CONTACT - August 2015
Vol 13 # 8
In this issue:
As you may know, ARRL has been pounding the pavement on Capitol Hill during the 114th Congress, drumming up support for the Amateur Radio Parity Act. The Amateur Radio Parity Act would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as "covenants, conditions, and restrictions" (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.
We are doing well; we have 94 co-sponsors in the House for HR-1301, and just started our efforts in the Senate with S 1685. However, we need your help in promoting this effort.
You have seen the appeals for ARRL members to write letters to their representatives, asking for them to co-sponsor the legislation. Letters written from constituents make the difference in getting a co-sponsor or not; there are a few cases now where letters have been presented to a Representative and that has swayed their stance on this issue.
ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, appeared on Gary Pearce, KN4AQ’s Ham Radio Now webcast the week of July 30, explaining the legal aspects of the bill and why it’s critical that it passes. It’s an hour of excellent information and worth your time.
As hams interested in PR, you are in a great position to get the word out about this legislation to your local Amateur community. Please do so; the more letters Senators and House Representatives receive from Amateurs, the better the chances they will co-sponsor the bill. This is how grass-roots campaigns such as the Parity Act succeed. ARRL Directors, Officers and staff are campaigning hard for this legislation on behalf of all of Amateur Radio, and the opposition to this legislation is working just as hard as we are. Please join us in getting the word out about this bill and help secure as many letters written and submitted to ARRL HQ as possible. This will benefit the Amateur Radio Service as a whole. Complete information on this can be found on the ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act web page.
If you were not one of the 360 attendees to the 2015 ARRL Hurricane Webinar, you can watch it online! ARRL posted the Webinar to YouTube in late July. Be sure to tune in and take notes.
The first segment of the webinar is on PR. Make sure that you’re following the guidelines mentioned, including reaching out to your media reps and elected officials, if you haven’t done so already. While we always hope for a quiet hurricane season, as the webinar presenters note, there have been several storms that have hit during years predicted to be quiet. Make sure the media knows who you are and what your group does before the storm.
We always like having new PIOs and PICs join the group. Please make them feel welcome!
Indiana: John Butler, K4PSE
Western Pennsylvania: Jake Stoffer, KB3K
Diane Acker, KB3SVU
Smart phones and tablets can be your entire production studio, allowing you to create any form of content anywhere for your PIO efforts. The last thing you need is to run out of power in the field. Here’s a list of some of the best portable/travel chargers for your phones and tablets to keep you PIO’ing in the field, courtesy of Tech Radar.
We all know the way people consume media is changing, especially in the under-45 demographic. Here’s an interesting article that highlights some of those trends. Content is still king, but how it gets to media consumers continues to shift. More evidence that you could have a larger audience for your group’s local content than you think.
With the July Board meeting now behind us, there are a couple things of note to those promoting ham radio and ARRL:
The Board approved a plan to create a year-long operating event for 2016, called National Parks on the Air (NPOTA), to help the National Park Service celebrate its Centennial. Activity from all 408 Administrative Units of the National Park Service will be encouraged, although some units are going to be extremely sensitive to activate. NPS will have the final say whether a unit may be activated or not. There will be an awards track for Chasers and Activators. PR and outreach to the public will be a major component of this event. ARRL will have a web page with rules, awards, guidelines on operating from an NPS unit, pamphlets and brochures, and other information online as soon as possible. An article on the event will also be published in the December QST.
Congratulations to Randy Thompson, K5ZD, as the winner of the 2015 ARRL Phil McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award. Randy’s been a proponent of Amateur Radio for many years, most recently as the administrator of the CQ World Wide DX Contest and for his involvement with Contest University. When the World Radiosport Team Championship — sometimes referred to as “the Olympics of Ham Radio — made its way to Boston in 2014, Randy secured coverage of the event in national media such as the Wall Street Journal and the National Public Radio syndicated program “Only A Game,” which focuses on competitive endeavors that are off the beaten path. In addition, articles that highlighted each of the WRTC competitors in their local and regional media secured coverage of Amateur Radio with a human interest “local boy does goes to the Olympics” feel. Nice job, Randy, and well-deserved.
Lastly, the Board voted to increase regular yearly dues to $49/year, effective January 1. This is the first increase in fourteen years, and ARRL has added a lot of member services since 2001 while reducing staff by 15% and implementing other cost-cutting measures. A web page has been created to answer some of the more common questions.
Thanks for all you do.
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager