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

Kim Elmore cw_de_n5op at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 25 22:24:18 EDT 2008

At 09:48 AM 4/25/2008, you wrote:
>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:

Well, it's the thought that counts

> >  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.

You're right, my bad. Still, the same principle holds.

>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.

Not to make too fine a point of it, but you're not a "constituent" of 
the ARRL because you aren't a member. Even so, you *are* a licensed 
ham and so what the ARRL does affects you, even if you aren't a member.

>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.

In some sense, they're right: it's a representative organization. 
Although, if shown evidence of a representative going against a 
strong majority, I expect a darned good answer. Otherwise, that 
representative gets booted.

> >  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.

No, I didn't miss it. I get that part: you don;t like the fact that, 
for whatever reason, the ARRL doesn't see things eye to eye with you.

>  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).

I'mnot going to hunt witches here, though there may be some to catch. 
Submit your article and let it stand or fall to the TA's peer review. 
That's where all the technical articles go and, believe me, there are 
some shining examples of the highest in our art submitted there along 
with some real dogs.

> >  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.

I wasn't referring to you, and I admit that wasn't clear. My point is 
that I see both arguments presented by various contributors and I 
don't see anything constructive come from either one.

>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 highest ideal, and I do commend it.

>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.

I don't believe in conspiracies and that's how this reads. Hence, I 
dismiss it out of hand. Besides, the TAs reviews often make 
recommendations about where particular articles should go, not 
necessarily the QST or QEX editor.

> >  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

It was intended as tongue-in-cheek. My point was that there seems to 
be no "mode-ism" in QST. Granted, AM doesn't appear every issue, but 
then neither does SSB or CW or... It's a long list. QST can't promte 
every mode and every kind of activity in every issue.

>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

Actually, they usually push the RTTY Roundup pretty hard. And they 
don't push digital contesting very hard. Come to think of it, I can't 
remember the last time they even discussed SSTV... But, I don't think 
that makes the ARRL anti-SSTV.

> >  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

Yes, that was my point.

> >  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.

Well, that's not one I've ever heard. I believe it's more about 
training that anything else and you sort of say that in that 
contesters don;t do much better than anyone else. I used to handle CW 
traffic in NTS nets (back when there was CW traffic on NTS nets) and 
the main thing I learned from it is the importance of following a set 
protocol. But not even that makes me a good RACES guy. Each RACES 
group does things in the ways that work for them and it's imperative 
for the participants to follow those protocols. Contesting is all 
protocol, so once they grok the protocol, I'd think the contesters 
would do well in that activity.

>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.

I think you're right. I think the AM crowd are, for the most part, 
exemplary of the ham spirit.

>Some outside of AM see AMers as primitive, uneducated,
>and ridiculous for bothering with such an 'old' mode.

Well, sure. Don't take it personally -- I don't when I see 
disparaging things said about the stuff I like to do. There's enough 
room for all of it - it's a big world.

>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

Maybe. Maybe they're whining about anything different. I mean, there 
are three bands (four if you count 60 m, but I don't think it should 
be counted) on which there is never any contesting. I frankly think 
most of the whining is because the band gets busy.

> >  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.

But took your presentation as an assertion of fact.

>  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:

Ah, but I have recognized the voter issues. Membership issues are 
different. I have to wonder how many other organizations deal with 
similar issues? Is the ARRL special in this regard? I'd be surprised 
is it were.

> >  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".

I think it's unfair to paint all contesters with such a broad brush. 
What happened was anathema to a good contester and enjoys no support 
from me. Just like I think it's unfair to label 75 m as a bunch of 
olde farts whining about their prostate problems.

>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

  I have no doubt it was witnessed. It doesn't take many bad apples, 
etc. The good contesters simply don't do that. That guy was not an 
example of a good contester. There's bad DXers, too and I mean some 
real world-class jerks. But in my experience, the vast majority are 
careful, considerate operators. The same holds for contesters. And 
AMers, and SSBer, and SSTVers, and blip-jerks (CW ops) and, well, 
name the mode.

> >  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.

Again, it doesn't take many for this to happen, just like it doesn't 
take many poor ops to make 20 m 'phone, or 75 m 'phone, look like a 
hopeless ghetto. Run across just one of these guys with visitors in 
the shack and imagine what impressions are taken away! It's happened 
to me before. Because of that one experience, I almost never tune in 
'phone for a visitor first thing. I find PSK31 or RTTY first. Then 
maybe write down some CW for 'em, then, and only then, will I 
carefully tune across the phone band, and it's *never* 20 m or 75 m.

> >  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.

I've played in lots of contests with some world-class operators. 
These guys win contests. And I have never, ever, seen them or any of 
the ops they have invited do what you describe. Such behavior is 
anomalous. There have been ops uninvited from their stations, though, 
for exactly the kind of behavior you describe.

> >  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.

Yes, just like any other organization. The ARRL is not special or 
different in this regard.

>  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.

This reads a bit like innuendo. Can you be specific?

> >  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:

I like old gear, too, and someday hope to put some of my Dad's old 
gear back on the air. But good contesters know it's not all about 
taking: good contesters know it's ultimately about cooperation. 
Again, you have mischaracterized contesting. You can't win if don't 
work anyone and you can't win with busted calls. It sounds like you 
have found in ham radio what you like to do and for that I am happy.

And, I used the term AM contest a bit loosely. I'm thinking more of 
something in the spirit of SKN, and from what I've seen already, such 
events already exist. I say wallow in them!


Kim Elmore, N5OP

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