Awards Conferred at 2009 ARRL Board of Directors Annual Meeting
At the 2009 Annual Meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors voted to convey two awards for 2008: The Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award and the ARRL Humanitarian Award.
The Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award
Ted Randall, WB8PUM, was named the recipient of the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award. Every week, Randall hosts the QSO Radio Show, featuring guests who have ties to the amateur community, such as country and western artist Ronnie Milsap, WB4KCG, Amateur Radio licensing instructor Gordon West, WB6NOA, and Monitoring Times publisher Bob Grove.
This annual award honors a professional journalist whose outstanding coverage in TV, radio, print or multimedia best reflects the enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio. The award was created as a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE. Leonard was an avid Amateur Radio operator, most active on the air during the 1960s and 1970s. As the recipient of the Bill Leonard Award, Randall will receive a plaque and a cash prize of $500.
"I want to thank you all for this award, on behalf of the radio show, more than for myself," Randall said. "I believe the award will add credibility to the show and will help us continue to get to our goals. This is just one of the many reasons why doing the QSO Radio Show is so important to me. The folks who 'are' Amateur Radio and the ARRL have stories to tell that the rest of the world needs to hear. Little on radio today is authentic and compelling. The QSO Radio Show brings all these special people into the homes and listening posts of people in every continent. We are taking a story of goodwill and friendship, the story of Amateur Radio, 'up close and personal' to millions of listeners around the world. We are also collecting a fraternity of folks together, around what comes natural to us, the radio. We saw this magic take place in 2008 on Field Day, with Field Day locations calling in from everywhere, including Iraq. Magicians appear to perform magic on stage, but what these folks did is real magic!"
ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, said Randall was cited for his ongoing coverage of Amateur Radio through his profiling of key figures and personalities as host of the QSO Radio Show: "Each week, Ted broadcasts interesting information, interviews and news about the Amateur Radio world to the world. The power of his shortwave broadcast medium was pleasantly made very real to me when, following an interview, I was flooded with e-mails asking for more information. Not only were they coming from the USA, but just as many came from foreign countries such as China, Canada and Japan. Ted is a tireless promoter of the Amateur Radio Service -- not just on the air, but to every broadcast engineer and celebrity he meets."
ARRL Humanitarian Award
The Board voted to confer the 2008 ARRL Humanitarian Award to the amateurs of the Sichuan Radio Sports Association, the Chinese Radio Sports Association (CRSA) and the many Amateur Radio operators in China who assisted with communications support during aftermath of the May 2008 earthquake in that country.
In the wake of the earthquake, the CRSA called on its members to "take actions to ensure their Amateur Radio stations to operate properly, and to the extent possible stand by on often used short-wave frequencies. If any radio signal is heard from the disaster area, please do your best to understand what is most needed by people in that area and report it to the local government authority. If people in the surrounding areas need to pass messages to their loved ones over the radio, please help them to get in touch and get the messages across as soon as possible. Amateur Radio stations in the disaster area and surrounding areas if in working condition should be used unconditionally to assist the local earthquake disaster relief authorities, and subject to permission by the said authorities, to provide communications services to them. For emergency communications purposes, Amateur Radio stations may also be used to pass messages for local residents on a temporary basis until local telecommunications services resume. Amateur Radio stations of all regions should give way to and stand by for emergency communications."
According to the CRSA -- the Chinese IARU Member-Society -- Chinese government officials and the news media recognized that when normal communications failed after the earthquake, Amateur Radio operators stepped in to provide vital links. CRSA acknowledged that the main organizer of local Amateur Radio traffic, Luo Minglin, BY8AA, "continuously coordinated VHF/UHF communications for a 100 km radius from Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's province of Sichuan. More repeaters were set up in both Beichuan and Mianyang -- among the worst hit areas outside the epicenter -- to form an effective Amateur Radio communication network."
Zhang Zhen, BG8DOU, said that right after the earthquake, "Two ham radio operators drove to the center of the earthquake area and had a repeater set up by the morning of May 13. This repeater enabled the transmission of rescue instructions and status reports, and was a main communication channel for public use. The repeater carried communications for the Mayor of Mianzhu City who gave orders to those on the front line rescue and recovery activity."
On May 12 at 1858 UTC, Liu Hu, BG8AAS, of Chengdu, reported that the local UHF repeater in that town "keeps busy running after the quake. It helps to direct social vehicles to transport the wounded from Dujiangyan, Beichuan and other regions. Another UHF repeater also started working in Mianyan, supported by generators, but they are going to face a shortage of gas."
According to ARRL Programs and Services Committee Chairman Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, the PSC Committee itself put forward the nomination. "We received three nominations from the public for other groups or individuals," Frahm said, "but we as a committee felt the Chinese amateurs and their organizations exemplified the highest level of dedication to public service."