Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dale's Tales - New Years Edition

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for January 2017.
MOVING INTO THIS NEW YEAR is going to bring some interesting challenges.  First, ARRL will be considering the approach it will plan to use to re-introduce a bill to allow residents of Homeowner association-managed properties to allow effective antenna system.  This bill known in 2016 as the Amateur Radio Parity Act was blocked in the Senate and therefore failed passage.  I am confident much of our forthcoming January Board meeting will involve strategic development relating to this important issue.

With National Parks on the Air all wrapped up, like you, I am anxious to learn what exciting on-the-air challenge may face us next. Sorry, I have not even heard a rumor.  What a great event NPOTA was with 1,040,000-plus contacts made and virtually all of the Park units activated by more than 19,460 different operations.  This really exceeded most everyone's expectations.

The following is the Great Lakes Division's Annual Report as submitted to the ARRL Board of Directors.  It highlights most of the major activities in the Division during 2016.

Great Lakes Division - 2016

Political actions: Kentucky Section Manager Alan Morgan KY1O was honored to appoint Jenean M. Hampton, K5EIB the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as an ARRL State Government Liaison. The Lt Gov speaks regularly across Kentucky wearing her official ARRL Name/Call badge and actively promotes Amateur Radio.  She has directed the Kentucky Emergency Management agency to work closer with KY ARES groups as well.

All three Great Lakes Division Section Managers were very active at hamfests and club meetings throughout the year promoting the Amateur Radio Parity Act.

Michigan ARPSC/Auxcomm personnel played a large role at the annual Michigan Public Service Communication System Interoperability Conference at Traverse City in February.  MI ARPSC/Auxcomm personnel made significant progress installing antennas and setting up Auxcomm radio facilities at the new Michigan State Emergency Operating Center in Lansing, MI

The Michigan SGL and SM met with Michigan State Representative Howyrlak at his request, to assist with the wording of a distracted driving bill to keep law from potentially making mobile amateur radio operation illegal.

Ohio’s ARES group was directly involved with the Republican National Convention and the NAACP National Convention.  They provided vital voice and digital communications links between the Cuyahoga County Emergency Operations Center, the Cleveland Emergency Operations Center to the State of Ohio Emergency Operations Center in Columbus, to the Regional Operations Center in Cincinnati and the Red Cross Regional Operations Center in Akron.

Emergencies: # ARES Activations. During the week of January 18, some 8,100 water customers in Sebring, Ohio, were notified that they had problems with high lead content in their drinking water.  On January 22, both Ohio and Mahoning County Emergency Management Agencies began passing out bottled water in Sebring.  Mahoning County ARES was activated to help.  And, they did just that! ARES volunteers joined others in moving and distributing pallets of bottled water, and another call went for weekend duty.  ARES members from neighboring counties also volunteered. All told, the volunteers moved more than 166 pallets of water in 6 days.  “This is a perfect example of being ready to serve in whatever capacity we can, in order to help our communities.
Sometimes it doesn’t involve only operating a radio”

ARES members in the Kentucky Section carried out several missions supporting communications including floods, other weather emergencies, and a missing/downed plane and pilot.  They assisted CAP and SAR efforts where the plane was found in a heavily wooded area.  They also participated in the Kentucky COMEX with improved participation this year. 

Ohio ARES groups were active for assistance at the Cleveland Cavaliers Championship Celebration in Cleveland and communications for the Toledo Air Show.  Ohio ARES group was also activated several times this year to provide communications for Algae Bloom situations for events taking place on Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

Ohio ARES also has contributed over 5,000 man-hours of service this year to the National Weather Service for Skywarn duties.  So far this year they have had 10 tornadoes in Ohio, with numerous other weather related incidences effecting thousands of citizens.
Major Events: Michigan hams organized and coordinated the June 2016 “Light Up the Trail” weekend NPOTA event to activate the full length of the North Country Trail that travels through seven states. During the course of 2016, the SM and/or Section Staff attended 21 hamfests, 9 club meetings, a Section Staff meeting and a Section Family Outing in the woods of Northern Michigan that featured the annual Section EC meeting. Ohio held its annual Section Conference in August plus the annual Ohio State Parks on the Air Contest and the Ohio ARES Statewide Conference during September.  The Ohio Section Cabinet and SM attended 27 hamfests, including the Dayton Hamvention, where they staffed the Ohio Section Booth within the ARRL EXPO.  They also attended over 150 club meetings, picnics/parties and special events this year.  The Ohio Section has gained nine new Affiliated Clubs this year and grown with three Special Service Clubs.

Hamfests/Conventions: There were 70 ARRL Sanctioned hamfests in the Great Lakes Division in 2016.  ARRL was represented at all by a SM, Director, Vice Director or designee.  State Conventions were held in Ohio and Kentucky this year, and plans are now in process for the Great Lakes Division Convention to be held in Michigan in 2017.

2016 ARRL Kentucky State Convention held in conjunction with the Greater Louisville Hamfest in Shepherdsville, KY was a huge success this year with attendance.  Jenean M. Hampton, K5EIB the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky was also a special guest and gave the official Welcome speech at the 2016 ARRL Kentucky State Convention.

Clubs:  In Kentucky, several clubs have sponsored Technician Classes and with the help of a well-known guest, the Woodford County ARC actually had KY Lt Governor Hampton, K5EIB participate and make a presentation to motivate the students to get their licenses.

The Division recognized the 75th Anniversary of three clubs during 2016:  Dial Radio Club, OH, Queen City Emergency Net, OH, and Monroe County Radio Communications Assn., MI

Awards & Honors: Hiram Percy Maxim Award – At a special presentation ceremony hosted by his local club, the Westchester Amateur Radio Assn., Christopher Brault, KD8YVJ received the plaque honoring him with ARRL's Hiram Percy Maxim Award.  The Allan Severson Memorial Award (Ohio Amateur of the Year) honored John Myers, KD8MQ.  

The Michigan Section Commendation Certification was presented to Tim Crane, WM8A for his exceptional work rebuilding and improving the ARES/RACES organization in Genesee County, MI.  
Ohio hosted its 24TH Annual Newsletter Contest Awards: 1st Place The Mike & Key, 2nd Place: The RADIOGRAM , 3rd Place, a two way tie: The Voice Coil and ATCO Newsletter. Honorable Mentions went to: The CARA Communicator and The Spirit of '76 and '88.  Ohio extended Special Recognitions to • David Sumner, K1ZZ – Honorary Ohio Section Life Member; • Norm Fusaro, W3IZ and Sean Kutzko, KX9X – Special Recognition for their work with National Parks On The Air (NOPTA); • Dial Radio Club – Special Recognition for 75 years of ARRL Affiliation; • Arlin Bradford, KD8EVR and Tom Miller, N8TWM – Advancing Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) in the Ohio Section; • Christopher Brault, KD8YVJ – Outstanding Young Amateur in the Ohio Section; • Queen City Emergency Net – Special Recognition for 75 years of ARRL Affiliation; • Portage County Amateur Radio Service – Special Recognition for their more than 10 years of giving back to their local charities with cash donations exceeding $3,000; • Bob Johnson, K3RC and Kitty Hevener, W8TDA – Special Recognition for their past service with the Ohio Section as Cabinet Members; • Nick Pittner, K8NAP – Special Recognition of his past service with the Ohio Section as a Cabinet Member and author of the Ohio Section Antenna Law.

Vice Director Delaney and I wish to extend an important Thank You to our Section Managers for their wonderful efforts in promoting amateur radio and ARRL in their respective Sections.   Alan KY1O, Larry WB8R and Scott N8SY, you guys are the greatest!

Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD was appointed as Board Liaison to the ARRL RF Safety Committee, and also serves on the Entry Level License Committee.  Dir. Williams was re-elected to the ARRL Executive Committee, appointed to Chair the Ethics and Elections Committee and serves as Chair of the Public Safety Enhancement Working Group.  Dir. Williams also assisted the re-drafting of guidelines for the Card Checker program.

The Great Lakes Division ARRL membership has seen a slight decline in aggregate membership over the past 11 months, from 12,767 to 12,478. 

The figures are much in alignment with the 2016 rate experienced by other Divisions and reflect expectations of reductions caused by the dues increase.


s/ Dale Williams WA8EFK
   Great Lakes Division


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

When you get to the end of December, you tend to look back and forward.

 So here goes – looking back, it was a particularly good year for ham radio in terms of the NPOTA event.  Over a million QSOs.  How many of those would NOT have taken place if not for this great activity?  Hard to say.  But probably a substantial number of them.  Hope you participated, and hope you had fun.  What’s next?  I don’t know, but new activities along these lines are being promised.  We’ll see what they come up with, but it should be more fun.

When I think of all the contacts I made, I know that I spent more time on the radio because of the event.  A friend and I used to kid about making our “one contact” for the day, sort of like the “apple a day…” maxim.  So for next year, I’d encourage everyone to try that.  Maybe you’ll end up with a lot of once-a-day repeater contacts, but can that be so bad?  Everyone complains that repeater use is in decline.  Let’s make sure we use that resource.  And there are other events, contests, etc.  Something for everyone.  What contacts will you make during the coming year?

Looking to the new year, there are two activities I hope we continue with very strongly.  They’re related—education and elmering.  Both bring new people into ham radio, either with licensing or by encouraging the new licensees to get and remain active.  There are so many success stories throughout the division.  There are nets for new people.  There are informal get-togethers apart from club meetings, and there are club meetings where new and useful topics are discussed.  Hams attend “Makers’ Faires” and go to Scouting events, and all sorts of other events, all trying to recruit new people to our hobby.  So many clubs in the division continue to offer classes for all license levels.  Keep up the good work!

And that reminds me.  I do have a request for those of you who are in charge of your club’s classes.  Please make sure, as many of you already do, that your class is registered with ARRL so that it can be put on the website.  Yes, you have your own ways of recruiting prospective hams, and please keep doing that.  But you never know when someone will be looking around for information, and come across your listing.  Let’s find every possible way to publicize our work.  And get your instructors registered, so they can get all the latest information and material from ARRL.

As we look ahead, there are always new things and new challenges. Hamvention®, for instance, will be completely new.  And I’m sure there will many challenges throughout the year.  Let’s stay prepared for emergencies, keep working on our technical skills, and enjoy being amateur radio operators!

73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division


Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few weeks.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication.  We have approximately 65 ARRL hamfests each year in the Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.

Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Tom and I are already committed for several dates in 2017 as are our Section Managers Scott N8SY, Alan KY1O and Larry WB8R.

Jan 15 - SCARF Hamfest - Nelsonville, OH 
Jan 29 - TUSCO Hamfest - Strausburg, OH 
Jan 29 - Hazel Park - Hazel Park, MI 
Feb 4  - HARA Swap - Negaunee, MI 
Feb 11 - Cherryland - Traverse City, MI 
Feb 19 - Mansfield - Mansfield, OH 
Feb 19 - Livonia - Livonia, MI 
Mar 4  - Cave City - Cave City, KY 
Mar 11 - Lowell - Lowell, Mi 
Mar 18 - Crossroads - Kalamazoo, MI 
Mar 18 - MOVARC - Gallipolis, OH 
Mar 19 - Toledo Mobile ARA - Perrysburg, OH

Be sure to check your Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

73, Let's be radio-active!

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Great Lakes Division