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ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Monitor Program:

from W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on April 17, 2019
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ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Monitor Program:

ARRL Bulletin 14 ARLB014
>From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT April 17, 2019
To all radio amateurs

ARLB014 ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Monitor Program

ARRL and the FCC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that paves the way to implement the new and enhanced Volunteer Monitor program. The memorandum establishes the Volunteer Monitors as a replacement for the Official Observers (OO) program. Current OOs have been encouraged to participate in the new program.

"We are excited by the opportunity to codify our partnership with the FCC and to work together to achieve our mutual interests of protecting the integrity of our Amateur Radio bands," said ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. "This Memorandum of Understanding will serve as the foundation for a new level of partnership on this very important issue."

ARRL has contracted with retired FCC special counsel and former Atlantic Division Vice Director Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, to oversee the ARRL's role in the development and implementation of the Volunteer Monitor program.

Approved by the ARRL Board of Directors at its July 2018 meeting, the new Volunteer Monitor program is a formal agreement between the FCC and ARRL in which volunteers trained and vetted by the ARRL will monitor the airwaves and collect evidence that can be used both to correct misconduct or recognize exemplary on-air operation. Cases of flagrant violations will be referred to the FCC by the ARRL for action in accordance with FCC guidelines.

The intent of this program is to re-energize enforcement efforts in the Amateur Radio bands. It was proposed by the FCC in the wake of several FCC regional office closures and a reduction in field staff.

"Under this program, the FCC will give enforcement priority to cases developed by the Volunteer Monitor program, without the delay of ARRL having to refer cases through the FCC online complaint process," Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth has identified three phases to the program: Development, Solicitation and Training, and Implementation.

* The Development phase will include drafting a mission statement, clearly defining the ARRL's and FCC's requirements and needs as part of the program, writing a job description for volunteer monitors, and developing a training manual for volunteers.

* The Solicitation and Training phase will involve identifying the geographic locations where volunteer monitors will be most needed, soliciting applications and guidance from Section Managers in reviewing applicants. (Those currently volunteering as Official Observers are invited to apply for appointment as Volunteer Monitors.)

* The Implementation phase will involve having the volunteers provide field reports to ARRL, with staff offering guidance to volunteers to ensure that the information collected meets requirements for FCC enforcement action.

Hollingsworth has committed to FCC and ARRL officials to ensure the adequacy of training for the new positions, to review the quality and utility of Volunteer Monitor submissions to the FCC for enforcement actions, and to advocate for rapid disposition of cases appropriately submitted to the FCC.

ARRL officials estimate that within 6 to 9 months the first Volunteer Monitors will be in place and ready to begin their duties.

Source: W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL.

Member Comments:
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ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Moni  
by W1ITT on April 17, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
For years the ARRL has required OOs to be members of the League. It appears that this still may be the case as prospective volunteers are requested to contact their ARRL Section Managers. Inasmuch as the new Volunteer Monitor group is so closely affiliated with the FCC, I wonder if this requirement is proper. In previous statements, the League says that the VMs will be gathering evidence to pass along to the FCC for enforcement action, and that they are to remain anonymous, so there would be no means to respond to one's accusers. This sounds unaccountable and a bit scary.
Does the Coast Guard Auxiliary require membership in any particular organization? How about the Civil air Patrol? Yet both are closely affiliated with Government agencies. I have had correspondence with Riley Hollingsworth about this matter and he was rather dismissive. Laura Smith, couple years back, indicated that the question was interesting and that she'd bring it up in meetings.
Setting aside for a bit the question of why one would or would not wish to be a member of the ARRL, there are numerous radio amateurs with considerable technical and operating experience who just might like to contribute to the Volunteer Monitor program and its goals. It would be good if the FCC would require that the program be open to all qualified persons.
ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Moni  
by WB6MMJ on April 17, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
This new program puts way too much power, and the possibility of abuse, in the monitors hands. That`s if the F.C.C. is actually going to start doing their job of Amateur enforcement.
The F.C.C. already knows who the bad guys are and are doing pretty much nothing about them.
They have always known who the bad guys are so why do we need Amateur volunteers to tell them.
The F.C.C. has been dealing with one violator, on the west coast, for about 15, or more, years with no end in sight.
If you look at what the F.C.C. has done in the past, you should see that they are trying to get out of amateur Radio.
It`s been a slow process but there is a pattern.
I remember testing for my General license at the Long Beach office of the F.C.C.back in 1976.
That`s gone.
I had to pass my 13 WPM code test, back then. That`s gone.
Because of no more CW testing, the tests became easier.
Then the F.C.C. started giving Technicians some HF privileges.
We started losing enforcement by the F.C.C.
The F.C.C, turned over testing to the A.R.R.L. to supervise the volunteer examiners.
The tests became much easier.
Oh, lets not forget the F.C.C.`s wonderful idea of the "Tiger Teams, which never even came about.
Now there is talk about giving the Technicians more HF privileges.
What we have now is, the F.C.C. giving up more of their duties, again, to the A.R.R.L. with the volunteer monitor program, run by the A.R.R.L.
Where is Amateur Radio headed?
My opinion is that it will follow the same way as CB Radio did.
The F.C.C. has had a duty to manage Amateur Radio and is slowly backing out of their duties.
What I see next is the F.C.C. going back to a one license system.
Long term, I see no more testing.
It will be like CB use to be.
Sign your name saying you know and understand the rules and regulations of Part 97, pay a fee and you will be licensed.
That`s just my opinion but I`ve been around the block a few times in Amateur Radio. You may have have a different opinion.

ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Moni  
by KU2US on April 18, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, I agree with both the comments on this thread at present. I am an ARRL member, but one thing bothers me-"Lack of due process of the accused". Lets say an operator is working out of band on CW for their license! The volunteer Monitor hears this, but copies the offenders call wrong! The VM reports this and the wrong Op is accused! How can that be defended? Unless a recording is supplied, there is none! Usually this may happen when there is a rare DX station on. in a pile up, working split! This kind of reminds me of the Red Flag Laws. Accusing someone of something just because you think that person did something wrong! I can see some of the repeat offenders (& we all know who they are) who blatantly break the laws and rules, get nailed. CB was mentioned! CB was good when you had to get a license and a call sign. Only those who really wanted to be straight got a license, but we all know what happened after that when licenses were freebies. To much power corrupts power. We have to regulate our selves, in a manner that is fair to everyone. I feel that ARRL and Non ARRL operators should be included in this VM program, if it is to implemented.
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