Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dale's Tales for April, 2015

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for April 2015.

The Michigan QSO Party arrives at 1600Z on April18.   It runs until 0400Z on April 19.   Sponsored by the Mad River Radio Club, the MiQSO party is an annual event that offers Single op, Multi op, Mobile and Portable operators a chance to compete for the honors. This year introduces a special award for working the "Michigan Cabinet Counties".  Full details are on the MiQP web page at http://www.miqp.org/index.html.

The Parma Radio Club will celebrate its 3rd annual Earth Day this April 25th with a special event station.  W8PRC, will be on SSB within 20 kHz of 7.195 and 14.245 kHz from historic Stearns Farm in the heart of the city.  Our operation will be entirely on solar power in recognition of Earth Day. A beautiful QSL card will be available.  For more information, see www.parmaradioclub.webs.com .

The Southeastern VHF Society is proud to announce the upcoming 2015 Spring Technical Conference will be held at the Space Science Center of Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky on April 24th and 25th.

In addition, this conference has just been upgraded to an Operating Specialty Convention by the ARRL.  Two days of various VHF-UHF-Microwave technical presentations covering weak signal work, VHF-UHF-Micro contesting, construction technique, demos, antenna testing, preamp testing, vendor displays, flea market, and a Saturday evening banquet with its history of valuable door prizes.  The SVHFS website and links to the conference registration, program, and hotel info are at http://svhfs.org/wp/.

As you are aware, HB 1301 has been introduced in the House of Representatives.  This bill is to allow ham radio operators living in areas controlled by homeowners associations and on deed-restricted properties, to reasonably install antennas; not unlike the FCC ruling that today allows those very same people living in such areas to install outdoor broadcast TV receive antennas.   Hence the name "Amateur Radio Parity Act".   This just calls for fairness.  While a person living in a deed-restricted area today can legally install a 2 foot diameter TV receive-only dish on his roof, he cannot install a 4 inch UHF ¼ wave ham radio antenna on his rain gutter.  Our bill asks that, just like the case of PRB-1, ham antennas should be reasonably accommodated. 

So today, I ask you: "Has your Congressman signed up to support HB-1301?"   Have you contacted him/her to gain support?   Please examine the ARRL Web Page http://www.arrl.org/hr-1301 for contact information and the complete text of the bill.  There you will find some excellent suggestions for formatting your letter to your congressperson, along with supporting documentation and a listing of Congressmen.  We currently have support from the following in our Division: Dan Benishek MI-01, David Joyce OH-14, and Tim Walberg MI-07.  Please take some time to thank them and be sure to implore your Congressperson to support HB 1301.

As a further opportunity to assist you, we will have a booth in the ARRL EXPO at the Dayton Hamvention to allow you to send an appropriate letter to your congressman in support of HB 1301.

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

One of my goals as Vice Director is to keep in touch with what's going on throughout the Division, so
I can help our Director, Dale, know what people are thinking, and look at trends, whether they relate to on-going policy decisions for the League, or are just good radio activities in general.

At the beginning of March, I traveled down to Cave City, KY, for their hamfest.  I was fortunate to talk to a number of hams around Elizabethtown who had just been through an emergency response a few days before.  All those people stranded in the snowstorm on I-65 needed help, and the hams were there to assist local responders.  Well done, everyone!

You know, we prepare and plan, and time goes on and we think all is fine.  Then, in a matter of hours, we're in the thick of things.  We can't tell the situation to hold off while we get ready.  It's just a matter of grabbing the radios and other stuff, and responding.  If we prepared well, it shows.  Even if we haven't, we can do a good job, but it could always be better with more prep.  You never know when the next disaster will happen.  Spring is almost here, and the storms will be following.  Are your batteries charged?

When we think of trends, it's usually about what a lot of individuals are doing or have discovered.  Trends or patterns with clubs are usually harder to spot.  But right now I sense that there is a trend going on with a number of clubs, and it is that they are acquiring new digital voice repeaters.  The discount offered by one manufacturer (ending this month) has attracted many clubs, and soon we'll have a lot of these repeaters on the air across the Great Lakes Division.

I look forward to hearing how things go.  It's one more step in the on-going advancement of amateur radio.  Some people don't like the trend towards digital.  Others have embraced it in its various competing forms.  Some are waiting on the sidelines for the formats to settle out.  What will happen?  How will a repeater built to handle either digital or analog input perform for its users?  Will a lot of people invest in the new digital format?  Will a particular repeater stay mostly analog, even if it's capable of digital?  Will one type prevail?

On the larger subject of digital voice modes, we hope to have a forum on that subject at our Division Convention in August.  If you've never heard of P25, DMR, D-Star, or C4FM, you can find out more from those who use those modes.  If you're really involved in any of those modes, you can meet other folks who are as well, and share knowledge.  Either way, we hope it will be a topic of much interest.

See you at Dayton!  73,
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. 

April 4 - Lincoln Trail, Elizabethtown, KY - KY1O 
April 4 - Portsmouth, Portsmouth, OH - N8SY 
April 11 - Letcher County, Whitesburg - KY - KY1O 
April 25 - Jackson County, Jackson, OH - N8SY 
April 26 - Athens, Athens, OH - N8SY 
May 2 - Cadillac, Cadillac, MI - WB8R 
May 9 - Big Sandy, Louisa, KY - KY1O 
May 9 - CCRA-KCRA - Chassell, MI - WB8R 
May 15, 16, 17 -  Hamvention® - Dayton, OH - Everyone!!
May 30 - Ashland - Ashland, KY - KY1O

Hamfest officials:  When you receive your "Hamfest Package" from ARRL, open it immediately.  Read it over and look at all of the material you received.  There is a form included to order additional if you deem it appropriate.

Your Division and Section officials 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 chair 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.

The ARRL 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