Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dale's Tales for March 2017

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

ARRL Great Lakes Division to hold Convention in October.   The convention will be part of the new Great Lakes HamCon to be held at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on October 7 & 8, 2017, HamCon promises to be an exciting event for ham radio in the ARRL Great Lakes Division. 

HamCon is sponsored by the Great Lakes Amateur Radio Association, a consortium of radio clubs in the Great Lakes Division. There are currently 14 clubs who have joined the consortium and it is continuing to grow. 

The HamCon event takes place in the infield of the MIS NASCAR® track, where there is room to park 5000 cars.  Additional parking for cars and campers surrounds the rack.  HamCon will use "Pit Road" for the flea market trunk sales, while the three large infield buildings are committed for the vendor booths and inside tables.  Advanced tickets, flea market spaces and booth rentals are expected to open for sale in mid-March.  Planned events include a Wouff Hong Initiation, Ham-in-a-day class, FCC license testing, ARRL meetings, DX Forum, Contesting Forum, Fox Hunting Forum, and QRP Operating Forum with 10 more events still pending.  As it becomes available, up-to-the-minute information will be posted on the web page at:

DXCC Card Checker Update.  I have contacted all of the present Card Checkers in the Great Lakes Division in an effort to bring everything up to date.  I am truly pleased to have received so many enthusiastic replies.  So now, our records are up-to-date and we will move on towards filling some needed vacancies, primarily related to the wide geography these folks serve.  We really need to fill some gaps with card checkers who are willing to visit hamfests and occasionally clubs to check cards.  We do have some volunteers in the wings and are looking for a few more.  If you would find this service interesting to you, please let me know soon, as I will be working with our three Section Managers and Division DX Clubs over the next couple of months to fill several available positions.

QSL Managers.  A reminder to all who are active operators, keep your QSL manager up-to-date with envelopes or a few green stamps so they can serve you faster and without any hassle.  Talk with your manager to find out what his preferences are for the service he provides.  Some like to supply the envelopes while some prefer the operators to provide them.

Discuss this with your QSL manager and you will really make his life easier.


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

I’m sure there are January hamfests, but for me the “season” starts with the Mansfield Mid-Winter Hamfest in February.  What a contrast in weather this year (mid-sixties) to a few years ago with sub-zero temps.  We had a good forum up there, with lots of attendees and excellent discussion.  One of those topics was the Entry Level License.  I’m on that committee of the ARRL Board.

Besides getting feedback in person, the Committee has also set up an on-line survey to get members involved.  You can find the survey on the ARRL website:  If you haven’t already participated, I’d encourage you to tell us what you think.

As the introduction to the survey notes, “We were tasked with evaluating the current entry level license (Technician) and making any recommendations to the Board for possible rules changes to recommend to the FCC.”  At this point the committee has not made any recommendations, and we’re only talking about possible rule changes.

Please keep that in mind when you respond.  I’d like to point out that this effort is one of trying to keep amateur radio strong.  How do we get new hams, and what do we need to do to keep them active?  Changing the license requirements to reflect changes in operating, study habits, etc., if they are done at all, would be done with that in mind.

Remember the ARRL’s Vision Statement:  “To advance the art, science, and enjoyment of Amateur Radio.”

Besides the survey, if you want to talk to me, find me at a hamfest or club meeting, send me an email or give me a call. 

One more thing.  The other day, in a conversation on a local repeater, I was talking with someone about how technology has improved our radios.  But a bigger change in technology by far has happened in the video production industry, where I worked for the better part of forty years.  The $100,000 cameras we used thirty years ago were incapable of producing the quality pictures that a $200 consumer camera can today!

I bring this up because recently I’ve had occasion to use some of my background (and my consumer-electronics gear) to produce some videos promoting ham radio.  Which led me to wonder how many hams in our Division currently work, or have worked, doing video production.  As those of you in the industry know, production is best when it is done as a team.  Just look at the teams behind the scenes at the recent Oscars. 

If you have experience in video and might be interested in some projects involving ham radio, let me know.  We can “talk shop,” and more importantly, maybe collaborate on some things that will promote our other big interest, ham radio.

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. 

Mar 4  - Cave City - Cave City, KY
Mar 5  - NOARS - Elyria, OH
Mar 11 - Lowell - Lowell, MI
Mar 18 - Crossroads - Kalamazoo, MI
Mar 18 - MOVARC - Gallipolis, OH
Mar 19 - Toledo Mobile ARA - Perrysburg, OH
Apr 1  - Portsmouth - Portsmouth, OH
Apr 2  - 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 19 - Dayton Hamvention - Xenia, 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