After being licensed for 36 years, I still find myself continually learning and experimenting with new operating modes and frequencies. I am active on HF thru 1.2 GHz and am in the process of adding all amateur bands thru 10 GHz.
The knowledge and experience I gained as an amateur paved the way for my career in law enforcement. I spent many years conducting electronic surveillance utilizing miniature voice transmitters, concealable microwave video transmitters, and direction finding equipment. Knowledge of antenna theory even allowed me to use a quarter-wave antenna to pinpoint the exact location of kidnapping victims.
The ARRL needs to actively seek out the needs and opinions of the amateur community by increasing the lines of communications, especially from the grassroots up. Bidirectional communication with you will be one of my top priorities. As your representative, I'll solicit your input and ideas, keep you advised of issues affecting amateur radio, and topics scheduled for Board of Directors action. I'll solicit your input and opinions before the vote, let you know how the item turned out, and the reasons for how I voted.
I would like to hear your opinions of what's working well or needs improvement, your ideas to make the ARRL a better organization, and what you would like to see your Division Director do. I check my email regularly throughout the day and it's the best way of reaching me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I may not be able to get back to you immediately, but I will get back to you promptly.
I've included information below about me, why I am running for Director, my plans, and my thoughts. I have an ever increasing variety of postings on my campaign blog. As you choose your Southeastern Division Director, please consider my experience in leadership, business management, publishing, and public speaking, coupled with my organizational skills, creative approach to problem solving, integrity, willingness to listen to all sides of an issue, and desire to be your voice.
There are many areas where the ARRL has been doing an outstanding job, such as representing us in front of Congress and the FCC (examples being HR 2160 and the BPL battle). I have had contacts with the ARRL staff, both as an individual and an Affiliated Club President, on a variety of topics; I have always received the information I needed in an expeditious and courteous manner.
There are other areas where I believe the League could improve. Ironically, the common root of the problems I perceive is a failure to communicate. When an organization seeks to represent a group of people, it's that organization's responsibility to actively seek input from that group and act upon it. It is also that organization's responsibility to keep the group informed. The lines of communication must be kept open at all times and function in both directions.
I want to restore grassroots control of the organization by keeping you informed of what is going on in Newington so that you can keep Newington informed of your ideas and opinions. I want the voices of all of the members of the Southeastern Division to be heard; I want to fix the missing communications link and serve as a Director that represents you and your interests.
One of my first actions will be to create a Council of Club Presidents as an advisory group. The Southeastern Division is far too expansive for the Director to attend every meeting at every club, so the Council will provide a conduit for amateurs' voices and concerns to be heard from every corner of the Division.
I will appoint Assistant Directors from around the entire Division. I'll lead a team made up of the Vice Director and the Assistant Directors that will work to keep you informed, solicit your input, and assist me in ensuring that all of the vast Division is represented. I'll work closely with the Section Managers to see that their needs and concerns are addressed. I will work closely with the Vice Director to ensure that we provide the best representation possible.
As Southeastern Division Director, I will actively solicit your opinions on issues that are already known to the League and seek your guidance to identify new and potential issues. I can't promise that I will always be able to resolve an issue to your satisfaction, but I pledge that I will listen to you, convey your points, and inform you as to the outcome and the reasons behind it.
I will see that ARRL Internet forums are set up to aide the membership and the affiliated clubs. This will be a place where clubs can discuss what works for them and what doesn't, especially licensing and mentoring topics. Members of the Southeastern Division will be able start or read discussions about issues effecting us—make your opinions known and read the opinions of others
It's important to ascertain why those clubs not affiliated with the ARRL have chosen not to do so. Equally important is to ascertain why amateurs don't belong to the ARRL or drop their membership. Obviously there are people that dislike the League and some will never change their opinion. Regardless, knowing what you have done that upsets people or why they perceive a lack of value to membership/affiliation is just as valuable as knowing what people perceive you are doing well. I'll search out these reasons and seek ways to bring more members and clubs into the organization.
I will work to educate the membership as to what member benefits are available, as well as the benefits of club affiliation. Where ever possible, I will seek to increase the value of ARRL membership and club affiliation.
I am concerned about the ever increasing costs of ARRL publications, especially those aimed at people entering the hobby. While I understand that there are production costs and perhaps author royalties in some cases, the publications are available via Amazon.com at discounted prices. Since Amazon takes a substantial amount of the sales price, it is clear that the ARRL can sell the publications at a lower rate. I believe that ARRL members should be able to buy League publications directly from the ARRL for less than from Amazon; Life members should get an even deeper discount.
There are several existing and developing Digital Rights Management approaches that could aid in preventing copies of ebooks from being circulated. The League should actively explore making as many publications as possible available via ebook. Since there are no printing, production, or storage fees for ebooks, they can be sold for considerably less than printed versions while still maintaining a necessary profit margin.
Printing and postage costs for the distribution of QST are significant. A reduced cost ARRL electronic QST membership should be created. In this way, the League could still maintain the necessary income stream while providing membership at a rate that would be attractive to more amateurs, especially younger ones; by reducing the use of paper and energy required to produce QST, it would also be a "Green" measure. The same concept can be applied to the National Contest Journal and QEX; I'm certain that the readership of both journals would increase significantly if there were a low cost electronic version available.
I applaud the ARRL's movement towards "professionalizing" emergency communications provided by amateurs through training and standardization. With "professionalization" comes improved efficiency and effectiveness, as well as enhanced public perception.
The approach must be carefully tailored towards the varied ranks of amateur radio and the reality that our ranks are all volunteer and self-funded.
In a perfect world, all emergency communicators would have completed the numerous ARRL and FEMA courses; in the real world, amateurs have other priorities and commitments that make dedicating large amounts of time to taking courses difficult or impossible. Recognizing that there may be little that we can do as far as FEMA course requirements by some of our served agencies, we can still tailor ARRL training towards efficiently teaching the minimum amount of information that is absolutely needed by emergency communicators.
The unfortunate reality is that most of what is needed to pass the FEMA courses is retained just long enough to take the test. The vast majority of amateurs operating in an emergency event do not need to understand ICS structure- they need to know how to communicate efficiently and effectively. The shelter operator needs to know how to interface with the shelter manager, formal net procedures, how to relay information between the shelter and the EOC, and very little else. Attempting to require this unpaid volunteer to spend weeks or months taking classes that have little to do with their actual communications role risks alienating potential communicators and having insufficient "qualified" communicators available for a major event.
The cost and time required for the ARRL emergency communications courses are problematic. A large percentage of our emergency communicators are retired and living on fixed incomes; in our current economic problems, some amateurs have lost their jobs. For those struggling with the time demands of a family and a career, finding the time to take in-depth courses is a significant problem.
Rather than a couple of all-encompassing courses that take weeks or months to complete, I'd like to see small modules focused on specific needs. Examples of modules would be: shelter communicator; special event communicator; EOC staff member; net control; and HF nets. The modules should be available at either no cost or a negligible cost like $5 and should be available either online or for presentation at local training sessions. In this way, emergency communicators could take the classes immediately that they need for their current duties and take other classes as they have time or interest.
The ARRL must walk a very fine line when it comes to edicts. There is a need for some baseline standards to exist, however overstepping that fine line will result in more emergency communications groups casting aside the ARES moniker in favor of more self-determination under a different name. Our emergency communications groups are unfunded volunteers with other priorities for time and finances. I believe that the ARRL is treading dangerously close to crossing the fine line by losing sight of this and needs to return to a proper footing.
We are also lacking in formalized on the air training events. I would like to see the creation of a new "contest" aimed at the huge number of amateurs that have only VHF/UHF FM equipment. The goal of the "contest" would be to help hone efficient communications skills, let participants test their simplex communications range, and provide a "contest" in which the limited budget amateur can effectively participate in. Such an operating event would only need to be a few hours in length and could be repeated two or four times per year.
Since the earliest days of amateur radio, its practitioners have been at the forefront of technological innovation. Existing and emerging technologies can be leveraged by the ARRL to: facilitate communications, thereby returning the ARRL to being a member driven organization; lower the cost of ARRL products to its members; and increase the value of membership and club affiliation.
My experience in amateur radio, law enforcement/public safety/professional communications, business and leadership will aide me in representing you, the members of the Southeastern Division, and helping to guide the ARRL's path.
Let's take a great organization and make it even better! I respectfully and humbly ask for your vote for Southeastern Division Director and that you spread the word.
Thanks & 73,