Friday, December 1, 2017

Dale's Tales for December

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

CLUB Holiday Parties.  Wow, it is that time of year to start all of the celebrations.  I see a lot of
announcements for club parties and activities for the coming season.  And as many as there are clubs there are an equal number of variations in planning, hosting, venues and activities.  Still for everyone, it is a time to meet with friends and in many cases, families as well.  I truly hope your club has an event planned to bring everyone together this season.  Please consider keeping it safe for everyone and as a reminder to celebrate in moderation.  We want the year to end on a happy note for everyone.

PCARS Donation to the Center of Hope. Every year, since year one of the Portage County (Ohio) Amateur Radio Service's existence, they have donated to a local charity, the Center of Hope, in Ravenna, OH. The Amelia DiGirolamo Center of Hope is dedicated to enhancing the nutrition of low-income people in Portage County where local food pantries are not present.

In 2006, the first year as a club, PCARS donated approximately $300 to the Center of Hope.  Each year since then, they have donated the club's portion of their 50/50 raffle at the November meeting, plus any other donations they could collect from members and friends.  Annual contributions have increased in amount almost every year.  There are over 100,000 individuals who receive service through the Center of Hope each year.

With the club's donation of the other half of the 50/50, and the generous donations made by and collected by their membership, the total contribution to the Center of Hope for 2017 was $6445.00.  When totaled up over the past 12 years, PCARS' contribution to the Center of Hope currently exceeds $28,950.00!  Amateur Radio has certainly had an impact on their entire community.

As we enter this holiday season, let us all consider those less fortunate than ourselves and give generously to help those in need.

PCARS sets an outstanding example of what a local club can do, our hats go off to them for their outstanding community service.  I know there are other radio clubs who share in their generosity. Please stand and be recognized.  I will be honored to report your service.

PARITY ACT: A reminder, the Amateur Radio Parity Act continues as we move into 2018.  Our efforts in Washington will press strongly for action in the year remaining for this session of Congress.  While it has passed the House, it remains blocked in the Senate (Florida Sen. Nelson) and our advisors on the Washington scene are working on a means to remove the block and allow it to be passed by the Senate.  Nelson has reportedly heard from a large contingency of his Florida ham radio constituents requesting his full support for the bill.

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

Antennas.  If you believe the adage about them working better when the weather is awful, well, this is not a good time.  Too mild.  But if you need an antenna, almost anytime is the best time.  A recent windstorm was not kind to me.  My end-fed random-length wire came down, although it took me a while to realize it.  I had made a number of contacts in the ARRL Sweeps with a drooping, shorter-than-it-was-supposed-to-be antenna.  And the wind finally put enough torque the wrong way on my rotor that now it isn’t working, either.  I took advantage of our mild days to re-string the wire antenna, but it will take some doing to tilt over the tower and replace the rotor.  Maybe spring.

And it’s not just my antennas.  Soon, I’ll be helping another ham set up some antennas for a new residence.  And last month, someone else needed some evaluation of their antenna set up.

In some ways, ham radio is an individual thing.  It’s the contacts I make, the scores I get.  In other ways, though, it’s a community thing.  We benefit from working together in clubs towards a common goal.
 The advice you can get at just one meeting can get you inspired for a whole year.  And it not only helps to have friends, sometimes it’s necessary to have friends to help with construction projects like antennas.  The younger among us can do the heavy work, and sometimes those of us with experience can design projects that will work best for a particular location.

I’m also continually amazed by the amount of information that is out there.  ARRL has lots of books on antennas, with great advice for just about any situation.  I have to share one little story –I still have a copy of the 1968 Handbook, because in every other antenna book and Handbook that I have seen, there has not been the simple dipole chart that I found there many years ago.  The book falls open to that page, I have used it so many times.  As for current publications, if you’re looking for limited-space antennas, there’s the book Small Antennas for Small Spaces, or for a comprehensive look at wire antennas, how about Wire Antenna Classics in any one of three volumes. 

So as we go into the holiday season and have our December parties at the club meetings, remember how important it is to have good clubs.  And pitch in if you’re asked to help.  Maybe you also will need some help the next time you have an antenna problem.

73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

STATE CONVENTIONS:  In even numbered years, the Great Lakes Division's three Sections host their individual State Conventions.  If your local hamfest is interested in serving as the host for your State Convention in 2018, your club should contact your Section Manager and request to serve as the sponsor.  State Conventions normally encompass special forums, can request guest forum speakers from ARRL and often hold recognition Banquets and special programs.   Having a convention also
means additional attendance beyond that normally expected at a regular hamfest.

HAMFESTING:  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.  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next couple of months.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

12/2/17                              Fulton County                   Delta, OH
12/3/17                              Lanse Creuse                     Madison Heights, MI
1/14/18                              SCARF Hamfest                 Nelsonville, OH
1/28/18                              Hazel Park Hamfest         Madison Heights, MI
1/28/18                              Tusco Hamfest                  Strasburg, OH
2/03/18                             HARA Hamfest                  Negaunee, MI
2/10/18                              Cherryland Hamfest        Traverse City, MI
2/18/18                              InterCity Hamfest            Mansfield, OH
2/18/18                              Livonia Hamfest               Livonia, MI                        

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

From Judy and me, to all our ham radio friends in the Great Lakes Division, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, we offer the best wishes in the coming holiday season.


Dale Williams WA8EFK
Great Lakes Division