The ARRL Board of Directors held its first 2008 meeting in Houston, Texas on January 18-19. Besides reviewing and acting on recommendations contained in committee reports and Director's motions, the Board held its biannual election of officers and annual election of members of the Executive Committee. All Officers, Directors and Vice Directors were present, with the exception of Rocky Mountain Division Director Brian P. Mileshosky, N5ZGT, who was unable to attend; Rocky Mountain Vice Director Dwayne Allen, WY7FD, assumed his place at the Board table.
All ARRL officers were re-elected without opposition. Past Southeastern Division Director Frank Butler, W4RH, who was also at the meeting, was unanimously elected an Honorary Vice President in recognition of his unprecedented length of service -- 50 years -- as an ARRL elected official.
The Board received a progress report from the Programs and Services Committee on its study of Section Governance. The committee recommended that Section Managers continue to be elected by Section members.
Two new Field Organization positions were created by the Board at the recommendation of the Programs and Services Committee: Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator and Assistant District Emergency Coordinator. The Board authorized Dave Patton, NN1N, Manager of the Membership and Volunteer Services Department, to develop and implement terms of reference for these positions.
It was also decided that members in the ARRL Pacific Section (which includes Hawaii and the US Pacific Island Territories) would have their ballots mailed via First Class Mail to ensure timely arrival. Ballots are currently mailed via bulk mail.
Band Plans and Background Checks
To address members' concerns arising from a new IARU Region 2 HF band plan, the Board affirmed its support for the retention of Double-Sideband AM as a permitted emission in the Amateur Radio Service and reaffirmed, without change, the 160 meter band plan as previously adopted by the Board in July 2001.
Atlantic Division Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, presented the final report of the Ad Hoc Background Investigation Committee. He reported that there is no Statement of Understanding with the American Red Cross (ARC) at this time, since the previous SOU expired in September 2007. The Committee has communicated to ARC that there are still conflicts with the ARC's background investigation policy as compared to the published statements of its online background investigation contractor. Harrison has written to ARC, but as yet there has been no response. The remaining issues related to credentialing and to renewal of the expired SOU with the Red Cross were referred to the Programs and Services Committee and to staff.
New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, Chairman of the Administration and Finance Committee, presented the 2008-2009 Plan as recommended by that committee. He outlined plans to begin a redesign of the ARRL Web site, as well as capital upgrades and maintenance at W1AW. The plan for the upcoming year was unanimously adopted.
Following a recommendation from the Administration and Finance Committee, the Board voted to amend the bylaws by eliminating Bylaw 5. As a result, effective January 1, 2009, the $3 dues rate discount that is currently extended to older members will be eliminated.
Getting Down to Business
The VHF/UHF Advisory Committee, which has been reviewing contest rules, was extended for another two years. The VUAC was created in recognition of the fact that VHF/UHF contesting issues are markedly different than HF contesting issues due to the unique aspects of VHF and UHF propagation and the impact of geography and population-density differences. Originally created in 2005 for a period of three years, the Programs and Services Committee recommended extending the committee's life by another two years in order to address several longstanding contesting issues in the VHF/UHF community.
The Board voted to establish the Fred Fish Memorial Award in honor of Fred Fish, W5FF. This dated and serial-numbered award for contacting all 488 grid squares of the 48 contiguous states on 6 meters will be a capstone to the VUCC program; Fish is the only person known to have accomplished this achievement to date. The Board also voted that the #1 award be issued posthumously to Fish and presented to his wife Lee Fish, K5FF.
The Board decided to seek a Memorandum of Understanding with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The ARRL and the BSA have mutually supportive goals, such as education, development of skills, leadership, emergency preparedness and awareness.
A resolution of support was adopted by the Board for AMSAT's initiative seeking access to an Intelsat platform in geostationary orbit. AMSAT is in consultation with Intelsat regarding an application of an Intelsat platform carrying amateur satellites into geostationary orbit, with potential benefits for emergency communications. AMSAT has been the principal initiator of projects in the Amateur Satellite Service and continues to play a key role in significantly advancing the state of the art in space science, space education and space technology.
Frenaye, as President of the ARRL Foundation, gave a report to the Board on the Foundation's activities. He said scholarships totaling $60,000 were awarded in 2007; three new scholarships have been added for 2008. The Foundation's assets amount to approximately $2.4 million, of which most supports the scholarship program. He noted that the number of deserving scholarship applicants greatly exceeds the number of available scholarships. Frenaye will continue to serve as Chairman of the Foundation; Northwestern Division Director Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF; Midwest Division Director Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, and Eugene Hastings, W1VRK, were also selected to serve as Foundation Directors.
Only one award, the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award, was conferred at this meeting. Alyssa Ivanson, of WANE-TV News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, received the Leonard Award on the recommendation of the ARRL Public Relations Committee. Ivanson brought public attention to Amateur Radio by producing and reporting a television story on the efforts of Emery McClendon, KB9IBW, also of Fort Wayne, to create and promote Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day. McClendon traveled to Washington, DC and met with First Lady Laura Bush as part of his promotion of Amateur Radio.
Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) President David Goodwin, VO1AU/VE3AAQ, delivered greetings from the RAC. He commented on the longstanding relationship between ARRL and RAC and noted the operation of VO1ARES in 2007 in which ARRL President Harrison and then-RAC President Earle Smith, VE6NM, participated.
The next ARRL Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for July 18-19, 2008.