On Thursday, October 4, I had a chance to visit and speak with the boys at SEMARA, the Southeastern Massachusetts ARA, W1AEC. The club owns ~three acres with a club house (originally purchased in the 1950’s) and they have a 180′ cell tower in their backyard to produce income for the club and their scholarship fund. 

This is a great group of guys, and they had a few interesting ideas for ARRL 2.0.

Vermont — Letter to Hams

So how did I get the call K1 “Vermont Radio”?

October 2, 2018

                I’m a candidate for NE England Division Director of the ARRL. You will soon receive, or you may have already received, a ballot asking you to vote in the election, and I want your vote.

As you live in Vermont, I thought I’d talk about Vermont.

K1 Vermont Radio

                So how did I get the call K1 “Vermont Radio”?  Around 1975 I bought 10 acres, plus a piece of 50 acres of common land (my share = a total of 18 acres), in Roxbury, VT. This is on the Eastern side of what is known as the Roxbury Gap Crossing. That’s the road to what some people call “sin valley,” where Sugarbush is located. Basically, I’d done a lot of skiing in Warren, and figured that someday I’d build a tiny house on a hilltop (Cram Hill) for weekends. I still own that land, but life intervened.

                I married a girl from New Jersey. You know where New Jersey is – it is right next to New York, where so many Vermonters come from! (Ooops. I didn’t mean to step on that sore toe.) But my wife never took to the camping on that hilltop that I so much enjoyed, and my small house in Roxbury never came to pass.

                But I did once drag a bunch of friends up that hill to operate field day in the two transmitter, battery operated class, with all wire antennas. We had fun!


                As recently as last year, I was invited to Ham-Con and spoke about strategies for hams with CC&Rs (Common Covenants and Restraints) that they must live with, if they live in a situation with a homeowner association.  My advice was, and still is, DON’T DO IT. But I’ll gladly send a copy of the PowerPoint to anyone made the mistake and who asks for a copy.

                In any event, I’m itching to go back to Al’s French Frys.

Burlington Broadcasters

                It was my great privilege to work on the team of lawyers defending WIZN’s antenna permit in Charlotte, VT.  If you’d like to read some paperwork in that case, see .

                Basically, this case was brought before the (no longer existing) Vermont Environmental Board, claiming that it presented the possibility of poisonous RF transmissions. Though we lost every motion along the way to limit the submission of crazy articles and evidence, after an extensive hearing in Charlotte, WIZN prevailed (9-0). I still have, and proudly wear, my WIZN T-shirt.

Other Work in VT

                I’ve also done other commercial work on antenna systems in Vermont, in places like the Northeast Kingdom, Bennington and Springfield.  

                It was my great pleasure to represent N1CIV, in Hartford, VT, in winning a tower permit.  And I worked with W1SOV and others to draft what became 24 V.S.A. § 2296, Vermont’s statute on the regulation of amateur radio towers, a Vermont version of PRB-1.

                The bottom line:  I have Vermont connections, and yes, you will see me in Vermont!

And now, some questions about the ARRL

  • Should the ARRL promote the Amateur Radio Parity Act? I have significant issues with the wording of the bill. What If you have a camp near a lake and you’re a member of a road association, to plow the roads? As the proposed bill is drafted, you’d have to get prior approval from the road association before you could erect an antenna.
  • Matters concerning candidates for director or vice-director of the ARRL have been considered “personnel matters” and are discussed behind closed doors. The result is that candidates have been disqualified that I don’t believe should have been disqualified. And in the past it has been almost impossible to discern what really happened and the reasons for disqualification. Do you think candidates for office should be disqualified for reasons we may never know? Or do you think the voters should decide?
  •  Should major changes in the governance of the League be circulated to the membership before consideration by the Board, so as to solicit input from the membership? Last year, the ARRL Directors created a Code of Conduct that essentially prohibited directors from criticizing decisions with which they did not agree. When this became public, many members objected, and many of the proposed parts of the Code of Conduct were eliminated.
  • In this modern day, when teleconferencing is easy and inexpensive, should teleconferencing be used in-between full Board meetings?
  • Have you worked on proposals being considered by the DX Advisory Committee? The Contest Advisory Committee? Or any Advisory Committee?  How did that work out for you? Did the Board pay attention to the committee’s recommendations?
  • Two years ago, the ARRL raised dues and raised some fees (if you use the QSL Bureau, you are paying a lot more now). Are there other strategies that should be tried?
  • ARRL Membership has declined significantly over the past two years, and only what I’d call a small percentage of Vermont hams are ARRL members. Shouldn’t the percentage be higher? I have some ideas on how to make that happen. 

                As you can learn from my questions, I have opinions about how things are working at the ARRL Board level. I hope you have the confidence to vote from me.  The incumbent has been in office for just short of forever (it has been over 20 years), and I think it is time for a change. I promise that I won’t hold the office for 20 years.

Please cast your vote when the paper ballot arrives for Fred Hopengarten, K1VR. 73,

Fred K1VR

Monday, September 17: Approved

YES! The Ethics & Elections Committee has approved my “ballot statement.” Here it is:

I’m running for ARRL New England Division Director.

Born and raised in the Boston area, I’ve been an active ham since 1956, with stops at Colby, BC Law and Harvard Business School. Throughout, the ARRL was there for me; I’ve been a Life Member since 1975 and Diamond Club-level donor to the League. I wrote Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur – one of ARRL’s most highly-acclaimed books. As Volunteer Counsel, I’ve helped hams get tower permits all over the country. I’ve guided hams throughout our hobby – in EMCOMM, experimenting, contesting, and public service.

In my view, the ARRL Board has not delivered on its historic mission.  I think:

  • There is a culture of Board secrecy,
  • Changes in the National Traffic System were badly handled,
  •  ARES has troubles,
  • The Amateur Radio Parity Act was a mis-guided initiative,
  • We should attract more new members, and
  • Amateur radio could retain more Technicians.

Membership is declining and aging, indicating a failure of leadership, perhaps an alienated membership. I fear our future is not secure.

We must get ARRL back on track – embracing transparency, becoming member-driven again, and focusing on issues that are critical to the future of our hobby.

Amateur Radio should be a modern, relevant, vibrant and nationally important resource – with new leadership from an enlightened Board that is open and invites membership participation on important issues.

I will use my ham radio and professional background to transform a failing ARRL Board into a healthy and viable organization for the benefit of Amateur Radio. Together, we will chart a new path for the ARRL – an organization that must succeed for ham radio to prosper. To vote for ham radio’s future, please vote for me as New England Division Director.

More? See