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2011 ARRL Annual Report Now Available

06/15/2012

The ARRL Annual Report for 2011 – now available online -- reviews the major events of the year and documents the renewed growth of both the ARRL and the activities of the Amateur Radio Service. For the fifth consecutive year, ARRL membership grew -- totaling 157,813 members at year end.

According to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, Amateur Radio is flourishing: “Despite challenges on many fronts, Amateur Radio and the ARRL were in better shape at the end of 2011 than at the beginning. In September, we reached a milestone in amateur licensing, with 700,000 individuals licensed by the FCC, and reached 702,056 at the end of December, up .86 percent for the year.”

Sumner noted that ARRL membership also grew at .86 percent, exactly the same rate as the licensing numbers. “While membership is still short of its all-time high, we have achieved five straight years of growth, straight through the recession,” he said. “This record of success is testimony to the professionalism of our membership staff as well as to the diligent efforts of everyone, volunteer and staff alike, who contributes every day to a positive image of the ARRL in the Amateur Radio community.”

Calling HR 607 “the first domestic threat to Amateur Radio spectrum privileges on a popular band, in this case, 420-440 MHz, in many years,” ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, recalled how the ARRL and its grassroots network helped lead the charge to educate legislators on the valuable benefits of the Amateur Radio Service. Through their efforts, the inclusion of portions of our Amateur Radio spectrum was taken out of the bill.

“Although we were assured all along that we didn’t need to worry about HR 607, in my view, every threat to Amateur Radio spectrum privileges has to be taken seriously, and opposed seriously, until it is buried with a stake in its heart,” Craigie said. “We now have shown that our grassroots program can mobilize the membership on a legislative issue and we have learned that talented volunteers will step forward to offer us new ways of promoting grassroots action at little or no cost to the League. A volunteer produced an informational video about the bill that could be viewed or downloaded. Another volunteer created letter-generating software that continues to be enhanced. In addition to these volunteer efforts, we initiated a legislative affairs e-newsletter from Headquarters to keep members informed about what is going on and what we would like them to do about it. When we need to activate our grass-roots network for the next threat or opportunity, we know it will work. Possibly, even more capabilities will be added as members grow more attuned to legislative action and are moved to offer their expertise to our tool box.”

According to Sumner, the ARRL had a very positive year financially. “It is best to regard this as a cushion against the fact that the next couple of years are unlikely to be as rosy,” he pointed out. “Our major revenue sources are not increasing, and both advertising and publications sales revenues are vulnerable to the impact of digital publishing; we are doing remarkably well on both counts, but cannot expect this to continue indefinitely. Voluntary contributions from members who have the means and the motivation to provide financial support above and beyond the basic membership dues are an important part of our fiscal equation.”

Looking to 2012, Sumner noted that the ARRL “will continue to defend amateurs’ access to the radio spectrum in the face of growing pressure to expand the frequencies available for mobile broadband. We also will accelerate our planning for a memorable celebration of the ARRL’s Centennial in 2014, not only to honor the past but to set the stage for an equally exciting Second Century.”

“The good news for Amateur Radio is that because the wireless industry has exploded, Amateur Radio now makes sense to students in science, technology, engineering and math, drawing into Amateur Radio the technically oriented students who are aiming at careers in the wireless industry,” Craigie said. “The bad news for Amateur Radio is that because the wireless industry has exploded, the industry has a voracious appetite for spectrum above 30 MHz. The ARRL will face the continuing challenge of deciding how to apply finite resources to the defense of spectrum. The ARRL has never shrunk from a challenge and we aren’t going to start now as we stand on the doorstep of our Second Century.”



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