Great Lakes Division
Serving Radio Amateurs in the Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky Sections
Great Lakes Director
|8th Area Incoming QSL Bureau|
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Great Lakes Division of the
American Radio Relay League
Dear Fellow GLD member or visitor,
As it does each year, summer has come to an end. Ask any student in grade or high school and they will say it ended the first day they returned to school. For radio amateurs, the time has come to plan those last-minute antenna updates. I said, plan, not do. I adhere to the second corollary to Chisholm's first law of human interaction (or some such law) that says the worse the weather is when antenna work is done, the longer the antenna will stay up. I have to admit, though, that the way the weather has been around my part of the US the past several weeks, I am beginning to wonder if there is any such phenomena as truly bad weather any longer.
In my previous message, I stressed that the existence of a fully-functional ARRL is critical to the continued existence of Amateur Radio. I noted that this is true of all phases of hamming, regardless of how one uses the benefits that come with an Amateur Radio license. This is just as true for the amateur who enjoys nothing more than using a VHF/UHF HT as it is for the hot contester or DXer with a huge antenna farm that covers all amateur bands. Without ARRL, there would be no Amateur Radio -- there would be no DXing, no contesting, no rag chewing, no public service communications . . . no using a UHF/VHF mobile or HT to keep in touch with home or someone else.
Every ham operator owes his ability to obtain an Amateur Radio license to the work ARRL does to represent our great avocation before the US FCC, NTIA and Congress, and before the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) agency. The strength of ARRL in representing the best interest of Amateur Radio and radio amateurs relates to the number of amateurs who belong to it and who actively participate in its affairs. Although it is impossible to know for certain, it is estimated that only 50% of people who hold valid FCC Amateur Radio licenses are active in hamming in one way or another. Of these, approximately 50% belong to ARRL.
The question raised by the latter figure is why don't more active hams support ARRL?
I am certain there are several answers to this question, There are amateurs who have no understanding of the benefit ARRL brings to them and their ability to hold and activate amateur licenses. There are some who are angry with ARRL because of an action it took twenty or more years ago -- e.g. supporting incentive licensing -- and are trying to "show"" the League the error of its ways. There are people who don't like something about the new, digital version of QST -- the way it displays, whether they can save it to a notebook to read it while travelling or something else. There are some who do not like the way listings in the Repeater Directory are laid out (they are laid out precisely in the manner the several repeater councils provide the information). Some think the League devotes too much effort toward DXing or to contesting or to EmComm, or to technical issues or to (please insert your pet peeve here) and refuse to join.
To be fully honest with you, every reason for refusing to join ARRL that I have heard throughout the 10 years during which I've been Director of this Division are pretty darned lame compared with the great benefit the League offers to all amateurs -- the ability to be Amateur Radio operators and get on the air.
To be fully honest, again, the ultimate fact is that not everything ARRL leadership does makes me totally happy. This leadership includes those of us who have served and are currently serving on the Board. This ultimate fact of course is the result that we each are individuals who have our own thoughts, our own likes and our own dislikes. Even so, I think ARRL over the decades has done and continues to do a pretty good job of protecting and growing Amateur Radio.
If you find an organization that is, indeed, more capable of providing protection and support for Amateur Radio in the US and worldwide than ARRL, join it; support it. Until an organization that runs rings around the League in performing its duties toward Amateur Radio and our fellow hams shows up, wouldn't it be the wise thing to do to support the only organization that is doing the job now and that has the ability to continue to do the job many years into the future?
73, get on the air and enjoy the FCC license that ARRL has made it possible for you to have.