Monday, February 2, 2015

Latest Edition of Dale's Tales for you..

Greetings everyone,

I trust that everyone is now over the "withdrawal" from the final contacts of the Centennial QSO
Party, and solidly into the normal routine for a new year. Welcome to this February 2015 edition of "Dale's Tales".

The recent January ARRL Board meeting went well and I am sure most of you have now read some of the meeting highlights in various bulletins and the ARRL Letter©. The Headquarters staff is reasonably close to having their routines back to normal after the Centennial Year, and they are looking forward to the time when all of the various Centennial awards are complete. I think we all are anxious to see the "Final Results" of 2014's great ham radio events.

As your Great Lakes Division Director, I believe it important for me to report on several of the events from the ARRL Annual Board Meeting.

Some of the more interesting actions at the meeting related to selecting new members to the CEO Search Committee that is working on guidelines for choosing a new CEO to replace Dave Sumner K1ZZ when he eventually elects to retire. Much is going into this advance planning to insure the best interests of Amateur Radio are served in selecting this new individual when that time eventually comes. The Board also held an extensive discussion of IT projects underway at Headquarters and improving the tracking and prioritization of those projects. There is currently a large demand on the IT staff for a number of innovative projects. We made some minor changes to the Articles of Association to refine some qualifications and clarify the definitions of conflicts of interest.

Other items included a change to allow all DXCC Card Checkers to check cards for 160 meters with new guidelines which will be developed and made available to them. Some DXCC rules were revised to improve some definitions and provide new guidelines about remote station operation.

The Board created a committee to examine the prospects of revitalizing VHF/UHF contesting and updated some of the VHF/UHF contesting rules.

The HF Band Planning Committee was instructed to add RTTY and data privileges for Technicians and Novices to the proposed new band plan and send the potential changes out to the ARRL membership for comment.

Several worthy amateurs were selected to receive some of Amateur Radio's highest honors and lastly, the new ARRL 2015 committee members were appointed by President Craigie.

Full Board Minutes are available for your review at:

Congratulations to Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R and his team for their successful passage of MI Public Act 556, codifying "PRB-1" onto Michigan law. Michigan Governor Snyder signed PA556 on January 15. The Act also calls for the establishment of an advisory group to assist in resolving issues. The legislative process involved overcoming objections proffered by some community associations who eventually became full supporters of the bill.

Here are the monthly comments from our Great Lakes Div. Vice Director, Tom W8WTD:

Before the Board Meeting in Connecticut in January, I got to visit the ARRL Lab at HQ, and while
there, saw their historical display of a spark-gap transmitter. It was amazing to think about how that came about, and what it took for experimenters to come up with something like that. Ham radio has always been about experimenting, and taking something known and doing something different with it.

And that's what is still exciting about ham radio today. As I travel around the Division, I hear of all kinds of new projects and people trying new things, all to do more with radio. I have my own favorites, like DMR and remote control. There are many others, including APRS, Mesh networks, etc. I love to hear what people are doing and I try to share stories to encourage others who are thinking about those things.

In the radio room at QCEN (the Queen City Emergency Net,) where I am a member, is a display of a home-made radio from the 1950s. It's a six-meter AM transceiver, along the lines of what would later be the Gonset "Gooney Box" or the "Benton Harbor Lunchbox." It came about because the club wanted its members to be on six meters for local communication, and the only rigs available were pretty high priced, even for the day. So, they designed a simple circuit, using off-the-shelf components, and made a "kit" of sorts, so that many club members could participate. Those radios provided the club with good, inexpensive communications for many years.

It's still the same. Arduino technology is providing hams with new ways to control things. Individual hams still sit down to design circuits to do just what they need in a particular installation, something custom-made just for their own project. Many hams take existing products and combine them with other products to make what they need. No sense designing radios, since the precision manufacturing techniques make far more sophisticated radios than we could make at home. But what you do with it --that's key. A low-cost Chinese-built radio that is combined with an old cell phone, tying in to its GPS, makes a great APRS tracker. And there are many others you could add to the list.

The hamfests are just starting for the year, and I look forward to meeting many more of you in 2015. I'm anxious to discover and share news of the many technical innovations that hams in this Division are working on.


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.

Feb 7 - HARA, in Negaunee, MI - WB8R
Feb 14 - Cherryland, in Traverse City, MI - WB8R 
Feb 15 - Mansfield, in Mansfield, OH - N8SY - WA8EFK 
Feb 15 - Livonia, in Livonia, MI - WB8R 
Mar 7 - Cave City, in Cave City, KY - KY4Z 
Mar 14 - Crossroads, Kalamazoo, MI - WB8R - WA8EFK 
Mar 15 - TMRA, Toledo, N8SY - WA8EFK 
Mar 28 - MOVARC, Gallipolice, OH - N8SY

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.

Recent Club Visits: Thanks to the Garden City ARC for hosting a Director visit at their January Club meeting. 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.

73, see you on the bands.

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Great Lakes Division