New Hampshire — Letter to Hams

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 New Hampshire, I thought I’d talk about New Hampshire.

Brewster Academy, Wolfeborough

                My wife and I sent our son to Brewster.  It turned out to be a very good idea, as he went on to earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Union College (NY). As a result of his time at Brewster, I spent a lot of time driving to and around Lake Winnipesaukee. I doubt there is a more scenic place to go to school in the nation, as Brewster has a big shorefront.  In addition, I spent even more time in Wolfeboro, and before the planning and zoning people there  – see below.

More Wolfeborough

                The owner of a 172’ tower on the big hill just North of Wolfeboro asked me to help with a tower problem. The Rohn 55G, though a sturdy tower, was inadequate to hold the cell phone panels his cell phone carrier-tenant wanted to erect. My job was to work with a lawyer from Laconia (Bill Philpot, if you know him) to get permission to substitute a self-supporting 172’ Sabre tower (19’ wide at the base) to support the greater wind load.  It took a while, but the permit was eventually granted.

Other Work in NH

                It was a really great pleasure to represent Koor Communications. The company is owned by W3CFE, and operated WNTK (New London), WCNL (Newport), and WUVR (Lebanon). But one piece of work stands out in my mind. He obtained a license for a station to be called WQTH-AM (don’t ya love it that you know what that stands for?) and located in Lebanon. Before I entered the case, he lost at the Zoning Board level, lost in the trial court, and I was asked to take the case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court – where we won a unanimous decision. The facts: The city, thinking only of FM antennas, created a small zone on a hilltop where they could be installed. But Koor needed a quarter-wave vertical for an AM radio station at 680 KHz (over 600’ tall). So the City maximum was below the FCC minimum. I argued federal preemption before the NH Supreme Court in Concord, and won. If you like to read briefs and the Supreme Court opinion, you can find them at http://www.antennazoning.com/main/page_commercial_legal_library.html .

For lack of space, and privacy reasons, I’m not mentioning my work for radio hams in NH.  Bottom line:  I have New Hampshire connections, and yes, you will see me in New Hampshire!  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 Vermont hams are ARRL members. Shouldn’t the percentage be higher? I have some ideas on how to make that happen. 

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                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