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ARRL Board of Directors Tackles Ambitious Agenda


A demanding agenda faced the ARRL Board of Directors when it convened for its annual meeting January 18 – 19 in Windsor, Connecticut. President Rick Roderick, K5UR, chaired the session. Several new faces were around the table, with four newly elected ARRL Directors, one newly elected Vice Director, and one recently appointed Vice Director. Attending for their first meeting as Board members were Hudson Division Director Ria Jairam, N2RJ; New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR; Northwestern Division Director Mike Ritz, W7VO, and Roanoke Division Director George “Bud” Hippisley, W2RU. Also present were Northwestern Division Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX, and Rocky Mountain Division Vice Director Robert Wareham, N0ESQ, who was appointed last fall to fill a vacancy.

On a voice vote, the Board authorized $485,000 to fund a project, carried out by Connecticut media and advertising consultants Mintz & Hoke, to develop lifelong learning strategies and programs aimed at attracting and retaining ARRL members, especially newly licensed radio amateurs.

“Our focus is on expanding the reach of ARRL by providing instructional materials to Amateur Radio operators who have a wide range of interests and experience levels,” ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager Kris Bickell, K1BIC, remarked this week. The program will offer a modern, user-friendly educational environment with various learning paths, such as getting on the air, public service, technological experimentation, and advanced operating and technical tips, Bickell said.

The Board adopted an ARES Plan as recommended by the Programs and Services Committee. Committee Chair Dale Williams, WA8EFK, said the ARES Plan will establish training programs and three levels of ARES membership. It also revises ARES appointment definitions and designates the Emergency Coordinator (EC) as the lead person in local activations. Section and District Emergency Coordinators will serve as resources.

The Board also established an EmComm Manager Requirements Committee, charged with setting the requirements for ARRL’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager function.

The Board received the report of ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, who outlined plans to reorganize and refocus the activities at ARRL Headquarters. Michel said providing better value to membership is a top priority, and he sees value creation and value delivery as key components to long-term membership retention and growth.

Addressing an ARRL governance issue, the Board repealed the ARRL Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members of the Board of Directors and Vice Directors, commonly known as the “Code of Conduct,” on an 11-3 vote with one abstention.

The Board voted unanimously to create a Legal Structure Review Committee to study and make recommendations to update ARRL’s legal structure “to reflect ARRL’s current operational needs.”

The Board created a permanent Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Committee “to develop an interactive relationship” with ARISS, which sponsors voice contacts between ISS crew members and school groups and gatherings on Earth, “bringing together STEM program objectives and local Amateur Radio groups.” The Board motion said ARISS “has demonstrated very positive public relations benefits to the ARRL, and that it’s ARRL’s best interests to support ARISS.”

“ARRL has sponsored ARISS since its infancy in 1996, while important ISS modules were still being built,” said ARISS-US Delegate for ARRL Rosalie White, K1STO. “I’m quite pleased that ARRL and ARISS will work even more closely to pull together STEM objectives and ham radio groups. Thank you to ARRL for its compliments on the good PR the program generates.”

The ad hoc Logbook of The World (LoTW) Committee was elevated to permanent status, reporting to the ARRL Administration and Finance Committee.

As already announced, the Board withdrew, without prejudice to refiling, ARRL’s December 18, 2018, Petition for Rule Making to the FCC, which sought to amend the Part 97 Amateur Service rules to incorporate the provisions of the Amateur Radio Parity Act (ARPA). The Board said that ARRL needs to “review, re-examine, and reappraise ARRL's regulatory and legislative policy with regard to private land use restrictions.”

In other business, the Board:

  • received the report of ARRL Treasurer Rick Niswander, K7GM, on ARRL’s investments for 2018. He said ARRL’s portfolio recorded a small loss for the year, “consistent with market-derived expectations.”
  • heard from Chief Financial Officer Diane Middleton, W2DLM, who reported that “a financially strong balance sheet generated a larger-than-expected gain from operations for 2018.” Cash flow also continued to be favorable.
  • received the report of EMC Committee chair Kermit Carlson, W9XA, who told the Board his panel is working to raise awareness of a variety of issues stemming from major technological advances, such as wireless power transfer systems for charging electric vehicles. Carlson said that while new systems need spectrum, protection of other bands for other services is necessary. He invited the Board’s vigilance in alerting the EMC Committee to potential concerns.
  • affirmed its support of the National Traffic System and all amateurs involved in traffic handling, and their role as partners to ARES in ARRL’s public service tool kit.
  • considered recommendations of the Administration and Finance Committee and adopted the ARRL 2019 – 2020 Plan.
  • elevated past New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, to Director Emeritus, commending him for his more than 30 years of service to Amateur Radio “as a leader in his community, ARRL Division, and nationwide.” Since 1975, Frenaye has served as an ARRL employee, Director, and Vice President, and as President of the ARRL Foundation.
  • elevated retiring West Gulf Director Dr. David Woolweaver, K5RAV, to ARRL Honorary Vice President, in recognition of “providing outstanding leadership” throughout his 19 continuous years as a Vice Director and Director.
  • directed the ARRL Secretary to cast ballots in support of the re-election of IARU President Timothy Ellam, VE6SH, and IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, for additional 5-year terms.
  • received greetings from IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, on behalf of IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, and from Radio Amateurs of Canada President Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA.

Minutes of the annual meeting have been posted.