[AMRadio] ARRL's Real Name

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Fri Jul 26 13:38:36 EDT 2013

In a post on another ham radio forum, a member  was confused about the
ARRL's  real name, after it appeared on an FCC document as "ARRL, the
national association for Amateur Radio, formally known as the American Radio
Relay League, Incorporated (ARRL)".  I believe the writer confused the words
"formally" and "formerly".

The phrase national association for Amateur Radio is merely a descriptive
term that tells the reader what the ARRL is. Notice that "national
association" is not capitalised. If they had actually changed the name, it
would read National Association for Amateur Radio.

A recent fad in the corporate community, dating back a decade or two has
been to drop the actual words from the company name, and just keep the
initials. For example, American Automobile Association is now AAA, or
"Triple-A". Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC. The "HD" in HD Radio never
stood for "high definition" (although Ibiquity would like you to think
otherwise); it was originally associated with the words Hybrid Digital, but
the company insists it never stood for anything, that it was always merely a
commercial trademark.

The fact that they say "formally American Radio Relay League" and not
"formally ARRL", means that they are holding on to their original name. Once
upon a time, personnel at the FCC would have been familiar enough with
amateur radio and ARRL that they could be expected to know what it is
without further explanation. But with the new crew of lawyers with little
technical or radio background, that assumption can no longer be made.  

Amusingly, if the ARRL ever did adopt National Association for Amateur Radio
as their formal name, the acronym would be NAAR. Remember back in the early
1980s the guy who petitioned the FCC to phase out AM on the amateur bands?
His name was Robert W. Stankus, and his callsign was N1AAR.    :-)

 A couple of years later it was  reported in Ham Radio Magazine as I recall,
that Stankus was charged with mail fraud by the USPS for advertising some
kind of Kenwood transceiver for a ridiculously cheap price. Reportedly, he
actually delivered a few rigs right at first to build up a reputation, then
he kept the money and failed to deliver the rest. He may have actually
served time over this.

Don, k4kyv

More information about the AMRadio mailing list

This page last updated 22 Jan 2018.