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Author Topic: Is ARRL Life Membership Worth It?  (Read 50562 times)
K0IC
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2010, 06:38:37 PM »

I bought my life membership in 1976 which I payed on for two years.  It seemed like it was 150 dollars total back then.  I do not remember for sure.  I was 23 years old at the time.  I have no regrets in that purchase.  I might join their group to pay more every year for the cause as a lifer.  I have a percentage to the ARRL in my will.  I had one grandfather that lived to 97 years young.  My dad is 88 years young now.  I think so much of life memberships I just became a life member of the QCWA.  Someday I might become a life member of the NRA and BASS.  It is the thought that counts even if one does not reap maximum dollars.  I am sure inflation has to raise its ugly head and what we think is expensive in today's dollars is going to be a bargain in the future at some time.

The ARRL does things I do not 100% agree with.  The main thing is is to get younger and more other people to become licensed.  I do not know if people realize thefts from hams are seen as automatic felonies.  Not bad to have the federal government in looking out for you.  You might not be able to do that in other hobbies.

I do miss traffic handling which has mostly gone by the wayside except for emergency communications.  Most of the civilized world is wired up for communications so that is not as needed as it was in the past.  I tried to become an emergency communicator but did not get information on the way to do it from my instructor so I gave up on certification.  Since I am now on SSI due to insurance and mobility issues I really can not be expected to shell out money for the newest equipment on my dime.  For those who are a good fit for emergency work I say more power to them.  I could not get certified for storm weather work last February because of my restricted lung disease in giving me bad colds and coughs in training season.  Too bad it can not be done on the Internet.
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N9RLO
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2010, 08:05:15 PM »

It's not worth it to me. Besides, I can't afford it at this time in my life anyway. The ARRL has an agenda that they're going to pursue whether I or any other amateur likes it or not. I've been able to pay yearly, (I'm a member presently) but I'm not sure I'm going to renew. I'm 60 years old, work CW only on the HF bands, I like old tube rigs and have an interest in radio history. The ARRL has no interest in me or other hams like me. I use the computer for information from the internet and to email. I don't use it with radio communication nor do I have any urge to do so. I find most big contests annoying and the ops rude. QST mostly bores me, I don't care about the latest digital whiz bang or Ham politics. I do like John Dilks, K2TQN Vintage Radio and some of the antenna articles though. So why should I support an organization that doesn't really support me or others like me?   73,John
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2010, 08:51:22 AM »

The ARRL most certainly has an agenda that they're going to pursue, and they will attract more younger people into the league--following that agenda.  Right now, almost all they think about is emergency communications, and that is the type people they're attracting.  In short, what they're doing is skewing ham radio to the direction of emergency communications only.

Is that really what the rest of the ham radio license holders would like to see?  I, for one, don't think so.  And THAT is the best reason to let the ARRL know that their course isn't approved by us--by not supporting them by continuing a membership OR by not buying into a life membership.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 08:55:03 AM by Chris J. Smith » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3880




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« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2010, 03:35:18 PM »

I'm 60 years old, work CW only on the HF bands, I like old tube rigs and have an interest in radio history. The ARRL has no interest in me or other hams like me.

You sound a lot like me. I'm 56, my main rig is all-hollow-state, CW-only and homebrew. And if you want to talk ham radio history...

So I am curious as to why you say the ARRL has no interest in hams like us.

Several years back, maybe. But now we have a whole issue of QST devoted to vintage radio, plus K2TQN's column. There are articles about history and classic rigs scattered throughout the rest of the years' issues, too. The "Doctor Is In" questions often deal with hams trying to get a classic rig back on the air.

Some time back, they reprinted the first edition of the Handbook, and gave it away with every order for a new one. I missed my chance (sigh).

They also have every issue of QST from Vol 1 No 1 to about 4 years ago online for members. Of course you have to search by article, and it's not the same as having the real paper, but it's the same info. Often it's easier to find a particular article online even if you have the magazines!
 
I use the computer for information from the internet and to email. I don't use it with radio communication nor do I have any urge to do so. I find most big contests annoying and the ops rude. QST mostly bores me, I don't care about the latest digital whiz bang or Ham politics. I do like John Dilks, K2TQN Vintage Radio and some of the antenna articles though. So why should I support an organization that doesn't really support me or others like me? 

Serious question: What would you have ARRL do differently?

---

One thing I'd like ARRL to do is to reprint some of the older books. Like the first edition of "Understanding Amateur Radio". I bet there are plenty of hams who would pay for such books in good condition. The production cost shouldn't be much, since IIRC they own all the copyrights and it's mostly a matter of scanning an old copy and getting it printed. They did it with the 1926 Handbook; a lot of other books are smaller and easier to do.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2010, 11:16:26 AM »

"So I am curious as to why you say the ARRL has no interest in hams like us."

Maybe the word 'no' should be substituted with the word 'little'.  It is true that the ARRL does throw some crumbs to their members who don't consider emcomm the be all and do all of ham radio, but I would not consider any of what was said is "done" for members not interested in emcomm as the league actually doing much of anything in that regard.

The plain simple fact of the matter is that the league is interested in pushing emcomm to extremes to get and keep getting government interested in what ham radio does--AND to keep getting grant monies coming into the league coffers.  THAT is all the ARRL is interested in right now, and it's sad that the premier ham radio organization is sinking to such depths.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3880




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« Reply #50 on: November 12, 2010, 05:38:29 PM »

"So I am curious as to why you say the ARRL has no interest in hams like us."

Maybe the word 'no' should be substituted with the word 'little'.  It is true that the ARRL does throw some crumbs to their members who don't consider emcomm the be all and do all of ham radio, but I would not consider any of what was said is "done" for members not interested in emcomm as the league actually doing much of anything in that regard.

The plain simple fact of the matter is that the league is interested in pushing emcomm to extremes to get and keep getting government interested in what ham radio does--AND to keep getting grant monies coming into the league coffers.  THAT is all the ARRL is interested in right now, and it's sad that the premier ham radio organization is sinking to such depths.

I think your perception is rather distorted.

Let's take a look at this month's QST. Leaving out ads, tables of contents and League officers, small fillers etc, we have:

Front cover: Something called WSPR, "Weak Signal Propagation Reporter".

Page 9: Editorial about the history of WRTC (World Radio Team Championship), an HF contest.

Pages 12 & 13: News. Couple of small blurbs that are emcomm related. Picture of AWA convention folks promoting amateur radio in schools, and teaching a ham radio class.

Page 20: "Up Front" - various small articles - suitcase antenna mast, sunspots, interesting picture, and an article about a pumpkin patrol.

Page 24: Correspondence. Nothing about emcomm

Pages 30-32: Cover article about WSPR.

Pages 33-35: Portable vertical antenna made from tape measures. Sort of a manual SteppIr at a tiny fraction of the price. Might have emcomm applications if you do emcomm on 20 trhough 10.

Pages 36-39: Infrared remote control for your HF transceiver - adapter for the FT-817. Amazingly simple - couple of small parts, a PIC, and an infrared detector.

Page 40: Antenna Gain Specs - What Do They Really Mean? - Article on antenna pattern interpretation.

Pages 41-42: An Improved Center Insulator For Antennas Fed With Window Line - old idea brought up to date.

Pages 43-44: An Expanded Scale Voltmeter for 120 or 240 V AC - With A Bonus - Know your line voltage so the tubes in your amp aren't running with low or high filament voltage.

Pages 45-46: Revisitng a 10 and 6 meter Mobile Antenna - homebrew dual band whip for 10 and 6

Page 46: ARRL Homebrew Challenge III - Contest for designers to come up with a low cost homebrew SSB/CW rig for 10 and/or 6 meters.

Pages 47-54 and some others: Product Reviews/New Products:
Icom IC-R6 portable receiver, Hamtronics R303-137 Weather Satellite Receiver Board, Wouxun KG-UV2D and KG-UVD1P Dual Band Handheld Transceivers, APRS Live add-on software, Lightning Protection products from Times Microwave, MFJ matching unit for 160/80 verticals, Bird wattmeter upgrade, Radio Operations Center software, Solid state 9 cm amplifier, Alexloop magnetic loop antenna,

Pages 55-57: Technical Correspondence - Automatic lowpass filter bypass switch.

Pages 58-59: Doctor Is In Q&A. No emcomm

Page 60: Short Takes: S9V vertical antennas

Pages 61-62: Noise figure article

Pages 63-64: Hands-On Radio: Experiment 94 (SWR and line loss)

Pages 65-66: Hints and Kinks

Pages 67-68: Ham Friendship Transcends Time and Space - DX friends meet

Pages 69-71: Article about EME from Kyrgyzstan

Pages 72-73: Alt-Rock Meets Ham Radio - Rock band from Canada

Page 74: FMT announcement

Page 75: Use Beacons to Spot Band Openings

Page 76: W2SKE Award Announcement

Pages 77-80: Happenings of the month

Pages 81-83: Public Service/Emergency Communications (Finally! Three whole pages!)

Page 84: Eclectic Technology - SDR

Pages 85-87: Contest announcements

Pages 88-89: How's DX

Pages 90-92: World Above 50 MHz

Pages 93-94: Vintage Radio

Pages 95-101: At The Foundation, Convention, Hamfest, Special events, 25, 50 & 75 years ago in QST, PSHR, Strays, Silent Keys, Hamspeak

Seems to be a lot of non-emcomm stuff in there.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2010, 12:00:41 PM »

I'm not talking of what is published in their 'membership journal' but of what the ARRL is actually doing these days.  95 percent of it is emcomm.  In the section where I am, that figure goes to 100 percent.  In other words, if it isn't emcomm related, they could care less about what a member would want or need.  Time and again in years past, my requests for information or help went unanswered at section level.  To get any kind of response, I had to go to the national level by contacting Newington directly, and then I almost always was asked why I didn't go through my section.  That gets rather tiring.

However, if you notice, I did say that the word 'no' should be substituted with the word 'little', because that is what the league does do for members not involved in emcomm--little.  I consider the magazine QST to be a panacea to the membership at large to try to show they are interested in the rest of ham radio.  What they are interested in is their membership rolls and keeping the money coming in.  What is obvious if you look closely is what they're doing to get and stay in favor with the FCC and the government, while keeping the federal and other grant money rolling into their coffers.  I'll stand by my last statement too--It's sad that the premier ham radio organization is sinking to such depths.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3880




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« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2010, 02:09:04 PM »

I'm not talking of what is published in their 'membership journal' but of what the ARRL is actually doing these days. 

QST and other publications are a lot of what ARRL does. You may discount those efforts, but they are a big part of ARRL nonetheless.

95 percent of it is emcomm.  In the section where I am, that figure goes to 100 percent.  In other words, if it isn't emcomm related, they could care less about what a member would want or need.  Time and again in years past, my requests for information or help went unanswered at section level.  To get any kind of response, I had to go to the national level by contacting Newington directly, and then I almost always was asked why I didn't go through my section.  That gets rather tiring.

What is it, exactly, that you wanted from them that wasn't provided?

However, if you notice, I did say that the word 'no' should be substituted with the word 'little', because that is what the league does do for members not involved in emcomm--little. 

What, exactly, do you want ARRL to do that they are not doing?

Let's see....

They could do Consumer Reports type testing of new ham gear, complete with lab results.

Oh, wait, they do that.

They could organize contests and on-air activities from 160 through UHF, for hams of many interests.

Oh wait, they do that too.

They could have a long list of awards for various operating achievements and skills...oops, they do that as well.

How about a wide selection of amateur-radio-specific books and publications at low cost? Or a station that transmits bulletins, code practice, and other info? wait...

I consider the magazine QST to be a panacea to the membership at large to try to show they are interested in the rest of ham radio.

Is it not a good magazine? What changes would you make in it? How about the other publications?

Those things don't write themselves, and a lot goes into producing them.

What they are interested in is their membership rolls and keeping the money coming in. 

If there's no membership and no money, they won't be able to do anything. Do you think an organization like ARRL could exist and do what it does solely with unpaid volunteer staff?

  What is obvious if you look closely is what they're doing to get and stay in favor with the FCC and the government, while keeping the federal and other grant money rolling into their coffers.  I'll stand by my last statement too--It's sad that the premier ham radio organization is sinking to such depths.

I see them challenging FCC in several areas. There was even a lawsuit against FCC over BPL - which ARRL *won*! That's hardly a way to get and stay in favor with FCC!

What grant money rolls into ARRL? Seems to me that the agencies which get the grant money are local emcomm folks, not ARRL Hq. Can you name some specifics?

And I'll ask again: What would you have them do differently?


---

I understand that some hams don't like to see *any* mention of public-service comms, let alone emcomm, in association with amateur radio. What I don't understand is why anyone would object to it.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #53 on: November 14, 2010, 06:38:18 AM »

Jim, you do bring up some points that bear thought, but it is plain that you and I have a vast difference of opinion on what is done by the ARRL and what is not.  I will say this much--I did get in touch with people in Newington that, once I explained what I was after and the difficulty that I was having in getting it through the section people I was trying to deal with, were very helpful and sympathetic.  But the point remains that there are many of us who believe that all the ARRL is mainly concerned with is the emergency communications on ham bands.

Lets just say that we agree to disagree, and leave it at that.  Then again, I'm planning a move, and when I get into a different ARRL section, I may have a change of opinion.  Right now, however, I am sticking by what I said.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3880




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« Reply #54 on: November 16, 2010, 06:17:40 PM »

To K1CJS:

I think I see how we come to such different opinions and conclusions about ARRL.

From what I read in your posts, your viewpoint of ARRL is at the local level, in your particular section. And what you see is an extreme focus on emcomm, and not much else - including stuff you're interested in. (What that is I don't know).

Main point is that your main consideration is your local ARRL field organization, and what it does/doesn't do for you.

OTOH, my viewpoint is at the national level, looking at what the HQ staff do - publications, legal, product reviews, VEC, operating activities,  etc. And I see a wide variety of services and products, some of which I find of interest and some of which I don't.

Neither viewpoint is necessarily "right" or "wrong". They're just different.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K1CJS
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« Reply #55 on: November 17, 2010, 03:54:49 AM »

Jim,

On that, I would agree.  As I said, I'm planning a move--and I probably will come to a different opinion of the whole thing when I get out of this area.  But for right now, Eastern Mass. is an ARRL section that is emcomm all the way--and anything else just does not exist.

73!  Chris, K1CJS
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WD4CHP
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Posts: 147




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« Reply #56 on: November 22, 2010, 05:05:27 AM »

When I was still working and could afford it, I got life memberships in all the organizations I belonged to that offered it.

Now that I am retired and on a limited income, I am glad I do not have to worry about where I can scrape up the yearly dues.

Plan ahead for your retirement.
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KA1YBS
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2011, 12:12:06 PM »

I just signed up today. I'm 37, I've been a ham for almost 20 years. My Elmer told me to do it back in 1990 but I didn't have the funds (probably only $250 back then) of course.

All this useless banter of ARRL members on Junkets, EMCOMM, and the other stuff I can ignore.

Look at government waste by state employees. Some only put 6% per year into pensions, which are subsidized by taxpayers, the same ones squirreling their own earnings over taxes and expenses into unprotected and often non-matched 401K's or IRA's. How about Health Care... go on strike because the taxpayers ask you to pay a paltry 12% for a Cadillac plan? go back to work!

So, no, I can't complain about the ARRL. I too, get to go on a 'junket' now and then with my employer, and always it meets my professional and social expectations.

I do believe QST has a lot of ads, but it supports ARRL like I do, and I always find interesting and engaging articles every month, plus it's great outhouse material where even an iPad is questionable, lol.

To each his/her own. I believe in the organization itself, with it's rich history and broad support for the brotherhood of radio amateurs is enough. Even if only 50% of the annual revenue goes to our radio causes, it's a great deal more money than we can put up as individuals.

Are you paying attorney fees to fight BPL?
Did you help draft and pass PRB-1?
Did you alone have any clout to even try and protect what was saved in the loss of 220Mhz spectrum?
Do you think that you and your friends alone can stop the entire 70cm band from disappearing? (truth, we'll lose half)
Do you annually provide scholarship money to kids and teens around the country for college?
Do you organize groups that help license new amateurs daily?
Do you provide financial support to schools and colleges for worthwhile projects?

If you answered YES to ALL of the above, you are an ARRL member.

73 de KA1YBS


« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 12:24:59 PM by KA1YBS » Logged
AE5QB
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #58 on: March 03, 2011, 06:47:16 PM »

I am not a life member, but I intend to be.  If you are relatively young, what could it possibly hurt? I am 57 so will probably not ever see the payback, but that is OK.  There are a lot of things like SS that I don't ever expect to see a payback on either.  In fact, I would be completely willing to give up any claim to SS if we could stop the madness today and just phase out the entire system.  But I digress.

I too am confused about what some of the posters are looking for.  From my vantage point there is a little bit of everything out there.  In fact, there is so much that I am frequently torn about where I want to direct my next discretionary dollar.  Just having access to the archives is worth the dues to me.  I get a rush going back and reading the articles around the war years.  Just the other day I read the letter that "The Man" wrote to the Secretary of the Navy offering the services of the league at the outbreak of war.  Just the historical context of radio and the entire world in the archives is fascinating to me.

I happen to be a math and science teacher and was fortunate enough to attend the Teacher's Institute on Wireless technology.  I don't know the true cost of that but I know it was right around $1000 to get me there and home.  I left with probably another $1000 worth of kits for my classroom.  So I have already gotten my monies worth.  The cool thing is that not a dime of this money came out of general revenues. These schools are all funded by donors -- good hearted people who just want to see ham radio survive and thrive.  My students and I are very grateful for the support given to us by the league and its supporters.

So let's all get off of our high horses and quit asking, "What is in it for me?"  The fact is you will get out of it what you want to get out of it.  More importantly, you will get out of it what you put into it.  Consider it a form of volunteer work to help my students and others and to help the next young kid get a foothold into ham radio.  You may not agree with some of the things the league does and that is OK.  But the fact of the matter is that we as a hobby probably wouldn't exist if the league didn't exist.

Come on lighten up and don't be so serious.  I find it sad that we live in a world in which so many view every action is terms of the payback.  The way to get ahead is to give more than you expect in return -- I know your momma told you that.  Don't worry about whether or not you are going to beat the odds and get one over on the league.  If you do, great!  If you don't, so what?  You have just helped out someone else down the road and in the process you will be appreciated.  I just let a life insurance policy lapse that I paid on for 20 years.  Oh well!  I lose!  Or did I?  I just paid $3.00 for a gallon of gas and complained about it, but I think nothing of paying $4.00 for a gallon of milk or $6.00 for a Big Mac, Fries, and a Coke.

It is worth it.  Please support the league and all that it does.

73

Tom
AE5QB
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K1CJS
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« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2011, 10:04:45 PM »

Tom,

I can certainly see your point, and I do agree that you've gotten your moneys worth--as most ARRL supporters say they also do.  I don't argue that the ARRL doesn't do a lot for ham radio.  What I DO say is that there are needs and wants that some ARRL sections and/or their management just does not take care of, not at all. 

When you take the time and the patience to contact your section management or his staff about something, and all they do is either acknowledge your query and say they'll get back to you--and never do, or they just ignore you entirely, then there is a definite problem.  I have, more than once, been forced to contact Newington for questions and information that the section should have supplied--but didn't.  I've been asked whether I had contacted the section management--and I've had to tell them that those people were unresponsive to the point of ignoring ARRL members in their section.

Face it.  When you belong to an organization and are forced to jump through hoops because you can't get a decent answer from local representatives, why bother being a member at all?  THAT is my complaint--my ONLY complaint--and has been from the start of my holding a ham license and joining the ARRL.  I haven't been an ARRL member for the past two years now, and I really don't miss it either.

 
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