I apologize for the delay in getting this update out. The weekend immediately following the Board Meeting was the Puerto Rico State Convention (an incredible celebration of the Puerto Rican culture and amateur radio in a beautiful, warm location with amazing hospitality); between travel and business, it’s been quite busy!
The January Board Meeting was a very productive one on many fronts and disappointing on others. I’ve already received questions about how I voted on various Motions and why I voted for or against them. I’ll go through each of the Motions and explain my vote.
Those members that have elected to receive Board Minutes within their profile have already been emailed a copy. (If you would like to receive future Board Meeting agendas and minutes, sign into your account on www.arrl.org, click on “Edit your Profile” at the top middle of the page, click on “Edit Email Subscriptions” and select the option.)
If you did not receive the Minutes, but would like to see a copy, I’ve posted them on the Division’s website at: http://arrlse.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2015_January_ARRL_Board_Minutes.pdf
Minute 24: (Legislative Objectives for 114th Congress—Passed) I voted for this Motion as the objectives include the major initiatives we should be pursuing. This includes seeking relief from unreasonable antenna restrictions in CC&Rs.
Minute 25: (Amendment of Article 7—Passed) This clarifies when a Vice Director is acting as the Director at a meeting of the Board where the Director is unable to attend. I voted in favor.
Minute 26: (Amendment of Article 12—Passed) This clarifies the language of the Article. I voted in favor.
Minute 27: (Amendment of Bylaw 41—Passed) This changes the body making a ruling on a conflict of interest from the Ethics and Elections Committee to the entire Board. It also gives the E&E Committee other duties pertaining to conflicts of interest. I voted in favor of the motion as a the handling of a possible conflict of interest in 2014 showed that Bylaw 41 and Bylaw 45 needed changes.
Minute 28: (Rewrite of Bylaw 45—Passed) Bylaw 45 is the Conflicts of Interest Policy and was rewritten to clarify conflicts of interest. While I generally agreed with the rewrite, I voted against the motion because it states, “A Board Member or Vice Director may not disclose confidential information obtained by him or her relating to the League to any third person or entity”, but fails to define what “confidential information” is; it is not defined elsewhere in the Bylaws or Articles either.
When the Motion was proposed in advance of the Board Meeting, I unsuccessfully asked for the addition of a definition of “confidential information”. I brought it up again in the Board Meeting, but didn’t receive support.
One of the platforms I ran on was more openness of the Board and its actions. Without a definition of “confidential information” it is impossible to know with certainty what is “confidential information” that cannot be revealed and what is allowable to disclose.
Minute 29: (2014 George Hart Distinguished Service Award—Passed) I voted in favor of bestowing the award on WA1ZCN.
Minute 30: (Volunteer Instructor Database—Passed) I voted in favor of this Motion that elevates its priority and directs staff to complete this database by the end of 2015. The database will be used to track VIs and the classes they teach.
Minute 31: (2015-2016 Plan—Passed) I voted against the Motion to adopt the plan. While I believe the expenditures laid out in the plan are acceptable, I take issue with a lack of exploration of alternative means of generating additional revenues to offset the amount by which membership dues will need to be increased in the future.
Minute 32: (Strategic Planning Working Group Creation—Passed) I voted against the creation of this committee because the Executive Committee is already charged with making changes to the Strategic Plan. I also voted against the creation of this committee as it results from my July 2014 Motion to create a Information Technology Strategic Planning Committee which was referred to the Administration and Finance Committee. A&F choose to propose a committee to look at everything rather than the committee that I proposed that would specifically concentrate on IT—an area that has become a bottleneck for progress in many areas.
Minute 33: (Creation of Assistant Section Traffic Manager—Passed) I voted in favor of establishing the ASTM position in the Field Organization as a way to recognize the contribution of the individuals that are already doing that work.
Minute 34: (Revising 160m Card Checking Rules—Passed) I voted in favor of having staff expand the program as there are not enough 160m card checkers.
Minute 35: (Housekeeping Changes to DXCC Rules—Passed) I made the Motion and voted in favor of it. It clarifies language in two places and makes no change to the intent of the rules.
Minute 36: (Remote Operation DXCC Rules—Passed) I made the Motion and voted in favor of it. The changes are: removing the restriction against a land based station being remote controlled from a vessel; removing the restriction that the control operator must be in the same entity as the transmitter; adding a restriction that the receiver and transmitter must be located within a 500 meter circle; adding a statement that contacts with legally licensed remote stations count for DXCC credit (they already counted previously if they met the control operator requirement of being in the same entity—this just makes it clear); and adding a section stressing ethical and legal operation.
These changes came about after prolonged discussions by the Programs and Services Committee which I serve on. We took into consideration the report of the DX Advisory Committee as well as member input (I solicited input from our Division membership several months ago). The PSC explored a wide variety of options, including distance limitations and a separate DXCC award. In the end we came to the conclusions of what was passed by the Board. We felt that ethical remote operations are within the spirit of Amateur Radio, that the development of remote stations furthers the art and science of Amateur Radio, and the location of the operator and the length of the “wires” between the operator and the equipment makes no difference in the fact that radio communications occurred between the two stations.
The DXCC program belongs to all of the membership. As such, it is my responsibility to consider the positions of all members. I heard very different things from the hardcore DX community where the members are in competition with each other than I did from the rank and file membership which includes Amateurs that have struggled or are struggling to reach 100 confirmed and see it as a very personal achievement. Amateurs located in CC&R restricted communities and amateurs that have been forced to give up competitive stations due to aging benefit immensely from the ability to operate using remotely controlled stations.
Minute 37: (Changes to VHF and Above Contest Rules—Passed) I voted in favor of this Motion that adopts the recommendations of the VHF and Above Revitalization Subcommittee that I also serve on. The changes are primarily concerning the use of assistance such as self-spotting and simultaneous transmitting on multiple bands. (If you are interested in knowing the specifics, please read the Motion in the Bylaws as it is very detailed.)
Minute 38: (Thanking the Second Century Campaign Committee and Others Helping the SCC—Passed) I voted in favor of this Motion.
Minute 39: (Technician/Novice RTTY/Data Privileges—Passed) I made the Motion and voted in favor of it. At the July 2014 Board Meeting, I proposed that Technicians be given limited digital privileges in the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands; the proposal was referred to the Executive Committee for study. The EC recommended that input from the membership be solicited for adding digital privileges for Technicians and Novices in the 15 meter band. Interdependently, the HF Band Planning Committee was soliciting member input on the HF digital band plan; their recommendations include adding digital privileges for Technicians and Novices in the 80 meter band. This motion marries the EC and HF Band Planning Committee recommendations so that when HFBPC solicits member input on their recommendations, the solicitation will include Technician and Novice privileges in both the 80 and 15 meter bands.
Technicians and Novices already have digital privileges on 10 meters. Providing privileges in other HF bands will encourage them to experiment with HF digital communications as they will have bands with propagation around the clock and the investment in HF equipment will allow for use on more than just 10 meters. Years ago, the limited CW privileges for Technicians and Novices allowed them to experience a taste of HF operations including DX. Once hooked on HF operations, a large number upgraded so that they could access a greater portion of the bands and voice. Giving digital privileges will recreate that possibility. Given the younger generations’ affinity for text based communications, digital modes should be particularly attractive to them.
Minutes 40 & 41: (Electing Past Roanoke Division Director Dennis Bodson an Honorary Vice President—Elected) I voted in favor of these Motions. Dr. Bodson served as the Vice director from 1993-2000 and the Director from 2001-2015.
Minute 42: (Awarding the Bill Leonard Award—Passed) I voted in favor of bestowing the award which recognizes professional journalists whose outstanding coverage highlights the enjoyment, importance, and public service value of the Amateur Radio Service in three categories (Audio, Visual, and Print & Text).
Minute 43: (Creation of the Information Technology Review Committee—Failed) I made the Motion and voted in favor of it. The committee would have examined both the existing Information Technology operations and network architecture. Using the information obtained, the committee would have created a plan in conjunction with staff that maximizes the IT services provided to League members and Headquarters staff, both currently and in the future. This was similar to my Motion at the July 2014 Board Meeting to create an IT Strategic Planning Committee (see Minute 32 above) which ultimately failed to create such a group.
IT has become a bottleneck to most projects. Additionally the League suffered two network intrusions in the past 6 months, at least one of which could have been prevented if proper network monitoring protocols were in place. Several members of the Board are faculty members in the IT field at colleges, myself included. The committee could have leveraged this knowledge to improve the League’s IT.
I have already been asked by members why this Motion failed. It failed for a number of reasons, but the primary one is that it is seen by some as an intrusion into the turf of the Administration and Finance Committee. Bylaw 38 describes the A&F Committee’s duties and states, “Monitor and review key infrastructure projects, including capital improvements and significant information technology changes”. This has been misinterpreted to mean that anything dealing with IT is the sole purview of A&F.
The requirements for the proposed IT committee include that the members have a high level of IT knowledge. This was done so that politics could be removed from the committee’s considerations and instead attention could be paid to IT Best Practices. As such, the committee membership requirements would have excluded most Board members from consideration as members.
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73 de K4AC
Southeastern Division Director.