Information Net for August 6

Heathkit Declares Bankruptcy,
Closes for Good (Again)

Read by: JERRY KE4ETY

English: Heathkit SB-101 transceiver

Heathkit SB-101 transceiver (credit: Wikipedia)

The July 19 edition of The Herald-Palladium — a newspaper serving the communities of Benton Harbor and St Joseph, Michigan — is reporting that Heathkit Education Company has declared bankruptcy and has officially closed its doors after defaulting on its lease. According to the paper, Heathkit employed more than 1800 people in its heyday after World War II; when it finally closed, its workforce totaled fewer than six people. This is the second time since 1992 that Heathkit Educational Services has shuttered its doors. In August 2011, Heathkit announced it was returning to the kit building business, and in September, that it would once again be manufacturing Amateur Radio kits.

Heathkit owner Don Desrochers told the newspaper that he has filed for bankruptcy and a bank now owns what’s left of Heathkit; the bank is disposing of some items via online auctions. “The situation was purely one of the economy,” he explained in the article. “Heathkit was primarily dependent upon federal and state funding for schools. Spending in education continued to drop down, and it was economically unfeasible to continue operating. When we got back into the kit business, we were losing the education business faster than we were growing the kit business. It was not sustainable.”

Read by: MARTHA KJ4RIQ

According to the newspaper, Heathkit abandoned its lease around March, and in May, Phil Maki said he received notice that Desrochers had declared bankruptcy and that Heathkit would be closed. Maki is treasurer of Southshore Companies, the company that owns the building that Heathkit had leased a portion of. “It’s a sad thing for the community,” Maki said. “A lot of us grew up using Heathkit products, and it’s sad they ended the way they did.”

In May 2012, the ARRL reported there were rumors of the company’s demise, but nothing was certain. Tom Ferriter, of Technical Education Products in Hampden, Massachusetts, told the ARRL at that time that “Heathkit is telling us [outside sales representatives] that they have temporarily closed, but that they are hopeful that they will be able to reorganize. While they’re not telling us too much, they did say that they were having poor sales for a myriad of reasons and are hopeful that they will be able to refinance the company and negotiate with the bank to refinance some of the debt.”

Desrochers — who served as Heathkit’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 1995-2000 before purchasing the company in 2005 — told The Herald-Palladium that closing Heathkit was hard for him: “It was a tough decision, but you can’t operate and lose money. Hopefully the employees will find other employment. They were great, loyal employees for a long time.” — Thanks to The Herald-Palladium for the information and to Lee Lull, WR8R, for bringing this to our attention

American Radio Relay League

Read by:RICK N9GRW

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the USA. ARRL is a non-profit organization, and was founded in May 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim of Hartford, Connecticut. The ARRL represents the interests of amateur radio operators before federal regulatory bodies, provides technical advice and assistance to amateur radio enthusiasts, supports a number of educational programs and sponsors emergency communications service throughout the country. The ARRL has approximately 154,000 members. In addition to members in the US, the organization claims over 7,000 members in other countries. The ARRL publishes many books and a monthly membership journal called QST.

The ARRL is the primary representative organization of amateur radio operators to the US government. It performs this function by lobbying the US Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. The ARRL is also the international secretariat of the International Amateur Radio Union, which performs a similar role internationally, advocating for amateur radio interests before the International Telecommunications Union and the World Administrative Radio Conferences.

Special Event Stations in London and Wales On the Air for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Read by: RANDY KJ4TFU

Beginning Wednesday, July 25, two special event call signs will be activated to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: 2O12L from London, England and 2O12W from Barry, Wales. Both stations will be on the air for the duration of the Games — July 25-August 12 — and continuing through September 9. Organizers hope to make at least 80,000 contacts during the seven weeks that 2O12L and 2O12W are on the air.

  • The London station – 2O12L — will be active on 160-2 meters on all modes. The station is located at the Royal Greenwich District Scouts Activity Centre in Southeast London, in the borough of Greenwich, one of the six “host boroughs” for the Games. A list of planned frequencies is available here. The station will be open to the public from 10 AM to 4 PM each day, and visitors may operate. Follow 2O12L on Twitter.

Read by: NICKI KF4DHK

  • The Welsh station — 2O12W — will be active on 160 meters-23 cm on all modes, including SSTV and satellite, will be based on the seafront esplanade at Whitmore Beach, Barry Island, Vale of Glamorgan. The site is located just a few miles south west of Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium, home to the first football match that will open the Games in Wales. The station will be open to visitors. Follow 2O12W on Twitter.

“Amateur Radio operators everywhere will be able to share in the Olympic experience by making contact with the station and exchanging greetings messages with visitors and Games participants who visit the station,” said Project Echo Publicity Officer John Warburton, G4IRN. “The team aims to make contact with as many of the Games participating countries as possible. Special QSL cards will be available to stations contacted. The project aims to leave a lasting legacy by encouraging visitors to learn more about radio communications and the social, career and recreational benefits that it brings.”

Using Tone Squelch

Read by: Ed KE4JWS

If you don’t need or want to use this feature, do nothing. Everything will continue to work just as it always has and you won’t even know anything has changed.If you feel you would benefit from tone squelch, you will need to program your radio to look for the 100 Hz tone on the repeater. Virtually all amateur FM transceivers manufactured in the last 10 years have this feature, as do many older models. Some manufacturers call it “tone squelch” but the terminology may vary. On some radios the receive tone setting is completely separate from the transmit tone; you actually select 100 Hz in two different menu items, one for transmit and the other for receive.

Read by: GEORGE KC4TMV

In others there may be only one menu option to set the tone, with another option to use that tone on transmit only, receive only, or both. After programming, you can verify it worked with this test. Tune the radio to the 442.750 channel on which you programmed the receive tone squelch. Rotate the squelch knob on the radio fully counter-clockwise. You should hear silence instead of the usual hiss of an unsquelched radio. Now key up the repeater to be sure you can still receive it. Once programmed, your receiver will respond only to signals on that channel which carry the 100 Hz tone. Any noise or distant signal carrying no tone, or a different tone, will be ignored. This is a “per channel” setting just as the transmit tone, so it won’t affect your other repeater or simplex channels.

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