“5-9 in Newington”
BY RICH MOSESON,* W2VU
“QSL.” With a period instead of a question mark, it means “I am acknowledging receipt.” That was the bottom-line message sent bythe ARRL Board of Directors to the League’s membership at its meeting in January. Faced with a firestorm of complaints andcriticism from members, major clubs, and major donors over its so-called Code of Conduct, unexplained disqualifications of boardcandidates and proposed changes to the League’s Articles of Association and By-Laws, the directors made it clear that the members’messages had been received loud and clear, “5-9 in Newington.”Based on a news item posted on the ARRL.org website on January 23, here’s a brief rundown of the board’s actions. The board:
• Decided to review the entire “Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members of the Board of Directors and ViceDirectors,” the official name of the code of conduct adopted last year, and consider a revised code at its next meeting;
• Deleted and suspended sections of the code that were “considered ambiguous and in conflict with the intent of the code ofconduct requiring Board members to act in the best interest of the League’s membership,” specifically suspending Section 8,“Support of Board Decisions,” that many members felt was a “gag order” that prevented their elected representatives from tellingthem how they voted on various motions;
• Adopted a new policy regarding candidates for elected office, notifying prospective candidates that eligibility decisions madeby the board’s Ethics and Elections Committee would be made public unless the candidate requested otherwise; and in the caseof disqualification, that the reasons for the action would be made public unless the candidate requested within 10 days that it bekept private;
• Deferred action on proposed changes to the Articles of Association regarding personal liability of board members, and aproposed By-Laws change regarding life membership; and more importantly, decided that any future proposals to change theLeague’s governing documents will be shared with the membership prior to board consideration, along with explanations of whythe proposals are being made; and
• Amended the DXCC rules to allow Kosovo to be accepted as a separate entity, ending a decade of refusals to give credit forZ6 contacts.
The announcement made no mention of other proposed changes to the Articles of Association and By-Laws that hadgenerated much of the member backlash. It is unknown as of this writing whether they were withdrawn from consideration ordebated and defeated (one other action the board took was not to release meeting minutes until they had been reviewed andapproved by the board).
Transparency and Accountability
As regular readers of this column know, CQ has been at the forefront of efforts to increase ARRL transparency and accountabilityto its members, with several editorials and “white papers” in recent months about these exact issues. In addition, DX Editor K3ZJpenned a “Food for Thought” piece in our January issue titled, “DXCC and Kosovo: ‘Only Donkeys Don’t Change.’”
We are proud to have taken on a leadership role in these matters, not because we are anti-ARRL, but because we are stronglypro-ARRL and want to ensure that its leaders are doing the best they possibly can in representing the needs and wants of themembership and in promoting and protecting the Amateur Radio Service in Washington and internationally. We need a strongand effective ARRL, but as a membership organization, it must be responsive and responsible to the members. We congratulatethe board members who understood this need and voted to keep the League a member-centered organization.
We also congratulate the many hundreds of League members, along with dozens of leading radio clubs, who took the time tocontact their directors and explain why they felt the proposed changes would be leading the ARRL down the wrong path. In amembership organization, it is also the responsibility of the members to provide guidance on important issues to their electedrepresentatives. We are pleased that so many members took this responsibility to heart and made their feelings known. We are also pleased that all of the communications we saw were polite, respectful, and collegial in presenting their points of view.
We’ll be watching this summer as the matters that were deferred or sent to committee for study come back for furtherconsideration.
A Link to the Dawn of Radio
Our lead feature this month is an interview by Italian writer Giovanni Francia, IØKQB/IIØGM, with Princess Elettra Marconi, thedaughter of the man many consider the father of radio, Guglielmo Marconi. It provides us with a rare insight into Marconi the manrather than just Marconi the historical figure. We recognize that there are multiple competing claims about who first developed thetechnology of wireless communication, stretching back to Dr. Mahlon Loomis in the 1860s.
The reality is that radio did not spring whole from any single person’s mind, whether Marconi, Tesla, Loomis or anyone else.Rather, like many scientific developments, it resulted from building on the works of others, in our case, people like Faraday,Maxwell, and Hertz. Marconi’s singular accomplishment was not so much the development of wireless technology but ratherputting together all the pieces and creating a practical and widely-adopted system of radio communication. He saw the potentialof the technology and brought it from theory into practice. It is for this that we owe Guglielmo Marconi a huge debt of gratitude.
Speaking of scientific developments, our friends at HamSci — Ham Radio Citizen Science — are trying to document the role of amateur radio in contributing to the growth of scientific knowledge by building a bibliography of papers published in peer-reviewedscientific journals of research in any field that involved the use of amateur radio. See page 18 for more information and how tosubmit listings of published papers for inclusion in the bibliography.
And speaking of citizen science, we wrap up our coverage in this issue of ham radio-focused research on the effects of last summer’stotal solar eclipse on radio propagation. We have “‘WSPRing Pi’ and the Solar Eclipse” on page 24 and a “Solar Eclipse Roundup” onpage 28. Of course, we’ve got many more articles and columns on a wide variety of topics this month, as every month. Enjoy this issueand the return of springtime. –Rich, W2VU
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