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2009 ARRL Annual Report Now Available


The ARRL Annual Report for 2009 -- 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 2009, the ARRL experienced a growth in membership, ending the year with 156,125 members, an increase of nearly 1 percent from 2008.

“Measured against our expectations at its beginning, 2009 turned out to be an exceptionally good year for the ARRL,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. “Many non-profits -- most of which rely more heavily than we do on voluntary contributions -- are having a much tougher time holding onto their benefactors. Ultimately, we ended 2009 solidly in the black for the year.”

Sumner said that this result “stem[s] from a team effort involving every member of the staff, whether or not they work in a revenue-generating capacity. Every contact that a member or prospective member has with ARRL personnel, either volunteer or staff, influences their perception of the organization and the likelihood they will join, renew or contribute above and beyond their membership dues. We cannot be all things to all people, nor can we meet every expectation, but the fact that membership has increased for the third year in a row -- despite the recession -- suggests that we’re doing pretty well with most.”

Sumner also noted that the ARRL had success on the policy issues, too:

  • The Board’s timely action in January calling for the development of a policy on Mobile Amateur Radio Operation led to an exchange of letters in the summer between President Harrison and the head of the National Safety Council that provided support for our legislative efforts to differentiate between unsafe driving practices while using cell phones and the much less risky use of two-way radios by drivers.
  • The Board’s consideration in July of the need for guidelines to assist amateurs in deciding what is both legal and appropriate in providing communications for non-amateur entities helped considerably in clarifying the issues.
  • The United States Senate passed S 1755, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act. We ended the year with 32 cosponsors of the House version, HR 2160, and with hope that the bill will become law in 2010.

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, called it “obvious, contrary to the soap box of the doom and gloom crowd” that interest in Amateur Radio is still in great shape: “2009 was a year where we exceeded our goal of 30,000 new Amateur Radio licensees and the ARRL membership grew right at 1500 members. Even in a year of national economic turmoil, our publication and advertising sales were strong for the year and provided a solid financial result that will allow us to continue to fund a number of initiatives that support and defend the Amateur Radio Service.”

Harrison said he could not emphasize enough the importance of ARRL’s role internationally: “Until you are directly involved in the international arena you cannot really grasp the respect that ARRL receives from our sister societies for supporting the IARU and leading the work they do. They all recognize it would be impossible without our involvement. Just one example can show why this is also important to radio amateurs here at home. The Amateur Radio Service could have very easily lost much of the 40 meter band at WRC-03 to commercial broadcast or government interests. That would not have set well at all with any radio amateur in the US. It was only through the worldwide coordinated effort, led by ARRL, that a successful outcome was produced.”

In October, 2009, Harrison advised the ARRL Board of Directors that he had decided retire after 27 years of service to the League. “When I began, it was with the thought that when it came time to retire I would recognize it and do so without regret,” he said. “That time has arrived and I am extremely pleased with what we have done over that time, especially the past four years I have served as President. In my report for the 2006 Annual Meeting, I wrote about the passion I held for Amateur Radio and wireless communication. I still have that passion -- it hasn’t waned one bit!” Harrison presided at his last ARRL Board meeting in January 2010.

“As one chapter ends a new chapter begins,” Sumner explained. “I look forward to continuing to work with the ARRL’s remarkable team of volunteers and staff as we build on past success toward an even brighter future for Amateur Radio.”



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