ARRL does a lot of good
The good news is that thanks to the hard working league staff, the ARRL does a lot of good. This is why I am a fully committed life member of the ARRL and a big supporter of our league.
Some programs can be improved
I have been listening to many members, especially in my division. Many of them have expressed a desire to improve league programs. Here are some of the things I'd like to improve.
New hams and mentoring
Today we have a conundrum. We want to get new hams licensed quickly, yet we want them to become part of the community. I would like to work on new initiatives with regard to mentoring of new radio amateurs. I was the beneficiary of a close relationship with a mentor. I know its value. I would like to support and grow a program that brings back in person mentorship.
I became licensed in the US through the ARRL/VEC. I have been a VE for many years and an active participant on a couple of VE teams. The ARRL/VEC does great work but I would like to propose improvements where I feel that ARRL/VEC is lagging behind:
- VE teams should be able to do more things electronically. Some VECs allow processing of new licenses and upgrades literally within hours. ARRL/VEC should do this as well, by allowing teams to submit online.
- I would like to explore the possibility of fee-free license exams. Some VECs have administered free exams for years, and ARRL/VEC is losing VE teams to them. I strongly believe that while there will be some cost to it, it could help attract new membership and keep more VE teams with ARRL/VEC.
- Inactive VEs should be notified of their expiration. Several VEs have told me that their VE credentials were lost, quite by surprise. One of them had a VE session bounce because he didn't know he was dropped from the roster. Today with the Internet, we should be able to notify an expiring VE by e-mail, automatically that their VE credentials are about to become inactive. I believe that this would help retain more VEs as well, and encourage them to do more sessions.
- I'd like to see active recruitment for ARRL membership become part of the VE process, post-exam. Too often, this is an afterthought. New licensees should learn of the value of ARRL, especially advocacy and benefits provided to active Amateur Radio operators.
I would like to:
- Return more authority to the DXAC, even if just in practice. I personally have known members of the DXAC and I trust their expertise. We should rely on them for ultimate guidance and respect their decisions and opinions.
- Allow more transparency in DXCC matters, especially adding and removing entities.
- Allow DXCC card checkers to submit checked applications online, rather than by mail. In 2018, this should be possible. In fact, I'd like to see a system where awards are submitted online, and a card checker can then physically check cards, go online and approve. The awards branch can then do final approval and issue any certificates, or other awards.
- Solicit the services of an active DXer or group of DXers to manage the DXCC desk. While the current awards branch does their best, I believe that a huge void was left when Bill, NC1L passed away and we lost that expert-level knowledge.
I would like to:
- Update and streamline LoTW. We have many bright minds in the Amateur Radio community. As a software engineer and technical manager who has managed several high traffic websites, I would like to see it modernized. The same goes for online DXCC.
- See an improved online ordering process for plaques and awards.
- Increase social media presence for the divisions, particularly Hudson (which currently has zero social media presence outside of the Section Managers).
- Utilize video conferencing to have true division-wide meetings. As director, I will be present on a rotating basis in each section and then video conference to other sections.
- I would like ARRL to be represented at more technical events. I'd like to also see the bright minds in the Amateur Radio Community be encouraged to give talks and give back. I would like for Amateur Radio to bring young minds back into STEM once again, and it starts with tapping our talented membership to do just that.
Many of these changes that incorporate online resources can help free up resources at the League, and by eliminating paper can increase efficiency and thus save valuable financial resources.
- I will consult with subject matter experts to determine the next best course of action with regard to the current Amateur Radio Parity Act. I supported the original bill that was championed by my opponent but I believe that too much was given back to Homeowner Associations and CAI, and some of the provisions became harmful. You can read about the problems with the Parity Act here and here.
- I will work with the New Jersey state Government, as well as the NJ Section Managers to clarify issues regarding use of parks and public spaces for Amateur Radio. Some amateurs, including myself, have experienced problems using parks for Amateur Radio. I will also investigate if this is an issue in New York and do the same thing there.
Public service and emergency communications
I would like to:
- Evaluate where in Hudson Division that ARES and RACES groups have become dormant, and see how we can get them active again.
- If possible, work with disaffected emergency communications groups to see how we can bring them back to the ARRL family.
- I'd also like to explore more relationships with served agencies and charities. Amateur Radio public service should not be just about emergency drills. As an ARES member since 2001 I have had quite a good time giving back with numerous charity events.