Let me start this months report off by saying that we will be testing for the Tech class licence on Saturday May 26th. This will take place at the Lauderdale EOC located at 2525 14th St. Meridian, MS 39301. Details will follow next month on when doors will open. Seating will be limited, if anyone who is a VE would like to help out please let me know.
Summer is rapidly approaching and we are getting ready for the field day event to start. We need to have a couple of work sessions on the equipment at LEMA to make sure all is in order, if you would like to lend a hand, just let us know and we'll fit you in, Yes, volunteers welcome.
Our next meeting will be on April 7th at the Checkerboard, please come and join in the fellowship, we'd be glad to have you. Our guest speaker for the meeting will be LEMA's Deputy Director John Williamson. He will be speaking on what we can do to help LEMA and how you can join the LEMA staff.
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
Recently, I received this email from a reader:
“Hope you’re doing well. I have a couple of questions about the ARRL. I’ve been reading your blog and other sources, and it’s clear that the ARRL is in a little trouble. I have to say, though, that as soon as the current administration in D.C. notices that some of their friends can make money off of amateur radio bandwidth, the whole amateur radio service is in very serious jeopardy. The only way I can think of to counter that would be an organization like the ARRL, and I think there’s really only one organization like the ARRL. Is that not true? If it is, how can we help?”
I replied that it is true that there’s only one organization like the ARRL. In the past, there have been groups that have tried to compete with the ARRL, but they’ve never really taken off. It’s an incredible amount of work to set up an organization like the ARRL and none of the alternates have been able to get to critical mass.
The second question—How can we help?—is the big question. Here are a few thoughts:
- Join the ARRL. If you’re not currently a member, join. You’ll have little or no influence, if you are not a member.
- If you are a member, but your friends are not, encourage them to join. The more members the ARRL has, the more influence it will have. This is common sense, but the ARRL doesn’t really seem to care about this. In the past, I’ve encouraged the ARRL to set a membership goal of 25% of licensed radio amateurs (link 1, link 2). I honestly don’t think this is asking too much, and I’ve never heard a good argument for them not to do this. They continue to ignore me, and the percentage of licensed radio amateurs that are ARRL members continues to decline.
- Take an interest in ARRL matters and let your director and vice director know your views. Get your friends to do likewise. Get on the mailing lists for the board meeting agendas and minutes. To do this, log into the ARRL web site, click on “Edit your profile,” then “Edit email subscriptions.”
- Invite your ARRL elected officials—your division director, vice director, and section manager—to talk at your club meetings. Be prepared to grill them on issues that you think are important.
- Run for office yourself. I ran for Great Lakes Division vice director twice. Unfortunately, I lost both times, but even running is a way to have an impact. I’d like to see the “loyal opposition” get organized and challenge the status quo, especially in divisions where I think the current director is making bad decisions.
Having said all that, there are ways to make an impact besides playing ARRL politics:
- Get on the air. It’s easier to lose bands if we’re not using them. Encourage others to be active.
- Be an Elmer to those that need it.
- Teach classes to help those who want a license get a license and to help those who are already licensed to upgrade their licenses.
- Be an ambassador for amateur radio, especially to related groups, such as the “maker” groups that have sprung up around the country. Make sure that they know about your amateur radio club and the classes and exam sessions that you offer.
I’d love to hear any other thoughts that you all may have on this. I really do think that at this point, we need to inundate the ARRL Board and staff with input from the membership. While they may have a long history of ignoring the membership and just going about their own merry way, now is really a time of change, and this might be the right time to set the ARRL on a better path.
When he's not getting all worked up over ARRL politics, Dan blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU.Com, teaches amateur radio classes, and works CW on the HF bands. He's the author of the No Nonsense amateur radio license study guides and The CW Geek's Guide to Having Fun with Morse Code.
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ARRL Requests Expanded HF Privileges for Technician Licensees
ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.
“This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition. “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”
Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide Technician licensees, present and future, with phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz, plus RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The ARRL petition points out the explosion in popularity of various digital modes over the past 2 decades. Under the ARRL plan, the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200 W PEP. The few remaining Novice licensees would gain no new privileges under the League’s proposal.
ARRL’s petition points to the need for compelling incentives not only to become a radio amateur in the first place, but then to upgrade and further develop skills. Demographic and technological changes call for a “periodic rebalancing” between those two objectives, the League maintains.
“There has not been such a rebalancing in many years,” ARRL said in its petition. “It is time to do that now.” The FCC has not assessed entry-level operating privileges since 2005.
The Entry-Level License Committee offered very specific, data- and survey-supported findings about growth in Amateur Radio and its place in the advanced technological demographic that includes individuals younger than 30. It received significant input from ARRL members via more than 8,000 survey responses.
“The Committee’s analysis noted that today, Amateur Radio exists among many more modes of communication than it did half a century ago, or even 20 years ago,” ARRL said in its petition.
Now numbering some 378,000, Technician licensees comprise more than half of the US Amateur Radio population. ARRL said that after 17 years of experience with the current Technician license as the gateway to Amateur Radio, it’s urgent to make it more attractive to newcomers, in part to improve upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education “that inescapably accompanies a healthy, growing Amateur Radio Service,” ARRL asserted.
ARRL said its proposal is critical to developing improved operating skills, increasing emergency communication participation, improving technical self-training, and boosting overall growth in the Amateur Service, which has remained nearly inert at about 1% per year.
The Entry-Level License Committee determined that the current Technician class question pool already covers far more material than necessary for an entry-level exam to validate expanded privileges. ARRL told the FCC that it would continue to refine examination preparation and training materials aimed at STEM topics, increase outreach and recruitment, work with Amateur Radio clubs, and encourage educational institutions to utilize Amateur Radio in STEM and other experiential learning programs.
“ARRL requests that the Commission become a partner in this effort to promote Amateur Radio as a public benefit by making the very nominal changes proposed herein in the Technician class license operating privileges,” the petition concluded.
Quote of the Day
“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.