of you are out there teaching and promoting ham radio.   Whether you had two or thirty new hams this month, keep up the good work!

One of the continuing themes of the Board’s Entry Level Licensing committee was on-going education.  Too many people take that first step, and stall.  They don’t go further.  Here’s one thing that those two clubs are doing to offer that next step.  The Highland county group is offering an “Elmer’s night” for its recent graduates.  They’ll meet to offer information on first rigs, antennas, and all sorts of advice.  They’ll also offer the opportunity to get on the air and make that first contact for those who have not yet done so.

For several years now, the OH-KY-IN group has taken a different approach.  They run the “Newcomers and Elmers Net” on their repeater each week.  It’s worth quoting these two sentences from their website:  Our goal is not only to help you learn, but also to give you real-world experience talking on your radio.  Each week, there will be a topic for discussion, but ALL questions are welcome whatever the area of the radio hobby.  If we do not know the answer right away, we will find out!

Two great efforts at follow-up for new hams, which we can all learn from.  Not every new ham is going to attend that session, and not every new ham is going to get on the air so they can learn from the net.  But the opportunity is there, for those who take it.

And if we think about it a little bit, there are probably other efforts we can all make to invite the new people to better participation in our great hobby.  What are your thoughts?  If you’ve got an idea, whether it’s something you’re doing, or just something you’d like to see happen, let me know.   Let’s share some of the ideas and get more of our new hams on the air.

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


HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication.  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set. 


5/5/18                Cadillac Hamfest                 Cadillac, MI
5/18 to 5/20       Dayton Hamvention            Xenia, OH
6/2/18                IRA Hamfest                       Hudsonville, MI
6/2/18                Fulton County Hamfest       Tedrow, OH
6/2/18                Princeton Hamfest               Princeton, KY
6/3/18                Chelsea Hamfest                  Chelsea, MI
6/16/18              Midland Hamfest                 Midland, MI
6/17/18              Monroe Hamfest                  Monroe, MI
7/8/18                20/9 Radio Club                   Austintown, OH
7/21/18              GARS Hamfest                    Germantown, OH
7/21/18              Gladwin Hamfest                 Gladwin, MI
7/21/18              NOARS Fest                        Elyria, OH
7/22/18              Van Wert                              Van Wert, OH
7/28/18              Big Sandy Hamfest              Louisa, KY
7/28/18              CMARC Hamfest                 Lansing, MI
7/29/18              Portage Hamfest                   Ravenna, OH     

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

73, Let's light up the bands,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division


Monday, April 2, 2018

Dale's Tales for April


Greetings Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for April 2018.

Some Michigan Radio History: Kimball N8FNC informs us of the recognition of a historic event and   That is the 90th anniversary of the Detroit Police Department's installation of one-way radio for its police cars.  Special Event Station KØP will be on the air to celebrate, through the efforts of The Ford Amateur Radio Club, the Detroit IEEE chapter and APCO.  Check out this URL for full details:
a Special Event station to commemorate it.

OO/AA Update:  There is some considerable interest in what is happening to the Official Observer Program and rightly so.  There has been a hiatus on appointing new OOs because of impending changes.  We have been working with the FCC to make some significant improvements.  The Official Observer/Amateur Auxiliary program has long been stagnant and in recent times, has not resulted in any significant improvement in the conditions of our ham bands.  In working jointly and collaboratively with the FCC, we have developed a revised program to meet some new requirements for the Commission.  The FCC is currently examining these plans in detail and thus the proverbial ball is in their court.  At this time, we don't have any feedback about the implementation timeline or the details of what exactly will comprise the new program.  As soon as the Commission releases some information, ARRL will post it on the web page.

QSO Party time:  The Mad River Radio Club sponsors both the Ohio and Michigan QSO Parties.  The Ohio QSO Party is scheduled for Aug 25, 2018 and the Michigan QSO Party is an April Happening, falling on April 21 & 22.  You can check out the complete details at http://www.miqp.org/index.html.  All of the rules are posted and the web site includes a huge amount of helpful information for anyone interested in the QSO Party and contesting in general.  Check it out - participate and join the fun.  For more information and some interesting history about the sponsor, the Mad River Radio Club, please see their web pages at https://www.madriverradioclub.org/.

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

Just over a month ago, at the end of February, the ARRL submitted to the FCC a petition to change some of the operating privileges for Technicians in the hope that more HF privileges will lead to more interest in upgrading to general class and extra class.  You can find more complete information on the ARRL website.

This work came out of the Entry Level License Committee, on which I served.  We were faced with a number of challenges.  The FCC has stated clearly that it has no interest in expanding the number of license classes.  We have three, and that’s all they want.  So we had to work within that, even though we feel strongly that the Technician class was never intended to be an entry-level license.

We got clear data on what hams would prefer.  We also did studies on the current test, including the readability and the material covered.

Over the last two years, I’ve talked to a number of you about licensing, exams, and advancement of hams to higher-level licenses.

Most support these proposals.  There are always a few people who object to what they consider “dumbing-down” of license material.  Actually, this whole effort is aimed at just the opposite—making better hams.

From a knowledge standpoint, we’d like to see the actual language of the tests be improved in “readability,” for better comprehension of the material.  And as for the additional privileges, we think that gaining experience on HF will help provide more incentive for advancement, meaning that more hams will advance to the next level of license.

All this is the result of two years of consultation, research and careful consideration of the issues involved.  I was privileged to serve on that committee.

And, finally, it is good to note that throughout the Division, classes for all levels of license continue to be offered, with many classes filling up with almost record numbers of students.  To those of you in the many local clubs who spend so much time helping out, thank you!
Keep up the good work.

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

CONVENTIONS:  The ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention will be held in conjunction with this year's Dayton Hamvention® May 18-20.  The theme this year is "Amateur Radio - Serving the Community".  There are five forum rooms available this year and a very full schedule.  Check out their web site for the latest information.  http://hamvention.org/ 

In even numbered years, the Great Lakes Division's three Sections normally host their individual State Conventions.  Kentucky's ARRL State Convention will be hosted by the Greater Louisville Hamfest in Shepherdsville, KY on September 8, 2018.  See
http://louisvillehamfest.com/   Michigan's State ARRL Convention will be
held at HamCon Brooklyn, MI on October 6-7.  http://glhamcon.org/.

While not a state convention, Ohio will be holding the Ohio Section Conference in conjunction with the Columbus Hamfest on August 4, 2018.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule   These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication.  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set. 
covering the next couple of months.

4/7/18                  Lincoln Trail                       Elizabethtown, KY
4/14/18                Cuyahoga Falls                   Cuyahoga Falls, OH
4/21/18                Portsmouth                         Portsmouth, OH
4/28/18                RCARA Tailgate                 Ashland, KY
4/28/18                JCARC Hamfest                 Jackson, OH
4/28/18                Chassell Hamfest                Chassell, MI
4/29/18                GMARC Hamfest               Madison Hgts, MI
4/29/18                Athens Hamfest                  Athens, OH
5/5/18                  Cadillac Hamfest                Cadillac, MI
5/18 to 5/20         Dayton Hamvention           Xenia, OH
6/2/18                  IRA Hamfest                      Hudsonville, MI
6/2/18                  Fulton County Hamfest      Tedrow, OH
6/2/18                  Princeton Hamfest              Princeton, KY
6/3/18                  Chelsea Hamfest                 Chelsea, MI
6/16/18                Midland Hamfest                Midland, MI
6/17/18                Monroe Hamfest                 Monroe, MI
  
Be sure to check your Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

73, Let's light up the bands,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dale's Tales for March 2018


Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for March 2018.
 
"So close and yet so far" as the 3Y0Z effort to put Bouvet on the air again has been delayed.   The
other interesting news is that the 3Y0I team who also has plans to activate Bouvet is continuing that effort. 3Y0I had delayed their schedule to allow 3Y0Z the earlier opportunity to activate.  This may get very interesting as the 3Y0Y team turned down the offer from 3Y0I to collaborate for the effort.

A word about our QSL Bureaus.  Two Bureaus serve the Great Lakes division as we fall into two different call areas, 4-Land and 8-Land. Each bureau operates slightly differently, but each provided the same service, getting our foreign QLS delivered to us.   NO, it is not totally automatic; you must provide the bureaus with postage and/or envelopes to get your cards delivered.  Each group will let you know the method they prefer.  Still it all works very well and we owe a debt of gratitude to the many folks that work together to make this happen.

Basically, it typically works like this:  the incoming cards are received at a central point for the respective call areas and are then sorted and bulk shipped to "Letter Managers".  The Letter Manager completes the sorting process and stuffs the cards into individual envelopes we supply and mails them to us when enough cards have been accumulated.   Sounds simple but keep in mind that there is an individual letter manager for the first letter in the suffix of the recipient's call.  Mine is the "E" manager for example. 10 call areas times 26 letters means as many as 260 people sorting across the USA and each Letter Manager may have a couple hundred envelopes on hand.  They really do deserve some thanks, don't they?

To learn more about the QSL Bureau service in the Great Lakes Division check out the following URLs.  The 8th Bureau has its own web page and the 4th is linked to the ARRL page.

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

February saw me attending more club meetings than normal.  I was trying to get around and discuss some of the changes at ARRL.  Thank you all for your hospitality and your willingness to discuss issues of importance to you and the League. 

I was especially pleased to get your reactions on some of the work the various committees are doing on advancing education, both for our newest hams, and for all of us.

I’d say more, but for the past several days I have been working mostly full-time with the Red Cross on the Disaster Relief operation for the Ohio River flooding. 

So these brief remarks will have to do for this month.

A quick note on ham radio communications.  There has been no communication outage, so ham radio has not played a role in this effort. But I was impressed with the preparation and coordination of the ARES teams locally and at the state level to make sure they were ready to respond if necessary.  There will be communications needs in some future disaster.  We just don’t know where or when.  So keep your batteries charged.

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

CONVENTIONS:  Hamvention® will host the ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention this year, by  Be sure to get it on your calendar.  Hamvention's new venue in Xenia worked well last year and another building has been added for vendor use.   Check out their special request, website for the latest information.  http://hamvention.org/   May 18-20.

In even numbered years, the Great Lakes Division's three Sections normally host their individual State Conventions.  Kentucky's ARRL State Convention will be hosted by the Greater Louisville Hamfest in Shepherdsville, KY on September 8, 2018.  See http://louisvillehamfest.com/   Michigan's State ARRL Convention will be held at HamCon Brooklyn, MI on October 6-7.  http://glhamcon.org/.

While not a state convention, Ohio will be holding the Ohio Section Conference in conjunction with the Columbus Hamfest on August 4, 2018.  See http://columbushamfest.com/


HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication.  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set. 


3/3/18                  Cave City Hamfest                Cave City, KY
3/4/18                  NOARS Hamfest                   Elyria, OH           
3/17/18                Crossroads Hamfest              Kalamazoo, MI
3/17/18                MOVARC Hamfest              Gallipolis, OH
3/18/18                Toledo Mobile R.A.              Perrysburg, OH
4/7/18                  Lincoln Trail                         Elizabethtown, KY
4/14/18                Cuyahoga Falls                    Cuyahoga Falls, OH
4/21/18                Portsmouth                          Portsmouth, OH
4/28/18                RCARA Tailgate                 Ashland, KY
4/28/18                Chassell Hamfest                Chassell, MI
4/29/18                GMARC Hamfest                Madison Hgts, MI
4/29/18                Athens Hamfest                   Athens, OH
              

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

73,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dale's Tales for February 2018

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for February 2018.

And here we are half way through winter and having more fun than should be allowed.  I read about a
host of winter ham radio activities like "Freeze Your (insert whatever here) Off, NVIS antenna contests, dog sled races, half marathons, Winter Field Days and a host of others.  We are a hardy bunch of fun lovers, and these activities certainly eliminate the boredom.

It's not like it all has to be outdoors, the well attended cold weather hamfests attest to that and with Kosovo contacts now qualifying for DXCC, spending some time in front of the radio is not too bad.  The scores are adding up for ARRL's International Grid Chase (see https://igc.arrl.org/index.php)and the ship Betanzos is approaching the shore of Bouvet and 3Y0Z will soon be on the air.  This is a welcome relief from the relatively poor band conditions and lack of any truly challenging operating activity over the past few months.

For those who have expressed an interest and concern about certain reported plans by the ARRL board, I am pleased to report that common sense prevailed at the meeting.  Several of the motions were not submitted for action, some were referred to committee and/or legal counsel for evaluation and some were completely withdrawn following Board discussion. 

Further, the ARRL Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members of the Board of Directors and Vice Directors was referred for complete review and certain clauses in that were unclear in their meaning were immediately removed.  Those removals included the sentence in Section 6C regarding the non-disclosure of the votes of individual members and the entirety of Section 8 covering support of Board Decisions.

In a separate action, the Board removed a limitation on the Ethics and Elections Committee regarding the public release of information relating to an individual's eligibility for election.  In future elections, this information will be released unless the candidate specifically requests otherwise.

The complete ARRL Board meeting minutes are due to be submitted to the Board members for approval and then released to the membership within the next few days. 

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

We’re well past New Year’s Day, but January is typically a time when people make “resolutions” to do or not do things in the coming year.

I’ve always resisted “resolutions” as such, but I do like to look ahead at trends and where things are going.

As for amateur radio, I see challenges ahead, but good signs as well.

The biggest challenge is to keep ham radio relevant for new people.

I’m actively working on this, through my participation in some of the ARRL committees I serve on, thinking about new ways of licensing, and new ways of educating prospective hams in the hobby.  And, the good signs here are that so many of you in the Division are out there with license classes every few months.  Many of you are Volunteer Examiners. And many of you are working not just with “generic” licensing classes, but those targeted at groups like Scouts, STEM classes, etc.

There’s also the personal challenge for each ham operator, of “keeping up.”  What new formal training will you do this year?  Or what new mode will you try?  Keep up your skills and learn new ones! And how can you offer what you have learned, last year, or over the last fifty, to help new people understand radio?

And how can we strengthen our clubs in a time when people don’t want to join anything, and don’t want to volunteer for anything inside a club they do belong to?  Throughout the Great Lakes Division, we see examples of clubs that are thriving, and then some that aren’t doing so well.  Trying to understand what works to get people interested in a challenge for all of us.

Despite the challenges, we’re making progress.  There are new modes, new things to enjoy, new people to meet.  I hope all of us stay positive, and keep enjoying this great hobby.

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

STATE CONVENTIONS:  In even numbered years, the Great Lakes Division's three Sections host their individual State Conventions.  If your local hamfest is interested in serving as the host for your State Convention in 2018, your club should contact your Section Manager and request to serve as the sponsor.  State Conventions normally encompass special forums, can request guest forum speakers from ARRL and often hold recognition Banquets and special programs.   Having a convention also
means additional attendance beyond that normally expected at a regular hamfest.



HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication.  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set. 

2/3/18                  HARA Hamfest                  Negaunee, MI
2/10/18                Cherryland Hamfest           Traverse City, MI
2/18/18                InterCity Hamfest               Mansfield, OH
2/18/18                Livonia Hamfest                 Livonia, MI
3/3/18                  Cave City Hamfest             Cave City, KY
3/4/18                  NOARS Hamfest                Elyria, OH           
3/17/18                Crossroads Hamfest            Kalamazoo, MI
3/17/18                MOVARC Hamfest             Gallipolis, OH
3/18/18                Toledo Mobile R.A.           Perrysburg, OH
4/7/18                  Lincoln Trail                       Elizabethtown, KY
4/14/18                Cuyahoga Falls                   Cuyahoga Falls, OH
4/21/18                Portsmouth                         Portsmouth, OH
4/29/18                GMARC Hamfest              Madison Hgts, MI
4/29/18                Athens Hamfest                 Athens, OH
              

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

73,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director

Great Lakes Division


Monday, January 15, 2018

Jim Weaver K8JE SK


With a heavy heart, we must report that Jim Weaver, K8JE, former Great Lakes Division Director, died January 14th. 

He had been ill for some time, but was able to attend the Great Lakes Division Convention this past October, where he was presented with the George S. Wilson III W4OYI Lifetime Achievement Award.  The criteria says in part “The Wilson recipient is an all-around Amateur whose lifetime activities, attitudes, and achievements might serve as an example to others.  Emphasis is placed on service to others rather than self, diversity of Amateur Radio interests and Activities, evidence of continuing self-challenge via Amateur Radio, and outstanding contributions to Amateur Radio.”  Jim was a Life Member of ARRL.

Jim served as Director of the Great Lakes Division from 2002 until 2014.
During that time, he chaired the Legislative Action Committee starting in 2007, and served on the CEO Selection Criteria Committee in 2013 & 2014.

He served as a Public Information Officer starting in 1996, was an Official Observer, an Official Emergency Station, an Official Relay Station, and was also a Volunteer Examiner.

Jim was active in Disaster Communications, and worked closely with the Red Cross in Cincinnati.  A long-time member of the Queen City Emergency Net, he was Communications Manager for the club in 1968, and then served as President in 1976.  He was also active in many other clubs in the Cincinnati area. 

During the 1960s and 1970s, for most of ten years, he wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, titled “Ham Call.”  Week after week, he found stories about ham radio that would interest the public at large.  Just recently, QST re-published an article he co-authored for that magazine back in 1976, about the ham response to the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire in Northern Kentucky.

At this time, no information about funeral arrangements is available.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
ARRL Great Lakes Division
Director: Dale R Williams, WA8EFK

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Dale's Tales for January

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for January 2018.


Here is the Great Lakes Division RECAP OF 2017:

From the OHIO SECTION:

January started getting all of our 1,700 Ohio ARES members to complete the four ICS courses (IS 100, 200, 700 and 800). As an incentive, we include Statewide credentialing through the Ohio Department of Homeland Security and free statewide liability insurance coverage through Ohio Responds. Our end of year numbers show 620 ARES members completed, with a total training of 5,732 courses taken thus far.

March, ARES Operators were called to staff several Emergency Operations Centers during a communications failure in northeastern Ohio when the 911 / MARCS system went down. ARES filled the gap with DMR and analog communications to the needed emergency centers.

August, we had an EF-1 tornado in Trumbull County, and major flooding in Findlay that resulted in a lot of property damage to homes and businesses in both areas. Our ARES groups were activated to help with communications and relief efforts. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and a few of Ohio’s ARES folks were tapped to go and help with the communications and relief efforts.

In September, we had several of Ohio ARES folks sent to assist with communications and relieve efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico.

November, Ohio had an outbreak of 17 tornadoes with 12 of our counties being affected. They ranged from EF-0 to EF-2 in size. Many houses and outbuildings were destroyed. Our ARES groups were activated in numerous counties around the state to help with communications and relief efforts.

December 12th, our Southwestern Ohio ARES group in Cincinnati was called upon to help with communications during a million-dollar update to the City of Cincinnati’s 911 system. Our ARES teams were ready and on station when the cutover to the new system came on board. It was a smooth transition, and luckily everything went as planned with no hiccups. 

From the KENTUCKY SECTION:

Executed a smooth transition between outgoing SM Alan Morgan, KY1O and the incoming Section Manager Steve Morgan W4NHO.

The Kentucky Section had representation by the KY SM at 7 of 12 Hamfests in KY, with plans in place to attend more in 2018.

The Kentucky Section initiated a monthly news column which includes the recognition of the ARRL Affiliated Club of the Month. KY will continue to build our Winlink network in Region 1 & Region 2.

The expanding DMR Network now covers KY from Owensboro to Paintsville and Northern KY to Bowling Green. We now have 30 to 40 checks-in on our weekly net.

Had excellent representation for the Western KY Eclipse with Frankfort and statewide communications in August.

The KY Section will continue to rebuild our relationship with Frankfort Emergency Management Authority and with the incoming new management of Barry Sanford.  Cecil Dennis is serving as liaison for Auxcom.

Working with SEC to refill existing vacancies of selected EC, DEC and ASEC across the Section, while working toward developing a KY State Convention or KY ARES Conference. 

From the MICHIGAN SECTION:

In Michigan, we have followed through with our pledge as part of PA 556 (PRB-1 language codified into state law early in 2015) to form an Antenna Advisory group made up of representatives from the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Township Association, a representative from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and ARRL representatives. The first meeting of this group was held in May 2017 at the Michigan State Police Headquarters in Dimondale, MI with said representatives in attendance.

The Michigan Section presented the first annual Great Lakes HamCon at Michigan International Speedway in early October. This event was made possible by 21 Michigan Amateur Radio Clubs banding together to make it happen. Attendance was 11-1200 and the 2018 event is on the drawing board, scheduled for October 6 & 7, 2018.

Michigan, with assistance from DHS/OEC held its first AUXCOMM training session and updated a database of actual deliverable capabilities as requested by FEMA. MI Critical Incident Management System training session was held that focused solely on the needs of amateur radio operators

The MI State Emergency Operations Center was activated for four statewide exercises and over two dozen ARES members assisted public safety officials monitoring infrastructure around the Mackinaw Bridge during the annual bridge walk. During flooding in central Michigan, ARES members assisted local emergency management with damage assessment, inundation prediction and reporting.

MI ARES is working on preparing input to the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP), a forward-looking document that will drive investment over the next 3-5 years. ARES has been working with the state planner on better incorporating amateur radio into the state's emergency communications plan.

Michigan's SEC John McDonough WB8RCR has been appointed interim chair of the FEMA Region V Auxcomm committee.

AS YOUR GREAT LAKES DIVISION DIRECTOR I am honored to continue to serve the hams of the Great Lakes Division, I must take this moment to thank Larry Camp WB8R who has chosen to retire from the Michigan Section Manager Position after service for 6 years.  His accomplishments are recognized by all as he has served his Section well.  Jim Kvochik K8KJ assumes the position as MI SM today, Jan. 1, and will serve on an interim basis until a special election is held later in the year. 

My thanks go to all of our Section Managers for the outstanding jobs they have been doing.  Sometimes the job can be tough, sometimes difficult decisions must be made, but by and large the hams in the Great Lakes Division have the best interests of Amateur Radio at heart and are very supportive of all of the groups that comprise the ARRL Field Organization.  This whole organization works because of our volunteers. We are all doing this for the love of ham radio, and as we move into 2018, we can expect more opportunities and exciting new ventures to come before us.   Thank you all.

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

The end of the year can provide an opportunity to look back, as well as forward.  Lots of people will be making “New Year’s resolutions” to do something or not do something in the coming year.  I’ve never found that very helpful.  Instead, I like to focus on the continuity of efforts to reach a goal.  So, today, I want to look at 2017 and remember some of the events while also looking ahead.

Hamvention was held in Xenia this past year.  Congratulations to the planners who had little to go on and who had to re-invent everything. Yes, there were a few hitches, but overall, Hamvention was as successful as most of the past 50-some iterations.  And from the reports of the new building and other changes, it sounds like Hamvention will once again be the place to be in mid-May.

And a promising start was made for the first-ever GL Hamcon in Michigan. There’s room for improvement, but the number of pleased “customers” and the large facility should help it become a great venue in the years to come.

Then there are the efforts throughout the US, and within the Division, to educate, train, and motivate new hams.  I’m pleased that I’ve been able to make some contributions through the committees I serve on, but the more important work is being done by every ham who conducts a class, serves as a VE for exams, and in particular, serves as a mentor for new people coming into the hobby.  In various forums conducted at hamfests, I’ve been very happy to see how many of you agree with the ARRL efforts to grow ham radio, both by improving the educational materials, and focusing on potential changes in the licensing system that we might request.

That’s where the real work will be for next year.  Let’s look at our efforts of 2017, and try to move them forward even more in 2018.

73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

STATE CONVENTIONS:  In even numbered years, the Great Lakes Division's three Sections host their individual State Conventions.  If your local hamfest is interested in serving as the host for your State Convention in 2018, your club should contact your Section Manager and request to serve as the sponsor.  State Conventions normally encompass special forums, can request guest forum speakers from ARRL and often hold recognition Banquets and special programs.   Having a convention also
means additional attendance beyond that normally expected at a regular hamfest.

HAMFESTING:  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

1/14/18      SCARF Hamfest               Nelsonville, OH
1/28/18      Hazel Park Hamfest          Madison Heights, MI
1/28/18      Tusco Hamfest                  Strasburg, OH
2/3/18        HARA Hamfest                Negaunee, MI
2/10/18      Cherryland Hamfest         Traverse City, MI
2/18/18      InterCity Hamfest             Mansfield, OH
2/18/18      Livonia Hamfest               Livonia, MI
3/3/18        Cave City Hamfest           Cave City, KY
3/4/18        NOARS Hamfest              Elyria, OH           
3/17/18      Crossroads Hamfest          Kalamazoo, MI
3/17/18      MOVARC Hamfest           Gallipolis, OH
3/18/18      Toledo Mobile R.A.          Perrysburg, OH
              

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

73,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division


Friday, December 1, 2017

Dale's Tales for December

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for December 2017.

CLUB Holiday Parties.  Wow, it is that time of year to start all of the celebrations.  I see a lot of
announcements for club parties and activities for the coming season.  And as many as there are clubs there are an equal number of variations in planning, hosting, venues and activities.  Still for everyone, it is a time to meet with friends and in many cases, families as well.  I truly hope your club has an event planned to bring everyone together this season.  Please consider keeping it safe for everyone and as a reminder to celebrate in moderation.  We want the year to end on a happy note for everyone.

PCARS Donation to the Center of Hope. Every year, since year one of the Portage County (Ohio) Amateur Radio Service's existence, they have donated to a local charity, the Center of Hope, in Ravenna, OH. The Amelia DiGirolamo Center of Hope is dedicated to enhancing the nutrition of low-income people in Portage County where local food pantries are not present.

In 2006, the first year as a club, PCARS donated approximately $300 to the Center of Hope.  Each year since then, they have donated the club's portion of their 50/50 raffle at the November meeting, plus any other donations they could collect from members and friends.  Annual contributions have increased in amount almost every year.  There are over 100,000 individuals who receive service through the Center of Hope each year.

With the club's donation of the other half of the 50/50, and the generous donations made by and collected by their membership, the total contribution to the Center of Hope for 2017 was $6445.00.  When totaled up over the past 12 years, PCARS' contribution to the Center of Hope currently exceeds $28,950.00!  Amateur Radio has certainly had an impact on their entire community.


As we enter this holiday season, let us all consider those less fortunate than ourselves and give generously to help those in need.

PCARS sets an outstanding example of what a local club can do, our hats go off to them for their outstanding community service.  I know there are other radio clubs who share in their generosity. Please stand and be recognized.  I will be honored to report your service.

PARITY ACT: A reminder, the Amateur Radio Parity Act continues as we move into 2018.  Our efforts in Washington will press strongly for action in the year remaining for this session of Congress.  While it has passed the House, it remains blocked in the Senate (Florida Sen. Nelson) and our advisors on the Washington scene are working on a means to remove the block and allow it to be passed by the Senate.  Nelson has reportedly heard from a large contingency of his Florida ham radio constituents requesting his full support for the bill.



TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

Antennas.  If you believe the adage about them working better when the weather is awful, well, this is not a good time.  Too mild.  But if you need an antenna, almost anytime is the best time.  A recent windstorm was not kind to me.  My end-fed random-length wire came down, although it took me a while to realize it.  I had made a number of contacts in the ARRL Sweeps with a drooping, shorter-than-it-was-supposed-to-be antenna.  And the wind finally put enough torque the wrong way on my rotor that now it isn’t working, either.  I took advantage of our mild days to re-string the wire antenna, but it will take some doing to tilt over the tower and replace the rotor.  Maybe spring.

And it’s not just my antennas.  Soon, I’ll be helping another ham set up some antennas for a new residence.  And last month, someone else needed some evaluation of their antenna set up.

In some ways, ham radio is an individual thing.  It’s the contacts I make, the scores I get.  In other ways, though, it’s a community thing.  We benefit from working together in clubs towards a common goal.
 The advice you can get at just one meeting can get you inspired for a whole year.  And it not only helps to have friends, sometimes it’s necessary to have friends to help with construction projects like antennas.  The younger among us can do the heavy work, and sometimes those of us with experience can design projects that will work best for a particular location.

I’m also continually amazed by the amount of information that is out there.  ARRL has lots of books on antennas, with great advice for just about any situation.  I have to share one little story –I still have a copy of the 1968 Handbook, because in every other antenna book and Handbook that I have seen, there has not been the simple dipole chart that I found there many years ago.  The book falls open to that page, I have used it so many times.  As for current publications, if you’re looking for limited-space antennas, there’s the book Small Antennas for Small Spaces, or for a comprehensive look at wire antennas, how about Wire Antenna Classics in any one of three volumes. 

So as we go into the holiday season and have our December parties at the club meetings, remember how important it is to have good clubs.  And pitch in if you’re asked to help.  Maybe you also will need some help the next time you have an antenna problem.

73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division


STATE CONVENTIONS:  In even numbered years, the Great Lakes Division's three Sections host their individual State Conventions.  If your local hamfest is interested in serving as the host for your State Convention in 2018, your club should contact your Section Manager and request to serve as the sponsor.  State Conventions normally encompass special forums, can request guest forum speakers from ARRL and often hold recognition Banquets and special programs.   Having a convention also
means additional attendance beyond that normally expected at a regular hamfest.

HAMFESTING:  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 


12/2/17                              Fulton County                   Delta, OH
12/3/17                              Lanse Creuse                     Madison Heights, MI
1/14/18                              SCARF Hamfest                 Nelsonville, OH
1/28/18                              Hazel Park Hamfest         Madison Heights, MI
1/28/18                              Tusco Hamfest                  Strasburg, OH
2/03/18                             HARA Hamfest                  Negaunee, MI
2/10/18                              Cherryland Hamfest        Traverse City, MI
2/18/18                              InterCity Hamfest            Mansfield, OH
2/18/18                              Livonia Hamfest               Livonia, MI                        

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


From Judy and me, to all our ham radio friends in the Great Lakes Division, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, we offer the best wishes in the coming holiday season.

73,

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dale's Tales for November

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for November 2017

CONGRATULATIONS go out to all of the Great Lakes Division award winners announced at GL HamCon.   ARRL President Rick Roderick K5UR attended and presented former ARRL Director Jim Weaver K8JE with the George S. Wilson W4OYI Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of outstanding service to amateur radio.  

Stan Broadway N8BHL received the Great Lakes Division Amateur of the Year Award.  Christopher Brault KD8YVJ was named the Great Lakes Young Amateur of the Year.  The Great Lakes Technical Achievement Award was presented to Bob Dixon W8ERD while the Portage County (OH) Amateur Radio Assn, received the Joe Phillips K8QOE Newsletter Award.   All of these awards are presented bi-annually at our Division Conventions and the winners are selected from nominations offered by the general membership.

THE BANDS seem to be holding their own, CQ-WW is running in the background as I am writing
this and the activity sounds reasonably good on all bands.  We'll see what the scores bring in, but it is nice to hear all of the activity.  November Sweepstakes is coming soon (Nov 4-6 CW and 18-20 phone) and those seems to be the traditional favorites for many hams in the Great Lakes Division.  Let's all hope that every Section is back on the air for SS and the opportunities are there for a clean sweep.  Club and contesters alike, this may be a great time to introduce contesting to some of our newer club members.  Have at it.

NOW THAT the cooler weather has settled in, for some strange reason, my mind rolls around to antennas and all of the antenna projects I have put off doing all summer.   It is crunch time, time to get the postponed maintenance done, and time to put up the sloper I have been putting off
for an excessively long time.   Time to prune the birch tree that is invading the air space near the tri-bander.   Time to find out why the VSWR on the UHF vertical is a little high.  And here I go, attempting to demonstrate again, that blizzard-borne antenna installations, held together with bailing wire, duct tape and bubble gum are the best working ether-grabbers. 

My thanks to a couple of friends who stopped by to assist in a rotor repair a couple of weeks ago.  At the very least, that project is complete and I can target a couple of others before bringing out the BW, DT and BG.  Interestingly, I thought I was the only ham that does this. 

Surprisingly, I found several others in the final planning stages of mid-fall antenna jobs.   Hmmm, it must be something caused by the cooler fall weather.  It just couldn't be procrastination - never that.

GL HAMCON: This was the first ham radio event to be held at Michigan International Speedway. 
What a venue!  The HamCon team, 21 regional ham clubs, went over the top to make this a successful effort.   The reviews were glowing and importantly, the booking requests for space at the 2018 HamCon are already arriving.   Larry WB8R reports the 2018 dates are October 6 & 7.  Will there be some things done differently?  Most certainly.  This was a very large venue, the first effort and anyone's expectations for absolute perfection might be a little high.  The sponsoring clubs that make up the Great Lakes Amateur Radio Assn., have offered their ideas and input for next year's effort, noting it is resoundingly positive, resolute in optimism and loaded with excitement for the future.  It'll be Great in 2-0-1-8.

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD

Even though it’s the end of October, the highlight of the month had to be the Great Lakes HamCon, held on the first weekend in October.

Congratulations to all the organizers, and especially to the coalition of Michigan clubs who got together to sponsor the event.  Great venue, excellent forums, and lots of people!  Looking forward to next year already.

Along with my travel to Michigan, this month included a lot of travel, most of it personal.  The following reflection is not new, and not un-noticed by others.  It’s just to note the continuing trend of non-use of two-meter repeaters, pretty much across the country.  I notice it when I’m home.  I monitor the club repeater, and try to answer any call I hear.  And I don’t hear anyone, club member or traveler, calling.

It’s the same when I’m on the road.  State by state, city by city, a call on a local repeater produces only the ID.  No QSOs.  Where is everyone?

Of course, it’s not the same as in the 1970s or 1980s.  If I come across a road emergency, or have trouble myself, 911 is now the best and quickest solution.  It was great that we hams stepped up when there were no such things as cell phones, and we were there with communications when it counted.  We’re better off now than we were, and we did a great service for the community.  So naturally, with less need, fewer people monitor.  But did we turn off our VHF radios for good?  Yes, there are nets, and some of them are well-attended.  But is once a week for a half hour good enough?

We are tying up a lot of spectrum on 144-148 MHz.  Are we making good use of it?  If you put a meter on your club repeater, to measure how often the repeater comes on the air (exclusive of announcements) you won’t find that it gets a lot of use.  There are exceptions, of course.  By and large, though, we’re letting a good resource go unused.

If there’s a solution, it’s not one that requires a big change. It’s just a matter of individuals deciding that it’s worth making a contact or two a day on the local repeater.  When you’re doing a project at your workbench, do you have a scanner or your VHF/UHF rig on? Or if you’re in your car, does the music drown out the repeater (assuming that the rig might even be on)? 

I like operating HF and various other modes besides FM.  But the local repeaters are the easiest and quickest ways to make contacts, and sometimes provide as much interest as any other mode.  What do you say? If I key up your club’s repeater while I’m driving by, will you be there?

73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division



HAMFESTING:  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 




11/4/17                Grant ARC Hamfest         Georgetown, OH
12/2/17                Fulton County                   Delta, OH
12/3/17                Lanse Creuse                     Madison Heights, MI
1/14/17                SCARF Hamfest                 Nelsonville, OH
1/28/17                Hazel Park Hamfest         Madison Heights, MI
2/3/17                  HARA Hamfest                  Negaunee, MI
2/1/17                  Cherryland Hamfest        Traverse City, MI
2/18/17                InterCity Hamfest            Mansfield, OH
2/18/17                Livonia Hamfest               Livonia, MI                        

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


73, Let's be radio-active.  I like Tom's request, we need to get back to actually using our repeaters!
  

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director

Great Lakes Division