CONTACT - February 2016
Vol 14 # 2
In this issue:
Change is in the air at ARRL. Along with a new CEO, a new President, two new Vice-Presidents, a couple new Directors and new Vice-Directors, changes were approved to the ARRL PR Committee at the January 2016 ARRL Board meeting.
PR Committee member Scott Westerman, W9WSW, is now PR Committee Chair. He succeeds Katie Allen, WY7YL, who remains on the committee.
Scott was first licensed in 1982 in Detroit as N8EOR. After 40 years as a telecommunications executive, he joined Michigan State University as the Executive Director of the Alumni Association in January of 2010. Along the way, he was also a serial entrepreneur, founding an international shortwave radio network, an aviation leasing firm and a dot com. His favorite on-air activities include Public Service, DXing, satellite communications and Radiosport with a particular affinity for CW and digital modes. He was the ARRL Technical Coordinator during his time in New Mexico, served as president of Michigan's Oak Park Amateur Radio Club, advises the Michigan State University Amateur Radio Club and was a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Ham Radio group before joining the ARRL PR Committee in 2015. He is the author of Social Media and Your Personal Brand.
Ward Silver, N0AX, has stepped down to focus on other ARRL assignments.
Joining the PR Committee is Angel Santana, WP3GW. Angel is the long-standing ARRL PIO in Puerto Rico and has been a tireless PR volunteer in Puerto Rico for many years. He was the 2011 winner of the ARRL PR Committee's Phil McGan Award for his volunteer PR efforts promoting Amateur Radio to the general public, and has helped organize and promote the ARRL Puerto Rico Section Convention, which is the largest ham radio convention in the Caribbean.
Randy Hall, K7AGE, and Steve "Sid" Caesar, NH7C, remain on the Committee from 2015.
The 2016 PR Committee Board Liaison is new ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Vice Director Jeff Ryan, K0RM. Jeff was Colorado Section Manager from 2001-2011 and has also served as an Assistant SM in Colorado. He is president and director of Rocky Mountain Ham Radio, the director and co-chair of HamCon Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Division Convention in Keystone. He’s also served as director and vice chair of the Colorado Council of Amateur Radio Clubs.
Please join me in welcoming the 2016 PR Committee.
The 2016 Field Day packet was released on February 1. PIOs will take note of a new way to earn bonus points in PR: Social Media. The new rule offers 100 bonus points for promoting your Field Day activation to the general public via an active, recognized, and utilized social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This bonus is available to bona fide Amateur Radio clubs and Field Day groups that welcome visitors to their operations. These bonus points are not available to individual participants, and club websites do not qualify as social media for this bonus. The bonus points are available to all Field Day entry classes meeting the criteria. Use social media to connect and invite elected officials, the media and the public to your site, post photos and video of your activity, and much more. Field Day is June 25-26, 2016.
As a side note, new PR Committee member Angel, WP3GW, has again translated the Field Day rules into Spanish. Gracias!
We’ve discussed ways that clubs and groups can get PR in ways that don’t necessarily have anything to do with radio communications. The Mahoning County (Ohio) ARES found a critical way to get some attention when they helped distribute bottled water in the town of Sebring, who are having similar issues with lead content as the well-publicized situation in Flint, Michigan. I guarantee that community official took notice of their assistance. Well done, Mahoning County ARES.
Please join me in welcoming the following new PIOs and PICs to the ARRL community!
Missouri: Janelle Haible, NØMTI
South Texas: Jonathan Estill, AF5DF
Eastern Massachusetts: Joseph W. Weisse, W1HAI
“Turn and face the strange changes.” David Bowie wrote that lyric quite a while ago, but it’s never seemed more apt than right now, at least within ARRL. There is a whirlwind of change in leadership, and there’s ongoing change to landscape of Amateur Radio. It’s the topic of Dave Sumner’s editorial in the March 2016 QST.
I was at the ARRL Mississippi State Convention the last weekend in January. While there, I gave a talk on PR strategies for local clubs and groups. There was an understanding that we, as a community, need to be reaching out to a younger audience for recruitment, but concern that we will stop honoring the traditions we’ve developed over the last century.
Both are possible. Accepting that Amateur Radio must evolve with the times, as it has done for the last century, is mandatory. Indeed, I would argue that one of the time-honored traditions that is most valuable for Amateur Radio is the way we have developed and adapted to new technology. There are a lot of hams who are exploring new techniques; we owe it to ourselves as a community to learn about and explore these techniques.
Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just stand there.” Clubs need to provide forums for the Old Timers to share their skill and experience, but give equal time to those who want to share information on the emerging technologies and techniques. You just might learn something…. and change for the better.
Thanks for all you do.
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
ARRL Media & Public Relations Manager