Friday, March 31, 2017

Dale's Tales for April 2017

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for April 2017.

Good News:  The FCC released ET Docket 15-99, granting US amateurs the use of the 135.7 137.8 and 472-479 kHz Bands.  Check
for all the details.

On March 31, Mich Section Manager Larry Camp WB8R and I had the honor of attending a Press Conference in Southfield, MI where Jim Santilli of the Transportation Improvement Association, State Representative Martin Howrylak, and Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins announced that Michigan House Bill 4466 was introduced in the legislature to curb distracted driving.  MI hams are fortunate that SGL Ed Hude WA8QJE insured that the interests of Amateur Radio were brought into the writing of the bill early on and licensed ham operators are completely exempt from the restrictions of the legislation.  Mr and Mrs James Freybler of Grand Rapids were present to support the effort.  They lost their 17 year old son to the tragedy of distracted driving.

The Bill must go through the complete legislative process, be reviewed by committee before the House passes it and then move to the MI Senate for its approval before the Governor signs it into law.

Thanks for taking the time to read another edition of Dale's Tales. Fortunately, this missive is distributed by ARRL's e-mail system, is reprinted in many of the Great Lakes Division's club newsletters (Thanks editors!) and is also posted on the Division web site.  ARRL members have the option of receiving it directly by selecting "edit your profile" on the ARRL web pages.  While you are checking out that page, you can also select a number of other useful ARRL subscriptions and services, like getting a notice of your license expiration or our publication The ARRL Letter.

You may not be aware, but we frequently survey many of our members who may be late in renewing.  As you might expect, the survey results vary over a wide range, but each response is reviewed as we are always concerned about how our membership views the League.  A significant number of membership lapses are simply "Whoops I forgot" and the renewal is on the way.  We are thankful for that.   Most interesting to me were several who commented that QST was too technical for them, followed by a similar number of responders who stated that it was not technical enough!  Then follows comments that there are too many articles on DX followed by others who said there is not enough DX coverage.  Several other popular aspects of our hobby had similar results.  This all proves our membership likes ham radio and each person views facets of the hobby that are more important to them than others. 

Our editors and the staff at Headquarters all work diligently to provide features and articles that cover the gamut of this great hobby.

Obviously, with 12 issues a year, each of our specialty areas cannot be covered in a single year or even two.  Still, Steve Ford and his team make every attempt to serve us well. 

Like you, there are some parts of ham radio that I really like and some that don't fascinate me at all.   Still, I read QST from cover-to-cover each month, including the ads.  That reminds me of one neat thing about QST, all of the articles are complete within the same series of pages.

There is no need to search for the remainder of an article that has been relegated to the back pages of the magazine. 

Surprisingly to me, I do manage to find something interesting in each issue and often in an article outside my normal areas of interest.

Without doubt, this helps me gain a better understanding of that is happening in Amateur Radio as a whole, and I can have a better grasp on those things that affect us all.   Oh, and the ads are important too, because that is where I seem to find all those neat toys I need to add to the ham shack!

ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention in conjunction with Great Lakes HamCon will be held at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on October 7 & 8, 2017.  Check for information on tickets, flea market spaces and booths.  As it becomes available, up-to-the-minute information will be posted on the web page. 

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

"The future of ham radio is...."  We're all concerned about the future. And many predict that the future of ham radio is here or there, in this program or that.  Well, it's probably in a lot of things.

It's in technology.  That keeps us relevant.  There are software defined radios, new advances in communications techniques.  And lots and lots of experiments.  Did you read about the two brothers, both in their 20's, out in California, experimenting with long distance communications on the 33 cm band?  And new techniques in digital.  I'll never be one to invent anything, but I'm grateful for the advances in both voice and data digital technology, and try to make use of them as new things come out.

It's in recruiting.  One thing I've learned from being on the Entry Level License committee is that there are paths into ham radio for everyone, from the youngest to the "more-than-middle aged" people.  And clubs are working to help those people find their way.  Lots of good programs are underway for mentoring and making sure that new hams understand and use these new technologies, as well as just the basics for getting on the air and communicating.

And speaking of youth, I have been amazed to see what happens to young people when they get turned on to ham radio.  Not only do they learn to be hams, but their ambitions to do things in technology fields become really great.  There's an impressive group doing a net once a week on Echolink, through the W8PIF repeater in Michigan.  And there are many other youth nets going on around the country.

We need to be concerned about the future of ham radio.  But not too concerned.  Do your part.  Help a new ham.  Make friends with a school group or a scout group.  That will keep ham radio alive.

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. 

Apr 1  - Portsmouth - Portsmouth, OH

Apr 1  - Lincoln Trail - Elizabethtown, KY 
Apr 8  - Cuyahoga Falls - Cuyahoga Falls, OH 
Apr 22 - Chassell - Chassell, MI 
Apr 29 - Jackson County - Jackson, OH 
Apr 30 - Athens - Athens, OH 
May 6  - Cadillac - Cadillac, MI 
May 13 - Ashland - Ashland, KY 
May 19 - Dayton Hamvention - Xenia, OH 
Jun  3 - IRA Hamfest - Hudsonville, MI 
Jun  3 - Fulton County - Tedrow, OH 
Jun  3 - Princeton Hamfest - Princeton, KY 
Jun 10 - Luce County - Newberry, MI 
Jun 17 - Milford Hamfest - Milford, OH 
Jun 18 - Monroe Hamfest - Monroe, MI

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