Well, as you can see, I am running again for the ARRL Board of Directors. I ran three years ago, and then I wrote:
Amateur radio and the ARRL face a number of difficult problems. Two of the most urgent are declining membership (currently less than 25% of licensed amateur radio operators are ARRL members) and diminishing clout in Washington, but there are others. I think most of our problems stem-not from the number of licensees-but from the number of active radio amateurs.
While there have not been any scientific surveys, some estimate that up 50% of all licensees are inactive. For whatever reason, these folks lost interest and are amateur radio operators in name only.
This is a shame, if you ask me. Inactive hams don’t show up for public service events or work CW or experiment with circuits or send letters to their Congressmen and Congresswomen.
How can we encourage amateur radio operators to be more active? One thing we can do is develop classes that will teach people not only what they need to know to pass a test, but what they need to know to be successful amateur radio operators. These include how to solder, how to make voltage and current measurements, and how to make simple antennas.
Better support for clubs is also needed. Clubs are where the action is. Good clubs bring hams into the hobby and turn them into active amateur radio operators. Bad clubs turn people away from amateur radio and foster bad stereotypes about amateur radio and amateur radio operators.
And finally, we need to start getting youth into amateur radio again. We must show them how technically challenging ham radio can be, but even more importantly, how much fun it can be.
I’m running for Great Lakes Division Vice Director so that I can work on these issues. With your support, we can make ham radio better.
I think these are all still problems that need some work. ARRL membership is still languishing significantly below 25% of licensed radio amateurs, and we’re either not giving folks enough incentive to join or not making our case strongly enough. We need to draw new blood into the hobby and then provide them with the support they need to become active, engaged amateur radio operators. That’s what I’ll work on if you elect me.
Feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions.