ARRL Board Adopts Guidelines and Recommendations on the Appropriate Use of Amateur Radio
On Friday, September 25, the ARRL Board of Directors adopted guidelines on the appropriate use of Amateur Radio on behalf of commercial, non-profit and government entities, as well as recommendations for additional steps to be taken by the ARRL to educate radio amateurs and others on how to prepare and train for public service and emergency communications while complying with the current FCC Rules.
At its meeting in July 2009, the ARRL Board created an ad-hoc committee to study the issue and prepare suggested guidelines. The committee submitted its report to the ARRL Executive Committee, which reviewed and revised the document. After additional discussion among Board members by electronic mail and teleconference, the Executive Committee submitted the document to the Board for formal adoption.
Entitled The Commercialization of Amateur Radio: The Rules, The Risks, The Issues, the document offers guidelines to assist radio amateurs and anyone wishing to utilize the capabilities of Amateur Radio in understanding the FCC Rules that prohibit communications in which the amateur has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. While the FCC Rules in this regard have not changed in many years, there has been increasing discussion of the issue as growing numbers of employers and non-amateur organizations recognize the value of Amateur Radio as an emergency communications resource and encourage their employees to obtain amateur licenses. Also included are guidelines for evaluating the appropriateness of Amateur Radio volunteers providing communications services to commercial enterprises and other entities for which other communications systems are available.
"The guidelines are not intended to be the last word on the subject, and surely will not be," observed ARRL First Vice President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and chair of the ad-hoc committee. "The report includes several recommendations for additional steps that the ARRL needs to take to help amateurs and the organizations we serve to better understand the Rules and to ensure that what we do to prepare to be of service in emergencies is consistent with the current Rules."