Community Bulletin Board

Tower Installation:
Nov 24, 2003

The Radio Tower and antennas (2m, 440 and HF) were installed on November 21, 2003. Special thanks to Dave W8HUF, Paul N8JR and Dick KC8GXV. The top repeater antenna is 93 feet with a height above sea level of 862 feet. The Radio Room/Office was rearranged to include our new equipment with quite a number of additions added over the years.

Field Day Woes:

Racoon #2

W8SZ Battling Wits with Adversary

Can you imagine your Field Day starting like this?

You are readying the grounds at your site. At the same time you figure it is convenient to release the two baby raccoons that found their way into your live-traps during the night. It is, of course, the humane thing to do.

So you drive about a thousand feet from the field day site, take the two live traps from your red Ford van and set them on the ground. Simple enough, right? Well, not quite.

Cage number one door is opened and raccoon number one looks around and then takes off like a shot - straight out of the cage. He is last seen entering the woods a short distance away. Cage number two is then opened and raccoon number two looks around and takes off like a shot. Here the story makes a broad departure from the first raccoon.

Raccoon number two takes one look at his captor W8SZ, screams and disappears under the red van.

Moments later, the raccoon is discovered hiding in the wheel-well. No amount of coaxing is sufficiently persuasive to cause raccoon number two to abandon this new lair. From one end to the other our captor slides along the loose sand under his van armed with a short twisted stick in an effort to dislodge raccoon number two as it jumps from wheel to drive-shaft to transmission to the engine compartment and back again.

The clock ticks on. Appointments pass as the would-be captor battles wits with the young raccoon.

Alas, alack, the fire in his belly finally dies out and our determined captor gives in to this un-lodgeable little bandit. The last thing we see in the waning evening sun is our friend giving raccoon number two a ride back to the place from whence he came.

Burt's "FBR" Eliminator:


This contrivance has the appearance of a revolutionary piece of Ham gear - perhaps fabricated by a promising new Ham. However, its inventor got his first license circa 1951.
Close inspection reveals this "piece de resistance" is made up of five components: Two lengths of wire, one pie tin, one short plastic tube, one lid from a small jar and one electric fence charger. It is switch operated (charger and switch not shown).

When assembled, the upturned jar lid is filled with sunflower seeds and attached to one lead of the fence charger. The plastic tube separates the lid from the aluminum pie tin (to which is attached the remaining lead of the fence charger). The switch (a squirrel) stands on its hind feet to reach the sunflower seeds, and when it does, the circuit is closed.

The "Eliminator" is not fatal to these pesky denizens of the swamps of Mikado, it simply serves as an effective deterrent. Yes, effective! Squirrel spoor leading to and from the device has become virtually non-existent.

One question - can he load it and use it for an Antenna?    .....W8SZ

Alpena News Excerpt:
Mar 23, 2002

LINCOLN -The Alcona County Historical Society and the Alcona County Amateur Radio Group presented a history of radio on Thursday night. This was the first time for a partnership of the historical society and the radio group. The evening included a display of old radios and equipment, which included some metal radios from World War II planes and plastic and wooden radios that made the room hum with nostalgia.

"There's a radio over there that looks just like the one I got for my tenth birthday.”, said Don Sawyer, president of the Alcona County Historical Society. All radios were still in working condition and restored by Burt Ostby, KC8FBR, from Mikado. Ostby was on hand to answer questions about the antique radios. Radio Officer and Emergency Coordinator for Alcona County Stan Darmofal said that Ostby is nationally known for his radio restoration work.

The Alcona County emergency equipment communications trailer was also on site for people to see the face of modern radio. The trailer was a two-year project for the radio group and was dedicated this past fall. The trailer has a global antenna, which allows the group to talk to people allover the world and a local receiver for the county. The trailer allows the group to be mobile, with antennas that are already set up. Darmofal talked about the technical aspects of radio, like what radio is, the components that make up a radio and frequency waves.

He also talked about the early days of radio and Morse code, starting with experiments with induced mediums that led up to the discovery of radio waves. Darmofal said that a couple of early experiments were close to discovering radio waves, but that the experimenters decided the experiments weren't worth pursuing. Darmofal then turned the program over to the award-winning documentary Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, by Ken Burns. The documentary took viewers through the lives, inventions and marketing ideas of three Americans, Lee de Forest, Edwin Howard Armstrong and David Sarnoff, Who laid the ground work for mass radio as it is known today. The documentary also followed the discoveries and history of radio broadcasting. The Alcona County Amateur Radio Group meets once a month for informational programs. "Our prime purpose is to provide emergency communication within the county”, said Darmofal.

The radio group annually takes equipment down to the lighthouse for the International Lighthouse weekend where members transmit to other lighthouses around the world.

The historical society runs programs two to three times a year and focuses programs around an aspect of local history .The society also is involved with the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse and the Old Bailey Schoolhouse.

….AMANDA CAIRO Alpena News Staff Writer

Barry Bucholz, KC8NHI:

KC8NHI Award

Article for United States Coast Guard Award

Jim Weaver, K8JE:

Alpena News Article

Jim Weaver

Robert Colarusso, WB8ZIR:

Alpena News ArticleW8ZIR

Alcona County's Youngest Hams:


L to R: Brothers David Holthaus, KC8TXM age 11, and his brother Adam, KC8TXN age 9, recently passed the FCC amateur (Ham) radio exam to earn their Technician license. They were part of a six week license class of youth and adults taught by the Alcona County Amateur Radio Group. The brothers were sponsored by the Alcona County 4-H "Strong Family - Safe Children After School Program" and the Hubbard Lake South Shore Ladies Group. David and Adam are the sons of Werner & Heike Holthaus of Mikado and are now the youngest licensed amateur radio operators in Alcona County.

Russ Pickelman, W8JIU-SK:Russ Pickelman

Russ bequeathed to the Alcona County Emergency Management and the Alcona County Amateur Radio Group, several thousands of dollars of Ham radio gear and testing equipment. To Russ and Mrs. Elizabeth Pickleman, we express our appreciation. Equipment retained by the Group will go to support our youth activity program. Remaining equipment will be sold at auction on several Amateur radio-related sites with all proceeds deposited with the Alcona County Treasurer for exclusive support of the Group's equipment fund.

Bob Cain, KC8JEP-SK:
Dec 29, 2009

Bob Cain

Bob donated all of the HF & VHF equipment as well as the antennae to the Alcona High School for student use.

Ryan Stevens, KC8KPU:


Ryan, KC8KPU, (front) is graduating in June of 2003 with a GPA of 4.0. Ryan was awarded the Earl I. Anderson $2000 Scholarship from the ARRL.

John Walters, W8CX:


Regional Emergency Communications Presentation

Youth Radio Equipment Project:

Our First Project - - April 2003

There are 15 licensed hams in Alcona County who are 15 years of age and under. Several of these young people were fortunate enough to be in a position to purchase (or have purchased for them), 2 meter transceivers. The remaining young Hams have no means by which to earn money to purchase their own.
A project was initiated to raise funds to purchase radios for these young people. The Alcona County Amateur Radio Group wishes to recognize the following persons for their support of this program thereby allowing us to purchase six Icom IC-T2H hand-held radios and/or acquire donated equipment.

  • Mrs. Ruth Sinclair, wife of the late H. Ross Sinclair KA8ESE*
  • The Harrisville, Michigan Lady Lions
  • Mr. Terry Moore, Westland, MI
  • Mr. Kenneth West, Plymouth, MI
  • Tim London KC8BKG
  • John Alexander W8GZF

*Mrs. Sinclair also donated Ross' entire HF and UHF antenna systems to the Radio Group, and for that we are thankful as well.


Our On-Going Youth Radio Equipment Project

This project is not a give-a-way program. There are certain requisites for program eligibility. For further information, use the following hyperlinks.

Letter to Parents/Guardians



Equipment Fund Donors:

Alcona 911 - Hardline, Antenna, Voters

Alcona EMS - HT Radios

Alcona Schools - UHF Radios

Boden, Robert of Rob’s Towing – HF Amplifier

Curtis Township Fire Department – VHF radios & Antennas

Ensor, Doug K8DE - Oscilloscopes, Radios, Freq. Counter and Electronic Parts

Greenbush Township Fire Department – VHF radios & Antennas

Mendyka, Felix (Retired from Radio/TV Repair) – Test Equipment and Electronic Parts

Ostby, Burt KC8FBR – Heathkit Electronic Keyer; HF Receiver

Sharboneau, Dale N8ZTO & Karen N8ZTN – VHF HT Radio

Wittenberg, John WA8PRK – Packet Equipment, Computer & Printer Hardware, Tools