Posts Tagged ‘Opinion’
There’s been a festering, ongoing social media battle over Hamvention, its new venue, the fairground in Xenia, and the old Hara arena. It seems this has bubbled up to the surface again with the recent tornado disaster in Trotwood which severely damaged homes and the venerable, but severely dilapidated Hara Arena.
I won’t dispute that Hara was a dump. It was a major dump. It was abused over the years and its long tenuous financial history is available for anyone who wants to find it on the interwebs. Despite being a dump, Hara was an ideal venue for the Hamvention. Hamvention started there, grew with Hara even through its physical decline, and the legendary event arguably was molded and enabled by the capabilities the site offered. Hara may be rebuilt and Hamvention may or may not return to Hara, but I’m not going to bet on it or even entertain the thought.
What bothers me is that some dismiss any commentary or criticism of the Xenia location as merely Hara Arena fanatics sore over the loss of Hara, or simply as complainers. That’s not the case. I’ll acknowledge that Xenia was likely the best choice out of a few choices at the time, but it’s just not well suited long term for the Hamvention. There’s a lack of major highways and hotels nearby. The mud pit parking has become legendary. The buildings are more suited to host livestock than technology. The flea market is in the grassy track center, because, well, there’s no where else to put it. And last, the venue doesn’t feel like the largest amateur radio gathering in the western hemisphere. It feels like a county fair with amateur radio.
It’s not realistic to think Hamvention will return to Hara anytime soon. I think what many of us would like to see is a realization that Xenia isn’t an ideal location, and it has changed the character of the event. Xenia was a prudent, stopgap measure taken under difficult circumstances. Now that the immediate threat to the future of the event has passed, the Hamvention powers that be should seek a better venue for Hamvention and not settle for Xenia.
This article originally appeared on Radio Artisan.
In the past I’ve been a strong proponent of ARRL. I often mentally tied the past and future success or failure of amateur radio to the organization. I’ve come to the conclusion that this just isn’t the case, and in my evolving opinion the organization is becoming less relevant as time goes on. The elected leadership hierarchy to me seems archaic. I tend to doubt the slate of new blood “change” candidates which got elected will change much, as long as the majority of ARRL leadership, and to some extent the general population of amateurs in the US, continues to have the demographic makeup that it does. My life membership has essentially become a good deal on a perpetual magazine subscription, assuming that I don’t get hit by a bus anytime soon. I’m convinced it’s non-centralized grass roots efforts from individuals that are going to make or break amateur radio in the coming decades.
So, one of my 2019 “amateur radio resolutions” is to stop worrying and pontificating about ARRL, and be that individual that leads my own grass root effort.
I have my opinion on ARRL asking FCC to grant more HF privileges to Technician-class licensees.
I verbalize them in this video:
After you hear my comments, please leave your comments.
Thanks, 73 de NW7US dit dit
The following open letter to the ARRL Board of Directors and Leadership is in concert with many others coming from current members in response to the activities occurring at the ARRL Leadership level.
To: All ARRL Directors and Officers
Many actions–policy and governance–taken by the League’s leadership over the past two years trouble me. Formalization of specific actions planned for the Board meeting on January 19, 2018, specifically worries me.
At this time, any action taken by the ARRL Board of Directors cause me concern. As a result of this, I add my name to those seeking that the Board delay consideration of any ByLaw changes at the January 19 Board meeting.
In particular, I strongly urge you to:
1. Reject any proposal to allow the President and individual Vice-Presidents to vote as Directors.
2. Reject any provision that allows expulsion of an ARRL member “for cause” without delineated criteria.
3. Reject any provision that allows expulsion of any Director, Vice-Director of Officer for bringing ARRL into “disrepute” without specific criteria.
4. Reject any provision that reduces Members’ ability to recall a sitting Director.
5. Reject any current or proposed provision that allows the Board to disqualify candidates for elected office without full disclosure of the reasons for such disqualification.
6. Reject any proposal that would allow the Board to designate replacements for Directors instead of appointing an elected Vice Director or other elective processes.
7. Reject any current or proposed provision that allows censure, removal or other disciplines of a Director for revealing or openly discussing any view expressed at a Board meeting that is not consistent with the Board’s action.
8. Adopt a policy that elected Directors, and Vice Directors are not “personnel” for the purposes of declaring that any information about removal or disqualification is confidential and may not be released.
It is crucial that ARRL remain a solidly democratic, membership-based organization with principles of openness and accessibility through our elected Directors. I urge you to vote per my wishes at the January 19 meeting.
Beyond these issues of governance, I am concerned about the policy-making process of the ARRL leadership–leadership that I feel has become much less Member-driven, and that no longer reflects the needs of the Membership.
Ham radio is in a time of transition. The ARRL must focus on the issues that make a difference for the future success of the hobby.
73, Tomas Hood / NW7US
More information about this effort:
myARRLvoice is an independent grassroots group of amateur radio operators working on behalf of our fellow Members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), monitoring the activity of its leadership and advocating change to optimize the organization’s effectiveness in matters of policy and governance, and to foster ethical and competent stewardship.
myARRLvoice acts as a vehicle for ARRL Members to make their voices heard on matters of governance and policy, and to participate in the policy-setting process, holding our elected and appointed leaders accountable. We strive to make the activities of ARRL leadership more transparent by insisting on the creation and dissemination of records of the deliberations and actions of all ARRL Boards, Committees, and the operational Executive Team.
myARRLvoice believes that good ARRL stewardship can only be achieved through a check and balance system that includes the watchful eye of the Membership.
Visit the website at www.myarrlvoice.org
For the first time in my amateur radio career, I’m beginning to look upon ARRL unfavorably. About 15 years ago after I acquired a lifetime subscription, my grandfather chastised me saying I’d eventually grow tired of the League and would regret my subscription. I’m sad to say I think that day may have come.
Over the years I’ve defended ARRL, in both in person conversations and online. ARRL attracts a lot of haters, often unfairly, for wrong reasons. For example, I’ve witnessed many hams hate ARRL, claiming they don’t like CW and worked to eliminate it, despite ARRL supporting code testing for Extra licensing in their FCC comments filings years ago, and offering daily code bulletins and practice over the air. Despite ARRL’s faults and shortcomings, amateur radio would not be where it is today, and perhaps not even exist, if it wasn’t for ARRL.
With the recent Code of Conduct and censure incident and the proposed voting and membership changes, I’m left with the impression of an organization that is closed, secretive, adverse to dissent, and focused on self-preservation. The Force of 50 debacle points to an organization eager to project to the public a disaster response “photo-op” image that neither the organization or the amateur radio service supports or deserves. Over the years I’ve personally seen other examples that support these two impressions but never dwelled on them as ARRL garnered my utmost respect as I felt that the League, despite its flaws, in general was taking amateur radio in the right direction. I no longer have that confidence in the organization.
While I could end my diatribe with the paragraph above, I really want to explore or ask, what is the solution to “fixing” ARRL? ARRL does a great job with publications and education, contesting, and lobbying the FCC. Does the large and seemingly complicated hierarchal governance structure really serve a purpose today? It appears that structure is geared more towards emergency communications initiatives than an effective membership feedback vehicle or advancing the radio art. Is this structure the problem and ARRL needs to be transformed into more of a flat, responsive, grass-roots kind of organization?
This article was originally published at Radio Artisan.
Some of you wanted to see the complete version, uncut, of this video in which I discuss the differences between CB and the Amateur Radio Service. This is in response to the recent episode in which the NCIS writers missed a great opportunity to discover the vibrant reality of the current amateur radio service in the United States of America.
The previous version of the video was prematurely cut short by just over three minutes. This version includes that ending. I also remove some of the low-end rumblings from the vehicle. This version should sound a little bit less annoying. Hopefully, the quality of the video is sharper, as well. This version was edited by Adobe Premiere CC 2017.
I appreciate the many comments, views, and shares. Please subscribe, too!
73 from Omaha!
I think we have to keep in mind, that for many of the Activators, this is not a "free" exercise. Maybe they have to pay to get into a National Park, perhaps not. Destinations a long way from home involve gas, wear and tear on the car, perhaps even lodging and meals. There are also other considerations that don't involve money, but still involve expense. Time away from home, friends and family. These all factor into the equation.
Yes, Activators are putting the Parks on the air, because they want to. No one is holding a gun to their heads. So they pretty much ignore the personal expense because they're having a good time and are getting some personal satisfaction from doing their activations. At the same time, they are giving all the Chasers something invaluable, too. They are giving you a good time! They are providing you with something fun, something exciting, and new.
There have been anecdotes told of those who have their dwindling interest in the hobby rekindled because of NPOTA. In my own personal experience, I had a dormant Ham come up to me while I was activating the National Gateway (RC08) at Sandy Hook, NJ. He saw my antenna and me, sitting at my little table, putting The Hook on the air. He bicycled up and introduced himself with this name and call and proceeded to ask me "What's going on?" He then proceeded to tell me how he was licensed, but was inactive. I in turn, explained all about NPOTA and portable ops. Not only was his interest in the hobby rekindled (you could tell by "that look" in his eyes), but he also brought his young son over to take a look. You could almost see the light bulb go off over his head. To him, the idea of not being stuck in a Ham shack, but being able to be operate outside in the sunshine, with the breeze in his hair struck a resonant chord with him. It was almost like he never thought of the possibility before.
Let's also not forget that NPOTA is not a contest. Yes, there's a Leader Board and yes, stats are being kept; but that doesn't mean that NPOTA is radio sport and nothing else. If anything, it's an operating event - designed by the ARRL to put a new, shiny face on our wonderful hobby.
With that, I'm going to go off on a tangent here, and am going to state my personal opinion that Amateur Radio has gone somewhat off the rails and has become too much "radio sport". We worry too much about DXCC tallies and contests in general. Look, I'm as guilty as anyone else in that regard, as I run a QRP contest each August ........ but what's happened to the rag chew? When was the last time you had a QSO with a DX station that was more than "599 TU"? When was the last time you talked about the weather with a foreign Ham, or about some other subject not related directly to radio?
I remember when I was a Novice in the late 70s, and actually had conversations with DX stations! I know, unheard of, right? And the QSL cards I received actually contained friendly letters, sometimes with photos of the DX Ham's station or hometown. Why have we largely gotten away from that? That was the best part of the hobby!
Before I get accused of contest bashing - let me state that radio sport has its time and place. There are people that exist only for that - and that's fine. That's another facet of this hobby that is perfectly legitimate. However, it seems to me that we've let a little bit too much of that mentality creep into the rest of our hobby. We worry too much about scores, standings and results. I think what we need to do is slow down and enjoy the journey and not worry so much about the destination.
The journey is the fun part and the destination should be the fond memories of the things we enjoyed along the way. We need to exist for each other, not just for standings, results, wallpaper and trophies.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!