Friday, January 12, 2018

Update: ARRL Revises Proposed Changes to Articles of Association and By-Laws



The ARRL Executive Committee is scaling back proposed changes to its Articles of Association and By-Laws after a release of their preliminary versions caused a firestorm among League members and affiliated clubs.

In a very informative posting on his division webpage, ARRL Central Division Director Kermit Carlson, W9XA, explains to the members of his division what his priorities are in regard to the proposed changes, along with the final - revised - versions of the actual motions. Based on these updated motions, it appears that proposals regarding membership revocation and disciplinary action against directors and officers will not be on the table. In addition, Carlson has posted the text of a motion he will introduce to amend the so-called "code of conduct" for directors to remove prohibitions on directors telling their members how they voted on various motions, as well as the statement that board members "must accept and publicly support Board decisions." Instead, the code would state that directors may not make public statements that "have the purpose or effect of undermining, discrediting or disparaging the decisions or actions of the Board."

All of this is posted on the ARRL Central Division webpage at <http://www.central.arrl.org/>.

We recommend that everyone read Mr. Carlson's excellent letter as well as the current texts of the motions that will be considered next weekend. Of course, final decisions on the wording of each motion will be up to the board members when they meet. Motions may be amended, adopted, deferred or defeated, and we won't know the final disposition of any of them until after the board meeting on January 19 and 20.

We thank Kermit for sharing this updated information with his members and, by extension, the entire amateur radio community. We also thank the Executive Committee for its responsiveness in making appropriate changes to address valid member concerns. This is representative democracy in action.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

CQ White Paper Follow-Up - ARRL: "We Have Met the Enemy ... and He Is Us"




A CQ White Paper Follow-Up…
ARRL: "We Have Met the Enemy … and He Is Us"

In our previous white paper on secrecy and censure at the ARRL, we asked "What is the ARRL So Afraid Of?" The answer is becoming disturbingly clear. The League's top leadership appears to be afraid of at least some members of its own board of directors, or to quote cartoonist Walt Kelly's Pogo Possum, "We have met the enemy … and he is us."

Proposed changes to the ARRL's Articles of Association and By-Laws, scheduled to be considered by the board later this month, appear to focus largely on tightening control over who may serve on the board of directors and impose Draconian sanctions on board members and officers who stray from the "party line." We find these proposals worrisome and feel they are inappropriate for a membership organization. Even more disturbing is a statement by the League's CEO that it's improper for the members to have seen these proposed changes before the board has had an opportunity to discuss and vote on them.

Expulsions: A Clarification
The proposed changes have already been making the rounds on the internet and have generated a great deal of discussion, as well as letters of concern from several major DX and contest groups and other leading hams. One of the most-widely discussed proposals is a provision allowing the League board to expel a member "for cause." To be clear, the board already has this power – Article 11 of the current Articles of Association states, in part, "Nothing herein contained shall preclude the Board of Directors from expelling a member upon good cause shown and after notice and an opportunity to be heard."  However, there is no mechanism provided for determining what constitutes "good cause" nor are there specific procedures in place for expelling a member. The proposed change provides a little bit more structure but still leaves the provision very much open to interpretation by the board. But the primary focus of this proposed change, it seems to us, is to provide a vehicle for punishing directors or officers who step out of line.

Packing the Board
One of the proposals would make the president and three vice presidents full voting members of the board of directors (except for voting on their own elections). Currently, vice presidents have no vote and the president may vote only to break a tie. Since the officers are elected by the directors rather than the members, this would create a bloc of four voting board members who are responsible only to the other directors, not directly to the ARRL membership. It would also increase the size of the board from 15 to 19 members, making it more difficult to get a majority to vote in favor of a proposal which the officers may not support. Approval of this proposal would also call into question the continued validity of the provision in Article 1 of the Articles of Association which states that, since 1915, "(t)he affairs of the corporation have been … continuously governed by a Board of Directors selected by the membership." Making officers full voting members will mean that the board will no longer be completely "selected by the membership."

Other proposals appear aimed at intimidating board members to toe the line or face sanctions up to and including removal from office by revoking the person's ARRL membership. Bottom line, if all of these proposals are adopted: If you are a director and incur the ire of 2/3 of your colleagues (including the bloc of four officers), you could not only be kicked off the board but kicked out of the ARRL, making sure you can never run for office again. Lesser sanctions, such as censure or reprimand, would also be permitted, but in these cases, the proposal states that board members or officers subject to these actions would not be given advance notice or an opportunity to be heard on the matter. This is simply unacceptable.

There are other board-directed proposals as well, such as adding a vice president (appointed by the president) as a voting member of the Executive Committee; making the attendance of vice directors at board meetings by invitation only (currently, vice directors routinely attend as observers, without the right to speak or vote unless their director is absent, but participate in informal discussions when the board is not in formal session); giving the Elections and Ethics Committee even greater power over determining who may run for office; and mandating the use of binding arbitration (rather than lawsuits) for any disagreements among board members, or between a board member and the League, that cannot be amicably resolved among themselves.

Proposals that would directly affect the members include one to remove a specific dues figure from the by-laws (meaning that a simple majority of the board would then be able to raise dues rather than the two-thirds currently required), and one to end the practice of extending life membership to a family member after the primary life member has become a Silent Key.

ARRL Leadership: Members Should Not See These Proposals Prior to Board Action
As we analyzed these proposals and began seeing letters being sent to ARRL directors by various clubs and individual members, we realized that we had not yet heard anything from League leadership as to why these changes might be beneficial (the main proposals came from the Executive Committee, not the sponsoring director as an individual). We asked CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, and President Rick Roderick, K5UR, to share the perspective of ARRL leadership.

Tom Gallagher replied for both of them by a) pleading ignorance to which proposals we were asking about - "The board reviews governing document changes at almost every meeting…" - and b) by stating that the members should never have seen the proposals prior to board consideration and action. "At all times in the past, such proposals have been treated as board-confidential, transmitted only to board members for their consideration before any public discussion. Apparently, a recipient of that material has seen fit to distribute these draft documents publicly, before his colleagues have had a chance to review them." 

CQ's Perspective
In our view, this is a) not quite accurate, and b) illustrative of the problem we've been highlighting for many months. We recall that, back in the 1980s and '90s, at least one director would regularly review proposals coming up for board action with his "cabinet" (assistant directors, section Field Organization leaders and club presidents) prior to board meetings to seek their input and guidance on making his voting decisions. There was never a suggestion that this might in any way be improper.
 
The second problem is that keeping proposed changes "board-confidential" until after the board has acted on them takes away the members' rights and responsibility to provide guidance to their elected representatives and perhaps influence the decision-making process. This is how a membership organization and a representative democracy work. Imagine if bills before Congress were kept secret until after the members had voted on them; or proposals before the FCC were not made public prior to a Commission vote. At that point, it would be too late for the people casting the votes - be they FCC commissioners, members of Congress or ARRL directors - to hear all sides and perhaps consider changes that might accomplish the same goals while satisfying the majority of people with concerns. It is much easier to change a proposal prior to enactment than to later amend or rescind it. Airing proposals prior to a vote encourages "getting it right" the first time rather than needing to go back and try to "fix" things after the fact.
 
We congratulate the League director(s) - whomever he/she/they may be - who "(saw) fit to distribute these draft documents publicly" prior to the board meeting, so that we as a community might engage in civil discussion and debate ahead of any vote and provide guidance to our elected representatives on the different viewpoints of the members they represent. We encourage all ARRL members to review these proposals and make your views known - whatever they may be - to your elected representatives. Openness and transparency make for good governance; secrecy does not. The board meeting is on January 19th and 20th.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

CQ to "Jump-Start" Print Edition With January Issue - November and December Issues to be Digital Only


Readers of CQ magazine's print edition are well aware we have been behind schedule on printing and mailing our issues on a timely basis. We apologize for these delays, which resulted from a variety of little things going wrong, all at the same time.

Rather than trying to play catch-up over the course of the next several months, we have made the decision to allow the November and December 2017 issues to remain as digital-only issues, and to jump-start our print edition with the January 2018 issue. This will enable us to get back and stay on schedule as we move toward our 75th anniversary of serving the amateur radio community. The January issue is at the printer being processed right now. Please note: All print subscriptions are being extended for two months.

Anyone may access the digital editions of the November and December issues using the following links:
CQ December 2017: http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issue=416437244&o=ext
CQ November 2017: http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issue=416434275&o=ext
Please view in Firefox.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Changes Proposed to ARRL Governing Documents


The ARRL board of directors will be considering a proposal at its January meeting to make significant changes to the League's Articles of Association and By-Laws. A three-fourths vote of the board is required to change the Articles of Association or the By-Laws, but that drops to two-thirds if the proposed changes have been mailed or e-mailed to all directors at least 30 days before voting.

Among the proposed changes, a simple majority of the board of directors will be able to revoke League membership "for cause" and the board will be able to remove directors by revoking their League membership; lesser disciplinary actions against board members, such as censure, will be allowed without the member receiving advance notice or an opportunity to respond to allegations. In addition, current, past and future board members will be prohibited from suing the League or fellow board members, with all disputes instead being required to go to binding arbitration without the possibility of appeal.

According to a draft of the proposals received by CQ, highlights of the proposed changes include:

In the Articles of Association,
- Removing the ability of the Executive Committee to present items for a vote by the full board of directors in between board meetings by mail or e-mail;
- Requiring compliance with the League's new code of conduct for directors as a condition of eligibility to seek election as a director, vice director or officer;
- Providing the board with the ability to remove from office or apply "other appropriate sanctions for cause" directors, vice directors and officers (more details are in proposed changes to the by-laws);
- Two new articles limit any financial liability of current, past and future directors and officers for "breach of duty" to the amount of compensation received for serving on the board (which is zero), and provided that the League will cover their legal expenses in fighting such claims, except in cases of knowingly violating the law; receiving or helping someone else receive "improper personal economic gain," "conscious disregard" of his/her duty as a director or officer, or a "sustained and unexcused pattern of inattention" that constitutes an "abdication" of the person's responsibility as a director.

In the By-Laws:
- A new provision allowing the board of directors, by majority vote, to revoke individual memberships "for cause … after affording the member an opportunity to respond in writing;"
- Removing a specific dues rate from the By-Laws, instead stating that the dues shall be an amount set by the board of directors (effectively making it possible for the board to raise dues by a majority vote rather than the two-thirds to three-fourths vote required for changing the By-Laws);
- Eliminating the current provision allowing a life membership to be transferred to a surviving spouse after the death of the primary member;
- Removing the right of vice directors to attend board meetings, except by invitation of the directors;
- Several changes to make language more gender-neutral;
- Prohibiting initiating recall elections for directors during the first 6 months of a three-year term of office or after June 1 of the term's final year;
- Adding a provision permitting the full board, by majority vote, to rescind or reverse actions taken by the Executive Committee between board meetings;
- Providing for the Ethics and Elections Committee to determine whether candidates for office are in compliance with the board's conflict of interest policy and code of conduct;
- Incorporating the board's conflict of interest policy and code of conduct into the By-Laws;
- Allowing the board to remove from office - by 2/3 vote - any officer, director or vice director "for cause" by revoking that person's ARRL membership; after providing the subject of such action with an opportunity for a hearing prior to the board vote;
- Allowing the board to reprimand or censure a member in lieu of removal; but in this case, "No advance notice or opportunity to be heard shall be applicable to the censure vote."
- Prohibiting current, future and past board members from taking the League or any of its officers or directors to court as a result of disputes among board members or between a board member and the League as a whole; rather, any disputes would be required to be submitted to binding arbitration; and "As a condition of service or continued service as an Officer, Director or Vice Director, all Officers, Directors, Vice Directors and candidates for such office will expressly waive any right to sue anyone acting on behalf of the Corporation in court either during their term of office or thereafter."

The complete text of the current Articles of Association and By-Laws, with proposed deletions (crossed out) and additions (underlined) may be viewed online at <http://www.b4h.net/ARRL_2018_Jan_Redline_BOD.pdf>.

 [Update 12/29/17]
A second, separate, motion proposes to make the president and three vice presidents full voting members of the board of directors (currently, the vice presidents have no vote and the president votes only to break a tie). The officers would not be able to vote on their own elections, however.

In addition, the motion would make the president a full voting member of all board committees (currently the president is a non-voting "ex-oficio" member), and would allow the president to appoint one vice president as a voting member of the executive committee. The vice presidents are currently non-voting members of that committee, which is responsible for making policy decisions in between full board meetings.

The full text of this proposal may be found at <http://www.kkn.net/~n6tv/N2YBB_Motions_To_Change_ARRL_ByLaws.pdf>.


Comments regarding either or both of these proposals should be made to your division director prior to the League's first 2018 board meeting, scheduled for mid-January.

W1YW Receives Patent for Electromagnetic "Invisibility Cloak"


Fractal Antenna Systems and its founder, Nathan "Chip" Cohen, W1YW, have been granted a U.S. patent for "deflective electromagnetic shielding." According to Southgate Amateur Radio News, quoting a December 19 story on "Business Wire," patent number 9,847,583 covers "electromagnetic cloaking/deflection of satellites, rockets, towers, antennas, vehicles, body coverings, people, ships, spacecraft, and many others, each uniquely recognized as novel inventions." The system uses closely-packed arrays of tiny fractal antennas to create surface waves that deflect electromagnetic signals - such as radar - around such objects as rockets, antennas, satellites and even people.

The patent summary is online at <http://bit.ly/2Cfc3lQ>.

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Building Approved for Hamvention Site


The Greene County (Ohio) Commissioners and the Greene County Fair Board have approved construction of a new building at the Fairground/Expo Center in Xenia, which is the new home of the Dayton Hamvention®. 

According to the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, the new building is expected to be completed in time for use during the 2018 Hamvention next May. In addition, the "Fairgrounds Furniture" building, which was not available for Hamvention use last year, is being vacated and will also be available. DARA says it's been told that the combined new floorspace will cover an area larger than the tents used at the 2017 Hamvention, meaning that all exhibitors should be able to have indoor booths. (Having been in one of the tents last year, we are really looking forward to this! - ed.)

Hams Support Evacuation Shelters in California's "Thomas Fire"


Amateur radio operators staffed evacuation shelters in two California counties in mid-December as the wildfire known as the "Thomas Fire" continued its path of destruction. At press time, what was described as the largest-ever California wildfire had burned nearly a quarter-million acres and destroyed more than 700 homes. 

Ham radio operators are providing communications support for Red Cross
evacuation shelters, such as this one, for people who have been forced out
of their homes by wildfires in Southern California. (American Red Cross photo)

The ARRL Letter reported that hams were providing communication support for Red Cross shelters in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, with at least some of the volunteers also being evacuees. In Santa Barbara County, ham support included an amateur radio digital MESH network that provided live-streamed video from several locations. Maintaining power was a challenge, as commercial power was out in many places and the heavy smoke made solar panels unreliable for recharging batteries. At press time, the fire was only partially contained and hams were continuing to provide communication support.

Generators for Hams In Puerto Rico


While California battles wildfires, slow recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria continues in Puerto Rico. The island's electrical and communications infrastructure was damaged by Irma and then virtually wiped out by Maria. As of mid-December, power had been restored to roughly two-thirds of Puerto Rico, but generators remained in high demand and short supply. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) is organizing the"KP4 Generator Project," which will raise funds to purchase generators for hams in Puerto Rico. WWROF says it will match the first $5000 in donations. Prominent Puerto Rican amateur Angel Vasquez, WP3R, will coordinate distribution of the generators to amateurs on the island. More information is available at <http://bit.ly/2DnEzBM>, including multiple methods of making donations.

"Flying COW" Helps Restore Cell Service in Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico is still in the process of recovering from Hurricane Maria's devastation to its electrical and communication infrastructure, and AT&T is using drone technology to provide temporary cell phone service in certain areas. 
 
Drone helicopter equipped with AT&T LTE cell site to
help restore cell service in Puerto Rico (AT&T photo)

You might be familiar with the term "COW" for a temporary "Cell on Wheels" network access site. In Puerto Rico, AT&T teamed up with drone-maker Vanu to create a "Cell on Wings" version of the COW. The phone giant installed an LTE cell site on one of Vanu's Pulse Vapor 55 drones, which looks and flies like a tiny helicopter, and has it hover 200 feet above the ground, according to AT&T. The company says it is the first-ever successful deployment of an LTE cell site on a drone. It was initially used in the San Juan are in early November, but the company planned to use it in other places as well. 

AT&T says flying COWs have a lot of potential for users of the "FirstNet" system it is developing for use by first responders in disasters.

FCC Advisory Panels Makes Interference Proposals


The FCC's Technological Advisory Council (TAC) has issued a set of recommendations for reducing and/or tolerating interference, with a subtle suggestion that the FCC needs to consider placing more responsibility for interference reduction with receiver designers. 

According to the ARRL Letter, the TAC asserted several "interference realities," specifically that harmful interference "is affected by the characteristics of both a transmitting service and a nearby receiving service in frequency, space or time," and that stations "should expect occasional service degradation or interruption." The council also proposed certain responsibilities of radio services, including that "transmitters are responsible for minimizing the amount of their transmitted energy that appears outside their assigned frequencies and licensed areas," and that "receivers are responsible for mitigating interference outside their assigned channels." The group accompanied this statement with an acknowledgment that the FCC generally does not regulate receiving systems. 

The TAC also proposed that the FCC "apply interference limits to quantify rights of protection from harmful interference," using these limits as a means to reduce interference in receivers "without mandating receiver performance specifications." 

Comments are being accepted on ET Docket 17-340 through January 31, 2018.

NASA Celebrating Multiple Anniversaries in 2018


The year 2018 is a big one for NASA, and it plans to include amateur radio in its celebrations. This year marks the agency's 60th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the first manned orbit around the moon in Apollo 8 and 20 years since the launch of the early building blocks of the International Space Station. Squeezing back a little, December 11, 2017 also marked the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17's lunar landing - the last manned craft thus far to visit the moon. 

According to Newsline, this combination of anniversaries is being observed on the ham bands with the NASA On the Air, or NOTA, program. Special event stations will be active throughout the year at several different NASA centers, sending out commemorative QSL cards for contacts and special certificates to those who qualify. For details, visit <https://go.nasa.gov/2p9K6Jm>.

Radio Caroline Gets Legal


Legendary pirate broadcaster Radio Caroline has apparently gone legit. Newsline reports that the station, which broadcast from a ship off the English coast from 1964 to 1991, is now licensed and operating on the medium-wave frequency of 648 kHz, a frequency formerly used by the BBC World Service. The station is also streaming its broadcasts over the internet. 

Some programs still originate from the station's shipboard studios aboard the restored Ross Revenge, but the ship is now moored in the River Blackwater. Reception reports have come from as far away as Italy and Japan. For more info, visit <www.radiocaroline.co.uk>

D-Star Satellite Apparently Lost in Launch Failure


D-Star One's flight spare will be the
basis for a second attempt to launch
an amateur satellite using the D-Star
protocol. (Phoro from D-Star One website)
D-Star One, the first amateur satellite to use the Japan Amateur Radio League's digital voice and data format, was among 18 secondary payloads apparently lost in a partial launch failure on November 28. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the three-stage Soyuz 2.1 booster was launched without a problem from the new Vostochny Cosmo- drome in far-eastern Russia. However, it appears that the third stage, the Fregat space tug, apparently failed to deploy the satellites it was carrying. Russia's space agency is investigating the failure.

D-Star One's website says the group will use the flight spare (pictured) as the basis for making a second launch attempt in the future. 

FCC: No-Times-Two on Callsign Request


The FCC says it sees no need to add a new callsign format for amateur stations, rejecting the second such request in less than ten years. 

Thomas Alessi, K1TA, of Stamford, Connecticut, asked the Commission last May to consider issuing Extra Class operators calls consisting of a single-letter prefix, two digits and another single letter (e.g., W22D). According to the ARRL Letter, Alessi said the FCC was running out of desirable 1x2 and 2x1 calls for Extras, and that his idea would add 7800 possible new calls to the pool. 

Scot Stone, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Mobility Division's Deputy Chief, rejected the petition in a letter to Alessi, noting that approximately 15 million possible callsign combinations currently exist, that the Commission had considered and turned down a similar proposal in 2010, and that "(y)ou have not demonstrated any changed circumstances or other reason that would warrant revisiting this decision."

JOTA Participation Down in 2017, But Still Good



Last year's scouting Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) didn't have quite the level of participation as in 2016, but was on par with activity in 2014 and 2015, according to Newsline and the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association. The worldwide scouting activity last October saw participation in the U.S. by 958 amateur radio operators, over 7800 scouts and more than 4700 non-scout visitors. Collectively, they made 7,177 contacts.

Also in radio scouting news, preliminary plans are being made for an amateur radio presence at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, scheduled for next July and August at The Summit in West Virginia. Planners have already secured the callsign NA1WJ (North America 1 World Jamboree) for use during the event. More information is available on Twitter at @NA1WJ_Scouting; general information on radio scouting may be found at <www.k2bsa.net>.

ARISS Forms Education Committee


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, has been connecting astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the ISS with school groups around the world for over a decade. Now, according to Newsline, a new committee has been formed to get more input from teachers on how ARISS can better help meet their educational goals. 

The U.S. Education Committee of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station is made up of teachers from kindergarten to college level, all tasked with making recommendations for an even better experience and a better tie-in with curricular goals, especially in "STEM" fields - science, technology, engineering and math.

Milestones: KF7DSY to Houston; "World's Oldest Ham" SK


Purdue University sophomore Jacob Nunez-Kearny, KF7DSY, is taking the spring semester off from classes to work as an intern at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. According to the ARRL Letter, Nunez-Kearny, a William R. Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship winner, is majoring in aerospace engineering and will remain a full-time student during his internship. He will resume regular classes next fall, and still expects to graduate in four years because he earned several college credits while still in high school.

He was said to be the world's oldest ham - nobody keeps official records - but French amateur Jean Touzot, F8IL, had a pretty good claim to the title at age 109! The ARRL Letter reports that Touzot became a Silent Key last fall. Up until he "retired" from active hamming in 2014 (at age 105) for health reasons, Touzot could be found daily on 80-meter CW.  He  was born in Algeria and was a licensed amateur since 1936. Touzot had retired in 1966 from a career as an industrial designer.

W1AW Returning to 6 Meters After Nearly Three Decades



W1AW bulletins and code practice have returned to the 6-meter band after an absence of nearly 30 years. Regular transmissions on the band were suspended in late 1989, according to the ARRL Letter, which says the station's only 6-meter operations since then have been by visitors and during contests. 

Code practice and bulletin transmissions are set to resume on January 2, 2018, on 50.350 MHz, with an additional function of serving as a beacon for band openings from the northeastern US on "the magic band."

Visiting New Brunswick from the US? Put Down That Mic!


 If you're licensed in the U.S. (or anywhere other than Canada, for that matter), and visiting the Canadian province of New Brunswick, don't be tempted to operate your mobile ham rig while driving. 

Newsline reports that the province's new distracted driving law contains an exemption for licensed hams, but only those licensed in Canada! 

Apparently, there's also an exemption for CB use, but only by drivers of trucks and other commercial vehicles. The report says the law applies only in New Brunswick.

SOTABEAMS Has a New Home




British antenna and accessory manufacturer SOTABEAMS has moved to new, larger, and heated (!)
The staff of SOTABEAMS
outside the company's new
headquarters in Macclesfield, England.
(Photo courtesy SOTABEAMS)
 
quarters. 


According to CEO Richard Newstead, G3CWI, the company had been operating out of an historic 19th-century silk mill in Macclesfield, England. "However," he writes, "the growing needs of our business has required new premises." 

The new facility is in a modern, 2-story, office block which Newstead says "gives us a much improved lab area for product development and more space," adding that "most importantly for our five staff (see photo), it's actually warm in the winter, too!" 

For more information, visit <www.sotabeams.co.uk>.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ARRL's Logbook of the World to Add Support for CQ WAZ Award




            (Newington, CT and Hicksville, NY – December 14, 2017) -- Participants in CQ magazine's Worked All Zones (WAZ) award program will soon be able to use the Logbook of the World (LoTW) system of ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio, to apply for the WAZ award and its endorsements, both ARRL and CQ announced today.

Amateur radio operators will be able to use LoTW logs to generate lists of confirmed contacts to be submitted for WAZ credit. Standard LoTW credit fees and separate CQ award fees will apply.

Implementation, documentation, and internal testing of the link between LoTW and WAZ is complete. ARRL and CQ are now assembling a team of external "beta testers" to assure that the link is ready for widespread use. A separate announcement will be made when LoTW's support for CQ WAZ is available to everyone.

Logbook of the World is ARRL's electronic confirmation system for amateur radio contacts. It provides a confirmation when both stations in a contact submit their logs to the system and a match between the logs is confirmed. LoTW has supported the CQ WPX Award program since 2012.

            "I am very pleased that participants in the CQ Worked All Zones award program will finally be able to use Logbook of the World confirmations in their applications for WAZ awards and endorsements," said CQ magazine Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, adding that "WPX program participants have made excellent use of this service for the past five years and we look forward to providing it to WAZ program participants as well."

“We are excited about the prospect of supporting CQ magazine’s WAZ program through Logbook of the World, as it is something that many ham radio operators have been asking for,’ said Greg Widin, K0GW, ARRL First Vice President and chair of the Logbook Study Committee “We believe this partnership will enhance the amateur radio experience for many practitioners.”

            ARRL (www.arrl.org), a noncommercial organization of radio amateurs, has a proud history of achievement as the standard-bearer in amateur affairs. ARRL’s underpinnings as Amateur Radio’s witness, partner and forum are defined by five pillars: Public Service, Advocacy, Education, Technology, and Membership.

CQ Communications, Inc. (www.cqcomm.com) is publisher of CQ Amateur Radio magazine and is the world's largest independent publisher of amateur radio magazines, books and videos. Worked All Zones is the second-oldest active award program in amateur radio, behind only the International Amateur Radio Union's Worked All Continents award.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

CQ White Paper on ARRL Secrecy and Censure

The ARRL's recent actions regarding board elections, the code of conduct for board members and the public censure of a sitting director have prompted concern and editorial comment by CQ in the December 2017 and upcoming January 2018 issues. The following White Paper provides excerpts from both.


A CQ White Paper:
What is the ARRL So Afraid Of?
 

 A string of recent actions by the ARRL board of directors has aroused concern among many members, as well as others in the amateur radio community, about its apparent desire to implement top-down control from Newington, to keep its deliberations secret and to stifle dissent, even among board members. We share those concerns.

CQ has commented on this subject editorially in the past, and new actions have prompted us to comment again in both our December and January issues. While our December editorial is already online in our digital edition, the January editorial will not go online until January 1. Since the board's recent censure of one of its members for criticizing the board policy against criticizing its policies is currently being widely discussed in the amateur community, we felt that we needed to participate fully in that conversation now, not a month from now.

The following are excerpts from CQ's December 2017 and January 2018 "Zero Bias" editorials. The December issue closed prior to the board's censure action in mid-November. We begin with an excerpt from December's "Zero Bias":


ARRL: Circling the Wagons

Just what is the ARRL is afraid of? The League's top leadership appears to be continuing and expanding its efforts to centralize decision-making in Newington and to closely control the flow of information about the organization and its activities. In doing so, it is changing the nature of the organization and depriving members in certain divisions the opportunity to choose their representatives.

Historically, ARRL leadership volunteers around the country have been given a significant amount of autonomy in how they carry out their roles and in the relationships they build with local and regional leaders of served agencies. The staff in Newington served primarily as a resource, offering assistance as needed and guidance as requested. This made a lot of sense, as needs varied in different areas and a "one-size-fits-all" approach would not be effective.

Over the last year-and-half, though, that model of decentralized decision-making has been changing, as the League's new leadership has worked consistently to consolidate power and stifle dissent ... (Last year,) the League board's Elections and Ethics Committee disqualified a sitting director from seeking re-election, apparently based on actions taken after the ballots were already in the mail. Rather than cancelling the election and putting out a new call for nominations, however, the League simply declared that the director's opponent – a former director who had been defeated two years earlier for re-election – had been elected, although it was never clear just who elected him. Members in that division were never informed that their incumbent director had been disqualified, or why. It is noteworthy that this director was a strong proponent of greater openness in League decision-making; and the actions taken to keep him from seeking re-election were taken in secret.

This past January, the ARRL board codified that secrecy when it adopted a new "Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members…" This new policy required that directors and vice directors publicly support all actions taken by the board – even if they opposed those actions prior to their adoption – and prohibited them from disclosing any individual director's vote on a matter – even their own vote – without express board permission.

Next, this summer, the Elections and Ethics Committee was at it again, this time disqualifying a sitting vice director from running for director and again not telling the division's membership. Rather, there was only a cryptic statement in a news release that the incumbent director had "qualified for re-election." We have learned that the vice director was disqualified for allegedly failing to disclose a conflict of interest, but that when he asked for specifics about that supposed conflict, his requests were ignored. In addition, he requested a hearing by the full board on the disqualification – as he is allowed to do under the ARRL by-laws – but his request was denied. To the best of our knowledge, he has not yet been told what the alleged conflict was that prompted his disqualification.

Finally, as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ravaged various parts of the Caribbean and US coasts, local ARRL Public Information Officers were essentially told not to talk with the media about ham radio activities but rather to direct all media inquiries to ARRL Headquarters (which, at the time, was without a media relations manager). In addition, headquarters shut down the League's public relations reflector, which had been a very useful tool for PIOs to compare notes and for Newington to provide guidance in their dealings with the media.

The impression one gets here is of an organization that perceives itself to be under siege and is circling the wagons to more effectively defend itself. But from whom? Who is the enemy? Its members? Its leadership volunteers who have devoted thousands of hours of personal time and more to carrying out their assigned roles? Its own elected officials who might not agree with actions taken by the majority of their colleagues? People seeking elected office who might disagree with the top leaders?

Just who is the enemy and what are the folks in Newington and on the board's executive committee so afraid of? And why all the secrecy? These are questions that League members need to ask themselves and their elected representatives; and they need to make sure they are not denied the right to vote for who those elected representatives will be. It's happened twice in the past year and a half; it's likely to happen again. How long will the members allow it to continue?

On November 14, the ARRL board voted, in a special meeting by teleconference, to censure Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA, for allegedly publicly criticizing the board's policy that prohibits directors from criticizing board policy. The following is an excerpt from CQ's January "Zero Bias" editorial, addressing that decision and its impact.

Criticized for (Allegedly) Criticizing a Ban on Criticizing…

It's beginning to look like we're living in a ham radio version of a third-world dictatorship, at least as far as our national association is concerned. Last March, we took the ARRL to task for adopting a new code of conduct for board members. Among other things, it prohibited directors and vice-directors from publicly criticizing board actions and/or from disclosing individual votes on specific matters - even their own votes! - unless the board has specifically voted to make the votes public (got that?). At that time, we criticized this move toward institutionalized secrecy, noting that secrecy breeds suspicion and that, in a membership organization, the dues-paying members have a right to know what their elected representatives are doing on their behalf and with their money.

We later got an editorial "slap on the wrist" in QST for wondering just what goes on in League board meetings that requires such secrecy, noting that the ARRL is essentially a big ham radio club, not the National Security Council.

Now, it seems that longtime Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA - who voted against the adoption of this code of conduct last January - has been formally censured by the League board for allegedly criticizing the code and its mandate of secrecy "at a public Amateur Radio gathering," an action reportedly taken in response to a complaint by an unidentified League member. (Other members attending the same public gathering reported that this never happened and that, in fact, Norton said he supported the League's policy.) The vote, taken in a special telephone session on November 14, was 11-to-3, with one abstention. (The full report of the meeting, including individual votes, is at <http://bit.ly/2jOJ3Zu>.)

The board said that Norton, by allegedly stating his opposition to the new policy, was "criticizing publicly the collective action of the Board of Directors adopting said Code of Conduct and drawing the Board's collective decision making into disrepute." The board resolution continued to say that Norton's criticism of this policy had "caused harm to the League" and constituted "unacceptable behavior as an ARRL Board member."

Bull.

This action by the League board - not any statements by an individual member - is what is causing "harm to the League" and "drawing the Board's collective decision making into disrepute." This is America, folks. Our nation is built on traditions of free speech and the freedom to dissent, to publicly criticize the government and to speak truth to power.

Imagine if votes in Congress were secret and members could be censured for speaking out in opposition to a bill once it had been passed and signed into law. This is the equivalent on a smaller scale.

No, the ARRL is not a government body, so the free speech and dissent protections of the Bill of Rights do not strictly apply. But it is, in theory at least, a democratic organization governed by the members' elected representatives. The members have an absolute right to know how their representatives are voting on matters that come before them. How else would you know whether your representative is voting in your best interest and whether you should vote to re-elect that person when his/her term is up?

(Interestingly, it has been pointed out to us that a majority of the current League board members have not actually been elected, but rather have been either appointed to fill a vacancy or put into/kept in office by virtue of potential opponents being disqualified from running, sometimes on very questionable grounds and, again, shrouded in secrecy.)

We will say this again, at risk of being censured ourselves: The ARRL is not the National Security Council. None of the matters that come before the League board are so sensitive that they require absolute secrecy. Prohibiting dissent, and prohibiting elected representatives from discussing their views and their votes with their constituents is un-American. Elected representatives should, in nearly all cases, be elected rather than appointed ... Excessive secrecy and punishment for dissent are undemocratic and un-American; they should not be tolerated by the members of an organization that operates in that manner.

Click here to view the complete text of our December editorial which is also, of course, in the December issue of CQ. The full text of the January editorial will be posted at the beginning of January and published in the January issue of CQ.

CQ Amateur Radio, 17 West John Street, Hicksville, NY 11801
www.cq-amateur-radio.com



Monday, November 27, 2017

ARRL Board Censures Director


Longtime ARRL Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA, has been publicly censured by the League's board of directors for allegedly telling members that he opposes a board policy that prohibits directors from criticizing board policies. Last January, the board adopted a code of conduct for its members that included a prohibition on speaking publicly about votes on issues before the board and on criticizing board actions. 

According to the ARRL, Norton repeatedly violated this and other provisions of the code, even after being warned to stop. His actions, the board ruled, drew "the Board's collective decision making into disrepute" and "caused harm to the League." The resolution stated that "Mr. Norton is admonished by the Board that no further, similar behavior will be tolerated." Several amateurs who attended the meeting at which this criticism supposedly occurred have denied that it ever happened, and said that Norton presented the policy in neutral terms and said that he supported it.