Endorsements Campaign Statement
QRD – Where Bound?
It is easy and common when running for office to make unrealistic “feel good” promises to garner attention and votes, such as “cut the dues,” “force the FCC to give us all the frequencies we want,” or to “promise to return to the good ole’ days.”

We haven’t done that in the past and we aren’t going to do it now. The credibility of what we propose and where we propose to take the West Gulf and the ARRL is grounded in our records and past extensive service.

Contrary to the claims of some, Amateur Radio is NOT “in trouble” – it is growing with enthusiasm at all age levels. Once, we communicated with spark gap transmitters. Now, technology and the genius of Hams has brought us solid state transceivers, APRS, WINMORE, Winlink 2000, RMS Express, software defined radio, HSMM, IRLP, D-Star, WIRES, PSK31, Pactor and other software and digital modes too numerous to list.

We aren’t dying and we aren’t in trouble – we are vibrant and growing. We may have some growing pains, but we believe Amateur Radio has a great and exciting future for the next 100 years.

The real issue is – Where are we bound? What course do we chart for the future?


Elimination of Homeowner Association Restrictions On Amateur Radio

N5AUS wrote and we introduced SB1552/HB4637 in the Texas Legislature in the 2009 Legislative Session. If passed, it would have eliminated homeowner association prohibitions on the operation of Amateur Radio, including the erection of towers and antennas. The dedicated Texas Legislative Team, lead by N5AUS, obtained broad support, including committee support, but the Session ended before the bills could be brought up for a floor vote and SB1552/HB4637 were trapped in committee.

N5AUS and K5RAV will again file this bill in the January 2011 Legislative Session. We believe we have an excellent chance to get it passed this time. We have substantial legislative support and have, over the last 3 years, recruited a very competent team of Hams to work the Legislature.

We intend to introduce the same, or similar legislation, in the 2011 Oklahoma Legislative Session, depending on the final recommendations of Kevin O’Dell, OK SM.

Enhancement of PRB-1 Limitations on Municipalities

Although PRB-1 has been the law for 25 years, although Congress has expressed unequivocal support for minimal interference with Ham operators and although Texas passed its own PRB-1 (Texas Government Code §250.002) in 1999, many small cities in Texas and in Oklahoma have ignored these restrictions and have passed, or have attempted to pass, ordinances that violate PRB-1 and Congressional intent and sharply curtail the right of Hams to erect towers and antennas.

While the increase is small, each encroachment, coupled with onerous homeowner association restrictions, further diminishes our ability to enjoy our hobby and provide services to the public.

Either through legislation or state level mandates, we intend to expand and clarify the limits of PRB-1 on all municipalities in order to stop their increasing attempts to claw Amateur Radio from the skies because they think aluminum isn’t pretty.

Improved Tower and Structure Access For Emergency Communications

At present, access to tower and structures owned by governmental units is not uniform. Some agencies or local governments, such as Denton County, provide almost unlimited access to their tower and structures for the installation of Amateur Radio emergency communication equipment and antennas. Some, including many state agencies, deny, for various reasons, any access.

The EmComm services provided by Amateur Radio are welcomed and respected at almost all levels of government, including both the Oklahoma and Texas’ Legislatures. But, it has not always translated into the access needed to provide the level of emergency communications support requested or needed. Most of the reasons for non-access are founded on liability and legal concerns that could be alleviated by obtaining statutory access and liability protection.

We intend, with the assistance of agency and governmental unit support, to introduce legislation in Texas and Oklahoma that would require governmental units to provide tower access to Amateur Radio emergency communications equipment while, at the same time, protecting all parties involved.

Expansion of OTARD Protection To Amateur Radio

In 1996, the FCC adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD) concerning governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on the ability of homeowners and renters to receive wireless broadband internet and video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites and television broadcast stations. The rule, cited as 47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000, prohibits homeowner associations and local governments from enforcing rules or ordinances that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas, including restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal.

OTARD was not made applicable to Amateur Radio operation. We intend for the ARRL’s U.S. Congressional lobbying team to seek expansion of the OTARD rules to Amateur Radio. If Congress were to do so, it would eliminate all homeowner association restrictions and sharply curb local government attempts to interfere with PRB-1.

Improved Support and Funding for Emergency Communications

The Emergency Communication Advisory Committee to the ARRL Board has been established. It will be continued and encouraged to recommend changes in the ARRL’s current support level and coordination support for Sections and Divisions.

We intend to seek improved funding for equipment and training support at the Section level. Current funding availability is uneven across Sections due to differing levels of State, County and municipal support. It is our intent to allocate funding to ensure a uniform level of support across the country to ensure equal capabilities at the local level.

Protection of School and University Amateur Radio Clubs

Although the Education and Technology Program (originally named “The Big Project”) started by Jim Haynie, W5JBP, has proven to be a resounding success, juxtaposed against this success is a disturbing trend.

Some high schools have prohibited the expansion of existing Ham clubs or have ordered the removal of all exterior towers and antennas, thus killing the clubs. The explanation offered by the schools varies, but appear to be based on lack of understanding of the substantial educational benefits, including science, physics and engineering exposure and training, provided by the privately funded Ham clubs.

Whether through state level mandates or legislation, we intend to stop the elimination of public school Ham clubs and to make it easier for them to be established or reestablished. This is not a particularly difficult problem, but it will take substantial effort.

Recently two Texas universities have expelled or have threatened to expel their Ham clubs. It appears the primary reasons are bias and “esthetics” – aluminum messes up their “image.” One of the affected university clubs is almost a hundred years old. While we are working with these universities and believe the decisions can and will be reversed, this small trend needs to be stopped.

To ensure this expulsion of university Ham clubs does not become a trend, we intend to establish Ham support groups for each university in the West Gulf, to monitor and support the existing clubs. We also intend to develop an ARRL program to support all university Ham clubs wherever they are located. At the West Gulf level, intervention at the state coordinating board level or clarifying legislation can remedy this problem.
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Financial Programs to Reduce Effective Cost of Membership

Many national organizations have established Affinity Programs – programs in which retailers and service providers give a discount to the organization’s members when the members do business with the retailers or service providers. The sponsoring national organization receives a financial reimbursement from its members’ purchases. These programs, properly run can generate impressive benefits for members – effectively making their organizational membership free – and generate revenue for the sponsoring organization.

We will continue the existing work started in July 2009 to obtain ARRL Board approval to significantly and aggressively expand the current very small ARRL program. Implemented correctly, the number of discount providers will be large and varied enough to permit ARRL members to effectively recover the full cost of their membership.

Electronic Delivery of QST, QEX and the National Contest Journal

An increasing number of magazines and journals have begun to publish fully functional electronic versions of their magazines and journals. It permits subscribers and members to have the convenience of an electronic copy that looks just like the printed copy – including ads and indexes - as well as having a printed copy.

We believe the ability to receive both a printed copy and an electronic copy of QST, QEX and the National Contest Journal would improve future access to the materials in the magazines, would improve delivery times, would be a major convenience to many Hams and would provide substantial cost savings to the ARRL.

Increased Membership

Existing ARRL membership programs have been effective in increasing the ranks of ARRL membership – membership has steadily increased for the past 10 years.

There are some simple programs the ARRL can implement that will increase membership recruitment with minimal cost and effort.

VE Issuance of Membership Applications

We are going to request that the ARRL Board approve the issuance of membership application and membership materials to each person taking an ARRL sponsored licensing exam. The excitement of a new Ham license coupled with exposure to the benefits of ARRL membership would capture a good increase in membership without heavy handed or expensive marketing.

We also will work with the W5YI Group to arrange for the availability of ARRL membership applications and membership material at their exams.

Continuation of Top Ten Club Contest

To assist West Gulf Affiliated Clubs to increase their membership and to increase ARRL membership, we sponsored a membership contest, the Top Ten Club, which ran from January 2010 to Ham-Com in June 2010. The contest provided a respectable boost in ARRL membership and affiliated club membership. Due to the success of the Top Ten Club Contest, we intend to run the contest again to coincide with the 2011 ARRL National Convention at Ham-Com.

Improved Training and Use of Resources

K5RAV’s 2005 proposal to the Board that the League should solicit videos, audio tapes and PowerPoint presentations developed across the country, choose the best and provide them at no charge to local Hams and affiliated clubs obtained Executive Committee approval this summer. The purpose of the proposal was to use the excellent resources developed by very talented members to improve the quality and currency of ARRL offered training. If implemented this would provide a substantial, no cost benefit to Sections, clubs and individuals by which they can improve their knowledge, abilities and enjoyment of the hobby.

We intend to obtain ARRL Board approval of the program in January 2011. Once we have Board approval we will be working to establish the internal support and funding to ensure that the program begins delivery of the Ham developed instructional videos and other training materials in 2011.
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