ARRL Executive Committee Examines Regulatory Matters, Organizational Issues and More at September Meeting
The ARRL Executive Committee (EC) held its second 2012 meeting Saturday, September 29 in Denver, Colorado. The EC is responsible for administering the League’s affairs in between Board meetings. It consists of the President (Kay Craigie, N3KN), five Directors elected annually by the Board, and -- without vote -- the First Vice President (Rick Roderick, K5UR) and Chief Executive Officer (David Sumner, K1ZZ). For 2012, the Director members are Cliff Ahrens, K0CA (Midwest), Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF (Northwestern), Dick Isely, W9GIG (Central), Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT (Rocky Mountain) and Dr David Woolweaver, K5RAV (West Gulf). Also in attendance at the meeting were Second Vice President Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD. International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB, was unable to attend due to his obligation to attend a meeting of the IARU Region 2 Executive Committee, on which he serves as a Director.
FCC and Regulatory Matters
- Amateur Radio Enforcement: General Counsel Imlay pointed out to the EC that the list of Amateur Radio enforcement items on the FCC website has not been updated since March 2012. Saying that this issue has “repeatedly been called to the attention of the Enforcement Bureau leadership who say they are also frustrated that this has not been corrected,” the EC agreed that fact-finding and contact with the Enforcement Bureau will continue, and if there is no improvement, they will contact the Commissioners’ offices.
- GN Docket No. 12-91: The EC discussed the FCC report to Congress entitled Uses and Capabilities of Amateur Radio Service Communications in Emergency and Disaster Relief (GN Docket No. 12-91). The EC agreed that the next step is to prepare a summary of the extensive document that the ARRL submitted in response to the FCC’s request for input, and use it to present Amateur Radio’s capabilities to Congress after the November elections.
- National Broadband Plan: As instructed by the ARRL Board of Directors at its January 2012 meeting, the EC reviewed the National Broadband Plan (NBP) Committee Report to consider possible revisions/updates. The amateur allocation that currently appears to be at greatest risk is 3400-3500 MHz. Because the amateur allocation of that band -- as well as of others in the frequency range of the greatest interest to mobile broadband interests -- is on a secondary basis to federal government radiolocation, the EC agreed that consultations with the federal government interests should be pursued. The EC also agreed that a review of the NBP Committee Report will be a standard agenda item for every Executive Committee. While the review is a responsibility of the full committee, it was agreed that a subgroup of the Executive Committee will be formed and supplemented by knowledgeable volunteers and staff, with the objective of ensuring that adequate attention is paid to the review on an ongoing basis.
- New Secondary MF Allocation: General Counsel Imlay presented the EC with an early draft of a Petition for Rulemaking to seek domestic implementation of the international amateur allocations below 500 kHz, as approved at the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12). After discussion after a motion made by Director Isely, the EC voted to proceed as soon as possible with a Petition to implement the 472-479 kHz allocation.
- Permanent Exam Credit, Remote Test Sessions and TDMA Emissions: General Counsel Imlay informed the EC that the FCC is soon expected to release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that deals with examination element credit for expired licensees, remote proctoring of examinations and the ARRL’s Petition (RM-11625) to allow amateur use of Time Domain Multiple Access (TDMA) emissions. According to General Counsel Imlay, this NPRM is expected to raise significant policy questions that will require consideration by the full Board of Directors. The Executive Committee agreed to prepare an outline of the pros and cons of each item for circulation to the Board, as a basis for discussion.
- RM-11666: The EC reviewed the status of RM-11666, a Petition to permit the operation of unlicensed, short-range vehicular radar systems in the 77-81 GHz band. Except for 77.5-78 GHz -- where the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services are the only primary services -- the 77-81 GHz band is already allocated to radiolocation on a primary basis. An agenda item for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) will consider a worldwide primary allocation to the radiolocation service for automotive applications at 77.5-78 GHz, taking into account incumbent services, as well as services operating in the adjacent bands, with the objective of global or regional harmonization.
- PAVE PAWS: General Counsel Imlay informed the EC that no new developments have been reported with respect to the PAVE PAWS radar systems operating in the 420-450 MHz band in Northern California and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Amateurs using the 420-440 MHz band may experience brief, intermittent interference from AirMOSS Earth observation radars operating from aircraft.
- ReconRobotics: FCC action is still awaited on three challenges by the ARRL of irregularities related to the ReconRobotics video and audio surveillance device that operates in the 430-448 MHz band. One ARRL complaint pointed out that serious mistakes in the Technical Coordination Body (TCB) grant of equipment authorization to the device has been “under review” by the Office of Engineering and Technology since January 2011.
- ITAR: The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) include provisions mandated by Congress that place US satellite manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, the regulations also prevent amateurs in the US from collaborating on satellite designs with their colleagues in other countries. The ARRL is monitoring developments that may point toward a resolution of the problem.
- WRC-2007: An FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Final Acts of the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) is expected to be released soon. It may include other allocation issues and related rule updates.
- RF Exposure Regulations: The FCC’s RF exposure regulations have not been reviewed in many years. According to General Counsel Imlay, this is due in part to the FCC not considering itself to be the expert agency on health effects. The current RF exposure regulations are based on studies conducted 20 years ago. There is a proceeding, ET Docket No. 03-137, that has been open and pending without action for almost a decade. A document to advance the proceeding reportedly is on circulation at the FCC and may be released soon.
- Electronic Balloting: Chief Executive Officer Sumner reported that the first ARRL elections to be conducted by electronic voting began on Monday, October 1 in the Hudson and Northwestern Divisions. Full Members in the two Divisions with valid e-mail addresses in the ARRL membership records will receive an e-mail instructing them how to vote on a website. The other Full Members will receive a paper ballot, but will have the option of voting via the website if they wish to do so. He noted that preparations for the elections have gone smoothly.
- 2013 Annual Meeting: Chief Executive Officer Sumner reported the results of extensive research by ARRL Meeting Planner Lisa Kustosik, KA1UFZ, into suitable venues for the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors in New Orleans. The staff recommendation of the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel was accepted.
- National Frequency Coordinators Council: President Craigie reported on the status of discussions with the National Frequency Coordinators Council (NFCC) concerning a new Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations and distributed the latest draft of a possible MOU. On motion of Director Isely, the President was authorized to send the draft to NFCC with an appropriate cover letter.
- ARRL Centennial Celebration: President Craigie presented the report of the Centennial Celebration Committee. A Centennial logo has been developed by ARRL staff and adopted for use. Suggestions for activities have been solicited and a number of ideas have been offered for consideration by the committee. Planning for the Centennial National Convention in Hartford is proceeding. The Executive Committee discussed the timing of the 2014 Second Board Meeting and concluded that it probably would have to be held right after the National Convention. There are ongoing discussions of how the Centennial might be celebrated at other conventions throughout the year.
- Completed and Open Board Actions: Chief Executive Officer Sumner distributed a chart listing past Board actions on which work has been completed since the July 2012 Board Meeting, and those on which work is ongoing. There was a discussion of how task assignments are given to Advisory Committees and the need for clear and timely communication. On motion of Director Ahrens, the Ad Hoc Microwave Band Planning Committee -- which had completed its work -- was given a new task of reviewing the band plans for the 5 GHz and 10 GHz bands, with a target date for completion of July 2013.
The following 2012 conventions were approved:
- Connecticut State, October 7, Meriden, Connecticut
- Microwave Update (Specialty), October 18-21, Santa Clara, California
- Atlantic Division (Virtual), November 10
The following 2013 conventions were approved:
- Quartzfest (Specialty), January 15-25, Quartzsite, Arizona
- Georgia ARES (Specialty), January 19, Forsyth, Georgia
- Mississippi State, January 25-26, Jackson, Mississippi
- Oklahoma Section, March 8-9, Claremore, Oklahoma
- Louisiana State, April 20, Monroe, Louisiana
- Central States VHF Society Conference (Specialty), July 25-27, Elk Grove Village, Illinois
- W9DXCC (Specialty), September 20-21, Elk Grove Village, Illinois
On motion of Director Isely, the ARRL affiliation of the following clubs was approved (all clubs are Category 1, unless otherwise indicated):
- Allied Auxiliary Forces Communications Group NFP, Decatur, Illinois
- Central Virginia Repeater Association, Barboursville, Virginia
- Franklin Township Emcom Operators Club, Franklinville, New Jersey
- Georgia Contest Group, Stockbridge, Georgia (Category 2)
- HacDC Amateur Radio Club, Washington, DC
- KL7NWR Amateur Radio Club, Homer, Alaska
- New Mexico Search & Rescue Support Team, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Suwannee Amateur Radio Club, Live Oak, Florida
- Texas Adventist Emergency Communication, Keene, Texas
The ARRL now has 2314 active affiliated clubs. Category 1: 2107 (a local radio club); Category 2: 59 (a regional or national club); Category 3: 134 (a club at a school or a home for the elderly, or a youth club); Category 4, 14 (a council of clubs).
The EC also recognized 199 recently elected Life Members. Their names will appear in December 2012 issue of QST.
Other Business: In other business, the EC discussed possible approaches to legislative representation for the 113th Congress and tasked Chief Executive Officer Sumner with negotiating a one-year agreement with Chwat & Company. Options for legislative representation -- including how increased activity might be funded -- will be explored in 2013. Budgeting of division expenses was also discussed briefly.
According to the ARRL Articles of Association, the EC meets during the intervals between meetings of the Board of Directors. It meets at the call of the President, but no less often than semi-annually; the last meeting of the EC was March 24, 2012. According to the ARRL By-Laws, the Executive Committee is assigned specific responsibility for:
- Applying existing Board policy to make decisions between Board meetings.
- Evaluating proposed rules and regulatory changes for the Board.
- Assisting staff and General Counsel in Board recommendations for petitions to the FCC and other governmental and international agencies.
- Periodically reviewing and recommending to the Board any changes in the ARRL Articles of Association, By-Laws, Standing Orders, and Memoranda of Understanding with other organizations.
- Monitoring progress of Board actions and recommendations (task tracking).
- Monitoring progress of the implementation of, and suggesting ongoing revisions to, the ARRL Strategic Plan, working in conjunction with Standing Committees as appropriate.
- Reviewing and recommending programs designed to represent the organization to the public, enhance the organization’s image, and communicate with the media.