Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dale's Tales for November, 2014

Greetings everyone,

THE Operating Event:  We have but a couple of months left before the ARRL Centennial QSO Party comes to a close.  There is plenty of opportunity to enjoy contacting fellow ARRL members and collecting points.  The Award Certificates have been announced and will be presented in the following categories:  First Level, 1000 Points; Second Level, 3000 Points; Third Level, 7500 Points and Top Level 15,000 Points.  These levels are really placed well to insure that most of us will be able to hang a certificate on the wall commemorating a great operating event.  

You will still find ample time to get on the air and qualify for an award, even if you have not actively participated in the Centennial QSO Party.  If you are currently a user of Logbook of the World, your uploaded contacts( and there for scores) are already recorded and can be found through a link on the LoTW Home page called "Leader Board".

From this web page, you can log in using your LoTW ID and password.

Check it out, you may find that you are already well on your way to a Centennial QSO Party Award.  Actually as few as 4 well placed contacts can bring you 1000 points.  Just listen for ARRL President Craigie, a couple of Directors and a VP, contact them, and you'll be there!  It can be that simple to log some great contacts.  Self-spotting has been permitted, so watch the DX clusters to see who is on.

HB 4969 Progress Report:  The number of Bill co-sponsors continues to climb, thanks in large part to your support.  Our original plan was to reach 30 Congressmen for co-sponsorship and we now have already reached 60 who have already co-sponsored or agreed to support HB 4969, the Amateur Radio Parity Act.  This bill is aimed at directing the PRB-1 style "reasonable accommodation" provisions for Amateur Radio antennas to include all types of land-use regulation.  This includes areas with deed restrictions and restrictive covenants, hence the term "parity".

"CC&Rs" (covenants, conditions and restrictions) are the prohibitions and limitations placed on properties by builders or home-owner associations (HOAs) which prevent licensed Amateurs from erecting even modest antennas.  Details and updates are posted at

Vice Director, Tom W8WTD offers his monthly commentary:

One of the things I like about this position is the opportunity to share information with other hams.  I've mentioned that before.  The various forums are always a good way to pick up new information, or to share something with some hams who are looking for new ways to do things.  We've talked about the future of amateur radio, and things like the MESH networks.

This month, I want to share an experience.  Taken in itself, it's just another ham doing communications.  But just maybe you'll find in it something that will help you and your group with something you like to do.  October is the month for the SET (Simulated Emergency Test.)  Many of us in the Division were out doing something, testing equipment, practicing our skills.  It was the same for my home club, the Queen City Emergency Net.  We decided to do an exercise in which we tested our direct and indirect communications with outlying areas in the large area that our Red Cross Chapter serves.

A side note here--those of you in ARES who count the Red Cross among your served agencies--be sure to talk with them about their recent reorganization.  Many smaller chapters have been closed, and the larger ones are responsible for more territory.  Which is why we did our exercise.  The Cincinnati Chapter, or whatever it will soon be called, now has primary responsibility for at least a third of Ohio.  With our immediate metro area encompassing three states as well, the Chapter's area stretches 170 miles north to south, and well over 100 miles east to west.  One club can't cover all that, so with the help of partners and some club members who were willing to travel, we wanted to see how much area we could cover without commercial communications, meaning, directly, through linked repeaters, or by relay. 

I was in some of our northern counties.  With my new DMR radio, I was able to get on the Ohio talk group and communicate directly with Cincinnati.  There are some great possibilities in this technology for covering large areas.  Yes, it depends on the internet, and could go down easily, but likely only in one area, meaning that the larger ham resources of a state could still be coordinated that way.  It's only one channel statewide, but we hams know the discipline of net procedures, and the new mode could be a big help to all of us, no matter which of the states we live in throughout the Great Lakes Division.  (We didn't use it, but I'm sure D-Star could be of similar use.)

Then there was direct communication.  We have a high-profile UHF repeater located a little to the north of Cincinnati.  Using a ten-element beam, I was able to get into it with clear communication about 60 miles away.  We all need to think about extended range.

Finally, and this reminds me of the original ARRL --there's relay.  We work closely with the hams in the Dayton Red Cross, and they were on the air with us.  As I was driving around north of them, I could get into a Dayton repeater and they were relaying information down to Cincinnati.  We didn't try simplex, but I'm sure in an emergency, we could find a way to do that too.  Nothing here that most of you don't already know.  But it's what we do with what we know that makes all the difference.  What challenge face you in your area?  And which of these methods would be most helpful to you the next time a disaster comes around?  If any of this stirs some thoughts that you'd like to share, please get in touch!

Vice Director
Great Lakes Division

Club Visits: Your Director, Vice Director and Section Managers are available to visit local radio clubs and give presentations about ARRL and what is happening in the Section or Division.  Please feel free to invite any of us for an ARRL Night at your club.  Most of the talks are prepared in a video presentation format and can include a Q&A session as well.  Advance scheduling really helps and gives you an opportunity to publicize the event.  See pages 15 & 16 of a recent QST for contact information.

Hamfesting:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule for the next few weeks.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication: A note about hamfest attendance by your ARRL elected officials.  We want to be at your events and we strive for insuring that the ARRL is properly represented at every ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest.

Conflicts can arise, such as hamfests which might occur on the same day.  It is always a good idea for your hamfest chairman to contact the Section Manager, Vice-Director or Director early in the planning stages to insure his attendance at the activity.  This will allow time to prepare for alternate representation in the event of time conflicts.

Nov 1 - Grant County - Georgetown, OH
Nov 2 - Massillon ARC Hamfest, Massillon, OH -- QSL Checking - N8SY 
Dec 6 - Fulton County Winterfest, Delta, OH 
Dec 7 - Lanse Creuse, Harrison Twp, MI - WB8R 
Jan 11 - Hazel Park, MI - WB8R - WA8EFK 
Jan 18 - SCARF, Nelsonville, OH - N8SY 
Feb 1 - NOARS, Elyria - N8SY 
Feb 14 - Cherryland, Traverse City, MI - WB8R 
Feb 15 - Mansfield, Mansfield, OH - N8SY 
Feb 15 - Livonia, Livonia, MI - WB8R

73, see you on the bands.

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Director, Great Lakes Division

ARRL Great Lakes Division
Director: Dale R Williams, WA8EFK