[AMRadio] "My ARRL, Right or Wrong...!!!"

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Fri Apr 25 10:48:22 EDT 2008

On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 8:55 PM, Kim Elmore <cw_de_n5op at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> I generally sit on my hands, but I'm feeling waggish so...

Sorry, I don't have a Milkbone for you.  (o:

>  A false premise. The same ratios roughly hold for the overall US electorate
> (I'm not talking only registered voters, I'm talking the eligible
> electorate). Given the premise made here, are we to assume that the large
> majority of the electorate that doesn't bother to vote feels the same way
> about?

Actually, it's not. Turnout for the 2004 national election was over 60
percent according to the US Census Bureau:


50% or higher most of the time in national elections, far better than
the ARRL (a national organization) can claim of licensed amateurs.

When people feel their vote actually matters, they vote. How many
times have you heard someone lament that 'politicians' who do whatever
they want, regardless of what their constituents ask of them? Sounds a
lot like the complaints about ARRL officials.

And no, it's not merely a case of sour grapes as you and Pete seem to
be implying. I've been told the same thing by ARRL officials as by
local politicians, when asked why they clearly go against the will of
the people at times: "I was elected to do what I feel is best, to use
my judgement, to vote my conscience" etc, not to necessarily do what
the people ask.

>  If you don't like the technical article content, write one and submit it.
> TAs (technical advisors) perform the "peer review" for submissions to all
> League publications. Are you a TA? Have you seen the nature of what gets
> submitted? I am, and I do.

You apparently missed this part Kim, but like many others, I'm one of
the folks who got sick of banging my head against the wall so fondly
known as the ARRL. I did request more diversified content of my
director, even volunteered to submit some myself. I was told in pretty
clear terms that it is not the 'vision' the ARRL has for the future.
Not that I couldn't submit it, just that I shouldn't expect to see it
printed (in so many words).

>  But, I keep hearing that "It's all those Yaecomwood ads that ruined QST."
> Or the vast, rice-box conspiracy to manipulate us into appliance operating
> zombies. Which is it?

You're really pushing the 'straw man' to the limit here, Kim. I've not
made that argument and I don't see that anyone else has. As AMers we
welcome anyone to the mode with whatever gear they can muster. We help
them to properly set up their rigs to get the most out of them in the
mode. It's then up to them whether they're content with what they have
or want something more or different.

The issue of ads in QST relates more to what the magazine once was vs
what it has become, tracking with the ARRL leadership's handling. This
predates the perceived 'need' for a separate technical publication. My
argument was, and is - with the declining amateur population and
continued whining by the League in recent years about costs, income,
and the rest, why produce a monthly catalog/contest results and
separate technical publication along side? I can only guess that they
figure the technical types will thin out enough to drop QEX and leave
the glossy QST catalog as the only regular publication available to
the membership.

>  Hmmm... The same holds for PSK-31, or RTTY, or MFSK16, or (gasp!)
> slopbucket! Red herring, methinks.

Okay, you're definitely not getting your doggy treat for that silly remark. :D

Red herring? No, actually you prove my point (although I suspect they
don't promote RTTY with the same zeal as contesting or the digital

>  Again, the same ratios roughly hold for the US electorate. And again, a
> false premise. This shows that there are only a few eligible voters
> interested enough to actually make the effort to vote and that such
> characteristics hold for the small majority of voters that are also hams.

Again, nope. See link above . Expect that much or more this November.
But the parallel between apathy in politics and ARRL does track

>  Actually, in my experience, some of the most well-rounded hams are the
> contesters.

My experience lean more towards the term 'stunted'. A decade of first
hand accounts as state RACES coordinator showed clearly that
contesters repeatedly buckled under pressure during drills or actual
events when more than very basic information was sent their way in
rapid succession. That's not to say that others did particularly
better, simply that all we hear about contesters being excellent for
emergency traffic handling is anything but true. They did no better
overall than the average newbie who'd been licensed for a few years
either rag chewing or chasing DX.

I suppose when you're affiliated with a specific group, it's much
easier to see the 'good' as opposed to the 'bad. Human nature, no
doubt. I see AMers as a very helpful, technically-literate, helpful,
social group. Some outside of AM see AMers as primitive, uneducated,
and ridiculous for bothering with such an 'old' mode.

But my views on how contesting is seen aren't limited to the AM
community, either - just tune around on SSB during one of the many
contests and listen to the SSBers pissing and moaning about the rude

>  I think that's an false characterization of the ARRL. Flawed as it is, it's
> all we have and we'd best make the best of it.

Again, it's based on my personal experiences with those in power, as
well as other folks I know. But since it's also my *opinion*, it's not
open for you to decide whether it's false or not. I could just as
easily say that your opinions (not facts) expressed here are based in
some never-never land fairytale world, showing a clear disregard for
the facts (those membership numbers you refuse to recognize as a
statement of disenchantment with US amateurs overall.)   (o:

>  With the phone band expansion, I simply do not believe that there is a lack
> of space on the bands. That some may have decided that they, by God! own a
> particular frequency because they've been there N decades is an argument
> without merit. There's plenty of space available, even on contest weekends.

Well, we almost agree here, Kim. I make it a point to use different
frequencies whenever I call CQ, in order to avoid exactly what you
mention above. I also encourage others to do the same, as returning to
the same old spots does nothing but put us in a box, with no one to
blame but ourselves.

Plenty of space, even on contest weekends? Not true. I make a point to
use the frequencies below 3800 to provide an AM presence there and to
encourage others to get out of the old 75m AM box which annoys so many
and prevents some from even bothering to join in. A couple months back
during a contest weekend, I had a K8 station come right onto the 80
frequency I was using and start calling 'CQ contest'. When I informed
him that the frequency was in use, he replied "I don't care". This was
witnessed by others on the frequency, and the station was even known
to Bud, WD8BIL who later emailed him about it. So it seems there isn't
as much space as you claim, and contesters really aren't the knights
in shining armor you and Pete would have us believe. No, I don't think
they're all lids, but I also don't believe it's a 'few bad apples'
moving around so rapidly as to annoy so many, in so many different

>  As a mater of fact, yes. All contesters that I know are quite considerate.
> But they also recognize that no one owns a frequency and if they happen to
> land on someone's favorite Sunday morning roundtable frequency, well...
> first come, first served. Move the roundtable!

See above. I won;t deny there are some AMers who feel they shouldn't
have to give up 'their' frequency to anyone, part of the reason I
prefer 80 to 75m. But when the frequency is in use, how about 'move
the contest'? That's the issue at hand: not coming on to find a
frequency in use, but being driven off by intentional interference
caused on a wide scale by an ego competition.

>  I'm unconvinced of this assertion and hold, in fact that it is in general
> demonstrably false.

And I'm unconvinced that your opinions hold anymore weight than mine,
Kim. But I've been willing to cite actual events and instances to
prove my case, not just invoke the 'because I said so' argument.

>  Hmmm... Given that this mirrors the overall electorate (and has for most of
> the last 100 years) what can you deduce from it?

Given that, beyond the parallel of the apathy felt by many when the
few in power don't listen, nothing. Reminder: Link above.

>  If the remaining 80% really wants the League to do something different, and
> I mean *REALLY* wants a change, they effect that change in the bat of an
> eye. From my standpoint, just like most of the electorate, most hams
> couldn't care less.

I agree to some extent, but you're missing one key fact in this
argument: unlike the electorate you're so fond of comparing this to,
if you want to change the ARRL, you have to pay for the privilege. It
wasn't so long ago that a 3-Lander running for a seat in the ARRL was
driven out by a 'conflict of interest' argument that to my eyes,
didn't hold a lot of water. The bigger issue appears to be that he
wasn't willing to tow the old League line and made the mistake of
letting folks know ahead of time, so they found a way to avoid letting
him in. Whether that's completely the case or not doesn't matter as
much as the way it was handled by the ARRL and the impression it left
with a lot of amateurs.

>  P.S.: You want some real fun? Organize an AM-only contest!

No, thanks. I don't like radio contests and feel no need to prove I
can do better or score higher than someone else. Amateur radio is a
hobby to me, not a competition. And considering the view of contesters
held by many, I doubt it would advance the cause of AM. Likely just
the opposite. It's more fun to me to work on the NEAR-Fest hamfest
event, giving back to others rather than the 'take take, me me'
approach. No doubt as old-fashioned as the gear and mode I enjoy
operating. (o:

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