ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB020 (2010)

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ARLB020 John Robert Stratton, KE5ISX, Appointed West Gulf Division
Vice Director

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ARRL Bulletin 20  ARLB020
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  July 27, 2010
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB020
ARLB020 John Robert Stratton, KE5ISX, Appointed West Gulf Division
Vice Director

After review of eligibility by the ARRL Ethics and Elections
Committee, President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has appointed John Robert
Stratton, KE5ISX, of Austin Texas, to serve as Vice Director of the
ARRL's West Gulf Division for the remainder of the current term that
expires January 1, 2011. Stratton, an attorney, fills the vacancy
created when John Thomason, WB5SYT, resigned the position earlier
this month.

"John Robert Stratton has the training, experience, time and
motivation to be a great Vice Director," said ARRL West Gulf
Division Director Dr David Woolweaver, K5RAV. "His addition to the
West Gulf Division's team will enhance its ability to provide the
quality of service the membership deserves."

A General class licensee, Stratton has been licensed and an ARRL
member since 2006, but said he has wanted to be a ham since he was a
Boy Scout in high school: "I was always fascinated by the magic of
voices appearing out of the night air from exotic lands -- some
pedestrian, some urgent, some mysterious. Many an hour was spent at
my uncle's place in East Texas, often into the wee hours of the
morning, carefully rotating the dial on his Hallicrafters, stalking
the souls whose voices lived and hid inside the radio. Highly
sought, but always difficult to find were the ships at sea. Of all
the Q signals, I found none more haunting than QRD -- where bound --
conveying the image of tramp steamers alone in the night, seeking
companionship from the shadowy images slipping past."

Crediting a great Elmer, Stratton started working on getting his
ticket, but "life, in the form of graduation, engineering school,
law school and then starting my own law firm intervened. In 2006, I
decided I had for too long missed those voices, so I obtained my
Technician license and immediately joined the ARRL."

In February 2007, Stratton became active in League affairs after
learning about the new cell phone bills that were introduced in the
2007 Texas Legislative Session, and he volunteered to help work
against the bills. He was put in touch with then-ARRL West Gulf
Division Vice Director Dr David Woolweaver, K5RAV, who was leading
the West Gulf legislative efforts. "Initially just a volunteer, I
was selected to lead the West Gulf legislative team," Stratton said.
"We were successful in defeating the cell phone bills that would
have made mobile Amateur Radio operation illegal. With the help of
some smart and dedicated hams, we were also successful in obtaining
passage of new laws that protected those state employees who were
hams [so they could operate] when they are deployed in emergencies."

Due to his success with the Texas cell phone legislation, Stratton
became the ex-officio West Gulf Legal Counsel and in 2009, he was
appointed Assistant Director and Division Legislative Action Chair.
In this capacity, he said he was "charged again with leading our
legislative efforts in the 2009 Texas Legislative Session. We were
successful in persuading the Legislature to pass cell phone
legislation that exempted Amateur Radio operators from the effect of
those laws. We also introduced legislation that would have
eliminated the ability of home owner associations to deny hams the
right to operate and erect towers and antennas. Unfortunately,
although we received unanimous support, the bill was unable to get
out of both the House and Senate committees and reach the floor for
a vote."

Saying that Stratton has been working closely with the West Gulf
Division for four years, Dr Woolweaver explained that the new Vice
Director initially volunteered to assist with legislative matters:
"Eventually, he became the leader of the West Gulf Division's Austin
Group of ARRL volunteers that has been responsible for the great
successes achieved at the state legislature. Although many 'wireless
communication device' bills have been filed that would limit mobile
Amateur Radio operation, no bill has been passed due to John and the
Austin Group's efforts. Thanks to John and his group, Texas has a
statue, signed by the Governor that exempts Amateur Radio operators
from future 'wireless communication device' legislation. Although
not a total guarantee against future attacks on mobile Amateur
Radio, the statute is now state law. John is also the Division
Legislative Action Chairman and supervises the Grassroots
Legislative Action program in the West Gulf Division."

To enhance and support the ARRL's legislative efforts, Stratton also
led the effort to form the first Amateur Radio political action
committee in the United States -- Texas Ham Pac. "It has proven to
be invaluable in supporting our legislative efforts," he said.

Locally, Stratton is a member of the Austin Amateur Radio Club
(AARC) and the Central Texas DX and Contest Club (CTDXCC) -- "a very
green member," he explained. On the EmComm level, he is also one of
the assigned Amateur Radio operators who staff the State
Communications and Coordination Group for the Texas Division of
Emergency Management (TXDEM) during disasters.

Stratton is a civil trial lawyer in Austin, Texas with his own firm,
The Stratton Law Firm, PC. A graduate of the University of Texas
with a degree in aerospace engineering, he then pursued a law degree
at the University of Texas School of Law; he has been in private
practice since passing the bar exam.
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