Manager - AB7RG
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Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Created by Don Keith, N4KC on 2018-03-22

Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
By Don Keith, N4KC

©2018 by Don Keith

You would have to have your QTH under a rock--or be so wrapped up in your ragchews, contests, new digital modes, kit-building, island and summit activations, grid-square chasing, or know, doing ham radio stuff! --not to have noticed all the recent noise about the American Radio Relay League, our national amateur radio membership organization. The controversy has been rife on the air, in blog posts, and on various podcasts and video programs devoted to our hobby. And while there has been such sniping going on for a while, likely since Hiram Maxim himself deflected flaming arrows--who remembers Wayne Green W2NSD/1? --the most recent noise has certainly escalated many decibels over the last few months.

So far as I can tell, the impetus for the latest hullabaloo came when the League Board of Directors voted to censure one of its own over comments he made before a group gathered at an event. The gist of that action was because, apparently, board members are never supposed to criticize or question anything going on within the A.R.R.L. while before a public gathering of the organization's members or potential members. And though as muted and generally innocuous as this gentleman's presentation was, he allegedly broke that sacred rule. Thus a very public and much-decried censure from the Board.

Then, in apparent reaction to the uproar that resulted, the League decided that at their January 2018 board meeting they would consider even more stringent secrecy restrictions and policy. This, of course, set off even more of an outcry, among members, possible members, and those who are happy to have any excuse to criticize the League, whether justified or not. So it came to pass that, as the villagers approached with their torches held high, the directors backed down and tabled the proposed actions, theoretically opting to conduct further consideration.

Then, to further rile the great unwashed out there and plant the seed for more conspiracy theories, the League's relatively new CEO abruptly resigned his position. The reason given? He suddenly discovered that Connecticut had a relatively high rate of taxes and he simply could not afford to live there on the salary the League had agreed to pay him and that he had agreed to accept for services rendered. Honest, that is the reason given in the press releases that were hastily posted and disseminated.

Huh? Did the gentleman not know the salary he was to earn for the position and his new state of residence's tax liability before he applied for and accepted the job? Seems anyone qualified to be CEO of such a large and important organization would be aware of those numbers going in. Pardon our pronounced incredulity!

Okay, thus far this is the way I understand how this latest round of dissatisfaction with the actions of our hobby's organization came about. If I have mischaracterized it in any way, please let me know. Some of this is, I know, based on rumor and speculation. However, that is one of the issues up for consideration here. We simply do not have access to so many of the facts.

We should note that this is not the first time that open revolt has been threatened. Nor should we be surprised, considering the nature of any organization of the size and stature of the A.R.R.L., and one with such a diverse and intelligent constituency. And one with the ability to communicate and miscommunicate their opinions in so many ways. And in a time when such communication can be conducted--anonymously--via so many previously non-existent media.

Oh, and an organization that represents hobbyists who are regulated by an agency of the federal government with the authority to levy fines and give jail time as well as by international treaty.

W2NSD certainly tried to lead the mob, partly because he wanted things done a different and better way, and partly, I believe, to sell magazines and books. Others have tried to form an alternative outfit, a completely new membership organization that would represent ham radio operators, in a manner somehow superior to and differently from how the League does it. Still more have simply refused to join the A.R.R.L. or quit in a huff--forfeiting the right to criticize, in my opinion--as they rail away as often and as loudly as they can about anything that gets their dander up. But unwilling to work from within to build the organization into what they believe it should be. Sometimes they are right on but often they are misinformed or just downright wrong-headed.

Now, since I mentioned my opinion, here are some thoughts I have about the state of the A.R.R.L. and, in some cases, our hobby in general. These sentiments are based on having been an active ham radio operator for 56 years with a professional background in business management, media, journalism, statistical research, and marketing.

That means I don't necessarily know what I am talking about, but I am relatively adept at convincing folks that I do!

So, let's take some of the points I have seen ballyhooed about of late, occupying many pixels and much precious bandwidth, and discuss them--not at all anonymously--one at a time:

"The League is stodgy, secretive, and seems far too self-serving to do a good job for the hobby in general and its members in particular. What are they up to up there?"

If perception is ultimately reality, then this is absolutely true. I have seen and heard far too many otherwise level-headed amateurs express this view. The recent actions by the board, tabled or not, reinforce the perception that these charges are accurate. So do some recent odd activities dealing with the election of some officials and the appointments of others, as well as the sudden resignation of the relatively new CEO.

Solution: become more transparent. Simple fix!

Do not be afraid of allowing members--and, by the way, non-members--to know what is going on, what decisions are being made, and why. The League is, after all, a member-driven organization, its policy set by its elected officials, and through them, by the members. Those policies should represent the opinions and needs of its constituency. Even if the ultimate decision does not necessarily reflect the wants of the majority. Or are not even remotely popular with us.

Especially if these are the case!

The fact is that sometimes a director, vice-director, or section manager knows and understands more about an issue than Joe Ham, who has not ventured more than a few cycles off his 75-meter roundtable frequency since the `50s. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But there is a lot to keep track of, and issues are often far more complex than some are willing to admit.

I'm sorry, but I do not understand why board meetings cannot be streamed live in the Internet. CSPAN brings us all those long, boring committee hearings and bland speeches to empty chairs during Congressional sessions, but we citizens can see for ourselves what is going on with our elected officials if we really want to. Untold hours of the Dayton Hamvention are available for viewing on the web, for Pete's sake! Why are Board of Director meetings, with our elected officials in attendance, sacrosanct?

Yes, I understand that some dicey subjects or personnel discussions might need to take place behind closed doors. But those should be the exception rather than the rule. Even then we need to know as much as we can about what took place in there, including why it was necessary to lock the door and not allow members to eavesdrop.

And please! If someone is elected to the board by a majority of League members in a division, he or she should be able to express opinions without fear of reprisal or censure. Within reason, of course. A director should be allowed to defend the League and its actions but to also explain when there is disagreement. The director should absolutely be allowed to explain the reasons for his or her own vote, pro or con. And do so publicly. Especially at hamfests and club meetings, where members and non-members gather to get the latest from their representative. Yes, a director should represent all amateur radio operators, League member or not.

But would not such transparency lead to even more criticism and rabble rousing. I don't think so.

Democracy can be dirty, the old "sausage being made" metaphor, but it must be open and transparent. And discussed and debated. Last time I looked, freedom to speak one's own mind is guaranteed by the Constitution, a document and an idea that has been defended to the death by so many. People who are able to exercise this solemnly-bestowed right include those who happen to hold an elected position in the American Radio Relay League. What is good enough for the USA should be fine for the A.R.R.L...

"What is this about the League spending an unknown amount of members' money (typical that they apparently did not tell us how much) for a research project and the primary recommendation to emerge from the results of the study was that a second web site be developed...and the company that did the research would be happy to construct it--but not create content for it--for a mere $400,000?"

Huh? Is this correct? I don't know but this bit of news is flying around the web at the speed of light.

Included in this news bulletin are some facts that are even more disturbing, and if the League is serious about being more transparent, they need to confirm or deny but certainly explain them. The word is that at a time when amateur radio continues to grow reasonably healthily, membership in the A.R.R.L. is actually going down. That only about 20% of newly licensed hams even join the League. And that a vast majority of those who do join do not renew their membership at the first opportunity to do so.

And what about all those who get a license and never renew it? Do we really have to wait ten years just to see if that guy or gal stuck with the hobby? Before we find out the newcomer never uttered a word or sent a character or emitted a single digital bit after going to the trouble to pass the test and get a ticket? Or if he or she did, what caused the potentially fine ham to ultimately flee the hobby? Or what might have been done to pique their interest and allow them to come to worship the hobby as you and I do before they gave up and fled the scene?

I hesitated quoting those stats in the previous two paragraphs because I have no way to confirm or debunk them. Somebody can. And they work in Newington, Connecticut. They know who and how many joined the League. How many renewed. How many dropped by the wayside.

We don't, do we? At least not yet.

But if these numbers are accurate, or even close to true, something needs to be done. A second $400,000 web site, despite the recommendations of that company--Who are they? Are they even qualified to do the research and develop recommendations that set the future course of our hobby and its primary booster organization? --does not seem, to me, to be the solution to a decline in League membership. Or, by the way, to determining what steps to take to continue to grow our hobby's ranks and build an even more thriving, powerful, effective A.R.R.L.. (I believe such a web site can serve a valuable purpose, and maybe it is the one the consultants had in mind. We don't know since nobody has told us. But more on that second web entity later.)

A research project is definitely in order. Most companies would not dream of planning future policy or actions without reliable research and carefully developed strategy.

There is an old expression in the research and marketing biz. It maintains that all you need to know about marketing a product or service can be summed up in three sentences. Ask people what they want. Give them what they want. Tell them you are giving them what they want.

Here is an idea. If we want to know how to attract and keep new hams and new League members, ask those who chose not to continue to be a ham or League member why they made that decision. Have a bona fide research company contact people who got a license but did not join the League, people who joined but did not renew, and people who, whether they joined A.R.R.L. or not, got a license but allowed it to lapse. Use proper research methodology to be sure you are talking to the right people. Ask them why they did what they did, using properly-worded questions that don't taint the study. Attempt to contact and gather input from a representative sample of respondents, including age, ethnicity, other interests, educational background, geography, and more.

(We know we need to attract more younger hams, more females, more African Americans and those of Hispanic descent! Here is an opportunity to learn why we have failed so far.)

Then, once the research is completed, present the findings to League officials as well as to the membership. If non-members and frequent critics see the results, too, that is fine. Just be sure the numbers include an explanation from someone who knows how to analyze the data and impartially explain what it really means. Numbers can lie. Research data can be horribly and disastrously misinterpreted.

Develop a strategy to address the reasons for lack of growth and for waning loyalty to the League. Develop it in the open, with input from as many hams, members or no, as is practical.

Implement the strategy. Do regular updates to the membership and to the public on what is being done to address the issues gleaned from the research data.

Observe objectively how effective that strategy actually becomes. Or if it is not working at all. This ideally includes regular additional research studies. Adjust the strategy and its implementation as you go. It absolutely should not be etched into marble. Do another study in three years or five years to judge impact and success or lack thereof.

That is how this stuff works, folks. We may be surprised by what we learn. Heck, we may be converting far more people to our hobby than we should be. And the League is retaining all the members it possibly can. But we need to know that, too. And develop a survival strategy around the data.

I did my own informal research for the past four years and the results became the basis for my book Get on the Air...Now! I found the most prevalent reasons for why people drop out of the hobby and attempted to address their perceptions and hesitation in the book. That is my simple way to "Elmer" them. (Including not ever using the word "elmer," either as a verb or a noun. Its connotation is not positive outside our ranks.)

At any rate, the point is if I did such a study on my own with no budget, the League, with its bank account and smart staff and members and all it has riding on the success of any implementation of change should be perfectly able to pull off this research thing, develop strategy, and implement it successfully.

"QST is nothing but a bunch of ads and contest scores and chases away more hams and potential hams than it attracts. It is old-fashioned, too technical/not technical enough, and printed on paper in a digital age, which nobody over the age of 40 is going to read."

Gee, where do I start? How about with my own opinion? And why single out QST?

Print publications are struggling. Media have changed since I started writing this article. My "daily" newspaper is now only printed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. When did you last see a Saturday Evening Post, Look, Life or Newsweek?

I happen to like the ads in QST. Plus, I know that if they did away with them, we could expect to pay $50 a copy for the magazine. I enjoy QST, but I am not likely a customer at $50 per.

And I single out QST--and the A.R.R.L. web site--because they are the most visible aspect of the organization and, by proxy, the hobby of amateur radio. The first impression most Googlers have of ham radio is And those who might still peruse newsstands will see QST and ham radio as one and the same.

Think about this: QST serves a broad readership with diverse interests in various aspects of the hobby, from contesting to building stuff, from newcomers to old-timers. Contesters want to see the scores to see how they placed. Articles that are not technical enough hurt the feelings of the techies. Too technical and you chase off those who are not so inclined or who are timid already about how electronical they have to be to get into this game. And there is nothing wrong with not being so inclined! This is also the official organ for the A.R.R.L., so they have to print the various bland and boring goings-on inside our organization and others like it around the world.

If we truly want more transparency and to know all that is happening within the League, we have to have it available for easy access, in the magazine and on the web site. Not all of it is going to be up your alley or especially scintillating.

If you don't like something you see in the magazine, turn the page, my friend. Turn the page.

Frankly, I think they do a good job with the magazine. I see efforts to modernize its look, to include an even wider variety of articles, and I appreciate all that hard work. And I must point out that if they are not running articles that interest you, WRITE SOME! They will even pay you money if they use them.

On the negative side, I laughed out loud when I saw the current issue (March 2018), the "Antenna Issue." Then I cried as I imagined a typical twenty-something happening up on the issue on the stand at a bookstore. What would be his or her impression of the hobby upon thumbing to the cover article?

I don't want to be negative considering all the work, thought, research and creativity employed by the hams who won the League's antenna-design contest, the projects featured in this month's QST. Those folks obviously devoted a lot of effort to their winning entries and the judges at the A.R.R.L. certainly worked hard on picking winners, verifying performance, and preparing the articles for the magazine.

But give me a break!

A 160-meter delta loop that needs support at 90 feet and has a long run of wire at 3 feet off the ground at the bottom of the loop? Not only do most of us not have a skyhook at 90 feet, but that bottom run of wire at my house would snare many neighborhood children and wild deer! And a directional three-element array for 80? That is if you happen to have a 140-foot tower to load as the radiating element? And a low-profile 2-meter mobile antenna that is actually a huge aluminum box bolted to the top of your buggy? An antenna that gives you a couple of dB more signal than your plain, old, $15 quarter-wave mag mount?

I also could not help but notice that the bios of most of the authors included the fact that they held degrees in electrical engineering or equally impressive technical fields. I suppose it has to be included but such info only confirms the fears of those on the outside looking in that ours is a hobby exclusively for engineers and scientists.

Sorry, but sometimes the content in QST does seem to indicate the publication is just a tad out of touch with the average ham out here in the hinterlands. And since I learned for my book that a big stumbling block for many would-be hams is concern about having to put up some exotic antenna to even get on the air, I am afraid these articles confirm their worst preconceived qualms.

That being said, I still believe the magazine is well done for the most part and represents our hobby well to a wide readership.

Sorry, but I can't say the same for the League's web site. When they did a major overhaul a few years ago, I had high hopes. They hired a professional outfit to re-do the whole thing, and I can only imagine what a task that was, considering all the rarely seen stuff that had to be re-worked and crammed into the site. Unfortunately, it emerged from this revamping as a cluttered, hard-to-navigate, counter-intuitive mess. I can only imagine the feelings of a mildly curious visitor, Googling "ham radio," and landing on

The site simply does not put our best foot forward. Maybe that outfit with the proposed $400,000 web site was on to something after all. Maybe we do need two web sites, one for the current members and active hams with all the operating stuff, contest details, technical info, and more, but another "here is what today's amateur radio is all about" site.

This latter website would have as its goal selling the hobby, informing visitors how to get started, showing them what books and tools are available, overcoming their natural hesitancy about leaping into the unknown--navigating past real or perceived roadblocks--and assisting them in taking the next steps. It seems obvious to me. People interested in learning about the hobby don't care about or need to learn about detailed contest rules, regulatory news, how to solder circuit boards, a review of a $10,000 transceiver or how to put up a 160-meter delta loop that requires a 90-foot support. They just need to see if the hobby is for them and, if it appears so, how do they take the next step.

As I say, it seems obvious to me. If the League's mandate is to grow the ranks of amateur radio, then it needs to sell the hobby like a can of beans. Or as they would a political candidate. That is a major part of marketing, and, by my way of thinking, marketing is a primary chore for any membership organization that aims to grow. And especially this one. And especially in light of some of the numbers previously discussed.

(One more thing. It is beyond the scope of this article, but I hear and see much criticism of how the League supports and works with clubs. I admittedly don't know if it is true or not, but that seems to me to be a crucial area in which to foster and continue growth of the hobby. The club level is where the rubber meets the road, a place where newcomers can get help and in-person support and old-timers can get out of their shell and contribute to the good of ham radio.

Unless that research for which I lobbied so hard tells us something totally different, I believe it would be a key strategy to include clubs in any growth plan.)

"Okay, but the A.R.R.L. is never going to change. They will continue to hide behind the walls of HQ out there in Connecticut, pull up the drawbridge, and shoot arrows at anybody that tries to storm the fort."

I don't think so. Maybe I am a perpetual optimist, but I believe the League--elected officials and employees alike--want to do the right thing, and do it the best and most effective way they can. They love our hobby as much or more than the rest of us. There is no conspiracy to kill the hobby from within. Or to stubbornly maintain the old-fashioned ways of doing things even if it threatens our growth.

Nobody's getting rich up there. I suspect many employees could do better in other industries or jobs, but they prefer working to improve the greatest pastime created. Those who run for election, or volunteer for positions in the field, absolutely sacrifice much to give back to the hobby, and do so for no pay and precious little praise or thanks.

They may have the wrong plan sometimes. They may become borderline paranoid in the face of criticism or the mob mentality that so often rises up out here in Middle America and beyond. But that, to me, is why I think an obvious answer to such charges is to become more open, more welcoming of input from members and non-members. But those giving the input should be privy to as many of the facts, arguments, and pro-and-con points as possible, and be open to hearing all the ramifications of any issue or decision.

Many are incapable of being fair and open-minded. Most are. Regardless, we should be trusted with the facts and the full story.

And, by the way, it is especially important that those who are offering opinions and advice--and especially those with a forum, a platform, or a very loud loudspeaker--take the time and effort to get the facts, too, before they start shooting arrows and taking prisoners.

That includes this writer. I am entitled to an opinion, but it is also incumbent on me to know what the heck it is that I am talking about. In that spirit, I hope I have clearly labeled rumors as rumors, guesses as guesses, opinions as opinions, and facts as facts in this article.

Now, in the title of this piece I asked the questions, "Can the A.R.R.L. be saved?" and, parenthetically, "Should the A.R.R.L. be saved?"

Let me answer both questions emphatically in one all-caps word: ABSOLUTELY!

I venture that few amateur radio operators actually know all that the League does to protect, preserve and promote our hobby. Wade through that junky web site and you will see how important their work is to not only protect our hobby as it is today but from those who would snatch it away from us tomorrow. That ranges from frequency grabbers to noise-grunge emitters. That plus the contests, awards, and events they create and sponsor, the books they publish, the field organization they maintain, the legal counsel and lobbying efforts they support, the reviews and technological innovation they conduct, and so much more.

And by "they" I mean "us." We are the League. Our votes and input should help make the organization better, stronger, more effective. And hopefully more transparent and open.

Will the A.R.R.L. ever please everybody?

Gee, I hope not!

As a former television station general manager in our market--and an active ham, by the way, who is now Silent Key--used to say after delivering an on-air editorial, "That's my opinion. What's yours?"

(Don Keith, N4KC is a long-time active ham and former broadcaster. He is also an award-winning and best-selling author with more than thirty books published, fiction and non-fiction, on a wide range of subjects, including four books dealing with Amateur Radio. His novel Firing Point is now in production as a major motion picture under the title Hunter Killer, starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman. He recently received the Bill Leonard Journalism Award from the ARRL for an article on the hobby he wrote that appeared in American Legion Magazine.

Don's web sites are and The latter site features numerous articles about our hobby. Don also blogs on the subject of rapid technological change and its effect on media, society and Amateur Radio at

NO6L 2018-05-11
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
God, I'm so tired of hearing about the horrible "HOA Problem". Fact: There is no problem, you buy into an HOA and expect to do what you want without reading, AND UNDERSTANDING the CC&Rs, it's YOUR problem. Not mine, not the ARRLs, yours.

Now, if they change them after you buy and move it, that's a different story.
NO6L 2018-05-10
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
God, I'm so tired of hearing about the horrible "HOA Problem". Fact: There is no problem, you buy into an HOA and expect to do what you want without reading, AND UNDERSTANDING the CC&Rs, it's YOUR problem. Not mine, not the ARRLs, yours.

Now, if they change them after you buy and move it, that's a different story.
NO6L 2018-05-10
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
God, I'm so tired of hearing about the horrible "HOA Problem". Fact: There is no problem, you buy into an HOA and expect to do what you want without reading, AND UNDERSTANDING the CC&Rs, it's YOUR problem. Not mine, not the ARRLs, yours.

Now, if they change them after you buy and move it, that's a different story.
W9BRD 2018-05-10
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Concerning improvement through competition: ARRL was founded in a time when radio amateurs had no direct means of sharing information and ideas, much less merely learning of each other's existence beyond the relatively restricted range afforded by amateur transmitting and receiving techniques of the day. Augmented by QST as its journal, the League answered a need that could not be directly met by other means. This relationship between ARRL/QST and hamdom existed for the better part of a century.

That I can type this message at and have it read (or not) by thousands at their leisure, decoupled in time and space, exemplifies ARRL's main competition and its main challenge: Open-Source Ham Radio. The primary conditions of information scarcity and unavailable instantaneous non-radio 1:1, many:1, and 1:many communication that drove the founding of the League no longer exist. Information about all aspects of ham radio is freely available, as is communication between and among individual hams and ad-hoc groups of hams at the speed of fiber-propagated light. The pooling of information and the facilitation of non-radio interham contact can therefore no longer serve as significant reasons for the continued existence of the ARRL.

Where ARRL _can_ continue to shine is as a centrality that performes the critical function of representing ham interests to government (including local, regional, and state through the ARRL Field Organization), including facilitating public radiocommunication education, at home and (in concert with its sibling societies worldwide) around the world. _This_ essential but relatively unglamorous work not only helps ensure the continuance of amateur radio as a service, but also helps ham radio improve our general quality of life by integrating it with public entities that provide communication in support of emergencies and disaster relief.

I think there must be a positive, concerted effort on the part of League officialdom to recognize, embrace, and further Open Source Ham Radio. ARRL officialdom _and fandom_ must retool with OSHR strongly in mind if ARRL is to continue to provide compelling membership-dollar value in a world of information and communication plenty.

Best regards,

amateur radio W9BRD
ARRL HQ 1974-1977 and 1985-1996
K0RKH 2018-05-09
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
You must be one of the NCT types. The rules are established . it is not to bent to you but for you to do what you are required . Remember how that works now ?
K6DDJ 2018-05-09
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

I didn't know it was near death!
K0RKH 2018-05-09
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I havn't had anything to do with the ARRL since they advocated the dumbing down of the licensing process by being the first to scream about the code. The hobby should live by it's own merit. If it has outlived it's usefulness , so be it but it did have dignity.

Bob K0RKH cw forever
VE3WGO 2018-05-06
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The best way to motivate any organization, including ARRL, to adapt or improve, is to introduce competition.

Why isn't there a second national amateur organization that offers more of what hams want?

Is it too difficult to do?

My guess is that ARRL really is good enough for most people already, so there is no room for a second organization.

AB9H 2018-05-06
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
N4KC, Sir, Thank you for a nice read!Only change I would do is to change your articles title,and, its not necessary to reach outside of your article to reach those changes! You have it in there, its just about 3/4 of the article down! To not to confuse you, here it is :
" Now, in the title of this piece I asked the questions, “Can the A.R.R.L. be saved?” and, parenthetically, “Should the A.R.R.L. be saved?”

Let me answer both questions emphatically in one all-caps word: ABSOLUTELY!"
This last word,your answer, in capital letters, I would have placed on the very top! ABSOLUTELY!
So, if you don't mind, make a change to your article's title, word it as to not to give impression that's being lost already!ARRL is a huge asset to our hobby, to us, and to others as well! Does it need to be improved - YES, as everything else!But don't scrap it already!Now, despite this crisis with ARRL, I just might use occasion to say Thank you, to Dave, K1ZZ, for his great contribution and service,to ARRL, to this hobby, here and abroad! I've had some disagreements with his handling of issues in regard of status of ham radio in Bosnia, ever since unfortunate war, actually to be precise - aggression over Bosnia, occurred back in 1992, which unfortunately has claimed many lives, among those, numbers of amateur radio operators,who have stayed devoted to their hobby, even in their last moments of their lives! Here, I would just mention two brothers, young guys, or I should say, teenage boys at the time, Senad and Sead Dautbasic, who have given their young lives, their last moments, staying on the air, using their amateur radio and reporting from Srebrenica, when Srebrenica was falling on July 11,1995, being wiped off of the face of earth, by Serbian forces,despite being declared as U.N. Safe Zone,by U.N. and all major powers, including U.S., from neighboring Serbia and domestic, bosnian-serb forces, lead by their war criminal leaders, (killed more than 8,000 people within few days, mass executions of prisoners),what was very well documented thru War Criminal Tribunal in Hague (Netherlands). So, beside all of this, I believe, it's very unfortunate, or exaggerating, to even consider talking about shutting down something as A.R.R.L.
Also, this crisis show's what a great service, at the time in office as a secretary, Dave have given to this society!
73, Joe AB9H
KK5R 2018-05-06
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
This should be required reading for ALL of the ARRL board members. There are no punches pulled and little left out of consideration, in my opinion. And as for some $400,000 study, recommendation, website — why not just pay someone to implement the suggestions we see here? And maybe hire someone with the insight of N4KC to “tutor” the ARRL board members? If he or someone like him were paid the $400K, I suspect that the results would be well worth the investment and, overall, a savings for the ARRL and her membership.

This has been going on for a long, long time. Wayne Greene gained from keeping this subject on the burner and if the considerations posed by N4KC were taken to heart, hams across America would also gain from it, especially members of the ARRL. But, will this happen? Will the mindset of the ARRL “powers that be” relent and go this way? I doubt it unless enough hams/ARRL members put on the heat and leave the decision-makers at the ARRL with little choice but to listen and respond.

Some ARRL bylaws have to be changed, more openness must be practiced, or the ARRL membership will predictably keep this topic alive until proper changes are made.
VE3WGO 2018-05-03
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
"No it has outlived it's Usefulnes "

Haven't we all?
AE4TA 2018-05-01
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The only thing I use them for is LOTW. I would be willing to pay a little to support that service.
KC8YXA 2018-04-30
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
No it has outlived it's
KC8YXA 2018-04-30
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
No it has outlived it's
W8LV 2018-04-29
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
SWMAN, I'm afraid it's all True about the ARRL.

Your only recourse is to wrap your home in grounded
Aluminium foil. Bonus Points if you already have Aluminium Siding, because then you only need the foil to cover the windows and roof.

OR you can join us...

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill.

SWMAN 2018-04-29
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
LV Bill has some strange and weird ideas. Hopefully he is just kidding.
W8LV 2018-04-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
For those dissing it: You just might want to take a look at the Technician Enhancement again.

Via a chart showing the proposal, it looks more reasonable than it does as a written statement.
It allows a Common area, where all three of the Defacto classes are. So that Technicians, Generals, and Extras have this common area if respective common modes. It just makes it easier to... Well... Communicate! It helps to undo a lot of the damage that Incentive Licencing has done over many decades. This is more akin to UK licencing, for one example. And the ARRL? 100% RIGHT on this one.

That's Just How It Is. It's in the best interest of all of us.

Please don't reply with a Nastygram about how only "your" General or Extra should allow you to do this,
because you are more of an "Expert". You took a Multiple Guess Test. And then a few more.
So did I. And the GROL. And the GMDSS. With the Radar Endorsement... Whoopie, Whoopie, Whoopie Do!
Anybody can study these question pools for a bit and eventually pass them.

Do we learn something along the way while studying those question pools? Sure! But at the end if the day, all that it means is that we passed a test based on a question pool. No Less... But No More!

Can you go MUCH more into learning Radio and Electronics as a Self Study? Of Course! I've been at it for oh about Half a Century now!

Back to the ARRL: I've decided to break confidentiality just before the Dayton Hamvention. I know that I might be found someday (soon) in a Corn Field in Green County, but sometimes you just have to be the one to do The Right Thing. Even if you are an ARRL Card Carrying Made Man Good Fella Wannabe Fan Boy, you just have those Whimsical Days when you wonder if Joining The ARRL was the right thing to do in your life...

So here it is:

Everything on this Planet is controlled by the ARRL.


And here is how it all came to be:

Governments traded their Sovereignty to the Maxim Clan years ago, for the use of the Machine Gun and the Silencer. The Players are the ones who have been Initiated into the ARRL Organization via the Woulff Hong Ceremony. HAARP is directly linked to a Brick Shack near Hartford, and hence even the Weather is secretly controlled by the ARRL. They have also not only infiltrated the IARU, the FCC, AND the ITU, they were there controlling things from the very start! Crop Failures are the resultant Carrot and Stick that keeps Governments in line. They also wreak havoc with
World Fuel prices by controlling the demand for fuel.

For just TWO Examples, this COLD Winteresque Spring, and fuel oil prices going up... A Coincidence? I think not! ARRL Monkey Business, for Sure!

It gets Worse: At a Moment's Notice, EVERY communications link AND device can be shut down INSTANTLY by the ARRL. Even ATC links. AND SiriusXM Radio. And you thought IHearts problems were purely Financial? Well, guess again!

And it gets MUCH Worse:
The ARRL is controlling the F layer with HAARP.
And the Sunspots.

Did you really think that those Satellites were merely OBSERVING the Sun, particularly that Cettain Pesky One which is located BEHIND the Sun? Did it ever occur to you that a Satellite operating BEHIND the Sun just MIGHT be a really good place to put a satellite so that it's well hidden out of plain site, where it can do all sorts of Shenanigans to Mr. Sun AND the Weather?

Now you know.

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

W4IEN 2018-04-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I think the ARRL is serving a different ham community than it was in the past. I really like CW, not real good at it, but the young hams usually do not. Also expanding the Technician class into what used to be for the Generals and Extras personally I do not agree with. This is for the "everybody gets a trophy" group.

I am old and really do not like change but in my opinion, the ARRL does not represent all amateurs. I for one will not renew my membership...but that is just me. I will get off my old soapbox now.
WO8USA 2018-04-28
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Ed, Yes, thanks, I missed those even though I have many! Let's hope it does not come to that. 73!
VE3WGO 2018-04-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Chris, I would add to your list of what if ARRL were to somehow go bankrupt:

- No publications (Handbook, Antenna book, Operating manual....)
- Missing contests (Field day, Sprints, ....)

73, Ed
WO8USA 2018-04-27
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
So what would our ham radio hobby be without the ARRL?

Think about that honestly, the Americans with no national amateur radio organization. Let's say ARRL goes bankrupt. Likely no effect on sunspots, but likely a huge effect on international ham radio.
-No web site
-No LoTW
-No Bureau
-No champion to protect US ham rights (spectrum, HOAs)

I really don't see anyone out there filling the gap. When CQ collapses, asit will, ARRL will likely catch it to preserve the oldest Awards Program in radio.....look at CQ, that could be what happens to ARRL. Is that good?

We are not a huge commercial market. Does the market collapse without a central rallying point for the hobby? Right now I only have two local dealers within an hour's radius. I am probably lucky. And Hamvention is in my backyard; VERY lucky.

I may not agree with everything they do, nor all the articles, but for the most part I am happy with and happy to have and support ARRL. Without them, I see nothing good happening. If you don't like the organization, vote for new leaders or become a leader not a sideline complainer and quarterback. You don't have t be the CEO to make a difference. Join ARRL, vote and be active at some point to make a difference.

Chris WO8USA

(BTW--I am not a big ARRL web site/LOTW fan, and am pretty much an independent ham without an ARRL mug and no field day T-shirt. And I don't like how they screwed up the buro.)

VE3WGO 2018-04-26
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL is just like any other club, be it local, regional, or national... there are those who agree with it and those who don't.

But to all those who don't like the ARRL's approach, or who disagree with its priorities, just find some other club.

oh wait, there IS no other national club. Because it's is a ton of work to run a club, keep it out of the red financially, and please as many members as possible. So these types of national ham radio organizations are usually just one or occasionally two in number, in any given country around the world.

And kudos to your ARRL which is world class and as we can plainly see, with very few peers of similar stature worldwide. It is also recognized for this by the FCC. The radio publications these days from ARRL and RSGB are unsurpassed in quality, breadth, and technical content by anyone else worldwide.

Americans have been blessed with this national organization that is second to none. Look past the petty politics. I think you should use it and offer to help it wherever possible.

73, Ed
W4FJT 2018-04-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
It's only the cost of a magazine subscription, it has a great VEC organization, and most of the QST articles are written by hams that are not into politics at all, they're just out there supporting the hobby and sharing information. The ARRL has a well equipped testing lab and the reviews section in QST is second to none.

QST is available digitally, in fact you can access it that way about a week before your printed copy comes in the mail. You can opt out of the printed copy if you want.

Like any magazine, it depends on the ads to pay a part of the bill. So it doubles as a monthly ham radio catalog (Even the HRO catalog is full of ads nowadays- probably the only way they can continue to publish it). And God bless the manufacturers and all the vendors that are out there supporting the magazines, the hobby, and the hamfests. It would be nice to see the Chinese take part in that.

I don't read about or care about the politics, and there is only one page or two each issue that deals with that. I was also a subscriber to CQ but when that went by the wayside I let that lapse. I am also a member of RAC and that provides another magazine every other month.

SWMAN 2018-04-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yah Don, I know exactly what you mean. I have one more thing to add. If the ARRL can not solve world peace by June of this year, I'm out of here also. 73. Jim. W5JJG
N4KC 2018-04-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


Thank you for your well-researched and impeccably-reasoned input. Not only is the ARRL a dismal failure for preventing the proliferation of homeowner associations and deed covenants, but they also dropped the ball by allowing the song "Disco Duck" to make top ten on the record charts, by looking the other way when the TV show "Dallas" made one whole season go away by retroactively calling it a bad dream, and for not already finding a cure for the heartbreak of psoriasis.

If the ARRL does not cure cancer and dis-arm North Korea's nuclear arsenal by next week, I'm canceling my membership!


Don N4KC

W5TTW 2018-04-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The only people that the ARRL represents are themselves. They are nothing more than a magazine publishing company. If they had any real influence, we wouldn't have to hide our antennas.
K7AA 2018-04-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
This is a well thought out article. Many organizations share these same problems. What form should the ARRL should take? I don't know, but the issues raised in this article is a great place to start. (K7AA)
K3ZD 2018-04-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Hams have been complaining about the ARRL and everything else since I got licensed in 1965. Too many do nothing but complain. Now they complain that digital modes aren't ham radio. Nothing has changed.
N9LCD 2018-04-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Times have changed; the ARRL hasn't.

Radio is NO LONGER a rich man's pasttime like it was when Maxim founded the League.It's now a pasttime open to anybody who can pass the FCC licensing exams.

It's time to open the League to "... government by hams, for hams and of hams..." or the League will die.


PS: If you grandfather or great grandfather was cut down my a kraut machine gun during the War to End All Wars", blame it on Hiram Percy Maxim. He'd do or sell anything to make a filthy buck, including selling the Maxim gun, or his -- well you know -- to any who had the gold!
NO6L 2018-04-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
This is going to send a certain small, but big sounding group because of their obnoxious screaming, into a total psychological detonation. I don't, nor will I ever care. So here goes, re-write the ARRL charter so that it mimics, to the letter, another civic advocacy group that is almost 50 years older than the ARRL. No matter how hard their enemies try, they just get stronger every day. Just download the charter and policies of the NRA and change all applicable text to Amateur Radio and ARRL. Maybe even ask for so advice from them. There you go, pre-written 100% success.
KB6QXM 2018-04-20
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
ARRL snowflake alert

Say one bad thing about the sacred cow ARRL and you get the same old talking points. The pro-ARRL crowd says that if it wasn't for the ARRL, we would loose spectrum to commercial interests. This may be true for 2 meters and above. No one wants HF. Not even Shortwave broadcasters except for transmitters that are focused toward 3rd world countries. The 1st and 2nd world countries have moved on to other forms of communications.

Internet-based communications has completely made Shortwave obsolete. I am an old SWL and I miss the days of SWL during the cold war.

I would hope that we would gain spectrum now that Shortwave broadcasters are leaving the air. I would like to see such new spectrum such as the WARC bands were contests are banned.

To all of the Pro ARRL hams, keep your talking points. Many of the talking points are not based in fact.

Name me 10 top things that the ARRL has documented that they have done to improve the hobby in the last 10 years.

As a matter of fact, I will make it easier. Name 5.
Based on hard fact data, not conjecture.

I love the hobby, just like the next amateur radio operator, but there are many things that have happened to the hobby in the last few decades that I have stated in my posts.

Again, like everyone I am entitled to my opinion of the ARRL and the direction of the hobby even though it may not be in alignment with your opinion.

W6OP 2018-04-20
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
As I read all the negative comments I have not seen very many offer any constructive ideas. The primary suggestions seem to be:

1. The ARRL should cease to exist because a bunch of people who do not belong to it don't like it.

2. We should rescind all amateur licenses except those who took the test many years ago when it was much more technical and had the high CW speed requirement.

3. Any current hams that had their license taken away would be able to get it back if they passed the old tests.

4. No new hams would be allowed unless they passed the Extra class test. After all we only want to grow the hobby if you can't build circuits yourself and pass a stringent test. That should limit growth to just a few new hams each year. Of course the VE examiners would disappear along with the ARRL but I am sure the FCC would step right up and spend the money to create a bunch of testing centers, really?

5. When commercial interests want to take spectrum away from ham radio we as individuals will just go to the FCC and they will surely see the needs of one or two hams are much more important than the commercial interests. Of course we will never know that was going to happen unless we all keep track of whats happening at the FCC ourselves.

Maybe some of you non member complainers could add to this list. I would like to hear your suggestions.

Pete W6OP
N4KC 2018-04-20
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


Thank you for your comments. You make it easy to respond. You are wrong on just about everything you say. So is K8BYP in the totally illogical post just before yours, by the way.

(Wait, let me exclude being against that part about the "ARRL pundant." Since I don't know what an "ARRL pundant" is, I can't be for or against it.)

I know you are being sarcastic when you say the ARRL intends to try to do away with licensing altogether. But sarcasm only works when there is an element of truth contained therein.

I would hope K8BYP is employing sarcasm when he says the League is all about profits, but I suspect he is totally serious. Which is frighteningly clueless.

Explain to me what is wrong with the ARRL doing a direct mail piece to new hams inviting them to become a member? Would you prefer they ignore new licensees? As an organization devoted to growing the hobby--right there in their articles of incorporation--it would seem to be a dereliction of their charter to not reach out to newcomers.

I won't dispute occasional arrogance up there, but the League cannot be truthfully accused of doing nothing to grow the hobby. But you wouldn't know. As a proud non-member since...well...never, how would you know what they do or don't do? I assume you have not bothered to pick up a copy of QST at a newsstand or have pointedly avoided visiting the League's web site, so how would you know?

Maybe if you did, and just took a glance at all the activities and outreach in which the League is involved, you might temper such broad brush strokes of blatant ignorance.


Don N4KC

KB6QXM 2018-04-20
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Don't worry, the burden will not be on the FCC anymore, as the next proposal from the ARRL that I believe will occur is to make amateur radio license free.

The writing is on the wall and a slow march toward that end goal. Lower the license standards to get the US amateur numbers up in hopes that they can increase their membership. My YL recently got her license and the ink was not dry on her license before she got a letter in the mail asking for her to join the ARRL.

We need to drain the ARRL swamp. A floundering arrogant organization that states that they listen to their "membership" Operative word(membership), not the amateur radio population as a whole.

I would like to see documented items of what they have actually done to grow amateur radio and advance the hobby. No not some ARRL pundant, but actual FACTS.

We can all agree that there are problems with the hobby. I would like to see actual FACTS of what the organization has actually done other than push the lowering of the license standards, pass out awards, push contests with no guard rails of decorum to non-contest amateurs.

Now they want to give away more spectrum to technicians that did nothing to earn that extra spectrum.

I say just have the ARRL be a publishing non-profit and forget trying to mold the hobby in their image of what the hobby should be.

Full disclosure: I have never been and will never be an ARRL member.
K8BYP 2018-04-19
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Not no but ____ no

ARRL is now a front for control freaks that want to play Amateur Government Regulator and people that are (at leat trying to) line the pockets of ICOMKENWEEDYAESU.

ARRL had a purpose in the day, when mass communication was not available.

That era no longer exists. We can communicate directly with FCC and do. Especially to rank on ARRL for what they are up to.

Thanks to ARRL, the Amateur testing process HAS been destroyed, they have created an environment FOR PROFIT (and yes, I know they are technically a non profit) to con as many people as possible, hundreds of THOUSANDS literally, to pay them $15 a head to take tests.

And these new LICENSEES (they are NOT qualified operators) know nothing, as they are not forced to LEARN anything to get a license. And it is not human nature to go to the troubl to do so afterwards.

At the end of the day, this for profit lark costs FCC a LOT of money if only in computer services.
KB3FFH 2018-04-18
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
How about giving a financial statement twice a year to members.
KB6QXM 2018-04-18
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

No politics in the ARRL. Look where they are located.

With the new leader of the ARRL, his comment was to address the concerns of the members.

What would have made me more comfortable is that he would of said is that he was going to address the concerns of the amateur community, not just members of the ARRL.

The beat goes on.

W4GLM 2018-04-17
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
There should be no Politics in ANY Fraternal Organizations like the ARRL. However that is simply not the case. I personally divorced the ARRL some years ago and have never looked back. C U ARRL...........
VE3WGO 2018-04-15
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I picked up a stack of very old battered QST magazines at a recent hamfest. Some of them were from the early 1930s, around 1933 or so.

When I flipped through them and read bits from the editorials it was eye-opening and humorous. The main worries then were about how Ham Radio was going down the drain with bad operators, the number of hams was not growing very quickly, it was getting difficult to attract new hams, many hams were not interested in building their own equipment anymore, etc. This was in 1933! How did Ham Radio ever survive?

Fast forward 85 years, and the worries are the same!

So maybe ham radio enthusiasts by definition, are just paranoid about their hobby. Always were, maybe always will be.
KB6QXM 2018-04-13
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

I couldn't have said it better myself. My feelings and observations exactly! Bravo!

K6CRC 2018-04-13
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
KC2QYM sez:
'This open ended question leads many down the primrose path of self analysis about a subject that is no longer relevant.'
Many good points in your post. ARRL defending essentially useless spectrum, etc.
I will disagree with one point. Having studied to be a Novice in the late 60s/early 70s, decorum was hardly what I saw. I did meet a FEW hams as you described. Civil and willing to elmer. Most, however, were no better than the 'average' ham you describe at hamfests. But, they did dress slightly better.
They talked down to young people wanting to join the hobby. 'Get a haircut' was their constant advice. We had a nice set tup at our high school, but the teacher, who was a ham, refused to stay after school to help us get our tickets, as he wouldn't get paid. Most of us just gave up on the hobby.
Every hobby has good and bad people. I just do not think todays older hams are better or worse than the older hams I met when young. The do tend to be significantly larger now...
KC2QYM 2018-04-13
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
This open ended question leads many down the primrose path of self analysis about a subject that is no longer relevant. Let's start with today's hams who represent a cross section of society in general. If you are old enough to remember when amateur radio operators were gentlemen; attending radio club meetings in suits and ties. Using proper decorum on the air, elmering newcomers, etc. If not old enough and new to the hobby get your hands on any copy of QST from the 50s or 60s and read the articles and look at the pictures of what hams used to look like. How they used to write and the depth of their fraternity. This level of 'class' has been diminishing in society over the last 30 or so years.

What is the biggest thing you notice at hamfests these days. A noticeable percentage of hams are bums or at least they dress and smell like bums. I am not saying that they shouldn't be in comfortable attire but there are those that exhibit no self respect when they attend such events. Now I'm not blaming the ARRL for this. The ARRL is only as good as the leadership that runs it. They are a business with salaries to pay, expenses, etc.

In my opinion the ARRL's only salvation is to retreat from the license and spectrum issues they champion and revert back to their basic function; a publisher of reference books and a magazine. They have overextended their role into so many diverse causes and for the most part only small special interest groups pay attention. Case in point: Who among the 750,000 hams gives a hoot about 6 or 7 Khz below the broadcast band. How much membership dollars did the ARRL spend on that folly?

How about the Holy Crusade for HOA antenna restrictions? Give me a break, how many hams need to operate as emergency stations from their HOA apartments? Look at the funds the ARRL is dropping in lobbying all over Washington boondoggling congressmen and senators to support the 'necessity' to allow hams living in HOAs to erect antennas...especially when all they really want to do is blah blah blah with their buddies. Want to put up an antenna; don't move to an HOA. Why should your neighbor be forced to see wires and the like dangling outside their windows or be subject to additional RF.

I was a member of the ARRL and own a number of their many fine reference books but once I became more familiar with many of their IMO dumb activities I realized I didn't have to support them. I laud the historic ARRL and the pioneering activities they pursued to develop ham radio in the past. I firmly believe that if the ARRL faded away, most ham radio operators wouldn't miss it at all. There would still be unruly characters polluting the bands and flouting part 97. Tests would still be administered; if not by the ARRL VECs, certainly by the FCC and maybe that would be a good thing.

Ham radio is the fulfillment of a hobby interest in radio technology. Today the common man without much technical knowledge can become a ham radio operator. Although this may have been an achievement in the past, it's just become a higher form of CB today. Why deny this is happening and let the ARRL fade away.
N4KC 2018-04-13
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


Could you give us one example...just which someone has given the ARRL money in exchange for a rule "being relaxed?"

Just one.


Don N4KC

KD8MJR 2018-04-13
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I really could not read all of this but my 2 cents is that having a major organization representing you is certainly better than having none.

The ARRL is suffering from the same problem that plagues much of the USA! Too much freedom! Now everyone, even the brainless can get up on a soap box and have their opinion heard by thousands. It's really easy to rally the Mob when all it requires is a Twitter account.

It use to be that in order to be taken seriously you had to earn the privilege. Good old Walt was the best example of that. So now the ARRL must navigate the choppy waters of democracy gone wild and so far they have been pretty dismal at it, bending in the wind each time someone with money wants a rule relaxed the ARRL is there with hands wide open, at this rate in a couple of years I expect to see Satellite phone calls to be counted towards DXCC.

Anyway in the end it all goes back to my first paragraph so lets see if they can fix what is broken.

WA2LXB 2018-04-13
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I am a new member of the ARRL. I had to join so I could be the ARES EC for my county. I hadn't planned on joining for many of the reasons outlined in the article.

As a new member, what I want out of the ARRL is pretty simple:

1. Advocacy. The ARRL is supposed to advocate for all Hams, whether or not all Hams are ARRL members.
I want the ARRL to advocate for the average Ham when representing us at the FCC, without any perceived or actual favoritism towards any special interest groups, Ham or otherwise. If the ARRL isn't sure what the "average Ham" wants, then open up a poll on Survey Monkey, with an active call sign required to take the survey, and find out.

2. Transparency. If the ARRL isn't transparent in everything they do, then the worst will be assumed by many Hams. Meetings should be open to licensed Hams and live streamed and meeting minutes identifying who said what and who voted for and against issues documented. The ARRL and all of its elected members should be very careful not to give the impression that special interest groups are lobbying the ARRL with money or influence to sway the FCC to make rulings against the best interest of the majority of Hams. Again, if the ARRL isn't sure where we stand, take regular polls from licensed Hams (ONLY) and make the results transparent.

3. Technology Transfer. Continue to offer some of the best technical books and license training manuals in the world.

4. Elmering. What more can be said...helping other Hams is the essence of the hobby and, IMO, is the good will that ties us all together.

5. Contesting. Contesting builds raw communication skills faster than any other activity that I know of, and these skills parlay into many different activities, including public service events, MARS, RACES and ARES.

6. EMCOMM. I think that I'm going to get more support from my fellow sister county ECs than from the ARRL. I'm just getting my toes wet, time will tell.

K1LI 2018-04-12
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Saved from what? Owing to the support of its 170,000 members (2016), the League is in excellent financial condition and, to my mind, has made great strides in the past decade and continues to improve. To all of the League's critics, I ask, "What are you willing to do to protect and grow our hobby?" I am saddened and embarrassed by the outpouring of ill will that is heaped upon the ARRL.

All organizations comprise human beings and are therefore imperfect, more in the eyes of one beholder than another. Organizations, like the people that comprise them, go through cycles, some of which reflect larger social trends. The League's century of survival demonstrates that they remain vital and relevant in the face of accelerating technical and societal changes.

In our "pay to play" democracy, we need to consolidate our voices to be heard above the competing interests that would drown us out and grab the spectrum we enjoy. Ever thus has it been: ever read "200 Meters and Down?" Who among the League's critics is willing to step in and pay for interference analyses, legal fees and lobbying costs to keep our interests in front of national decision makers? We're never more than one new technology away from being overrun by BPL, plasma TVs, radiating modems, diathermy machines, power lines, solar controllers or any of a whole host of consumer, commercial and industrial devices.

Have you ever read an FCC petition drafted by the ARRL? I've only read a half dozen, but they are master works of historical and technical facts which lead to requests for action that will materially benefit all hams. These documents reflect institutional knowledge which I don't believe resides anywhere else.

The editorial staff has done a tremendous job improving the quality of the publications, both periodical and book formats. When you consider the totality of a column like "Hands on Radio," you will see that the League is delivering the equivalent of a basic electrical engineering education. Where can you get that for $50 a year? And I am stunned by the recent improvements to QST: more essential information, better organized and presented for amateurs' consumption.

Even the vastness of the "Handbook" has undergone wholesale transformation for the better. Sure, you can find the length of a half-wave dipole on dozens of web sites, but the Handbook aids our understanding by taking us down the intellectual roads followed by those who conceived of radio. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, "If we see further, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants."

My hat is off to the ARRL.
G3RZP 2018-04-12
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
When you look at the percentage of US amateurs who are members, there is one difficulty with drawing a simple answer. How many of the owners of those calls are alive, how many have dropped out of amateur radio, either permanently or temporarily, how many are still interested but not active, how many wouldn't join ARRL out of principle because somebody connected with the League upset them once, and then how many are just people who never join anything that they aren't forced into?

More to the point is the percentage of active amateurs who aren't members and why they aren't.
N4KC 2018-04-11
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Exactly, Tony. In other words, nobody should be guessing on something as important as what might best attract and convert potential hams to the path of righteousness.

It's even possible the League is doing everything they can do and we are actually attracting more than our fair share of newcomers. I can't tell you how many research projects I've seen in radio broadcasting that confirmed the station was doing exactly what it needed to do on the air. Except for getting proper credit with Arbitron/Nielsen for the listeners they already had. Or how many station owners ignored or misinterpreted data, thus burning money for no results.

But my rather sizable gut tells me that in this day and age, with media saturation and instant communication, with all-questions-answered immediately by Alexa or Siri, with perception being reality, ARRL needs to do more than ask just us members what course to take.


Don N4KC

W9MT 2018-04-11
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
In these latest exchanges, I am reminded of that old cartoon of the swing on the tree in multiple configurations (as spec'ed, as designed, as installed, what marketing wanted, etc.), when all the customer wanted was the worn out tire held onto a branch by a single rope.

A key point to success in product development, or in website utility in this case, is to get the requirements right, design the website the best you can, but then beta-test it with a valid cross-section of target users. Multiple sites or section themes mandate different user sets.

One goes from the logic and finance driven world of implementing the website to the emotional world of "wowwing the users" through the "use experience". THAT is what puts the "sizzle in the steak" and gets new people excited and enthusiastic. But "Wow" factor is hard to measure. You either "have it" or "you don't". It's what finance and accounting folks call an "intangible". It can't be ignored, however. It is the key to success or failure.

We can't lose sight of this, or all the effort and money will be summarily flushed down the toilet.

Tony (W9MT)
W6OP 2018-04-10
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Actually I agree with all your points on the web site Don. I was trying to address some of the comments some others had added about how easy it should be to create a web site. Having worked at an enterprise level for most of my career I often had to teach new developers how to see the big picture and not underestimate the effort required.

I am really not knowledgeable about the contract the ARRL has but we would sometimes survey existing sites to determine what effort would be necessary to upgrade them. If the customer was comfortable with our study we would often get the job so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Pete W6OP

N4KC 2018-04-10
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


Maybe I did not make my point clear enough on the web site part of my article. I do not dispute that a site with the elements of can take a lot of work, planning and money to properly construct. My thought was that you don't hire somebody to do a research study who would then look at their own results, decide to recommend a new site and then suggest that they be the ones to build it.

Research is research and interpretation of results. Website building is website building. They are two entirely different disciplines.

I wanted to express three opinions:

1) The current site is a mess from a user's standpoint. Research may (or may not) confirm my belief that a newcomer would be put off by the current interface.

2) There should be at least one site dedicated completely to attracting and informing would-be hams, and that site should be search-engine optimized for those looking for info on getting started...not the one now that has to handle much, much more.

3) That getting-started site should reflect what the League would learn in a proper research project based on input from a statistical valid sample of those people who have some curiosity about the hobby but have so far not acted, those who got a license and never got on the air, those who got on the air but did not stick, and those who were active for years but eventually dropped out.

Incidentally, the Logbook of the World site was not part of what I would consider to be a re-do of the current site. Using mostly volunteers, they've come a long, long way with that project.

Thanks for the comments.


Don N4KC

W6OP 2018-04-10
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I am not going to address the issues brought up about the ARRL but I would like to provide some information on building commercial web sites.

As a recently retired enterprise developer, front end and back end (full stack) I can say there is a lot more to building a web site than some good looking pages. For a web site the size and scope of the ARRL's we would have asked $400K or more.

Yes any talented kid can make a nice looking web site in an afternoon and the ARRL site could really use a facelift. Now add the multiple databases that can scale to the number of peak simultaneous users. Add in the security protocols necessary for an ecommerce site and the shopping cart, etc.

Don't forget all the programming necessary to determine award eligibility, keep track of QSOs and QSLs. We are talking hundreds of hours of programming effort. Also, backup strategy and implementation.

Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure would make good cloud solutions but it still takes hundreds of hours (and a lot of money) to move to the cloud.

If you think it is easy maybe you should offer your services instead of complaining. When I was working I did not have the time to take on other projects. I retired so I could move on to other things and have no interest in continuing the same work only as a volunteer instead of being paid. But I don't complain about things unless I am willing to help fix them.

Pete W6OP
SWMAN 2018-04-09
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Just rejoined last Tuesday and got my free book already today. Grounding and Bonding. Great book and written in a way that even I can understand it. Basic good info. A book that everyone should read. 73. Jim W5JJG
WA3CCI 2018-04-09
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

"Frankly, I don't have the time or inclination to lead such a charge, but you can be assured I will continue to talk with my director and other League officials. And there are League staffers who are hired and compensated to do this very sort of thing."

Wishing you good luck,Don. "E PLURIBUS UNUM"

N0DZQ 2018-04-09
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Can, or should it be saved? I can not really answer that question anymore.

Consider the league has yet to embrace the young and the young at heart. The old fart mentality of contests, code, hf privileges, continually elevating Percy Maxim to a godlike staus, is what is ultimately going to decide that. Digital is where it is at folks. Like it or not we must embrace it. We can either go as a participant or be left behind in the dust.

The tinkerers of today want to interface electronics with communications and need bandwidth. And ya ain’t going to get that unless you go up in frequency. Maybe this is part of the reason why some of the masses don’t care to upgrade. Just look at the cult following of hackers playing with cheap DMR radios. We need to be gearing the league towards this and maybe memberships will increase. And We do need Elmers: however...

You tell me what kid wants to listen to a fossel talk about anything (maybe that’s why the grandkids don’t listen half the time). I can remember back to my childhood and I sure as hell didn’t! This is where it becomes hard as we old goats are the only ones with the free time. We need to get younger individuals to go forth with their magical gagets into the schools and dazzle the youth. One needs to stimulate interest not bore them to death with what they consider is prehistoric crap.

Just food for thought...

(And I do keep my ARRL membership current in hopes something good will eventually happen.)

N4KC 2018-04-09
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


"I gave up on ARRL decades ago."

Too bad. They've done many remarkable and wonderful things without your support or input, though.

"Ham radio is now CB."

Ham radio is not nor ever will be CB. CB is not even CB anymore. If you honestly believe that, may I suggest you turn on a receiver sometime and actually listen to the bands? Yes, there are some low-lifes with amps and mics out there. But they are a tiny sliver of an otherwise stellar group of folks.

"I have a life membership but refuse QST."

Your loss. It is impossible for any publication to meet the needs of a hobby as diverse as ours. But if you bothered to read it, you could at least make suggestions on how they could make it better. Or even write an article or two yourself.

"ARRL is an organization that has outlived it's usefulness and will continue forever in it's altered state."

Altered state? Not sure what you mean there. But anyone who is an unbiased observer--love or hate the League--would have to disagree it has outlived its usefulness. We need it more than ever now. And if they do come up with the right formula to make the hobby--and the League--grow even faster, they will be absolutely essential in more ways than we could count.

I hate overused cliches like the plague but you and some other folks who have commented here are certainly quick to throw out the baby with the bath water!


Don N4KC

WB2GIN 2018-04-08
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I gave up on ARRL decades ago. Ham radio is now CB.
I have a life membership but refuse QST.
ARRL is an organization that has outlived it's usefulness and will continue forever in it's altered state
N4KC 2018-04-08
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

The kind of research project I'm proposing is not even remotely illegal or unethical. Such research is absolutely necessary in setting a workable and measurable plan for any kind of business, charity, organization or other entity. Campbell's would not introduce a new flavor of soup without first testing it with its potential buyers.

It is absolutely essential that such a study include a statistically valid sample of all the people we would want to reach with that plan. For those who haven't noticed, 60-year-old white men are an important component of that group but represents only a small percentage.

I want to know why more young people, other ethnic groups and females have not yet heard what a great hobby this is. Or if they have heard it 5-by-9 but still don't see a reason to join us, then why?

Any resulting plan should absolutely address all constituencies. And I want to evangelize about ham radio to EVERYBODY who might have an interest in our hobby. That is, if they only knew what it was and what it has to offer them.


Don N4KC

(PS: W4KVU: I am glad we are so amusing to you. Your comments in this thread have been quite entertaining for me as well. In a sort of Gracie Allen/Junior Samples/Jim Carrey/Adam Sandler kind of way.)

VE3WGO 2018-04-08
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
As many commenters said here already, it is hard if not impossible for a single organization to represent a widely diverse hobby such as ham radio.

True enough, but then all of the different subcategories of the ham radio hobby do have one thing in common... that is, they are forms of licensed wireless operation. This is a very clear distinction from any other hobby (okay, except perhaps CB). So perhaps it is not so impossible after all, since ham radio in the grand scheme of things is actually narrowly defined.

ARRL then should keep broadly focused on wireless communications, without lopsided focus on any mode over another. And if you observe, you do see how uneven the focus often is in the Handbook, in QST, and in publications in general. It's mainly on HF and some VHF FM. How is that different from 1980?

As N4KC said in his discussion of how to improve the organization: "Ask people what they want. Give them what they want. Tell them you are giving them what they want." Improving ARRL's attractiveness in the future likely depends on its response to what modern communications modes are evolving toward. So many "makers" and wireless engineers and students today are increasingly focused on new modes and frequencies in the range of 500 MHz to 5 GHz and often much higher. That's where the technology is booming and where education if focusing. If you want to attract these people, start promoting that area and include it as a focus for ARRL policy and publications.

(But "Attempt to contact and gather input from a representative sample of respondents, including age, ethnicity, other interests, educational background..." No, can't do that. Any suspicion of targeting could be a turnoff to prospective new members... might even be illegal in some places.)

On top of changes in ARRL policy, it would be attractive to members and potential members alike to know how their money gets spent. Oh no, I don't mean the financially-correct but otherwise cryptic ARRL Annual Report. I mean break down your $49 annual membership fee into a pie chart that shows where each dollar of the money goes, and *especially* how it gets put to work for the member who paid it. That's what your financial advisor does with your retirement savings plan, and it is what every hobby or other organization who asks you for money should do.

Joining any organization, including ARRL or your local club might be a nostalgic or emotional decision for some, but for many it is also a financial decision.

73, Ed
W9MT 2018-04-07
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Thanks for you comments and kind words.

I'm freshly retired (about a month and half into it), and haven't forgotten the tools I used during my job.

If ARRL needs input, I'm ready. If they want me to crunch data for trends and likely outcomes, I'm ready to do that, too.

Let's hope the "sowed seed of this dialogue has fallen on fertile ground" and that it will bear the necessary and desired fruit.

All the best...
Tony (W9MT)
W4KVU 2018-04-07
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
SWMAN 2018-04-06
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Oh, here is the number if you want it.
888 277 5289. A nice lady always answers the phone.
SWMAN 2018-04-05
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Just pick up the phone and call them, they always answer.
WX4O 2018-04-05
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Here we go again.
JRMEIER 2018-04-05
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I sent two emails to them inquiring about membership.
The never replied. I guess they really don't need members.
If they go away I won't miss them.
SWMAN 2018-04-04
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I forgot to mention. Your 49 dollar fee always includes a free ARRL book. This year the book is called Grounding and Bonding. A really good book for all of us to read and its free. Costs 21.95 if you order it but free when you sign up for another year with the ARRL.
K9FV 2018-04-03
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
For the most part, good discussion. Thanks for starting the post. From the writer's guide for payment:
Payment will be made for QST articles and Hints and Kinks items. Payment for articles will
be at the rate of $65 per published page, or part thereof, including photographs, drawings and other
related material.

For QEX the rate is $50 per page.

Authors of Hints and Kinks items will be
compensated at the rate of $20 per published item
N4KC 2018-04-03
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


Thank you and several others for bringing a bit of sanity and order to this discussion. I knew when I wrote it we would hear from the usual disenchanted folks, the conspiracy theorists, and the anti-League-no-matter-what types. But you precisely strike the content and tone I had hoped for.

Now is a good time to make a great organization a superior one, and you have some good ideas about how it could be done.

Unfortunately, many of the loudest critics won't take the time or trouble to read what you suggest. Some think "six sigma" is a DXpedition to Pakistan. And SWOT is who they call when their brother-in-law gets drunk and barricades himself in the trailer again.

While I totally agree with you on all points, I still believe the first step is a valid research project that asks a statistically valid sample of the right people the right questions and that is then properly interpreted and implemented into a trackable action plan. From there, the League could develop practical ways to attract more of a diverse set of newcomers to the hobby, how to help them delve deeper into what the hobby has to offer so we retain more of them (and learn as much from them as they learn from us old dudes), and how to convince them of the value of a League membership.

Frankly, I don't have the time or inclination to lead such a charge, but you can be assured I will continue to talk with my director and other League officials. And there are League staffers who are hired and compensated to do this very sort of thing.

I'd love to know if ANY of them have visited this long and winding trail. And what they think of it. If so, I invite them to let me know what they think off-line and, if requested, I promise to maintain confidentiality.

Of course, I'd prefer to see some of them jump right into this public forum and offer some comments of their own.

(By the way, for those who get all sweaty because I copyright my contributions to eHam and other web sites: I write professionally and for a living. If I do not note, protect and defend ALL of my writing by copyright, I risk losing ownership of it. Note that I encourage club newsletter editors, bloggers, or anyone else to use any of my articles--many are technical and, I hope, helpful--but to kindly request permission first and include the copyright notice...and my website address, since, as noted, I make my living by writing and selling books.)


Don N4KC

W9MT 2018-04-03
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Ok, Don and all who commented from the original posting on 22 March, thru today, 03 April...

What we now have is the industry equivalent of "brainstorming" of ideas. I have seen everything from very thoughtful comments and observations of ARRL's "strengths" and "shortcomings" to simply emotional outbursts that are "not actionable" toward "building a better ARRL".

In true brainstorming the non-actionable stuff must be weeded out. The thoughtful comments and observations on both ARRL's "strengths" and "weaknesses" now need to be "affinitized" into similar "buckets" to make them actionable. In such a way, a single corrective action can be architected to address several such "like ideas".

(Yeah, I used to do "lean six sigma improvements" as my job before I retired.)

Once the ideas are categorized, they need to be prioritized based on their criticalities. (One such likely critical area is maintaining and even improving ARRL's role in being ham radio's advocate and lobbyist to the US Congress, the FCC, IARU, et cetera. But forgive me for jumping to the solution domain before the data actually leads me there. I'm just giving this as a likely example.)

Another good "cut" at the data's recommendations, ideas, thrusts, improvements...whatever you'd like to call them would be to also do "SWOT Analysis" (Google that term for more details). Let's not just examine and determine improvement recommendations for the ARRL's perceived "Strengths" and "Weaknesses", but also examine their missed "Opportunities" (e.g.: what ARRL could do, or "do more of" that it currently "isn't doing" or "doing enough of") and any "Threats" facing both ARRL (e.g.: insufficient membership and funding) and ham radio itself (e.g.: if there were no ARRL, then who is our loud enough voice? Will we cease to exist beyond our current generation of "old farts"? (myself, a paying League Member, included))

Do all of the above and we'd wind up with a good laundry list of prioritized improvements to vet to the ARRL Board as both concerned League Members or "possible future League Members" who are currently "in the cold" only as "amateur radio operator 'at-large'".

If they listen and act upon such an analysis, they will likely increase their Membership ranks by a lot, as their seemingly stodgy and secretive carapace would shatter with a "beautiful butterfly" taking wing in its place. (Forgive my poetic waxing.) We, in turn, get a "mouthpiece" more in tune with what we see as "wrong" with something we obviously "care enough about" to not simply abandon to irrelevance.

Don, you started this thread, and even copyrighted it, I see. You make a dandy voice to lead the charge for change.

Let's not just let this "call to action" die and be moved from the front page of the eHam site to the archives sections. Please take a cut at building and prioritizing the initial laundry list of improvements to build a better ARRL.

Toss it back on the front page of eHam's website. Let's all who commented work on solidifying a polite "manifesto" of what we'd like to see in a 21st Century, very relevant to the times ARRL. I will be happy to add my own spins and ideas to the SWOT analysis, and crafting of such a document.

Ideas without goals and actions to follow them up are only "pipe dreams"....

We need to achieve at least the action of delivering such a thoughtful document to Newington. Otherwise the football never moves an inch toward the end-zone. That's the only way to "score" any valid, real improvements.

What say, Don? Are you ready to lead the charge? I, for one, am behind you. I feel that the others are, too....
W8LV 2018-04-03
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
We live in different times, and I don't want to beat a horse here (anymore) about why I belong to the ARRL, amd I think you should, too.

Iv'e been thinking about Fraternal Organizations, in general, and making a few observations:

In the small Central Ohio town where I presently live, we have a fairly large building, where two stories above the downtown street level shops, there exists a fairly large space for a Fraternal Organization. Their name isn't important here. They all are similar in scope. They do good works, charity, and have their meetings and get togethers... I'll leave it at that.

These Organizations are and were, in Everytown.
They seem to be dying. I don't think that any of these organizations are at fault for their predictament.

Instead, what we do for entertainment and how we socialize is much, much different today.

I would observe, that these Organizations sprang up in the mid to late Nineteenth Century, and had their peak and heyday to just about the end of the mid Twentieth Century. And Every town had SEVERAL of these groups, all coexisting with no problems amongst them.

So the ARRL came about in this Fraternal Heyday.

Perhaps some of these Fraternal Organizations will thrive again. But based on my observation, that's not likely for all of them. But maybe for some of them...Depends.

They all seem to have started originally offering some sort of Life Insurance/Burial Benefit, and had a Lodge Hierarchy. They had an Orphan's Fund. They raised money and did good works, and served an important function with their meetings and Social Affairs. This was completed by having a central Philosophy, and even Rituals as part of and the celebration of the advancement of their members. This was completed and cemented with State, Regional, National, and even International Conventions.

The ARRL by my reckoning, was born at the peak of this Time Period.

My guess is that if Fraternal Organizations/Lodges are to survive, they will have to change with the times, and offer people what they find to be valuable today, in these times. Many are gone. But some still exist to a large degree.

My thoughts are that the ARRL might be able to study this phenomena, and learn from the successful ones, as to how we can offer what people find valuable today and in the Future, as a path to our making the ARRL a very valuable asset for all of us.

This will, I think, be very important to ensuring our Relevance and Longevity in the Radio and larger Community.

And I still am asking you, all of you, to consider joining us...

Because WITH You, WE ALL can make a BETTER ARRL.
But we can't do it without you...of that I am Certain.

Hamvention is coming soon to Xenia.

It was a Good Venue, despite the Weather.

It will be a BETTER Venue this year.

And Every Year, Thanks to the hard working Folks at DARA!

The ARRL will Of Course have a Substantial Presence,
as they always do at Hamvention... It's the Officially and Unofficially Sanctioned Super Bowl of our Avocation!

I hope that you might consider visiting the ARRL Booth there,and speaking to them.

And Yes, consider joining!
But at least let yourself be heard, and hear them out, too.

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill.

K1LNC 2018-04-02
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Ummm.........yes...but maybe not in it's current iteration. I get QST (life member) digitally. The first round of digitalization was a disaster. Slow, stupid and generally too much work to get through. The second round is better--but not a helluva lot. Why should I have to log in at least twice to see it?
As to content.....had to smile about the antenna comments. When I saw them I had the exact same reaction to the author of this post. Huh? I'm gonna construct a big ugly box and mount it on my car to get--theoretically--a couple of db over a dual band whip? I'm going to hang wires at about a hundred feet--in my back yard? Sure. Does the word "practical" exist when it comes to antennas? I would be interested to know how many hams actually built any of the antennas in that issue.

As far as attracting new members--I take offense at the author's comments about attracting more women, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Don't we want good people regardless of any of those identities?

I have been continuously licensed since 1959 starting with the Novice class. Within about 4 months I sat for the General exam before "old stone face" at 1600 Customs House in Boston. Then the Advanced and then the Extra. I actually had to copy cw at 20 wpm to get the Extra. Now? Even with no code--with technical exams that have been dumbed down...we still need new hams.
OK--fine. The League has proposed expanded band privileges for Techs. I oppose it. But then I opposed the no code too--still do. Why? Because getting your license should mean a lot--it did to me. It shouldn't be a pushover. The technical exams should be tough. You should know what you're doing before you turn on a transmitter. I've seen questions about ham rigs from hams sold on Amazon that clearly indicate the person asking the question has no business buying it.

AS to secrecy....I agree that a member driven and supported organization should operate in the light of day--especially if they propose to spend the money they collect from its' members on projects that have dubious benefit.

I hadn't realized that the new CEO resigned. I too wonder why. The proffered reason doesn't make sense.

The ARRL may be flawed....but without it I suspect we would see more and more of our frequencies get gobbled up by commercial interests. It needs to ask more questions of it's members and actually listen to the answers.
PE1HZG 2018-04-02
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Before everyone balks at ARRL, realize what you have. the small country I live in has no less than three organisations claiming to represent, two are unable to publish anything (only digital online), and the magazine of the main organisation isn't doing so hot either - much translated articles, few advertizements. Yup, you don't need to read them but sometimes they are informative or have amusement value.

I should point out that I'm an ARRL life member and while the content of QST isn't very high (QEX is way better), at least there is something happening.

Don't throw away the old before you have something new that works. And, while it's easy to critisize from the side-line, it's much harder to be constructive. Isn't being constructive a lot better?

73, geert jan PE1HZG
KB6QXM 2018-04-02
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Understand your frustration with the CW versus no CW argument.

To me there are Pros and Cons to the CW argument.

Other than being based on tradition, CW acted as a filter. Filter for those who really wanted an amateur radio license, so that we did not slide into a licensed version of CB radio.

In my personal experience, many new amateurs do not have the practical experience to setup, test and run a station. It is my wild idea that instead of electronic theory that may never be used in the hobby, test on skills and have enough theory in support of hobby.

For instance, one skill in running a station is knowing how to solder connectors onto a piece of coax. Understanding feedlines, antennas,amplifiers, safety practices. The difference between an earth ground and an RF ground. Understanding part 97. The understanding of features in some more modern transceivers. Maybe what can be done with antennas in a HOA or CC&R location.

As a I am a traditionalist, this suggestion maybe a little out of the box thinking, but as the hobby moves into the 21st century, I believe that a more day to day practical approach should be considered to support the hobby moving forward.


KC7MF 2018-04-02
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
@K2STV who said: "To me amateur radio is like a fraternity. The initiation to get in was to learn code. I failed the 13 wpm test twice and wanted to be a ham so bad I passed the third try. I don't deserve to be an Extra Class and it isn't fair to those who broke their chops to get the code requirement."

Fair? You obviously do not know that in 1929 there was a class of license that allowed radiotelephone privileges without code. That must not have been fair then either.

News flash. The management of spectrum and emergency communications which is in the mandate of the FCC is not designed to be "fair". Nor is it designed to preserve anachronistic forms of communications such as Morse Code.

Today (unlike in the past) Morse code is just one of many purely fun things to do in amateur radio. It is no better than phone and indeed in an emergency practically useless. Certainly no better than many digital modes and far worse than others at "getting through".

Again. I ask others out there to consider this. If you really care for amateur radio you will stop with the elitist attitude about CW and testing. If this hobby is to survive we need new people. Lots of them. Good operators who enjoy and use the spectrum. Many of them will learn code and come to enjoy it. But many simply will not participate if they are forced to learn something that they have no interest in and no intention of using. Talk among yourselves about CW and use it everyday. But stop making new hams feel like poor country cousins. It is not only unkind it is not warranted. There is not a soul here or anywhere else who has made a good argument for a code requirement to be licensed. Not one. If you want it hard to be a ham then I will call BS on you. Do this. Require retesting every three years. Or if you don't want that then add computer programming to the test and require all amateurs to take it.

No? Then I guess we all know this is not about relevance or about proficiency. It is about selfishness.
K0ZN 2018-04-01
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL has changed significantly over the years....for the worse. The leadership has become "aristocratic", elitist and lost sight of the ORIGINAL function of the League. It tries to dictate what the executives think is best for ham radio. In this day and age MANY issues could be directly voted on....but that would take power from the executives at the ARRL. It is too much concerned with growth of numbers than the quality of the participants. The ARRL virtually NEVER comments, criticizes or tries to ACTIVELY and aggressively stop the now very common poor operating, filthy language, etc. currently on the air. This is MUCH more destructive to the credibility of Amateur Radio than "slow growth in numbers". I belonged to the ARRL for 35 years but finally came to the conclusion the ARRL really did NOT represent ham radio; it represented what the ARRL wanted, so I dropped my long term membership. The "conspiracy theory" is that the ARRL is (ultimately) more interested in selling their products than anything else... and obviously, more hams equals more sales. I don't know if it is true or not, but it certainly is not impossible. At a minimum, the ARRL needs to get off its elitist high horse and start finding out what hams really want, rather than have an "executive committee" determine "what is best for ham radio".

Bottom Line: The ARRL serves some positive functions, but its value is greatly diminished since its leadership decided to dictate rather than listen.
The ARRL needs to re-connect with its MEMBERS.

73, K0ZN
W2BLC 2018-04-01
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
In reading the QST I cannot help but note the near total lack of content directed to, or of interest to, the thousands of hams down sizing into condos, senior living, or a location where no radios will ever be allowed. Hence, they quickly drop their membership (why belong when you cannot participate?) - a financial loss to the ARRL.

There are simple alternatives for these aged and lost hams - check out VOIP. Sure - not real radio. But, it is a lot better then watching reruns of the Golden Girls.

The software operates on laptops or desktops, is easy to install, use, and most importantly - ENJOY. No complex stuff needed and never a worry about HOAs or getting into a fire alarm system.

Myself, I use CQ100. Cost is about $40 a year. Sure is cheap for all the hours of ham radio camaraderie I get from it.

Bill W2BLC
G3RZP 2018-04-01
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
So if one figures $49 a year isn't worth it for QST etc, how much do you figure having a voice on the US delegations to CITEL and ITU and to having a say in IARU policy and some sort of input -if often sadly largely ignored to FCC - is worth? That's under $1 a week.....
W9YW 2018-04-01
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Don, you should run for ARRL office.

Then I'd rejoin.

I would otherwise rejoin, but I'm also a board member of a volunteer organization with a small paid staff. It's like herding cats, so I know what the ARRL faces. The tone that I receive from the ramblings of higher-up members is: they're becoming more closed rather than more open in their staff and meetings, and becoming self-perpetuating. Maybe these allegations aren't true, but there are enough of them to make me take notice.

The MFJ-funded publishing model perpetuates the need for the cash-cow that is QST. I'm a young and old ham, licensed in the 1960s, then got back in just this decade. QST doesn't suit me; but their mission is to serve many masters, the herd of cats called hams.

Summary: The ARRL faces huge perception issues. You get more flies with honey than vinegar, and I taste a lot of vinegar at the ARRL right now, too much vinegar to spend $49/yr to get still more vinegar.

73 Tom W9YW
N4KC 2018-04-01
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


We should bow toward Starkville regularly and offer our thanks to MFJ for purchasing ad space in QST. Otherwise, the magazine would cost us considerably more per copy.

And for showing up at so many hamfests and supporting them financially. As well as helping a vast network of dealers who might not be able to stay afloat in this niche market without them and their products and MFJ's loyalty to its dealer network.

And for designing, building or having built, stocking, selling and servicing so many products for our ham shacks at reasonable prices. I have no affiliation with them at all and paid list price for everything of theirs I own, but Martin Jue will never know how much he has enhanced this particular ham's enjoyment of the hobby I love.

The company's support for our hobby is exemplary. And I doubt anybody over there is getting rich off the back's of poor, abused hams.

I get so tired of smug folks feeling they have to offer up negative comments about this company. At last count, I have 21 different MFJ (or associated company) products in my shack or outside and so far (knock on wood) I have not had a single issue with any of them.

Bless you, Martin!


Don N4KC

K2STV 2018-04-01
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I have been a ham for almost 60 years. I could not afford to join the ARRL in earlier days, and now in retirement it is getting very costly. I am an Extra Class Amateur due to the Leagues watering down of the hobby by eliminating the code requirement. To me amateur radio is like a fraternity. The initiation to get in was to learn code. I failed the 13 wpm test twice and wanted to be a ham so bad I passed the third try. I don't deserve to be an Extra Class and it isn't fair to those who broke their chops to get the code requirement.

With today's many modes of communications available why are there field meetings? Especially at our expense. I asked Gallagher a few months ago as to how much he "expensed" the ARRL for his last trip and got a politician's answer (non-answer).

QST now to me is the MFJ catalog and I just opened a subscription to CQ as it is like QST used to be.

I knew Wayne Greene when he started publishing 73 Magazine in his apartment on East 10th Street in Brooklyn. He really had some better ideas.

The ARRL has been sitting on the idea of "reasonable accommodation" for antennas for years now with no results. They literally piss money away and yet can't find the right senator to pay off. For that's what it takes.

Thanks for the opportunity to "unload"
N5XJT 2018-04-01
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Two things to remember:
1.) The ARRL is a business
2.) The ARRL is a business (but we have no other)

I have been a fan and a critic of ARRL since the mid 70s and have watched it succeed and fail often. Starting with zealous attempts to kill the dastardly 11 meter participants, then desperate protection of the ham community via morse code requirements and finally, abandonment of all the above. I understand the frustration of 20 wpm code licensees when morse was abandoned 15 years late and now the utter futility I feel when the technician license (easy for any 5 year old to obtain) becomes almost a general class license if the ARRL proposal is adopted. And..if you have a masters in electronics engineering you can easily read and enjoy reading the MFJ monthly. Nuff Said!
W8LV 2018-03-31
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
You're Right.
We don't have a lot of the Traditions
that we had...

Over and above that whole Morse Code Issue, settled WORLDWIDE, about Eighteen Years ago,
We got rid of that Broadband Spark Gap.

Of Course, we have MORE CW Ops now, and Vibroplex seems to be making out pretty good. It seems that even Blue Racers are selling. Still.

Worse yet, some Longhairs out in Cali just kind of went Rogue in their Family Garage, and they went and made a LITTLE ITTY BITTY COMPUTER! I don't see how much can come of it though, what with that Awesome IBM 360 and all.

And WORSE YET, there is a Proposal out there to get Hams to try FM ABOVE 30 Mhz! And it's just not a Proper AM Signal. Plus it won't carry far enough to be practical from what I have heard.

And that Bell Labs Contraption? It really has no place in a REAL Shack... Because that Audion isn't even PROPER over Spark, anyway.

Don't EVEN get me going on that whole OSCAR 1 thing...
That whole Sputnik deal was just a load of Commie Public Relations Nonsense and so what if we can tape some batteries to a transmitter and let it beep for awhile.

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

KB6QXM 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
@W8LV wrote: We're an Institution with Tradition, Yankee Ingenuity in the Finest Sense of the term!

Tradition. You mean the tradition of learning code that the ARRL worked to eliminate to get the amateur license numbers up and potentially the increase ARRL membership?

Tradition: Do you mean the tradition of taking progressively more difficult elements to obtain more privileges that the ARRL now wants to give away for free for the Technician class license?

I need to see the ARRL that actions are not simply to get the membership numbers up and keep the integrity of the hobby. If not, all we will become is another Citizens Band radio. No thank you.
W8LV 2018-03-31
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
All listed here:

73 DE W8LV Bill
W8LV 2018-03-31
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
They can't listen, if you don't contact them.

Your ARRL Section Manager.
that you elect,
and who Serves for Free?

He's just an email away!

Or.... Even if you HAVEN'T joined yet:
PLEASE take me up on this Challenge!
Contact your Local Section Manager in your area. Tell him you are Interested
in Joining, BUT you have Concerns
about doing so.
Hear him out!

And then? Take advantage of not merely listening
to "The Doctor is In"... Contact the "Doctor" at his email... Contact the Author of "Hints and Kinks"..
Contact our EXCELLENT Technical Information Service!

You will find a GREAT Organization At The Ready to assist YOU!

And if you find YOUR Interaction to be a Good One?
Won't you Please Consider Standing with Us, Brother Ham?

We're steeped in the Tradition of Fraternity,
We're an Institution with Tradition, Yankee Ingenuity in the Finest Sense of the term!

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill
KJ6TSX 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
When I said get involved I meant, ask to sit in on a board meeting, most are open to members. If traveling to the meeting is not a option ask to be sent the minutes of the board meeting, write letters to board members voicing your positions on hot topics.

Try and get both sides of the story, sometimes a less that great outcome was actually a better outcome than previously offered.
N6JSX 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
First thing ALL need to understand - there are TWO distinctive ARRL's. Field & HQ.

ARRL volunteers - the unpaid non-salaried devoted well meaning staff that do most of the muscle work. Oh don't get me wrong there are some section Officers that are utterly vain in their self promoting egos - but they get spotted and loathed by most, eventually.

But then we have the ARRL HQ - the ones who draw a salary who see this as a job not a hobby. The ones who work to insure their $ecure $alary - if some good for HAMdom occurs they will take the credit. The ones who wheel and deal behind the scenes with the FCC to insure the ARRL lives, prospers, to keep their jobs.

HQ wants to be the big brother to everything HAMdom (that generates member$hips securing annual cost of living pay raise). An HQ that excels at the VE program but falls miserably in the OO program - one creates new memberships the other can kill memberships.

Factoid: QST now is a perk of membership. So the annual disclosure of QST subscriptions is the actual number of ARRL memberships. Subtract from FCC active licenses and you will find that ARRL has about 20-24% of all USA HAMs as members. >75% have seen the light.

The ARRL HQ is NO different than any other organization. Those at HQ are there for a SALARY, first, the organization second. NRA, Red Cross, United Way they all have had their HQ issues, GREED.

BUTTTTTT, the real truth is the ARRL is the ONLY entity the FCC tokenly listens too in HAM issues.

So as corrupt, aloof, and sometimes feeble HQ is the ARRL is better than having NO WDC FCC voice.

When we little HAMs need to force HQ to listen the only way to get HQ's attention is by the power of each membership. To get HQ's attention - QUIT the ARRL ! Watch how fast HQ will listen when their salary is threatened - this single act by the HAM masses scares the hell out of HQ. HQ has openly condemn HAMs for divulging this dirty little secret.

I know, HQ publicly commended me for disclosing their FCC ARRL-HQ deal to give up fighting for 220-222 or taking it back (when UPS gave up) for swift passage of Novice enhancement. Which one do you think got the ARRL more memberships at that moment in time?
But the joke's on us - Novice gained much today, but we still lost 220-222 so the FCC could profit selling it to commercial users.
KB6QXM 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

No matter how you slice it. With this "non-profit" if you are not an ARRL member, then they do not listen. If you get involved, they take your money and they still do not listen.

If you have diversity of thought and you are in the inside, then you get censured.

The ARRL is a bureaucratic mess. No one said that the ARRL is "my voice". I say let them be a publisher. As far as being a "voice". Not so much!
KJ6TSX 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
If you don't like what is happening with ARRL,
Get Involved!!!
Having been a Board member on several Non Profits I have found the people who complain the most and suspect the worst usually are not involved.

So Get INVOLVED and if changes need to be made get to work. Don't just complain DO SOMETHING!!

W7CXC 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Just what would you do differently? If they do not survive it could be argued the hobby might not survive.
KB6QXM 2018-03-31
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Nice point that the ARRL is heard. The problem is that their voice is driven by their survival and money, not the well-being of the hobby.

KC9YTJ 2018-03-31
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The bottom line is that somebody has to represent the community. The best "somebody" to do that is a membership organization that does that on behalf of its membership. Since members don't always hold the same opinions, that's sometimes hard to do, but the smart organization tries to hew to a line somewhere in the middle. Moreover, I'm not a lobbyist, and I can't afford to hire one, but the League does that for me, and I consider it money well spent.

The ARRL representing hams is like the NRA representing gun owners. Not all gun owners belong to the NRA, and a lot of NRA members are not necessarily satisfied with what they perceive as the direction or success rate of the NRA.

But the NRA is a voice that gets heard, and it has a significant legislative influence because it speaks for all of its members with a single, directed voice.

(If you don't like the NRA, feel free to substitute your own favorite advocacy group. Because they all work the same way.)

Similarly, the League has a voice at the table at the FCC and other spectrum-related venues. To think for one minute that you and I and other individual hams would be able to protect spectrum and influence FCC and legislative policy on our own is to kid oneself.

If you want to "fix" the ARRL, the way to do that is to get involved, not to sit on your arse at the computer or the microphone and complain about the job it's doing or not doing (in your opinion). Want better articles in QST? Try writing one! I may be a "young" ham (first licensed in 2013), but I've been a membership guy a lot longer than that, because I understand there is strength in numbers that a bunch of unorganized individuals can't match.

The ARRL may not always express my opinion (e.g., I'm not happy with the proposal to expand Technician privileges), but overall I see them as doing a decent job of representing the ham radio community. I feel like my membership dues are well spent.
W1WH 2018-03-30
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yes, I believe the ARRL should be saved, but also believe that it will take a lot of work.

For those unaware, many of the current issues facing the ARRL can be reviewed in

73, Bill
KB6QXM 2018-03-30
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

So is this discussion over?

How about we gather all of the "feedback" and someone send the ARRL an e-mail with the comments-Pros and Cons, then we can see if there is any changes or movement to address any of the concerns that we have all brought up.

As the ARRL does not take feedback from "non-members", how about the work data is gathered and categorized and presented to the most outspoken Pro-ARRL poster on this thread and he can present the comments to the ARRL.

W8LV 2018-03-29
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I don't see any confusion here:

Employees serve at the pleasure of their employers.
Employers pay tribute (money, benefits) to their employees. If the employer doesn't enjoy the pleasure of the employee, he stops paying the employee.
We call that being fired.

Likewise the employee who isn't satisfied with his tribute, can find another employer who will.

And the Director of any Board of Directors:
Answers to the Board. Who in turn, answers to the Shareholders, or Members. Making decisions as to
how Tribute (salary) resources or profit is distributed, or reinvested.

And so it is: In any Profit, or Nonprofit Corporation.
Microsoft, the YMCA, whatever.

These Basic Business Relationships 101 didn't spring up automatically, they evolved over time. As did the Rule of Law in our Representative Republic that in turn Governs All of Us,for EVERYTHING from Breach and Enforcement of Contracts and debts.

And, so it is: It's how we conduct business in Rule and Reality. While I am by No Means Rich, never once have I been ever offered a Job by a Poor Man...

Personally, I've found it to be a Wonderful Thing:
It has provided us with food and heat on a regular basis, a home, cars to drive,health insurance, and an Annual Vacation.

EVERY Corporation Exists and Forms for ONE REASON, and ONE REASON ONLY: To Pool Resources, Financial and Intellectual, for the Common Good of their Members. That includes EVERYONE, from the CEO, right down to the guy who sweeps the floor. It's a GOOD thing! The Profit may, or may Not be, Cash. It might be Intellectual. Or a Goal in and of itself. But we Profit from it. With the ARRL, We Profit when we keep our Band Space, for Example, so it serves Our Common Interests. All of Us.

With the ARRL, you get an ULTIMATE and UNIVERSAL "Profit", no matter IF you are an ARRL Member, or NOT!
There's NO Arm Twisting Going on here.
BUT, if you find that HAVING FREQUENCIES TO OPERATE ON is say, a Tad Helpful in your Ham Persuits, WHY NOT Join? Are you really going to Grovel and Piss and Moan over FOURTY NINE DOLLARS A YEAR? In a Country where you pay Next To Nothing to the Government for your Ten Year Licence? You could be paying a LOT more for the Privilege, and the ARRL even keeps a watch on THIS!
Christ, you pay an average o $2000 for your Shack, some less, some more, some MUCH more, why you can't even buy much in a Shack Accessory for that..well a Clock maybe.

If the ARRL didn't have a LOBBYIST (who has to be paid)
protecting our band space in this Present Wilderness of Mirrors Politial Era of PACs, we would have lost our Frequency Allocations here in Region II YEARS AGO, ITU or No ITU. That's the REALITY.

So hey, ARRL Naysayers out there: Just go ahead and buy a New Shack Clock instead of joining the ARRL or renewing your membership... You're gonna LOVE to Monitor those UPS truck transmissions as they drive around your neighborhood on Two Metres someday real soon! If The Government will Allow you to monitor them, that is. You can do this while you contemplate next year's Shack Accessory Purchase...maybe a nice shiny model of an UPS Truck to put on the shelf, just below the clock, or maybe an UPS airplane!

Look, I AM a FAN of the ARRL. I'm NOT their Apologist:

What I'm saying here is that the ARRL is a CORPORATION!
It's NOT a Club. It DOES Encourage Clubs to form, but that isn't the SAME Thing! What's More... YOUR Club can become an ARRL Affiliate Club. Or Not!

As far as Recent, What On Earth more do you want from Your (and my) ARRL or any other Corporation? Does the Verizon Board of Directors divulge to you their Strategic Plan to you, just because your are say a Customer, OR a holder of some of their Stock Shares?

So, in the case of the ARRL, they had a recent Board Meeting. Based on the Membership Concerns, the proposed changes were withdrawn, never even reaching a vote. The issues of concern relating to the suggested "Gag Order" were completely removed from the Code for the Board and will be reconsidered in a new form later in the year. They did not restrict Board Members from speaking their own individual opinions, and revised language will make that more clear.

What's more, It's published on the ARRL Website for all to see!

As far as a Corporate Board holding strategy in Secret,
If they didn't do so, their Competitors and Counter Interest Groups would obviously be at One Hell of an Advantage!
What are they supposed to do... divulge that to say the HOA Group, or maybe UPS in case they would like to add all of our band space to the 1.25 Metres that they've already got? Maybe Verizon should buy one share of Sprint, and then INSIST that the Sprint Board of Directors divulge their plans. How absurd!

People just Hot Button this stuff without thinking over or reading things through, and that's EXACTLY why I'm glad to live in a Representative Republic, and NOT in a Direct Democracy.

I wonder how many people didn't read through The Originator's Entire Post, before they formed an Opinion or responded with a reply, and a Tip of my Green Telegrapher's Visor to him.

Stand With Us,

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

W5IDX 2018-03-29
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Not sure what to think about the internal workings of the ARRL when it comes to how they deal with their employees.
And that's their business up to a certain point.
They should be transparent to their members.

I think the ARRL will do what they can to survive. That means members and members fees.

Now without the ARRL its a pretty good chance we would of or will soon lose the frequencies and privilege to do what we enjoy.

The government would be the first to grab those frequencies and sell them off to the highest bidder.
And that is a fact you can take to the bank (in my opinion.)

So we here in the USA have to choose the lesser of 2 evils. With or without the ARRL.

My money is on; with the ARRL but try and get them to make the appropriate changes thru members communications and complaints.

WA5DSS 2018-03-29
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
When I decided to get back into the hobby 10 years ago after dropping out while in college in the '70s, the ARRL was the first place I went for exam study and info on getting back on the air. So much about the hobby had changed or was forgotten over the 40 year absence. It was like starting over.

After successfully retesting for General, I found what I needed to put a station together though the ARRL online data base of old QST articles and current ARRL publications (handbook, antenna publications, etc). I found valuable information in each QST issue. I find people who write for QST and other ARRL publications (both ARRL employees or freelance writers) produce excellent material...both technically competent and well written. I do not know of another single source that better serves the amateur community in the area of education.

For me this, by itself, is well worth the $50 a year to keep the whole thing going.
K6CRC 2018-03-28
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
One last point. The ARRL has had 'some' kind of chaos lately. Vague rumors of 'disloyalty'. CEO quits after 2 years, incoherent 'update' from new President, 2 pages to say virtually nothing.
Temp CEO seem like a good guy, but his column in latest QST said even less.
OK, ARRL... What is going on? Why did the CEO quit? (tax excuse was bunk). Top level people should be able to communicate clearly what issues and challenges are. Latest letters/editorials have been vaguely worded.

Bad news does not age well. Come clean if there are issues internally. If I am wrong, then how about an honest explanation clearly and concisely what is going on with censures, people quiting, etc.
W4HM 2018-03-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Great article Don. Your right on and I agree with all that you said.

To the gentleman who said that hams are introverts that makes no sense. It's an oxymoron.

I've been a ham for 30 years and have been a past member of the ARRL. But I can't think of one thing that they have proposed or accomplished that I agree with and that has helped the hobby.

Why should I give my $$$ to an organization so they can use it against me? The ARRL reminds me allot like the U.S. Congress. Just give me your $$$ and shut up.

ARRL's current website is terrible as there is no logical way to surf around inside it. It's all broken up and disconnected link wise. Please don't tell me that they spent $400,000 on it?! I remember years back when the ARRL was letting us know that the new one was coming. I couldn't believe what they came up with. The older website from many years ago was better.

I think that the ARRL has spent more than $50 in paper and postage recently just trying to get me to rejoin?!

I'm just saying.

73 & GUD DX,
Thomas F. Giella, W4HM
Lakeland, FL, USA
KC7MF 2018-03-28
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
If I had one piece of advice for the ARRL it would be to listen. Not make a survey with check-the-box answers to send only to members but listen to hams everywhere.

This article might be very important if the ARRL were to listen to it.

Another issue is that the leadership should think of itself as the employees of the members and not the bosses. That is why I dislike the term leadership applied to elected officials. They are there to "represent" and not to "lead".

Amateur radio does a terrible job of recruiting. Reading this thread will tell you a great deal about why there are problems, beginning with arrogant old-timers who disparage young people with an interest in the hobby as "unworthy". Time we owned this and shouted them down. My local club station is only available in the daytime. That impresses the heck out of new hams who are doing these things called "working" or "going to school". Then they have meetings about why young people are not participating. Insert eye roll here.

Still. The best framework for getting information out to the amateur radio community is probably the ARRL. This thread make clear though that they are just not very good at listening.

RE EHAM. This is where Eham shines. Articles like these should make ARRL sit up and take notice. It offers us the opportunity to say our piece in a truly open forum. It would be fun if someone from ARRL were to indicate that they had seen this and paid attention. I am not holding my breath.
KB6QXM 2018-03-28
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

As in any business. If the your business model does not match the present market forces, either reinvent yourself or pass into history.

Look at recent business closings. RadioShack and other businesses that did not change to meet the present market.

Look at successes in this arena. NetFlix diversified from mail order DVDs to a streaming (OTA) giant. They payed attention and modified their business model to match the market. RadioShack and others did not.

The ARRL needs to reinvent itself and not reinvent the hobby to match it's outdated business model.
W9MT 2018-03-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Don, thank you for giving us all some "grist" on which to gnaw.

Grist was a favorite word of Wayne Green's, and is what made his editorials in 73 so maddening or thought provoking. You choose where on the spectrum you are...

Although I didn't like the pompous ass of a man, nor his politics (since I've been a kid), I do agree with one thing Charles de Gaulle once said: "It is impossible to govern a country that makes over 300 varieties of cheeses."

I submit to you and the huddled masses here that Amateur Radio is a "close cousin" to that scenario. It is not just a "single hobby" but a "thread" that loosely weaves through many sub hobbies.

I bring radios back from the dead. Some people chase DX. Others do contesting. Some do DMR while others embrace D-STAR (zealots in each camp...I do both). Some appliance operate while others build. It's a loose confederation with something for everyone and every socio-economic class of person. This is exactly why ONE organization is set up to FAIL when it tries to represent them all.

Another Frenchman once said that over time the goal of a bureaucracy becomes to sustain itself over it's original purpose. (I don't remember his name.)

Perhaps this is ARRL's current plight.

Perhaps it needs to set some new goals for itself and this confederation of hobbies and prioritize them for pursuance. Wow...maybe let the rank and file of ALL amateurs vote on their priority, based on ARRL's (obviously biased) "recommended guidance"??? This would be a positive step for ARRL to regain respect and relevance.

Laurence Peter (of the Peter Principle) also once said: "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status."

So maybe the ARRL needs to reinvent itself for 2018 and re-become the lean, mean, voice of the ham hoi-polli for its new purpose in "this century"???

Just my musings....

73, Tony (W9MT)
N2DY 2018-03-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Excellent analysis Don. Yes, ARRL is not perfect at all. It could and should indeed be more transparent. We can isolate and attack every decision they make, but I think they operate in good faith for the most part, trying to do what they believe is best for amateur radio. Most of the leadership is composed of volunteers. For those of you that would get rid of it, good luck. If not for ARRL, corporate interests would have stolen much more amateur frequency spectrum than they have already taken (remember the low end of the 220MHz band). I will continue to be a member for that reason alone. Unfortunately, the way our political system works, without some sort of lobbying organization, you will have no voice.
KI8JD 2018-03-28
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Some of the commenters have criticized E-Ham for allowing this article to appear here. In spite of that fact, I believe that they read most of the article. Not only that, but look at all the comments this article has inspired. That being said, should E-Ham only allow articles that no-one reads or comments on?
Of all the choices of what to read, I clicked on this, and so did you.
Hopefully, the ARRL leadership reads these comments.
Thanks, Jim ki8jd
W4AMP 2018-03-27
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Taking a break after being a member for 27 years.
VE3WGO 2018-03-27
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL is a prolific publisher of many of the highest grade amateur radio publications available (at least in the English language).

Even though these books have seemed to be evolving toward (or below) the junior school level of writing over the years, they are still valuable to us. So the ARRL needs to be saved, even if it's only to keep up as the hobby's main publisher for us.

73, Ed
SM0AOM 2018-03-27
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The situation that G3RZP describes worked in the quite static regulated environment that the FCC still is an example of.

With deregulation, the influence of ITU Sector Members such as the IARU, and the willingness of the national delegations that have voting rights and can set policies, to include radio amateurs have diminished.

In the deregulated world, everything is measured in money, and non-profit endeavours have a difficult time.

The spectrum officials that earlier were symphatetic to amateur radio have mostly retired, and their successors have no warmer feelings for us.

It should be kept in mind that the sole reason why international amateur radio exists today is that the Allies won WW2, and that radio amateurs helped in this effort. However, this was more than 70 years ago, and the world around us has changed considerably.

One problem is that many clubs and sooieties, the ARRL included, still believe it is 1947.

If trying to solve today's problems with 1947 methods, you will fail.

SWMAN 2018-03-27
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Oh, I forgot to mention, yes they should be saved.
SWMAN 2018-03-27
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I have been away from the ARRL for 2 years now. But yesterday I re joined. Why you ask ? Just because.
K5UJ 2018-03-27
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
One ego plus retired OMs with way too much free time.
G3RZP 2018-03-27
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

ARRL does not represent amateur radio at ITU. That is done by the IARU. What the ARRL does is to provide someone as part of the US delegation who can advise and lobby the US delegation on behalf of US amateurs in particular and amateur radio in general. The same activity is done at CITEL. The ARRL also provides some funding to IARU, but unfortunately, attending the ITU meetings in Geneva is very expensive - $24 for a single beer and a burger for example. Those amateurs who represent the IARU and are still working have to figure on using up to 20 or 25 days vacation a year to do so, too. IARU also provides delegates to the relevant meetings of the RTOs - Regional Telecommunications Organisation - such as APT for Asia Pacific, CEPT for Europe, CITEL for the Americas and so on.

Without this on-going international work, we would lose bands. I was told by a delegate from Africa "Why are we wasting time on amateurs? It's only a rich white man's hobby!"

His 'hobby' could be seen every night in his open negotiations with the 'professional' ladies around the Rue du Montheux in Geneva - which one has to traverse to get to the Grand Duke pub for a $9 Boddington's beer!
W8LV 2018-03-27
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
You can Curse the Darkness,

Or Ignore the Darkness,

Or light a candle.

Or a Lava Light.

(Or Two.)


73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill
KK2DOG 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
It's really quite simple folks. If you agree with the ARRL and their mission then join. If you don't agree, then don't join.
W8LV 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
KB6QXM said: "Where was the ARRL when we lost spectrum in the 1.25CM band that we never got back and the allocation was to go to UPS which never did anything with it?"

Thats pretty unfair.

First of all, Had HPM NOT been in the Right Place, at the Right Time, we wouldn't have ANY Bandspace. We would't exist.

Secondly, our allocations have OF COURSE, as a Matter of Course, changed over the years. I think that there was even a Five Metre allocation at one time.

The ARRL has always sent Representatives to the ITU conferences. Since they started in what...1919 or something? Nobody else represented us there.
Sometimes we Win, and sometimes we Lose at the negotiation table.

Finally, we DO have NEW Bands as were recently added over the past few years: 60 Metres, 630 Metres, and 2200 Metres!

And Sure, it's an ITU Thing. But, if you think that it would be a REGION II THING... WITHOUT the ARRL anteing up when the Diplomatic Cards are Dealt at the International Table, then you are just kidding yourself.

More Importantly: We Still have 2 Metres, and (most) of 70 Centimetres...Respective of "Line A" considerations with Canada, of course.

I'd say that keeping what we got, plus some loss, plus gaining three additional Bands is an overall "WIN"...


73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

K6CRC 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
'I am concerned of loosing frequencies of 2 meters and above. Those frequencies have commercial viability. '
At least around here, those bands are ghost towns. When I got back into the hobby 10 years ago, there was regular chatter much of the day on 2m and usually UHF. Now, nothing.
ARRL spends a lot of electrons getting us fired up for 'Spectrum Defense', but why bother? If we aren't using our bands, then the FCC has every right to license to the highest bidder.
Another money sink that is part of the $49 I just donated.
K6UJ 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
N8EKT QUOTE: "To me the ARRL is alot like the NRA.
While it does have it's problems, it is still the strongest voice for defending amateur radio bands
from those who want to sell them off to the highest bidder."

I agree 100% Very good point !!!!!!

I hope the author of this article reads this. It answers all his questions. This post should have been first !

N8EKT 2018-03-26
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
To me the ARRL is alot like the NRA.
While it does have it's problems, it is still the strongest voice for defending amateur radio bands
from those who want to sell them off to the highest bidder.
KB6QXM 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

At least we can say one thing about this article, it is getting a lot of mileage.

People either LOVE OR HATE the ARRL. One thing that I will say that the ARRL has done is to polarize the amateur community.

The traditionalist (Code versus no-code). Higher license standards versus lowing the standards. Expanding privileges versus keeping privileges the same.

Kind of the same thing we are seeing in today's politics.

One thing that I find interesting about the argument of the ARRL keeping our frequencies. It is not decided by the ARRL or even the FCC, it is decided by the ITU.

No one wants HF, not even Shortwave broadcasters. HF is not something I worry about. Noise on RF by broadband noise sources that is not regulated or enforced by the FCC, that I worry about.

I am concerned of loosing frequencies of 2 meters and above. Those frequencies have commercial viability.

Where was the ARRL when we lost spectrum in the 1.25CM band that we never got back and the allocation was to go to UPS which never did anything with it?

The ARRL is a magazine,book company and a promotion company for awards and contests.

I have wanted to talk about the sacred ARRL for a long time, I am glad that someone has finally written an article of this nature. This subject has needed to be discussed for a long time. The 500 pound pink elephant in the room.

More debate is always good.


KA5ROW 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
If you do not like the way the ARRL is going, Incur-rage CQ magazine to step up to the plate. Or maybe eHam or QRZ Their can be two or three organizations that represents Ham Radio.
WX4O 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I was thinking about the lack of an April Fools article in the April issue. Maybe it's the advertisement for
a new CEO in the same issue introducing a new CEO??
W8LV 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Angry? No.

I'm all about consensus building.
I'm about extending Olive Branches.
I'm about the Next Generation of Hams.
And Let's not forget Scrumptious Hamfest Food, either.

No Rettysnitch is dangling precariously over your head!

What I'm asking, is what would it take for you to stand with us, Brother?

What do you want to see The League do?
How can it be made better?

As I see it: The ONLY Sacred Cow is Our Bandspace.

Look...I can't keep the Beautiful Twin Lava Lights lit that adorn the Likeness of HPM without your help: Those things cost a FORTUNE compared to LED's!

73 and All the Best!

K6CRC 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
W8LV sez-
'I don't see anyone BUT the ARRL doing,
for example, school outreach.

I don't see anyone else BUT the ARRL
representing ALL OF US as far as our
Spectrum goes. '

A bigger question is what they are doing and why we are paying for it.

While the hobby needs ARRL as a resource, I wonder how many hams see a $49/year need. ARRL needs to right-size and focus on FCC work and being a reasonably priced organization.

We can just blame everything on 'complainers' and soldier on. I believe it is better to continue to look at what they do and how. Fix a problem now with a scalpel, so you don't have to use a cleaver later. That starts with an OPEN ARRL, and a continue review and report to the members on what is working and what is not.
Blind defense or blind attacks of/on the ARRL doesn't help the organization or the hobby.
K6CRC 2018-03-26
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Just got renewal for membership. $49...
OK, it is expensive to run ARRL. But, in an era of declining membership and expanding costs, tough decisions may need to be made. Perhaps that is why there has been so much chaos in communications coming from ARRL. Incoherent editorials, vague references to conflicts, etc.

Maybe ARRL needs to start thinking about a future that is shrinking. I DOUBT they can raise the dues much more than $49/year.
KB6QXM 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

You are an Angry Pro-ARRL ham that does not want anyone to talk bad about your Sacred Cow ARRL.

KC5YN 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Good response OM.

Fred KC5YN
W8LV 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I don't see anyone BUT the ARRL doing,
for example, school outreach.

I don't see anyone else BUT the ARRL
representing ALL OF US as far as our
Spectrum goes.

I never said that the ARRL is Perfect,
or always makes the right decisions...
After all, it's a Human Institution!
But I think it IS Pretty Good.

So of the groups out there that don't belong,
I see four:

1) Prospective/New Hams

2) Casual Hams (or the Ham in one of Life's "transitional periods";-))

3) Active Hams

4) Angry Ham

The upshot? #1,#2,#3 AND #4 all have heard about the ARRL.

#4 is a Lost Cause. He's Mean. Your Worst Nightmare bad next door neighbour. And, make No Mistake, it's All About Him. Unfortunately, he "discovered" Social Media, before the Grim Reaper Discovered him. And so he Poisons The Well from his keyboard. He takes great satisfaction in this: It's not a forum for debate: For Him, it's his Virtual Platform to smear around his ANGRY CRAP. And, make no mistake here: If we were debating a Stamp Collecting Society, he'd be posting just as Angry Stuff there...That IS his agenda. And we unfortunately know how effective negative smear campaigns are. This makes his numbers look "large", but this is just an appearance. And we've spent far and away too much time on him. He's actually in the Minority.

I think that the ARRL is doing a fine job with #1
For sure.

So what can we do to attract #2, and #3?

#4 is a Lost Cause.
The good NEWS is that while it might surprise him,
we don't need him,
and the much better NEWS is that he will soon Croak.
And go to a place where he can't post on Social Media, because there's not a keyboard in sight.

What to do?

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

K5NOK 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Above everything..everything in the entire world, ham ops love to complain.

We don't like..
Digital modes
incentive licensing
appliance operators
no-code exams
cell phones
newbies with the temerity to ask a question
CB Radio

And we wonder why newbie gets a license and is all excited then somebody tell them to "Get OFF MY Lawn" and they quietly go away.
W4KVW 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Reply to:Dick AD4U,"Quote"If you like the ARRL or not, who except the ARRL will represent hams on the US and the world front? If we do not have a "voice at the table" when policy is made, ham radio as we know it, may be only a memory.

If the anti ARRL hams have another plan, I would like to hear it.

Dick AD4U

If the ARRL is Amateur Radio's only voice then we are doomed anyway.Besides how is anyone with less than a 30% membership of US Hams representing those who have long ago rejected them because they are a pathetic Excuse for anything much less a representative of Amateur Radio.As far as I'm concerned & so many others they don't represent us & we wish no association with them period.They are a waste of time,effort,& money & the sooner they have been buried & take that last gasping breath the better.I for one will not miss their BS & I for sure won't miss all of their stupid Contest weekends & Special Events.I wish they were already a far distant memory & the toilet had been flushed on them long ago.They only represent a small minority & they are gasping for breath hoping the Technicians get the HF usage they have proposed so that maybe many of them will join their useless organization so their wallets will get larger.It's the only reason they have made such a STUPID request since it makes no sense to keep GIVING AWAY band space that should be EARNED.

AD4U 2018-03-26
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
If you like the ARRL or not, who except the ARRL will represent hams on the US and the world front? If we do not have a "voice at the table" when policy is made, ham radio as we know it, may be only a memory.

If the anti ARRL hams have another plan, I would like to hear it.

Dick AD4U
K8YZK 2018-03-26
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
WOW Bill, W8LV, you should be a spokes person for the ARRL. You sound like there is nothing wrong in the land of oz...
W3DBB 2018-03-26
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yes, the ARRL can be saved.
Yes, it should be saved.
But will it be saved? That is the question.

ARRL BOD recognizes AR holds little appeal for the millenials. ARRL realizes they have lost relevancy. So the watered-down licenses have not worked but ARRL's solution is to propose more (?). No, it is the entire AR ecosystem that has gone awry. If we're lucky the great ship only needs turned around. I fear the ship has begun to list.

We're 50 years into the grand experiment of everyone in society doing their own thing. Is anyone surprised that this has not worked? Turns out the old-fashioned concept of having the qualifications to do something is valid. A radical concept today, unfortunately.

The entire licensing system needs to be scrapped and put back to what it was Postwar. Three classes: Class A, Class B, Conditional Class. FCC administered exams. No multiple choice. No F.O.I.A. injustices to amateur radio or aviation examinees. Morse Code testing, 13 & 20 w.p.m. Real FCC enforcement with teeth.

People like me should be completely zeroed-out license-wise and forced to retake all exams if we wish to participate in the Amateur Radio Service. I've been cheated out of a meaningful amateur radio experience by coming up the way I did. Those old-timers were right.

Fixing the licensing system will rebuild the esprit de corps the ARS used to have. All of this bickering will be history. ARRL will be one with us and we will be one with ARRL.

WB4M 2018-03-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
"I also could not help but notice that the bios of most of the authors included the fact that they held degrees in electrical engineering or equally impressive technical fields. I suppose it has to be included but such info only confirms the fears of those on the outside looking in that ours is a hobby exclusively for engineers and scientists. "

Isn't this exactly what you do at the end of your articles?? :)
KC7MF 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Quoting: "The ARRL made a fatal flaw supporting no-code licensing. An analogous situation in the present time is the Catholic Church.

Both "organizations" have abandoned their basic founding principles and have completely alienated their most devoted members."

What a load of utter nonsense. Can't the old timers get over this stuff? If we were building amateur radio from scratch today there is a good chance that Morse code might not even be allowed. Certainly little if any valuable bandwidth would be allocated to it.

These airwaves belong to the people. The rules are to ensure they are used usefully and stand ready to help in an emergency. A bunch of sweaty palmed youngsters agonizing over "x" number of words per minute in an archaic messaging system does not enhance these goals at all. If amateur radio still required the code and circuit drawing stuff it once did, it would have ended long ago.

But some folks believe the test is not hard enough. Okay. How about this. Why don't we build a really tough test. Let's require "coding" rather than "code". That is far more relevant to the world of amateur radio today. It is what makes your radios, your logging programs, this website and just about every facet of your lives work. It is infinitely more valuable to amateur radio than is the quaint ability to tap out a message at a fraction of the speed or strength that we can today with a keyboard. And let's get every ham to take this test. Surely you folks who learned code can learn to code. It is harder but you wunderkind can do it. 12 year old kids can. Why not you?

All of this empty braggadocio on the part of these whiners who want everyone else to learn their secret handshake serves to accomplish is to alienate people who simply want to participate in a HOBBY that we do mostly for FUN. Sure we stand ready to help in an emergency. And if we want to continue to do that we darned well better get some younger blood into this hobby.

As someone else mentioned earlier...It would be interesting to see today how many old-time extras could still pass either the code or the electronics portions of their old test. My guess is very few indeed. Frankly I doubt one in 10 of them could pass the no-code test today without some extensive study.

This is not to disrespect what you did. You did what was required and relevant for the times in which you got your license. Even today code is fun. But times have changed. Really folks. Get over yourselves and welcome your new friends to the hobby. To they guy who feels "completely alienated" from the hobby because the guy down the street does not enjoy code.....bon voyage. Take up chess.
KB6QXM 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

What is the common denominator with the ARRL (CT-based) and the educational system?

Answer that and you will have your answer.


NN2X 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Spot on KM5M...(James!)

W7CXC 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Here Here
KM5M 2018-03-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
OK, here goes ...

The ARRL made a fatal flaw supporting no-code licensing. An analogous situation in the present time is the Catholic Church.

Both "organizations" have abandoned their basic founding principles and have completely alienated their most devoted members.

As a result of the dereliction of duty to those principles the current and future generation of eligible followers can never know the real meaning of ham radio.

It's the way everything is done nowadays - reduce everything to the lowest common denominator. Make it so easy everyone can qualify. Take a look at our public schools and the product they produce. Students aren't even taught civics. They're ignorant of the glorious history of the founding of America and the inspired work of our founding fathers.

The results are similar. Having a ham license today means as little to new hams as being a citizen of the U.S. means to the current generation. Thank you to the ARRL and the school system.

Fixing it would require the impossible. That would mean turning the clock back and returning to fundamentals.
AK4YH 2018-03-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL never got a penny from me for one simple reason: They have no problem with contesters taking up all the bandwidth with hundreds of Watts, calling on QRP frequencies and 14300, trampling everyone for a contest point with absolutely no respect for anyone. The ARRL never policed their contests, never set fair rules for everyone, including non-contesters. As far as I am concerned they can go to hell.

KW7F 2018-03-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
N4KC'S article is the most thoughtful I have read about the ARRL. I find myself in agreement with everything he says.

I have been licensed since the age of 14 (1959). Multiple call signs since then, mostly due to the old rule of having to change when moving to a new zone. I have had years of inactivity. Sometimes life gets in the way of our hobby... I have been an ARRL member off and on over the years coinciding with my activity. I have always enjoyed QST and I like the ads. My main interest is building ham stuff. I retired in 2014, moved to Oregon, bought a house NOT in an HOA, and finally put up decent antennas, upgraded to Amateur Extra, became active in a local club, and having a blast on the air.

I read some responses stating that they did not have to be represented by the ARRL, they could take care of themselves. Good luck with that! The ARRL is our lobbyist to the FCC and international regulatory bodies.
N4UM 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yeah, let's all "make the ARRL great again!"
NN2X 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I am a member...of the ARRL

Maybe there is a call to have another voice for us Hams?

Another entity...Why complain, why try to make them GOOD if you will

New ORG...I am sure there are talented Ham Operator that will align with the will of Ham operators..

Lets start the new entity right here at this the form

What shall we call it this new entity?



AA4HA 2018-03-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Sending letters to ARRL; no answer, not even a "thank you for your letter". Voting; Irrelevant, the same zombies who are amongst the favored few win elections.

Realizing that the only thing that ARRL recognizes is membership numbers, because those are directly related to dollars to pay salaries. Aaah, now that is something they pay attention to.

So the one way I have of making any sort of impact is to withhold my membership and dues.

If enough people do that then someone will say; "hey, we are going broke, what happened to the membership? What do we need to do to get and retain members?"

Only then will change happen.
WA8UEG 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
It's very disappointing that the articles section has allowed editorials let alone troll editorials to creep in, if this continues I will no longer submit articles or support E-Ham.
K9MHZ 2018-03-25
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
^^^^^ You're rambling. Stick to a point and write concisely.
K9CTB 2018-03-25
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
It's a shame the amateur radio bands have fallen into decline, but it's not entirely the fault of the ARRL. Much of it falls on the lack of enforcement and the overwhelming availability of amateur gear to people coordinating the drug trade, human trafficking and other criminal activities which radio can help skirt the authorities. Where ARRL is responsible however, is in not holding the FCC accountable for enforcement when it was clear that "self-policing" was a joke. ARRL should have stepped in and made the case for rule-making around the digital modes and the need for channelization for non-marine "winlink" presence ... instead of taking the kickbacks associated with making SCS modems available to every kid and his mother. Now we have "winlink" available on the marine bands, a laudable endeavor for seagoing people who need access to e-mail as a function of their jobs ... and we also have winlink polluting the ham bands anywhere a station wishes to homestead for the use of people who already have access to e-mail. The result? A conflict which could have been resolved early on, by simple channelization and limited assignment to those channels for necessary RMSs ... but the people who could have made these reasonable changes happen were too busy amassing more membership revenue and creating extra slush funds for such things as "spectrum defense". ("Spectrum defense? What did you do with the money we already gave you?") The bands will of course, continue to decline until anyone can use the ham bands with pretty much impunity .... unless we make a huge u-turn in the area of responsibility and accountability - and we make the effort not to confuse or improperly define the two. And my examples were just a couple of many. Just one man's humble opinion, of course, but I'm sure all the "experts" will come out and attack. It's what makes our problem so much worse .... because EVERYONE is an "expert" ... just ask them! With so many "experts" working the problem, shouldn't we be seeing some positive results?
W8LV 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Wow, Long Memories. Me? I was born in 1960.

I mean Really, you're still MAD at The League,
because of the Incentive Licencing that they backed something like 40-50 Plus Years ago?

Like there is amybody there still who did that?
Find a Grave dot com is more like it!

Do you care about handing the hobby to the Next Generation by doing what you can on your watch so that can happen before you make Find a Grave, or are you really that self centred and bitter?

And, setting aside the paid staff,
What about the Volunteers, that are Elected?

And, NOT setting aside the paid staff, don't they deserve to be paid for the skills that they bring TO the ARRL, skills that other entities would pay for their talents?

The Printer must be paid. The Lobbyist must be paid.
The PR Firm must be paid, or if that's done in-house, somebody who knows PR has to be paid. And the Hydro and gas bill. But no matter what, Somebody has to be paid!

While I personally DO Good Works in my Calling and Profession, I doubt that the Electric Company is going to keep the lights on if I send them a list of the Good Works I have done over the last thirty days: They Depend on me to cover their own good works: Delivering 24/7 electricity and Hot Water straightaway to my home.(The Girls are ESPECIALLY Fond of the Hot Water, by the way.) Hey...lets cut out this blaming the Paid Staff thing: If you are jealous, just wait for an opening at the ARRL and move to Hartford... It makes Southern Ontario and Ohio look absolutely Tropical, and I'm sure you're going to just Love those Connecticut Winters!

Q: What do they call a fireplace in Connecticut?

A: Life Support.

Under under the Present US or Canadian Systems (Circle one here, or both!), for those Same 40-50 years, did you get 100% of what you Personally wanted? You did stick around for the overall benefits, right? You HAVE heard of these Wonderful Overall Benefits, right? That's why guys convert old trucks into boats, just to get here....been going on for Years! Just to get a CHANCE to Duke it out with City Government and the HOA, Tonton Macoutes that they are...

Why don't the commonalities outweigh the differences between all of us?

This is the part that I don't get!

What about who Elmered YOU?

Think about that one the next time your're sitting on your can in the can in your bathroom slippers. Not getting off of your can. Ever.

Look, you just need to Pull the Handle and DO Something in Life to make it all come out smelling like a rose.

Join the can! Or just can it.
Because The Rest of Us aren't exactly Flush with Joy with your attitude. As a matter of fact, it stinks.
So There.

And blaming the ARRL when you aren't a member, meaning you don't vote, or, worse yet, a member who disses the ARRL without even to much as an email to the ARRL, and not participating in any other way, other than Looking at the QST Centerfolds? (Love Miss March, AND Miss December 2017! emailed them... But okay, never heard a word back from headquarters, I will give you that one.)
Well, that's just a Load of Crap... How is it going to come out if you don't... Participate?

So There.

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

K9RJ 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
We absolutely need the ARRL. Without it we would have no voice where it counts (D.C.) and soon we would be losing our frequencies. The recent events and the response from the ARRL tell me they are listening and taking to heart the concerns of the members. I would like to see them reinstate the director that was removed.
If the ARRL was weakened I imagine it would eventually impact member societies throughout the world. I would encourage all active U.S. hams to join ARRL and find a way to give back to your favorite hobby.
I joined ARRL as an SWL in Canada before I got my first licence. I studied from the ARRL Handbook. Many years later I became a Life Member. It was money well spent.
W4KVW 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Replt to:K9IKE
Been with my wife for over 30yrs.and I still don't
agree with EVERYTHING she says or does. But I'm not
planning to get rid of her anytime soon! As the old
saying goes, " you don't throw out the baby with the
bathwater." I've been an ARRL member since 1993 and
if indeed there are problems, lets fix em.
Also, if you're NOT a member how much credibility do
you really have?

Well the ARRL currently has less than a 30% membership of US Hams as members so I think that is a pretty LOUD VOICE yet something about it is not clear to the Almighty Gods at the ARRL & it has not been for many many years? Shows me & many others just how lost this cause is.There have been many many problems for so many years so why try & repair the damage now? I'm looking forward to seeing them GONE Forever because maybe then also all of the Contesting & Special Event Stations will also soon follow along with the hundreds of useless Daily Nets across the bands.Can't wait too sing some Happy Trails to them.

KE7FD 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
For all of its warts, if there were no national Amateur Radio organization here in the U.S., no A.R.R.L., the FCC would have gotten rid of us a long time ago. I know there's a lot of folks who don't like them, and some who adore them, and many who don't have an opinion either way. I really don't like the petty politics that sometimes goes on and when that happens, it's time to clean house. There's a lot of the folks at the League who are very hard working, and dedicated to making our hobby a pleasure to be in. We need something to take point. Hams on their own would be like herding cats. Washington D.C. is a toxic place and those who act on our behalf probably absorb some of that over time. It takes someone who is pretty solid to not come off becoming self absorbed at some point.

We need the League. We all do. All of us. But if it turns out to represent its own mind and not that of the people, maybe a replacement is needed. A little rebellion now and again sometimes is a good thing as long as the voice of the people is the voice that is heard.

Glen - KE7FD
W4KVW 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I have been saying for many years that the ARRL is a Pathetic Joke & they still are living up to that description more each day.They don't represent me or my views & they continue pushing for pure stupidity as they move along.Before long they will be asking that anyone may get an Amateur License of their choice depending upon how much money they donate to them.It's a good thing they don't actually make rules or all of the bands would just be more 11 meter bands.They are 100% Useless & as I have said many times,the sooner they go away the better.They have been on life support far to long so pull the plug & let them go far far away.I don't even want a membership in the joke of an organization for FREE because I don't want an association with anything or anyone that useless at any cost or none at all.

AA4PB 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Actually the ARRL does pay authors for QST articles. I think the rate is $65 per page. You are not going to get rich, but it makes it worthwhile for you to document a construction project that you were going to do anyway.

KC2SST 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

"If QST doesn't pay hams for articles, why did they spend $400K to get a website designed? There are a lot of very smart hams that could have put their heads together and created one pro bono. It's not like the hobby has a shortage of technically competent people. "

The League didn't pay $400k for a new website. Their consulting firm offered to build a website for that price.

As for ham designed websites, do you really want the ARRL website to look like eham or qrz or really any ham website?
KC2SST 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

"Now they want to expand tech privileges to more HF bands they can forget getting my money."

"The hobby is dying . We have a zillion techs . They take the exam and then disappear. Our club has new radios to loan out and so far has only one been picked up. Only heard it on the air once."

So, you have a problem with giving Technicians new privileges on HF that would allow them to get on the air in a more meaningful and relevant way e.g. digital modes. And at the same time you believe that the lack of new hams on the bands is also a problem. How can you be opposed to both the problem and an easy solution for said problem? Especially one that costs you nothing.

KB6QXM 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

It is about time that someone speaks about the "sacred cow" ARRL. The ARRL has been doing things based on their opinion and not the opinion or wants of the amateur radio community as a whole.

Reminds me of some portions of government. They think that they know better.

I believe changes to our hobby should be done like elections. Majority rules. Put it to a vote, not based on a non-profit's P/L statement.

There are many things that I despise the ARRL for supporting or convincing the FCC to change rules that do not help the amateur radio community in the long run, but might help the ARRL in the short term. I personally believe it is like a person gasping for a breath when the oxygen is removed out of the room. The ARRL board of directors see the writing on the wall and they are doing ANYTHING to survive, even at the expense of the hobby.

I agree with the author that this subject should be approached and discussed even though it is a sensitive subject with many amateurs.

The only thing that does bothers me is that he has to copyright everything he writes and there is a commercial at the end of every one of his posts advertising his business.

I do not know if the ARRL will ever change for the better hence the 20% membership number, but hey maybe something positive will come out of it.

K6UJ 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Its a shame he has to stoop so low to boost his book sales. I thought it was a little odd for an article on EHAM to be such a long treatise about the ARRL. Then I realized what was going on. Read the last paragraph of his article. He is soliciting for more sales. He should have put this paragraph first, then I wouldn't have waste my time with long rambling about his misgivings with the ARRL.


K8QV 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
It's the ARRL that continues to lead the push to dumb down licensing and expand privileges formerly reserved as an incentive for people to upgrade. They seem eager to get numbers any way they can, even if that means creating a class consisting of HTs and orange vests. Does that help the hobby or not?
N4UM 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I joined the ARRL nearly two thirds of a century ago and continued my membership until they decided to advocate for something they referred to as "Incentive Licensing." (I suspect most of you probably never heard of "incentive licensing"). Look it up.

ARRL took a position regarding "incentive licensing" in clear opposition to the feelings of the majority of their membership. I dropped out of ARRL because I felt the organization had betrayed their members. I still feel that way and am spiteful and vindictive enough to admit that there are some things I will never forgive and never forget. ARRL is one of them.
I don't trust them.
ZENKI 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
There will always be politics within any organization.

The enemy should not be hams or ham organizations.

The ENEMY is the daily threat to the HF bands by EMC, pollution, lack of standards and any technology that uses the HF bands as a garbage dump.

The fight is an International one, and we need the best and most powerful representation on the International stage. In this respect I agree with G3ZRP. We should petty issues aside and focus on what is attacking our hobby. Its not the individual personalities on the ARRL's board.

I think many hams have no idea about many new technologies that will wipe our hobby out as it exists today. Now is not the time to be divided.
W8LV 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Never was the Internet Barn Yard in such disarray, with such an elevated Noise Floor Cackle to The Ear: A Stank Odour that permeates The Nose, also Quite Loathsome to The Eye.

But Who Else in our Avocation BUT the ARRL keeps The Watch on The Hill for our Precious Bandspace,
QUITE coveted by a Legion of Boardroom Corporate Foxes, even as they hold their own Mergers and Takeover Raids: Unholy Alliances
Cemented with Greenbacks... merely Anteed up as they are in a Game of Marked Cards and Gangster Funerals?

And so how do some of the the Chickens Respond to this Corporate Boardroom Swashbuckling Atmosphere?



How Incredibly ABSURD!

You Make me Sad.

Name ONE other organization who represents us on THAT Hill, and ask yourself BEFORE you Diss the ARRL: Do you really want to die in THAT silly, silly Ditch of No Logic Whatsoever?

So, it bears repeating:

It's A Bemusement and a Puzzlement for they fail to see that after The Foxes dine on The Chickens for Lunch on Monday, Tuesday Afternoon will Surely come.

And The Foxes will be Hungry. Again.

No Doubt?

The Foxes would enjoy and INSIST
on a Sumptuous Bandwidth Dinner.


73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill
W7CXC 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
New to the site but not to ham radio. Continuously licensed since 1955 in the 10th grade (kn1ejv/k1ejv). Have over 55 years working in electronics so am not put off by technology at all. Am one of those who thinks contact by computer like JT8 is not ham radio but also think one should do what is interesting to the individual. To each their own!

I belong to ARRL for two reasons. One is to have a national organization that can, in a broad sense, protect the hobby and represent the U.S on the international stage. The second is to receive QST such as it is. The adds keep me up to date on whats out there. I do better with a book or magazine in my hand as opposed to on line content. Seem to retain information better that way, perhaps its a generational thing. As far as the feature articles, perhaps one or two a quarter are of real practical use to me.

"The doctor is in" questions frequently point out the lack of even basic radio knowledge some new Hams have. It's interesting that someone with such a lack of the basics of radio can obtain a license. Yes, everyone needs to start somewhere. I recently upgraded to extra from general and found the test less demanding than one might expect for the top tier license. Going from novice to general was much more of a challenge.

Having recently subscribed to "CQ" magazine I find their articles of much more practical use and interest. Then again that's just me. If I had to give up one magazine at this point CQ would be the one I kept.

All in all the hobby is, in my opinion, past its prime. Perhaps, another opinion, we should worry more about the quality of new hams rather than the quantity.

Should ARRL be saved....yes, until something better comes along to replace it.

ND6M 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL states that approx 20% of U.S. amateurs are members.

Of that 20%, based on comments here, I would say that at least half of the members have serious issues with the CURRENT leadership (or lack there-of).

That brings the "approval" rating to about 10% of the actual Amateur community.

Even congress has a higher rating.
Think about THAT.

When my annual membership is due, I am seriously contemplating not renewing it.

I REALLY don't like for someone to pee in my boot, and then tell me that it is raining.
PU2OZT 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Same grief as VK3BL, there is absolutely nothing I could gain from Brazil's ARRL. Happened to check out LABRE site and their membership rose a lot! Not a surprize, their 2017 re-engineering must have led them to the conclusion it was too cheap for what they did. A yearly $64 fee that allows them to take selfies with MPs and organize piss-beer churrascos.
As for QST, apart from these obnoxious stats, the digital edition always reveals me tricks of the hobby I wouldn't be aware of, adding to what I learn from the internet. Hands-On Radio is great too. QEX is an add-on but may be a tad too tech for me. Agree that ARRL site can be a bit confusing, favorites helps.

Way to go, ARRL! will NEVER EVER be matched in Brazil.

WA3KVN 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Don's main point is that, as a large and diverse organization, it's unlikely ARRL will please everyone all the time. Some disagree so much that they quit. I have not renewed my membership, not because I disagree with them (quite the opposite), but because I haven't the funds to keep my membership current. That is not to complain, it's just a fact; it's likely that I will return some day, however. Needless to say, there are many reasons folks are not members.

It's relevance in today's world is that it is trying to make amateur radio better. Don lists many things of this nature as good reasons for saving the ARRL. I quite heartily agree. One thing he didn't mention is the legacy of materials in their library, much of which they created over the years. It would be most unfortunate if that would get lost. Even nay-sayers can use this information for whatever purposes they might contemplate!

... just my two cents. Charlie, WA3KVN
N7KFD 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

If someone believes they can do a better job they should start another organization. I'll bet good money when that new organization is two to three years old it will face the same ridicule the ARRL is facing now. The bottom line is you can't make everyone happy, it doesn't matter what you do or say there will always be someone who disagrees. That's okay, it's your right to disagree if you choose. It would be nice if we would all disagreed respectfully, that seems to be lacking here sometimes.

W5GNB 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL has become nothing more than Contest Organizers these days and does NOT represent anything I do in this hobby... Sorry folks, this outfit needs to GO AWAY ~~~~~
W2MB 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yes, Yes and it will be.

I have been a member continuously over 25 years and will continue to be.

The secret is transparency. Everything with the exception of personnel and legal strategy matters should be public. Allow freedom of speech. Since members doing the electing decide who stays and who goes, we are entitled to be in the know!
K9IKE 2018-03-24
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Numbers and facts do matter
K8YZK 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

I was a member for awhile, and yes they do a lot of good things and they do a lot of bad things. I feel they don't listen to the ground root members, and they go their own way and a lot of it is based on Money.

Why not a member now, well many many many years ago before the internet, and long distance calls were still expensive, I requested some information on using my US license in a foreign country by sending a letter (snail mail). Well I am still waiting for a reply.

Should it be saved? I didn't know it was terminal.
VK3BL 2018-03-24
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
You lot have the best ham radio magazine in the world and yet you complain?

I'm an ARRL member because not only are your fees cheaper than the VK organisation by a mile, but the magazine is 3 times as thick and 10 times more interesting!

Not only that, the website offers archives of content.

Yes, the management practices sound outdated - the same critique is levelled against the WIA - and likewise the decisions made are not always popular.

I'm sure there is something for everyone to be dissatisfied with - thats what happens in a large group.

All that said, from an outsider's perspective the ARRL does a much better job at everything than our local mob. And so they should too - they have a much bigger member base.

PS. $400k for a website is an absolute joke; a single clever kid could build one if they were provided with a clear scope and the trust.

Anyway, the point is, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. And let me assure you, in this case it isn't.
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
After their actions in the 40 mtr wars and now whats going on on 75M I feel like the ARRL beats its chest when someone else wins the event and yet the ARRL reports that they did it.

Where is the meat, is the cry. The ARRL just goes on with its selling paper yet damage is being done to the ham bands and others that are contenually getting interfeared with.

The ARRL promotes paper tigers. Start by cleaning up the ham bands and enforce the rules and laws. Promote the FCC to get out their and do what they are getting paid for. (great hope)

Then the ARRL should get their technical act togeather and do some real testing on products. Not just pay lip service to real junk, only to get a add placed so they can make money.

The ARRL used to be a warehouse of information for hams. How many time have I seen-- MEMBERS ONLY-- can access articles that the ARRL never paid the writer for yet is charging others to see it. greathuh

Nope I too broke away from the ARRL back in the 70's when they did nothing to stop the 40 mtr wars that destroy'ed WESTCARS and other nets. What did they do to stop it? NOTHING. It was the vegalanty hams that went after the intruders and jam'rs. But when it was done the ARRL claimed victory. been their seen it.

I look forward to the ARRL creating the Commucation Band lic. After all they were the ones that took 11 meters away from the hams years ago and starting up the citizen band from it. We all know how that worked- grin. I am sure the ARRL made millions putting out paper manuals when that took place by taxing the FCC into ' we know what the hams want'
NA5XX 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I've been a member since I was licensed in 1997. I didn't know they were in trouble. Seems they do have a lot of hate directed their way though. What other group is representing the interests of the Amateur Radio Community?
AA4EZ 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Excellent article and thank you for writing it. I have been "fed up" with the ARRL for years. The directors have set themselves up as little dictators and do not want to be questioned. The ARRL will put in the people they want in the various sections. I am older at 75 years old but some of the directors are even older and in poor health. Our Delta director moved to AZ and still remained our director until the last "election". I did not receive a ballot for that election come to think of it. Now they want to give away portions of the HF SSB frequencies to Techs. Isn't that what upgrading is all about? They claim their survey showed this was wanted by the members. I got the first survey, as did some friends, but we did not get the second survey, apparently because we did not agree with them. All of the current directors should resign and let them have a real election with questions being fielded by the amateurs in their area. 73, Ray AA4EZ
KA5ROW 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
We should support the ARRL, Their is a wealth of information out their. I would like the ARRL to offer their QST on CD at the end of the year for a fee. or allow you to down load that month's QST. I threw out almost 10 years of QST and kept the ones that had a article's, and ad's something that interested me. I pay the fees to have access to digital QST. As I get older I can go to 125% so I can see what I have in print. I also leave a copy or two at the Doctors office. so someone with a passing interest can take a look.

VE3WGO 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Like most non-profit organizations which have elected officials, ARRL is a reflection of its membership. Therefore to complain about the ARRL is to complain about its members.

ARRL hardly seems unique in this day and age of dwindling membership in most hobby organizations which are remnants of an earlier time.

Western society has never been more fragmented than it is now. Have we already forgotten that the Boomers (born ~ 1945 to 1965 or so, ie 53 to 73 years old now) are the "ME Generation". Yes, an entire generation of malcontent curmudgeons. I am a member of this elite generation of self-absorbed armchair hypocrites. Nothing can satisfy us, least of a club run by *other people*.

We spend our time on social media or online forums or even in on-air nets, griping about how *other people* are messing things up, while we are sitting in our chairs. So, what's wrong with this picture?

If you want your hobby club (local radio club or your national one) to improve something, then join it, volunteer for something, write articles for its newsletter or magazine, work your way up the ladder, and get involved to the point where you can actually make a difference in the topic(s) that you care about. You too, might even be president of your club someday.

73, Ed

KD7YVV 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Well, I just renewed my membership today.
I do enjoy the magazine even if it is mostly
advertisements. I don't think the problem is the
ARRL, I think the problem is us. When was the last
time you elmered a new ham or got someone interested
in ham radio? A comment said, hams have no problem
spending $50 on dinner but balk at spending $49 on
their hobby. How about hams spend hundreds if not
thousands of dollars on their stations and balk at
spending $49 a year for information about our hobby?
Granted, we have the internet a little Google-fu
will usually bring up anything we care to read about.
This world in 2018 is not the same as the world of
the 30's, 40's etc. (pre-internet).
Back then, hams HAD to build their own equipment
because there wasn't much in the way of commercial
gear or gear that was aimed at the ham radio
crowd. When disaster struck, the telephone systems
of that era weren't even digital. They were just
starting to go electronic with a lot of the systems
in the rural areas still handled by human operators.
With all the digital innovations and need for more
spectrum, I have no doubt the frequencies allocated
to us would be of interest to the commercial sector.
You get out of the hobby what you put into it.
I think that if the ARRL were to cease to exist,
the manufacturers would pressure the government
to keep our spectrum allocations intact.
Does the ARRL need saving? I don't know.
Boiling it down to the meat and potatoes, the
ARRL IS run like a business, and it does take
money to do so. Hams do have a choice, if you like
the ARRL, support it. There are plenty of hams
that don't. For each of us, it's a personal choice.
Should the members expect the ARRL to be efficiently
run? Yes, and rightfully so. Would you go out and
buy a product you know to have been manufactured
using shoddy construction methods? Of course not.
$50 a year to put out the magazine, run the radio
stations, run the labs, do the testing etc.
doesn't seem to be a lot of money when you see all
that is done for us. Just my 2 cents and the $1.50
the government charges for taxes. :)
AE5GT 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Ok with me long as they do it with YOUR money.

I didnt spend my money on radios and antennas to satisfy some 16 year old.

in the 50 - 60 s radio was a large section of the military/consumer electronics market. Companies were willing to spend money on it. Thats changed we're just a small niche now. The niche is only going to get smaller .
All the ARRL research dollars in the world aren't going to change that.

The real issue isnt membership or license numbers , its participation. It doesn't matter how many license holders there are if they don't do anything.

I've only seen the League do one thing to truly address that, NPOTA , Grid Chase ,activity contests. We need more.

ARRL needs to worry more about the members that it has ,not so much about what it doesn't have. It looses focus when it trys to do both.
K4FMH 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

You’ve written another well thought out and provacative article!

There are only a few points where I’d present alternatives or emphasis.

One, indeed, the League has become WAY too opaque in its thinkIng, information gathering, and across the board search for input. They do surveys (they say) but they do not release the results with a methods statement. As a long time survey researcher, a survey without a release of all of the results, methodology fitting AAPOR standards, and ideally the raw data for alternative analyses isn’t a very good or acceptable survey. They’ve lied to me by State mg that their I referred company, READEX, keeps surveys as proprietary material. I asked that company. They said no. CQ Editor Rich Moseson uses them too and he says they’ve NEVER held that position, The Censure was far beyond the pale of reasonableness.

Two, when the ARRL claims to not only represent their 150,000 or so members but the other half million licensed hams, non-members DO have a claim on criticism of League positions. For instance, the proposed new HF privileges for Technicians was sprung on the Ham community without much public comment space. The League SAYS they got a LOT of positive input. Where is the report of how they sought, obtained or analyzed that input. Those writing on social media against it surely weren’t included, hi hi.

The CEO was just a bad hire. Gallagher cane from a corporate world in the financial sector. He attempted, under the cover of CT laws made me do it, to construct a corporate style Board, officers, and so forth. As anything he who has read the literature on managing non-profits (e.g., Warren Bennis) should know that there are distinct and fundamental differences in effective management regimes. The League if basically a volunteer organization with a small number of paid staffers. With a we are the ARRL and you’re not (a la Chevy Chase on SNL) attitude in Newington, volunteers (and members) fund other things to do fairly quickly.

As a Life Member, I’ll continue as a League member. But Don’s article is a good script for the future. You can disagree. I don’t.

Keep writing, Don!
KB2SMS 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yes. Who else do we have? I don't agree with everything they do but they are all we have.
K5FH 2018-03-23
RE: Yes - and it should be supported.

"Time to get to work. Time for YOU to get to work. Forget the problems - WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?"

Before you can solve a problem you have to define the problem. The tone of the discourse in this thread shows that not only can we not agree on the definition of the problem(s) but there are many who don't even think any problem(s) exist.

Back in the late 1970s the League sent out a member survey via snail-mail asking for comments. I replied and one of my complaints was the (as I saw it) excessive contest coverage in QST. What I got back was a snarky reply from W1SE (League advertising manager at that time, now SK) essentially saying that I was full of it, which translated to: "Problem? What problem? There is no problem." Because of that I didn't renew my membership and didn't rejoin the League for a few years.

Score one for customer relations.

If we can't agree on what the real problem(s) are then we might end up "solving" the wrong problems or simply doing nothing - both of which will make the real problem(s) worse.

K3VO 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I have been a ham since 1954. I put up with the incentive crap back in the 60s but stayed with them In fact living near the league in Ct I had many friends who worked there. I liked the magazine and built many projects from it.
When they started dumbing down the license requirements and the QST began to become boring I stopped being a member. When they said starting in 2018 they would improve the magazine I was ready to give it ago again. Now they want to expand tech privileges to more HF bands they can forget getting my money.
Advertisers want to sell more radios and ready made dipoles so be it. I seldom turn the radio on anymore as its wall to wall nets and repeaters are usually dead.
The hobby is dying . We have a zillion techs . They take the exam and then disappear. Our club has new radios to loan out and so far has only one been picked up. Only heard it on the air once.

Without QST I recall its $8.00 to be a member. I would pay maybe $8.00 but not $49.00
Time to run an article on how to soldier wire and make your own dipole.
I and my friends were 12 when we got the bug. License manual was 50 cents. WE learned by reading and trying. It was fun. Now just go out and buy even a simple dipole. The league has a lot to blame for this.
W8LV 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
There a Lot of considerations
and trade-offs when it comes
to choosing either a Power Mower,
or a Rotary Reel Mower: You want the
Best Cut for both your time and
efforts, staying within a reasonable
Budget, while having a lawn that will
the envy of the neighborhood.

Oh, Excuse me.... Were we discussing the ARRL?

It's a GREAT Organization,
and YOU should join,
if you already haven't!

LOVE that Great Lakes Division!

I have a picture of Hiram Percy Maxim
sitting on a Pedistal in my Shack,
with Lava Lights on either side of his likeness,
and I Worship him like the God
that he is...

When you run at Maximum Power,
you should refer to it as MAXIM Power, always.

And I like the REAL copy of QST,
the one that the US Post Office
absolutely mangles before placing
it in my mailbox, additionally leaving
the mailbox lid open just enough so that with
the (pretty much daily) Ohio Rain and Snow,
my QST is transformed into a kind of Avant Guarde Radio Eye Candy Paper Mache by the time I get to read it.

What's More I hope I will never see my Call Sign
on the Silent Key Page,

and I plan on being an ARRL Member until then!

73 and All the Best!
DE W8LV Bill

NO9E 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Look into ARRL financial statement at

ARRL's budget is about $15M while member dues amount to $6M. Surely a large fraction of HQ time (and director discussions) goes into actions to generate the missing revenue.

Perhaps we need to become creative. Double the dues? Make yearly licensing fees with a portion going to ARRL. More ideas?

Many hams are cheap. No problem spending $50 for dinner many times a year but a problem paying $49/year for their favorite hobby.

Ignacy, NO9E

KB6QXM 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

This is the first time I have agreed with you.

Talk is cheap!

Analysis and action. I agree!
N4KC 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?


You just spent half your post suggesting a valid research project--as did I in my article--and then proceeded to give your opinions on what all is wrong with the League and the hobby.

Let's quit guessing. Let's find out. And let's fix it. If it is broken. Heck, we may be licensing and retaining far more than we should be.

But let's replace speculation and opinion with facts and an action plan.


Don N4KC

KB6QXM 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Another copyrighted article by Don Keith.

I personally believe that this article was not written by an objective perspective, but a biased pro-ARRL perspective.

Other than opinion, how about an article based on analysis and statistics?

In business, you usually address pain points.
If the ARRL is marketed as the voice of amateur radio (at least for the US), then look at the pain points of amateur radio.

1) What is the average age of all amateur radio operators? Is this average age trending up, down or static?

2) What type of outreach programs are going to help attract younger users to the hobby? How can amateur radio be attractive to the post-internet, post-Social network crowd?

3) What is the percentage of amateur radio operators that are ARRL members? Is it trending up, down or static?

4) For the percentage of hams that are not ARRL members, why are they NOT a member of the ARRL?

5) What are the present pain points of enjoying the hobby?

My suggestion is that ARRL should query the ham population to understand what they can do to help in support of the hobby. Actually be advocates for amateur radio and not be strictly a profit driven motivation.

It is not that the ARRL is not working to increase the interest by "Incentive licensing" Codeless licensing, Contests, Awards and their magazine.

How about getting Pro-bono attorneys to help with HOAs, CC&Rs,visual impact proponents, distracted driver laws with no amateur radio exemption.

THe ARRL can work all day at increasing the numbers of the ranks by pushing for lowering of the license standards, but at the end of the day, you can be licensed, but if you have no ability to put up an antenna and operate, then the hobby will die a slow death.

As the aging ham population dies off and the ARRL does not get significant younger licensed amateurs into the hobby and deal with antenna restrictions, then what good is the organization.

Maybe the new ARRL will be like a Phoenix emerging from the ashes of the previous organization to be a great amateur radio advocate. I give it 20-30 years. Time will tell where the ARRL will be by 2050.

Here is to you Hirim Percy Maxim!
N4KC 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

Thank you all for your comments, as requested by this author at the end of the article. Thanks especially to those who disagree with me because that is how we get productive discussions going.

Even those who admitted they didn't read the article but completely disagreed with it anyway. And those who said it was full of errors and either gave no examples of any or did...and the things mentioned were not at all what I had written.

But especially thanks to those with totally off-the-wall negative comments for helping me prove the following points:

1) The League is our best hope to maintain representation before those governmental and other entities who not only can but would take frequencies away from us.

2) The League does a great job for the most part in fulfilling their mandate: "the promotion of interest in Amateur Radio communication and experimentation; the establishment of Amateur Radio networks to provide electronic communications in the event of disasters or other emergencies; the furtherance of the public welfare; the advancement of the radio art; the fostering and promotion of noncommercial intercommunication by electronic means throughout the world; the fostering of education in the field of electronic communication; the promotion and conduct of research and development to further the development of electronic communication; the dissemination of technical, educational and scientific information relating to electronic communication; and the printing and publishing of documents, books, magazines, newspapers and pamphlets necessary or incidental to any of the above purposes."

3) It is my opinion that the ARRL needs to be more transparent in how the organization is run and in the actions of its Board of Directors. On the other hand, I don't think they blow their own horn enough. Venture into that kludge of a web site and look for yourself at all the things the organization is doing. I'd bet most of you with the sour dispositions toward the ARRL have no real idea of what all is getting done and what services are offered.

4) In order to accomplish that long list of mandates in #2 above, the League needs to invest in reliable and professionally conducted research and, based on the results, develop an effective and trackable action plan. Find out why hobby growth is stagnant, why many who get licensed do not renew, and why those who do remain more or less active do not see the need to join the League.

5) Those who have chosen not to join the League have absolutely zero--zilch, ought, none--standing to criticize the organization and its actions. In my opinion.

6) Those who criticize QST should offer suggestions for what they would like to see in the magazine. And write the kinds of articles they think are being ignored. (Yes, I'd like to see more personal stories, more humor like the wonderful Troster pieces of old, more real-world reviews. But I still look forward to that mag landing in my mailbox every month...just as it is.)

7) If you truly believe the ARRL is a bunch of old men who do nothing but use the organization to enrich themselves and have no interest in bettering or serving the hobby, that YOU can represent yourself and don't need a national organization, or that the hobby is dead or dying and beyond help, then I personally am not interested in hearing your thoughts. You are simply too misinformed or delusional to have valid positions on the state of the hobby or the League.


I, too, looked hard for the April Fool's article. I've actually written them for other publications so I have some interest. Finally found it. Back there toward the back, amidst all those ads some of you decry, the usual survey-results page has some interesting topics and results included this month.

Now, what have YOU done today to help promote and evangelize about our hobby?


Don N4KC

KT8DX 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yes, it can and should be "Saved". Not sure it needs saving though - it seems to be doing pretty well for itself.

I like:

Code practice transmissions
LOTW (clunky as it is)
The ARRL Letter
Advocacy in Washington.

Honestly, not much to dislike here.

What do I dislike about the hobby? Simple. Cranky Hams. Get over yourselves and have fun with this hobby you have been blessed with. Sheesh.

Bob Dianetti KT8DX
N0AH 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
April 2018 QST page 30 is the best article I have ever seen anywhere on the subject, but since you don't get QST, I assume, or maybe you do and just don't read would you know?

Sorry, but honestly, people just love to bash the only organization out there as our national representative.

I find the fact that this article is copyrighted as a big red flag- it is on the internet, and GL with that-

I have my concerns on the League, but rereading this, it's trolling and if you all want to discuss it, go for it- but fact check on follow up by the ARRL-
KC9MGX 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I recognize the ARRL's efficacy in protecting the amateur bands from commercial reallocation through lobbying the FCC. I have no doubt the the bands would be 'sold off' if left unprotected. I also have learned a lot from the ARRL's publications including Basic Radio, Basic Electronics, and the Antenna Book. Even in periods when I wasn't 'on the air' these books have been excellent accessible primers in the applied physics and chemistry of radio communication and electronics. There aren't too many similarly-priced and similarly-effective guides.

The other stuff - internal machinations, not-so-great newsletters, and the idea that ARRL should be a representative congress of all hams - I'm not so sure about. The machinations sound like terrible workplace politics. Sucks. Not-so-great newsletters...I can't comment. I don't get QST. Flood the editors with good material, though, and it might improve. A congress of hams? I'm not sure that's what the ARRL is for.

May I pose a constructive question: what would a 21st century ARRL look like? What would it do? What would be its goals and objectives?
K8AXW 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Save the ARRL? Assume for one moment that it isn't "saved." What do you propose we put in it's place?

Sure the organization has some warts. EVERY organization does. But the ARRL is all we have to represent us nationally and internationally! They are all we have, warts and all.

I've been a member for over 50 years and while I do not care for some of the decisions or policies they have come out with, I stay on the horse.

Matter of fact, for the first time in 50+ years I no longer receive a copy of QST because of what I don't find in it. I do realize a lot of this dissatisfaction with QST is MY's outstripping my technological abilities.

But, until a better solution arrives, ARRL is MY advocate, what is keeping the hobby going. I don't pay any attention to malcontents, like the author of this 'book' I did't finish because of my eyes glazing over!

N0AH 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
You cc: this article??? Good Lord- - this must have been written long ago- these issues either have been addressed, resolved, responded to by the ARRL, or you are very misinformed of what you state as facts- I wish that E-Ham moderators would at least read what people are writing- this is just a very delayed article or a troll alert-
AA7XA 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I agree with 99 percent of of this piece. For many years I have advocated more transparency in ARRL's administration. I am not a techie, and lots of the stuff in QST is way over my head. I am an avid QRPer and kit builder and struggle mightily with basic electronics. I love ham radio, and all that it has given me. I am 95 years old now, and will keep hamming until they plant me.
AE5GT 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The ARRL has decided that it doesn't like the members it has ,they're too much hassle . So its going to get new ones...Techs.

Good Luck with that.
WX4O 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I couldn't find it either. ??
NY7Q 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Got my April issue, going line by line trying to find the April fools article. Any hints?? to me, it's fun.
I agree 98% with the author of this article. I, too, love to read magazines. Flying, EAA, Home&house, QST...etc..
It's all fun to turn the pages and read interesting things.
WA3SKN 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
How about "Can the ARRL be improved?" article?
Yes, it can... and they are awaiting your input!

K9MHZ 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yep, can't have anything technical. This here knob really makes this thing get out. Wow, what a hobby.

Funny, a thread here a while back complained that the QST articles were "too watered-down."

Sheesh, we've got some weird guys.
G3RZP 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
>>>suggest QST should be less technical and more addressed to subjects we appliance operators can do !<<<

Not sure how it COULD be without just being a CB magazine...
G3RZP 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
>>>suggest QST should be less technical and more addressed to subjects we appliance operators can do !<<<

Not sure how it COULD be without just being a CB magazine...
W0DKM 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I miss Sears and Radio Shack of the 1970's

Walmart and Best Buy don't do it for me.

Just sayin. See what the kids want and do that

Or be gone. Not what you want for the kids.

Get over yourself.
W5DXP 2018-03-23
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Can we expect our human institutions and organizations ever to be free of human nature?
KB9FMV 2018-03-23
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Couldn't agree more! ARRL is far outdated on all issues! They need a complete revamp! Sad to say QST Is a compilation of junk and useless information ! suggest QST should be less technical and more addressed to subjects we appliance operators can do ! Such as antenna building ! How about some real life comparisons of radios in actual operators home QTH's ! Give you a real view of operation in a live setting ! Well it is going to get more difficult to attract new op's without demonstrating real life operation in all facets of the hobby!

Enough said
W6HB 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
97% Bravo Zulu , Don!
WZ7U 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The last two paragraphs, in parenthesis, read like an advertisement. Ruined it for me, all credibility went down the toilet when it started sounding like an advertisement.
K6BRN 2018-03-22
Yes - and it should be supported.

The problems complained about are mostly with the board members rather than the fundamental organization itself. And those board members are elected by ARRL members. So that means the board can be changed and with it the policies many do not like.

But that requires organization on the part of ARRL members and participation and joining the ARRL by non-members, rather than doing nothing and just complaining.

And if the ARRL goes away, it is VERY unlikely that another organization will emerge that has as much history, presence and influence with the community of non-hams and the government. It is MOST likely that nothing will replace it at all.

My advice is to get up, get out and form/fund an Action Committee that brings in ARRL members, old and new, from across the States and offers a platform of reforms that the candidates they back will support. Then get the word out. Examine every bylaw of the organization and exploit it. Be HEARD as a UNITED group. Stop complaining in a vacuum. Take responsibility and change into your own hands.

Because the organization contains a priceless heritage and established infrastructure it is impossible for us to replace. It contains many tools for good.
If you are unhappy with a dirty tool, do you smash it, or clean it off, even if it takes elbow grease?

Time to get to work. Time for YOU to get to work. Forget the problems - WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

Brian - K6BRN

KC7MF 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Thank you Don. This is a very thoughtful and important article.

I am a member of the A.R.R.L and plan to remain one. That said, I believe they are out of touch with the rank and file

The magazine is a good case in point. It is simply not entertaining. Not fun to read. Where is the humor? Where are the personal interest stories? More importantly, (as Don points out) where are the articles aimed at rank and file? I too was very disappointed in the Antenna issue. My latest issue is lying on my nightstand unread as yet. I am probably stepping on my own toes but, as a writer, it seems to me that the editorial staff is just mailing it in. I would say the same for the web site. It would not be hard to spark both of them up.

Finally, Don's call for transparency is spot on. It would certainly be in the best interests of the organization. And, of course there is no excuse for stonewalling the membership under any circumstances.

The issue of the gag-order is very concerning. If an elected representative is not allowed his opinion in open session the entire leadership is called to question. Frankly the board blew it on this one and they ought to come right out and say it.

Good job Don. I am looking forward to hearing more.
K9MHZ 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
>>>>by N0XAX on March 22, 2018 No the ARRL does not represent me! I represent myself! I don't need an advocate!<<<<

I'm sorry, like the League or not, this is the most vacuous thing I've read on here in a long time.

WO7R 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
<<< Sorry Jack, I don't look upon other Hams as to their skin-color, or religion, or social make-up, and the ARRL shouldn't either. We get this diversity crap pushed down our throats all other times at work and through the media. I do ham radio to try and escape all that labeling crap! >>>

Sorry you feel that way. But, this is one time where it is true and has nothing to do with "political correctness".

I have, in my own span of over 30 years, seen very few black hams. Women are well under-represented. They exist, to be sure, and are welcome, but the proportion isn't right.

We have 600K hams now in the US. If we attracted the same proportion of the blacks, women, etc. as we do white males, we'd have easily a million licensed hams, maybe closing in on a million and a half.

We'd be healthier as a result.

That's not political correctness, that's basic demographics.
K9IKE 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Been with my wife for over 30yrs.and I still don't
agree with EVERYTHING she says or does. But I'm not
planning to get rid of her anytime soon! As the old
saying goes, " you don't throw out the baby with the
bathwater." I've been an ARRL member since 1993 and
if indeed there are problems, lets fix em.
Also, if you're NOT a member how much credibility do
you really have?
NL7W 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
BOOM! Mic dropped from shoulder level.

K6AER comments above just NAILED IT!

VE6BGM 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
The article was far to long for my feeble brain to concentrate long enough to read it. Was there an alternative suggested? As with a governing body in power it is easy to criticize because you know and see what it is. The body trying to get in power is not known so easier to like as they probably haven't affected your life either positively or negatively. What happens without a body to represent has in other countries and at home? Will it degenerate into another CB cesspool of a hobby?
NN2X 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I agree with this

"Here is an idea. If we want to know how to attract and keep new hams and new League members, ask those who chose not to continue to be a ham or League member why they made that decision. Have a bona fide research company contact people who got a license but did not join the League, people who joined but did not renew, and people who, whether they joined A.R.R.L. or not, got a license but allowed it to lapse. Use proper research methodology to be sure you are talking to the right people. Ask them why they did what they did, using properly-worded questions that don’t taint the study. Attempt to contact and gather input from a representative sample of respondents, including age, ethnicity, other interests, educational background, geography, and more.
(We know we need to attract more younger hams, more females, more African Americans and those of Hispanic descent! Here is an opportunity to learn why we have failed so far.)"

I agree..
AA7LX 2018-03-22
Article: The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Having previously over the years employed by Corporation(s) and having been employed by State and Federal Employer(s); and previously having been a Director and Administrator; I read the recent ARRL News report about the CEO stepping down(and Reason(s) given) and then having read the ARRL replacement Staff person selected to fill the position; ... This all has the familiar actions of being "forced Out". I've seen this happen before within Corporate Business... Prior to seeing the advertised ARRL News report, I had corresponded with the prior CEO by way of Email and found him to be a straight shooter. I've read his Editionals. My prior business experiences and the way this was described in the ARRl News report, made me think that something was said -or- same actions made the ARRL Board(?) take action(s) to "Canned" this said Person. Otherwise, The ARRL does a good Job to defend the Amateur Radio Frequencies in this Country -and- not forgetting: the ARRL is present at the International Meetings of the Radio Congresses; not counting the effect in meeting with and having a Voice to the Federal FCC in this Country. Politics or not. The ARRL is needed--just as "The Old Man" went to and was present in front of the U.S. Congress to stand up and fight for the Amateur Radio Operator and Frequencies assigned for Amateur Radio within the United States.
KA1AL 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
KS2G wrote:

"You asked for examples of factual inaccuracies:

1) The circumstances/reason that led to the censure vote.
Ask your Division Director for details. He's not --as the OP would have you believe-- sworn to secrecy.

2) QST pays for articles.

Just to name two."

Thanks for your reply.

From the website,

""If you accept my article, will I be paid?"

If you are writing for QST or QEX, yes. Details are in the ARRL Author Guide."

Note that the authors guide gives compensation rates.

K5ZD 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I believe you have the facts correct on the various issues you mentioned.

More transparency and inclusion would do a lot for helping the League's ability to accomplish its goals and represent amateur radio. Unfortunately, the trend of the current BoD seems to be in the opposite direction. Mix in some weak business experience and outright arrogance and you don't have the most experienced hands on the wheel.

There are 5 board seats up for reelection this year. It often takes less than 3000 votes to win a Director election. The best place to affect change in the ARRL is through these upcoming elections. If anyone has the passion and a desire to serve, now is the time weigh in and do something.
KJ4AUQ 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Who Cares
If you hate the ARRL, quit or don't join.
If you like it, join or keep your membership active.

All this debate back and forth accomplishes nothing. Anytime I see an article, news or otherwise that begins with Should, Could or May, I ignore it. The answer is always a moving target for these type of articles. This type of diatribe is tantamount to trolling. I think we should start a new topic to create volumes of useless traffic "Should CW be banned from the airwaves and only digital transmissions and ssb voice be alowed" LOL.
KS2G 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

You asked for examples of factual inaccuracies:

1) The circumstances/reason that led to the censure vote.
Ask your Division Director for details. He's not --as the OP would have you believe-- sworn to secrecy.

2) QST pays for articles.

Just to name two.

WD4HXG 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
A few days back the offer was extended to allow me to rejoin the League. It took about 0.5 femtoseconds to decide, No.

In my 46 years as an amateur I have watched the
league focus on revenue generators. It seems
that quantity (member numbers) has been taken
precedence over member competency. And it also
seems the bad behavior from 27 MHz has migrated
over to the HF bands. The 7.2 MHz debacle is a
case in point. Yet Newington is seemingly not
aware of these issues. If they are they are very
quiet about it.

While at it pull a copy of QST from 1960 and
compare the content to the current editions of
QST. What happened?

I appreciate the League's generous offer to
allow me to rejoin the commune, but the
current direction is not sustainable unless
the final objective is a no license wasteland
like 27 MHz.

Thank you, but I will defer.
N8AUC 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
If the League is really "in trouble", then yes it should be saved.

Good, bad, or otherwise, they're the only game in town when it comes to representing the interests of radio amateurs in Washington. I know of no other organization that lobbies for the interests of U.S. amateurs at the federal level, or represents us at the international level (ITU). And although they hate it when I say this, "The ARRL is to ham radio what the NRA is to shooting." If you're passionate about ham radio, I believe you should be a member of the ARRL. You can bet that if I was into shooting, i'd be a member of the NRA.

You say you represent yourself? That may be true. But you will be much more effective if you join your voice with others of like mind (i.e. other hams). The ARRL provides that opportunity.

QST? It's OK. Not great, but it doesn't suck either. I look forward to getting mine every month. I don't read it cover to cover all the time, but I do enjoy it. And you're not going to be enthralled with every article. Get over it. It's not all about you. They try to put a little something in there for everyone. I am not everyone, so I expect to see articles that don't interest me. I flip past those. No big deal. And the electronic version is pretty good. But I still like the dead tree edition. Makes for good bathroom reading. And since you shouldn't mix electricity and's a safety feature as well!

As for the web site, it's OK. Could it be better? Possibly. Is it worth spending $400K to do that? I'm not so sure. I manage to find what I need when I go looking for it. So maybe don't spend $400K.

If something is going on that I have questions or an issue about, I have the phone number of my section manager. I call him. We talk. Many times when I do that, I learn things I didn't know about. Sometimes, it's the other way around. Now, I'm not as familiar with my current division director, but I bet if I called Dale, he'd take the time to talk with me. If only my elected members of government were as responsive as my elected officials at ARRL. If yours aren't as responsive as mine are, then maybe you should replace yours. Ah, but you can only do that if you're a member.

My opinion is, that if you aren't a member of ARRL, and you are a licensed ham, you should be. Especially if you don't like what they're doing. You also have every right to disagree with me. But remember, the ARRL is a membership organization, and you can only fix a membership organization from the inside.

The ARRL may be imperfect, but quite frankly, I don't think it's terribly broken. I do know it could be better than it is now, but that can only happen if YOU are a member!

73 de N8AUC

N8YQD 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
No, the author did not paint a "doomsday" situation. He furnished documented information about ARRL Board miscues of late. He also said that the ARRL is still the only game in town.
VE3CUI 2018-03-22
Whither "QST"…? Whither The ARRL…?!
One of the VERY FIRST things that I did in 1971 after getting my ticket was to join the ARRL…I was duty-bound to do so! After all, it was their "UNDERSTANDING AMATEUR RADIO" that was the very technical basis of my study --- and "QST" magazine had absolutely NO PEERS at the time, IMHO…

Alas & alack, however, the technical aspects of the magazine were usurped by that off-shoot of theirs called "QEX." So mean that I now have to pay for a SECOND subscription in order to access what USED to be in "QST" each & every month…?! Hey, I'M A MEMBER, already! What gives…?

And then the "National Contest Journal" robbed "QST's" pages of any meaningful contest discourse. Who really DOES want to see a page of empty stats listed in "QST" showing "The Top Tens"…? I agree --- who cares? I used to revel in re-living each & every past event that I took part in by just WALLOWING in the DETAILED contest reports of "QST" --- the soapbox comments, the individual state & provincial breakdowns, EVERYTHING--- but now I have to take out a THIRD subscription in order to indulge my passion…?!

Esoteric & exotic antennas in the old "QST" hardly scared ME away --- in fact, they were inspirational, something to ASPIRE to. Even if I might NEVER EVER have the wherewithal to duplicate some of those classic designs, the cost of DREAMING was free…and the ARRL robbed me of even that, too.

"QST" has become WAY too much of a "...Look-at-us-newbies-gee-we're-having-so-much-fun-being-Hams!" stuff..and the politically-correct salute to 2018 of the League needing to recruit "…more females and members of visible minorities" is simply TOO far over the top for me.

Am I stuck in the past…? Maybe so. But I STILL maintain that I will derive FAR more qualitative & interesting reading by browsing ANY SINGLE ONE ISSUE of the older "small page format" of "QST," than I will paging through almost an ENTIRE YEAR of what Newington is offering to-day…

~73~ de Eddy VE3CUI - VE3XZ
KD8ZM 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I never pay attention to the antics of the ARRL, but from the article it sounds like it's running exactly the way you'd expect a hobby dominated by socially-clueless enginerds to be run! :P

(settle down - only kidding!)
N0XAX 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I can petition the FCC just like the ARRL. I doesn't matter where that petition comes from. All that matters in the eyes of the FCC is if the petition has merit! Plus I refuse to support a not for profit group where the members make six figure salaries! The ARRL membership has dropped significantly in the last decade. That speaks volumes in itself!
ON4AA 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
US$400000 to redesign a web site ?!?

Look at the following excellent *free* English language Dutch Kingdom Amateur Radio Society PDF-magazine that gets produced and web published on an annual budget of a mere US$600!

As a (now) outsider, the ARRL appears to have metastasized into a secretive brotherhood eager on scrounging the contributions and savings of a once great amateur radio organization. (Well, Hiram Maxim was a F***mason after all…)

By lack of new young blood, the same is happening with a number of other foreign amateur radio societies.
KA1AL 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
K6UJ wrote:
"The author has only a superficial understanding of what really is happening with the ARRL yet decides anyway to create a doomsday article full of misinformation."

So, what is really happening with the ARRL? What is the misinformation? What is the correct information?
K6UJ 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
What a waste of eham services. The author has only a superficial understanding of what really is happening with the ARRL yet decides anyway to create a doomsday article full of misinformation. He has demonstrated his ability to troll, and actually has some folks taking his bait.

WB4M 2018-03-22
Agree 100%
WB4M 2018-03-22
Saved from who, or what? Or is this one big article to undermine the ARRL for some reason, maybe a personal one? I'm presently a member, and although I disagree with some of their ideas and proposals, I'm sure I benefit from some too. Any replacement or competing organization probably would be no different in the long run, maybe worse.
N0YXB 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
>> "Oh contrare Old Man! I think Myers-Briggs would classify Hams as Extroverts or at the least Extroverted tendencies."

My money is on introverts.

And, the ARRL is not perfect, but in this modern world representation and lobbying is a must.
WD9IDV 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?

WTF? What a rant!
You must have a lot of free time on your hands.

Who cares what the ARRL does? Seems to me they are the only ones that represents "hams". Period.

QST. Its a magazine, good or bad, so what.

Want some advice....stop losing sleep over the ARRL.

KF4MTV 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Oh contrare Old Man! I think Myers-Briggs would classify Hams as Extroverts or at the least Extroverted tendencies. What Introverts want to call out and meet total strangers on the airwaves and conduct conversations?
K5LXP 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
"If we want to know how to attract and keep new hams and new League members, ask those who chose not to continue to be a ham or League member why they made that decision."

It is said that you don't ask the question unless you want to know the answer. I don't really think they're interested in doing anything except what they conjure up in their secret meetings much less care what members would want. If you don't like it, clearly you're not sophisticated enough to understand what's good for you.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
K6AER 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I am afraid the ARRL and the magazine has become Old Gommers on Parade.

I stopped my membership 20 years ago when the articles no longer became technical. Technical articles were moved to QEX and then some hams started posting articles as if they were trying for a PHd technical thesis. Nighty eight percent of the hams had no interest in these articles. Some things the ARRL could do to improve the QST magazine:

Get rid of the contest scores and listings. Waisted paper. My God we have had home computers for over 35 years. You would think it was 1955.

The E-COM mantra is a lost cause. ARRL put all their marbles on that narrative and let’s face it, no emergency group wants a bunch of overweight old guys in orange vests running around, getting in the way. What do we offer? A couple of Two Meter channels and no bandwidth.

Digital modes are nice but the learning aspect of electronics has been lost on the young. This is why Ham Radio Exist. Learning is what keeps your interest in the hobby. Buying $3000 worth of radios and antennas and getting your WAS in a month is not going to keep your interest.

The fascination with Two-Way communication is Pasay with everyone having more communication capabilities in their cell phone than NASA had three years ago. The technical exploration of HF and home-made antennas and electronics is where the focus should be. The hobby is communicating with others, learning and sharing. That seems to have been lost.

No matter what piece of gear is reviewed it get a wonderful review by some staffer at home. The ARRL is afraid to bit the hand that feeds it. It is time to publish real IMD readings of amplifiers and transceivers using commercial test methods and not the inflated 6 dB figures they publish all the time. When some advertiser says his magnetic loop is as good as a 4 element beam this need to be taken down.

Last week I drove from Michigan to Arizona and had my 2 meter mobile scanning 146.52 and five popular 2 meter repeater frequencies like 146.94, 146.88, etc.…….Not a peep was heard in 37 hours of driving. Not a single signal. I Ker-chunked many repeaters and called…nothing.

This year if you go to Dayton (Xenia) look for young people and engage them about the hobby. If you don’t the hobby will die like news paper print.
KF4MTV 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
You lost me at "We know we need to attract more younger hams, more females, more African Americans and those of Hispanic descent!"
Sorry Jack, I don't look upon other Hams as to their skin-color, or religion, or social make-up, and the ARRL shouldn't either. We get this diversity crap pushed down our throats all other times at work and through the media. I do ham radio to try and escape all that labeling crap!!
K5EF 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
It is far more than just getting new people is getting people licensed and then getting them actually active. Down here, we call the the non-active ones "Non-Radio Hams". These folks usually get interested for the public safety aspect.

In my business, I see lots of people in the emergency response/public safety industry secure ham radio licenses as a means to "back up" their agency/region's pubic safety comms. The only problem is they often don't own a radio, don't know how to use one, and the license gets stuffed in the desk drawer at the office.

Today's ham classes have to do more than just teach the license question pool. They have to get people interested in going well beyond a license. Some of the instructors in our recent ham class (part of a STEM tech college) showed folks how to build a working FT-8 rig using Arduino-based modules. Inexpensive and interesting...

Anyone who doesn't think that ham radio is becoming an old guy's game clearly hasn't been to many hamfests. There is plenty here for teenagers and young adults to get interested in, if they could just see it in action.... The League tries through a mix of beginner and mid-level articles in QST...with the more complex ones going to QEX. Yet, it takes "doing" to make this stuff resonate with people - young, old or in-between. 73 K5EF
K2ACB 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I am a life member of the ARRL and have been for over 37 years.While the ARRL is far from a perfect organization it is the national organization of Radio Amateurs in the USA founded over 100 years ago.

Most countries have national amateur radio organizations such as the RSGB in Britain,DARC in Germany ,RAC in Canada and the JARL in Japan. There is no other national amateur radio organization in the USA thus far to replace the ARRL. It is as the expression goes,the only game in town,that represents Amateur Radio, in the USA on a national and international level.It is also a voluntary organization. Amateur radio operators in the USA are not compelled to belong to the ARRL.

The ARRL also has designated Directors and Vice Directors from around the USA who are elected by the membership in their geographic area. These Directors appoint the Executive Officials of the ARRL. If someone is dissatisfied with the direction in which the ARRL is going,as long as they are a member, they have a right to seek nomination to the Board of Directors of the ARRL and try to promote a change in policy or direction of the organization.

i was only 14 years old when I became a radio amateur over 55 years ago.While it is a fact that today very few teenagers are becoming radio amateurs as compared to older adults,it is also a fact that fewer young people between the ages of 18 and 24 vote in elections for public officials in the USA than older Americans.

As the saying goes in the USA,if you don't like those bums representing you,than throw them out using the ballot box.

As far as I know the ARRL is not an autocratic organization.If members are dissatisfied with the policies and leadership of the ARRL there are democratic legal means to effect change in the organization by voting in new leadership.The new leadership will then make the changes a majority of the membership may desire.

W4JCK 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Thanks Don for your thoughtful comments. I've been an ARRL member for 40 years and there has always been something "wrong" during that whole time. Some worse than others and some before my time that were deemed major (incentive licensing).

As Ken mentioned, the need for some type of lobby organization today is paramount. It's just the way politics works now with several pieces of legislation being written by the lobbyists themselves. I don't know if that should continue to be the ARRL or another group, but we better make sure we have one before screwing with the status quo.

The whole board issue has its own odor and clearly some changes need to be made. It will take a cohesive rather than a scattershot effort by the members to effect any change.

KA1AL 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
KS2G wrote,

"You're entitled to your opinions, but your screed is rife with factual inaccuracies."

Such as?
WO7R 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
K5EF -- I've been hearing this "Ham Radio is dying" crap the whole time I have been licensed.

We do not attract the young (aka "teens") anymore. Haven't since I got licensed in the '80s.

That's a fantasy that ARRL and everyone else pays lip service to.

But, our numbers have been roughly stable, here in the US, at about 600K since the '80s.

How do we do it? We do it because the hams we actually attract are in their 20s and 30s.

That's who went to my license classes and that's who I am seeing now.

Don't get me wrong - I love to see 15 year old or even 8 year old hams. But that's not where the numbers are and we don't have to wring our hands about it.

We need instead to realistically court those 25 and 35 year olds. They are the future because they have been "the future" for over 20 years.
K5EF 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Yes, the League is critically important to the hobby, particularly now that so many intrusions are being made to HF-M/W spectrum. No single amateur is in any position to defend our spectrum allocations, but for the League.

The hobby must grow if it is to continue. Look at the number of scooters at major hamfests or the size of the Silent Key listing each month in QST and wake up.

EVERYONE, not just the League, must encourage and attract young people into the hobby. (Back in the early 60's when I was a very young ham, I remember the clowns who would call CQ and demand: "DX only-only DX...No Kids. No LIDs". That was real welcoming!) There's much to attract new people to the hobby: digital modes, experimentation, DX'ing, contesting and even Ham Radio Robotics. By the way, having those contest reports and other on-air activities posted in QST helps to PROVE we deserve to keep our various spectrum allocations. Stop talking about how we use our allocations and guess what will disappear - one chunk at a time.

I fully agree with the concept of more and better transparency within the League and its operations. No one should be afraid to offer alternative or even divergent solutions. Doing so is important to ensure the best choices are made, ones that support the growth and vitality of the Amateur Radio Service.

The League, in my view, has provided excellent support to those new to the hobby as well as more seasoned veterans. The many technical books and operating aids now available are excellent...who other than the League could provide that same level of support via such an extensive range of topics? And, for you CW guys, what value would you place on W1AW's code practice activities over the past many decades?

ARRL membership is a bargain versus what one gains through the League's many activities and spectrum vigilance. Then again, some folks in the fraternity are so tight a daily shot of WD-40 between legs might be appropriate to keep the 'squeaking' QRM down.

73 Nick K5EF

KS2G 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
>>> I don’t necessarily know what I am talking about...

For sure.

You're entitled to your opinions, but your screed is rife with factual inaccuracies.
W8QZ 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
"Have a bona fide research company contact people who got a license but did not join the League, people who joined but did not renew, and people who, whether they joined A.R.R.L. or not, got a license but allowed it to lapse. Use proper research methodology to be sure you are talking to the right people. Ask them why they did what they did, using properly-worded questions that don’t taint the study. Attempt to contact and gather input from a representative sample of respondents, including age, ethnicity, other interests, educational background, geography, and more."

This is the best thing I've heard yet - go out and get some real, meaningful data!
WX4O 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
AC7CW 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Hams are introverts. It's an introverty hobby. Introverts are secretive and insufferably superior in their self-assessment. The ARRL is just a reflection of the personality types that dominate the hobby, no?
N4KZ 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Last month, I celebrated my 49th year as a ham. I've been a ARRL member the whole time. I have often disagreed with League decisions on various issues but agreed with many too. And for 49 years I've heard and read about various efforts to start another successful national ham radio organization in the U.S. to compete with or replace ARRL. To date, not one has been successful. The League provides valuable representation for our service nationally and internationally. Without it, we will disappear in time. That alone motivates me annually to renew my membership. In my day job, I work for a member services organization. It's impossible to please everyone all the time. You do the best you can and march on. Yes, the League's board needs to be more open. The current website is not easy to navigate. The two website idea -- one for members and another for newcomers and prospective hams makes sense. And I like QST. Some articles don't interest me and I don't read those. Others are fascinating and useful. Hey, that's life. I wince when I hear or read about those who believe the League is motivated simply to make money. In my visiting League HQ a couple times and meeting and talking with various ARRL officials over the years, nothing could be further from the truth. They are dedicated to amateur radio. And BTW, considering all the work that goes into writing, editing, designing, assembling and publishing a top-notch technical book, the ARRL Handbook is easily worth $50.
W5RH 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Hey, Don, I too was a bit taken back with the the reults of the antenna design contest. The tricks implemented on the 160 meter loop have been used by me for over 25 years and I got them from some of my 40 meter 'on air' elmers. You can also look way back in QST and see the actual acticles that present some of these ideas.
Thanks for the article. I needed to be updated with a synopsis of what is going on. W5RH
KB2DHG 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
OH WHERE DO I START? I have been a supporter and member of the ARRL since I was first licensed in 1987.

I have seen a lot of changes some for the good and some not so good.
I do not like their web site at all. I was annoyed that I had to download and print my membership card and certificate and QST has started to boar me...
BUT I think we need the ARRL to be our voice and help fight for our hobby...

It would be a very dark day in history for the ARRL to be gone.

I do think they need to revamp and design a better program. Change their web site and publish more how to articles in QST. They should also include in QST beginner articles, articles on study material for Amateur Radio Exams... Projects projects and more projects. From very simple easy to build to well, as technical as they can... More on antennas... I would also like to see more on vintage Hamming, printing articles about hams and their shacks. I love seeing other ham shacks and how they operate. There are so many things they can print that will make reading QST so much more fun.

As far as headquarters go. I have visited it several times and enjoyed each and every time especially operating W1AW! I really don't think they need to improve on that BUT there is always room for improvement.

I would HATE to see QST go strictly to digital. I like reading books and magazines..

I think we Amateurs definitely need the ARRL and would do what I can to support it...
KG4RUL 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
K5ML writes on March 22, 2018

"My question is about paying big bucks for website design, if in fact that was the case: If QST doesn't pay hams for articles, why did they spend $400K to get a website designed? There are a lot of very smart hams that could have put their heads together and created one pro bono. It's not like the hobby has a shortage of technically competent people."

I can assume that you have not created/maintained a complex website like that used to digitally publish QST? I you had, you would realize that $400K is not a bad number.

I don't believe 'crowd sourcing' such a project, with volunteers, could EVER work.
N4OI 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
... And to those of you who are not members of the ARRL, from those of us who are, "You're welcome!"

N4OI 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Interesting stream of consciousness, but in the end, there is only one answer.

Our resource is spectrum, which has a value demonstrated by various FCC auctions. Politicians like to control valuable resources and, the last time I checked, they never act on my thoughtful advice alone.

Therefore, to protect our spectrum, we need a collective political voice. And who else is remotely qualified to deliver that political voice, if not the ARRL? In other words, "Who you gonna call?"

AD5X 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
"If QST doesn't pay hams for articles, why did they spend $400K to get a website designed? There are a lot of very smart hams that could have put their heads together and created one pro bono. It's not like the hobby has a shortage of technically competent people."

QST does pay for all articles, H&K's and Reviews.
Phil - AD5X
N8EMR 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Does the ARRL represent me, that kind of an open questions. Ham radio is a very diverse group of people with varied interest. They should be representing spectrum not hams. This I think they do.

Website, This has always bugged me, site will be down for maintenance? With a world of cloud computing why is there even a physical site? This should be a cloud based item for much of the content. As for $400K to research that is out of line, $400K to rebuild a site, that might be more in line. Web site design with a eCommerce site is not trivial, protecting your credit card info is a must. This has design cost.

QST, They need to drop all the "contest scores" from the mag, Put them online and summarize the results in the mag. You need to provide a ARRL membership for a digital QST that is cheaper than one with printed QST. The current online QST is still pretty crappy but is better than the V1.0 version. QST needs to start paying authors for content. A small token would get them a lot more relevant articles. Like we need yet one more this dipole is better than last years dipole article

Publications, I dont know when the last time I purchased a publication from the ARRL, I usually delay playing my membership fee's until I get the bribe of a new book to rejoin, then I take the book and rejoin. A handbook should not be $50.. There is no content cost so its all printing cost and sorry $50 is way to much. Provide me an ebook and a significant savings.

Membership cost, Been a member since the early 80's, Last year I took a hard look at if I was willing to pay the $50 to continue membership. I did last year and again this year, but I am really reviewing if I need to spend that money. As I start heading into retirement that money may not be available and not sure what I am getting from that money.

W4FID 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I have been to HQ and operated W1AW a few times in the 57+ years I've been licensed. Never lived closer than 1500 miles but felt it was worth it whenever I could get that way. I was very impressed every time. The staff has always been responsive. They use older -- maybe donated -- office furniture but the lab equipment is top notch. I assume W1AW equipment may have been gifts from manufacturers but the interfaces and maintenance and antennas are all staff projects.

I do not agree with all the things they do or support to represent me but I do believe they are the only effective major voice we have and that we would loose out if they didn't stand in the gap when our frequencies or privileges are under attack. And they are. Always have been. Likely always will be.

Their publications are for whatever you want them to be. Adds in them help offset the cost. So buy what interests you for what your operating or construction or contesting interests are. Or don't.

While formulating strategies and setting priorities for a diverse organization that has to be embroiled in both national and international politics and regulations it isn't wise to show your hand many times. I'm OK with the "fathers" having some autotomy and not publishing everything -- especially stuff that's under consideration or will be sensitive in IARU or ham Vs FCC Vs commercial conflicts.

The reason I'm a life member -- have been for decades -- is that while not always exactly what I want they are the best -- almost only -- advocate and if you don't have a team you don't get to keep playing.
WO7R 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I'm not so sure that the League's website is the newcomer's or the outsider's entrance into Ham Radio.

I googled, and it was in second place, behind Ham Radio Outlet. Wikipedia was third and many (who know nothing of the topic) might prefer it to an organization they have not heard of.

I tried Bing and the only difference was that Wiki finished second and the ARRL third.

There was a lot of other stuff below the league and very few were "other" ARRL web pages.

So, as a kind of FWIW, ARRL holds no obvious or special "pride of place" as far as search engines go.

In the Wiki article, the ARRL comes in third behind our Aussie and Brit organizations in terms of who gets mentioned.

That's where things are. ARRL is something we care about -- the outside world (excepting, I hope, our lobbyists in Washington) don't especially know who the League is or what it represents. Nor is it necessarily going to be something they quickly come to care about.
KJ4DGE 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
I was a member years ago simply because I liked to get a HAM magazine in the mail each month to read the articles and learn about the hobby. That ended when I was force fed weekly emails to subscribe again and it just did not seem worth it compared to what I got out of it. That being said, the website is sub-par at best with this one and QRZ in content of interest to me. Yes ARRL is a advocate or so they claim for the lowly ones like me to push for antennas over HOA's, but in the long run they really are in it as a business and the dollar(s) to keep themselves afloat. In today's internet world you need only look at the NYT or Washington Post websites to see reporting the news now costs you a subscription after you read 3-4 articles online. Please! I can get my news from so many "open" sources online what makes me think its worth the cash to be told the information?

The hobby is changing and there are many sites online put up by HAMs that have a half century of mentoring and knowledge that do this for free. Eham I have come to read on a daily basis for articles I am interested in, and yes they have domain space to pay for and I would, given a steady income, pay the meager amount they ask but ARRL?


The bigger you are the more you lose in the personal touch whether a newspaper or a online news outlet. Lets get back to reality and state that those who want a "magazine" to read should be able to pick up QST in the local Safeway or Giant grocery "when" it interests them, but of course that space is reserved for Lawnmower World, Field and Stream, Guns and Ammo, Fashion mags, etc.

The world is changing and if the folks at ARRL want to hide their head in the sand at the expense of their readers and advocates then both will suffer.
G3RZP 2018-03-22
RE: Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
>>>No the ARRL does not represent me! I represent myself! I don't need an advocate!<<<

Do you go to CITEL or ITU meetings when matters of interest to Amateur radio come up? Or to the meetings of the US delegations prior to those meetings to put over the interests of US amateurs? ARRL does.....

The weak link at the moment to my mind is the cut back in IARU funding, especially with the threats of more QRM from such things as Wireless Power Transfer for electric vehicles. Also, although admittedly it doesn't affect many amateurs, the loss of microwave bands and also the multiplication of non-amateur satellites in 70cm.

I am a member of ARRL, mainly because of what they help achieve at an international level. Were they to cease doing that, it would be a different matter. But the changes have led to the loss of some very good staff....
K5ML 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
Many thanks for a very thoughtful, in depth article that will take some time to digest.

My question is about paying big bucks for website design, if in fact that was the case:
If QST doesn't pay hams for articles, why did they spend $400K to get a website designed? There are a lot of very smart hams that could have put their heads together and created one pro bono. It's not like the hobby has a shortage of technically competent people.

In case anyone is wondering, I have been a Life Member of ARRL since the '70's, fully support their efforts and the great work that they do.

Mickey, K5ML
N0XAX 2018-03-22
Can (Should) The A.R.R.L. Be Saved?
No the ARRL does not represent me! I represent myself! I don't need an advocate!