Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Is the arrl worth it?  (Read 9395 times)
KC2YSO
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« on: August 29, 2013, 09:40:30 AM »

Before you all tell me how important the legal representation is they provide... think about this.

I have been a member of the arrl since the day I got my ticket.

Over the years, I have tried to use their website numerous times to order books and other materials, also to look up info.
Their website is a disaster and seldom works. I have had to call my order in on the phone every time, after wasting time on the site. Don't think it's me.... I run a 3.4 quad core with 16 gigs of ram and high speed DSL.

Ordered the 2011 Handbook and paid for a HARD COVER. I was notified two weeks later, they were sold out.

I bought the 2012 arrl handbook. NEVER did I get a notice that it was FULL (HUNDREDS ) of errors and omissions. There are a bunch of files I can download and add to the software, but the new info does not integrate with the existing program. So... every time I read a part, I need to go to another document and verify that what I am reading is accurate. After DECADES of publications, there is NO excuse for this sloppy work and my WASTED $50.00. It really stinks that I have read the book, THEN go look on my computer to verify info, so what good is the book at all?

The worst part is, I was NEVER informed that the book was full of errors and omissions, I found out by pure luck that there were many amendments to the book.

There have been other issues, but today is the worst.

More than three weeks ago, I made an order for a couple of books ( not cheap - don't waste your money on the arrl amplifier classics ) and a reference card for my wife's HT. The books got here damaged due to poor packaging, but not the card. There was a note saying it was back ordered.

She wanted the card to go on a trip with and it never showed up ( I ordered three weeks in advance ).

So today I called the arrl. The person on the phone ( lorie ) said it was still back ordered and had no idea when mine would arrive. Seeing as how I could get the exact card on ebay for a dollar less and NO back order issues, I told Lorie to cancel the card order. She informed me that I would be getting 95 cents back from the 5.95 I paid!

I have a receipt, an order conformation ( email ) AND a screen shot of the order after I paid for it. All three show I paid $5.95 for the card. Lorie said I only paid 95 cents for a card that is CLEARLY MARKED $5.95 both on my paperwork and arrl's website.

Here's where it get better. As I was arguing my case, Lorie suddenly turned VERY DARK, saying she was not going to continue the conversation because I MY VOICE WAS VIOLENT.

The ONLY things I said to her was that I had paperwork that showed what I paid and I DEMANDED a FULL REFUND. She said they would ONLY give me back .95 cents no matter what.

I didn't call names, I didn't insult her or the arrl, but she said to me that I'm a miserable person, and I must have a terribly hard time in life because my "violent temper" !!!!!

I donate a LOT of time to the poor, the homeless and American Veterans. I am a peace loving person, and never show when I'm upset, but demanding what I am owed got her VERY upset and turned her into an insulting rude animal.

She is obviously insane, I don't have a mean bone in my body, but I KNOW when I've been SCREWED.

Since the beginning, I have spent HUNDREDS of dollars at the arrl, and now find out I can't trust ANYTHING they print. it would really suck to spend a pile of cash on a project and find out it's worthless due to wrong or left out information.

I know $5.95 isn't going to break me, but it's the principle of all this. Why screw me? Why so nasty? Why so incompetent?

So go ahead and convince me why I should support a group of rude incompetents.

One thing is painfully clear, I'm sure they don't care about me, or my interests.

http://www.arrl.org/shop/Wouxun-KG-U...eference-Card
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12679




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 09:52:53 AM »

"Their website is a disaster and seldom works."

That's odd because I use it often for ordering books and materials on-line and looking up reference info like old QST articles and FCC regulations. It works for me every time thus far.
 
Logged
G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4389




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 10:26:24 AM »

A number of the QST articles than ran to more than one page hasn't always got the complete article - who ever scanned them didn't check. Considering what a mind boggling job it is, I suppose it's not surprising.

But the biggest job for my mind is the international representation they provide. IARU can't influence FCC the way the ARRL can, but the US delegation to ITU meetings (headed by NTIA) and with FCC support can, and do, influence matters in our favour.

Remember the old saw - "Without wavelengths, there is no amateur radio".
Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1619




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 10:45:15 AM »

Re: KC2YSO

"so go ahead and convince me why I should support a group of rude incompetents"

It appears that you have already found reasons enough to convince yourself not to. Besides, the ARRL annual dues would have more meaning and go farther if donated to the American Veterans.
Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 11:28:55 AM »

Re: KC2YSO

"so go ahead and convince me why I should support a group of rude incompetents"

It appears that you have already found reasons enough to convince yourself not to. Besides, the ARRL annual dues would have more meaning and go farther if donated to the American Veterans.

This is an honest question, so please don't take it the wrong way.  Isn't the ARRL the direct public channel for the FCC in amateur radio?  Would there be amateur radio going forward if there was no organization like the ARRL to lead the way, because from what I know of our government, they would rather scrap the whole thing than have to fund and man such an effort.

If this isn't true, I'd like to know how it works.  I'm new to this hobby, but it seems to me that there isn't currently an organization that could replace the ARRL and all they do to make the hobby possible.  I would think the funds we put into it by buying products and services from them help keep the organization, and therefore the hobby, viable.  Not to mention more convenient through programs such as VEC.  I understand people used to have to drive, sometimes long distances, to government buildings to take their tests.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 11:42:50 AM by JEEPESCAPE » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 5875




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 12:23:14 PM »

This is an honest question, so please don't take it the wrong way.  Isn't the ARRL the direct public channel for the FCC in amateur radio?  Would there be amateur radio going forward if there was no organization like the ARRL to lead the way, because from what I know of our government, they would rather scrap the whole thing than have to fund and man such an effort....

On certain issues they're the direct amateur channel to the FCC (I think that's what you meant?) but only IF you're a paying member.  If you're not an ARRL member, don't even bother.  Note I said "on certain issues," not all issues.  The ARRL is just like any other politically connected group--they look out for their own--the inner circle--best interests first and represent the rest of their membership if the membership wishes are in agreement with their aims.

Good examples of each side--yes, they fought BPL, but they also are insisting on their emergency communications agenda, which has people who are in certain agencies and groups getting a ham license just for emergency communications purposes--which isn't what an amateur ticket is for.  They support messaging and traffic nets, which is a good thing--but they're also pushing to make amateur radio an official channel of communications in emergency situations, a thing that amateur radio was never meant for.  There are more examples, but I think those are the chief ones.

Support for the ARRL is a personal preference.  If you want to support their activities, be my guest.  I think, however, that they're not promoting fully the intended uses of amateur radio, and are promoting too many things outside of what amateur radio was intended for.  I would say that as things stand with them right now, it isn't worth it.  
Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 12:55:16 PM »

This is an honest question, so please don't take it the wrong way.  Isn't the ARRL the direct public channel for the FCC in amateur radio?  Would there be amateur radio going forward if there was no organization like the ARRL to lead the way, because from what I know of our government, they would rather scrap the whole thing than have to fund and man such an effort....

On certain issues they're the direct amateur channel to the FCC (I think that's what you meant?) but only IF you're a paying member.  If you're not an ARRL member, don't even bother.  Note I said "on certain issues," not all issues.  The ARRL is just like any other politically connected group--they look out for their own--the inner circle--best interests first and represent the rest of their membership if the membership wishes are in agreement with their aims.

Good examples of each side--yes, they fought BPL, but they also are insisting on their emergency communications agenda, which has people who are in certain agencies and groups getting a ham license just for emergency communications purposes--which isn't what an amateur ticket is for.  They support messaging and traffic nets, which is a good thing--but they're also pushing to make amateur radio an official channel of communications in emergency situations, a thing that amateur radio was never meant for.  There are more examples, but I think those are the chief ones.

Support for the ARRL is a personal preference.  If you want to support their activities, be my guest.  I think, however, that they're not promoting fully the intended uses of amateur radio, and are promoting too many things outside of what amateur radio was intended for.  I would say that as things stand with them right now, it isn't worth it.  

What I mean is, the ARRL seems to effectively be the outward/public facing organization for amateur radio in the US, on behalf of the FCC, as a volunteer organization that is charged with funding its own operation.  They do all the work the FCC doesn't want to do, including handling the testing, VECs, study guides, and other important things.  My question is, without the ARRL, how long would amateur radio in the US survive? Perhaps I am misunderstanding their role, but when I came to this hobby and asked some hams where I need to go to get my books and tests, I was pointed to the ARRL site without fail.

I understand no one is forced to support the ARRL, and I'm not arguing their effectiveness in the areas complained about in the original post here, but I'm asking what the alternative is without them.  I'm trying to get a better understanding of their role and importance as far as facilitating amateur radio.  If the alternative is that if the FCC may decide the whole thing is too much hassle in the absence of an organization like the ARRL,  then I find membership to be "worth it" on that basis alone. Your mileage may vary.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 12:59:50 PM by JEEPESCAPE » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
SWMAN
Member

Posts: 546




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 04:19:55 PM »

 Is the ARRL worth it ? Yes to me it is. I never had any problem at all with them on orders or anything at all. All ok here
Logged
KG6AF
Member

Posts: 335




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 04:46:20 PM »

I think the ARRL is worth it.  There's the usual argument that the League serves as the American amateur radio community's contact point with the government, and I while I don't always agree with the their approach, I think they make a reasonable attempt to promote rational policies.  That alone is sufficient justification for my dues.

The thing that really won me over, though, was when they put all of the articles from old issues of QST online.  I've found this to be an invaluable resource for all kinds of technical information.  I'm also impressed by their VEC operation, which seems to do a consistently good job of processing exams.

Is there room for improvement?  Sure.  I think their web site design is somewhat clunky (links shouldn't be only slightly different in color from nearby text, for example).  And while some of their technical books are quite good, many of the newer, thinner books have a poor value-to-dollar ratio, particularly when you add in the high shipping/handling fees.  All that said, the scale still tips strongly in the worth-it direction.
Logged
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1236




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 04:55:59 PM »

This is an honest question, so please don't take it the wrong way.  Isn't the ARRL the direct public channel for the FCC in amateur radio?  Would there be amateur radio going forward if there was no organization like the ARRL to lead the way, because from what I know of our government, they would rather scrap the whole thing ...

Cory, I think you've put your finger right on the heart of the matter, myself.  The ARRL is our ONLY effective voice representing ham interests in government and law.  I may not agree with every position they take, but on the whole, the ARRL is a *fantastic* resource for hams, and it (again, IMO) *needs* our support--not for the ARRL but for US.   I think you're right, too--the government could simply forbid amateur radio tomorrow, and there would be NOBODY looking out for our interests but the ARRL.

*Aside* from that, as important as it is, the ARRL also provides some marvelous resources for hams--the DXCC program, the VE system,the local section system, the technical advisers (Ed Hare!), QST (particularly the online archives!), hosting some great contests, providing a central voice for discussing issues in radio, and a gathering place for hams that's been here for three times as long as eham.net.

I understand some hams don't support the ARRL and don't appreciate its importance.  But to me it's shortsighted and clueless not to support the ARRL even when you DO disagree on some issues.   And if the ARRL were not here, hams would have NO effective voice in government.  To me, it's just common sense to support the ARRL.   73!  --ken
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12679




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 06:37:27 PM »

The government DID shut down amateur radio during WWI and WWII. The ARRL was instrumental in getting amateur radio reinstated. After WWI I understand that the government fully intended to just keep all the spectrum that they had taken over. Today the biggest threat is to VHF and above frequencies that Congress would like to auction off to companies that provide wireless services for profit.

Some complain about ARRL support of EMCOMM but they need something to justify amateur radio's use of valuable spectrum other than just hams having fun working DX and contesting. Remember, radio spectrum belongs to the general public and we need to be able to show that we benefit the general public in order to have access to it. The ARRL really does benefit all of us, including those who refuse to support the ARRL. Without ARRL it wouldn't be very long before amateur radio would cease to exist as we know it today.

Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3666




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 07:05:45 PM »

Is the ARRL worth it?  Absolutely!!  Without any doubts.  Why?  For the same reasons already given...up to including, without the ARRL there probably wouldn't be any ham radio. 

Their annual subscription costs is worth every penny just for the representation, both domestically and internationally.

I have NEVER sent an inquiry to ARRL that went unanswered for more than 48 hours.  Normally, I get a response within 24 hours. 

As RZP pointed out, some of the archive scans are incomplete.  I have encountered this problem just once and an email to them got me a complete copy of the article within a few days.

Are they perfect?  Absolutely not.  Although I cannot put my finger on any example, it's simply presumptuous to say they are "perfect."

As for your problem..... I'm sorry you've had to deal with this.  I've had to deal with businesses that was more interested in getting my money than providing me with a product.  I know where you're coming from.

I'd venture to say that you are one of a very few.  As for giving you a reason to stay a member, I won't.  I shouldn't have to.

If you're dissatisfied with ARRL, drop out.

Al - K8AXW
Logged
TANAKASAN
Member

Posts: 933




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2013, 02:45:13 AM »

You can add Experimental Methods in RF Design to the list of publications with countless errors. Wes Hayward has been keeping track of them for years and even after three publication runs they failed to get things right. As for the ARRL flagship publication, QST, eliminate all the adverts and contest results then see what's left.

I'm not an ARRL member and I don't want to be, it's just not worth the money.

Tanakasan

EMRFD Errata
http://w7zoi.net/em12or3.html
Logged
G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4389




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2013, 03:03:56 AM »

It's not generally recognised that the IARU is heavily subsidised by the ARRL. The IARU is the amateur radio voice at the ITU - the voice that has got an international 5 MHz band on the next WRC Agenda, the voice that got us within the last 34 years new bands at 135kHz, 470kHz,  10, 18 and 24 MHz, and is working for  a world wide band at 5MHz, and, in the longer term, world wide 50 MHz, and even 70MHz bands. Plus bands above 275GHz.

So ARRL support for ITU activities is very important. Anybody who has ever been to Geneva knows how expensive that place is - a 3 star hotel room at $250 a night, a burger and a beer for $25. All of which is why I'm happy to be a member.

I feel that one service they could usefully provide would be a QSL bureau for US domestic cards - every other bureau provides a service for domestic cards.
Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1619




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2013, 04:16:22 AM »

  Am I missing something here? I just checked the ARRL site and they have a donation section but you have to be a dues paying member to enter. Perhaps the ARRL would do well to have some type of non member donation site  designated for the sole purpose of their FCC lobbying efforts and support of the IARU. This may appeal to hams that are not joiners/contesters and not interested in receiving a monthly catalogue of the latest ham gear or contest results called QST. In this internet age all info and aspects of the hobby can be found on the various ham radio site and pertinent reflectors.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!