Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dale's Tales for March 2016

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for March, 2016.

The Great Lakes Division was well represented in the current issue of Radio Waves, published by the League /Winter%202016%20Radio%20Waves.pdf .   This ARRL periodical is aimed at instructors and
educators, keeping them informed about ham radio and STEM Programs.   Ohio's West Chester Amateur Radio Association teamed up with National Voice of America Broadcasting Museum to host "Pi Day + 6" in honor of May 14.   (This year it really stacks up as 3.14.16 and is also Albert Einstein's birthday).    In addition, the West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids has started a ham club as the result of its prep work for their scheduled ARISS Contact.   This publication may offer your club an introduction to STEM instructors in your area and open an opportunity to begin a local school program for prospective hams.  Check it out.

As announced in this column last month, Chief Operating Officer, Harold Kramer W1JB is entering the world of retirees.  Knowing Harold, I suspect this is not the last we will hear from him.   I spoke with him on the phone Friday and we talked a little about some of his plans. These will include an opportunity to do a little writing and probably make some other interesting contributions to ham radio.   Please feel free to extend your well wishes to Harold at

A special thanks goes out to the Cherryland Amateur Radio Club for their warm hospitality when Michigan Section Manager Larry WB8R, Monroe County EC Dave AC8SI and your ARRL Director Dale WA8EFK "dropped in" for a visit at their February club meeting.  The three of us were attending the Michigan Statewide Interoperability Conference in Traverse City and could not pass the opportunity for an evening visit with the club. 

I am pleased to report that Amateur Radio is playing a continually more important part in Michigan's overall emergency communications plan.  This Interoperability Conference, which was hosted by the Homeland Security Division of the MI State Police, devoted several hours of time to Auxiliary Communications, which is based upon ARES®, NTS, CAP, MARS, SATERN how these groups are organized, operate and respond in emergencies.  Michigan Section manager John McDonough WB8RCR also detailed RACES, covering what it is and what it is not.  The several hundred conference attendees were from police, fire, EMT, Emergency Management and first responder teams from across the state. 

Great Lakes Division members can be proud of their respective Section leadership teams for their diligence in working with their individual state's Emergency Management organizations and promoting a very positive atmosphere relating to the services that we radio amateur operators can provide for our communities.  While each of our three Sections has its own unique operating relationship with state officials, amateur radio is highly regarded in every case.  This is not to say all is perfect, certainly not, as we have many opportunities to improve.  We all need to strive for accurate documentation, uniform registration and timely reporting.  ARRL Leadership is working to reduce the burden of complying with these needs, and over the next few months, we may begin testing these services in selected locations. Remember, our agency partner leadership managers see the reporting numbers and stats, lets insure that we continue to keep them up to date and accurate.  These figures show how much we do, and what cost benefits our services provide to each partner-agency.

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delany W8WTD

Last weekend, I listened in on a conversation on HF.  One by one, the voices of some young girls came on, talking with another girl.  First steps in radio.  Then I realized I had had a similar contact a year ago with the same station, but had no young person in my shack to speak to them.  The station was from New Brunswick, Canada, and the woman ham was introducing  Girl Guides (the equivalent of our Girl Scouts) to ham radio.  It was great to hear the enthusiasm for making contacts.

I still have the QSL cards that I got from each of the young ladies I talked to.  And am sure these girls were even happier to talk to someone young like themselves.  From what I could piece together, the girl on the other end was the six-year-old daughter of that ham operator, and I think they were in Great Britain.  Band conditions were not favoring their signal in my direction, but the Canadians were loud and clear.

The experience made me think about our outreach to youth in this country.  It’s not easy to go from that initial contact to a license, but we’re out there trying to make it happen.  We have programs in place, from JOTA (Jamboree on the Air) to Kid’s Day on the Radio, to school clubs and license classes.  We all have to do our part to make sure that the airwaves are a welcome and happy experience for young people, whether they are just learning how radio works, or whether they are applying science concepts and figuring out how interesting ham radio can be.  A salute to those who work with youth, and a reminder to us all to be welcoming on the air!

Friends in high places--  You all know that there are a few hams in Congress, such as Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI, of Oregon, on the subcommittee for Communications and Technology, and some others, including a new ham, Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico.  Rep. Walden has been helpful in many ways, not least of which is calling FCC attention to the problem of interference.

Closer to home, in the fall elections, Kentucky got a new governor and lieutenant governor, and it just so happens that the lieutenant governor is a ham.  Her name is Jenean Hampton, and her call is K5EIB. The Northern Kentucky Amateur Radio Club invited her to speak at their February meeting, and she accepted their invitation.  She is particularly interested in spreading the word about the emergency communications capabilities that ham radio provides.  An engineer by background, she is now an extra class licensee.  She doesn’t have a lot of time to be on the air, but anything any of the Kentucky hams can do to help her will probably be much appreciated.  She will be a good advocate for ham radio, and will be counting on us during emergencies. I’m sure her trust will be well-placed.

A few of you have noticed that the Great Lakes Division now has a Facebook page.  If you haven’t noticed, please take a look.  Granted, Facebook is not for everyone, but for those who participate, it’s one more way of keeping in touch with activities of the Division.  Please let us know what you think.  Thanks go out to Greg, W0QI, Kentucky ASM, whose initiative got it going.

It’s Hamfest season again.   In March, I plan to be in Cave City, KY and Kalamazoo, MI.  I’m Looking forward to seeing many of you during those times.  Stop by and say hello.

73, Tom W8WTD  Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

UPDATE for AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT:  HR 1301 is the Bill number for the House of Representatives.  Progress continues, as last month the House version had 118 Co-Sponsors, today the number is up to 123.   The Senate version of the bill is number S 1685.   If you have not done so, please contact your Senators and Congressman in Washington and encourage their support for the Act.  You can find more information at  Please be sure to route your letters through ARRL Headquarters for personal delivery: ARRL, Attn: Amateur Radio Parity Act grassroots campaign, 225 Main St.,
Newington, CT 06111. 

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.  We have approximately 65 hamfests each year in the Great Lakes Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  It is never too early to register your hamfest with Headquarters.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Help avoid date conflicts, do it early!

Mar  5 - Cave City - Cave City, KY
Mar  6 - NOARS - Elyria, OH
Mar 19 - Crossroads - Kalamazoo, MI
Mar 20 - TMRA Hamfest - Perrysburg, OH
Mar 26 - MOVARC - Gallipolis, OH
Apr 2 - Portsmouth - Portsmouth, OH
Apr 9 - Cuyahoga Falls - Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Apr 19 - Letcher County - Whitesburg, KY
Apr 24 - Athens - Athens, OH
May 7 - Cadillac - Cadillac, MI
May 14 - Chassell Hamfest - Chassel, MI
May 20-22 - Dayton HamVention - Dayton, OH

73, See you on the bands.

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Great Lakes Division