[AMRadio] IARU - VP ARRL contact by WD5BZO

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Tue Nov 27 15:11:16 EST 2007

On Nov 27, 2007 2:00 PM, Peter Markavage <manualman at juno.com> wrote:
> My responses follow the ***
> On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 09:50:08 -0500 "Todd, KA1KAQ" <ka1kaq at gmail.com>
> writes:
> You said: Making our presence known does make a political statement that
> AM is not dead and should be viewed by the ARRL as an alternative form of
>  communications.
> *** AM is a recognized mode just like any other mode that the FCC
> authorizes us to use. It is not an "alternative form of communications"

Those were actually the doctor's words, Pete. I'll let him respond.  (o:

> *** The ARRL has recognized AM for years as still a "valid" mode of
> operation. Several years ago we petitioned them to change their WAS award
> from "SSB award" to "Phone" award and provide a special acknowledgement
> if it was done in AM.

Good point Pete. Compared to the use and existence of AM, how recently
was that? We're not looking for 'special'. We're looking to be treated
no differently, accepted as-is, as we have been all along with respect
to bandwidth and use of the mode. But it's nice that the ARRL finally
acknowledges or at least, includes AM in some awards. There's a big
difference between 'recognized' and 'not denied', though.

 We have our own "AM Page" on the ARRL web site.
> Have you ever see the a SSB page or a CW page there? They have a vintage
> AM station in operation. As far as bandwidth regulation proposal, the
> ARRL made no distinction as to shortchanging any mode. All modes received
> a bandwidth max (AM being 9 KHz).

Online vs the club publication (QST) not withstanding, I beg to differ
on your last statement. Setting bandwidth limits does indeed
shortchange everyone. I don't know of anyone who was complaining about
digital bandwidth for example, mainly the unattended spambot approach
the ARRL was pushing with unattended operation. AM however, was
included as an 'exception' to others, in a way that could make it more
easily removed later. "Why should AMers get special treatment?".

Amateur radio needs less regulation, not more. The FCC has indicated
its desire for less complication for this service. Not less
enforcement, less red tape.

> > You said: "The ARRL, despite ample opportunities, chooses to ignore and
> find ways to get rid of AM."
> *** You might site all these "ways" they are trying to get rid of AM.

Or you might explain why they've devoted so much time, space, and
effort to promoting contesting (primarily SSB) throughout the last few
decades, pages and pages of results, support for a practice that
ignores common decency towards others on the bands in favor of feeding
personal ego. The one thing hams across all modes detest more than
anything, yet the ARRL is all for it, even favors it by exposure and
treatment. They understand that ego drives competition, and sells more
of the latest/greatest whizbang boxes, towers, antennae, etc for the
advertisers. You gotta spend the money to compete with the big guns,
resulting in a competition outside of the contest itself. Nothing
against manufacturers, but the ARRL's alienation of so many hams has
left them few options financially.

Would you say Pete, that ARRL has devoted as much time and space to
AM, CW, rag chew SSB, or classic tube gear as it has to contesting in
the last....10...20 years? How about just basic radio theory or
building more than a simple keyer or J-pole? When I asked Tom Frenaye
about this on different occasions, his response (after the typical
eye-roll) was that there is no longer a need for such things. Amateurs
can't repair their rigs anymore, and most aren't interested, so why
bother? How does it benefit the League/their advertisers for you or I
to use old gear instead of buying new every few years? Basically he
was telling me that today's amateurs and the ARRL are better than
that, at the same time admitting that most new hams aren't smart
enough or motivated enough to repair or even learn. Plug-n-play, then
throw away.

Clearly, the failed bandwidth proposal with its 'special exception'
for AM was a roundabout way to eventually diminish the appeal of AM
while still being able to claim support. It gave opponents the perfect
tool - an exception to the rules, a footnote. The latest IARU antics
show the same attitude. If you don't believe or support it, why would
you approve it for your region? Even if it's voluntary (at this point
in time)? If it only applies to other countries, why not put the
responsibility on them to develop their own laws? Why saddle potential
hams in other countries with such restrictions, if you really support
the AM mode? As I said last week in the thread on AMfone, it can come
in handy for pushing the proposal again later, when you can hold it up
to the FCC and say 'See? The rest of the world agrees with it, why
don't we?'.

Or put another way, your club membership is down around 20% of
potential members, leaving 80% who choose not to participate for
whatever reasons. You are soundly rebuffed not only by the community
you claim to represent, but also the federal agency responsible for
rule making. Do you accept this as the will of your constituents?  No,
you find a back door where you can continue to 'support' or otherwise
push your flawed concept. All the while claiming to do what's best,
and what the amateur community wants.

Lack of support for the power issue, lack of recognition for AM
calling frequencies (40m where the ARRL actually posts the frequency,
then uses it for broadcasting?), lack of visibility through articles
in QST or other publications, the failed bandwidth petition and
current IARU debacle, and an overall lack of acknowledgment for
decades. I'm sure 'VJB, 'KYV and others can add additional examples.

The fact that the ARRL hasn't expressly declared war on AM doesn't
mean they haven't done their utmost to discourage its use. You can
destroy something without overtly attacking it. It can be as simple as
neglect, or saying 'don't worry, it won't hurt you'. I'm not into
conspiracies, but given the ARRL's track record...let's just say I'm
skeptical of their intentions.

~ Todd,  KA1KAQ

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