2008 ARRL Annual Report Now Available
The ARRL Annual Report for 2008, now available online and in print, reviews the major events of the year and documents the renewed growth of both the ARRL and the activities of the Amateur Radio Service. In 2008, the ARRL experienced a growth in membership, ending the year with 154,627 members, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2007. The growth was the greatest among International members and in the League's Northwestern, Rocky Mountain and Delta Divisions.
"As ARRL began 2008, the main question facing us was whether the growth spurt that the Amateur Radio Service had enjoyed the previous year would continue," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "It did, with the number of new amateur licenses issued by the FCC rising to 28,066 -- a 5 percent increase over 2007. The ten-year license term makes the total number of licensees a poor indicator of current trends, but after a period of annual declines beginning in 2003 this figure also increased by 1.2 percent during the year. Thus it appears that the regulatory changes that took effect in February 2007 are having more than a short-term impact."
ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, said that through the ARRL's year history, the League's strength has come from "the fact that its leaders have always had a clear understanding of our association's mission. Our mission has been expressed in different words by different generations but has remained fundamentally the same. Our current strategic plan states it in just six words: To advance and advocate Amateur Radio."
Harrison further defined this strength, recalling that in 2005, "we identified four 'pillars' of our association: Public Service, Advocacy, Education, and Membership. Technology supports virtually everything we do, and as time went on we realized that it deserved its own pillar. So, with a bit of fanfare we unveiled technology as the 'fifth pillar' at the ARRL EXPO area of the 2008 Dayton Hamvention."
Sumner said that 2008's "most gratifying development" was the April decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the ARRL's appeal of the FCC's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) rules. "The Court panel found that FCC prejudice had tainted the rulemaking process and that the Commission had violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not disclosing in full the staff studies on which the Commission relied," he said. "The judges also found that the Commission had failed to justify its decision to apply to BPL systems an extrapolation factor that was designed for entirely different technologies and had summarily dismissed empirical data -- submitted at the Commission's invitation -- that supported a different conclusion. The Court even awarded the ARRL some of our costs; this reimbursed only a small fraction of the total cost of the appeal, but it was a moral victory and underscored the fact that we had substantially prevailed in our appeal. Remarkably, at yearend the FCC still had done nothing to comply with the Court's decision. Perhaps the change in administration will cause the FCC finally to meet its obligations."
According to ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, "The Annual Report is not only useful for showing members the strength of the organization, but it is also a valuable tool in presentations to major public officials. At times they may know little about Amateur Radio, but when they see the quality of the annual report, even before they open it up, they know this is an organization to be taken very seriously. We are indeed a national association and very active."