Meeting over the weekend in Windsor, Connecticut, the ARRL Board of Directors has approved a $10 increase in the League’s annual dues rate, effective January 1, 2016. In doing so, the Board adopted a recommendation of the Administration & Finance Committee. ARRL basic dues have been held at $39 a year since 2001. In addition, the Board adopted amendments to the ARRL HF Band Plan — with some tweaks, okayed a National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) operating event in 2016 to celebrate the National Park Service centennial, began the search for a successor to ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, who will retire next May, and named several ARRL award recipients. Sumner said the League has done as much as it can to hold off a dues increase for more than a decade, but now it’s a necessity, not an option.
“One of the most difficult decisions a membership organization faces is a dues increase,” he said. “Over the past 14 years we have managed to hold the increase in expenses to just 19 percent, against a US inflation rate of 32 percent over the same period. We have implemented operating efficiencies that allowed reducing the staff by 15 percent while expanding the range of services to members and to Amateur Radio as a whole. We created a development program, offering to those members who have greater financial capacity an opportunity to support their national association at a higher level.”
Enhanced membership services since 2001 include inauguration of Logbook of The World® (LoTW), a digital edition of QST at no additional cost, expanded QST and video product reviews, ARRL publications for Kindle, Online Exam Review, and free license renewal assistance. The League also has upgraded its public service support with additional staff, the Ham Aid program, Emergency Communications Training, and the ARES® E-Letter. Also new since 2001 are the Education & Technology program, the Teachers Institutes on Wireless Technology, and the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.
Advocacy on behalf of Amateur Radio has included relentless defense of Amateur Radio spectrum, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, and an increased awareness of the value of Amateur Radio on Capitol Hill. The League also mounted a centennial celebration in 2014 that included a national and six regional conventions, the Centennial QSO Party, and W1AW portable operations.
Details of ARRL’s revenues and expenditures are available in its Annual Report archive for 2002 to 2014.
“ARRL manages its resources judiciously and keeps costs as low as possible while maintaining a consistently high level of service for all members,” Sumner concluded. “Raising dues will ensure that high-quality programs and services will continue for all members as we provide a unified voice that protects and promotes all of Amateur Radio.”
ARRL HF Band Plan
In other business, the Board adopted amendments to the ARRL HF Band Plan recommended by the HF Band Planning Committee in its July 2015 report, with one major change from the proposals as outlined in the April 2015 issue of QST and summarized on the ARRL website. That change was to set the upper RTTY/data limit for 20 meters at 14.125 MHz, consistent with the IARU Region 1 band plan.
Rule Making Petition to FCC
The Board also authorized the preparation of a rule making petition to the FCC, seeking changes in the 80 and 75 meter bands that are consistent with majority opinion among more than 1000 responses to an online membership survey. The petition would seek to shift the boundary between the 80 meter RTTY/data subband and the 75 meter phone/image subband from 3600 to 3650 kHz. It also would restore privileges in the 3600-3650 kHz segment to Advanced, General, Technician, and Novice licensees.
In addition, the League will ask the FCC to shift the automatically controlled digital station (ACDS) band segment from 3585-3600 kHz to 3600-3615 kHz, consistent with the IARU Region 1 and Region 2 band plans, and authorize Technician and Novice licensees to use RTTY/data emissions in their 15 and 80 meter band segments, the latter contingent on expansion of the 80 meter band.
CEO Successor Search
Additional details are forthcoming, but the Board will begin its search for a successor to CEO Sumner, who has set a target retirement date of May 1, 2016. Sumner will be 67 and will have been on the Headquarters full-time staff for 44 years. He was named Secretary and General Manager in 1982, with a change in title to Executive Vice President in 1985, and the additional title of Chief Executive Officer in 2001 (the title of Executive Vice President was phased out in 2011).
ARRL Award Recipients
The Board also named several recipients of ARRL awards:
- Anna Veal, W0ANT, is the recipient of the 2014 Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award for youth, in recognition of her involvement, service, and leadership throughout the Amateur Radio community.
- David L. Hershberger, W9GR, was named to receive the 2014 Doug DeMaw, W1FB, Technical Excellence Award on for his work in reducing audio distortion in SSB transmission, as described in his article “Controlled Envelope Single Sideband” in the November/December 2014 issue of QEX.
- The Board recognized the principals and developers of Broadband-Hamnet™ for their contributions to microwave mesh networking with the 2014 ARRL Microwave Development Award.
- Randy Thompson, K5ZD, was named the winner of the 2014 Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award for outstanding volunteer public relations success over many years — and especially for achieving national media coverage of the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship.
Amateur Radio Enforcement Plan
The Board also directed the CEO, staff, and General Counsel to develop and, under the supervision of the Executive Committee, execute a plan to improve timely and visible enforcement in the Amateur Radio Service, most notably in the areas of RF interference from power lines and Part 15 and 18 lighting devices and malicious interference to HF net operations and VHF/UHF repeaters.
ARRL 2016 National Convention
The Board authorized the holding of an ARRL National Convention in Orlando, Florida, February 12-14, 2016, in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Orlando HamCation.
The Board okayed preliminary recommendations of the ARRL Strategic Planning Working Group and authorized the continuation of the group’s activities with final recommendations due at the Board’s 2016 Annual Meeting.