At the ARRL Executive Committee (EC) meeting on October 3 in Bloomington, Minnesota, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, presented a draft plan for the improvement of timely and visible enforcement in the Amateur Radio Service. The draft had been requested at the July ARRL Board meeting. While no details of the draft plan were made public, Executive Committee members discussed actions envisioned in both the short and long term and offered comments that will be taken into account in the next revision of the draft plan. Regulatory matters were just one topic area on the wide-ranging EC agenda.
Imlay also reported on several ongoing FCC proceedings, on which no action has occurred since the Board last met in July. He said there has been no indication from the FCC as to when to expect a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in response to the ARRL’s petition (RM-11708) asking the Commission to replace the existing symbol rate limit on HF data transmissions with a bandwidth limit.
ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, updated the EC on a report to the full Board by Chief Technology Officer Brenan Price, N4QX, regarding prospects for a 5 MHz allocation at next month’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in Geneva. Four of the six regional telecommunications organizations (RTOs) have offered affirmative proposals to the agenda item, while one has proposed no change. Several major countries are refraining from supporting the affirmative proposals from their RTOs, however, and it’s impossible to predict what WRC-15 delegates will decide.
During its lunch break, President Kay Craigie, N3KN, presented the ARRL President’s Award to Patrick W. Tice, WA0TDA, who is retiring after a quarter century as Handiham program coordinator All attendees, along with Minnesota Section Manager Skip Jackson, KS0J, expressed their congratulations and appreciation to Pat and his wife, Susie. After the meeting resumed, President Craigie and Sumner brief the EC on ongoing discussions to ensure that Handiham Program services will continue after Tice retires.
In other business, Sumner reviewed the future outlook for the ARRL Repeater Directory and related products. A new agreement is in place with 54 of 60 repeater coordinating bodies that will result in an improved Repeater Directory for 2016-17, Sumner said, but he told the EC that the long-term viability of such printed directories is doubtful. These face competition from web-based directories and smartphone apps that accept crowd-sourced data and are growing in popularity. Sumner told the EC that significant investment would be needed if the quality of the Repeater Directory and related products is to meet future market expectations as well as ARRL organizational objectives.
The EC took note of the Programs & Services Committee (PSC) endorsement of a VHF and Above Revitalization Committee recommendation to end the prohibition to contest use of 146.52 MHz, the traditional 2 meter FM simplex “calling channel.” Advance notification of the rule change has been communicated to the full Board, and the change will take effect in 2016, starting with the January VHF Contest.
President Craigie, noting that the October 3 meeting would be her last as a member of the Executive Committee, expressed her appreciation for the diligence and cooperation of the committee members. President Craigie has already indicated that she will not run again, when her second term ends in January.