Why I Seek Re-election as Your New England Director
I’m seeking to be re-elected as the NE England Division Director of the ARRL. Ballots will be mailed before October 1st, and I want your vote.
As you live in Vermont, let’s talk about Vermont.
K1 Vermont Radio
How did I get to be K1 “Vermont Radio”? I bought 10 acres, plus a piece common land (my share totals 18 acres), in Roxbury, VT. East of the Roxbury Gap Crossing. (That’s the road to “sin valley,” home of Sugarbush.) Having done a lot of skiing in Warren, and I figured that someday I’d build a tiny house on a hilltop for weekends. I still own that land, but life intervened. I married a New Jersey girl who never took to the camping on that hilltop. But I did once drag a bunch of friends up there to operate field day in the two transmitter, battery operated class. That was fun!
I’ve spoken at Ham-Con three times, most recently about strategies for hams with CC&Rs (Common Covenants and Restraints). My advice: DON’T DO IT. But I’ll send a copy of the PowerPoint to anyone made the mistake. In any event, I’m itching to go back to Al’s French Frys.
It was my great privilege to work on the team defending WIZN’s antenna permit in Charlotte. Brought before the (no longer existing) Vermont Environmental Board, neighbors claimed the possibility of poisonous RF. Though we lost every motion along the way, after a multi-day 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. Plus, I represented Bob, N1CIV, in Hartford, VT, to get a tower permit. I volunteered with Joe, 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.
This year, I consulted, again without pay, to Zack, K1ZK, and his lawyer, Brian, KC1MER, on the permit for his antennas in Shelburne.
And Now, Some ARRL Topics
Here are some topics raised in the last election, and what happened since.
- The Amateur Radio Parity Act. In the last election, this issue was very much alive. My position was that this bill was a giant mistake. And I worked very hard to get the Board to withdraw support for this proposed federal law. I published articles and lobbied other Board members. They agreed, and the bill was pulled by its sponsor. As drafted, if you have a camp near a lake and you’re a member of a road association (an organization formed only to plow the roads and collect garbage) you’d have been forced to get prior approval from the road association before you could erect an antenna. I’ve spent hundreds of hours as a co-author of a replacement bill. The bill should be “dropped” (introduced) any day now, but until then the language is being withheld, until we know what the appropriate Congressional committee will approve.
- My ARRL Voice. As a founder of MAV, I worked to change the composition of the Board. Of five candidates we put forward in 2018, we elected four – ending a period of infighting and retribution by replacing four “old school” Board Members.
- Elections Rules. 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 wrongly censured or disqualified. And in the past it has been almost impossible to understand what really happened and why. Do you think candidates for office should be disqualified for reasons we may never know? Or do you think the voters should decide?
- Standing Orders. The ARRL Board of Directors Standing Orders have been secret for decades. I figured out that each one of them was created by a Board meeting minute, subsequently published, and that there was therefore no reason at all for them to be hidden behind a secrecy wall, available only to officers, directors, and vice directors. So I published them, after deleting the 119 standing Orders that had been withdrawn by subsequent Board action. They were still in chronological order, and hard to figure out. So, with the help of K1DCA, I published them a second time, but this time grouped by subject. They can now be found at https://nediv.arrl.org/2021/07/21/arrl-board-of-directors-standing-orders-organized-by-subject/
- Life Long Learning. This summer, I contributed to the ARRL LLL program by recording a six-part series on antenna zoning. Here’s what the start of Part One looks like:
You may access the series starting at https://www.gotostage.com/channel/d8ea15d6ea99464e8ec08c33d7e1e3e5/recording/989509baacfc4ff3b14d38c915d9e17e/watch?source=CHANNEL
- Teleconferencing. Last time around I wrote: “In this modern day, when teleconferencing is easy and inexpensive, should teleconferencing be used in-between full Board meetings?” That query sort of fell into the Board’s lap. When Covid-19 appeared, as I was ahead of the curve, I suggested we should buy Zoom licenses, as did others, and it was done. That was easy.
- The CAC. Last time around, I suggested that we need to examine why some advisory committee decisions were being rejected. Today, the new Board members have agreed that more deference should be given to advisory committee opinions. When W1UE resigned, I appointed N2WQ, of Westport, CT. He is also VE3EAD and HQ9X. He will be a great addition.
- DC Lunch Bunch. On behalf of the ARRL Legislative Action Committee, I created the DC Lunch Bunch, a private lunch with influential Washington types who work at Wiley Rein, NTIA, DHS, FEMA, FCC and so forth. Unfortunately, after meeting in 2019, Covid-19 cut off meetings scheduled to occur in 2020 and 2021. As these are “listening sessions,” designed to open up lines of communications with friends and allies, we intend to resume them as soon as possible.
- ARRL Dues. Before my time on the Board, the ARRL raised dues and raised some fees. I asked: “Are there other strategies that should be tried?” Since I’ve been on the Board, we kept the annual dues constant, and you now get four magazines instead of one – a terrific value. I banded together with a few other Board members to create a motion that instructs staff to consider more sources of advertising (think: Harbor Freight, but not Depends). Plus, my plan to raise money with better management of our endowment should further delay any dues increase.
- ARRL Membership. Since I joined the Board, the decline in ARRL membership has been reduced. I introduced a motion to examine member benefits, a process that is underway now. And I’ve introduced the idea that the problem is not encouraging more folks to get an amateur radio license, but rather the problem is “conversion,” converting more new hams into members, and getting them on the air.
- Investment Management Committee. Reading the back pages of the ARRL Annual report, I discovered that the ARRL has an endowment of ~$40 million, and it has been managed for at least 40 years by ONE GUY, basically unsupervised. We’ve been lucky. They were good, honest, CPAs. But the supervision by the ARRL Board’s Administration & Finance Committee was superficial, because Board members generally have little or no experience in investment management. I created a position paper that convinced the Board to create an Investment Management Committee (IMC). The IMC will recommend a professional money management team to the full Board in January 2022. It’s your money, and we’re supposed to take care of it. I’m making that happen. The result? We will be able to afford to what we need to do to advance Amateur Radio for us and the next generation.
- Inside Baseball. I was selected by my Board colleagues to serve, for them, on the Executive Committee and the CEO Search Committee. I joined the coalition to create the new EmComm + Field Services Committee.
As you can learn from my views about various issues, I have opinions about how things are working at the ARRL Board level. What’s important to understand is that the ARRL is not a larger version of a local club. It has governance, money, personnel, and all sorts of issues with 157,000 members that you don’t have at 50-300 members.
You can learn more on my campaign web page, www.Hams4NewEngland.org . I hope you have the confidence to vote from me again. Seek me out at NEAR-fest, if you’d like to chat. I’ll have a table.
The previous Director was in office for just short of forever (it was over 20 years), and I thought it was time for a change. By contrast, 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.