ARRL Executive Committee minutes make interesting reading

ARRLThe minutes of the March 24, 2012 ARRL Executive Committee meeting make interesting reading. On the plus side, the ARRL is very hot on defending and expanding our bands. These minutes note (section 4.1.8) that the recent World Radio Conference created a secondary allocation at 472 – 479 kHz, and that they have allocated 135.7 – 135.8 kHz to amateurs in the past. To date, neither allocation has been implemented in the U.S. and they discussed how to get the FCC to do so.

Section 4.1.9 describes a discussion of the 2300 – 2305 MHz band. Our allocation on this band is a secondary allocation, and there was some discussion of how the ARRL might get this allocation upgraded to a primary allocation.

On the down side, I note that the ARRL seems to be downplaying the necessity of strategic planning. Here’s section 8.2:

8.2. Mr. Sumner reported on his research into “state of the art” strategic planning by large membership associations. Perhaps because of the negative impact of the financial upheavals of 2008 and the revolution in electronic publishing, at this time there appears to be no consensus among associations as to the value of strategic planning or the best way for associations to go about it. The ARRL Board last updated the organization’s strategic plan in 2009 and normally would conduct an in-depth review three to five years later. The committee discussed the perceived shortcomings of past strategic planning efforts along with possible improvements. Without taking a formal decision the committee concluded that while strategic planning remains important to the ARRL, planning for a successful Centennial celebration in 2014 is the current priority. A fresh approach to strategic planning should be taken immediately afterward.

I’ll be interested to see what this “fresh approach” to strategic planning is.

FCC collecting data on how antenna restrictions affect emergency communications

FCC LogoFrom ARRL HQ:

Do you live in a CC&R-restricted community or participate in EmComm activities? Have deed restrictions / HOA covenants prevented you from erecting amateur radio antennas? Have these restrictions prevented you from full participation in emergency communications activities during disasters?

If your answer is “Yes”, ARRL needs to hear about your experience.

As you are probably aware, Congress has directed the FCC to conduct a study of the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief. The FCC was directed to identify ” impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations”. Finally, the study is to make “recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.”

The FCC has issued a Public Notice – DA 12-523- soliciting input from the public as part of their study. The ARRL is gathering comments from the Amateur Radio community to present as part of its comments on the public notice.

The ARRL is looking specifically for input in two specific areas:

  • Recent Amateur Radio involvement in actual emergency communications and disaster relief;
  • Specific details about how CC&Rs and other private land use restrictions have impaired licensed Amateurs to participate fully in these disaster relief communications.

If your ability to participate in ARES, RACES, SKYWARN, CERT, or other emergency and disaster relief communications has been limited because the inability to have adequate antennas due to CC&Rs, you are asked to provide that information to the ARRL.

First, we recommend that you prepare a narrative of your exact situation, in as much detail as practical. Some areas for you to consider in writing your story might be:

  • Were there alternative properties without CC&Rs in the area you wished to reside?
  • What exactly does your CC&R allow / prohibit (please include a copy of the specific wording)
  • Have you applied for a waiver of the CC&R with the Home Owner’s Association / Architectural Review Committee but were denied? If so, what was the reason?

To assist you in sharing your information with the ARRL, please visit the special ARRL website built to allow you to readily provide the pertinent information at www.arrl.org/ccr-study-information

This page will present you with an overview of what we are asking and have links to the two forms for you to complete. Please be as factual as you can with the information you provide and please provide only information about events and activities in which you were directly involved.

If you wish to write out the details of your situation in advance, please do so. Then, they can be either uploaded to the website or they can be sent as an email attachment to an email sent to CCRinfo@arrl.org

Keep in mind that the FCC study does not apply to ordinances and zoning laws implemented by the government – such as towns, cities or counties. PRB-1 covers those situations.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Congress directed that the FCC provide the report back within 180-days and that clock is already counting. The FCC is only accepting comments for a 45-day period, which will end May 17,2012. In order for the ARRL to collate your information in a common report, we ask that you send in your information no later than WEDNESDAY APRIL 25. If you need more information, please contact reginfo@arrl.org The time to act is NOW!

Dan Henderson, N1ND
Regulatory Specialist

ARRL to hire educational services coordinator

ARRLToday, the ARRL posted two open positions at HQ. One of them, the Education Services Instruction and Resource Coordinator, caught my eye. The short description reads:

The person who fills this position will, among other duties, identify, review and organize resources needed by license instructors, teachers and Scout leaders, develop curricula/lesson plans, instructional media for instruction of ham radio license and other ham radio related topics (including radio science and basic electronics topics for use by classroom teachers) and develop an orientation course for license instructors and materials for instructor training. Candidates should hold an Amateur Extra class license (or be willing to achieve this within one year from date of hire) and a wide range of operating experience. Experience with instructional media is a plus. A Bachelor’s degree, along with teacher certification (and/or experience as a teaching or training professional) with Amateur Radio, electronics, science or technology subjects is required. Click here for a job description.

 What’s ironic about this is that I just recently e-mailed our new division vice-director, Dale, WA8EFK, about what I perceive as a lack of support for volunteer instructors. The instructor newsletter hasn’t been published for more than a year, and the Web page for instructor resources really needs some beefing up. I hope that the ARRL fills this position quickly and that they start providing the support that instructors need.

ARRL Executive Committee To Meet Saturday, March 24

ARRLThe Executive Committee of the ARRL Board of Directors is going to meet this Saturday. Some of the interesting items on the agenda include:

  • Review of ARRL Policy Regarding Repeater Coordination
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations; Impact on Amateur Satellite Service
  • Consideration of defensive strategy for the 2300-2305 MHz band
  • Strategic planning: discussion of options

Download the complete agenda. The Executive Committee is a subset of the entire board. This year the committee has the following members:

  • West Gulf Director David Woolweaver, K5RAV;
  • Rocky Mountain Director Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT;
  • Midwest Director Cliff Ahrens, K0CA;
  • Northwestern Director Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF,
  • Central Director Dick Isely, W9GIG.
  • President Craigie,
  • First Vice President Roderick, and
  • Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ

According to the ARRL website:

Among its duties, the Executive Committee is responsible for applying existing Board policy to make decisions between Board meetings; evaluating proposed rules and regulatory changes for the Board, 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, and reviewing and recommending programs designed to represent the organization to the public, enhance the organization’s image and communicate with the media.

Feel free to contact any or all of the committee members above, or your division’s director, if you have a comment on any of the issues.

Digital QST coming soon

In his last missive to ARRL members in the Great Lakes Division, Jim Weaver, K8JE, reports:

ONE TOPIC MANY members will appreciate is a free, digital version of QST via the Internet.  This version offers the ability to read our membership journal online in a manner quite similar to that in which we read the hard-copy version.  It also offers the ability to include full schematics and other information that sometimes can merely be referenced in the print edition, as well as direct links to items contained in the ads.

Becoming accustomed to the online version may require a little familiarization, but I believe it will become a welcome enhancement to membership.

It is inevitable that two questions regarding digi-QST will arise.  The first is if a member can opt-out of receiving the hard-copy version.  The answer:  yes.  The second question is:  Is there a reduction in dues for members who opt-out of the print version.  The answer to this is no.  The hard-copy version is financed largely by advertisement, not by membership dues.

Digi-QST should be unveiled yet this winter or early spring.

I think this is great, but it sounds to me like we’ll have to read the magazine on-line rather than being able to download a PDF file.  I’ve never really liked these online magazines. Reading them is a real pain, and you often can’t download and archive them. Let’s hope the ARRL thinks about this when they set this up.

ARRL News – January 25, 2012

We’ve criticized the ARRL website here on KB6NU.Com from time to time, but there’s a lot of good stuff there, too. In particular, they regularly post timely news items. Here are three items I found particularly interesting:

  • FCC denies Anchorage VEC’s waiver request. In July 2011, the Anchorage VEC asked the FCC to permit individuals who have previously held an Amateur Radio license grant issued by the Commission — but which has expired and is beyond the two year grace period for renewal — to receive credit for elements previously passed, and thus a new license grant, without additional examination.
    I’m not altogether sure why this VEC would request this waiver. In fact, I’ve suggested that maybe it would be a good idea to regularly re-test ham radio operators.
  • Minutes of ARRL Board’s winter meeting posted. The ARRL board held their annual winter meeting the weekend of January 13-14, 2012. The  minutes from that meeting have now been posted. These are always interesting and worth perusing.
    One item of interest is that the board has approved electronic voting for division elections. I wonder how that would have affected, if at all, the two elections that I participated in.
  • LOTW to support CQ awards. The ARRL and CQ magazine have agreed that QSLs recorded in Logbook of the World can now be used to apply for CQ-sponsored operating awards. These are the first non-ARRL awards to be supported by LoTW. The first CQ award that you will be able to apply for via LOTW is the WPX award.

Agenda for the ARRL Board 2012 Annual Meeting, January 13-14, 2012

Here’s the agenda for the upcoming ARRL Board of Director’s meeting. Contact your director if you’d like more information or express an opinion.  If you’re an ARRL member, you can have the agendas and minutes sent to you via e-mail…….Dan

  1. Roll Call (Friday, January 13, 9:00 A.M.) and announcement that meeting is being recorded
  2. Moment of Silence
  3. Courtesies
    1. Introduction and welcome of first-time participants and guests
    2. Remarks/greetings from IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD
    3. Remarks/greetings from Radio Amateurs of Canada President Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW
    4. Remarks/greetings from ARRL Foundation President Frenaye
  4. Consideration of the agenda of the meeting
  5. Elections
    1. Officers
    2. ExecutiveCommittee
    3. ARRL Foundation Directors
  6. Receipt and consideration of financial reports
    1. Treasurer’s report, Mr. McCobb
    2. Chief Financial Officer’s report, Mr. Shelley
    3. Chief Development Officer’s report, Ms. Hobart
  7. Motion to Adopt Consent Agenda (Any Board member may request that any item on the Consent Agenda be removed and discussed separately. Otherwise, the listed items will be considered as a whole without debate or amendment. Receipt of a report does not include approval of any recommendations contained in the report. Consideration of such recommendations comes later on in the agenda. Listed reports that are not received and distributed prior to the meeting will be removed from the Consent Agenda.)
    1. Receipt of other officers’ reports
      1. President Craigie
      2. First Vice President Roderick
      3. Vice President Frahm
      4. International Affairs Vice President Bellows
      5. Chief Executive Officer Sumner
      6. Chief Operating Officer Kramer
      7. Chief Technology Officer Price
    2. Receipt of General Counsel’s report, Mr. Imlay
    3. Receipt of Legislative Relations report, Mr. Chwat
    4. Receipt of committee and coordinator reports
      1. Executive Committee, Mrs. Craigie, Chairman
      2. Administration & Finance Committee, Mr. Ahrens, Chairman
      3. Programs & Services Committee, Mr. Edgar, Chairman
      4. Ethics & Elections Committee, Mr. Frenaye, Chairman
      5. Amateur Radio Legal Defense & Assistance Committee, Mr. Ahrens, Chairman
      6. RF Safety Committee, Mr. Blocksome, Liaison
      7. EMC Committee, Mr. Carlson, Chairman
      8. Public Relations Committee, Dr. Boehner, Liaison
      9. Historical Committee, Mrs. Birmingham, Chairman
      10. Ad Hoc Band Planning Committee, Mr. Frahm, Chairman
      11. National Broadband Plan Committee, Mr. Bellows, Chairman
      12. Centennial Celebration Committee, Mrs. Craigie, Chairman
      13. Ad Hoc Committee on Youth in the Second Century, Mr. Mileshosky, Chairman
      14. UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee, Mr. Roderick, Chairman
      15. ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV
      16. Contest Advisory Committee
      17. DX Advisory Committee
      18. VHF-UHF Advisory Committee
      19. Emergency Communications Advisory Committee
  8. Consideration of items removed from Consent Agenda
  9. Consider recommendations of the Standing Committees (Additional recommendations as contained in the reports will be added to this agenda item as the reports are received.)
    1. Executive Committee
    2. Administration and Finance Committee
    3. Programs and Services Committee
  10. Consider additional recommendations as contained in reports (to be added to this agenda item as the reports are received)
  11. Proposals for amendments to Articles of Association and Bylaws
    1. Amendments to implement electronic voting
  12. Directors’ motions:
    1. Mr. Sarratt, Southeastern Division
    2. Mr. Norton, Southwestern Division
    3. Dr. Woolweaver, West Gulf Division
    4. Mr. Edgar, Atlantic Division
    5. Mr. Isely, Central Division
    6. Mr. Widin, Dakota Division
    7. Mr. Norris, Delta Division
    8. Dr. Weaver, Great Lakes Division
    9. Mrs. Birmingham, Hudson Division
    10. Mr. Ahrens, Midwest Division
    11. Mr. Frenaye, New England Division
    12. Mr. Fenstermaker, Northwestern Division
    13. Mr. Vallio, Pacific Division
    14. Mr. Bodson, Roanoke Division
    15. Mr. Mileshosky, Rocky Mountain Division
  13. Any other business
  14. Adjournment

BPL: It ain’t over yet

FCC LogoWe haven’t heard much about BPL in the last six months or so, but it ain’t over yet. The FCC has just released its Second Report & Order on BPL and in it, the commission said that the last cycle of comments did not “warrant any changes to the emissions standards or the extrapolation factor.”

They did tweak the rules a bit. The did increase the required notch filtering capability for systems operating below 30 MHz from 20 to 25 dB and clarified the guidelines for measuring emissions. One notable aspect of the new rules is that they differ from the recently-released IEEE 1901 standard  calls for 35 dB notching at frequencies below 30 MHz.

The R&O document itself makes for some interesting reading. The tone is quite petulant. You can tell from the tone how much they resented the ARRL keeping their feet to the fire.

How will the ARRL respond? It’s unsure at this time. The minutes from the October 1, 2011 ARRL Board of Directors Executive Committee meeting note that the ARRL counsel did not expect the second R&O to be released so soon:

BPL Issues: More than three years have passed since the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it adopted rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. General Counsel Imlay told the EC that the FCC is “long overdue” in releasing a Report and Order to correct the deficiencies in its BPL regulations. According to Imlay, a draft Report and Order is reportedly circulating among the Commissioners, but is not expected to be adopted soon.

Imlay also pointed out that FCC is also lax in bringing enforcement action against operating BPL systems that have been shown to be operating in violation of the existing rules. Members of the EC agreed that it is time to request another round of meetings with the FCC Commissioners or their senior staff to press these issues.

Over and above all that, it’s good for hams that BPL has not been a big success in the marketplace. Don’t let that fool you, though. BPL has been touted as the backbone of the “smart grid.” That could put lots of little transmitters on the air, in many places where BPL is not being used for Internet access.

It ain’t over yet.

UPDATE 10/27/11

The 10/27/11 ARRL Letter points to a story on the ARRL website about this new R&O. It reads, “‘We were prepared to be disappointed, and we were,’ commented ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.’ It also says, “While a thorough technical analysis of the FCC’s latest BPL document will take some time, Sumner predicted that the ARRL will file a Petition for Reconsideration.”

How the ARRL Operates

ARRLby Jim Weaver, K8JE

How the ARRL operates seems to be a mystery to many members. The confusion probably comes from the fact that many members assume ARRL in organized and operates the same way as their local club. It doesn’t. Somewhat like the U.S. Government, ARRL has three branches of its organization. These are the Board of Directors, the Field Organization and the HQ Staff.

The Board of Directors, including the Vice Directors, are elected by members of the divisions they represent. In the case of the Great Lakes Division (GLD), these members are from Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. The Board of Directors establish policy for the ARRL and is headed by the ARRL president who, along with the other officers, is elected by the Board.

The Field Organization is the group of volunteers that provide eight crucial services: emergency communications, message traffic, volunteer monitoring, RFI problem-solving, support of affiliated clubs, government liaison, encouragement of technical activities, and dissemination of on-the-air bulletins. The field organization is headed in each section by the section manager (SM).

Section managers are elected by members of the Sections they represent and head activities in their Sections to put League policy into effect at the field level.. The GLD consists of three sections, the Kentucky Section, the Michigan Section, and the Ohio Section. Each section spans the entire state.

The biggest part of the SM’s job is coordinating the activities of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in his or her section. Each section has hundreds of ARES members, so you can imagine what a gargantuan effort this is. Being an effective SM means a person must be willing to dedicate great effort to the job and must be an excellent, skilled leader.

The ARRL HQ staff support the field organization and provide a variety of other member services. The staff is headed by our Chief Executive Officer, who is hired by the Board and reports to the Board. The CEO is responsible for putting Board policy into action at headquarters and, through the services HQ performs, for the members.

Even though many members believe their SM reports to their Director, this is incorrect. Dale Williams, WA8EFK (MI), Jim Brooks, KY4Z (KY) and Frank Piper, KI8GW (OH) do not report to me. They report to Dave Patton, NN1N at HQ, who heads the ARRL membership services department, which supports the Field Organization.

The three Sections in the Great Lakes Division are extremely fortunate to have members who care enough for Amateur Radio and the ARRL to be willing to devote the extensive amount of time and effort to doing the job and, finally, who have the skills and knowledge to be successful, top-notch SMs.

It is obvious from their success that Dale, WA8EFK; Jim, KY4Z; and Frank, KI8GW are excellent SM. Their past successes are indisputable evidence that they have everything needed to do the job. We in the GLD are indeed fortunate to have such high-quality SMs leading our sections.

NOTE: This article first appeared in Weaver’s Words, an e-mail newsletter sent to members of the Great Lakes Division. It did such a good job of explaining the ARRL organization, I got permission from K8JE to post it here……Dan

ARRL Briefs White House on Ham Radio

From the ARRL website:

09/29/2011

On September 12, at the invitation of White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt, W7HAS, the ARRL briefed several members of the National Security Staff on the capabilities of the Amateur Radio Service to communicate in emergencies. “The White House is looking for ways that the great work of Amateur Radio operators can continue to support emergencies in the future with particular attention to increased use and dependency on internet based technologies,” Schmidt said. The ARRL presentation, conducted by Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC — along with President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ — focused on Amateur Radio’s current and evolving capabilities to provide Internet messaging connectivity.

Wouldn’t you have loved to sit in on this presentation? Perhaps we can get the ARRL to post the slides to the website someday or maybe even make it the focus of a QST article. As I’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t appear to me that anyone is working on technical advances for emergency communications the way TAPR is working on software-defined radio and AMSAT is working on satellite communications. Maybe (hopefully?) I’m wrong about that, though.