From the W1AW Bulletin / ARRL ... Meeting in Irving, Texas, January 19 and 20, the ARRL Board of Directors voted to increase membership dues from $34 to $39 annually for full members younger than 65, and from $28 to $34 for full members 65 and older. The dues hike goes into effect July 1, 2001. The last ARRL dues increase was in July 1997. The dues increase resulted from a need to fund initiatives to expand the League's advocacy activities on behalf of Amateur Radio--including the defense of amateur spectrum--and to enhance ARRL Headquarters' abilities to serve members during a period of projected deficits. The Board okayed a $1 greater increase for seniors in an effort to narrow the dues gap, as more and more ARRL members fall into the senior category. At the same time, the Board approved the hiring of development and sales and marketing professionals on the Headquarters staff as part of an overall plan to augment revenues. ''The ARRL carries out a lot of activities that no longer can be fully funded by dues or publication sales revenues,'' ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, explained. While voluntary contributions towards Amateur Radio advocacy are helping greatly, ''we need to professionalize these activities if we are going to sustain them,'' he said. The Board also revised its position on whether Morse code proficiency should continue to be an international requirement to license operation below 30 MHz. The Board approved a resolution that ''recognizes and accepts'' that the Morse requirement likely will be dropped from Article S25 of the international Radio Regulations at the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference. But the Board held the line on retaining a domestic Morse requirement, saying that each country should be allowed to determine for itself whether it wants to have a Morse code requirement. The Board's Morse Code resolution declared that deletion of the Article S25 international requirement at WRC-03 ''should not automatically or immediately mean a similar removal of the Morse code from Part 97 of the FCC rules.'' Morse code, the Board affirmed, deserves continued support as an important operating mode as well as in terms of spectrum and ''should be retained as a testing element in the US.'' The resolution also called on ARRL Headquarters staff to ''develop a program designed to promote the use of Morse.'' The resolution supersedes all previous Board policy statements regarding Morse code and Article S25. The Board has adjusted the management structure at ARRL Headquarters. Publications Manager and QST Editor Mark Wilson, K1RO, will serve as the ARRL's Chief Operating Officer. In that position, Wilson will oversee sales and marketing, publications, field volunteer and membership services, the ARRL Lab, and other day-to-day Headquarters activities. The Board also established a committee to solicit membership input to update the ARRL's position on refarming the HF Novice bands ''in light of the 1999 FCC license restructuring Report and Order.'' The five-member panel will be named by President Haynie. It will report to the board in one year.