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ARRL Politics

Jul 26th 2011, 21:20

WA3VJB

Joined: Nov 24th 2010, 16:05
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I am pleased that this forum has been created. It has the potential for the League's administration to participate in public discussion of ways the ARRL could improve what it provides to the hobby.

Having read the entire list of restrictions (the "Rules"), they seem to offer protection, not punishment, for views that dissent from prevailing opinions in Newington. This forum can be a place to challenge, re-direct, and help shape the promotion of the hobby, regulatory activism, and the publishing emphasis at the ARRL.

Ideally, because it is open to public scrutiny, this forum will undercut the ability for individuals within the League's political structure to create negative, internal agendas that may not deserve the support of the greater Amateur community.

One example is the widely-reviled Segregation by Bandwidth controversy that came out of Newington a few years ago. Propagated chiefly by one belligerent (and now former) ARRL staffer, the regulatory proposal was withdrawn from the FCC before the agency could act, after the League's attorney found a variety of flaws in his document, and after comments filed on the FCC docket ran opposed on a ratio of about 6 to 1.

A forum like this could have documented the opposition to the League's scheme while it was still being pushed internally. A ranking ARRL official acknowledged that most of those who responded to a poll did not support the proposal, yet it was pushed into the FCC anyway.

I was among those opposed, because my part of the hobby was not protected from the potential effects of the ARRL's scheme.

I first joined the ARRL in 1973, and in all the time since then, have tried with limited success to convince those running the League about the need to treat more even-handedly the activity of AM on HF.

There are signs of progress, both in the magazine, QST, and in the receptiveness of the League's regional Directors to acknowledge our part of the hobby.

The AM Community is where thousands of active, concerned licensees form a vibrant, technically interested fa├žet that is very much in keeping with the basic mission of the Amateur Service.

As a point of progress to the League's credit, several Regional Directors in recent years conducted a survey of their constituents, and nearly 20 percent of the respondents listed AM among their activities on HF.

Yet, we do not see a commensurate level of coverage of the activity of AM in QST and other publications that the League produces about the variety of activities we all enjoy.

So, best wishes to an open and respectful discussion of League politics in all forms, including those like myself who wish to establish the merit of an area within the hobby that has been neglected, overlooked, or otherwise not included to the extent warranted by the level of participation found.

Paul/VJB

"Enjoying vintage AM on shortwave hobby radio"
Jul 26th 2011, 22:09

w1rfi

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by WA3VJB
Yet, we do not see a commensurate level of coverage of the activity of AM in QST and other publications that the League produces about the variety of activities we all enjoy.


For the relatively short period of time before I stopped participating in the AM forums because of the nasty way some of the people there treated me because I work for ARRL, Paul, I very actively tried to get the AM community to submit AM articles to QST, to no avail. QST is a membership journal, and if those articles were not forthcoming from the AM community, there would not be many published in QST.

73, Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technical forums moderator
Jul 26th 2011, 22:18

w1rfi

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by WA3VJB
Having read the entire list of restrictions (the "Rules"), they seem to offer protection, not punishment, for views that dissent from prevailing opinions in Newington. This forum can be a place to challenge, re-direct, and help shape the promotion of the hobby, regulatory activism, and the publishing emphasis at the ARRL.

I moderate only the tecnnical forums, but I can say that I don't intend to moderate appropriately worded discussion or criticism of ARRL, even in cases where I believe that there are errors in the assumptions. It is much better to discuss areas of disagreement than to shove them under the rug and hope that no one notices the lump.

Having said that, I will also point out that the policy of the ARRL is shaped by its Board of Directors. HQ staff implement that policy. While I would urge people to share their views on ARRL in public forums, these forums often help open-minded people shape their views, by reading the views of others and engaging in dlalogue.

These forums should NOT be seen as a substitute for hams' making their views known to their ARRL Division Directors. Discuss ARRL and its policies' I will agree or disagree and, as a fellow ARRL member, join in the discussion, but when all is said and done, discuss your opinions with your Director if you really want them to shape ARRL policy.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technology forums moderator
Jul 27th 2011, 17:27

NK2U

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by WA3VJB
As a point of progress to the League's credit, several Regional Directors in recent years conducted a survey of their constituents, and nearly 20 percent of the respondents listed AM among their activities on HF.Paul/VJB

"Enjoying vintage AM on shortwave hobby radio"


Paul,

I am in the Hudson Divison and have been a memeber since 1983 when I was first licensed. I have been sent one single poll to fill out in that whole time (asking my opinion on expansion of the 40 meter phone band.) Why are members not polled on a regular basis regarding such things? If the ARRL represents the members, why is policy formulated at the top instead of the other way around?

It is my hope that policy making staff of the ARRL will take the time to read the forums to get member's opinions...

We'll see

de NK2U
Jul 27th 2011, 20:12

w1rfi

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I am not a big believer in polls to make policy decisions. First, polls need to be carefully designed. As I look at the one that Paul put together, it is not the way I would have designed an unbiased poll. It almost looks as if the questions were designed to justify that AM is a fun mood that some enjoy, rather than to accurately gauge AM interest. IMHO, a more accurate and useful poll could have been:

o I operate AM extensively
o I operate AM on HF occasionally
o I operate AM on HF infrequently
o I don't operate AM on HF, but appreciate those that do
o I don't operate AM on HF, and don't appreciate those that do
o I don't operate phone or HF at all

I think this could have yielded more useful results, because as to the point that it appears Paul is trying to make with the poll, taking the latter category out of the count would be appropriate, and would give a better idea as to the popularity of AM.

Polls are also self selected, in that they are answered more often by people who have an axe to grind (in either direction) than not. Those that don't operate AM are probably more likely to answer the poll than those that do.

Most important, though, in evaluating a poll, one does not know whether the person who checked a box did so after great thought, with great background knowledge, or knows almost nothing about the subject and checked a box because it looked like a good choice.

I work regularly with a wide range of industry on EMC issues that could impact Amateur Radio. I would never dream of sending my industry contacts a poll, to ask them a subset of questions, so that I could plan next year's EMC related activities. I am going to pick up the phone, or engage them in email dialogue, and get all the richness of human converstation and the synergy that comes with it. Issues are best decided by those that have extensive knowledge about a particular subect. ARRL's EMC programs are not set by a poll. They are set based upon staff input, based on extensive dialogue with members, industry and an industry advisory committee empanelled by the ARRL Board, the ARRL EMC Committee.

ARRL Division Directors are available for the same dialogue, and if my Division Director were to think a poll is more important than conversation, I'd cast my next vote against him. Directors publish their names, addresses, email addresses and often their home telephone numbers in QST and on the arrl.org web site. They attend ARRL conventions in their Divisions, even though Divisions are pretty large and, as they can, they do attend club meetings and other hamfests. They make themselves available to hear from members, and ask often that members communicate with them. To me, this is much more valuable than any poll could be.

I know that a few of the ARRL staff and Directors are reading this forum. This forum exists because the ARRL Board wanted it created. But do NOT use this as a tool to communicate with ARRL! As these forums grow, and they will, there will soon be too many for every ARRL Director to read every post on every forum from hams outside their Divisions. There will be too many posts for every HQ staffer to read every post on every forum, or even every post in forums that could touch on their areas of professional responsibility. The communication you are assuming may not happen at all, for a large number of reasons.

Forums are great for sharing ideas. I find it valuable to listen to the ideas and viewpoints of others, as it helps me shape my own. But when all is said and done, continue to do what hams should be doing -- make your views known to your ARRL Division Directors. That is the only way that you can be sure that you have tried to influence ARRL policy and programs.

73, Ed Hare
W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technology forum moderator
Jul 28th 2011, 19:57

ka9wgn

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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A matter like what modes you operate, or bands, or such, might be more appropriate as a profile addition, than a poll. A poll tends to freeze a moment in time and only covers those who have read the thread it might be inserted in (if it was done by that means). And as mentioned by W1RFI, it doesn't give a perspective that considers other aspects (like to you also operate CW, FM, etc) at the same time. A narrow question just gets narrow answers, and in this case I don't think that really tells us anything useful.

The member profile now has a list of several interest areas to select. Maybe that could be expanded on at some point in time to include things like modes (which you use, which is your favorite, which you dislike), and bands, or whatever else.

Polls could still be useful for some things like how some kind of current event (within, or related to, ham radio) is viewed and thought about by members.
Jul 28th 2011, 23:55

AB7ZU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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My vote is to keep politics OFF the forums (as much as possible). I think the ARRL has done a marvelous job of helping us to keep our precious band space intact. Not to mention the never-ending battle to get us a bit more room. Isn't that REALLY what it is all about, politically speaking?

I don't think anyone can argue with the general quality of the technical articles in QST/QEX, either. Sure, all of us would love to see more articles on our favorite "whatever it is," but as has been stated, those come from US.... the membership. If nobody submits, it is a fair bet that nothing will be printed. That isn't the fault of the ARRL HQ, it is OUR fault. It isn't like they aren't actively seeking articles to print. Additionally, there is only so much space in any magazine. I think the mags do a terrific job of trying to please almost everyone in our hobby..... at least a little bit.

So let's all realize that NO organization is perfect and rather than tearing our hair out about it or attempting to tear it down, become part of the solution. I see room for improvement in the ARRL, but I also see a venerable, well respected, tireless organization that cares alot more than a little bit about the continuation and growth of our hobby..... and has done so for alot longer than I have even been alive...... They have proven it for years......

Ok, maybe that sounded political, but it wasn't intended to be. Quite frankly, if there is something wrong with the ARRL, we members are as responsible as anyone for the outcome..... WE voted them in, right? So let's give 'em a bit of POSITIVE feedback :)

Like Ed said, though, this forum is going to grow fast, as anyone could see. I don't think that this is the right "forum" for getting our thoughts to the leadership we elected. We should speak to that leadership directly and clearly. Preferably in person, if one can actually arrange their time for it. I know our directors out my way are more than willing to do that, too :)

Mike AB7ZU
Jul 29th 2011, 17:35

WB1GCM

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Paul,

The ARRL seems to be very AM friendly in this day and age. I hope all who may have been offended by the league's past actions regarding AM would consider the past as, "Water over the Dam". We can only go forward from here. BTW, I haven't talked with anyone recently who is related directly to the League that is against the mode.

Please be happy to know that an active, enthusiastic AM'er works in the ARRL Lab. I've been on AM for 31 years, though I haven't had too much time to get on 160 and 80 like I used to. I do get on 10 and 6 meter AM. 50.4 is fun! I do enjoy modern radios; I DX and contest too. Digital modes are a blast. I operate all modes on all bands 160m-23cm. CW is my favorite mode, but AM is a close second.

At this time, I have the opportunity to spearhead a new project (when I'm not testing equipment); building a museum in a former storage room off the Lab that will among other things, contain a top-notch, working AM station. We'll also have a 1969 era Novice station (working) and a late 1920's station (working). We will also have a lot of really cool items and radios in there too. I'll be doing most of it on my spare time simply for the love of the hobby. Our members who visit us will hopefully enjoy it to. Please come by sometime, Paul

Bob Allison
WB1GCM
ARRL Test Engineer

Jul 29th 2011, 17:55

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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Quote by AB7ZU
My vote is to keep politics OFF the forums (as much as possible). I think the ARRL has done a marvelous job of helping us to keep our precious band space intact. Not to mention the never-ending battle to get us a bit more room. Isn't that REALLY what it is all about, politically speaking?

It's a bit off topic, but I'll take "moderator's privilege" and note that as long as the dicussion of ARRL policy (a more correct term than "politics" in this context) is related to the subject of a topic, it helpful and related to the subject.

Having said that, I'll note as a moderator that if someone wants to start a topic about the ARRL in general, their feelings about the structure of the organization, how well it achieves certain objectives, they should do as they think best, but start a fresh topic. This will help thread drift from taking a thread long past its original intent and will help those who search the forums later for something in particular.

Threads that get too long don't get read in their entirety anyway, so keeping them on topic, with logical conclusions that will let others reading them later learn about the subject being discussed.

This one is about AM and ARRL, and so far, we've kept to the topic. Good job guys!

73.
Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technical forums moderator
Jul 29th 2011, 18:07

AB7ZU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Good point Ed,
I stand corrected. I got a bit off topic. I thought the "other" thread was the one about AM and that this one was leaning more in the direction of the "politics" of the AM discussion (or ARRL's involvement in it) ....... my bad :)

I will say that the mindless ARRL bashing is what I would like to NOT see. That is a bit more like what I call politics. Constructive criticism is one thing, mindless bashing is something entirely different. But, in reality, looking at all the posts to date, I think I am probably preaching to the choir about that particular subject. :)

Thanks again, Ed. Nice to make your acquaintance, too. Nice folks on this here forum thingy :)

Mike AB7ZU
Jul 29th 2011, 18:14

AB7ZU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Post moved to Technology Discusions - Retro-75 - QRP solid-state AM radio kit
Jul 30th 2011, 10:20

WA3ZRM

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by w1rfi
...snip...

I know that a few of the ARRL staff and Directors are reading this forum. This forum exists because the ARRL Board wanted it created. But do NOT use this as a tool to communicate with ARRL! As these forums grow, and they will, there will soon be too many for every ARRL Director to read every post on every forum from hams outside their Divisions. There will be too many posts for every HQ staffer to read every post on every forum, or even every post in forums that could touch on their areas of professional responsibility. The communication you are assuming may not happen at all, for a large number of reasons.

Forums are great for sharing ideas. I find it valuable to listen to the ideas and viewpoints of others, as it helps me shape my own. But when all is said and done, continue to do what hams should be doing -- make your views known to your ARRL Division Directors.... snip...


IMO, I think it would be nice to have Directors and Section Manager areas on these forums. This would be a great way to directly communicate with our elected officials. Just my opinion.
Jul 30th 2011, 11:08

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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I have seen one post here from an ARRL Division Director, although from the nature of the question he asked, he was clearly posting as a member. These forums were created at the request of the ARRL Board, so I would imagine that at least a few are reading at least some of the posts. Those who appreciate these forums could take the time to let their ARRL Divsiion Director know how they feel. Some positive words will go a long way to helping them shape their views about the forums.

However, not all people enjoy reading forums, and very few of us will read every word of every post. Even if there were a Directors or Section Manager (SM) area created, if a lot of members used it, it would be quite a bit of work for Directors and SMs to sort out the email that applies to their Division or Section. Both Directors and SMs serve as volunteers and most are already pretty maxed out on the amount of time they spend helping Amateur Radio through ARRL, so adding a requirement that they check the forums often and determing which of many posts apply to their areas of responspobility could be more than most are willing to do.

I also think that although it is interesting to watch us all use these dicussions with others to shape our views, discussion often causes our views to be moving targets. Dialogue SHOULD have that effect, or we are just typing words to read them on the screen later.

I don't mind if the New England Director Tom Frenaye were to see my discussing my views with others, that is the equivalent of overhearing a conversation. When I communicate directly with Tom, shaing my views as an ARRL member, he knows that he is hearing finished work that I have chosen to elevate to the level of being input to my Director.

The Directors publshi their names, addresses, email address and usually phone numbers in QST and on the ARRL web site. (See http://www.arrl.org/divisions.)
.
I don't get to make the decisions about non-technology forums to add, so this is just one member's viewpoint. I like the sentiment of your idea, but I think that direct contact with your Director and Section Manager is a more effective tool.

That leaves these forums as a personal choice for all, except for the HQ staff that may have maintaining these forums as a professional responsibility. And speaking of HQ staff, not every staffer will be reading every word of every post, so if you need to contact staff, it is much better to do so directly. I am the exception at HQ, as many do not post in or even read most on-line forums. To me, this is a natural, but some may feel that they work hard enough all day on Amateur Radio. I sure don't want to have my dues cover the pay to HQ staff for reading all of these posts every day.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technical forums moderator
Feb 23rd 2012, 19:53

K6ADG

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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The latest ARRL newsletter identified " Section 6414 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 " as creating a study and a favorable view of Amateur Radio.
I am surprised that the ARRL did not identify the house and senate sponsors of this portion of the bill so members can consider these views in thier voting decisions. I could be missing this information but this seems to be somewhat of a casual attitude regarding our power of the vote and this is certainly at the other end of the spectrum (so to speak) from organizations such as the NRA which are heavily funded by PACs to offer up a nearly rabid dedicated and single issue voting population.
There must be a sensible middle ground which would benefit all of us.

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