Often, when you hear ARRL officials speak, they extol the virtues of amateur radio clubs, saying things like, “Clubs are the lifeblood of amateur radio.” For example, Dale Williams, WA8EFK, in response to my e-mail congratulating him on his appointment as the new ARRL Great Lakes Division director, said that his “plans are to push to keep things local, club-related, and bottom-up driven.”
Of course, that kind of set me off. When it comes to club support, the ARRL is more talk than action.
One example of this lack of support is that there hasn’t been an issue of the ARRL Club News newsletter for years. Even so, if you log into the ARRL website and look at your e-mail subscriptions page, you’ll see that it says that it’s supposed to be a monthly newsletter.
I’ll also note that the ARRL CEO Harold Kramer, WJ1B,left this particular newsletter off the list of available newsletters in his June QST column. I don’t know who at HQ is responsible for producing this newsletter, but the fact that there hasn’t been one for so long speaks volumes to me.
Another example is the club commission program. Under this program, clubs get a $15 commission when they sign up a new member. That’s not bad, but the commission falls to only $2 for renewing members. According to a former treasurer of ARROW, my club here in Ann Arbor, MI, $2 just wasn’t enough to make it worth his while to process renewals.
To be fair, it’s not all bad news. The ARRL website does have a page with information on how to set up and run an active club (http://www.arrl.org/affiliated-club-resources). The ARRL also has a club liability insurance program is a decent deal for clubs, but that program probably doesn’t require much effort on the ARRL’s part. The ARRL is also supposed to refer new hams to clubs, but I’m not sure exactly how they do that, and I don’t think ARROW’s gained any new members from this recently.
Let me ask you. Is your club getting the support it needs from the ARRL? If so, I’d like to hear about what you think they’re doing right. If not, I’d like to know what you think they should be doing to help your club.
This is a version of my July newsletter column. So, if you think you seen this before, you may have. Sorry, Dan