Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dale's Tales for December 2014

Greetings everyone,

As 2014 comes to a close, we must look back at this year as having been one of the most significant in ham radio.  Among the outstanding events, we recognize the ARRL's 100th Anniversary as the lead item.  It brought with it a wonderful National Convention with renowned speakers on timely subjects.  It brought us the W1AW Portable Operating Events, allowing the average ham across the USA and possessions to operate "our club station" from their own home QTH as W1AW/x.   Each state and territory took to the air and we all reached out to work them on multiple bands and modes.

It brought us the ARRL Centennial Challenge QSO Party sparking thousands of hams into getting active and working towards achieving Challenge Points. 

We also hosted the 2014 IARU Radiosport Championship and 2014 also brought a matching fund Challenge to us all to offer further financial support to our ARRL, insuring its future. 

Combine this Anniversary Year with new product introductions by several manufacturers, new developments in software designed radios, advances in weak signal programs, and we have experienced a truly great 2014.

We must also offer our special thanks to the ARRL HQ staff for hosting the 100th Anniversary National Convention and for developing and managing the scoring systems for this year's operating events all intertwined with the rest of their routine and daily duties.  Great Job, well done.

From a purely personal note, this year has allowed me to meet thousands of different hams on the air in operating the Challenge.  My log has filled with wonderful QSOs and along with that, many new friendships have formed.  Everyone has been polite, courteous and understanding, all typical of what we inspire to be as Radio Amateurs.  I also thank all for being so very tolerant of me as I stumbled through getting all the call signs and signal reports accurately recorded.  There is still plenty of time left to rack up a lot more Qs, so keep at it.  Things will close with another "Red Badge Day" on December 31.

HB 4969 Progress Report:  I currently count 67 Co-sponsors for our House Bill 4979, the Amateur Radio Parity Act.   This bipartisan effort would direct the FCC to extend the "reasonable accommodation" provisions for Amateur Radio antennas to include all types of land-use regulation, including deed restrictions and restrictive covenants, not just those covered by PRB-1.  Details and updates are posted at  Time is now very short, please write to your Congressperson and encourage his/her support, or offer your thanks if he/she has already signed on to co-sponsorship.

Vice Director, Tom Delaney W8WTD offers these comments:  Early December, being between major holidays, is a time when we normally don't focus as much on ham radio, with all the busy rush of other things.  And in spite of the old saw about antennas working better when they are installed in bad weather, I really don't like working on antennas in cold weather.

But there's still the interest in the Centennial QSO party, with many people vying to get more contacts for that high score they hope to achieve.  What a great motivation to get on the air.  It turned out far better than anyone probably imagined when they came up with the idea. Now we have to find something else like it to generate an equal amount of interest.

As I was thinking about the Centennial effort, I realized how important the Logbook of the World has been in this effort.  And so my thoughts turned to the internet and how much it has affected ham radio.  In some ways, writing about the internet is so obvious.  Of course it has affected just about every aspect of life.  What's new about that? 

However, the story here is how amateur radio has adapted the internet. In some ways, it could have been like the predictions in the early fifties of how that new thing called television was going to do away with the movies.  We learned how good a prediction that was.  And it's logical that a new form of communications would do away with old forms of communication--except that didn't happen either.  Some aspects of ham radio aren't what they were.  But because hams are resourceful, they saw the possibilities in making use of the internet to enhance ham radio, and that's what we have today.  Logbook of the World is a simple adaptation of the paper QSL cards, but it has made awards and contests so much better--and provides the "leader board" for the Centennial QSO Party.  Spotting DX was not possible to the extent it is today without the internet.  And so many of our interconnections for Echolink, IRLP, D-Star and DMR depend on the internet.  New forms of communications, hybrid, maybe, but still offering some of the magic of a ham radio contact.

Operating a radio still requires skill.  These new operating aids are always nice to have.  So keep operating, make those contacts, whether you're going for a standard award, or that higher place on the leader board.  See you on the air.

Vice Director
Great Lakes Division

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. 

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 
Feb 1 - NOARS, Elyria - N8SY 
Feb 7 - HARA, Negaunee, MI - WB8R 
Feb 14 - Cherryland, Traverse City, MI - WB8R 
Feb 15 - Mansfield, Mansfield, OH - N8SY - WA8EFK 
Feb 15 - Livonia, Livonia, MI - WB8R 

Mar 7 - Cave City, Cave City, KY - KY4Z

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.

Club Visits: Thanks to the Arrow Comm. Assn., CRES ARC, and the Branch County ARC, for recently hosting your Director at their club meetings.  My next outing is to the Livingston County ARC on December 11.   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.

And, from Judy and me, the very best wishes to you and your family as we celebrate this Holiday Season. 

73, see you on the bands.

Dale Williams WA8EFK

Great Lakes Division