.: 2018 ARRL NW Director Election
A Campaign for Change!
The ARRL Northwestern Division has a decision to make:
Stay with the
status quo, or move in a new and positive direction
heard the issues: Over the last year the League has been plagued with
controversy, member discontent, and the recent resignation of its CEO. The Board
attempted to silence a critic with a censure. Members have lost their voice, and
there have been alleged attempts to consolidate power. This strife has made it
more difficult for the League to do the work necessary to realize the goals of its
aggressive strategic plan. It also does nothing to instill confidence, or invoke
an atmoshere of trust.
Change is needed
your voice needs to count!
We need to get the League back under the direction of its members, and
I am running for Northwest Director to help solve these
problems, and get our League focused on the important work ahead to ensure a
bright future for Amateur Radio.
My Professional qualifications:
I have recently retired from Director level management
in high technology, where I focused on collaboration, strategic partnerships and
plan execution for a global telecom company.
During my 35 year career in
telecom engineering and management, I
oversaw as many as 27 staff members spanning multiple departments, ensuring they
worked together to meet our company's strategic goals. I served as our primary
customer advocate, bringing their voice to company executives. I brought
cross-functional international units together in collaborative efforts to bring
new products to a global market.
These are all relevant skills that can serve me well on the ARRL Board.
Hold degrees from Foothill College (AS) ,and San Jose State
University, (BS), both Cum Laude
My Amateur Radio core values:
: I firmly believe in our
public service role as radio amateurs.
I have served as an
ARRL ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC), and currently serve as Deputy EC for our local
county ARES/RACES program.
have completed FEMA sponsored educational courses, and training for our
local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, where I served as the
While an active EC I volunteered my time and resources to be entrenched
for a week with fire crews
on the front lines,
providing critical communications for a very large wildfire in Central
California. I recently took on
the challenge to author modules for
Oregon’s new statewide ARES Amateur Radio Operator (ARO) certification training program.
I am in my third term as President of the Willamette Valley DX Club, Founder/Trustee of the
Columbia River DX Club, (a club
I started to mentor new hams interested in HF and contest operation), and past
President of the Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio
Club. I'm not afraid to step up to the plate when leaders are needed.
I've been an ARRL member since first licensed in 1974. Life membership
in the League came soon after, knowing this hobby would be a lifelong passion.
I am a
very active amateur, on the air, and committed to bringing this energy and
passion to the Board.
Mentoring and Education:
I believe this is the foundation for the future of amateur radio. As a result,
I focus on mentoring new hams at my HF multi-op contest station. I am an ARRL
Registered Trainer, Volunteer Examiner,
presented numerous educational seminars for clubs and conventions, and authored articles
related to the hobby and technology
NEED YOUR HELP! To ensure that I can reach as many of the Division's ARRL
members as possible with this message (some 12,000 plus of them), there has been a
account set up to help defray some of the expenses for printed materials,
mailings, and travel to radio club meetings within the five states the NW
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE
FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Note that any excess contributions at the end of
this campaign will be donated to the
ARRL Mary Lou
Brown Scholarship Fund. There will also be full transparency on
where the money was spent.
My ARRL Voice
Last year there was a group, (that actually became a
movement), formed to bring
awareness of the many challenges facing the ARRL to the League's members, and to keep members informed
of relevant Board actions:
have been instrumental in beginning the process of improving transparency at the
Board level of the League.
Their guiding principles:
ARRL members should have timely access to information about
current initiatives and proposed actions that impact them, and they should know
the positions their Directors take and how they vote;
ARRL should be managed efficiently and always remain
accountable, open and accessible to its members. Democratic principles and due
process should always prevail – favoring the Member;
Members should have the opportunity to express their views
on any matter before the Board in advance of Board action. Directors have an
obligation to take member views and opinions into consideration on all matters
I am not a member of the MyARRLVoice organization,
nor do they endorse candidates. That disclaimer aside, I do support the ideals
of their principles, and will do what I can to
bring these to the ARRL Board!
My views on the ARRL Strategic Plan
In 2016 the ARRL published their five year
Plan. The ARRL Strategic Planning Working Group, (consisting of several ARRL
board members and a select group of ARRL Section Managers), was responsible for
its creation. This document contains most of what one would expect of a
typical strategic plan; a mission statement, a vision statement,
values defined, and a list of goals broken down into a series of initiatives.
What is missing here is the implementation process of the plan. How are
these goals going to be carried out, and what are the metrics used to
The plan published by the league outlined six major
goals, (which are listed below). It has been left up to the ARRL Board of
Directors to determine how to meet
each of these goals and initiatives, and there is still much more work to be done. My comments
on each of these major goals follow:
1. Grow Amateur Radio worldwide
Surveys have shown that the average age of an
amateur radio contest operator in Europe is at least 10 years younger than in the United
States. Some of this I am convinced is related to the Iron Curtain falling in
Eastern Europe, which has opened them to more international radio activity,
coupled with an educational focus on science and technology. Amateur radio is continuing to flourish in Asia, as
there is increasing amateur activity from this area being noted in
contests. Obviously, we need to educate, encourage, and mentor a new generation of amateurs here
in North America to lower the age gaps that exist. The League encourages
technology and science education though
their scholarship programs, and other educational opportunities they offer.
These need to be evaluated for effectiveness, compared to what is being used in
the rest of the world successfully, then tweaked as necessary. I believe that
developing mentoring programs, where new amateurs learn from experienced
critical to this effort and needs to be a focus for the Board.
I firmly believe that both sponsored and individually
financed DXpeditions also play a
large and important part of
growing the hobby internationally, especially in developing nations. In these
settings very talented and experienced operators act as both mentors and
good-will ambassadors that provide a trickle-down effect to local ham
populations, and within their governments. These
expeditioners often spend their own money and resources to provide these
services to amateurs worldwide, or receive partial financial aid from
outside foundations. There is probably more the League could do to support these
efforts, and in turn grow amateur radio worldwide.
Increase the vitality of Amateur Radio
Increasing the vitality of amateur radio means to me
having an ARRL rife with vitality itself. That said, this has to be accomplished
while not ignoring its illustrious past, nor the members that have supported the
League over the years. There is a saying that I used to remind the senior staff at my company
of all the time: "The most cost effective
marketing program is one that leverages our existing customers, through keeping
them happy with quality products, and service that meets their needs. It's much
less expensive to keep an existing customer than to find a new one".
That axiom equates to making sure that
the League serves its members in such a way that the members see the League as a
resource, with a perceived "value add" to aid their participation in,
and the enjoyment of amateur radio. Issues regarding questionable governance
results in controversy, and coupled with a lack of transparency creates an atmosphere of distrust
resulting in long time members running for the door. This most certainly works against the
League's goal of vitality; certainly for itself, and for amateur radio as a
whole. We need to listen to what our members (in actuality our "customers")
have to say, react to their
needs, and provide them with value.
Part of "increasing the vitality" revolves around #3
below, "keeping amateur radio accessible to all". However, that has goal to come
in such a way as the license itself doesn't become meaningless. Careful
thought and consideration has be a part of this process, and the League has to
do a much better job of communicating proposals before they are enacted.
Keep Amateur Radio accessible to all
The League is doing a fairly good job with this, for
example, with The Amateur
Radio Parity Act of 2017, (HR-555/S-1534), introduced into congress in an
attempt to limit the power of HOAs in
regulating amateur radio antennas. While not a perfect bill, at least there is
some hope that HOAs can be limited in their reach and negative effect on our
hobby. The League needs to continue efforts to get this bill signed into law.
But some of the rules need to change too! There is much work to do
with the FCC in the technical area of
spurious RF emissions from electronic equipment of all varieties that
interfere with our ability to enjoy our hobby due to the high ambient noise levels
Current rules for FCC
Part 15 Part B specify unintended maximum radiation requirements for parts of the radio spectrum,
but not others that affect HF operation below 30 MHz . Worse, there is word of a
change to regulations being considered
at the FCC that
would make radio receiver
manufacturers responsible to filter out these interference sources, having
apparently given up on making the manufacturers of the offending equipment
responsible. This is not a viable solution with current technology at a
reasonable price, and needs to be strongly addressed by the League.
On another note, I
have a few reservations regarding the
current FCC proposal submitted by the League to give Technician Class licensees
and digital privileges on 80M, 40M, and 15M as
written. While almost universally every amateur I've spoken with is dead set
against the proposal, I have softened my stance due to some recent arguments
I've heard saying basically, "What's the harm?" In the end, they're probably
right, and here's why:
The bottom line: Will many
Techs take advantage to this new opportunity? My best guess is that some will (a
very small percentage), but the vast majority will not. From what
I've seen in my 40 plus years in the hobby, and as a part of proctoring many
Volunteer Examiner sessions, most people that hold Technician class
licenses have absolutely no interest in upgrading or operating HF. Their 2
meter handi-talkie and local repeaters are all they need. These are ARES
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, Red Cross members, four-wheel
drive enthusiasts, "preppers", or even church members.
Operation is confined
within their local communities, and that is where their interest in amateur radio
ends. For them, having a radio and access to
ham radio communications is the primary goal,
having amateur radio as a hobby is not. (As an aside: The League needs to
understand this difference, and adjust to this demographic if it wants to pull
them into their fold!)
What I would fully support is opening up some of the digital
portions of the HF bands to Technicians, as this will enhance their amateur
radio experience without giving them what equates to most of a General Class
license, without having to take the General license test. They can get a taste
of the HF experience with the new digital modes, using limited antennas and low
power, which even work well in apartments, urban settings, and other places
where voice, and even CW, would not be practical. Also, the test pool for
Technician Class needs to be expanded to include more questions regarding HF
phone and digital operating.
In the end it probably doesn't matter whether or not
this proposal passes muster with the FCC. If it passes I believe the new
allowances for current Techs will not have a profound effect on HF daily life or
spectrum utilization. For those few it helps, great.
HERE'S THE REAL ISSUE! What I
am really against is the fact that the League submitted this proposal to the FCC
without bringing it back to the ARRL members for adequate input and feedback
prior to submission! This issue goes back to the "Accountability" issues
in the "myARRLVoice" section above.
Advance Amateur Radio science and technology
I think the League already does a pretty good job of
this with technical articles published in QST and other publications they
produce. What the
League needs to do strive to better utilize the massive pool of technical talent
within their membership, by encouraging and rewarding innovation. Some of
the country's brightest minds are amateurs, and I
believe the League is on the right track here. That said, it probably can do more.
Organize and train volunteers to serve their
communities by providing public service and emergency communications
The League began this program with the successful
building up of the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service, (ARES), through
collaborative efforts with other agencies, such as the American Red Cross and
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There
needs to be more effort placed on nationwide standards for ARES volunteers,
which is now mostly handled at the local level. This is going to require
mentoring and training of volunteers at the local level to bring them up to
national standards. Ensuring that all ARES members meet a minimum standard
of training greatly enhances our value to served agencies nationwide.
Practice good governance and organizational
This is something that the League REALLY has to focus on
moving forward, and it goes without saying. I really can't say anything here
that hasn't already been said! The League needs to listen to its customers
(ie: members), and govern in an open-door manner that evokes an atmosphere of mutual trust.
At this point this trust is lacking, and is very detrimental to the vitality of
the League. Current ARRL Members have to be treated as customers, and not
fogotten in attempts to bring in new members. Take care of these governance and organizational challenges, and the
rest will take care of itself. The League will most certainly prosper as a result.
73, and thank you in advance for your support;
Mike Ritz, W7VO