ARRL

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KF6UEB, Nov 9, 2002.

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  1. KF6UEB

    KF6UEB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Glen, as a ham radio leader (i.e., QRZ moderator), I am discouraged that you are not an ARRL member. I have only been a ham since 1998, and feel that my ARRL membership is the minimum I can do to help maintain and expand amateur radio. I don't do DX, I don't contest, I don't build-- I just operate in a deed-restricted neighborhood. Even with this limited amount of activity, I can see the value of the ARRL. It escapes me why others don't.

    Many amateurs seem to be quite content taking advantage of a 'free ride'. They are willing to pay for their radios, ISP access for QRZ.COM, etc. but complain about the cost of ARRL membership dues. Yet, if it were not for the ARRL and its members, I would question what frequencies Amateur Radio would have today. I read a lot of criticism of the ARRL, yet I see NO ONE else lifting a finger to defend our frequencies, push legislation to control restrictive CC&Rs, provide technical support, maintain a content-rich web site, conduct programs to introduce ham radio to schools, publish a broad set of technical information or provide ANY OTHER amateur radio-related service.

    I often hear that the ARRL 'doesn't represent today's amateur' (e.g., they are too busy defending CW). This is an inaccurate oversimplification. No one will agree with 100% of what the ARRL does. It seems that many amateurs are of the opinion that unless the ARRL does adopts a direction/policy that is in total agreement with his/her beliefs, ARRL is not deserving of support. This is unrealistic. For example, I think that ARRL should consider shutting down W1AW. It costs a lot to maintain/run, and I get no value from it. I also do not agree with the concept of the 'Diamond Club'. But, my response will simply be to not join the Diamond Club. If others see value, they will join. If not, the Diamond Club will be discontinued. But, I'm not going to 'throw the baby out with the bath water' and not support the ARRL because of W1AW or the Diamond Club.

    Further, if I got to the point where I felt that the ARRL was getting way off the track, I would start letting the ARRL field organization and directors know. How many of the ARRL bashers have gone the extra distance to attempt constructive change? Or it the most they are willing to do to help preserve amateur radio is to complain on a QRZ forum?

    I seem to recall that only about 20-25% of today's licensees are ARRL members. Of course, many of the licensees are dead or inactive. But I would still speculate that over 50% of amateurs are not members. Like any other organization, strength resides in numbers. ARRL needs as many member as it can get to establish itself as the 'voice of the amateur' and to improve its leverage with the FCC, Congress, etc.

    All I ask is that each amateur step back and ask: 'How important is amateur radio to me? What can I do to help sustain and grow amateur radio?' I contend that one way is to join (and to the extent you are inclined, partipate in) the ARRL.

    So, Glen (or any other QRZ member), why are you not a member?

    73,

    Rick
    KF6UEB
     
  2. W5ALT

    W5ALT Ham Member QRZ Page

    ARRL Life Member
     
  3. W5ATX

    W5ATX Guest

    Hmmmmm, good question.

    I have 28 years of hamming, with my brother having been a ham 40 years. I disagree strongly with too many of ARRL's policies and actions they've taken over the years. In MY opinion, ARRL carries a large part of the blame for nearly destroying ham radio - twice.

    Incentive licensing in 1968 took privledges away from large numbers of hams. All in the name of increasing technical proficiency. Only twenty years later, the tide had turned 180 degrees and ARRL was a strong force behind expanding privledges for lower class licensees, then for no-code.

    Whether I agree with no-code or not is a non-issue. What IS at issue, is MY opinion that ham radio has been dumbed down to the point where we can honestly say it is no longer the "technically oriented service" it purports to be, and is in fact defined as in the United States Code.

    Look at the technical questions posted here and on other ham radio related discussion boards. I see questions from licensed amateurs who supposedly passed exams for the licenses they hold.

    Some of these questions leave me scratching my head as to what exactly was on the test. When legions of hams will buy dipole antennas for outrageous prices, that tells me hams (not all!) today are unable to make a dipole. Two pieces of wire, three insulators, and a feedline. And hams buy rather than make?

    ARRL did not create this mess alone. I know that. But they had a big hand in it.

    ARRL is indeed saving ham radio. I'm not sure their motives are as pure as you choose to believe though. And what ham radio are they saving? I'm not sure it's a ham radio I'll be interested in being part of in a few more years.

    The one thing I disagree with you on is W1AW. That's a service I feel serves a worthwhile function. The rag they claim is "devoted entirely to amateur radio" sure isn't worth anything. Half ads, half contest scores, and a few articles written by folks who own things and go on vacations I could never afford. Yep, real useful. (My brother is a member. I see his QST most months. I'm not talking out my behind, though I admit I don't have a copy here to refer to for specifics.)

    I have probably ranted too long, but you see why I choose not to be a member. I was, once upon a time. I got a rag for my money. I can buy more useful ones at the grocery and have something to read while standing in the line.

    Good luck,

    Chris
     
  4. K6UEY

    K6UEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    A.R.R.L. Life Member

    .........................................................

                      ORV -  K6UEY
     
  5. KG4UDX

    KG4UDX Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (W5ATX @ Nov. 08 2002,19:56)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Incentive licensing in 1968 took privledges away from large numbers of hams.  All in the name of increasing technical proficiency.  Only twenty years later, the tide had turned 180 degrees and ARRL was a strong force behind expanding privledges for lower class licensees, then for no-code.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    30 years ago.  GET OVER IT.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Whether I agree with no-code or not is a non-issue.  What IS at issue, is MY opinion that ham radio has been dumbed down to the point where we can honestly say it is no longer the &quot;technically oriented service&quot; it purports to be, and is in fact defined as in the United States Code.  

    Look at the technical questions posted here and on other ham radio related discussion boards.  I see questions from licensed amateurs who supposedly passed exams for the licenses they hold.  

    Some of these questions leave me scratching my head as to what exactly was on the test.  When legions of hams will buy dipole antennas for outrageous prices, that tells me hams (not all&#33[​IMG] today are unable to make a dipole.  Two pieces of wire, three insulators, and a feedline.  And hams buy rather than make? [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    So submit better questions for the question pool.  The ARRL doesn't make this up on their own, there is actually a body you can make suggestions to.
     
  6. KG4RRM

    KG4RRM Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (W5ATX @ Nov. 08 2002,21:56)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Some of these questions leave me scratching my head as to what exactly was on the test.  When legions of hams will buy dipole antennas for outrageous prices, that tells me hams (not all&#33[​IMG] today are unable to make a dipole.  Two pieces of wire, three insulators, and a feedline.  And hams buy rather than make?  [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    That's sad. [​IMG]  
    Please, let me help.  
    N3DNO's Antenna calculator
    There, much better  [​IMG]
    Now they have almost no excuse!
     
  7. W0DZ

    W0DZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Life member. Fought and won CC&amp;R war in 1968 with ARRL's help. Wrote a few articles that QST liked enough to publish. Not all QST articles are for expensive construction projects. In fact they've cut way back from the days of yore when most articles were construction articles! Will miss Station Activities, believe it or not. Don't mind occasional contest scores, but they're history anyway starting in January except for FD. I like looking at many of the ads; I like having a permanent record of the state of ham radio. My QSTs go back to 1964, and it is a kick re-reading the old ones occasionally. It'll be as fun 20 years from now re-reading today's. I like a lot of the literature published by the League. The DSP chapter in the Handbook is better than all of my college texts -- way easier to understand.

    It's been said before and it's true: you won't like every stance taken by the League, but so what? You have the chance to influence their decisions, and they generally opt to do what the membership wants. Back in '68, membership polls indicated majority support among ARRL members for incentive licensing. So it made you take another test. Big deal. Study for it and get the license so you can get your privileges back. Then move on!

    ARRL  is kind of like insurance. You pay for it and sometimes it's a hassle and you don't always use it, but when you need it, you're sure glad.

    Without ARRL there would be no Field Day, no Handbook, no QST, no Technical Help, no conventions, very few product reviews of any quality, no legal help for CC&amp;Rs, no representation in Congress, no W1AW code practice or bulletins, and on and on.

    They and we all want ham radio to survive and prosper. The &quot;dumbing down&quot; that we all lament is as much a sign of our times in general as it is a ham radio problem. I've interviewed BSEE grads that can't bias a transistor or do a simple voltage divider! Can't blame that on ARRL.
     
  8. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    For UEB:

    From 1959 (when I was first licensed) until about 1977 I was a member of the ARRL, including through the incentive licensing debacle, the refusal of the ARRL to recognize FM and repeaters until they found themselves losing out on all sorts of advertising revenue, then they tried to convince everyone that they &quot;discovered&quot; FM, etc.  But, the ARRL had not represented my opinions to any extent for even several years before I finally dropped my membership.  During the tenure of my membership, I held appointments such as EC (emergency coordinator) and OVS (official VHF station).

    The fact that I am not an ARRL member has no bearing on the fact that Fred Lloyd appointed me as one of the moderators of QRZ.com.  I do not &quot;bad mouth&quot; the ARRL, nor do I blindly defend them as do a number of people who post on QRZ.com.  When they do something that I think is worthwhile, I commend them.  When they do things that I think are wrong, I criticize them.

    I know more than one life member of the ARRL, including one amateur who was on the headquarters staff for quite a number of years, who say that if they were not life members, that they would definitely drop their membership.

    In my opinion, a lot of the articles that have appeared lately in QST are not of the quality of former years.  I do not expect to be interested in every article that appears in any magazine.  What I look for is the subject matter (is it relevant to the amateur radio service), the quality of the writing, etc.  I do favor construction articles.  But, a number of those type of articles appearing in QST lately are just a conglomeration of commercial assemblies.  Fine if you can afford them, but not so good for the younger set as well as those on fixed incomes.  There are also a fair number of amateurs who are not in the upper income bracket as well, and thus have to watch what they spend on amateur radio.

    Now, there have been a few articles, like the one on converting PC power supplies for powering low power transceivers that are well within the price range of virtually all amateurs.  But, such articles are no where as plentiful as in &quot;yesteryear&quot;.

    The ARRL has, over the years, completely reversed themselves in terms of incentive licensing.  In 1967 the headquarters staff was all in favor of it although well over 90 percent of the membership was against.  Then, in 1968 when the FCC proposed rescinding a good portion of the frequency restrictions that were imposed on the General and Advanced Class licensees, the ARRL headquarters staff did not report this to the general membership and came out very much opposed to this rescinding.  The only mention of this was in a very small &quot;blurb&quot; in the very small print in the back of one issue of QST.  Therein, the ARRL headquarters staff took credit for the FCC stopping this proposal.  However, the second set of restrictions was rescinded by the FCC.  Those were to take effect on 22 November 1969.

    For those new amateurs who say &quot;get over it&quot;:  How would you like it if the FCC suddenly took away about 40 percent of your privileges, even for those who had formerly passed the highest level of tests that the FCC gave?  I don't think that you would like it at all!  That is what happened to the original Advanced Class licensees who had taken the highest possible tests before 1951.  The General Class licensees were awarded full privileges when the original Class B license was renamed General in 1951.  Then, on 22 November 1967, effective 22 November 1968, the FCC greatly reduced their privileges with a &quot;stroke of the pen&quot;.

    Now days, since the Technician Class represents a VERY significant number of ARRL members, the ARRL has been trying for, and gaining, additional privileges just for them and the now defunct Novice Class WITHOUT trying for additional privileges for the General and present Advanced Class licensees.  Now, I am not criticizing the Technician Class licensee nor am I taking sides on whether or not they &quot;deserve&quot; additional privileges.  What I am saying is that the ARRL is being very specific in what they are doing which will enhance their &quot;status&quot; with the majority of their membership.  But, back in the late 1960s, they definitely went against the VAST majority of their membership.

    The ARRL cannot, by law, lobby Congress or any Federal agency.  This is because of the 501( c )(3) IRS designation which is the basis of their &quot;non profit&quot; status.  If anyone thinks that the ARRL lobbys for our existence, they are definitely wrong.  If the ARRL was to lobby, the immediate result would be the loss of their non-profit status, which they definitely cannot afford!  What many amateurs believe is needed is a &quot;for profit&quot; organization that can lobby for amateur radio just like the commercial radio organizations are doing right now.  But, no one has had the funds to establish such an organization (we are talking probably in the neighborhood of at least one-million dollars to get started).

    Frankly, due to the recent stock market situation, the ARRL is hurting financially.  They had invested a portion of the &quot;surplus&quot; funds in various stocks.  This was great when the market was climbing, but with the fall in the market, they have been left &quot;holding the bag&quot;.  

    There are a significant number of life members of the ARRL who joined when the fee was very cheap back in the 1970s and into the 1980s.  Well, a significant number of these persons were in their 20s and 30s back then.  Since life expectancy is growing every day, those life members are still &quot;alive and kicking&quot;, with many more years to go.  But, their financial contribution, which was great for the ARRL in the early days, is now exhausted yet the organization has to continue to provide full membership benefits without being able to collect a single dime in dues.  This is one of the reasons for the &quot;Diamond Club&quot; (or whatever it is called) being created.  The ARRL is trying to get life members to &quot;fork over&quot; additional funds.  In fact, I have been informed by very good sources, that certain ARRL officials have referred to life members as &quot;freeloaders&quot; since they are no longer contributing financially!  That is not good.  The ARRL was very happy to receive their elevated dues in the short run, but, in the long run, this is not working out.

    Now, there are other organizations that have fallen into the &quot;life member&quot; trap.  When I joined AMSAT the first two months of its existence (1969), there was no life membership (I am AMSAT 239).  Then, a couple of years later, they decided to have a life membership at a cost of $50.  Of course, I took advantage of this (LM 463).  Now, 30 years later, AMSAT is still carrying a very large number of life members who only contribute if they want to contribute.  AMSAT has asked for voluntary contributions from life members equal to at least the normal yearly dues.  Again, they &quot;bit off more than they could chew&quot; with the life membership program.

    Then there is the cost of membership which has been growing.  Unfortunately, those younger amateurs and those on fixed incomes often just plain cannot afford to be members.  Now, there are those who make comments like it costs &quot;X&quot; amount for a new transceiver, &quot;Y&quot; amount for antennas, etc.  Well, there are a lot of amateurs who don't use the latest and greatest equipment, make their own antennas, etc.  Especially for those on fixed incomes, a lot of those amateurs acquired their equipment when their income was much greater than today.  I do have a lot of equipment.  But, the vast majority of it was acquired years ago, often at &quot;fire sale&quot; prices when the old boat anchors were not worth hauling off.  Lately, virtually all additions that I have made have been due to trades with a few VERY frugal eBay buys (like coming across something the last few minutes that hadn't been bid upon because it wasn't described correctly, or the fact that it was advertised as &quot;not working&quot;, etc.).  Frankly, until things get straightened out on my long-term disability benefits, I have to be very careful in what I spend.  Does that affect the quality of signal that I put out? Definitely not!  The older equipment often out-performs the newer stuff by a significant amount.

    There has been at least one advertisement in QST from a company that I was called as an &quot;expert witness&quot; against in a court case.  Until I was called as a witness, I really didn't even know that it existed!  That company had been (in fact, to my knowledge, still is) doing things that were definitely on the &quot;shady&quot; side.  Unfortunately, the advertisement appeared for quite some time after this court case (which was definitely decided against the company) although I know for a fact that complaints had been lodged with the ARRL.  Other magazines started dropping the advertisements immediately, the ARRL did not for over a year!  That did not help my opinion of the ARRL.

    Thus, I believe that I have good reason for not belonging to the ARRL.  It is based on over 43 years of experience from both within and without the organization.  Those people who do belong, belong for various reasons from just getting the magazine to participating in DXCC to all sorts of things.  For them, membership in the ARRL is worth it.  For me, it is not!

    Now, for DZ:

    The majority of ARRL members were definitely not in favor of incentive licensing back in 1967. The ARRL staff definitely printed the letters, etc., that came in favor of the program in QST. But, according to sources who were on staff at the time, the vast majority of comments, etc., were definitely not in favor of incentive licensing. In addition, some of the old timers on the headquarters staff were, according to other sources, still &quot;miffed&quot; at the fact that the Class B amateurs had been given full privileges in 1951 and wanted to &quot;get even&quot; by reducing the privileges of the General Class licensees. Now, I have to admit that I had not heard this (about the staff being &quot;miffed&quot;) until within the past year or so. I do think that there probably were a few who did not like the situation. But, holding that grudge for 16 years is a bit to consider (although, according to those sources, this is true). However, the fact that the vast majority of ARRL members who held General, Conditional, and Advanced Class licenses at the time were definitely opposed to incentive licensing as proposed. Had the program &quot;grandfathered&quot; all those who had full privileges at the time, and only took effect for those who were licensed after 22 November 1967, then the situation could very well have been different. That is, a majority of members might have approved of the program. But, since this was not done, the vast majority of those who held General, Conditional, and Advanced licenses definitely did not approve.

    Glen, K9STH
     
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    First of all let me say thanks for the subject.

    There are several points I want to set straight.

    A. A non profit organization can indeed lobby as long as it is not a significant amout of its assets. We file a return each year listing the monies spent on lobbying.

    B. Life members are a valued part of our membership. They make up 12% of the over all numbers. As opposed to AMSAT, (a fine organization) we invested the money from life members and that investment is doing quite well.

    C. The majority of our members are Generals and above. We do not target any particular license class for membership. We want to offer someting of value to all amateurs, not a particular segment.

    D. Getting opinions/information from an x-staff person who worked at the League 15 or 20 years ago is at best bad information. The League that you see today is totally different from the League of 10 years ago. We are much more pro-active in that opportunities exist to improve the service, and enhance amateur radio. Expansion and protection of spectrum is top on our list. Promotion of amateur radio to the general public along with establishing creditability with served agencies is also high on our list of things to do.

    This year alone, we introduced a bill in Congress, filed for more spectrum in the 60 meter band along with some spectrum in the VLF and microwave bands and the amateur radio in schools project is now in full swing. All of which benefits all of amateur radio not just the membership.

    E. Quote: &quot;In fact, I have been informed by very good sources, that certain ARRL officials have referred to life members as &quot;freeloaders&quot; since they are no longer contributing financially!&quot;

    All I have to say is this; &quot;baloney.&quot;

    Having worked very closely with the staff over the last three years, I see total dedication and hard work from each person at headquarters. They know how I feel and the importance of the membership.

    Last, I am always interested in doing things that will benefit members. I value constructive opinions. I invite good sound reasons for change. Grousing about things that are history serve no purpose. My job, and the job of all the staff and board of directors is to look to the future not dwell on the past. Do things that improve and benefit amateur radio. Do things that are of value to the membership.

    Thanks and 73

    Jim Haynie, W5JBP
    President, ARRL
     
  10. W0DZ

    W0DZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">The majority of ARRL members were definitely not in favor of incentive licensing back in 1967...In 1967 the headquarters staff was all in favor of it although well over 90 percent of the membership was against.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    &quot;[A] QST editorial in February 1963 [had] a request for specific comment...Some 15,000 replies were received by Hq. and the directors...Not surprisingly, the breakdown of views was about 50-50.&quot; -- It Seems to Us, QST, Oct. 1967

    &quot;Over the past several years, legitimate appraisals of amateur sentiment have shown an almost even division of those for and against an expanded incentive system.&quot; -- It Seems to Us, QST, Feb., 1967.

    &quot;The Incentive Licensing Program was initiated in response to petitions asking for improvement in licensing structure and quality...[A NPRM] was issued in April, 1965...The Notice generated 1724 formal comments by some 4000 licensees. Two thirds of the comments supported an incentive licensing program.&quot; -- FCC Public Notice, page 80, QST, October, 1967.

    I can't find the survey that I know ARRL did, but I also remember a majority of members supporting it. And don't forget how much it changed over the several years it was discussed. FCC's original proposal was quite a bit different from ARRL's, and both evolved over time.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">For those new amateurs who say &quot;get over it&quot;:  How would you like it if the FCC suddenly took away about 40 percent of your privileges, even for those who had formerly passed the highest level of tests that the FCC gave?  I don't think that you would like it at all[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    I didn't like losing privileges at all! That's why I did something about it. I studied hard and upgraded.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">I know more than one life member of the ARRL, including one amateur who was on the headquarters staff for quite a number of years, who say that if they were not life members, that they would definitely drop their membership.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    I am not one of those. I am proud to be an ARRL Life Member.
     
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