Massachusetts — Letter to Hams

October 4, 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 Massachusetts, I thought I’d talk about Massachusetts.

Newton South

                I was born in Boston, living there until age 5, raised in Newton Centre, and later Waban (both part of Newton).  Growing up I was a member of the Waltham Amateur Radio Club, W1MHL, and enjoyed many Field Day operations with them, spending time on the 04/64 machine as well. I graduated from Newton South, where I was president of the Amateur Radio Club. We had about six members. W1YY was one of them, KA1HDR – who lives in Newton Centre and Falmouth—was another. My parents lived in Waban until they passed.

Boston and Cambridge

                I’ve actually had the chance to go to school on both sides of the Charles River — to BC Law and Harvard Business School. Yeah, yeah, I know that HBS is in Allston, but I was cross-registered into Harvard Law School, so I did go to school on both sides of the river.  For over a decade I’ve been the volunteer General Counsel for the Harvard Wireless Club, W1AF. I also volunteer for the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Lincoln

After living for a while in Cambridge, I bought a home in Lincoln, where I’ve lived since 1980. My kids went to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. My son, a mechanical engineer with National Grid, now has a home in Medford. (I have no idea where the interest and skill in mechanical engineering came from. It casts doubt on his paternity.) But Lincoln is where I have a tower and antenna systems — where I get on the air. My wife is a physician in Waltham, affiliated with St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. www.hillsideassociates.org

Work in MA

                It was my pleasure to represent KB1IPR of Whately (a Suburb of Amherst) in his case at the zoning board level. He’s a really smart dude who created some great exhibits which proved to be very helpful in the case, and the case had a great outcome, which you can read about at http://www.antennazoning.com/docs/chedester-decision.pdf. If you want to see more of the papers in that case, you can find them at http://www.antennazoning.com/main/page_amateur_radio_legal_library.html .

                For lack of space, and privacy reasons, I’m not mentioning my work for other radio hams in MA.  Bottom line:  I have Massachusetts connections, and yes, you can invite me to your club, or see me in New Hampshire where I will have a table at NEAR-fest.

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 Massachusetts 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 and see you at NEAR-fest, where I’ll have a table,

Fred K1VR