I’ll be the first to admit that without the A.R.R.L. we wouldn’t be in this amateur radio hobby today. Without the League commercial interests would have costs us all of the spectrum we currently have, and we would either be fishing, playing cards or carving wood in our spare time. I am convinced that had it not been for several of the A.R.R.L.’s interventions in regulatory matters the amateur radio service would no longer exist today, not in the U.S.A. and – possibly – nowhere in the world. So I appreciate all that they’ve done to keep this great hobby/service alive.
Unfortunately every now and then they do downright stupid things too. Things that are not in the best interest of all of us, which they are supposed to represent. Things that are motivated by a few people inside the A.R.R.L., without asking the membership anything (that’s not representing, is it?), and without even explaining the whole deal to everyone who works (volunteer or otherwise) for that very same A.R.R.L.
One of those extremely foolish things the A.R.R.L. has done recently is file a Petition for Rule Making with the F.C.C.; a petition that was assigned RM-11708. That petition calls for a number of “small” changes to the F.C.C. rules (Part 97), that will change life as we know it, and drastically so.
I will leave the technical aspects to people who are better versed than I am; but suffice it to say that if you value RTTY, CW, or any digital mode that you have been doing for years then NOW is the time to act!
This petition, if approved, will obliterate all of the above transmissions, by allowing (very) wide digital signals in the spectrum that traditionally has been occupied by the currently legal digital modes and CW. One of those wide signals can wipe out 10 RTTY signals, close to 100 PSK31 signals, and about just as much CW signals. And it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when” instead. If RM-11708 is approved by the F.C.C. then that is exactly what’s going to happen; because some people at the A.R.R.L. are pushing this petition very hard, while others inside the A.R.R.L. are utterly clueless; yet are blindly following their “wise” colleagues. One of two people spearheading this foolishness is our own West Gulf Division director, K5RAV. (and if you happen to read this, David: you’re never getting my vote again!).
Please, folks: if you value your hobby as you know it now then take a moment to go to this website: www.savertty.com (there’s also www.savecw.com but the content is identical). It spells out what the exact motivation behind this petition is, what the results – if approved – will be; and what to do about it. All it takes is a few minutes of your time. Please do it now; because there’s no going back if it gets approved! And you’ll only have yourself to blame when you can no longer make CW, RTTY, or digital modes QSOs because of the constant interference…
And no, once again, I don’t hate the A.R.R.L. – I do quite a bit of volunteer work for them, and have for years. But as members (or even non-members!) we don’t have to agree with every stupid move they make and this petition is not in the best interest of amateur radio as a whole, but rather in the interest of a select few. Make sure you send your thoughts to the F.C.C.!
Erik – K5WW
A.R.R.L. V.E. / O.O.