Friday, October 16, 2020

Call To Action - FCC Fees for Radio Amateurs

 

Greetings fellow Great Lakes Divison hams.

It is time to protest the imposition of fees for Amateur Radio Licensing.

The fees Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in this morning’s Federal Register (https://tinyurl.com/yyk8f2yp). The deadline for comments is November 16, and the Reply comment deadline is November 30.

With this in mind, I am extending the following suggestions you might consider using in writing to the FCC in response to the NPRM.  Our thanks to Dave Siddall K3ZJ, ARRL Counsel, for these guidelines.  Be sure to carefully review the paragraphs; "Some Suggestions" as the information therein will assist with much of the applicable background.

This subject is critical, the timing is critical.  I urge you to contact the FCC.  Address and related information is contained in the article referenced in the Federal Register.   Please use your own words to express your objections to the proposed fees.

(Good) Arguments Against FCC Fees for Radio Amateurs

Amateurs contribute to the public good. In many areas they provide an emergency communications backbone capability at no taxpayer cost.

Consistently we have witnessed storms and natural disasters completely wipe out internet, cellular, and other means of communication.  Radio amateurs often fill that void on an unmatched, flexible basis when needed.  One recent example is the California wildfires.  

Unlike operators in other FCC licensed services, Amateur Radio operators by law – domestic and international -- must eschew using their license for any pecuniary interest.  Amateurs are prohibited from earning or charging any money for any communications activity.  The expenses for their equipment and activities come out of their own pockets, with no opportunity for reimbursement or payment of any kind.

The United States is experiencing a severe lack of RF engineers and expertise at the very time it is needed by the burgeoning wireless industries.    Amateur radio is helping to meet the deficit, but much more is needed and youngsters (High School and College-aged) are least able to afford licensing fees.  RF knowledge and related digital expertise is needed to maintain U.S. leadership in wireless industries.

At a minimum, young people (below the age of 26) should be exempt from the proposed license fees.

Amateur radio is self-regulating.  (a) Amateur examinations are written and administered by radio amateur volunteers.  (b) Examination results and paperwork most often are submitted electronically to the FCC.

Electronic submission could be required if there would be a cost savings to the Commission. (c) Amateur radio educational classes are conducted by volunteers who by-and-large do not charge fees or tuition for teaching.  (d) The amateur service, in cooperation with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, has a volunteer corps that monitors the amateur airwaves and has programs that try to prevent their misuse before FCC involvement might be needed.  The amateurs also observe non-amateur signals both within amateur spectrum and outside it, and report unusual or suspicious signals.

Amateur radio continues to be a source of significant technological innovation that should be encouraged, not discouraged. 

Some Suggestions

We do not recommend arguing that the $50. fee every 10 years, which amounts to $5.00 a year, will “kill” amateur radio, even though as proposed this is for each covered application, which includes upgrade applications.  Tech-General-Extra could be $150. If exams taken at different sessions, a substantial amount.  But it “rings” the wrong way to say the whole service turns on $5/year for each licensee. If that’s all it would take ….

The Commission argues that the charges are required by the statute.  The word used is “shall”, which is mandatory, not optional.  But the statute does not set the amount, nor does it prohibit reasonable exceptions – evidenced by the Commission’s proposal to exempt from fees administrative update applications based on policy grounds.

This is not “aimed at amateur radio to kill it.”  There is a long history and precedent on charging fees for the licensing service involved, just as there is for passports, green cards, drivers' licenses (issued by states), etc.  Better to make pertinent arguments on why the fees would impair the public benefits of the amateur radio service than argue that the whole service might die as a result of a fee that, in fact, is less than the fee many of us paid in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

For background: this proceeding is being handled by staff unfamiliar with amateur radio.  It is being handled in the FCC’s Office of Managing Director (OMD), not in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau where the amateur-specific Part 97 matters are handled.  The focus of OMD is accounting – budgets and the like for the entire Commission.

The fee proposals cover every FCC license and service across the board and the consideration was directed by Congress.  It is recommended keeping “ham jargon” out of comments, it won’t be understood by the intended recipients.


Thank you.

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ARRL Great Lakes Division

Director: Dale R Williams, WA8EFK

wa8efk@arrl.org

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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Dale's Tales for October

 Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for October, 2020.

OCTOBER is the month for the annual Simulated Emergency Test (SET).

Nationally it is held on the first weekend in October and this year KY and OH will participate on Oct 3, while MI will hold their SET on Oct 10.  So charge your batteries, gas up the generator, check out your jump kit and get active with your local group.   Most of our local Emergency

Coordinators (EC) have plans in place to test preparedness, nets, deployment, traffic handling skills and problem solving.  We all use this event to see where our shortcomings may be and develop plans for improvement.  If you are not registered with your local Emergency Coordinator, please do so and offer your assistance. 

NEW CEO:  The New Guy is on board. David Minster NA2AA became our new CEO on September 28 and has been meeting our staff in Newington as much as Covid-19 restrictions permit.  As most are aware, our ARRL Support staff has largely been working remotely while limited staffing has been in the HQ building.  That continues while arrangements are ongoing to insure we are able to offer all of our regular services.   What a truly different introduction this will be for our new CEO as he joins the organization. 

FCC PROPOSED CHANGE:  ARRL filed in response to the recent NPRM from the FCC regarding changes to the amateur allocation in the 3.0 the 3.5 GHz band.  We have secondary status in the band and ARRL asked that the allocation be continued.  You can visit:

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-seeks-changes-in-fcc-proposal-to-delete-3-4-ghz-amateur-band

for additional details.

In another FCC related issue, the League is preparing a strong, specific and detailed response to oppose any of the recently proposed fees related to Amateur Radio Amateur licensing.  This has been a concern expressed by many hams not only in the Great Lakes Division but across the country.  ARRL has received many useful comments and suggestions to incorporate in our response opposing this issue, thank you all.

 

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

Most of us read QST as soon as it comes in.  So, have you read the cover article for October?  That’s the one entitled “Ham Boot Camp,” and it’s on page 58, if you haven’t gotten to it yet.  There’s a lot of great advice in this worthwhile article.

Over the last six years, as I met with so many hams at various meetings and other gatherings, one issue that came up again and again was the future of ham radio.  Some of the concern is over keeping our frequencies.  Much of it was about the future generation, and whether we will have enough hams to keep this service/hobby strong in the future.

I worked on several education projects, as well as the “Entry Level License” committee, trying to help with these issues.  I know the Board and the staff of ARRL have been working on not just getting new hams, but retaining them once they get licensed.

So this article from the Nashua, New Hampshire club points out a number of things hams can do, both as clubs, and as individuals, to help in this process.  I’m encouraged to hear about efforts that clubs are making throughout the Division to educate new hams.

I’d like to point out some ways that individual hams can help.  It’s not all just up to clubs or the national organization.  Let’s start with the local repeater.  The article points out that even getting an HT programmed for local use can be a challenge.  But let’s say a new ham gets over that challenge.  Then what?  He or she puts out a call on the repeater.  Who answers?  Who’s listening?  If you hear a “KE8__”or a “KO4__” you might guess that the person is a new ham, based on the call sign.  Can you be friendly and welcome them to ham radio? 

We hope they know about local clubs.  Yes, because of the pandemic, many are not meeting in person.  But they do meet somehow, and they do have resources.  Does the new person have questions?  Maybe you can answer, or at least begin the process of answering.  Tell them about the club you belong to, when it meets, and how to get involved.

What are your interests in ham radio?  Why not share them?  Perhaps that person will become interested.  Or, if they express interest in an area you’re not familiar with, do you know who in the area likes that and is somewhat of an expert?  Can you put them in touch?

Bottom line—make sure new hams have a positive experience of ham radio.  There’s a lot to discover, and it will take them some time and it will take good mentoring.  To start, they have to like using their radios, or they won’t upgrade, or even stay with it.

Which repeater do you monitor?  How often?  Will you answer a call from someone you don’t know?  It could lead to some interesting conversations for you, and a lifelong interest in ham radio for the other person.  Turn on that radio!

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

 

HAMFESTING: If your swap is cancelled or the date is going to change, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.

Here is the current listing of Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned hamfests remaining through the end of 2020.  Please note that all are subject to change, so please stay current by checking the sponsoring club's web page before making your travel arrangements.

Still on the calendar:

10/18/20    St Joseph County           Centreville, MI

10/24/20    Hazard                           Hazard, KY

11/1/20      Massillon                       Massillon, OH

For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:

 http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event

It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your ARRL sanctioned 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 normally about 70 hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do require some advanced planning, especially under the current travel restrictions.

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. 

 

73, All the best to you and your family. Stay safe.   Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK

Director

Great Lakes Division

wa8efk@arrl.org

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Dale's Tales for September

 Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for September, 2020.

 SEPTEMBER IS: National Preparedness Month.  Are you?  Prepared, that is?

 Recent weather events have been close to home for many in the Great

Lakes Division.   Fall and winter are drawing near, and so it the annual

Simulated Emergency Test (Oct. 3 & 4 for most areas).  It is time to check out the reserves, batteries, generators, fuel and jump kits and be prepared; not only for community service, but for our families as well.

NEW CEO:  And now we have our new Chief Executive Officer selected,

hired and officially elected as CEO and ARRL Secretary.   After many

months of resume reviews, interviews, evaluations, 30+ Zoom meetings, David Minster NA2AA has been chosen to lead our organization.  David's profile has appeared in the August 27th ARRL Letter so I'll not recap it here.  What I do want to say is a little about the steps taken by the Board to make this choice.  The selection process was considerably different from that used in the recent past, not just because Covid-19 drove some of the processes, but because the CEO Selection Committee was tasked to consider the entire field of candidates, and select three to be interviewed by the entire Board. 

The Committee chose five candidates for interviews, one withdrew leaving four individuals for consideration.  They all were individually interviewed by the entire Board of Directors.  I believe this selection process was quite thorough and allowed the candidates an excellent opportunity to discuss the their individual experience, education, leadership skills, capabilities and their vision of the future for ARRL.

The Board members' questions were very challenging for the candidates, as they should be, and the following selection discussions within the Board of Directors were extensive.

David will take office on September 28 and will relocate to the Newington, CT area.  Our interim CEO Barry Shelley will then retire (again) with our sincere thanks for taking 8 months out of his well earned retirement to lead the ARRL while the CEO selection process took place.

AWARD:  In other Board actions as the summer meeting closed was a motion I made to honor the Marietta, OH Amateur Radio Club on the event of their 100 anniversary of Affiliation with the ARRL.  The motion was seconded by Director Tom Abernethy W3TOM of the ARRL's Atlantic Division.  The motion also included for the record, a copy of the original Certificate of Affiliation signed by Hiram Percy Maxim W1AW.  A plaque is being prepared for the Marietta ARC to commemorate the event.

FCC LICENSE FEES:   Just a couple of comments regarding the recent FCC proposal for returning license fees to Amateur Radio....Our ARRL Legal Counsel is working with the Executive Committee on a response.  There is ample time for us to prepare a suitably detailed reply, so we will take this opportunity to prepare a well documented paper expressing the concerns of the amateur radio community.   As with my fellow ARRL

Directors, I have received many e-mails expressing that the re-imposition of fees is entirely inappropriate, especially for a group of sincere individuals who dedicate themselves to community support and international good will at our own expense.  Many more very positive ideas have been brought forth in support of zero fees, and we will draw upon them as the response is completed.

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

While the current pandemic is affecting everyone in various ways, ham radio operators are coping well in most respects.  Some of us talk more on the radio since we can’t get together in person.  Contests are still being run, and many clubs have found ways to reach out to each other.

However, I want to come back to a point I made last month about licensing.  For ham radio to thrive, we need new and enthusiastic hams along with those of us who are the experienced operators.  We’ve got to find a way, observing health protocols, to make sure people have access to the help they need to study for each license level, and then make sure they have access to testing so they can get that original license or whatever upgrade they are looking for.

Maybe that’s going on in some parts of the Division, and I just don’t know about it.  Sometimes I get feedback on what I write, but no one wrote to me about last month’s column in which I said the same thing.  I can’t be sure of what’s going on at the local level throughout the three states, but I did see a report that FCC license activity is far below what it was a year ago.  Not surprising.  But as this thing drags on, what can we do to help prospective hams?

I don’t have all the answers here.  So I’ll once again encourage education coordinators to think about it.  I’ll be happy to share any responses I get, and maybe get some idea-sharing going so that as we get into the fall, we can find ways to reach out to new people of all ages.

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

HAMFESTING: If your swap is cancelled or the date is going to change, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.

Here is the current listing of Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned hamfests remaining through the end of 2020.  Please note that all are subject to change, so please stay current by checking the sponsoring club's web page before making your travel arrangements.  To date, we have had 36 Great Lakes Division hamfests that have been canceled due to

Covid-19 and almost an equal number that did not even schedule their event because of venue restrictions and government requirements.

Still on the calendar:

9/12/20 GRARA Trunk Swap          Grand Rapids, MI

10/24/20 Hazard                               Hazard, KY

11/1/20 Massillon                             Massillon, OH

12/5/20 Fulton County Winterfest   Delta, OH

For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:  http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event

It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your ARRL sanctioned 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 normally about 70 hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do require some advanced planning, especially under the current travel restrictions.

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. 

 

73, All the best to you and your family. Stay safe. 

Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director
Great Lakes Division
wa8efk@arrl.org

 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Dale's Tales for August

Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for August, 2020.

 In July of 2017 the ARRL Board of Directors instituted a program to honor ARRL Members who had reached the age of 100 with 40 years of ARRL membership.  It is called the "ARRL Centurion Award".  We recently had the privilege of honoring one of our own Great Lakes Division members who has achieved that goal.   Through the efforts of Glenn AF8C, we were

made aware that Norm Fleming W8PJ met those qualifications.  The ARRL Board commemorated Norm with a plaque on Tuesday July 28.  Our goal was to make an in-person presentation, but as we all know, many in-person visits are not possible.  Courier delivery did make it possible to get the award to him and we are pleased that Norm can now display his plaque for all to see.  Our heartiest congratulations go to Norm W8PJ on achieving this goal.  Norm, by the way, just celebrated his 103rd birthday, all the more reason for another celebration.  

The ARRL Board met for their July meeting via Zoom as was recently reported in the ARRL Letter.  That meeting currently stands in recess and will resume soon to complete the remaining few agenda items including the new ARRL CEO selection.  This has been a long journey involving many well qualified candidates all sincere in their desire to support ARRL and help it continue its leadership role in Amateur Radio.

In last month's Dale's Tales, I had also mentioned the search for a new Emergency Communications Director for ARRL.  That effort is bearing down on the finish line and we should see the results soon.  The position of Emergency Communications Director was created to provide a leadership position that would be allow us to increase the emphasis on the Amateur radio Emergency Service (ARES), EMCOMM in general and the important role Radio Amateurs offer in times of Disaster.  The EMCOMM Director will be responsible for the relationships ARRL holds with served partner agencies nationally and the continuing goal of developing and maintaining an effective ARES organization.


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

There are only a few hamfests left for 2020 on the Division calendar.

Unfortunately, if they follow the current pattern, they may get cancelled as their dates get closer.  We’re all hoping for a better year in 2021. 

Like club meetings, some things have moved on-line.  DX Engineering held a hamfest a week ago, with excellent presenters on a variety of topics. Not the same as being there, but worthwhile.  And coming up in a few weeks is a “virtual” hamfest titled: QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. This one promises to be more than just one long “zoom” session, so it may be worth checking into.  You can find details on the ARRL website. If your club hasn’t tried meeting over video, I suggest that you do.

There are many platforms out there, and Zoom is just one of them.  The face-to-face contact can be helpful for clubs as you try to maintain contact and make plans for whatever activities that you can still safely do. 

There has been some uptick in actual radio contacts these past several months.  Some repeaters have gotten busier, and some not.  In addition to increased interest from hams, there is still interest out there from non-hams for getting licensed.  Many clubs have postponed their class sessions, saying “check with us in the Fall.”  Well, the fall is getting close, and it may still be hard to hold in-person classes.  How many clubs have experimented with on-line sessions?  Again, with the variety of video platforms, it’s a matter of trying something.

Educators from grade school through college have had to adapt.  If your club has a plan, please share it with others.  How are we going to help new hams get into the hobby?  Maybe you’ve got a good idea.  Let’s hear about it.

And that’s just part of the challenge.  The other is testing.  Besides new hams, some people are taking advantage of having more time to study for upgrades.  They will want to be tested so they can advance.  In the warmer weather, it’s possible to hold sessions outdoors, but soon it will be too cool or downright cold to be outdoors.  Some of the traditional venues may still not allow us inside for our usual testing sessions.  I’d like to call your attention to an article on the ARRL website about remote testing.  Some hams are more technical than others.

 Those who are up for the challenge might want to get in touch with the proper people and see what they can do about innovating in the “remote testing” area.  You can read the full article here:   http://www.arrl.org/news/remotely-administered-amateur-exam-systems-showing-promise

Finally, for those of us who are long-time hams, the Lifelong Learning program of the ARRL has announced the ARRL Learning Network, beginning with a series of webinars starting in July and through August, with more planned after that.  Of note, two of the presenters are from the Great Lakes Division.  By the time you read this, Anthony, K8ZT, will have presented a webinar on FT4 and FT8.  And coming up later in August, Bob, WA6EZV, will talk about  “The Sport of Finding Hidden Transmitters on Foot.”  Of course, we’d like to support our fellow hams from the Division, but all of the topics could be of interest, so be sure to check the list on the ARRL website.  http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-members-to-lead-new-30-minute-amateur-radio-webinar-series

 

Stay safe, and get on the air!

 

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

 

HAMFESTING: If your swap is cancelled or the date is going to change, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.

Here is the current listing of Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned hamfests remaining through the end of 2020.  Please note that all are subject to change, so please stay current by checking the sponsoring club's web page before making your travel arrangements.  To date, we have had 33 Great Lakes Division hamfests that have been canceled due to

Covid-19 and almost an equal number that did not even schedule their event because of venue restrictions and government requirements.

Still on the calendar:

9/12/20 Grand Rapids GRAHamfest,             Wyoming, MI

10/10/20 Northwest Ohio ARC Hamfest,       Lima, OH

10/24/20 Hazard,                                             Hazard, KY

10/25/20 USECA,                                           Madison Hts, MI

12/5/20 Fulton County Winterfest,                 Delta, OH

12/6/20 L'anse Creuse,                                    Madison Heights, MI

For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:  http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event 

It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your ARRL sanctioned 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 normally about 70 hamfests in the Great Lakes Division, things do require some advanced planning, especially under the current travel restrictions.

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. 

73, All the best to you and your family. Stay safe. 

Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK - Director - Great Lakes Division  wa8efk@arrl.org


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Dale's Tales for July

Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for July, 2020.

ARRL's effort in the process for choosing our new Chief Executive Officer is nearing the final steps.  The Search Committee is in the stage of reducing the selection to a final few and these individuals will all be interviewed by the entire ARRL Board of Directors.  The

Covid-19 pandemic has confounded the process somewhat and travel restrictions have caused some unplanned delays, but with the narrowing of the field of candidates, the Selection Committee is completing its task.

As one of the Selection Committee members, I am pleased to report to you that we have interviewed an amazing number of individuals who truly exceed the Board's requirements, and of the final qualifiers, I believe any one of those individuals is capable of doing an outstanding job for the League.  It will soon be up to the full Board to make the ultimate decision for the right person to lead ARRL into the future.

Also, as a special note, an independent team is also completing its work on the selection of our new Emergency Communications Director to guide our involvement in the field of EMCOMM and manage our continuing relationships with our served-partner agencies.

Our ability as the ARRL's Board of Directors to meet by teleconference has been a valuable asset in fulfilling our obligations to our League members, and like the ARRL Board, most clubs have taken advantage of these video conferencing tools to continue their ability to hold regular meetings.  The downside of course, is the difficulty in furthering key discussions on meeting topics and current needs, garnering support for proposed motions and taking the needed time to provide background and the needed details of ideas and proposals.  With video conferencing, these important side-bars, just can't happen, just like all of the social side conversations which are part of a normal club meeting, don't happen in a Zoom Club meeting.  These are certainly different times for all of us and finding work-arounds to these challenges are challenging in themselves.

 

Bringing new members into the club during the pandemic has now become an interesting process.  Getting them introduced to everyone and allowing them to speak a little about themselves certainly could take a little advanced planning especially if they are new to a video meeting platform. I would be interested in hearing from you about unique ideas your club has used to welcome new members over the past few months.

I'll be glad to share them with all in the next edition of Dale's Tales.

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

It’s the week after Field Day.  Looking back, some things were just the same, while many things were not.  There were a lot more stations running “1D,” but still quite a few in the usual Field Day categories.  Circumstances varied, and I’m sure those who operated as a group took precautions to stay safe in this pandemic.

I’ve heard people say that radio is a great way to “distance” and still be involved in a group.  That’s true, but the group aspect of ham radio is more than just talking and listening.  It involves teaching and doing, and that’s why Field Day became so important over the years.  Some of the picnic and party aspects may have been toned down this year, but the group activity of setting up stations and working together on making contacts went on, at least for some.  

Over the past couple of years, I was on a committee studying the entry-level license.  We collected a lot of facts through surveys and other means.  One of the key facts we came across is how important mentors are in the life of new hams.  Someone who studied on his or her own for the license is actually unlikely to get on the air, or to stay involved for very long even if they do get on.  Ham radio is a practical art, and the more people are exposed to it, the more they learn, and the more they want to take part.

Back to Field Day.  There’s no better way to demonstrate what a dipole is than to have to hold one end of it as it’s being readied for installation.  Working with coax or watching somebody solder a broken part is another way for people to absorb all the little things us older hams take for granted.

Whether you’re doing your monthly meetings on a repeater, or by videoconference, try to reach out to new people.  But ask questions yourself.  Reach out and ask for advice with a new concept, or give advice on something you know well.  If there are events coming up that you can do safely as a group, encourage others, especially newcomers, to join in and learn.  That’s the spirit of Field Day that we need to keep alive throughout the year, and particularly in these trying times.

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

HAMFESTING: If your swap is cancelled or the date is going to change, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.

Here is the current listing of Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned hamfests.  Please note that all are subject to change, so please stay current by checking the sponsoring club's web page before making your travel arrangements.

7/11/20 NW Ohio Blackswamp RS Hamfest,      Temperance, MI

7/19/20 Van Wert Hamfest,            Van Wert, OH

7/25/20 Gladwin Hamfest, Gladwin, MI

8/1/20 UP Hamfest,             Escanaba, MI

8/8/20 Central Kentucky,    Lexington, KY

8/15/20 Clinton County Hamfest, Wilmington, OH

8/29/20 Milford Hamfest,    Owensville, OH

9/12/20 Grand Rapids GRAHamfest,       Wyoming, MI

9/12/20 Greater Louisville Hamfest,         Sheperdsville, KY

9/19/20 Richmond Hamfest,          Richmond, KY

9/20/20 Adrian Hamfest,     Adrian, MI

9/27/20 Cleveland Hamfest,           Berea, OH

10/3/20 Vette City -- KY State Conv.,       Bowling Green, KY

10/10/20 Northwest Ohio ARC Hamfest,             Lima, OH

10/17/20 Muskegon Color Tour,    Muskegon, MI

10/24/20 Hazard,     Hazard, KY

10/25/20 USECA,    Madison Hts, MI

12/5/20 Fulton County Winterfest,            Delta, OH

12/6/20 L'anse Creuse,       Madison Heights, MI 

For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:

 http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event

It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your ARRL sanctioned 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, even under the current travel restrictions.

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.  


73, All the best to you and your family. Stay Safe over July 4th and always.  

Ham it up!

Dale Williams WA8EFK

Director - Great Lakes Division

wa8efk@arrl.org 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Dale's Tales for June...

Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for June, 2020.

"Social Distancing", and Amateur Radio?  I think not!  The current common term should be called "Physical Distancing" especially when one considers how the term might be applied to the realm of ham radio.

Amateur Radio is and should be exactly the opposite of the so-called Social Distancing.   If anything, we as hams epitomize socializing and using our hobby to become more "social" is exactly one of the universal results of being an active ham.  At the same time we are being more social, we are by way of radio, exhibiting "Physical Distancing", and in a manner that is totally compliant with the needs of the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

If anything is needed today at a time when we find ourselves separated from friends, family, and co-workers, is to be more socially connected. And we can be much more social via ham radio while at the same time continue the need for what is actually Physical Distancing.  Social Distancing vs Physical Distancing.....Come on, people, let's get the terms right!

2020 Field Day:

As widely publicized in the past couple of days, certain rules accommodations have been made to the FD rules for 2020.  The Programs and Services Committee (PSC) had decided, in their spring meeting (and early in the Covid-19 pandemic), to make no changes to this year's FD rules.  As the pandemic situation continued to deteriorate and restrictions became more stringent, it was becoming obvious to the League's membership that the impact on Field Day was going to be very serious. 

I received many, many suggestions for rules changes.  There truly was a very wide variety of offerings, some similar, some considerably different.  In reviewing all of your suggestions and then discussing with PSC members to entertain some revisions, I am pleased to report your voices were clearly heard and understood.   The PSC met in a Zoom Conference last week and waived the two rules that were of primary concern.  You may look at these revisions at http://www.arrl.org/news/temporary-rule-waivers-announced-for-2020-arrl-field-day.

My thanks go out to everyone who offered their ideas and suggestions.  They were all thoughtful and in the true spirit of Amateur Radio.

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

Is ham radio still the same?  And will it be?  With all our sheltering in place, we’ve seen ham radio be just the same as it was.  We don’t have to “distance” ourselves to be in contact, whether just a few feet away or over thousands of miles.   And I have noticed that a lot of people have made use of their time, either to try a new mode, work toward new awards or achievements, or even, for some, to get active again and get back on the air after a long time away. 

But I predict that other aspects of ham radio will change as we look to the future.  While making radio contacts will not change much, our other ways of interacting already have.  Almost every hamfest that I know of has been cancelled for this year.  And there’s no telling when we could get back to large gatherings, indoors or out.  Even club meetings have been changed, by meeting on the air, or through some form of video conference.  While none of us like change, we’ve adapted, and will continue to do so.

Something else that needs to change is how we approach helping new people get into the hobby.  Just this week in the ARRL Letter we read about a “pent-up demand for testing,” and the efforts to provide those tests for new and upgraded licenses.  There have been experiments with remote testing, and I think we will see more of that.  There have also been successful ways to test observing the “distancing” needed for this time.  I hope the clubs in our Division will experiment and continue to provide testing for those who want it.

What about teaching?  The traditional “class” sessions may not be feasible, either.  How do we adapt?  If the schools and universities are changing to on-line learning, can we?  What are the best methods for helping new people?  Videos?  On-line discussions?  We need to experiment here too.

Thanks for reading.  Stay safe, and keep making those contacts!

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

HAMFESTING:  Fulton County, OH. will be holding their Hamfest on Sunday June 6.  The Hamfest will require appropriate physical distancing, and face masks are absolutely required for everyone.           

If your swap is cancelled or the date is going to change, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.

With constant changes underway in all three Great Lakes Division states, and the lack of uniformity regarding the travel, I urge everyone to monitor the ARRL cancellation listing.  For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:

http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event

It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your ARRL sanctioned 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.

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.  

73, All the best to you and your family. Stay Safe and Ham it up!

 

Dale Williams WA8EFK

Director - Great Lakes Division

wa8efk@arrl.org 

 

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ARRL Great Lakes Division

Director: Dale R Williams, WA8EFK

wa8efk@arrl.org

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Friday, May 1, 2020

Dale's Tales for May


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for May, 2020.



Sadly, Michigan recently lost its Section Emergency Coordinator, John McDonough WB8RCR.  Our thoughts go out to John's family in this time of great sorrow.  John was a good friend of everyone involved with the ARRL Michigan Section.



2020 Field Day notes from the ARRL NEWS:



04/22/2020



This year, ARRL Field Day promises to be a unique iteration of this annual event, with many individuals and groups coming up with new and interesting ways to adjust their approach.  As an event, Field Day is structured to be versatile and can be adapted for any situation.



Many groups have asked how they can adjust their Field Day planning to address social-distancing guidelines that may be in effect in many areas of the country, as gathering at their traditional Field Day site may not be feasible or safe.  Instead of participating in a group event this year, consider operating as a Class B, C, D, or E station, utilizing your own call sign.



ARRL will include club names for all participating stations in the published results, so the efforts of your club’s members can be acknowledged.  While we will not publish an aggregate club score, seeing the name of your club associated with various individual member’s results is certainly a way to highlight your club’s activity.



Myriad opportunities are possible in this year’s Field Day setting. These are just a couple.



Consider having an intra-club competition among members, seeing who can make the most contacts during the event. You can award prizes or distribute certificates at a club meeting.  This can be a fun way to bolster the activities of individual club members, even though they cannot all gather together at the same location this year.  Set up a Field Day Challenge with rival clubs in neighboring communities.  See how many members of each club get on the air from their own stations and participate in the event. In addition to “bragging rights,” perhaps certificates to the top-scoring individual entries in each category can be presented as part of this inter-club camaraderie.



One club is planning to conduct its Field Day as a 4A club group, with participants spaced to comply with social distancing guidelines within the required 1,000-foot diameter circle and operating individual stations.  This club also plans to set up a “Get on the Air” (GOTA) station.  The club’s plan is to have the GOTA coach at the Field Day site, while GOTA operators participate via remote link.



Another club is planning to set up a remote-controlled station at its usual Field Day site, with club members taking turns controlling the station from their homes.  The club is developing a schedule that outlines when each member of the club will be at the helm via the remote link.



Whatever approach you take to this year’s Field Day, keep up to date with the current guidelines issued by local and state health agencies that may impact your proposed operation.



ARRL invites your stories about the interesting and creative ways you’re planning to use to adapt your Field Day operation.  Share these on the ARRL Field Day Facebook page.



For the latest news and updates, visit the Field Day webpage. —



Thanks to ARRL Contest Program Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE





As many know, one of the key annual events associated with the Dayton Hamvention®, Contest University (CTU) has cancelled this year's regular session.  Most thankfully, the hosts and sponsors of CTU are making the very best of a bad situation and are offering CTU to everyone at no cost

via Zoom video conferencing.   Now, whether you are a contester or not, there is something for everyone at CTU.  Take a look at their web page at https://www.contestuniversity.com/course-outline/ for a check of the material being presented.  A Link for everyone will open on May 7 with all of the log-in information.  The Zoom conference will be held on Thursday May 14.







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



Quarantines.  Cancellations.  Luckily, we still have ham radio.  Yes, most of our in-person activities are not going to happen any time soon, but activity on the ham bands is picking up.  On several of the local nets that I participate in, check-ins have increased.  I’ve heard a number of people say that they had been inactive, and are just now getting back to radio.  People are trying out new—for them—modes of communications.  And since most of us are at least somewhat technical, videoconferences are not beyond us.  Virtual meetings are happening, and even, to some extent, just some informal chats so we can share ideas and check up on each other.



One thing I am concerned about for the near future is getting new hams.

Long before any of this pandemic, ARRL was developing education programs for continuing education, but also making sure that we continue to teach ham radio to interested people.  Our model has been in-person classes.

Yes, many people have studied on their own, but we find that those who did often don’t have much of a connection to any local hams, individually or through clubs.  And they often don’t last. 



ARRL and other VE programs are looking at some ways of secure remote testing.  We’ve got to be able to get people to get tested in order to get licenses.  This effort will continue.  But we may also have to re-think how we teach ham radio to beginners.  Keeping “social distancing,” what combination of video, slides, and materials will work to help people, so that once we overcome the testing challenges, people are ready to get licensed?  If your club is working on that, let me know.



Stay safe, and get on the radio!



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





HAMFESTING:  All hamfests in the Great Lakes Division planned through the first of June, are either cancelled or postponed.  If your swap is cancelled or the date is going to change, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.



With constant changes underway in all three Great Lakes Division states, and the lack of clarity regarding the resumption of travel, we are not posting any swaps until this situation stabilizes.



For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:

 http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event



CANCELLED FOR MAY:


5/2/20 Cadillac Hamfest      Cadillac, MI   CANCELLED


5/17/20           Dayton Hamvention Xenia, OH      CANCELLED



It should be noted that there has been a change in the way ARRL contributes to your ARRL sanctioned 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.



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. 





73, All the best to you and your family. Stay Safe and Ham it up!



Dale Williams WA8EFK

Director

Great Lakes Division

wa8efk@arrl.org

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Dale's Tales for April


Greetings, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for April, 2020.



What a difference 30 days have made.   The entire Great Lakes Division is now pretty much on "Hold" for the next month or so.  Cabin fever abounds and like virtually every non-essential business, even the ham bands are closed. 



NUTS!



I have heard from many of our Division members and everyone seems to be geared up to endure this radical change in lifestyle.  Even my now-faint recollections from what our parents and grandparents went through in WW II don't really compare.  I remember the rationing and the blackouts, but never was there a need to hole-up at home and not associate with friends, neighbors and family.



Travel by your Director, Vice Director and Section Manager is quite limited under the current crisis.  We are assuming that everyone will be back on the proverbial road when our club meetings resume.  It that point, we all will extend some extra effort to make up for those missed, cancelled and rescheduled meetings.



Importantly, we radio amateurs should not declare ourselves as essential workers and self deploy.  Continue close contact with your local ARES Emergency Coordinator to confirm your availability if you are needed.


Any activation of our services should come through the appropriate agency and based upon their specific need.   We can all do our part by being properly prepared and ready to activate IF that call should come.



We can be thankful now for Amateur Radio and even the non-ham technologies that let us communicate today.  That takes some of the edge off.  Let's use it, get on the air, try some new modes, work some new stations, fill up the log.  If you don't have WAS, get it; if you don't have DXCC, get it; try some meteor scatter; try FT-8 or FT-4, MFSK, PSK-31, CW, AM, SSTV, moonbounce, Digital Phone, - okay, I've only got about 75 more modes to name....You can check into some new nets, make some new friends. And there are several interesting new nets in the Great Lakes Division, all taking advantage of those who folks are now available during the day. Join in.



Hamfests are still being postponed and cancelled, much to the disappointment of many of us, but it remains critically important for all of to continue the lock-down vigil until the Covid-19 crisis passes.

 Taking this action now will give us the best chance of avoiding contact while affording the medical profession to get a leg up on the test kits and materials they sorely need to treat the victims of the virus.  Stay the course; we will get back to normal, even if it is a different normal.





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



So much has been written about the pandemic that I don’t need to say much more than to comment on what I have seen hams do in reaction.  Many clubs have been meeting via video conference or chat, and that is a good thing.  The repeaters are busy –well, busier than they usually are—so people are trying to stay in touch.  This thing will eventually pass, and we need to continue to make plans, be prepared, and improve our capabilities.  Not to mention that we need to check up on each other and support those who are lonely or need help in some way.  So with all the electronic means at our disposal, it’s good to see that we are finding creative ways to communicate.



There are also projects, for people who are staying at home and not working.  Some projects are just “catch up,” and others are in the nature of new modes or something else never tried before.  New hams will miss out on some in-person mentoring, but the new On the Air magazine can help with some detailed illustrations of projects.  And someone they know can always talk them through it.  For those who have been around a while, QST always offers a few challenges, and there are other places to find worthwhile projects.  The mail and the delivery services are still working, so parts are available.

It’s nice to see that someone came up with a contest idea to replace the “in-person” adventure of Hamvention.  I suspect that we’ll be hearing of some other contests or operating events to help us stay in touch and keep our skills going.


For this part of the country, spring is welcome in that it brings warmth and sunshine, but it also brings the threat of severe weather.  Let’s hope we don’t have to respond to those kinds of disasters along with the one we’re in.  But we can be ready, and we’ll figure out what to do if and when we need to.

Here’s hoping that some breakthroughs are made soon, and that some of this present trouble will pass quickly.  In the meantime, stay strong, and get on the air!


73,


Tom



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





HAMFESTING:  This is a moving target.  Essentially, most hamfests in the Great Lakes Division planned through the first of June, are either cancelled or postponed.  If you swap is cancelled or the date is changed, please notify ARRL HQ.  We work together with the HQ staff to verify all new date selections in the hope of mitigating date conflicts.



For the latest detail on cancelled hamfests, check the ARRL web page at:

 http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/search/page:5/keywords:Canceled/model:Event



4/4/20             Lincoln Trail                        Elizabethtown, KY   CANCELLED

4/11/20           Crossroads                           Kalamazoo, MI         CANCELLED

4/11/20           Cuyahoga Falls                    Cuyahoga Falls, OH            CANCELLED

4/11/20           Letcher County                    Whitesburg, KY        CANCELLED

4/18/20           Chassell Hamfest                 Chassell, MI CANCELLED

4/18/20           Portsmouth Hamfest            Portsmouth, OH       CANCELLED

4/19/20           GMARC Tech EXPO          Madison Hgts, MI     CANCELLED

4/26/20           Athens Hamfest                   Athens, OH   To Be Determined

5/2/20             Cadillac Hamfest                 Cadillac, MI   CANCELLED

5/17/20           Dayton Hamvention            Xenia, OH      CANCELLED



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.



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. 





73, All the best to you and your family.   Ham it up!



Dale Williams WA8EFK

Director

Great Lakes Division

wa8efk@arrl.org



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ARRL Great Lakes Division

Director: Dale R Williams, WA8EFK

wa8efk@arrl.org

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Dayton Hamvention Cancelled


The Hamvention Executive Committee has been monitoring the COVID19 pandemic. We have worked very closely with our local and state health Departments.



It is with a very heavy heart the Hamvention Executive Committee has decided to cancel Hamvention for this year.



This decision is extremely difficult for us but with around two months until the Great Gathering we felt this action necessary.



More specific details regarding the closure will soon be posted. (SEE DARA WEB PAGES)



Thank you for your understanding in this time of International Crisis.



Jack Gerbs

General Chairman HV2020



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ARRL Great Lakes Division

Director: Dale R Williams, WA8EFK

wa8efk@arrl.org

Monday, March 9, 2020

Great Lakes Division Award Winners Announced!!!




Each time the Great Lakes Division has a convention, we take time to recognize those among us who represent amateur radio in some significant way, either over the past year or two, or throughout their time as hams.






We are pleased to announce those who will be honored this year as award winners.  They are:



Gary Johnston, KI4LA, winner of the George S. Wilson III, W4OYI, Lifetime Achievement Award;

 

Steve Smith, N8AR, and Larry Gauthier, K8UT, joint winners of the Technical Achievement Award;



John Papay, K8YSE, winner of the DX Achievement Award;



And “The Radiogram” the monthly newsletter of the Portage County Amateur Radio Service, as the winner of the Joseph J. Phillips, K8QOE, Newsletter Award.



This year we are also giving a special “Director’s Award” for outstanding service to the amateur radio community to:  John Loughmiller, KB9AT, for his design work on a database for the new Volunteer Monitoring program established at Headquarters. 



Formal recognition of these people will take place at the Convention Banquet this coming Saturday evening in Perrysburg, Ohio.  Our thanks to the many people who made nominations for these and other awards.  The quantity and quality of the nominations was excellent this year.  Our thanks also to the committee members who had the difficult task of choosing the winners from the many nominations received.



We hope to see you all at the Division Convention this weekend.



Dale Williams, WA8EFK, Director

Tom Delaney, W8WTD, Vice Director