Spectrum Defense Matters

The latest ARRL Letter has a short bit on the new newsletter, Spectrum Defense Matters.  According to the Web page describing the new newsletter,

This first issue of Spectrum Defense Matters includes articles on how the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is opposing an amateur allocation on 500 kHz. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX — as the United States spokesperson for Amateur Radio issues at the ITU — is working hard to effectively and fairly present the case for Amateur Radio over significant resistance by maritime interests both inside and outside the United States.

Other articles include how the ARRL is preparing to advocate for Amateur Radio at WRC-12, coming up in January 2012. WRC-12 will consider a number of items that could, in a worst case scenario, adversely impact Amateur Radio. WRC-12 will consider an allocation to the radiolocation service somewhere within 30-300 MHz, potentially affecting the Amateur Radio 50, 144, and 222 MHz bands. Also on the agenda are potential allocations to HF oceanographic radar between 3 and 50 MHz; these radars have operated on an ad hoc, experimental basis for a number of years, and while they are unquestionably useful, they are incompatible with Amateur Radio. Studies regarding these issues will also be finalized in November.

I’m all for spectrum defense, and support this ARRL initiative. BUT, neither the item in the ARRL Letter nor the Web page to which readers are sent for more information has a link to the page where they can actually find the newsletter itself.

In addition, when you finally get to the page where you can actually download the PDF version of the July 2010 issue of Spectrum Defense Matters, it says, “The newsletter will be posted on the web site 2-3 times a year and will cover both domestic and international topics.” It also says, “Important note: If you do not wish to receive the Spectrum Defense Matters newsletter electrnoically (sic), please send an email to the Development Office to mhobart@arrl.org with your full name and email address.”

This implies to me that ARRL members have been automatically subscribed to the newsletter and to opt-out, they need to contact Mary Hobart. Indeed, when you go to  your profile page that allows you manage your newsletter subscriptions, Spectrum Defense Matters doesn’t appear at all.

I certainly hope that the ARRL will allow people to subscribe electronically. If they don’t, I doubt that the circulation will be very wide, and spectrum defense really does matter.

Finally, I also think they have gone a little overboard on soliciting donations for the Spectrum Defense Fund. The sentence, “Your financial support is vital to support ARRL’s work to protect your operating privileges by contributing generously to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund,” appears in the first paragraph of the item in the ARRL Letter. This makes me wonder if the purpose of the newsletter is really to inform members of spectrum defense issues or just to get them to donate more money.

UPDATE 8/16/10
I swapped some e-mail with Mary Hobart, K1MMH, this morning, who clarified how subscriptions to this newsletter are to be handled. She said, “With regard to the opt out message on the page, I placed it there since I was unable to arrange for such an option on the web sites Email Subscription page in your member profile.  Once I have that option added, I will remove the note from the Spectrum Defense Matters Page.”  Apparently, this is yet another problem with the new website.

I was still somewhat confused about how one subscribes to this newsletter by e-mail, so I e-mailed her again. This time, she said, “We are sending the newsletter to ARRL members who have selected “special offers” on their subscription page.”

So, for now, if you want to make sure that you get this newsletter, log in to your account on arrl.org, click on “Edit your profile,” and check the “Publication Announcements and Special offers” box there.

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