Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 2016 Issue of the Ohio Section Journal

In this issue:


















Jeff Kopcak - TC

Hey gang,
Happy New Year.  Welcome to 2016!  Hope Santa was good to you and left you a new radio under the tree.  A white Christmas would be nice but I’ll take the warm temperatures we had for the holidays.  I took some MUCH needed time off from work and spent it: sleeping, doing things with friends and family, operating on the radio, and watching NCIS.  Got a couple hundred JT65/9 contacts in the log (really because I was slacking the last couple months and to make up for lost time!), played with Yaesu’s System Fusion, and WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporting).

I hope everyone got to spend some time at their local club’s holiday parties.  My family and I attended the LEARA (Cleveland) holiday meeting where I won the club’s giveaway of a new Baofeng radio and also a hat courtesy of our own Section Manager!  This past weekend (Jan 10), I visited the Wood County Amateur Radio Club (Bowling Green) and attended their Kick-off banquet to begin the New Year!  Great to see everyone.

I’ve been invited to visit the Columbus Radio Enthusiasts Society on February 16th.  They asked me to present at their meeting on what the Technical Coordinator does and projects I’ve worked on.  Stop by and say hi as it’s my first club meeting in central Ohio.  More:

A couple months ago, I decided to see if I could get Fldigi working on the Raspberry Pi with my SignaLink.  Fldigi is a modem application that is used for message passing or operating PSK, RTTY, and many other digital modes.  I thought the tutorial could be a good resource for those who want to replace large PCs with much smaller Raspberry Pi computers or install digital in their go-kit.  It was a success, or so I thought.  I hit a couple snags along the way during initial testing.  The first problem was a junky USB power supply.  The SignaLink would key the radio for a time but would start a key-unkey sequence every second or so.  I got what I paid for -- use quality parts in your project.  I swapped out the power supply.  After that, I thought it was good to go.

Unfortunately, Ken W0KAH (from Missouri) contacted me over the holidays and said ‘it’s working great… except for our custom forms.’  I tried it and he’s absolutely correct.  I loaded up his forms and ones that Technical Specialist Bob – K8MD created.  When selecting these custom forms in Flmsg, the application hangs.  The included forms work fine.  I tried to first debug and later re-work the process to no avail.  If anyone has custom forms working on the Raspberry Pi, please contact me.  The build instructions and additional notes about the issue are available:

Speaking of Bob – K8MD, he wrote in to inform me that he’s been assisting with NBEMS during drills in Medina County.  NBEMS (Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System (or Software)) is a set of standards for passing text based messages and files over ham radio.  His proficiency and use of NBEMS was noticed by ARES folks in nearby counties.  Bob reported on the event:


On Saturday 5 December, Medina County ARES conducted a damage assessment drill with Medina County CERT team.  The exercise was centered around the Damage Assessment form that I created for FLdigi.  The objective of the exercise was to complete an initial damage assessment of an area that had been hit by a tornado.  This initial damage assessment must be completed by the County EMA within 12 hours.  This initial damage assessment is used by FEMA, the Red Cross, and other agencies to increase their situational awareness.  The information is used to determine the size of the response necessary for the incident.

The exercise was a resounding success!  CERT was divided up into six teams.  Each of these teams had a mobile / portable ARES station paired up with the team.  The CERT volunteers filled out the damage assessment forms and the ARES stations transmitted the forms back to the County EMA.  The amount of information passed in a short amount of time was quite impressive.

One of the key things that I think we learned at this exercise was to keep the digital traffic on a separate frequency and separate band from the FM phone net.  The traditional FM phone net was established on a 70cm repeater.  A two meter simplex frequency was designated for the digital traffic.  The portable ARES stations would use the FM phone net to ask permission to send digital traffic on the digital channel.  This permitted the normal FM phone net to resume operations while the computers did all the work transferring the digital traffic on a separate channel. It’s critical that the digital channel take place on a different band then the FM phone net, so that the digital traffic receive is not de-sensed from adjacent frequency intermod.  It’s also important for the stations doing a digital transmission on an FM phone frequency to announce: “CALLSIGN with tones” before transmitting.  One of the digital transmissions went over a repeater and a non-ARES ham that was listening, thought the repeater was malfunctioning and allowing paging signals to be re-transmitted.

Mike Brugger, N8CEY is the ARES EC for Wayne County.  He came up to observe the exercise from the Medina County EMA.  I helped him get FLdigi and FLmsg installed and properly configured on his laptop, while he helped me with Net Control duties.  Mike left with an extremely positive appreciation for the digital traffic handling.  He’s planning to take the knowledge back to the Wayne County ARES team and start training on FLdigi.


Thanks for that great report.  Bob, Dave – NF8O, Fred – K8FH, and I put together a hands-on NBEMS training session for Medina county.  The sides are available online:

Thanks for reading and 73... de Jeff - K8JTK


John Myers, KD8MQ - ACC

Hi everyone,

The holidays are over, and it's time to get to work. Lots of clubs hold their elections in the last few months of the year. The terms for the new officers often start with the New Year. So this month, I thought I'd run down a list of items that should be on every new officers To-Do List.

But first, I'd like to offer congratulations and a hearty thank you to all club officers, and trustees. I know that this can at times seem like a thankless job. But, it can also be a very rewarding one!
So, on we go to the club officers To-Do List. Granted, not all of these suggestions will apply to you, or to your club. But, I've tried to put together as many items as I can think of. Feel free to contact me with any additions, or corrections.

*  Meeting room reservations - Believe it or not, sometimes this very important task falls between the cracks. At my home club, we make a formal request each November to the Hospital which hosts our meetings. We take care of the meeting room reservation for the entire upcoming year at that time.

*  Update your club record at - This can be done from your club information page at I can't stress enough the importance of this one.

*  Check the expiration date on your clubs SSC Status - At this time, the best way to check this is to contact myself, or Scott, N8SY. We'll be happy to look it up for you.

*  If your club is registered with Ohio secretary of state, you can check your status here. - This needs to be done every five years.

*  If your group is an IRS 501c3 Non-Profit, you can check your status here: This site only tells if you are a valid 501c3, or not. It does not give much else. If anyone knows of a better site for checking this, please let me know so I can pass it along.

*  One club I belong to has e-mail addresses for each officer. They follow the convention of <officer>@ <club name>.org. That way, when we change officers, no one has to remember new addresses. If your club does something similar, make sure that those addresses are updated.

*  Website - Make sure that the officers names, and contact info on your website are updated whenever appropriate. Your website is your front door. You want it to be up to date.

*  This should have been at the very top of the list. Make sure to transfer all information to the new treasurer, and/or Secretary promptly. This includes passwords for bank accounts, insurance, websites, etc. Anything that requires a password to access.

*  Check the signature card for your bank account. If any of the information is no longer accurate, it's time to fill out a new one. 

*  Do your by-laws require a regular audit of the books of your organization? Maybe now is the time.

OK, moving on, Are you looking for a unique club activity? Winter Field Day is coming up on the weekend of January 30/31. Operating WFD can be a great club activity, as well as an emergency preparedness exercise for your ARES group. After all, who ever said that all emergencies have to happen in the summer, during good weather?

While WFD hit kind of a snag last year, it is now under new management, and the future looks bright. You can find out more about Winter Field Day at
If operating in the cold isn’t your cup of tea, I can't say that I blame you. How about activating one of the NPOTA sites in Ohio as a club event? The pileups for this event have been huge. You can read more about NPOTA at

My goal for 2015 was to get 25% of the clubs in the Ohio Section to be Special Service Clubs. We achieved that goal. As of January 1st, we have 99 affiliated clubs in the Ohio section. Of those 99 clubs, 26 are Special Service Clubs. A big thank you goes out both to the clubs in the Ohio section, and to our Section Manager, Scott Yonally, N8SY. Scott joined me on this goal, and made sure that he brought up the subject of Special Service Club Status to each & every club visited in 2015.

I haven't yet made a goal for 2016, but if I did, it might be to get everyone current on their club report forms. Right now, roughly 2/3 of you are current on your annual report forms. I'll be contacting the rest of you soon.

And that ties the ribbons on it for another month. Stay warm out there!

73 everyone, see you next month. DE KD8MQ


Stan Broadway, N8BHL

FEMA Training

Like most other things in life, we ride a pendulum with ham radio in the emergency service. I remember in the 70’s, when ham radio – weather nets, emergency nets, and even traffic – was in its heyday. While not licensed then, I heard the story of a half-dozen hams gathered in a Reynoldsburg home, handling welfare traffic, searches, even dispatching National Guard helicopters over the big Columbus 76 repeater.  During that event, the trustee reported that the repeater ~never keyed down~ for three solid days, the traffic was that intense.  And so it was through the 80’s with continuous traffic on the repeaters, auto-patches being frequently made, and emergency calls to the 911 centers a normal activity.

Then, 9/11 hit. And in the emergency circles, things changed forever. FEMA began to exert its national powers, and ham radio operators got to ‘wait for a call’.  More recently, after congressional studies pointed out the resource they were missing, FEMA and other emergency agencies began to again realize the good things ham radio could provide to emergency operation.  Now, with renewed MOU’s and shared exercises on the local and national level, amateur radio is regaining a lot of its credibility. But life in the emergency service remains different from those early days. ICS is the only path to handle emergencies and the only structure to be considered appropriate in every situation. (And it actually ~works!~)

Amateur radio and ARES has fallen far behind when it comes to validating our capabilities.  Should an emergency arise and a group of ARES operators be activated how many will be qualified to actually do that job?  Can we assume that your county ARES organization is up to standard?  Unfortunately, the answer in too many cases is, “No.”  And the usual, “I don’t need all that stuff, I can handle this, been a ham since dirt,” response is completely invalid.  For ARES to be a qualified, bona fide emergency resource, we need to step up and prove our capabilities.  We need to be certified!

For some time, EC’s have been required to possess the FEMA 100, 200, 700 and 800 courses. These are not brain-burners, they are merely orientation to how a typical EOC functions and how the management of any emergency will operate. The courses are available online, they are free, and they are interesting!

This year, our goal is to step up the capabilities of ARES and become more worthy partners with EMA’s and other served agencies.  We prove our capability through certification.  Thus, we’ve set the following goal:

All Ohio ARES members need to complete the four FEMA courses (100, 200, 700, 800) by the end of second quarter (July, 2016.)    I’m instructing all EC’s that ANY ARES operator wishing to operate in the EOC, or at emergency scenes will be ~required~ to possess this certification.  Paper copies of training certificates should be kept on file at your county EOC.

Do you really have to do this? Nope. If you are dead set against taking these courses, your help will be more than welcomed for continuing public service activities- bike rides, runs, and special events. Your time is invaluable for these activities!  But in a real emergency, or an emergency exercise, your position will be ‘second-tier’ and not directly involved.

Look, this is a very big step to take- and we don’t take it lightly. But we are taking it because ARES needs to be able to put our actions where our mouth is!

Here is the link to the overview page:    Check the course list and find the courses you’d like to take. (Be careful, this can become addictive!)  I would also recommend that EC’s contact your EMA Directors to provide training in how your EOC operates!  We need to be familiar with this layer of response before it’s necessary!

The Contest

By now, our January 9th ARES VHF contest date has passed, and it’s too early for results. But thank you all for your energy and participation!  We’ll have a wrap-up in following monthly reports!
(Theme Music up: “Whooo are you?”)

ARES has been trying for several years to achieve some type of credentialing: an ID that actually means something, and is available across the state during an emergency. We have been unsuccessful. But the Ohio Department of Public Safety has announced a great step that may solve our problem: a state level ID that should go a long way to provide access to an emergency scene! And the ID will be available on your cell phone!

From the press release announcing the program, here are some details:

Beginning January 1, 2016, the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) division of Homeland Security (OHS) will begin issuing emergency personnel credentials through the Emergency Partner Credentialing System (EPCS).  EPCS credential holders are vetted through OHS to aid private-sector organizations with appropriate access to emergency areas to deliver critically needed stockpile supplies, resources and medication.  

OHS will also partner with all Ohio county sheriffs so that these credentials will be available to assist essential personnel during winter weather emergencies in reporting for vital job functions in select critical infrastructure sectors. 

“I am pleased that this nationally-unique system gives our private-sector partners the empowerment to do what they do best when emergencies hit Ohio communities,” said ODPS Director John Born.  “It is also reassuring that emergency responders can be confident that these pre-screened credentials can be verified by local on-scene authorities.”  

Two types of credentials will be authorized through EPCS: • Multi-Emergency Credentials allow an employee access to regular statewide emergency relief initiatives. • Emergency-Specific Credentials allow personnel access to a specific disastrous or emergency event, and will not carry over into disaster relief for other catastrophic events. 

Both credential types can be presented to authorities on personal electronic devices or in hard copy format and are able to be authenticated through the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS).  

EPCS does not supersede the authority of local officials to restrict access to areas affected by an emergency that are unsafe or have not yet stabilized.  Local authorities reserve the right to deny access to any individual to a restricted area, with or without EPCS credentials. 

OP3 encourages open sharing of information vital to assist members in returning to normal operations after a catastrophe by: building on collaborative skills, knowledge and abilities of private partners; leveraging existing supply chains to ease the effects of emergencies; sharing critical information with the membership; and providing situational awareness of imminent threats. Currently, there are more than 235 OP3 members.  

Your Section Manager, Scott N8SY, and I are both members of OP3 and can administer the ID’s. We’re working with ODPS to flesh out details in how this can be used best by ARES organizations. This is a major step, and we’re enthusiastic about the possibilities! 

In other stuff

I would recommend some reading as a follow-up to our SET’s grid-down power outage scenario: Ted Kopple has written “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared” which is available from Amazon and other book sellers.

I am really excited that we have a lot of stuff going on right now: following up on the VHF contest, planning the Ohio Spring Conference in April, the 2016 NVIS Antenna day, the official launch of ARESMAT in Ohio, and the coming Republican National Convention in Cleveland this fall.  Get ready and keep your batteries charged!

73, Stan, N8BHL


John Ross, KD8IDJ

From the PIC..

Fast and Furious

The 2016 Ohio Section Newsletter Contest is off to a fast start!

The newsletters have been rolling in via email and snail mail and it looks like another great year of writing, designing and keeping our hobby alive.

Remember we need at least two copies but you can send as many as you want. They are filed in special folder for each club, time and date stamped and organized so the judges get a good picture.

So, send the newsletters anyway you, snail, pony express or drone...I take any way you can get them here. You can ever call me and I'll come pick one up!

If you have questions give me a call. Good Luck!!

Are We Doing it Right?

A couple of times a year I sit down with a bunch of people...current and  retired journalists, public relations experts, communications least that what we call ourselves and talk about how we do things. It's always lively and sometimes disturbing.

The year's first meeting somehow got off on a tangent and we found ourselves asking, "Are we doing it right?" We go through the motions every day, writing, editing, creating and publishing using all of the skills and experience we've acquired over the years. But there is a nagging feeling sometimes that, maybe, we did it wrong or maybe we didn't do enough. It's enough to make us stop, or at least pause, and look for some answers. It becomes kind of a "writers block" when you start thinking that way and to move forward you need answers.

Throughout the process we ask tough questions, look over our past work and try to make sense of just how well it was done and was it effective. Believe me, it's not easy, but it's important. If we just keep cranking out the work and don't take time to assess its effectiveness...we are probably not doing it right...and our audiences are affected in the wrong way.

So, I guess the bottom line to all of this is keep doing, but step back, step away and take a different look at where you are and where you have been. It will be a tremendously growing experience and will give you a new perspective of just how well you are doing. It will also keep your audience better informed and open new ways to communicate.

The lecture series over now...sorry for the deep thought (or deep whatever it was) but what I see from all of the Ohio PIO's is pretty darn close to PERFECT!

The Craft Store and Ham Radio

As a dutiful husband I often go with the XYL to the craft store. A lot of things there for her but not much there for ham radio section among the glue, glitter and fake fruit.

However, over the past couple of trips I was somehow drawn to a display of marque letters. They are about eight inches high, light up and look like they were made in a high school metal shop.

I woke up in the middle of the night just after the holidays with a brilliant least I thought it was...but somehow I had a feeling the wife would think I was nuts. Well I was right. Just after I told her I needed to go to the craft store she burst out laughing and said "what the h___ for?" I didn't tell her but she went with me anyway.

I found the stack of cheap letters and began to pick up ones that spelled out my call sign. To my surprise she was actually helping and not laughing as loud.

My idea was to mount these lighted letters on the wall of the ham shack and wire them to light when I was transmitting...kind of a poor man's on-air light.

But this story does have a happy ending...beginning with the checkout at the craft store. As I laid the letters on the counter the 20-something cashier belted out," These don't spell anything...did you get all of the letters you need?" I explained, as the 10 people in line waited, that I was a ham radio operator and these letters were my call sign. She then said, "Oh, yeah my grandfather was one of those."

My wife rolled her eyes, the waiting customers began to smile and chuckle, and I tried to head to the door before I said something stupid! But as a drove out of sight (sorry, it was the season) I realized a bunch of craft-type folks had now heard about ham radio! I'll take publicity however I can get it!!

I've now decided to mount the letters on my Jeep, hit the light switch, drive by the store and honk! By the way, the "poor man's" on-air light cost me just under $100!!!

The moral of all of this...keeping talking about ham radio...everywhere!

See you next month!


Here are the rules for the 2016 entries:

A.) An eligible newsletter must be regularly published at least four (4) times per year by an Ohio Amateur Radio organization. The Ohio Section Journal and the newsletter for any club that the current PIC is affiliated with are not eligible.

B.) Each organization submitting a newsletter for the contest must enter at least two (2) issues starting with January 2016 for judging. All Amateur organizations that have regularly been sending newsletters to the Ohio PIC are automatically entered (as long as these publications qualify under rule A, or C if applicable). Unless you are automatically entered, the deadline for entries is Thursday, June 30, 2016, and all entries must be in the hands of the Ohio PIC by that date.

C.) Electronic (Web based) produced newsletters may also enter. Non-amateurs, in the Public Relations industry will do the judging. They will be judging on style (15%), content (35%), service to membership (35%), and clarity of presentation (15%). Style means newsletter design of all pages. Content means amount of useful information contained in the newsletter. Service to members means amount of information using individual members' names. Clarity of presentation means readability of the newsletter including accuracy of English grammar.

D.) No entries can be returned and all decisions of the judges on content and eligibility are final. The Ohio PIC only serves to certify entries, to provide the judges with entries, and to announce their decisions only.

E.) The decision of the judges is final.

Like last year we are keeping our Honorable Mention categories. It allows the judges to award special and unique efforts.

73, John, KD8IDJ


David Maynard, WA3EZN - STM

I want to wish everyone a happy New Year. I hope all of your QSOs are loud and clear and you work lots of DX and pass lots of traffic.

In December I heard from Larry N9AUG, Buckeye Net Early net manager, that he needed a break. After 35 years of traffic handling he was resigning as Buckeye Net Early manager. Although that is longer than I have been around the Ohio nets I want to thank Larry for his years of dedication and service to all the nets and the National Traffic System. Larry did say that he had equipment problems in 2015 but was back on the air again and would still work with the nets on a more limited basis.

Fortunately Steve Judd WB8YLO has stepped up to become the new Buckeye Net Early net manager effective January 1, 2016. I know I have been receiving regular reports from Steve but did not realize he was also a CW operator. I am glad to welcome Steve and wish him well in the net manage position. I know he will get the cooperation of all the CW operators to keep the net working. After making the announcement I have heard from others that Steve is a very fine operator and comes to us from the military. I would also like to thank Mike W8MAL and Henry WD8Q for offering to fill in if nobody wanted to be the net manager..

This brings up a good point. If there is an opening for a net manager, net liaison, net control or any other position and you would like to help you need to speak up. There are a lot of talented operators out there and you assistance is needed to keep thing going. All you have to do is speak up.

A report from another digital mode..  The NTSD is part of the ARRL sponsored National Traffic System and consists of a cadre of fully automated store and forward bulletin board type systems known as Mail Box Operations (MBO) or hubs operating on HF using high speed Pactor 3 protocols on a 24/7 basis moving formal message traffic. The goal of NTSD is to move that traffic via digital means to the closest point of delivery at which point it is then removed from the automated system by operators known as Digital Relay Stations (DRS). The DRS then take this traffic to the nets at region, section, and local levels for any additional necessary relay and ultimate delivery.

There were a total of 8850 pieces of message traffic handled by Eastern Area NTSD during December. This was accomplished by 6 automated MBO stations representing NTS areas 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 and a total of 60 individual Digital Relay Stations reporting at regional, section, or local NTS levels. A similar level of activity for December also existed in both the Central and Pacific Areas of NTSD. Ohio has four DRS station of which only two are active. These two stations (W8DJG and WA3EZN) received 98 radiograms for distribution to the voice nets and sent 139 radiograms for a total of 237 radiograms for the month of December 2015.

Talking about reporting are you sending me you traffic count reports and PSHR reports. There are 76 Official Relay Stations (ORS) in Ohio but in December I only received 20 PSHR reports and 42 traffic count reports. Since most stations send both reports monthly that means at least 34 ORS stations failed to file the required PSHR and/or traffic reports.

What is an Official Relay Station?

This is a traffic-handling appointment that is open to all classes of license. This appointment applies equally to all modes and all parts of the spectrum. It is for traffic-handlers, regardless of mode employed or part of the spectrum used.

The potential value of the skilled operator with traffic know-how to his country and community is enhanced by his ability and the readiness of his station to function in the community interest in case of emergency. Traffic awareness and experience are often the signs by which mature amateurs may be distinguished.

Traditionally, there have been considerable differences between procedures for traffic handling by CW, phone, RTTY, ASCII, packet and other modes. Appointment requirements for ORS do not deal with these, but with factors equally applicable to all modes. The appointed ORS may confine activities to one mode or one part of the spectrum if he wishes. There is no versatility requirement, although versatility does indeed make it possible for anyone to perform a more complete public service. There is, however, the expectation that the ORS will set the example in traffic handling however it is done. To the extent that he is deficient in performing traffic functions by any mode, to that extent he does not meet the qualifications for the appointment.

The requirements and qualifications for the position include:

*  Full ARRL membership and Novice Class license or higher

*  Code and/or voice transmission capability

*  Transmissions, by whatever mode, must be of the highest quality, both technically and operationally. For example, CW signals must be pure, chirpless, clickless, code sending must be well spaced and properly formed.

Voice transmission must be of proper modulation percentage or deviation, precisely enunciated with minimum distortion

* Must follow standard ARRL operating practices (message form, ending signals, abbreviations or pro-words, etc.)

*  Regular participation in traffic activities, either independent or ARRL-sponsored.

*  Being able to handle all record communications speedily and reliably and set the example in efficient operating procedures

*  Reporting monthly to the STM, including a breakdown of traffic handled during the past calendar month

*  Recruitment of new hams and ARRL members is an integral part of the job of every ARRL appointee.

Appointees should take advantage of every opportunity to recruit a new ham or member to foster growth of Field Organization programs, and our abilities to serve the public.

Station Activity Report:

This is what your Activity Reports should look like for Ohio.

Your traffic count report radiogram should look like this:

1 Routine        KD8XXX 3     Anytown Ohio            (DATE)

Hilliard Ohio





Your PHSR report radiogram should look like this:

2 Routine        KD8XXX 10   Anytown Ohio            FEBRUARY   1

Hilliard Ohio


JANUARY PSHR 40 40 10 0 0 0 Total 90



I'll have more on reporting later.


Classes are free and open to the public, but some may require advanced registration. You do not need to be a resident of the county in which a talk is being held in order to attend. Each class lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours and is led by a National Weather Service meteorologist who will discuss techniques and safety for severe weather spotting. Once you attend a class, you are an officially trained spotter and can report severe weather to your NWS office. Information is available at:

Here are briefs on some of the early training sessions – full details are available at:

Feb 4 - Licking County, OH Spotter Training - REGISTRATION STRONGLY ENCOURAGED! -  EMA Director Sean Grady (; EMA Deputy Director John Wieber (

February 11 - Clermont/Brown Counties, OH Combined Spotter Training - Clermont County EMA Director Pam Haverkos (; Brown County EMA Director Beth Nevel (

February 17 - Ross County, OH Spotter Training - EMA Director Dave Bethel (

February 18 - Adams County, OH Spotter Training - EMA Director Karen Howelett (

February 24 - Hamilton County, OH Spotter Training - REGISTRATION REQUIRED! - EMA Director Nick Crossley (; Training Coordinator Barry Webb (

February 25 - Butler/Warren Counties, OH Combined Spotter Training - Butler County EMA Director Matt Haverkos (; Warren County EMA Director Mike Bunner (

March 1 - Hamilton County Spotter Training - REGISTRATION REQUIRED! - Deadline: 2/19/2016 - EMA Director Nick Crossley (

Until next month,

73, David, WA3EZN


Lyn Alfman, N8IMW - Assistant Section Manager (SE)

I finally got Christmas cards sent out, shopping and gift-wrapping for our large family done three days before Christmas. Then I baked cookies, make nut rolls, bake an 18 lb. ham, and make other side dishes.

I hope you had a great time with family and friends over the Christmas holiday. We celebrated the holidays with most of our children, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren, step great-grandchildren, and their spouses/significant others—33 out of 40! We had family gatherings Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve. Of course, where there are family gatherings, there is an abundance of food involved. And of course, I am making the perennial New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and to lose weight. We’ll see how well that goes over the next few months.

Amateur radio activity-wise, December was a slow month. I attended the joint Muskingum Valley Ham Radio Club and Zanesville Amateur Radio Club joint Christmas Dinner/Awards Banquet on December 6, and both of these clubs held their election of officers for 2016 in November. The Cambridge Amateur Radio Association held its Awards Banquet on December 12 and will hold its election of officers for 2016 in February. All three clubs had banquets in lieu of meetings this month. On December 5, CARA members participated in a Special Event Station celebrating the 1914 Amateur Radio Hamshack of founder Roy Waller and his brother-in-law Homer McMunn. The club operated from the partially restored building. The building was used briefly in the mid to late 1920s as Waller’s WEBE AM broadcast station. CARA members continued to have their Thursday luncheons including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, of which I attended all five.

There were no ARES meetings in Guernsey or Muskingum Counties this month, but the Muskingum County ARES had a bowling party. As far as nets go, I checked into most of the CARA Tuesday night nets and ran one of them.

I wish everyone a belated Happy and Prosperous New Year! ¡Prospero Año Nuevo y Felicidad!

I plan on attending the Sunday Creek Amateur Radio Federation (SCARF) Hamfest at Nelsonville on January 17 and the Tuscarawas Amateur Radio Club (TUSCO) Hamfest at Strasburg on January 24.

’73 Lyn, N8IMW  
Remember to be Radio Active!


From: Fritz Tender, WD8E - Assistant Section Manager (Central Ohio)

So far this has been my type of winter, no snow.  Really, I no longer enjoy plowing the driveway.  Another upside is driving to Ohio's midwinter Hamfest should be less treacherous.  Weather permitting I hope to see many of you at Nelsonville and Mansfield.  If I can be of any assistance feel free to contact me either by phone or email.

On a personal note, I want to thank Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA) Chapter 212 in general and Chapter President Chuck Johnston W8JNE in particular for presenting me with a very nice plaque commemorating my twelve years as Chapter president.  It is proudly displayed in the shack, thank you.

Well it's time to head that-a-way, the DX awaits.

73, Fritz, WD8E

From: Nick Pittner, K8NAP – SGL

Challenges for the New Year

It’s 2016, already; a year that will most likely continue to present challenges for amateur radio. So, let’s take a few moments to review what some of those challenges are, and what can be done about them.

First, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, federal legislation to require accommodation for amateur radio antennas in areas limited by contract rather than zoning ordinances. The League has done a masterful job of getting this very essential legislation in the legislative hopper with lots of support. But, there is opposition and, beyond that, the inherent difficulty of getting anything through congress in an election year makes the task enormous. The ultimate outcome of this legislation may well define the very future of our hobby as more and more living areas fall subject to deed restrictions, condominium regulations and neighborhood agreements. Without antennas most of us have no opportunity to enjoy amateur radio unless we have access to a remote station. At the same time, the loss of amateur radio would deprive the nation of one of its most valuable emergency communications resources, not to mention the benefits that flow from the experimentation and development of new theories and designs by hams. Recently, the League sent a mass email asking hams to reach out to a select group of congressmen to voice support for the Bill. Here’s your chance to help: please do it.

Second, expect a continued challenge to mobile communications. Every legislative session produces a few bills designed to prohibit “distracted driving” resulting from mobile communications by those driving automobiles. And, while amateur radio is seldom the target of these bills, or even specifically mentioned, the definitions are often broad enough to include amateur radio communications within the scope of prohibited conduct. The League has issued 2 formal position statements, one in 2009 and one in 2014. Both argue strongly that mobile amateur radio communications should not be prohibited in any way. Yet, the increase of “hands free” cell phone technology, which appears to reduce the potential for distraction, could well force hams to find ways to apply the same sort of technology to mobile communications. In any event, be on the lookout for continuing legislative attention to this issue in the coming year.
Third, Ohio’s antenna law, which is still “new” legislation, has produced benefit for those hams who have used it properly. However, there is still little by way of judicial precedent from cases considering appeals by hams denied zoning permits. Precedent is important because the first court decisions to interpret a new law set the pattern for those to follow. At this stage, it is critical that we prevail in as many court cases as possible in order to create favorable precedent for those to follow. It’s important to choose the battleground carefully. We continue in the effort to organize Ohio’s lawyer/hams to make additional resources available to those who could use them.

So, Happy New Year

73, Nick, K8NAP


Submitted by: Dale Lamm, NX8J

How cops are catching grow operations with AM radios

Many ham operators can locate a grower simply by taking a radio and portable antennae out into their neighborhood and using the radio to triangulate the exact location of the RFI from the cheap grow lights.

With the proliferation of indoor marijuana grows, the indoor “horticulture” industry has been booming. Chinese manufacturers are turning out indoor grow equipment at a rapid pace with little to no regulatory oversight or compliance. Because of this, there has been a significant amount of radio frequency interference (RFI).

Before we get into how to detect a marijuana grower with your car radio, you have to understand some simple mechanics of how a grower operates. To grow marijuana indoors, you need supplemental lighting necessary for photosynthesis. These lights may be fluorescent, LED, and for larger operations, high pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH).

The HPS and MH lamps may be 1000W per lamp and require a ballast for proper operation.  These ballasts were originally magnetic but in the past few years have become electronic.  These devices are subject to FCC part 18 rules but there appears to be a total disregard for the FCC rules.  Many (if not most) electronic ballasts are manufactured in China and may have little ‘FCC’ stickers on them but there is no evidence of any testing for compliance having been done. Because of this, a large amount of RFI is interfering with nearby electronics. As an example, one grow next to a CalFire station — California’s state fire agency — caused a continuous hum over the station’s callbox speaker and interfered with them receiving radio broadcasts over their station’s PA.

Ham Radio Helpers
Reports have begun to flood into the National Association for Amateur Radio about interference with their ham radios from their neighbor’s marijuana grows. The most complaints come from California and Colorado, for obvious reasons. Many ham radio operators began to see a correlation with marijuana grows and this RFI.

One amateur radio operator located five marijuana grows near his house due to RFI alone! Many ham operators can locate a grower simply by taking a radio and portable antennae out into their neighborhood and using the radio to triangulate the exact location of the grower.

One industrious ham operator went to his local grow shop and borrowed several lights and ballasts to test for RFI. He found that one light and ballast set up would cause interference up to 700 meters. From our experience, we know that most indoor grows have more than one light and ballast, which would amplify the RFI.

Pioneering Field Use

One narcotics officer from the San Francisco Bay Area turns his car radio to 560 AM when he checks out potential indoor growers. He’s checked out seven indoor marijuana grows since learning about the RFI issue. All seven times, the car’s radio showed significant interference from the ballasts inside of the grow location.

One ham radio operator described the interference this way: “It can be pops, it can be a buzzing sound, whistles — just all kinds of different noises that we'll hear.”

Tom Thompson, a ham radio operator, told a Colorado newspaper, “If I can track this down, anybody can track this down. If I listen long enough, I can tell when they turn the lights off... You can tell exactly when the harvest is.”

This method of finding marijuana grows isn’t fool proof, but it can be another useful tool in your toolbox.



2016 Scholarship Information

The Foundation for Amateur Radio, Inc., will be administering a total of 46 scholarships, worth an aggregate of $71,000 for the coming 2016/2017 academic year. The scholarships range in value from $500 to $5,000 each.

All applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

*  Hold a valid US or foreign amateur radio license,

*  Be enrolled, or have been accepted for enrollment, at an accredited university, college or technical school.

*  Applicants who attend a school located outside of the United States must provide a brochure describing the school.

A complete list of the scholarships being offered may be found at:  2016 Far Scholarship List

Note that you do not apply for specific scholarships. Instead your application will be considered for all of the scholarships for which you are qualified.

In order to be considered for the Chichester and QCWA scholarships, applicants must obtain the appropriate recommendations. Instructions for obtaining those recommendations may be found in the form, itself. These 16 scholarships are worth $23,500 in aggregate.

The 2016 FAR Scholarship application form may be accessed at:  2016 FAR Scholarship Application

If you have questions about the scholarship process, please email them to:

Instructions for the form

The form is self-explanatory. Note that many of the questions are required. The form will not let you proceed until you have answered those questions. Please provide as much information as possible for each of the essay questions. You may work on your answers in an external program, such as Word, and then paste the answers into the form.

When you click on ‘Submit’ to send the application, you will find a link that allows you to go back and edit the form later. PLEASE COPY THIS LINK AND SAVE IT!

Applications must be submitted by April 15. You may edit the form up until May 7. We realize that some schools do not announce acceptances until May 1, so we are giving you time to update your application in order to enter that information

Your application form data goes directly into an encrypted, password protected PDF file that is available only to the review committee. Your raw input data is not stored on-line.


Scott Hixon, KC8ITN – Assistant Section Manager - Scouting

Welcome to 2016!  Seems like 2015 flew by and was gone before I knew it!  Hopefully you were able to help out some Boy and Girl Scouts learn about amateur radio…

Even though it’s a new year, I want to bring up an old topic because I think it deserves repeating.

If you’re like a lot of people, you want to help but you’re not sure where to get the information to put on a good presentation. There are a lot of places on the web that have a wealth of information that you can pick through to find something that will work. The one website that I recommend that is kind of a “one stop” for just about anything that you will need for a presentation in K2BSA.NET. Besides having the history of scouting and ham radio, they have all sorts of resources that can be very helpful. You can watch the Dayton Radio Scouting Presentation, get a presentation to teach the Radio Merit Badge, Radio Scouting Power Points and presentation among other things! Like I said, it’s a “one stop” for your radio scouting needs.

With the new year, it’s time to start thinking about new opportunities any ways to help the scouting community, the Boy and  Girl Scout community! I’ve said it before and I will always say it, the youth of today are the amateur radio operators of tomorrow! Don’t let the sun set on our hobby. Get the young people involved and be part of what makes amateur radio continue and thrive!

Stay safe and make a difference in someone’s life!

73, Scott Hixon, KC8ITN


Scott Yonally, N8SY - Section Manager

Hey Gang,
Looks like winter has finally arrived!! Now we can all look forward to spring and summer for sure.

January, like December is turning out to be a very busy month with attending meetings and hamfests.. It seems like some weeks I’m on the road every night. I love it. As you know, the Ohio Section of the ARRL is the largest Section in the country. It’s even bigger than a Division or two. So, with that in mind, it’s only fair to say that Ohio also deserves to have a full time Section Manager, one that can freely travel all over the state. So, don’t be surprised when I just “pop-in” at your meeting or function. I really do like traveling and visiting with all of you at your hamfests, club meetings, picnics and breakfasts. It’s fantastic!   

Now, switching bands to another subject..

CLUB LEADERSHIP.. Please, don’t just blow over this portion.. You need to make sure that your club is involved with youth groups. Make sure that you have a contact with the local Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts as well as a teacher or teachers from the middle schools involved with your club.. Don’t forget, the youth of today will be taking over this great “hobby” of ours, but not without your support and willingness to bring them along. These kids are out there, YOU just need to take the first step forward and approach them on it.

Club Presidents.. Are you passing along that vital information that needs to go to your successor??  Put a paragraph or two into your by-laws that state ALL club records are to be reviewed at least once each year, and definitely when a new president takes over. This will help not only the president, but the club members as well.

Are you getting those emails from me? If not, all you have to do is to “Opt-In” to receive them. Heck, just send me an email, I’ll get you added to the mailing list. There’s a link to do this on the Ohio Section website, it’s on the bottom left corner.. For your convenience, here’s a direct link to it:  I urge all of you to make sure that everyone, regardless of whether they are a League member or not, get signed up for one of these options. You can always “Opt-Out” at any time if you feel this is not what you were expecting. 

Let’s shift bands once again..

Let’s talk about the Ohio Section Website.. You can find the Ohio Section Website at:  If you don’t have this website set as your home page, I urge you to do so.

Have you seen the NEW “Handbook Giveaway” drawing on the website yet? It’s there..!! To enter the drawing all you need to do is fill in a couple of boxes on the form.. (your name and email). That’s you need to do to be entered into a drawing to win a 2016 ARRL softcover Handbook. There’s nothing else required (Oh.. You do need to be a resident of Ohio to win..)   The winner will be mailed the Handbook at my cost. This is being offered just to see how many folks are really checking in on the website. Got the idea? Best of luck to you!!

Ohio's Speaker Bureau.. Need a speaker for your club meeting? I’m available. Please, feel free to give me a call. I’ll do my very best to be at your function.

HEY, there’s another NEW – one question – questionnaire on the Ohio Section Website? It only asks one question and it will take all of about 2 seconds for you to answer it, and you can see how your answer stacks up with others instantly. If you haven’t done it yet, please do.. I really want to hear from you.

Are you a member of the ARRL?? If you aren’t a League member, this is a great opportunity to become one. Want more information on how to join? Here’s the link: There’s even a 90 day FREE trial that you can apply for if you’ve never been a member.. Got questions about being a member or what the League is all about? Send me an email..  I’ll be happy to call or write to you. We can even have coffee if you’d like.. and I’ll buy!!

Are you following me on Facebook? Now I have a link to a window to the Ohio Section Facebook page. This means that you don’t have to be a member of Facebook to follow me.. Just click on the link:  and it will take you directly to the portal. I post nearly everyday places I’m at, and pictures of things of interest.  Hey, I have over 2,200 folks that follow me. It’s a lot of fun, and you’ll get to see all the places I go and the folks I meet along the way.  

Switching Bands once again.. Did you see that we now have a new President of the League? We do, his name is Rick Roderick, K5UR. He was our First Vice President. Let’s all congratulate him on his new post.

Switching Bands once more.. Stan, N8BHL and I have been working very hard at getting Amateur Radio to the forefront with the EMA Directors around the state by now belonging to the Emergency Management Association of Ohio. We both have been able to attend several of their conferences this past year as well. I was also invited to be on the Membership Committee with the EMAO.

We have also been very active with the Ohio Homeland Security / Ohio Department of Public Safety by now belonging to the Ohio Public Private Partnership (OP3). We both now have state credentials and are able to credential others within our group. This will be a very big plus when a disaster does occur.

One last spin of the dial.. Now here’s a statistic that I’m sure you didn’t have.. Last year (2015) the Ohio Section ARES gave over 55,000 man hours of volunteer time. We also gave around 13,000 hours of volunteer time with the Official Relay Stations handling traffic and attending and participating in the various nets around the state. Now you can see just what filling out those monthly reports regularly can show us all. Folks, that’s almost 70,000 hours of time donated. If you’d times that by just $15 per hour, that’s well over $1 million dollars’ worth of donated time. I’d say that’s pretty impressive, wouldn’t you??

Well, getting ready to go QRT for now.. Don’t be surprised when I show up at a meeting you’re at!!

73, Scott, N8SY


John Perone, W8RXX

The OO's in Ohio monitored a total of 1026 hours during December.

They sent 5 Good OO cards & 4 OO cards advising of violations.

Thanks to all the Ohio OO's that spend time reminding amateurs of Part 97 during 2015.

73, John, W8RXX



Reported period:  January - December 2015

Month Visitors Visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
Jan-15 1,619 2,945 54,789 168,913 1.24 GB
Feb-15 1,780 3,409 91,116 303,593 1.36 GB
Mar-15 1,747 3,444 104,898 358,128 1.60 GB
Apr-15 1,648 3,403 164,502 474,317 3.29 GB
May-15 1,409 2,652 155,774 515,264 1.92 GB
Jun-15 1,688 2,951 118,489 362,807 2.38 GB
Jul-15 1,522 3,282 214,592 432,708 3.30 GB
Aug-15 1,541 3,108 225,212 841,028 2.21 GB
Sep-15 1,595 3,217 225,303 858,441 2.48 GB
Oct-15 1,451 2,743 232,778 891,221 1.73 GB
Nov-15 1,187 2,231 111,682 564,547 1.29 GB
Dec-15 1,509 2,803 189,527 907,975 1.85 GB
Total 18,696 36,188 1,888,662 6,678,942 24.66 GB


Cabin Fever Special Event
Jan 30, 1700Z-2300Z, K8PRC, Canton
Pedestrian Amateur Radio Club
14.250 14.050 7.250 7.050.
1661 Manor Ave NW
Canton, OH 44708

Pedestrian Amateur Radio Club 1st annual Cabin Fever Special Event.
Breaking up the middle of winter with a fun radio activity.
QSL via directions on K8PRC on


01/24/2016 | Tusco ARC Hamfest
Location: Strasburg, OH
Sponsor: Tusco Amateur Radio Club

02/21/2016 | Mansfield Mid Winter Hamfest  <<NEW DATE
Location: Mansfield, OH
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Sponsor: InterCity Amateur Radio Club