ARRL Wisconsin Section Newsletter for December 2019

It was a hectic month or two! But now Christmas has passed and we are in that period of time where folks are returning gifts – wrong size – wrong style – wrong frequency.… whatever… I am just glad that our family was able to get together either in person or through technology – Skype and Face time are great! One of my sons and one grandson spent time with us helping repair and adjust antennae and gathering and splitting wood for our fireplace (we heat the house with one very efficient fireplace insert and go through two cords a year on average.)

Things have settled down for now and that gives me the time to write this letter – Late in December – but still… it is the December Section Letter. Enjoy!

There are so many things I want to talk to you about… where to start?

One Theme that was hanging around the back of my mind was something that my Engineering mentor used to tell me: “The enemy of good is better”. That quote seems to resonate in my head as I look at a burned out resistor on a Drake TR-4C I was working on. Just one little tweak more to get a better S/N ratio and it will do the trick… oops too much. I my haste I forgot about the double peak and tuned beyond… not as dire a situation as it could be, but still – it was good and I tried to make it better. What I like about those vacuum tube circuits is that you can trouble shoot them with your nose and your eyes!  No test instruments needed.

That Theme – “the enemy of good is better” applies in a lot of what we do in Amateur Radio. Sometime we take something that is working at one level and by trying to improve it, we destroy the essence of what it was. Not to say that we shouldn’t strive to be the best we can be – but rather to say that we must be sure to recognize what we have that is good and be sure to know its limits or boundaries so that a tweak in the wrong direction will not cause a catastrophic failure. Yes, we can come up with a better antenna. Yes, we can improve the filtering and noise cancelling on that radio. Stagnation is as much an enemy of success as trying to improve beyond a “good” level. So do work to improve your
circuits, antennae, clubs, approaches to new members, recruiting techniques, all that you do… but keep a perspective so that your efforts don’t ruin a good thing or improve it beyond your capability to sustain it.

The next Theme comes from that same engineering mentor (he was the director of engineering for GE Medical Systems a while back…) He said: “Ambiguity is the best tool of management” “Embrace Ambiguity!” He went . on to explain that if you define goals for your direct reports so finely that they need only follow your directions without any imagination or creativity on their part, your results will only be as mediocre as the limits of your own imagination. An ambiguous goal will challenge the engineers involved – they will look for and discover better solutions and by their research and inventive approaches, will define a new goal that is far better than the original one – all the manager has to do is point in a general direction and purpose – the goal and approaches will be born out of creativity and far exceed what any one individual could have though-out. While that kinda contradicts the previous theme… it does, however stay in perspective when you try to define what is a good result. If your definition is too strict, too detailed. You will not get any improvement. On the other hand it holds that once you have defined “good” trying to improve on that becomes a potential mistake. The job of the project manager then is to let things flow until good is achieved and then stop to re-asses the project and determine if the original goal has been achieved.

The third Theme has to do with the ARRL’s goal of improving recruitment and participation. The new version of the Operating Handbook is out and I have to say it is an improvement! This is an example of taking something that was good to a new level and making it better. With this book, a new or potential ham can get all of the information they need to get a taste of Amateur Radio. A new Ham can come to a meeting and ask questions to further define items they find in this book and Elmers can use this book as a manual to steer new hams towards a captivating interest.

STM Report Wisconsin Section – September 2019

We are told that Skip, W9REL, is retiring as RACES Chief Radio Officer and ASEC for Training after his outstanding service in those positions. His contributions have been essential to building and maintaining the services we offer and the credit we receive from served agencies. Thank you, Skip, for your dedication and your tireless efforts on our behalf.

We’re Not Shiftless

FAQ # 220

What about shifting message formats?  Whether you learn to send a message in NTS format, ICS213, SHARES, MARS, Red Cross, SATERN, or for severe weather reporting, you are practicing a discipline that is transferable. When you follow the directions of the net control station — or serve as a net control yourself – you are responding in a way that can be utilized in lots of situations.

Hams, by their nature, seem versatile.  They can shift fast and easily.  We have varied interests within the hobby of Ham radio and plenty of interests beyond.  We experiment; we explore; we try to find new and more efficient ways of doing things.  That characteristic is certainly one which makes us more valuable as an organization to support agencies in times of need. We learn quickly and we know how to adapt.

Seasoned traffic handlers easily shift from one format to another.  They know that the parts are generally the same — just in different order.  Good ops see the value of a message number, precedence, check, place of origin, time, and date.  They still make sure the addressee, address, phone or email address are absolutely correct.  They use pauses, procedural words, and phonetic spelling when needed to enhance the flow of a message. Those operators can be us.

When conditions require it, we change frequencies, change modes or change procedures.  If SSB doesn’t work, we aren’t above trying old, reliable CW to get a message through.  When a digital mode would be more effective, we use it.  If the static crashes are terrible, we willingly use a relay or double talk the text of a message – just to be sure.

And we practice.  Even if there’s nothing special about a routine message, we count the check when sending and check the check upon reception.  We remember to pace our speaking of a message, and listen often in case the receiving operator needs fills.

We can be those versatile operators. We’re not shiftless.  We can shift formats, and if the time comes, we’re ready to shift into high gear.  73


November 2019

BWN 951 1019 2483 30 K9LUK
BEN 425 342 792 30 NX9K
WSBN 477 193 743 30 KN9P
WSSN 138 72 383 30 KB9ROB
WIN/E 136 70 280 30 WB9ICH
WIN/L 154 52 256 30 W9RTP

WRACES HF” 76 12 160 4 WB9WKO
WRACES VHF 40 14 76 2 W9REL
WRACES- DIGITAL 147 820 4320 3 KB9MMC
W DSTAR  No report 0 0 0 AB9FT
totals 2544 2594 9493 189


November 2019

nets” “40
tfc” “30
appt” “5 /hr.
sked events” “5 /hr.
emrg events” “10ea
bbs/ web pg”
CALL 1 2 3 4 5 6 T
N9VC 40 40 30 255 0 10 375
WB9WKO 40 40 30 45 15 10 180
AG9G 40 40 20 25 0 0 125
NX9K 40 40 20 25 0 0 125
K9LGU 40 40 30 10 0 0 120
KN9P 40 40 20 0 0 0 100


November 2019  

NX9K 372 110 566 2 1050 – BPL
WB9WKO 0 451 319 9 779 – BPL
AG9G 0 194 93 0 287
N9VC 13 165 59 0 237
K9LGU 0 81 76 0 157
WD9FLJ 0 41 27 1 69
KB9ROB 0 44 13 2 59
KN9P 0 39 12 7 58
KA9BAE 0 20 28 0 48
KB9NUM 0 20 12 14 46
K9GU 0 0 28 0 28
WB9ICH 0 23 4 0 27
W9UW 0 9 15 0 24
W9RNA 1 10 1 10 22
W9AUA 0 6 2 0 8
K9GDF 0 5 2 0 7


01/04/2020 | 47th Annual Midwinter Swapfest 

Location: Waukesha, WI
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Sponsor: West Allis Radio Amateur Club

04/03/2020 | MRAC/MAARS Swapfest

Location: Milwaukee, WI
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Sponsor: Milwaukee Radio Amateurs’ Club and Milwaukee Area Amateur radio Society

04/18/2020 | Madison Hamfest 

Location: Stoughton, WI
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Sponsor: Madison Area Repeater Association

08/29/2020 | ORC Regional Fall Swapfest

Location: Cedarburg, WI
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Sponsor: Ozaukee Radio Club

Silent Keys

The SK list this month holds the names of friends that passed away over the last three months. Amateur Radio in the Milwaukee area lost two Iconic figures, operators that contributed to the growth of Amateur Radio in their own ways. 

Warren, K9IZV created and supported a Repeater Community that survives him and will endure for years to come because of his many contributions.

Skip, WD9HAS, helped create and organize the Milwaukee severe weather reporting Skywarn organization. Through his energy and constant efforts he galvanized interest in weather reporting and his calm demeanor helped keep the emergency reports on an even keel. Both will be missed.

KA9EAK – Tim Boppre 6/8/2019

W9RSO – Rudy Olson 10/8/2019

K0JYB – Dick Low 20/6/2019

K6JDF – Len Brumbaugh 23/8/2019

KC9HDV – “joe” Johnson 3/9/2019

KB9WAF – David Wahl 15/10/2019
K9IZV – Warren Schall 18/10/2019

N9VBA – Donald Pagenkopf 8/11/2019

WD9HAS – Skip Voros 13/12/2019

W9UP – Phil Uehling 21/12/2019


As always I appreciate the feed-back I have received and look forward to more!

Try sending me a note using the following format:

  1. Stop = list those items you’d rather I didn’t “do”
  2. Start = list those items you think I should be doing.
  3. Continue = keep up these items…

I want to emphasize that as an SM my goals are in line with the ARRL’s goals with some emphasis on my own additions:

  • Improve the recruitment of young people into Amateur Radio
  • Increase ARRL membership & financial support
  • Fully support the efforts growth and needs of the ARES/RACES organization
  • Expand PRB-1 to cover property covenants and restrictions
  • Continue supporting pro-active FCC rules enforcement
  • Develop and support continuing Amateur Radio education


Thanks you for sharing your Newsletters. There is some wonderful writing out there and great info to share!

Please send me a link to your club newsletters (along with permission to use quotes from them) so that I can include them in this Wisconsin Section Newsletter. Please send them to my address! Keep me informed and I’ll share that information with you – let me know how I can help!

Thanks to all who participate!

As always, please feel free to contact me with any of your questions or issues related to Amateur Radio and the ARRL. I don’t have all the answers, but I usually know who to ask for those answers.


ARRL Wisconsin Section
Section Manager: Patrick J Moretti, KA1RB

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