The ARRL Executive Committee reviewed plans to implement recommendations of the Entry Level License Committee, when it met on October 14 in Hartford, Connecticut. At its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors called for work to go forward on a plan to pursue additional HF digital and phone privileges for Technician licensees. The Executive Committee was told that New England Director and Entry-Level License Committee Chair Tom Frenaye, K1KI, will work with ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB, to develop the specifics of a proposal to the FCC requesting expanded frequency and mode privileges for Technicians. This will be completed in time for review by the full Board of Directors at its January meeting.
Frenaye explained this week that enhancing the Technician license would be “an immediate step that can take place with little FCC impact, since the question pool would not need to be changed.” He pointed out, however, that this approach “does not rule out longer-term consideration of a new entry-level license.” The Entry-Level License Committee had recommended both steps in its July report to the Board.
The Executive Committee also heard a brief report on the work of the ad hoc Amateur Auxiliary Study Committee, which has prepared the first draft of a new training manual. The Committee is awaiting feedback from the FCC on a proposed memorandum of understanding for the Amateur Auxiliary. The chair of the study panel, ARRL Second Vice President Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, told the Executive Committee that several topics related to in-house management of the program still must be resolved, and the committee hopes to have the revised Amateur Auxiliary package ready for consideration by the ARRL Board of Directors at its January meeting.
The Executive Committee requested the Programs and Services Committee to undertake an evaluation of all ARRL membership program offerings, in coordination with the Administration and Finance Committee. The action followed a recommendation from ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF. The Programs and Services Committee is to report back to the Executive Committee next fall.
In his CEO report, Gallagher highlighted the efforts of the “Force of 50,” the ARRL Amateur Radio volunteers deployed to Puerto Rico, which, he told the Committee, were assembled and equipped within 48 hours of the initial request from the American Red Cross for volunteers.
ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, who chaired the meeting, expressed pride in the League’s efforts to provide hurricane relief to Puerto Rico and requested that Gallagher relay the Executive Committee’s appreciation to the Headquarters staff for its efforts to assist with hurricane relief efforts.
- The Executive Committee directed Gallagher, who serves as its Secretary, to call a special meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors this fall to consider recommendations from the Ethics and Elections Committee and related items.
- Executive Committee Member and Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, told the panel that the legislative team is continuing to work all avenues to secure passage and implementation of S. 1534, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017.
- The Committee asked Imlay to work with ARRL resources to develop recommendations for possible deregulation of the Amateur Service rules. The Technology Advisory Council in August issued a Public Notice inviting comments identifying FCC technical rules that may be obsolete or ripe for change in light of current communication technologies.
- The committee directed Imlay to prepare and file a request for an FCC declaratory ruling, asking the Commission to correct discrepancies between Part 73, which regulates broadcasting, and Part 97, which governs Amateur Radio. §73.102.7(c) allows a broadcaster to retransmit an Amateur Service signal without the licensee’s consent. §97.113(b) largely prohibits “any form of broadcasting,” and prohibits amateur stations from engaging “in any activity related to program production or news gathering for broadcasting purposes,” except in certain emergency situations.
Minutes of the October 14, 2017 meeting of the ARRL Executive Committee have been posted on the ARRL website.