HB 4969 Progress Report: At the last writing of this column, ARRL and our supporters had garnered 28 Congressmen to co-sign the legislation.
At that time, congress was in recess, so no one could sign the bill. Upon return from recess, ARRL continued to work for additional co-sponsors and now we have more that 55 who have signed on or agreed to do so.
To the members of the Great Lakes Division, I sincerely want to thank all of you for your continued effort to contact your congressman and ask for his support in passing HB 4969, the Amateur Radio Parity Act.
As you are aware this bill is aimed at directing the PRB-1 style "reasonable accommodation" provisions for Amateur Radio antennas to include all types of land-use regulation, including areas with deed restrictions and restrictive covenants, hence the term "parity".
"CC&Rs" (covenants, conditions and restrictions) are the prohibitions and limitations placed on properties by builders or home-owner associations (HOAs) which prevent licensed Amateurs from erecting even modest antennas. Details and updates are posted at http://www.arrl.org/hr-4969.
Great Lakes Division Vice Director, Tom Delaney W8WTD offers his monthly commentary:
A common theme I've heard at some of the ARRL forums I've attended this past month at hamfests is: what about the future of ham radio? Some think we're doing fine, since the number of hams is at an all-time high. Others worry on more practical terms --who's going to do what we are doing? And some of that is quite practical. Who will maintain the club repeaters, the club gear, and help instruct the next generation of hams? In fact, what about the clubs? How do we get more active members?
Food for thought, but there is also a lot being done. Every time these questions come up, there are also people there with some answers. Maybe not one big answer that covers everything, but simple solutions they are taking in their communities to help recruit and train and mentor new hams.
For instance, in Cleveland, there were several answers to the question of how to interest young people who already have so many distractions, and who are tied to their cell phones and would never imagine themselves talking on radios. One team is working with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs in their local schools. But other people suggested that the interest in Robotics is another way to generate interest. And yet another person suggested that MESH could interest students who already know about WiFi, because it would open up their possibilities for using a common technology they already know about.
Some of the other questions are not so easily answered. But if we keep talking about it, and sharing ideas, on the air, in print, and in person, maybe we'll find some good solutions.
Ham radio is still vital. The activities of the Centennial year are certainly showing that. Lots of great participation in the W1AW portable operations, and all the other things going on. And a lot of thought being given to how to interest the next generation. Each one of us has something we can do. Take a few minutes, and figure out what your contribution will be!
73, Tom W8WTD, Vice Director, Great Lakes Division
Tom's observations should be considered by all of us, as we look to Amateur Radio's future. Thirty years ago, for example, autopatches played an important part of ham radio emergency preparedness. We all counted on them and we all used them. Today, it is rare to hear someone using a patch because technology has moved us to the use of cell phones.
Time and technology have brought change and in many ways ham radio ops have played a vital part in advancing that technology. We move ahead.
We must continue that effort and we need to see that our youth are offered the opportunity to know what ham radio can offer as they will soon be leading the technology push. How do we do this? How do we reach our youngsters? Admittedly, the most successful ham programs seem to be in our public schools and those flourish where an instructor who holds a ham license is directly involved with the students. From a practical sense, that is not always possible and in many cases a licensed ham from the community serves as a counselor and mentor to the school's program. Other truly viable programs are those dedicated to ham radio youth, again with a truly dedicated sponsoring ham. Either way, serious commitment is required and it appears few of us are prepared to take those steps.
So what is the solution? We talk about it - a great deal. We have heard our young hams tell us what needs to happen. We really know what we need to do.
The application period for ARRL Foundation scholarships opened October 1st. Here is an opportunity to assist students that could use help in paying for their college education. Please pass the word that the ARRL Foundation scholarship program is available to help out and encourage students to apply. Details at: http://www.arrl.org/news/the-arrl-foundation-invites-scholarship-applications-for-2015-16-academic-year
Here is the current ARRL Hamfest Schedule for the Great Lakes Division:
Oct 4 - 'Vette City Hamfest, Bowling Green, KY -- QSL Checking -- WA8EFK, KY4Z
Oct 18 - Muskegon Color Tour Hamfest, Muskegon, MI -- WB8R
Oct 19 - Conneaut ARC Hamfest, Conneaut, OH - N8SY
Oct 19 - Kalamazoo Hamfest, Kalamazoo, MI -- QSL Checking - WB8R
Oct 25 - Hazard KY Hamfest - Hazard, KY -- KY4Z
Oct 26 - USECA Hamfest - Madison Heights, MI -- WB8R
Nov 1 - Grant ARC - Georgetown, OH
Nov 2 - Massillon ARC Hamfest, Massillon, OH -- QSL Checking - N8SY
Dec 6 - Fulton County Winterfest, Delta, OH
Dec 12 - Lanse Creuse, Harrison Twp, MI - WB8R
A note about hamfest attendance by your ARRL elected officials. We strive for insuring that the ARRL is properly represented at every ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest. Conflicts can arise, such as hamfests which might occur on the same day. It is always a good idea for your hamfest chairman to contact the Section Manager, Vice-Director or Director early in the planning stages to insure his attendance at the activity. This will allow time to prepare for alternate representation in the event of time conflicts
73 all, see you on the bands.
Dale Williams, WA8EFK
Director, Great Lakes Div.
291 Outer Drive
Dundee, MI 48131
734-529-3232; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org