Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dale's Tales for February 2018

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for February 2018.

And here we are half way through winter and having more fun than should be allowed.  I read about a
host of winter ham radio activities like "Freeze Your (insert whatever here) Off, NVIS antenna contests, dog sled races, half marathons, Winter Field Days and a host of others.  We are a hardy bunch of fun lovers, and these activities certainly eliminate the boredom.

It's not like it all has to be outdoors, the well attended cold weather hamfests attest to that and with Kosovo contacts now qualifying for DXCC, spending some time in front of the radio is not too bad.  The scores are adding up for ARRL's International Grid Chase (see the ship Betanzos is approaching the shore of Bouvet and 3Y0Z will soon be on the air.  This is a welcome relief from the relatively poor band conditions and lack of any truly challenging operating activity over the past few months.

For those who have expressed an interest and concern about certain reported plans by the ARRL board, I am pleased to report that common sense prevailed at the meeting.  Several of the motions were not submitted for action, some were referred to committee and/or legal counsel for evaluation and some were completely withdrawn following Board discussion. 

Further, the ARRL Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members of the Board of Directors and Vice Directors was referred for complete review and certain clauses in that were unclear in their meaning were immediately removed.  Those removals included the sentence in Section 6C regarding the non-disclosure of the votes of individual members and the entirety of Section 8 covering support of Board Decisions.

In a separate action, the Board removed a limitation on the Ethics and Elections Committee regarding the public release of information relating to an individual's eligibility for election.  In future elections, this information will be released unless the candidate specifically requests otherwise.

The complete ARRL Board meeting minutes are due to be submitted to the Board members for approval and then released to the membership within the next few days. 

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

We’re well past New Year’s Day, but January is typically a time when people make “resolutions” to do or not do things in the coming year.

I’ve always resisted “resolutions” as such, but I do like to look ahead at trends and where things are going.

As for amateur radio, I see challenges ahead, but good signs as well.

The biggest challenge is to keep ham radio relevant for new people.

I’m actively working on this, through my participation in some of the ARRL committees I serve on, thinking about new ways of licensing, and new ways of educating prospective hams in the hobby.  And, the good signs here are that so many of you in the Division are out there with license classes every few months.  Many of you are Volunteer Examiners. And many of you are working not just with “generic” licensing classes, but those targeted at groups like Scouts, STEM classes, etc.

There’s also the personal challenge for each ham operator, of “keeping up.”  What new formal training will you do this year?  Or what new mode will you try?  Keep up your skills and learn new ones! And how can you offer what you have learned, last year, or over the last fifty, to help new people understand radio?

And how can we strengthen our clubs in a time when people don’t want to join anything, and don’t want to volunteer for anything inside a club they do belong to?  Throughout the Great Lakes Division, we see examples of clubs that are thriving, and then some that aren’t doing so well.  Trying to understand what works to get people interested in a challenge for all of us.

Despite the challenges, we’re making progress.  There are new modes, new things to enjoy, new people to meet.  I hope all of us stay positive, and keep enjoying this great hobby.

--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:  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.  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. 

2/3/18                  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
3/3/18                  Cave City Hamfest             Cave City, KY
3/4/18                  NOARS Hamfest                Elyria, OH           
3/17/18                Crossroads Hamfest            Kalamazoo, MI
3/17/18                MOVARC Hamfest             Gallipolis, OH
3/18/18                Toledo Mobile R.A.           Perrysburg, OH
4/7/18                  Lincoln Trail                       Elizabethtown, KY
4/14/18                Cuyahoga Falls                   Cuyahoga Falls, OH
4/21/18                Portsmouth                         Portsmouth, OH
4/29/18                GMARC Hamfest              Madison Hgts, MI
4/29/18                Athens Hamfest                 Athens, OH

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


Dale Williams WA8EFK

Great Lakes Division